Johnson Banks has come up with a novel way of learning Chinese characters which he calls Mandigrams
The Basic Idea is to draw the Character within what it is morphing it slightly like so.
He has a whole bunch of examples in the post see if you can guess what these mean?
I love the drawing style and I think these could be used as a learning tool for Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji, except I think it might be quite difficult to do for some of the more abstract characters.
One of my favourite things he’s done is the clock face below with all the numbers in both Chinese and Arabic numerals. I’d considder paying money for a clock that had this face, it’s just looks really cool.
I’ve just finished watching a Japanese film on the World Movies channel called Sway. It’s an odd film what begins as Takeru Hayakawa leaves Tokyo to go to his home town for his mothers funeral leads to series of twists and turns that will change the his life and the life of his brother Minouru forever.
On getting home there is obvious resentment between him and his father, he’s abandoned the family business and gone to Tokyo to pursue a career as a photographer, in doing so he’s left behind his Minouru and thier childhood friend Chieko.
The first half of the film mainly covers Takero’s fathers resentment for him and his lifestyle choice, his father runs a petrol station which Chieko and Minouru work at and it seems that Takero’s father is mad at him for abandoning the family business.
You get the usual City Kid coming home to a small town stoy, and a love triangle between Takero, Minouru and Chieko. A incidet on a ricketty suspension bridge leads to Minoru being on trial for the murder of Chieko. What unfurls are various versions of what happened on the bridge, as the evidence unfolds.
In the meantime the relationsip between Takero and his father evolves, all in all this is a very down to earth film, the character development is well paced and you can sympathise with them even if you don’t quite understand their reasonning for what they do.
This Eerie Japanese music video has amazing visuals, I especially like the Guitar hero esque bit with the tabliture sliding accross the screen. The vocals are almost hypnotic…
The Song is called “Yukkuri Shiteitte ne!” or Take it easy, okay? and is apparently made using Vocaloid (Wikipedia link) which is a sound processor made by yamaha that will sing your lyrics for you, the voice used is Hatsune Miku, which is surprisingly a Japanese female voice. Hatsune Miku (???? or ????) translates to First sound future.
The masters of anime that makes no sense but remains fun, entertaining and incredibly cute are releasing a new film, Ponyo on the Cliff by the sea(???????,Gake no Ue No Ponyo) which seems to be about a gold fish who wan’t to be human who meets a five year old boy.
The cynic in me thinks that from the trailer this is going to go over the threashhold of cuteness that I can handle. The theme music in the trailer is sickeningly cute to say the least.
The jaded cartoon watcher in me thinks this is going to a japanese version of the little mermaid meets Finding Nemo in the same way that spirited away was Alice in wonderland on Acid.
But all in all I cant help looking forward to this, maybe it’s because I just like everything that Ghibli have come up with. I do however with they’d do more serious anime like the amazing but incredibly depressing Grave of the fireflies… Although thats not by Miyazaki, it has to be my favourite Ghibli film, even if I have to watch My Neighbor Totoro after it to cheer myself up.