[Book Review and Quotes] The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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I’ve been waiting to read this book for 2 months and finally I bought this book yesterday. It’s hard to get the hardcover one, I couldn’t find one in Jakarta so I ended up buying the paperback. When I first bought it, I didn’t really know what this book is all about. I knew that Neil is an amazing writer because I’ve read his books and fantasy is the genre he specialized in so I was pretty sure that this book would be a good read.

The story begins when the main character returns to his childhood home for a funeral. He walks through the path he used to walk and ends up in a house at the end of the lane. He knocks the door and an old lady shows up who turns out to be old Mrs. Hempstock. He remembers that she used to give him milk and when this old lady asks him, “Are you here to see Lettie?”, he remembers about Lettie, the girl who’s older than him and her “pond” or to be exact, Lettie Hempstock’s ocean. All those childhood memories suddenly return to him, the good, the bad, and magical things that had happened to him when he was a little, all of them came back.

What amazed me about this book is the way Neil described things. It felt so real, I even flinched at some parts because I could feel the pain and the horror. I felt like I was watching a movie not reading a book. Neil Gaiman did a great job on the nameless main character,  I can feel a strong connection with the narrator.  To be honest, I feel like The Ocean at the End of the Lane is more like young adult novel than adult novel, it reminds me of The Graveyard Book. Overall, if you want a quick read about fantasy, magical things, yet realistic and deep, this book would be perfect for you.

Some of my favourite quotes from The Ocean at the End of the Lane :

“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.”

“How can you be happy in this world? You have a hole in your heart. You have a gateway inside you to lands beyond the world you know. They will call you, as you grow.”

“Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.”

“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”

“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths.”

“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club (Swimming Anime)

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Synopsis :

Free! is a new summer anime from Kyoto Animation (Kyoani). It revolves around 4 boys (Nagisa, Makoto, Haruka, and Rin) who actually were childhood friends and four of them joined swimming club when they were in elementary school but parted ways before graduating. Years later, when they’re already in high school they finally reunited again. One of them who went to Australia challenged Haruka to race, but Rin won. Haruka who loves swimming and doesn’t want to be defeated easily, recruit another student called Rei and build a new swimming club called Iwatobi High School Swimming Club.

My Opinion :

I’ve watched the first episode of Free! yesterday and to be honest, this anime is really promising. The artwork is tremendously amazing, I love every character in this anime. The plot is good, I imagine it’ll be like Prince of Tennis. One thing I really want to say is, all those  guys out there should need to stop saying “What a gay anime”, “It’s so gay”, “Girls need to stop fangirling over shirtless 2D characters”. Hellooo~ you really need to stop saying that because those animes you watch, most of them are over sexualizing women.

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Just because there are a lot of fanservice and shirtless scenes,  doesn’t mean Free! is not a great anime. What do you expect them to wear? A raincoat? Pajamas??? It’s a swimming anime for god’s sake. Do you expect them to swim in a pool of blood so it looks more hardcore??. 

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Actually it’s rather similar to Prince of Tennis, most of them are guys, about sports and competitions, the only thing that makes Free! is different from Prince of Tennis is what they’re wearing, so why would you hate it so much? It has a lot of fanservice, yes, I admit that. I think that doesn’t necessarily spoiled the entire thing. Do you think other anime doesn’t have fanservice? Ha! hahahahaha, if you said no, you were obviously lying. I can’t wait for the second episode! My favourite character from Free! is Makoto. He looks really kind and cute.

Why Do I Get so Attached to Fictional Characters?

When you start watching animes, TV series, movies, or reading books and mangas, there’s always one character in that story that you like the most and in the end, you end up getting too attached to that character. YES, EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED. That character doesn’t always have to be the main character, sometimes it’s the villain, sometimes it’s the supporting character. In most cases, you’re getting emotionally attached to the characters, not the actor/actress who played the character.

You might have notice that character in the beginning of the story, but as you get to know them better through couple episodes, you start develop feelings for them, you want to hug them, rub their backs, pat their heads and tell them that everything is going to be alright (except in the end the writer ended up making them jump from high buildings or they ended up in different years or universe. Yes, I’m talking about you Steven Moffat and RTD).   And then you started joining the fandom, making or reblogging those gifset until your blog is full of them. Sometimes you ship them with other characters. They become your OTP and you start writing or reading those unbelievably amazing fanfics.

The question is, why? Why do we get so attached to those fictional characters?

In my opinion, the first reason maybe the connection that we feel between those fictional characters and us. One thing we have to keep in mind is that a connection doesn’t always have to physical. The other factor is something in common. It could be the same pasts, personalities or just those quirky habits that both of you have in common. The urge to protect someone who’s so vulnerable can be something that can make you so attached to them, because sometimes those characters have gone through so many hardships so you want to protect them from those things that can destroy them or hurt their feelings. The last one maybe we see traits that those characters have and we want our future husband/wife to have them or we want to be treated the way those characters treat someone precious to them.  Personally, I think it is natural to get attached to those fictional characters because even though they are not real, the feelings we have for them, and those pangs in your heart when something bad happened to them are real. Yes, they are real. So it’s okay to get emotionally attached.

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To be honest, I don’t get too attached to fictional characters easily. Up until now, maybe it’s only Jack Frost from The Rise of the Guardians, Will Graham from Hannibal, Rory Williams from Doctor Who, Max Vandenburgh from The Book Thief, Mayuri Shiina from Steins;Gate and Alec Hardy from Broadchurch, But I only get emotionally attached to Jack Frost and Will Graham. Do you see what both of them have in common?

Great, because that’s me, the real me. The moment I saw Will Graham picking up stray dog in the middle of the night,  I knew I was gonna get emotionally attached to him. I was so goddamn right about it. He created a family from those stray dogs, it’s kind of sweet in my opinion, but there’s also a pang in my heart and it feels like someone stabbed me with a knife. Maybe because both of us are actually very lonely and we’re not good at dealing with people. Jack Frost is the same too, he has been alone for a long time, other people didn’t recognize him, he’s invincible. He’s very lonely and not sure about himself, about who he really is. That’s why I get emotionally attached to Will and Jack.

The reason why I get so attached to Rory Williams from Doctor Who is different. I see the traits in him that I long for. He’s the kind of person I’ve never met in my life. He looks like an ordinary person but his patience and loyalty moved me. Remember that time when Amy got stuck in other dimension and got old because she had to wait for 40 years? Remember what Rory said to old Amy when he found out that Amy’s getting old and he’s still young?

“I don’t care that you got old, I care that we didn’t grow old together.”

My final conclusion is that we can get so attached to fictional characters because of various reasons and it depends on how we see  and interpret those characters and of course it depends on how we see ourselves too.

[REVIEW] Broadchurch (2013)

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Broadchurch is an 8 episode British television crime drama created and written by Chris Chibnall.  The story starts when the body of an eleven-year-old boy was found on the beach. It wasn’t not a suicide case, but a murder case. Who could possibly murder an innocent boy? Furthermore, Broadchurch is a small town with a low crime rate and the people who live there know each other.  Detective Investigator Alec Hardy (David Tennant) who once failed to catch the killer for Sandbrook case, and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) work together to catch the killer. As the investigation begins, Skeletons start to come out from closet. The dark pasts, the dark sides of the people who live in Broadchurch start to reveal.

I genuinely think that Broadchurch is a worth watching TV show. Because first, Broadchurch is not only about finding the killer, but it shows us, how this incident affect the victim’s family and Throughout the episodes, we can see the Latimer family trying to cope and to let go. Second, the main theme of Broadchurch is paedophilia and adultery.  Those are delicate/sensitive issues, but I think Chris Chibnall made me realize that in some cases, pedophilia is a grey zone issue, like Beth and Mark, Chloe and Dean, and of course Jack Marshall. Sometimes it’s not what you think it is. You think you know them, but you don’t know their stories. Just like Alec Hardy’s past.

“People are unknowable. You can never know what goes on inside someone else’s heart” – D.I Alec Hardy

One OK Rock Europe and Asia Tour 2013

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One OK Rock is finally coming to Jakarta this year! I definitely wouldn’t miss this for the world.  They haven’t announced anything yet except for the date and the venue. The concert will be held at Skeeno Hall, Gandaria CIty, the same place as Jrock Evolution last year. Well, let’s just hope that the ticket price won’t be too high because there will be Jrock Evolution again this year in Jakarta.

If you haven’t heard of this band, here take a minute and listen

Do you want more? Sure thing, here you go

[Review] Santouka Ramen

First, I should say that this is the best ramen in town. I’ve been there couple of times and I can say that I am satisfied with the food and of course the service. The atmosphere of the restaurant itself is very nice, with dim lights but not too dark so we can still see clearly. Santouka Ramen is very crowded especially during lunch time.

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When we arrived, we were served with a glass of cold water even before we order the ramen. It’s actually very usual in Japan, where we go to some restaurants and they’ll serve us a glass of water immediately after we sit down. 

I always choose Chasu ramen with shio broth/soup everytime I go there because the soup itself tastes magnificent and the chasu is thick and delicious too. Santouka is a hokkaido style ramen, I’m not quite sure but the noodles and the toppings are different than Sanpachi or Marutama ramen. Santouka’s chasu ramen is served with bambooshoots, mushroom, kamaboko (fish paste or naruto), and umeboshi.

The staffs are friendly, the price is reasonable (70K-100K), the foods are great. Overall, Santouka ramen is a worth trying restaurant. 

Kouhaku Uta Gassen 2012

AKAGUMI (RED TEAM)

aiko
Ayaka
Ikimonogakari
Ishikawa Sayuri
AKB48
SKE48
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Kousai Kaori
Koda Kumi
Godai Natsuko
Sakamoto Fuyumi
Tendo Yoshimi
Nakashima Mika
Nishino Kana
Perfume
Hamasaki Ayumi
Fuji Ayako
Princess Princess
Mizuki Nana
Mizumori Kaori
Momoiro Clover-Z
YUI
YUKI
Yuki Saori
Wada Akiko

SHIROGUMI (WHITE TEAM)

Arashi
Itsuki Hiroshi
HY
EXILE
NYC
Kanjani8
Kitajima Saburou
Go Hiromi
Golden Bomber
Kobukuro
Saito Kazuyoshi
Sandaime J Soul Brothers
SMAP
Tachi Hiroshi
TOKIO
Tokunaga Hideaki
AAA
Naoto Inti Raymi
Hikawa Kiyoshi
FUNKY MONKEY BABYS
Fukuyama Masaharu
Hosokawa Takashi
Porno Graffiti
Miwa Akihiro
Mori Shinichi

The MC for red team is Horikita Maki and for white team, just like last year, Arashi.

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