outou: (The peony is this big!)
Outou ([personal profile] outou) wrote2010-06-12 02:23 pm

Personal Entry No. 55

So, it's been, um, over a month since I last posted here. I'm so sorry that I've missed all of your posts since then! Please update me on things in the comments.

I'm typing this from my (very small) room at Middlebury College, which is nothing short of beautiful; apparently the school was the most expensive college in the United States at some point, which certainly shows in the architecture of the buildings. The very small room has a great view of the campus and the hills in the distance, and the residence hall is a wonder to look at. This is good, because my mattress feels like poured concrete. I haven't gotten a lot of sleep for the past few days due to all of the traveling, so I almost cried when I laid down on it.

I spent the weeks between coming home and arriving at Middlebury with my family -- e.g., cleaning the house, making meals, and slaying "big monsters with big weapons" in Monster Hunter Tri.1 (That game is a bundle of contradictions: it's the same thing over and over again, yet it doesn't get old!) It was good -- I appreciate the time I can spend with them a lot more these days, even when my siblings get on my nerves. There's a large photo post coming up; I just need to get over two hours to myself to upload the pictures and code it, since the opening weekend for the Russian Language School has been a parade of registrations, exams, and mandatory social events. Things should settle down once I get a daily schedule, fortunately!

We'll be taking the Language Pledge® (yes, Middlebury actually trademarked it) tomorrow night, which means that my ability to use any language other than Russian will be very limited from June 14 to August 13. From Middlebury's website:

All Language School students agree to abide by the Language Pledge, a formal commitment to speak, listen, read, and write the language of study as the only means of communication for the entire summer session. It is the foundation of all of our intensive immersion programs. The Language Pledge originated at the Language Schools and the term is a registered trademark of Middlebury College.

We know that it is important for students to maintain contact with their families [the Student Handbook includes "friends" here]. We can't say how much is necessary for each person, so we ask that you keep contacts which are not in your School's language to the absolute minimum that you feel you need.

I consider you to be friends, and I'd like to be able to keep in touch with you ([livejournal.com profile] ju_jei, [livejournal.com profile] fetterless, and [livejournal.com profile] countersparking can communicate in both English and Russian, but they're the only ones -- and [livejournal.com profile] countersparking would probably knock out my teeth if I only used Russian with her). As such, I think I can "keep to the spirit of the Pledge" while maintaining my presence online. I know that I shouldn't be saying something like that when I've been completely gone for a month, but -- blast it, it was an eventful month!

[Poll #1577589]

Also, a Fandom To-Do List!

  • Finish typing up background tutorial for [livejournal.com profile] momoizumu
  • Finish coloring prepared icon bases
  • Color FMA 108 and Tegami Bachi bases
  • Finish the request drawings, if the requesters actually remember them (I am so ashamed)
  • Get back on my feet with updates

All that aside: most of my fandoms have exploded, apparently. I haven't yet read the promotional materials for The Neverending Manga xxxHOLiC's move to Bessatsu Shonen, though -- and I haven't actually read the new chapter, either. Apparently nothing important happened, but then again, nothing important has happened for the entirety of "Rou." It might be a good idea to just leave it alone and come back to it in five years.

I have read the final chapter of FMA, and...I could write a longer post on it later, and I most likely will. I'll just say that I enjoyed it very much, and that it hit mostly the right points for me. That means that I almost cheered out loud at how awesome it was.

1One of the developers literally said that the series is based on killing really big monsters with really big weapons. At least someone is being honest about the real reason video games exist, right?

[identity profile] grprsa.livejournal.com 2010-06-12 09:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow! It's so great to hear from you. You haven't posted for quite awhile, but I figured you must of been very busy with some important things...like school!

That Russian program sounds awesome. It will definitley benefit you in the end, since you are a Russian language major. Does your family speak Russian? Do you practice with them?

I don't think your school would mind you posting some English language blogs...it's only a blog. And lj doesn't take up most of your life. Plus, I think majority of your lj friends do not know Russian. However, it's essential to practice Russian whenever you can, so I voted for the Russian/English option.

I'm getting sick of xxxHolic. I want it to end already. It's getting boring. Nothing is happening...just hurry up and find Yuuko. I didn't like how CLAMP ended Tsubasa and now they're dragging xxxHolic. Pretty annoying, but whatever.

I'm pretty bad with posting stuff on my lj. Nothing exciting has happened with me. Just focused on school.

Anyways, hope all is well. Enjoy your summer program.

Oh yeah, have you read a lot of Natsume Sōseki's novels? Which one is considered your favorite? I know this may sound random but I just feel like reading some other Japanese literary works that aren't written by Haruki Murakami.

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 02:31 am (UTC)(link)
It's good to hear from you again! :'D This is literally the first time in four days I've been able to sit down at my laptop and log in.

Only my father speaks Russian, and he doesn't know very much -- just what he's managed to learn from audio tapes and films. As such, most of my calls home will be in English. I don't think it will have any palpable impact on my Russian studies, especially since I'd be able to speak to them in Russian if I were in a full-immersion study program in, say, Moscow or Irkutsk.

I'm in the "Yuuko's dead and gone" camp, so I'm just waiting for...something to jolt the story out of its stupor and give it a good resolution. No one could have predicted that Tsubasa would end abruptly and xxxHOLiC would be the one that would be dragged out past its prime. Come to think of it, I probably wouldn't have minded the mini-stories of "Rou" if Yuuko was still the shopkeeper, or if Watanuki had gained the position under entirely different circumstances. It's hard to enjoy a series when the protagonist is mildly annoying and thoroughly frustrating.

When faced with a choice between the two, it's always better to focus on the real world versus the Internet. :D (Obvious advice, yes, but would you believe the people who don't follow it?)

Well, I Am a Cat and Kokoro were my favorite novels by Sōseki, but to be honest I've enjoyed all of his works that I've read so far (Ten Nights' Dreams, Botchan, Kusamakura, Mon, Sorekara, and Michikusa).

[identity profile] starlady38.livejournal.com 2010-06-12 10:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh yeah, this reminds me, I meant to be powering through the second half of the Rou translation right now.

Good luck with the pledge! And the program, of course.

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 02:35 am (UTC)(link)
I read the comments. Seven hours?!

Thank you very much!

[identity profile] starlady38.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 02:40 am (UTC)(link)
Um...yeah. The sad part is that I have gotten a lot faster than I used to be.

[identity profile] kencana-kencana.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 06:22 am (UTC)(link)
Uhm... are you bored with XXXHolic?

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 06:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, definitely. This latest chapter could have been intended just to introduce the story to new readers, though, so I hope CLAMP picks up the pace soon.

[identity profile] lavender88.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 07:21 am (UTC)(link)
It's good to hear from you again! And I'm looking forward to the picture post, especially if your campus is as beautiful as you said it is! Every spare inch of space in my school is used since we have too many students -- recently they took away half of our volleyball court + cut down the trees surrounding it for a new science lab.

/sigh/ At least FMA ended before it became a bore like xxxholic. I'd much rather xxxHOLIC end this arc about Yuuko and move on already -- that's what people generally do when somebody dies! I suppose if one had magic then nit's a different matter.

But seriously,Watanuki is like a completely different person altogther, and it irks me. His job as the shopkeeper would probably let him meet a lot of fascinating people/events so CLAMP has a lot of material they can work it if they chose to.

Complete immersion program to make someone breathe, listen, read etc etc a language? No wonder they copyrighted that pledge! That said, I voted for both English/Rusian.

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 06:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks! And I'm sorry about the removal of the volleyball court and trees -- it's always miserable to see them cut down, even if it's supposedly for the public good.

(Note: Clow Read is Exhibit A for "How People with Magic React to Death.") I recall someone saying that, by putting himself in a position where he's surrounded by physical reminders of Yuuko, Watanuki has made it infinitely more difficult for him to reconcile with her death. That's all well and good, but can we at least get some more focus on the other characters if he's not going to change at all?

The Director of the school told us that our professors will be expecting us to dream in Russian. No pressure!

[identity profile] lavender88.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 06:06 am (UTC)(link)
Oh CLAMP. I have no idea what went wrong. In the worst case scenario, I can always imagine myself flipping through a very very pretty B&W artbook and just drool over the pictures without actually reading. After all, I thought Kohane looked gorgeous in this chapter :D

[identity profile] makwui.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 07:22 am (UTC)(link)
Nice to hear from you again.

The Language Pledge® sounds fun. Yet complicated. I would probably fail in the first few minutes. Language is not my thing. I got a D in Spanish in 7th Grade.

Heh... I started to forget to read xxxHolic right after Tsubasa ended. It just never appealed to me anymore.

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 06:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Same here. :)

The pledge for people beginning a new language is modified to allow them some use of English or their native languages, but it is pretty tough. I think the inability to communicate with my family often is the worst part of it.

[identity profile] lady-kikyou.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 01:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow, it's been a while! I know what it feels like to be so busy, so I'll just wish you good luck with everything and hope you'll continue posting in English or else I won't get a thing. |DD

As for fandom stuff... hnnng, don't even get me started on xxxHOLiC. I was hoping bigger chapters would mean interesting things happening, but it was just a big pile of boring and fanservice and boring fanservice-- I never cared much about the Dou/Wata hype and I'm not about to, either. Despite all the previous WTFery, I think I liked the TRC/HOLiC one-shot much better than current Rou chapters.

And I've fallen back into Pokemon hard. But what's this about a female Professor? I need to check the news about B&W! :o

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 07:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! And feel free to use Babelfish in the case of Russian posts, I don't mind. :D

I've never cared for (or even seen the appeal of) Dou/Wata, and all of the hype over it is making me wish CLAMP shoots it out of canon spectacularly. To be honest, though, I don't care about the shipping so long as Watanuki doesn't wind up with Yuuko in some twisted Wish ending.

Look! (http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Professor_Araragi) For some reason, she reminds me of a female version of Doctor Brown from Back to the Future.

[identity profile] lady-kikyou.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 03:18 pm (UTC)(link)
But won't it return funny translations? Because that's what happens when people use Babelfish on my Portuguese posts. XD;

I felt for Doumeki and Watanuki back in the Spider Lady arc and I definitely see a strong bond between them, but I've never been much of a shipper, either. And God, don't even mention that out loud. We never know when CLAMP is listening and getting ideas. /shudders

Omg, she looks so cool! *A* It's great to see females finally taking up important roles in the Pokemon world! ♥

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 07:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, but that's beside the point. (・A・)

Cynthia was definitely a start (and I hope Game Freak doesn't think it's filled out its "Female Champion Quota"), right?

[identity profile] mairenn-k.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 08:57 pm (UTC)(link)
It's great to hear from you again! Lots of people seem to be busy these days, but that's what it's usually like this time of the year, I suppose. Middlebury sounds really nice - I had to google it to find some pics from there now and it looks wonderful.

Hm, if you post in both Russian and English you should be on the safe side, right? Although I guess it's be more time-consuming. Good luck for keeping that pledge (I don't think I'd be able to do that very well, haha). It's probably a good way to force yourselves to use the language as much as possible.

I still love Holic, but I wish CLAMP would give the story some kind of... direction? Right now I'm not sure what to expect from it at all. Oh, and yes, it's sad that another 6 years passed.

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 08:03 pm (UTC)(link)
It's good to hear from you, too! I always thought summers were supposed to be long stretches of free time, but the reality is definitely different.

You know, I was planning on even posting comments in both English and Russian, but that's overkill even for me. (It makes replying to other people's journal entries difficult enough!) As it stands I'll settle for the bilingual posts, even if I feel like I'm being too weak about it.

It doesn't help that we're used to the twists in Tsubasa. CLAMP could do just about anything at this point.

[identity profile] grass-angel.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 03:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I voted posting in both, as surely writing in Russian, even if you are providing an English translation, keeps in the spirit of The Pledge? (The capitalisation makes me think of furniture polish/cleaner...)

But yay, you're kind of back!

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 08:05 pm (UTC)(link)
It should. Of course, the Vice Director of the college noted that our communications with the outside world aren't monitored at all, so any infractions of the Language Pledge like this are punished by...guilt. Strong, strong guilt.


[identity profile] arha-chan.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 04:55 pm (UTC)(link)

Good to hear from you again! (=
That Language Pledge sounds... very very difficult. Good luck with it <3. Not being able to talk that much with your family must be very hard ;_;

Also, looking foward for the FMA post! =D I love that manga so so much... i'm sad it endend, but happy at the same time, because it ended just in time. Like, i dunno, when you cook something and it's just in it's point? xD i don't know how to express it lol.

/needs FMA icon

[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 08:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! :D

I'll get used to it, definitely. All in all, the school isn't very different from normal university -- it's just that the only language spoken is Russian.

That's a good way to put it! Arakawa did a great job of winding the story down and concluding it in a way that suited both the story and the readers. (I want to read her next project as soon as it starts, that's for sure!)