Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Music Spotlight: Angela Aki - Tegami ~ Haikei Juugo no Kimi he

Angela Aki - Tegami ~ Haikei Juugo no Kimi he (Greetings to a Fifteen-Year-Old)

I have kept an eye on singer, songwriter Angela Aki for some time now ever since I heard her ending for the anime Blood+ "This Love." My favorite song by her is
"Tegami ~ Haikei Juugo no Kimi he (手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君)," which was originally written for the NHK National School Music Contest in 2008, Junior High Division. The first time I heard the song and read read the lyric translation, it brought tears to my eyes, and it is a song that still makes me tear up when I listen to the lyrics.

The song cleverly weaves together the POV of a fifteen-year-old letter to his or her adult self and the message of that adult self addressing his/her fifteen year old self and something about this imagery rings home to a lot of us. Angela Aki accompanies herself on the piano and while the melody is simple, the lyrics are very poignant and I think reaches out to that lost fifteen-year-old in all of us.
I find this song a "healing" song that rings true without any pretense. The clever use of shifting points of view creates a multi-layered tone of the song. The song's message uplifting and optimistic but the point of view of the adult holds a bittersweet sense of nostalgia. It makes me recall my fifteen-year-old self. That year was sort of the black hole of my teenage years, so I guess that is why this song is even more meaningful to me.

Translated lyrics by

Dear you,
Who is reading this letter
Where are you, and what are you doing now?

For me, who is 15 years old,
There are worries that I can't tell anyone.
If this is a letter addressed to my future self,
Surely I can confide in myself.

Now, it seems that I'm about to be defeated and I'm about to cry
For me, who is seemingly about to disappear
Whose words should I believe in?
This one-and-only heart has been broken so many times
In the midst of this pain, I live the present, I live in the present.

Dear you, thank you,
I have something to tell the 15-year-old you.

If you continue to ask what you should do and where you should go,
You will be able to see the answer.

The rough sea of youth may be tough
But row your boat of dreams on towards the shores of tomorrow.

Now, please don't be defeated and please don't shed a tear
During those times when you're seemingly about to disappear
Just believe in your own voice
For me as an adult, there are sleepless nights when I'm hurt
But I'm living the bittersweet present.

There's a meaning to everything in life
So build your dreams without fear.
Keep on believing

Seems like I'm about to be defeated and I'm about to cry,
For me, who's seemingly about to disappear
Whose words should I believe in?

Please don't be defeated and please don't shed a tear
During those times when you're seemingly about to disappear
Just believe in your own voice

No matter era we're in
There's no running away from sorrow,
So show your smile, and go on living the present
Go on living the present.

Dear you,
Who's reading this letter
I wish you happiness...

The song was paired with animation from drawings by mangaka Natsuki Takaya of Fruits Basket fame for Minna no Uta, a short NHK program geared towards children pairings songs from various musicians (including Maaya Sakamoto and Utada Hikaru) with various animators, artists and directors. I especially like the one by Makoto Shinkai. These Minna no Uta segments are sort of like MADs/ AMVs with professionals, broadcast on national television.

When I first heard the song, I could see Sakura in Arc 4 of New Trials looking back to herself in Chapter 53: Yesterday's Letter. It also reminds me of that scene in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle: Tokyo Revelations when young CCS!Sakura shows up and tells Sakura-hime that everything is going to be all right. As adults, I think many of us have moments where we think, "Ah, I wish I knew then what I know now." But on the reverse, there are times when we think, "Ah, I wish I can go back to those days when those little things that I worried about seemed like the greatest worry in the world and those little things that made me happy were the greatest bliss."

Japanese lyrics and translation also found here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fanfiction Spotlight: Chronicles and Trials

Chronicles and Trials TheamPic by ~WinxC1ub on deviantART

I've been promising WinxC1ub-chan that I would be able to read her fanfiction
"Chronicles and Trials" once I finish Chapter 64. Gomen, I took a long time! Anyhow, I finally got around to reading it finally, and I love the premise. Our main characters are Hiiragizawa Daidouji Renae and Li Kinomoto Seiru (yes, you can do the math ^_^) and there are lots of familiar faces everywhere, from both the CLAMP universe and New Trials characters cameos as well!

It's very fascinating reading about an alter-universe New Trials amongst other things. Lol. It's like one of those Russian matryoshka dolls, a fanfiction within a fanfiction. Lol. Needless to say, I was most excited to see Eron's appearance. I'm sort of ashamed to say it's been many years since I read a CCS fanfiction. Don't get me wrong, I love reading CCS fanfics, but I think I sort of made a conscious sacrifice when I began writing New Trials that I probably will not be reading CCS fanfics and use that time to write New Trials. I remember when I was 12 and very innocent and naive as a newcomer to the world of fanfiction and stumbled upon a CCS one-shot lemon. There were just a handful of CCS fanfics at that time, and I really just read randomly (no picking and choosing back then.) I had no idea what a lemon was at that time and was a bit traumatized with the one-shot about a certain Lust Card and Sakura and Yukito-san. Don't ask anymore. Well, in the long run, I think all the trauma I felt when characters were OOC helped me write New Trials. When I began writing New Trials, I used to be afraid of the "bleeding" of ideas, which was sort of why I did not even read Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle for the longest time. But I've reached a point in New Trials were I became so comfortable with the realm, characters and plot, that I no longer have those worries. Heck, CLAMP parodies their own work. Lol.

Anyhow, check out WinxC1ub's fanfiction "Chronicles and Trials" which is a big crossover between New Trials and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle among other things. The fourth chapter is on its way. She has many adorable CCS-related artwork up on her devianart account. She also makes lots of wonderful New Trials AMVs that you can check out on her youtube channel. Arigatou!

Lost Sunrise by ~WinxC1ub on deviantART

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! Chapter 64 Up!

Chapter 64: A Christmas Miracle is up!

As usual, it's version one. This month has been such a hectic one, and even though I had most of this chapter written months ago, I almost thought I would not finish on time. It is a much more character oriented chapter more than anything else and also perhaps a transitional chapter. The "Memory" arc is finished, and we will sort of move to the second part of arc 4. For those of you who are wondering, Arc 4 will definitely be longer than the other arcs.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

Kiseki: The Promise of Spring by ~wishluv on deviantART