Sporadic Happiness (in Japan!)

(formerly) updated every Wednesday

#32 The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games seems to be one of those things that is intimately tying itself into American culture and the American psyche, and is hard to ignore unless you’re really trying.

When I was younger, I preferred to be counter-culture, ignoring, say, Harry Potter for as long as I could, just because everyone else seemed to be into it.  I eventually gave in and read all 7 books when I was dating a guy who loved them and had read each book several times over.

Now the current book phenomenon is The Hunger Games, which I admit I hadn’t heard of until the movie was released.  Once I heard about it though, I watched the trailer of the movie on youtube, as well as Nostalgia Chick’s spoiler-free review of it.

Here in rural Japan I live really far from a movie theatre, so unfortunately I couldn’t go see it.  Also it’s not out on DVD yet, but it is on amazon for pre-order.

The Hunger Games [2-Disc DVD + Digital Copy]

So, instead I decided to read the books, since I have a lot of time to kill in my evenings here.

I’m really quite pleased with the books.  When I was younger, notably during my high school years, I LOVED dystopia books.  My favorite book of all time is The Giver, which I first read in, I believe, 6th grade.  I also was a huge fan of Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and The Fountainhead.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that The Hunger Games is a dystopia as well, since I haven’t read a new one in quite a long time.  I had thought it would be something more along the lines of an adventure story or something considering the underlying premise of kids battling each other.

In any case, I recommend getting at least the first book and digging right into it!  If you haven’t already, that is.

You can buy the entire trilogy at very reasonable prices; the Kindle edition is only $18.99 for all 3 books:

Hunger Games Trilogy

Or you can buy a nice box set for $29.99

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set

At the writing of this post (July 2nd, 2012), the 1st book of Hunger Games is currently the #8th best seller in books on amazon.com, with Book 2 being #9 and Book 3 being #7 on the charts.

I’m currently in the middle of Book 3, and this series has been really interesting.  After reading just book 1 I wasn’t sure how they would keep the series going, but have been pleasantly surprised about what books 2 and 3 have turned out to be.  I highly recommend them.

Also, I’m glad I don’t have access to the movie yet because I don’t want it to color the way I envision the characters as I’m reading, (well, apart from what little I’ve seen from the trailer) but as soon as I go back to the US and the DVD comes out, it’s high on my priority list to see.

Happy Hunger Games!

Leave a comment »

#11 Anime: Kino’s Journey

Hello everyone.

Sorry this post is happening a day late.  I stayed home from work both yesterday and today because I caught a bad cold.  Yesterday I slept in until 12:30 in the afternoon, and forgot to write this post.  Today I slept in till a whopping 3:30pm.  So now, in my hazy sick state I will write this post.  It’ll be short, and sweet.

One of my favorite anime of all time is Kino’s Journey (or キノの旅 in Japanese)

Anime News Network gives the summary as follows:

“The story follows the travels of Kino, a young adventurer who rides a talking motorcycle named Hermes. They explore the people and cultures of different places throughout their adventures, spending only three days at each location.”

There are many things that appeal to me about this anime.

1) It’s about travel.  Kino (the main character) is constantly going new places, seeing new things, meeting new people.  It’s a very interesting life she lives.

2) It’s about society.  Each of the places she visits has some commentary on society – tendencies within us human beings, ways we live or want to live that may be healthy or unhealthy.  It really makes you think and gain a fresh perspective on a lot of things.

3) It has the feel of a dystopia novel, (ie: Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, The Giver, 1984, etc).  In high school I was a huge fan of dystopian novels and this anime is like a novella of them, since she goes to a new society in each episode.

4)  I really admire Kino.  She’s strong and brave and self-sufficient.  She refers to herself with a male pronoun for “I” indicating that she’s tough and independent.  She’s also of the personality type to let water roll off her back; no matter what she sees or is involved in, she’s always able to keep moving on and not worry about what has been.  Each day she makes a fresh start and is always looking forward to new travels.

There are also 2 short 30-minute movies that have been made, in addition to the 13 episode single-season series.  One of the movies explores Kino’s past and how she started her journeys, and the other is sort of a “climax” to the series.

If you get a chance, check it out!

Amazon has the complete collection (all 13 episodes) available for just $25.57!

Kino’s Journey Complete Collection

Leave a comment »