Monday, June 25, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
I bought 2 of these books on EBay (where else!), and they are just gorgeous. These days I am quite obsessed with Shiba Inu puppies, and just could not resist to them. Since I cannot have the real pups, why not the books at least? And it can also help me to start drawing again, since it's very much the style I love, very colourful and detailed.
Hannari-Ya is the lovely Seller. I like buying from them because everything arrives super-fast and they have a great collection of Japanese goodies.
Well the 1st book in the series is called Wa no Kokoro, and explains the traditions and customs related to each season and holiday in Japan, from Tanabata to the Hanami season, and also how to hold chopsticks or to pray in a shrine, for example. The main characters are Shiba Wanko and his little kitty friend, Miike Nyanko, who introduce us to a typical day in the country and all its symbols and rich cultural background.
The 2nd one, Wa no Kokoro 2, demonstrates how to wear a kimono, and explains about Hina Matsuri (Girls Festival) and the traditional Kabuki theatre, among other customs. It also describes how to make incense for the Summer days, and how pleasant it must be to savour the colourful and exquisite wagashi (sweets). Ahhhh, that makes me think of Minamoto Kitchoan's delicacies... How I miss it!
The books are all in Japanese, no translation so far (let's hope!). However, the illustrations are so detailed that you don't even need a text to know (more or less!) what is going on, or what the meanings of such and such tradition or celebration may be. Of course, if you are already familiar with some aspects of Japanese culture it gets easier since you can recognise what it's all about. Otherwise, just don't worry, but relax and enjoy the lovely pictures. Not to be missed!
We have listed only 5 items so far, to see how it works. But, if it turns out to be OK, I will also sell some manga books, DVDs, stationery and other things that became "redundant" down here! Let's see how it goes, let's see...
My stuff is listed here, in case you want to have a look!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Introducing Snap Shots from Snap.comI just installed a nice little tool on this blog called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site. That's why you will see a little balloon following any links available inside the posts, indicating that preview is enabled.
Sometimes Snap Shots brings the information needed right to the readers, without them having to leave the current blog, while other times Snap Shots enables users to "look ahead," before deciding if they want to follow a link or not, saving them time and effort and increasing their ability to focus on the content that matters most to them.However, should you decide this is not for you, just click "Disable" in the upper right corner of the Snap Shots bubble and opt-out of it. I believe some people may find it annoying at times!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I love the way Tim Burton has turned "death" into something cute. The characters are so likeable and human, and I think it's great for kids so they can be a bit more understanding of death, maybe. Even us, grown-ups, are not so understanding, but this film lightens up such a gloomy and scary theme. Somehow.
The soundtrack by Danny Elfman is also remarkable, especially the piano solos played by Victor and Emily, and the musical pieces taking place in the world "below", very funny and well-choreographed.
It is also cool to see the contrast between the rigid, grey real-life world and the bright colourfulness of the world of the Dead. As if the Dead guys were the ones "released" whereas their "alive" counterparts are those restrained to a colourless, almost monochrome existence.
The characters of the brides (Victoria and Emily) are brilliantly voiced-over by Helena Bonham-Carter and Emily Watson, who bring emotion and grace to their roles. Victor, as one may expect from Burton, is of course Johnny Depp - also impeccable as the very Brit and shy groom-to-be Victor Van Dort.
Needless to say the animation is superb, and those characters are so pretty (well, the good ones at least!) that you end up by falling in love with them. They have big, soulful eyes and the expressions are perfect, as well as their movements. They seem to float effortlessly and you detect no stiffness or harsh moves at all. Lightly and gracefully. Beautiful indeed.
My favourite characters are the brides of course, and also the corpse-dog Scraps - who used to belong to Victor when he was a little boy. The plot is not only simple (no unnecessary frills here), but very clever and funny, something to be enjoyed by both adults and kids.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
It tells the story of an adorable 18 year-old girl, Suguri, who decides to move from Saitama to Tokyo with her dog Lupin (a lovely mutt, probably with some Akita blood I would say). She expects to find a job and change her life in the big city and, once there, literally stumbles upon Teppei - a handsome pet shop owner - when Lupin tries to have a go at his she-dog, Noa, yet another super-cute dog, this time a pure breed black Labrador.
Teppei gets really annoyed at Lupin's advances and to compensate for that, the embarrassed Suguri offers to work at his pet shop. Reluctantly, he ends up by accepting her offer.
From then on, the book revolves around her new life at the shop, getting to meet new people and new puppies, and showing how the customers interact with the animals, how they choose their pets, how puppies are cared for, and so on. Also, she happens to have an outstanding talent for the job, and her love, dedication and understanding of dogs is something out of this world. At one stage, Teppei even wonders if she is not a dog herself!
It's a very funny and entertaining manga, different from most, because it shows how a pet shop is supposed to work, how breeders do their job and how attached to a puppy anyone can become. Very interesting and extremely well-drawn, the manga is rich in visual details and research.
I read volumes 1 and 2, and cannot wait for what comes next!