Entry for Flutterscape Competition via Tofugu.com
I used xe.com to convert $ -> ¥
Live rates at 2010.07.08 04:37:00 UTC
200.00 USD = 17,669.95 JPY
So, I’m gonna be awesome and say a little bit about each item I’ve picked out; my initial thoughts on it as I viewed it on Flutterscape. The finals prices for each of the items are in bold. (:
Revoltech Danbo Amazon Box Ver. Figure - ¥3,031 http://www.flutterscape.com/product/no/3777
So, I’ve seen these on Amazon.co.jp and thought they were ADORABLE :3 srsly.
Lucky Star らき☆すた Manga Comics Series 1,2,5,6,7 (Mint Condition) ¥2,753 http://www.flutterscape.com/product/no/3760
I have a small collection of manga in Japanese and a wee larger collection in English. For me, reading manga in Japanese is an interesting way to pick up new kanji and alternate phrases (hehe….slang XD)
Kanzen Master 2 kyu JLPT Bunpo Mondai Taisaku ¥3,175http://www.flutterscape.com/product/no/955
Ohmygollygosh. Seeing this makes me realize I should study even more over this summer. KANJI, don’t leave my brain yet!
Banana Cell Phone Strap ¥ 1,608 http://www.flutterscape.com/product/no/995
Duuuuude! Banana! I’m a sucker for cellphone straps. Which explains the need for a banana hanging off my phone. Omg. Like. BANANAPHONE, in the flesh. けけけｗｗｗ！
White Rabbit Press Kanji Wall Poster ¥ 3,405http://www.flutterscape.com/product/no/3580
A perfect reason to study kanji—ITS ALL THERE! XD
Idk, if I win, I might add something more in BUT I kind wanted to leave some room to move, y’know, in case the yen or US dollar changes~~~~
I hate when people ask me "how are you?" because I truly can answer one way: "I'm alright." Instead, I'll lie and say I'm fine, when inside, I'm breaking.
Do you think the public has a legitimate right to know about a politician’s personal/romantic life? When, if ever, do you think a politician’s personal history is relevant to his/her ability to perform in office?
Although their past might influence what activities they might do whilst in office, their past isn't important as their job.
Tokyo; a high powered city is driven by technology and innovation. Bullet trains speed across the tracks around the wards as people chat to each other briefly at the station before boarding their trains. What quick interactions we encounter daily without realizing the effects we hold on the other person.
Yet I prefer the quiet scenes with autumn’s voice echoing behind my sighs. Kyoto, ah, how you bewitch me so.
When the leaves are radiant and breathe in my presence,
Can I sense their origins?
Autumn’s voice is silent
through abundant canopies and branches.
I am visible,
Her morning radiance of a southern fear.
Amongst the busy lanes and side alleys in the autumn infused Kyoto lay a withered shop front, hidden behind refurbished buildings and scaffolding. Upstairs, above the storefront, a window budged half-open. A man forced his head through the hole and shouted down to the street: “Hey, those are mine!”
“Eh, these old boots? They’re full of holes, you can’t wear them. Buy new ones, idiot!”
“I need money to do that!”
“Get a job!”
I used to have a job as a baker until the manager, Rhon closed the store and relocated to somewhere in Europe to become a sea captain and spend his days on the sea. He mentioned after the fact that my help was no longer needed by a letter, exactly one month ago.
University and the lack of a job don’t mix. I need money, and fast. My brain aches from thinking about trivial things.
My scuffed boots sit behind the front door in a one room apartment in Kyoto, Japan, three-and-a-half hours away from Tokyo. A tiny bathroom deviates off from the mini kitchen—one thing which I am thankful for. Without space for a rice cooker and a stove, winter would be worse than it usually is. Ocher and mocha scented leaves paint the scenery outside; another thing I must be thankful for. Shades of warmth feed the idea of winter into my mind and completely reject the idea: I have no heating in my apartment.
There was a tap on the wall. I pressured my ear against the framework, hearing the sound of air wafting through the dry wood underneath the peeling paint waft into my ears unpleasantly. Was it rats? Maybe it was Rhon downstairs, who managed the store below my feet, and in current operation. Nothing echoed back after I knocked on my side of the wall. I frowned, wonder why I think of such absurd things.
“Pin-pon!” My download must’ve finished. My laptop awakened from its avid slumber and a black screen filled the 15 inch space before yawning and returning me to my work. The cursor jeering at me for write my assignment caused me to slam the laptop slid down and shout loudly.
I want food, my voice drumming as my stomach gurgled.
Food equals money.
Ahh, a job…
Everything always breaks down to money. Dammit, you environmentalists and your trees.
The following morning, I jammed myself between a young girl with a purple wig on and blaring headphones screaming heavy metal into the air and an absurdly obese man, all seated on the train. Three kogyaru sat directly across from me giggled loudly, pointing, laughing and showing each other something on their cell phones; I groaned in annoyance, anticipating the next outburst of giggles, matches with the fourth failure of trying to install and configure the wretched Vistas updates. Damn I want a Mac.
It was too early it seemed, for my journey to university, but in terms of the crowds on the train, I was late. Balancing my laptop on my knees, I powered it on, growling at the failed attempt of a smooth startup—Vista likes to update frequently and constantly bog my system down. I peered around the interior of the train. The large man on my left let some profanities go from his rear end and I lowered my eyes to hide my mildly severe laughter. Gah, these updates! The train screeched and forcefully applied brakes as we neared a station; the large man leant to his left, away from me and in doing so revealed large sweat marks under his arms. Others noticed this and turned their heads away in embarrassment, waiting to burst out in cynical sneers as soon as they departed the train.
Suddenly, my laptop screen seemed so interesting—ahh, these icons need a dusting. Zoom, zoom~ to the recycle bin you go~ Ah, such happiness is gained when doing some technological dusting. Ah, I need to get out more.
It was then that my eyes lifted upward. The eyes of a jaguar pierced onto the face of a doll; I met gazes with her, strolling causally down the aisle of the train car. For a tenth of a second, I was bewildered by the face of the most beautiful creature of this planet. I blinked and it seemed my fortune had long left me. The train dashed into a tunnel and all was dark. My eyes scanned the faces amongst interior of the train; who was she?
Bedazzled by the mysterious woman, I prepared to depart the train at the next stop. Sadly, I would leave the sweaty, large man too, enabling him to spread out on the seat behind me.
My day was a blur; the only thing on my mind was that woman I saw. Long black hair, pale skin—I daydreamed on my way to the library. How could someone so beautiful be so limited?
I stared at the cursor, musing to myself.
I stare at the blinking cursor on the screen
Spiteful black line you are,
Your face is thin and infinitely lengthened either end.
Never stop blinking cursor,
Until my neurons fire and my muscles contract...
When my fingers begin to type my thoughts outward on to the screen
Cursor, you blink faster than I cry.
“God, The Viscount is so depressing,” slamming my fresh copy of his latest poetry book down onto the desk in front of me. My laptop groaned: class hadn’t started yet and my paper hadn’t written itself. My grade would be doomed and all that dominated my mind was that woman instead of gender roles in society—the assigned topic. “Ha!” clambering out of my seat, unaware of my surroundings. I had mustered a solution for a two-thousand word paper on gender roles in present today society: the way my mind instantly viewed that woman! I had half an hour to rack my brains for every adjective used to describe her as possible to push up my word count. I had two minutes and thirty-five seconds before the professor arrived. Banzai!
While the professor ranted, I logged into my Lj. No one was online, but I ranted about my professor’s own ranting, spanning a few posts.
Kyoto is known for its vivid autumn experiences. I just blank out and try to figure out how to pay this month’s rent without a job. I want to strive for things in my life-time, but what sorts of things…
There was new comment on one of my older entries. “Your face is so round like a cupcake dictator.” WTF? Damn those random spammers. I refreshed the page. There lay another comment from someone from Holland, so it seemed. They asked if I wanted to be a pen pal with them; I seemed interesting and shared similar hobbies. I replied back with a fast yes.
“I wonder how easy it is to get a job. I must be easy, since everyone else seems to have one.”
Autumn, this year, was inspiring. I never thought the tones of the leaves could leave me breathless. Under the branches, soaring into the skies was me: a man, undecided on his journey stood still, unmoving in his ventures. “If I stay on the same path, will I remain the same?” I faced the direction I just left. “And if I turn back, I know that nothing with happen.”
Autumn forces me to think. If the leaves can change colour with vigor and grace, why can’t I morph into something greater?
Perhaps the process is slower.
I wonder if I might meet someone and let them see my true self. “Such things are too hard,” as I pushed myself forwards in the curtain of falling leaves.
What brings people to become alone? Is it a choice or by fate, some are destined to spend their time alone, either happily or by force.
Entering a bookstore, I browsed my favourite manga and just before standing up after squatting to peruse the bottom shelves, someone’s arm brushed mine. “A girl? Kawaii!” “Ne, you like shoujo manga, don’t you?” after seeing the stack of manga in his hands, possibly to buy.
“What’s your name?
“Jon?” I questioned myself. “He’s…look so feminine. And I mistook him for a girl!! What kind of person does he see me as, on a first terms basis? Can’t I distinguish between the two genders?” I peered down at his right hand which tightly held a small palm-sized stuffed panda. My mouth opened, ready to discover if the panda had a name too.
“Panda, his name is Panda,” he shot back softly before I could say anything. I smiled. This person seemed unlike anyone I had met before. Blonde hair tickled his eyelashes as much as Liberty-spiked hair pierced the air around him. He tilted his head. “You like shoujo manga too?” He must’ve noticed the manga I had in my hands. “We’re alike.”
We paid for our manga separately; he bought first two of Kimi ni Todoke and three of Ouran Koukou Host Club, I bought the sixth volume of Otomen; planning to read them on our own terms, respectively. I had an impulse of thought: what face would he pull as his hands reached for the next page? I wanted to see such a thing. A pause: “Ne, are you hungry?” I stammered as he checked his receipt (he stood before me in the line and therefore was served before me). “Let’s eat somewhere; I know a few good places.”
He followed me out to the street and tagged along, saying nothing. The journey was short, but both of us remained quiet besides the inconspicuous scuffing of my shoes. “Here it is.” I exclaimed brightly at the turn of the corner, “The city’s best soba restaurant!”
He smiled and followed after me.
“Welcome! Sit anywhere that you’d like!” shouted an old man from behind the counter as soon as our presence was recognized inside the soba restaurant, “Order as much as you want, Takeshi—I’ve made too much food today!
“Ne, where do you want to sit?” Without uttering a word, he pointed to the exact middle of the soba restaurant and rushed to the table like a child would. I noticed that he was holding a stuffed panda, cupped in his palms. Raising an eyebrow but failing to question him about it, I asked him what he wanted to eat. “Jon, I’m ordering today’s special; you can have anything you like. It’s my treat, okay?” He said nothing, only nodding and smiling when I asked him again what he’d like to order.
Pointing to the menu, he smiled with tired eyes: “Miso.”
It was the only word I heard him say since first encountering him less than ten minutes ago in the bookstore but I felt a deeper connection with him growing as the seconds ticked by. “He’s holding that panda tightly even in a place like this. I wonder what he’s thinking at this moment?” “Ne, Jon…what kind of things do you like? What about your hobbies or your likes and dislikes?”
“Likes?” he whispered, clutching Panda tighter, closer to his chest and lowering his head. “Likes…”
“You care for Panda a lot, don’t you?” I hoped I hadn’t scared him by naming Panda on a first name basis.
“Wanna hold Panda?” snapping his head upright and holding him out to me. “He likes soft and warm hands the best. If they’re cold, he might bite or make a funny noise.” I accepted, letting Panda’s soft artificial fur slip into my palms. I noticed worn marks around Panda’s stomach and his crooked nose had lost its shine. The eyes were the most intact, warm and inviting in the restaurant’s dim lighting.
“He’s been places, yeah?” I noticed the worn marks on the warm entity in my hands.
“As far as London; I’m English, you see.”
“London? That’s a fair bit away. ”
“I found him on the street. It was snowing and he was covered it snow. People had stepped on him; he was so grotty so I had to wash him. I couldn’t throw him away, even if he’s only a stuffed animal,” speaking softly.
“How did you end up in Kyoto?” Jon hunched over, his hands clutching Panda tighter. His face dropped and said nothing for half an hour. I felt uneasy from forcing my request onto him. “Ahh, that’s okay if you can’t say those things.”
“I’m looking for someone—I promised her I’d find him…so I’m always going to try living up to those words. I’ve slowly made my way here on my own to find them.” I felt the incentive to return Panda to him, but it seemed that Jon, not Panda needed comforting soft hands to consume him. “I like to draw. Pictures or paint, I just like to draw,” between periodic lapses of silence. “But I’m not very good.”
“Me too; I mean, I’m the same. I have such a drive to do all sorts of things, but the aesthetic quality is never satisfying.” I handed Panda back to him. “Panda is lucky to have a smiling friend caring for him.”
“Panda is nothing to me if I can’t face myself.”
I stopped, wondering his incentive for journeying to Kyoto from England. “What about your parents—aren’t they worried that you’ve come here by yourself?”
“My parents were murdered the day after before I found Panda, a few years ago.”
“Ehhh?! How rude I’ve become,” I screamed silently. Jon jumped of out his chair and leapt for the door. Frowning, I was confused by the situation. “I wonder if I’ve offended him. Ahh, but he took his panda with him and left his bag…” My thoughts connected in a rush of salt and adrenaline, eyeing the sling bag with the Union Jack sewed to the front panel. “Where did such a figure slip off to?”
Thanking Rhon, the rugged man behind the counter single-handedly makes all the food for the restaurant, the same man I spoke of earlier, I left money on the table to pay for my troubles [and two unordered meals], more than the price of the most expensive menu item doubled and then some—but I didn’t care. I had met him only a few hours ago, he’d shared so much in a short compressed with me already, so much than I consider him a friend without a thought.
Slinging his bag over my shoulder, I ran past cars waiting to the ends of their lifetimes to turn the corner and past empty shops waiting for the close of the night. Look at them in the driver’s seats, white knuckled and pale: they wait for the light to change, for someone higher dictate the precise moment to move ahead. Who decided to appoint such a person? Why do they wait in their self-absorbed boxes of metal and curved plastic, waiting for the sign to proceed through the intersection? If someone were to proudly plow through and lead the rest of the waiting population to victory, would they follow or be afraid to follow for fear of punishment for non-conformity.
“Where did Jon run off to? Why did he leave so abruptly? He must know what he’s doing, since he left his bag.”
Discreet shadows slithering over the streets skewed their appearance and made them seem longer, heeding sights from a distance or sight wanting to remain unseen. It felt as if I would never reach my destination: Jon, and his ultimate safety.
The opening of a dark alleyway echoed muffled screams from further downward. I ventured in, making sure that no one was following me, or in front of me. “For the last time, boy, tell us where he hides the keys to his office!!! ‘Cause we’re in need of them, and you’re the next one in line who might just have ‘em!” I heard a high-pitched yelp from around the corner, and immediately I knew to follow it without disregard. My feet hit the concrete faster; I knew something bad would happen if I didn’t hurry.
Further down the alley, an opening above allowed fog to seep down which blinded me from seeing Jon, if he was there or not. I stormed to the end, unsure of where my feet might lead me.
There was something mixed with that fog surrounding my body. Shadows, several of them, looming higher and swirling in circles around my shoulders. I couldn’t fixate myself to a particular movement nor remain steady. “Jon! Jon?! You okay?!”
“Jon is dead.”
“Who’s there? Who are you? Whoever you are, let him go! He has no affiliation with you, so his existence doesn’t concern you,” I pressed.
“He is an idea; a collection of thoughts,” echoed a male voice. “He is not a person.”
“You speak as if you are familiar with him; are you related to Jon?” Any information I could pull out would be useful in finding him.
“He carries a panda, stuffing and sorting it with emotions; displaying himself as a five year old.”
“Are you talking about Panda? Panda is his life-force—the only thing he cares about nowadays. What right do you have to steal his only reason for living away from him? What did he do to you?”
“Tok, tok, tok.” I heard something like glass slip to the ground. “No, it couldn’t be!” My heart raced. Panda’s eyes torn from his face had fallen to the concrete.
The shadow stepped forward to my face and revealed himself to me as a dark, burly man. Bulging muscles shaped and extenuated his clothes. He glowered, cackling and spluttering like a crow with pneumonia. I witnessed Panda’s stitching being ripped out. A group of older men stood behind; I could see them vaguely in the fog. They seem like the kind of people who would harass Jon him for carrying around such a “girly” thing. Striding closer, I knew I couldn’t do much, but I was taller than those men. The least I could do was to scare them away and leave not much damage.
My punches were strong; blood stained my hands as much as time did. I hoped that I could help Jon in some way. “But Panda might take awhile to recover,” I thought to myself, watching them leave in a black Mercedes parked on the street after concluding that they had no effect on me.
I suppose meeting someone who shares at least one same interest as you is pretty high, but when they match you exactly, it seems absurd—exactly where had he been hiding, when I needed a friend like him? “Ne, are you ok?”
He turned his back, slumping exhaustedly in the corner, “Panda’s gone, isn’t he? They took him didn’t they?”
“Panda…Panda is here. But he needs…fixing,” struggling with my words. His eyes fixated on Panda for a few minutes until he stated that he wanted me to throw Panda away. “Why? Isn’t he important to you?”
“Not in the state that he’s in.” “What a dark personality.” I stared at Panda, assessing the damage. “He’s fixable. I…know someone who can repair this for you. When he’s repaired, then you can make a decision on whether he’s worthless or not.”
Tired of unnecessary words; unwanted notions.
Cimmerian shadows encased in a wrapper readily available as i return daily
to this sanctuary.
I commit hatred to memory--
Inconceivable, in my limited experience.
Ravishing words attempt to sway another
with soothing prompts to speak when not wanted to speak.
Look at the stars,
The silent idiotic fools who watch at the close of the night.
Lonesome, the only light is the glare of my screen pooling onto my
Face and hands.
My complexion; pale and staid,
My feet are cold as my tongue is sharp.
The clock ticks in the silent walls,
I listen to its ruminating voice.
Clamber against the airwaves nonetheless,
And dancing with ultraviolet smiles,
Can computer chips breathe
as much as cars could smile?
“Who is the author?”
“Ahh, did I wake you?” I leapt down to the floor in protest.
“No, the taste of morning breath woke me instead.”
“Ahh such graphic nonsense, Jon! Panda would be ashamed.”
“Panda would be ashamed; my breath smells like dead things!”
“A satisfying smell, isn’t it? Zombie apocalypse! Ahh, yes, Augustus Plume a.k.a the Viscount is the author. Everyone thought he was merely an old man, but he came out to the public and announced that he was merely hiding away from the public’s eye and is actually is a teenager! Think that—a teenager writing such deep, carnivorous words. I wonder what brings him to write such things.”
“Experience, I suppose, mixed with a lonesome personality. Do have a good range of breakfast cereals? I’m parched.”
“You know where the milk is, so you can fix it yourself. I don’t mind.”
“What kind of woman was Michelle?” I asked later.
“You can answer than yourself, you know. Michelle is the woman from the bookstore.”
“You’re kidding right?” I couldn’t believe my luck.
“Please don’t state how ‘hot’ she is or isn’t; I don’t want to ruin your precious carpet.”
“I need a job, Jon. I need money. I need a life. Does Panda have a life too?”
“Panda most certainly has a life! Don’t discriminate without facts.” A pause: “I know of a place that’s hiring. You can apply there, and I’ll put in a good word for you. Panda might even help you.”
“Michelle was a cold woman; I never thought such a woman existed in the world. I left England to get away from her and I’m completely lost as to why she’s shown up here, in Japan. She should be in England now, raising a four year old, not trekking across the globe in search of her step-son. And she doesn’t even know Japanese!”
“Do you?” I shot back within an instant.
“That’s good to hear. Enough English for now okay? My brain can only handle so much.”
“Never! Can Panda have some breakfast accoutrements?”
“Of course; do I look like a cereal Nazi?” jokingly.
“After Panda has eaten, I’ll show you the place. No, better yet; here’s the address. I’ll write it down so you can go whenever you have free time.”
“Look at all his things, Panda,” whispered Jon to himself, later, “This man smiles in all the photographs and his face is always pleasant to look at. Panda; you smile too often, too. Where is my smile?” Jon brushed his blonde strands off his forehead and rubbed his eyes. His eyes moaned for additional hours of rest but his body protested for consistency. “I don’t like my spiky hair anymore. Ne, does Panda like it? Panda, you look sleepy. You want more cereal? These kinda of high-sugar happy cereals make you sleepy, don’t they? Have some more, Panda. It makes your eyes stand out in a crowd of twenty-five.”
When I entered the room again, I witnessed Jon attempting to feed Panda by slopping dry cereal onto his head. If Panda were a person, I’m sure he would be become a cannibal in an instant and eaten Jon’s hand straight from the wrist. I enjoyed watching him until I knew I had to leave for my university classes. I grabbed the piece of paper with the address written on it and promised Jon I would be back later, with food.
I left with a smile on my lips; the proudest grin I ever had created in years.