Thank You for Being Awesome

This is kind of out-of-the-blue, but I just want to thank everyone for being awesome. Throughout the past week or so, I’ve been reminded of how great all my friends and family are, and just how many wonderful people I have in my life.

This wasn’t brought on by any traumatic experience. I wasn’t faced with “trying times” or anything like that. I was just repeatedly reminded of how many awesome people are not only willing to associate with me, but actually want to spend their valuable free time hanging out, laughing, goofing off and having fun with me.

It’s a good feeling knowing other people not only care about you, but think you matter. But it’s not because anyone ever says it. They don’t need to. It’s in the way they talk to and interact with you. Continue reading

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The Wind Rises — Hayao Miyazaki’s final masterpiece

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After what seemed like an eternity, Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, The Wind Rises, finally made its way to US theaters en masse this past weekend.

Based on real-life events, The Wind Rises is Miyazaki’s version of a biopic. While not an exhaustive, beginning-to-end account, it follows the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a Japanese aeronautical engineer who was responsible for designing many of the planes used by Japan during World War II.

Unlike Miyazaki’s previous works, this particular film is void of any fantasy elements, barring the occasional dream sequence. But as is the case with many of his movies, his fascination with flight is obvious, and in this film, plays an integral role throughout.

In a world full of naysayers, cynics and bitterness, Hayao Miyazaki, in a style uniquely his own, perfectly encapsulates the best aspects of humanity. He focuses on pure, childlike innocence, fascination, hope, joy and love. When you watch his films, you understand that he wants to believe the best in people, which can be an incredibly hard thing to do. Continue reading

Remembering Nujabes

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Yesterday marked the four-year anniversary of the death of one of my favorite musical artists.

Jun Seba, known professionally as “Nujabes,” was a Japanese DJ who combined melodies, blended notes, shaped sounds, and crafted music that I regard as profoundly special. He didn’t just make music I liked. It was more personal than that. Continue reading

The Everlasting Impact of Hayao Miyazaki

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In the summer between 8th grade and 9th — which for me was in 2002 — I saw my first Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli movie. I rented it from a local video store, which is unfortunately no longer in business. It changed names at least once in my lifetime, but its original name was Video Stop.

It was a neighborhood institution, frequented by everyone in the community. It wasn’t like Blockbuster, where they’d charge you a small fortune for your rental and force you to keep it for almost a whole week, even though you’d be finished with it that night. No, Video Stop was a local mom-n-pop place, where each rental, movie or game, was only a dollar a day. Continue reading