?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬
04 December 2028 @ 05:27 am
Photobucket

Let's skip the embarrassment and talk about adding...Collapse )

To friends visiting: You can still leave comments even if you don't have an LJ. I'd love to hear from you.
 
 
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬
03 December 2028 @ 02:09 am
Last Updated: May 26, 2015

At least 10 previously unwatched movies a month in 2010 2011 2012 2014 2015.
Feel free to recommend movies, I'd really love it. (No film school stuff though, got those pretty much down pat because I studied film at uni. No "The Ring"esque horror films too. Just, no.) Anything that struck a chord, in any language, and preferably well-made, do tell.

FILMSCollapse )

Also, Japanese dramas watched, in alphabetical order. I'd love recs too!

J-DRAMASCollapse )
 
 
 
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬


It's not a storm if it doesn't dampen every square inch of your soul. If it doesn't drag you down with its weight, with the certainty that you will feel soaked with what keeps you alive, with what nourishes you.

It's not a storm if a fierce, blazing sunshine does not appear the day after. Because it always does.

It's not only a storm. It is the storm. Inside you. With you. Always.

5x20. 
 
 
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬
24 June 2019 @ 11:00 pm
When I stepped out of the house, it smelled like impending rain. You know the one. That mix of heavy earth, and temporality. The deliciousness of being weighed down. I relaced my Chucks and took a deep breath in. It took courage to be on my way to you, frankly. But when I saw you again, it just felt...

...natural. Not like pulling teeth (like I feared, because dredging up feelings from the past almost always feels like that), or like walking into a lair of self-conscious dread. The moment you leaned over to open the car door from inside felt weirdly like a homecoming. I've seen you do it so many times before. I've smelled it too. Whenever I settle in the passenger seat, the whiff from when you leaned over always lingers around. You still use Wood Sage & Sea Salt. How many bottles has it been since the last one I gifted you? Five? Four, if you don't do that wasteful walk-into-a-perfumed-mist move anymore.

It wasn't so bad, sitting in your car. It felt like the contours of your leather seat has muscle memory, like somehow it still supported my thighs just right, and embraced the shape of my back. Comfort. Your smile looked like you were comfortable too.

You made it feel good. Not that I expected anything else, not that I expected to be held again, or hold you, conversely. It didn't feel like solace. It just felt like meeting you, yet again. The fond tug on my bangs. The scritch of my palm against your undercut. The smell of your nose (do people smell noses like I do?) The expanse of you, when I fold myself into your nooks and crannies and your chest and the part where your shoulder meets your neck. The little stories that would've been incomprehensible over text. The music. The feeling that the city moved around us versus us moving within it. We walked, but it seemed like the streets and lights arranged themselves to look like the night was ours. Yes, this is the vanity of being wrapped up in a moment, together, but it really did feel like that. Meeting you, right down the middle, and finding that the embers never really cooled off.

(...or if they did, that we had the ability to light them up at will.)

I mean. I like the me when I'm with you, always have. It doesn't have to mean anything more, apart from what it meant that day. You just kept nodding yes when I ran off with all those words. And when you hugged me before I got off the car, I could tell that we both felt light. It wasn't an ominous moment.

To marks and all. To sparks that never die, but don't have to be pursued. To our own paths, newly emboldened.

When I got home, it finally rained. Like the heavens held their breath or something. There was no need, though. 
 
 
 
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬
28 March 2019 @ 07:15 pm


Wake up mid-morning, no longer to a grind, but as a gladiator in the middle of an existential coliseum; don't spare any thoughts about why, instead, move your body. Fasted, with only body temperature water swilling gently in your guts. Don't buckle; don't let your fingers do the talking; don't wake up to a jampacked feed; don't dilute what could be original thoughts to other people's cry-for-helps filtered with their aesthetic. Don't wake up to like what you don't like. Don't wake up to a life you don't like. Don't wake up to a life you don't like. This is how you find yourself quitting a job you loved because uncertainty felt like liberation; this is how you quit a job; this is how you find yourself drowning in art made by dead females you admire—I know you admire them because somewhere along the long commutes in Manila, you wondered how you could ever express yourself again. This is how you express yourself again; this is how you throw yourself back to yourself, I know you can do this. This is how you find the words, in the middle of sipping lukewarm coffee handcrafted by a stranger. This is how you navigate entering a new decade, all power, all apathy, all disdain for every person you swiped right for but will never meet irl. Listen, I hear you, but you have to wake up every day not listening to anyone else, because this was how you lost yourself before. This was how you became a grown-ass girl on auto-pilot, this was how you became distant from the putrid soil. This was how you ended up looking for solace in the colorway of a pair of limited editions; this was how you self-medicated with every glass of healthy green dross—sipping what you imagined could change your genetic expression, distracting yourself with the abstractions of health. This was how you could stomach small talk in meetings that looked important, looking in from a frosted window with a sliver of clear glass—you had good posture, your finger primed to press for the next slide, you had a point, you made it. This is how we get you out of this—you breathe like human beings have done so for millennia. This is how you breathe. This is how you never lose yourself again to fifteen seconds of uninterestingness, to overpriced farmer's markets, to representations that don't represent you and your shame and your truth and your capacity to grow through the cracks. This is how you listen to yourself, how you get rid of nihilism that depended on your next big paycheck; this is how you get rid of performing for a blue ribbon pinned on your brain for every fuckboy; this is how you grapple with the nature of your possible asexuality; this is how you own your brand of pleasure and fears; this is how you return to that 12 year-old who longed for connection in MySpace and early Facebook; this is how you live the sincerity of your status messages as an adolescent—away, brb, smile like you mean it. This is how you sift for the terroir of your soul; the time to talk to your mother and ask her, what were you most afraid of when you turned 30; did you feel like dying but also in control of your destiny; did you love my dad differently then; did love feel enough; did your c-sections make you sad and dislike yourself; did you also still feel like a child? This is how you continue. This is how you will conquer the digital boundaries of your life; this is how you will provide solace to yourself, this is how the next revolution will be fought—off the screens, ankles sunk in mud, your eyes to the sky; this is how you will make your own sustenance; this is how you will continue to move, every sinew stretched and loose; this is how you will remain honest, you will need to remain honest, you will need to say, I am afraid of becoming just like her, you will need to look into your front-facing camera and be able to see the outline of a person you feel fondness for, you will need to look away, you will need to say your truth out loud. This is how you grow.

---
Inspired by Jamaica Kincaid's Girl. Art by Brian Calvin.
 
 
 
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬
02 February 2019 @ 11:37 pm


We didn't know that on January 27, 2019, the things that we took as regular, as a given, would suddenly become so precious. This week, my heart broke and mended in turns, and I'm just so overwhelmed.

I was having coffee with my friend, when she saw the news on her phone. Arashi, officially to stop activities on 2020. And with my heart stuck in my throat, I scrolled through Twitter. As Ohno explained what was happening in the FC video, I found unfamiliar tears streaming down my cheeks. I am not a crier, never have been—but this one caught me off-guard. I spent the next hours crying, not being able to believe what I was hearing and reading. My heart felt like it was being stabbed over and over again. For different reasons.

Because Ohno. Oh, Ohno.
Of course it was always going to be Ohno. Somehow, I've always known it in my heart.
Ohno Satoshi, the reluctant and bewildered national idol, who has still nonetheless given it his all for 20 years, and now, for two more.
How I've always wanted him to follow his happiness. And now, it's happening.
How he's finally being brave enough to put it out there.
How I can't think of anyone more deserving.

The fact that Ohno couldn't articulate what he means when he said that he wanted to be free.
That it's a desire that he knows he needs to act on, that he just knows he needs to do it. Now.
The fact that Ohno brought it up two years ago, took that time to discuss and plan his moves together with the other four, and gave us two more years. TWO MORE YEARS OF HIS LIFE.

This.



How Ohno didn't go up first to management to discuss his feelings, he went to his members, because that's what felt natural, that's what all these years meant, that's how much he respects these four people.
How they went to each other's houses, deciding what to eat and drink, how they gave Ohno a safe space to air out his thoughts. How they hashed it out and decided it among the five of them first, because they are a unit.

The inherent trust in all of that.
The fact that even after 20 years, their relationship isn't just strictly a transactional work relationship
—they are taking it personally while dealing with it professionally.

They know what they mean to each other, how precious each other is. Yet they also know that Arashi is a whole lot bigger than the five of them now. The fact that they didn't make hasty decisions or announcements.
How obvious it is that this was carefully thought of, that they've really thought about not just their fans, but all their stakeholders
—their agency, their staff, their colleagues, the shows that they're on, all their sponsors.

The other four, how they are tirelessly and genuinely supporting Ohno.
How they never discussed the issue as four, only as five. Yes, they consulted each other, in different permutations, but never as four discussing about the one who started it. They never “left out” Leader.

How it was never up for debate that Arashi will cease to be Arashi without Leader.
Without any one of them. That there wasn't a future with Arashi if one of them was missing.

That they would always be five, and that if Leader wanted his freedom, they will walk with him hand in hand towards that.
That they will wait. That they are willingly giving Ohno the time to decide if he wants to come back, without pressure, without any time limit.




The colorful cupcakes during the press conference, oh my god. The fact that they walked in to freaking 'Wild at Heart', in light pastels and not black suits—because it wasn't a funeral, it wasn't a scandal, they were simply there to communicate their decision as straightforwardly as possible. How Nino and Sho fiercely defended Ohno from unsavory questions. How Ohno answered everything honestly. How Aiba and Jun made the atmosphere lighter, always mindful of the fan's feelings. The fact that only Arashi could pull off that kind of press conference—unfathomably making us love them even more even when they're announcing that they're going on a hiatus. Unbeatable. Class-act. Love of our lives.


The outpouring of shock, but also warmth and support from everywhere.
How truly beloved they are in Japan. How fond the "Ohno's Summer Vacation" hashtag is.


Their repeated reassurances, that 5 will always be 5, no matter what.
Them acknowledging that we can react the way we need to, that we can cry, them telling us they know it will take some time. Sho's clear answers on Zero. Jun's empathetic j-web entry. Aiba's brave smile. Nino's rare tears on their first Music Station appearance after the announcement, my heart. Their bare vocals against the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

The sheer magnitute of these two years, the fact that this is the biggest gift they could ever give us: the chance to walk this path with them in full honesty, the chance to let go but also cherish the existence of Arashi together.

How long two years is, from Ohno's POV. How he's decided to give it to us, with all his heart.
How short two years is. It sounds selfish, but oh wow. Two years.

I cannot stop the tears. I haven't been able to, for the past week.

I knew this day would come in some form, but not like this. I always thought Arashi would be like V6: stable, present, some getting married and having children, with less activities, but still there. But to have a deadline...I don't know. Two years sounds like a lot to other people, but Arashi has literally spoiled us daily for 20 years and to now have a deadline. ...well. It's painful. To someone like me who has intertwined her happiness with Arashi, it sounds unthinkable to face 2021 without them. Every so often, I panic at the thought of what happens after 2020, of what it really means to not have anything new from them.

Yes, they gave us the most amazing, and in fact prodigious, backlog and lineup of shows, music, concerts, and more through these 20 years, more than enough to go on, but my heart literally twinges at things like...there will be no more new albums. No new Ohno haircut to discuss endlessly together in the morning. No stupid VS Arashi intro chats. No more "thanks for always giving birth to me". No OT5 shoots to snicker at. No more new concerts
—that one, to me, is a gaping loss.

There are two more years, yes, and we have been so spoiled by them, so loved. But when it comes to Arashi, it seems like we will never be able to get enough, because we love them that much. And now, I just have to face that the time is limited, that I need to steel my heart, because we owe this to them, to face them with gratefulness. To be ready. To be happy for them.

I don't want to compare my fan experience to other people's
—but I have never truly moved on from Arashi. Some of you may have been with Arashi for a certain season, and you're not less of a fan for it, not at all, but I'm one among many fans who have kept Arashi in our lives on a daily basis. I planned my vacation leaves around their yearly concerts. I cried in 2014 during my first live concert, when Ohno peace-signed me from his cart, 5 feet away. I've spent a more than significant amount of money and time on them. They have become an emotional and mental crutch, and while that's not something I'm proud of, that's the truth. I think I love them too much.


To me, their announcement feels like an indirect prod to myself that, a message from Arashi saying that hey, you can go on, you can be strong. That you can live life full-throttle too, with no regrets. That it's time. And maybe it is.



Yesterday, I listened to Kitto Daijoubu. And every note transported me to that time when I was just falling in love with them—not even twenty yet, listening to them on my old iPod, feeling giddy, happy, and warm. Somehow, I feel like I'm being asked to say goodbye to that younger self, and it's bittersweet. I know that I don't have to let go of the memories, but the passage of time is alarmingly fast. And my eyes cloud in tears, for all the fun I've had thanks to Arashi, for all the friends around the world I've met (all of you, every single one of you), for the moments when they've literally encouraged me to go on, to live.

“With the same members as usual, now, at this place where we used to talk together
(Bye-bye)Burn this landscape into your heart, let's step forward to tomorrow!”


I never thought Kitto Daijoubu would ever make me cry, but here we are. Yet it holds true. Everything will be alright. Kitto daijoubu.

With all my heart, I want to send them off as five with all of my heart, my energy, my love. With a smile. In these two years leading up to the hiatus, I want to grow strong enough to stand on my own. And as I do that, to cherish every single moment left with them. With all of you, old and new friends. Let's walk this road with them.

I owe you, Arashi.

Thank you. And I love you. Always. 5 is forever my treasure number.



Do you see me, Oh-chan? I'm smiling again.
 
 
 
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬
I just turned 30 less than a month ago, and I wonder if that's the trigger. Probably not, because I don't really feel any different—to me, age doesn't mean anything. I read it somewhere, that there's nothing inherently interesting about being young or being old. If you're not interesting, you're not interesting, period, no matter what the age. That feels true to me.

I'd like to think that I've grown up to be an interesting 30 year-old woman, in my own way. But I also want to say that I'm a 30 year-old child who hasn't forgotten what it means to be vulnerable, to truly care. To be really out there, soaking the world, and finding more pathways for connection.

It's just that this year feels different in that I feel like I am always walking around with a mirror around me. I feel that somehow, everything that I do or feel reflect back on me, and I grapple with how to become even more myself. How to be more genuine, if that makes sense? It's not that who I am is particularly great or amazing. But more and more, I just feel like it's a waste of time to pretend that I am different from what I know I am. But that's just the thing. We live our years accumulating notions of how we truly are, and when we try to assemble everything into a coherent image, everything just doesn't quite fit as neatly as we'd like.

"Many people dedicate their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be, rather than actualizing themselves. The difference between self-actualization and self-image actualization is very important. Most people only live for their image."

Brutal.

And maybe that's the point. That there's no point to classifying myself as something specific in the search of interestingness, in painting myself into the image of who I think I really am. I just am. You just are. You don't have to fit in any genre.

In the last years of my 20s, I felt that there was a plastic cling wrap subduing me, almost, perhaps for the purpose of self-containment and just wanting to feel solid. But now, it's just so satisfying to claw at that layer, nails breaking through the pettiness of propriety or prettiness with a satisfying pop! There's no need to please everyone. There's no need to be polished and pretty and pleasant all the time. There's no need to worry about how I come across, as long as I'm clear with my boundaries and my intentions.

To be genuinely me, I just need to pursue the things that interest me, and will hopefully better me. That, I can do. Me, I can be.
 
 
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬
29 August 2018 @ 11:05 pm


Jun. You never stop growing, don't you?

When I think of you these days, I think of the segments and nicknames you inspire: J. 'This is MJ'. 'Quiz Matsumoto Jun'. All jabs at your seemingly larger-than-life image but, rightfully, also an homage at how comfortable in your skin you are, how you've grown to be so.

At 35, you don't pointlessly strive for superficial coolness: you instead settle into those huge smiles that take over rooms. Stages. Arenas. Domes. Your smile can power up countries. Your softness and your confidence, an arrow to all our hearts. You laughing at yourself gets to us just the way it did when you started doing it again. When you just started being you. Oh, Jun.

When we hear of you these days from your homeboys, it's about how tough you are on your managers, how you expect precision, and just, more. Whether it's just about getting the right steak sauce or having at least one manager in the waiting room at all times, you leave no room for sloppiness. Your bandmates like to poke fun at your steadfastness and ~a t t i t u d e~ but really, it's their hearts on a platter, just loving you and admiring you from the best distance—one between members.

At 35, you don't feel the need to tiptoe around perfection. You demand it. You own your job and simply outclass everyone. Matsumoto Jun as an idol is on a league of his own, and man have we got some receipts for it. The members probably have more.

When we read reports of you attending your juniors' concerts, and how you give them constructive criticism but also promote their songs, it honestly feels like an affirmation of everything we have ever believed of you. That you will always be the nice and kind Jun that Nino loves to brag about. That you are a good person.

At 35, Jun, you are as generous as ever, tending to the next generation of idols. You and the rest of Arashi are carving out a path that they would be proud to walk on, and I am so unbelievably proud that the boys I loved from when stockings on heads cracked them up are now the daisenpai. It's wonderful. Idols from other companies, heck, even other countries, look up to Arashi.

"Matsujun", as a legend, is fed simply by how you choose to live your days: with hard work, with pride, with joy. With much love. I entrust Arashi in your hands, I don't have any second thoughts, and no doubts. Your love for Arashi is clear as day.

Jun, you are your favorite heliotropic flowers: joyfully growing towards where the light is.
Here, after being your fan for more than a decade, and now, as I soon step into my 30s too, I want to say something:

It's been an honor to grow up with you, Jun-pon.

Let's continue to grow better, stronger, kinder! (You lead the way, and I'll trailblaze my own path too.)
You have always been an inspiration. Easy on the eyes too.
Let's shop a lot, travel, work hard, and celebrate life's small and big wins with the ones we love, shall we?



Happy 35th birthday, Jun.

- - -

Previous Jun Birthday Posts (if you are so inclined.)
28, 29, 30
 
 
 
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬
15 February 2018 @ 12:05 am
Devout to depth—the thrust of my 2018. And walking in confidence, aka the last building block to lock into place at the eve of my 30s. It has taken me awhile to come to this point. I just want to mark this spot right here, because I'm feeling good.

Depth Year. It's a concept that I read about in one of my favorite blogs, Raptitude. It's worth a read, even if you feel like it's something you don't want to tackle Depth Year as a personal challenge. The simple version of it is this:

  • No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started

  • You improve skills rather than learning new ones. You consume media you’ve already stockpiled instead of acquiring more

  • You read your unread books, or even reread your favorites. You pick up the guitar again and get better at it, instead of taking up the harmonica. You finish the Gordon Ramsey Masterclass you started in April, despite your fascination with the new Annie Leibovitz one, even though it’s on sale.

  • The guiding philosophy is “Go deeper, not wider.” Drill down for value and enrichment instead of fanning out. You turn to the wealth of options already in your house, literally and figuratively. We could call it a “Depth Year” or a “Year of Deepening” or something.

It's the intensity and timeliness of it that struck a chord. Why do we keep on buying stuff? Why do we move one from one hobby to the other, and never really giving it a chance? Why do we stockpile books?

Okay, maybe the last one is a stupid question.

But still. Depth year. One year of committing yourself to a kind of patience and focus that probably is hard to come by in today's world. Maybe we don't need to spend more of our disposable income to find ourselves. I know I've been guilty of buying my way into discovery. I'm excited to see where this takes me, eleven months later.

Also. Yes, confidence. Confidence, I've found, is a vale, a resource that you stumble on, a vista opening wide to you. At first, it's hidden to everyone else. You take tentative steps to see the lay of the land. After a while, you feel a definitive "oh, this clicks". And just like that, you suddenly feel free to invite people in, to see the scenery, the vastness of your sincerity to express yourself fully. What a joy.

It's not that nothing scares you anymore. Quite the opposite. It's that you finally understand that things will always scare you, but at your core, you understand that you are equipped to last through it, if not thrive. I may still jumble my words up, make dumb mistakes, meet people that terrify me, those are all certainties. But having a core of confidence, a genuine understanding of what I am capable of, is a catapult to greater things, may it be career, interpersonal relationships, anything, really.

I know I will still fuck things up. But I can own those fuck-ups as they happen and kind of just have fun hacking my growth, and enjoy the process.

I feel older. But brand new. With old things. That I'll breathe new life into. This year, the last of my 20s, will be spent optimizing my progress, going deeper, and mindfully finding spikes of interests that, who knows, will bloom into passionate preoccupations in my 30s and beyond. Honestly, I already found one last year (volcanoes! Which merits another blog post, really,) but somehow, I am certain that this just the precipice of an ever expanding curiosity.

So here's me, touching base, saying hello with aplomb. Let's get hacking.
 
 
Nina ♥ ☁ ☼ ★ ♬
134893_600
Yuzawa, Niigata

🌙 ❄️ 🏮

Honestly, I briskly took these photos because I don't trust my mind's eye with this kind of beauty. More than the scenery, it was the freedom of not being tethered to the unnecessary and instead, existing in your own body, just as it is, despite the mind's endless tirades. That’s what I wanted to remember.

After sneaking these photos in, I chucked my phone back to the locker to give nature the respect it deserves. To give myself attention, because this 2017, I confess to living and dwelling inside my head to the point of overwelcoming my stay. Anxiety isn't anything special, but to those who experience it, it's tangible and real. For me, it's in the vise-like grip on the back of my neck, the clammy hands, the stuttering where there used to be smooth enunciation. It's having frayed, electric edges, and being afraid that the person next to me can hear the crackling. It's not knowing where it started, yet there it is, my physiology betraying me faster than I can take meditative breaths. At the end of the rope, my pride is all I'm holding on to, and that outward sense of composure, even if inside I am trembling violently, riptides whipping against my ribcage.

Don't get me wrong, it has been a year of amazing, ground-shaking growth for me, in many areas. Yet I'm just at that age where big changes can unsettle deeply, because there's already so much at stake. Staying. Leaving. Accepting. Fighting. On some days, it takes all of my reserves to go through a pretty regular day, because I feel everything will crumble with one wrong move. It's irrational, I'm aware, but there it is.

It's consumptive too, especially when combined with plans, ambitions, and hopes. I forget that I inhabit a body, that I am made of moving parts, that I simply can't just think a reality into being. With my body always in flight mode in the face of new challenges and new pressures, I also unconsciously placed my health last. I knew it contributed to the anxiety as well, but it’s hard to make a full stop when you’re in the middle of a mental vortex. The weight piled on disappointingly despite being on a healthy streak the past couple of years. More white hair popped up on my scalp, and my face broke out in a way it never has before. In a rush to “grow”, I forgot to take care of the fundamentals.

+ sono mama +Collapse )