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In this entry, [personal profile] osprey_archer talks about short films she's watched recently, and one of them, "Lost World," by Cambodian American director Kalyanee Mam, captivated me.

It's narrated by a young woman, Vy Phalla [surname comes first here], who lives on the island of Koh Sralau. The way of life there is threatened by sand dredging: sand is dredged in Cambodia and taken to add landmass in Singapore.

Scooping up Cambodia ...

... To create more Singapore

The film's write-up at shortoftheweek.com says, "Kalyanee Mam’s film encompasses vast juxtapositions in a slow-motion lament against environmental degradation, loss, and rapacious capitalism." Yes. It is that, powerfully.

But I was also there for foraging clams at low tide, in among the mangrove spiracles:

And for hopping from prop root to prop root, looking for snails (though the kids did complain about the mosquitos).

Beautiful place to live...

... very different from futuristic Singapore**

At one point Phalla sings a beautiful song about the mangroves. "The beauty of the mangrove forest / rivals the palace gardens" So right.

mangrove seedling

And Phalla goes to see the palace gardens, so to speak: in Singapore she visits an artificially created cloud forest. "Lost World," the exhibit is called. Please do not touch, the signs admonish. "Camelia," Phalla says. "I've only heard the name. Now I see its face."

Back in Cambodia, watching the dredgers, she says, "The law has given us all kinds of freedoms. Here we only have the right to sit, shed tears, and witness the destruction." ... I would like to say something in answer to that, but I think maybe the appropriate thing is to sit, witness, and maybe shed tears.

Thanks for sharing this with me, [personal profile] osprey_archer!

Lost World from Go Project Films on Vimeo.

**Don't take this entry to be anti-Singapore. You can point out a wrong practice without condemning a country (or person or organization or....) wholesale.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/905330.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

"you don't know where that's been"

In the supermarket the other day, a mom scolded her baby, who was sitting in the little seat at the front of the shopping cart, when the baby leaned down and started chewing on the cart handle. "Don't do that! You don't know where that's been!" the mom exclaimed.

AND HOW RIGHT SHE IS! Just **think** of the adventures shopping carts get up to!

The cart you are sitting in right now, baby, may recently have been sunning itself on the beach...


Or it may have been tangling with rival gangs in shadowed alleys... (though your shopping cart seemed more hale and hearty than this one)


It may have been for a refreshing swim...

(source, an old LJ friend's journal)

Or perhaps spent time communing with the mountains...

Abandoned Shopping Cart At The Banff Railway Station

(click through for source, Flickr user "Malcolm").

Baby, if we were to give you a blessing, it might be to travel as widely as a shopping cart.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/905058.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

"No, but" versus "yes, and"

I was listening to a talk the other day, and the speaker was talking about how she preferred "yes, and" phrases to "no, but" phrases when talking about someone's ideas.

In general I favor this approach too. Conversation that builds up rather than breaking down is energizing and encouraging. But you can't only use "yes, and." Sometimes you want to disagree or criticize. The speaker seemed to think that even in those situation you could/should cast what you're saying as a "yes, and." The example that came up was the speaker's criticism of the Black Panther movie. She was saying that she loves it, that it's great, but that it has problems--among them, it holds up a model of a single important person, a king, who makes all decisions. But unlike me in the previous sentence, she didn't phrase this using "but." She used "and." ("It's a great movie...and it has this problem")

You can do that, but changing the conjunction doesn't really change the valence of what you're saying. Why not just acknowledge the criticism by starting what you say next with a "but"? Sometimes it's fine to criticize! Furthermore, criticism doesn't have to be destructive--as the speaker herself was showing. She clearly did like the movie.

Maybe what would satisfy both her desire to stay positive and my desire to own the criticism is "yes, but." Yes, I agree/like this, but I have a refinement or criticism to add.

Hey, and then there's also "No, and," which is even more negative than "No, but," right? Like with "No, but," you're saying no, but you're also saying "but," which means there's some point of commonality, whereas with "No, and," you're going to town with your criticisms--you've got more than one!

Wohoo, I think we can do a business-article-style four-quadrant graph:

OMG my dayjob is invading my journaling...

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/904855.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Butterburs bud

In Japan, today through January 24 is the microseason called "butterburs bud"

One fond memory I have of living in Japan as a family was the 60-plus-year-old director of the daycare where my kids went teaching me how to prepare fuki. In spring you could buy it in markets, but it's also a wild herb that you can forage. I remember where we foraged ours: there was this cut-through with a little bridge, and then you came up behind/beside the Watanabes' shop, which was a sort of convenience store in their house. We bought our kerosine there. I think I still have the director's hard-to-read instructions somewhere--maybe stuck inside a Japanese cookbook. I hope so, anyway.

I've seen butterbur here and thought of picking it, but I've never done it because I'm afraid it might not be exactly the same plant. It also gets translated into English as "coltsfoot."

Here it is--not a bud, but vigorous leaves:


And here it is, prepared:


Wow, I guess when you cultivate it, it can get quite large! The stuff we picked is much, much smaller.


Wikipedia tells me that the plant known as butterbur in Massachusetts, Petasites hybridus, is also called "bog rhubarb, Devil's hat, and pestilence wort." Gotta love folk names.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/904637.html. Comments are welcome at either location.




One word of Portuguese, buzzing in my head

In the cold Northeast soon the snow-bees will be buzzing

while somewhere in Amazonas,

little abelha-cachorro, dog-bee

is pollinating brilliant blooms

epiphytes, bromiliads,


and passion flowers

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/904342.html. Comments are welcome at either location.



I was looking at some of my earliest journal entries, trying to see what had me hopping with inspiration back almost thirteen years ago, and I discovered this:
Little Springtime, the Peaceful One, had to list things that happen with regularity in nature--just a few examples. She said, "I've already got things like 'Bears eat skunk cabbage in the spring...'--as if THAT'S the first regular seasonal thing you'd think of! I only just learned that about bears last week. It made me think, it would be fun to have a list of things that happen very regularly that people rarely think of (like the bears and skunk cabbages, frankly).

I thought, that idea dovetails nicely with Japanese microseasons, which Wakanomori introduced me to a few years ago. There are 72 of them. Right now, for instance, we're in 雉始雊 Kiji hajimete naku--pheasants start to call. (More broadly, we're in the period called 小寒 Shōkan, "small cold," which will be followed, from January 20 through February 3, by "greater cold." Just warning you.)

But it might be fun to get as particularistic about place as for time. If you can divide the year into 72 microseasons, how about microclimates? Of course years can vary so wildly in terms of what happens... it would take lots of observations to have microseasons that would really apply fairly regularly year after year.

These last few days, here, we've been in the microseason of thin wind--the kind that slips between all your layers and curls up right against your skin, trying to warm itself, a hungry ghost of a wind. I haven't heard any pheasants calling.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/904025.html. Comments are welcome at either location.
I think everyone who reads me here probably already reads [personal profile] sovay, but just in case not...

I was blown away by her review of An Inconvenient God.

[personal profile] sovay's reviews are as good as stories: when she reviews films, she captures the drama of them, and without spoiling them in the least, makes you feel, by the power of her writing, what makes them funny, poignant, terrifying, tragic--whatever. It's a huge honor to have that attention paid to my own work.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/903686.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse

I went to this last night with zero expectations and really had fun. I enjoyed Miles and his family, I liked the other spiderfolk, the humor worked for me, and the animation/art was gorgeous. Oh and I loved the soundtrack!**

Just in case you were sitting wherever you're sitting and you found yourself wondering what Asakiyume thought of Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse.


more colors

more more colors



PS--I liked the role graffiti and stickers played.

**And I have some money on an Amazon gift card so I think I'll be treating myself to it...

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/903554.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


Forget those resolutions

I can *not* write every day on the novel. It just won't work with my life. The language goals are easier because they're more mechanical, but I'm definitely letting Portuguese be a now-and-then.

I don't know why I was able to write nearly every day in November but can't now in January. Maybe I should chalk this up to a rocky start (holiday, family, illness) but the year is strewn with similar obstacles, so I think I'll rethink this. I probably won't announce what the revised goal is--I'm only even posting this because a couple of people asked specifically about the writing goal, and it seems like proper accountability to say, Yeah no, this isn't going to work for me after all.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/903193.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

"With Hands Held Out"

I ... have written my first-ever** fanfic, about one of my favorite moments in Voyage of the Dawn Treader (actually, one of my favorite moments in the whole Chronicles of Narnia)--the moment when Lucy sees the Sea Girl in the Last Ocean. The story is from the Sea Girl's perspective. It's very short. Thanks to [personal profile] osprey_archer for a read-through and advice on posting!

[ETA: In my rush to post I, um, neglected to include a link to the story. Here it is! Sorry about that--it's kind of hilarious to post an announcement like that and then not remember the link -_-]

And here are some beautiful examples of seagrass for you to look at, to accompany the story.



sickle leaf seagrass
Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii)
(click through for source)



**Actually I did once write a piece of fanfic earlier. I was in seventh grade, and it was for Space 1999.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/903019.html. Comments are welcome at either location.



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