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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Well, I would like to wish a happy Tanabata day to all the people of Japanese and Chinese descent, and lovers of Asian culture. The Tanabata festival is also know as the Star Lovers festival, the Star Weaver festival, or the Star festival. This Japanese festival owes it’s roots to the Chinese legend of the meeting of the stars Vega and Altair, and this festival is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month, this day can vary according to which calendar (lunar or Gregorian) the city, town or village follows.

The Tanabata festival has always been one of my favorite Asian festivals, I once had the pleasure of actually being in Japan for the Tanabata festival in 1987, and what an enjoyable sight it was, I only wished that at the time I was more interested in taking some pictures rather than chasing some tail, oh well, to be young again.

There are many versions of the Tanabata legend and below I will write a small summary of my favorite version of the story.

The god of Firmament who lived in the High Plain of Heaven had a very beautiful daughter named Tanabata, and it was her duty to spend her time weaving garments for her father. One day while at her loom she spied a handsome lad named Hikoboshi leading an ox, and she at once fell in love with the lad. Her father knowing his daughter’s thoughts immediately consented to her marriage.

But, they loved well but not wisely, Tanabata neglected her weaving duties to her father, and Hikoboshi let is oxen wander unattended across the High Plain of Heaven, greatly angering the God of Firmament. He commanded that the lover be separated from one another by the Celestial River.

The separated lovers’ grief was so great that soon the God of Firmament consented to allow the lovers to meet one night a year to sooth their loneliness. So on the seventh night of the seventh month the lovers come to the banks of the Celestial River and wait for a company of Magpies to form a bridge so the lover can finally be together. It is said that if the weather is good and the Star Lovers meet that one can look up into the night sky and see the stars Vega (Tanabata) and Altair (Hikoboshi) shine with the colors blue, green, red, yellow, and white.

Now this only happens if the weather is good, if there is rain then the Celestial River might become too wide for even the Magpies to span, and then the weary lovers will have to wait another year to meet. In times past, young children would sing “oh, weather, be clear” before the Weaving festival.

Now, Tanabata is celebrated by people placing fresh cut bamboos on the roofs of their houses or placing them in the ground next to their houses. They attach strips of colored paper containing poems or praises to the lovers to the bamboos, these strips of paper also contain wishes for good crop harvests, good grades, good health, good wealth, and even romance.

On the night of Tanabata, Japanese people can go out in casual clothing or in more traditional clothing such as Yukatas. While each town celebrates the festival differently, the most common events are goldfish scooping, karaoke singing, sumo contests, food booths, fireworks, and boat rides if near water.

Below are some anime related pictures.

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This episode begins with Ran running into Midori along the beach, and they talk about summer break and tonight’s firework display. Ran is excited about the display because last year she had to go with Rin but now she has a boyfriend, Midori wants to go with Rin, but Ran tells her he has Judo practice then he’s going to the fireworks with a friend. Midori gets upset at Ran because she won’t say if Rin’s friend is a boy or girl, but finally Ran tells her it’s a guy so she still has hope.

Just as they are about to separate, Ran invites Midori to go to the fireworks with her and Rui but she says no thanks, then Ran invites Midori to breakfast but she refuses, poor Midori, she missed out on a home cooked meal by Rin. After the meal Ran gets ready for the fireworks and then she and Rui agree on the time and place where they’ll meet for the fireworks.

Then we see Midori practicing the violin at her place, as she’s playing she has flashbacks of the bad time when she was rejected by her mother and others. But, she’s says that she hasn’t been having those thoughts lately and she chalks it up to her friendship with Ran, and after a while Midori steps out to grab a bite to eat.

As Ran and Rui are out shopping they try to call Midori many times but she’s out too, Midori seems a little lonely by herself. Midori is cheered up when she hears Ran’s messages when she gets home. Later when Rui stops by to pickup Ran they again try calling Midori but they only get her answering machine.

Ran and Rui head to the fireworks and Midori feeling kind of lonely heads down to the waterfront too. As the fireworks begin Ran and Rui are enjoying the show and Midori begins to walk through the crowd. Midori is starting to feel lost and surrounded by the crowd of people she doesn’t know, then Ran manages to locate her and then they enjoy the show together. In the end everyone enjoys the fireworks with either family or friends. Well, that’s all for this episode.

Well, this was a pretty mellow episode of TSR with a summer festival being the backdrop for the story. At first glance, one might think that this episode was about Ran and Rui going out on a date together but you would be wrong. While this episode included many ongoing themes, Ran trying to get some alone time with Rui, Midori wanting to get closer to Rin, or Midori’s cocky and sassy nature, but the heart of this episode was how deeply Ran’s friendship has affected Midori in many ways.

When Midori and Ran first meet, Midori was a deeply lonely and bitter girl, she basically thought that she could never be normal or never have normal relationships. So, she disdained trying to interact with regular people out of fear of getting hurt and rejected. But, as time passed, Ran’s friendship with Midori has lead her to want normal human interaction. Through Ran, Midori has meet people who were willing to accept her for who she is and she feels comfortable around them because she doesn’t fear being hurt.

Midori now wants or at least deep down needs to be a normal girl who would like things that normal girls would want; to feel cute and beautiful, have friends, and even want a little romance and love with Ran’s brother. I really hope that Midori can find a little peace, joy, and love, because she had so little of it as a child.


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Well here it is, the Candy Candy Manga, I will post links to new volume’s every few weeks when I have time. I got these scans a few years ago, and I don’t even know what group did the translation, I even forgot I had these so I’ll upload what I have.

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After several weeks of trying to find the time to post individual pages of the Candy Candy manga I’ve managed to post links to the entire first five of nine volumes for your shoujo viewing pleasure. Note: volume 5 is shorter than the first four volumes, volume 5-9 and up is a rar file instead of a zip file. Click on the links below to download Candy Candy manga Vol.1-9.

Candy Candy Volume 1

Candy Candy Volume 2

Candy Candy Volume 3

Candy Candy Volume 4

Candy Candy Volume 5

Candy Candy Volume 6

Candy Candy Volume 7

Candy Candy Volume 8

Candy Candy Volume 9

A Special Treat of Candy Candy Fans

Candy Candy Art Book 1

Candy Candy Art Book 2

Candy Candy Soundtrack

Enjoy!

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This episode begins with Sora arriving at the airport and falling asleep on the bus ride into Tokyo. After being dropped off by the bus a good deal away from where she needs to be Sora has to walk a long way to get to her location. While walking, she takes in the sights of the city, and she also has a chance to use her magic. At a intersection Sora uses her magic to stop a tanker truck from crushing two people, one of the people she saved seems knows something about magic, and when he finds out that she’s going to study magic he asks her why is she bothering to study if she can already use her magic to such a great extend?

Sora eventually arrives at the bureau of magic, but she is late for the start of class and causes a commotion when she enters the classroom. Sora gets chewed out by the teacher (Kawada) for being late to class. Afterwards, she has to introduce herself to the other students, and they are told that they will have a written test on basic magic. Then they get a break before the start of another class and Sora meets a girl named Yamabuki Hiori who seems kind of friendly to her.

The first magical assignment they get is to turn a fish tank full of water into ice, Sora gets very emotional because the boy (Midorikawa-kun) she met at the intersection snubs her and she creates a very dramatic ice structure. One of the other girls wants to make it a competition between her and Sora, but the teacher tells them that magic isn’t a competition, and the goal of this training is to allow the students to decide what kind of mage they will be.

After class Sora talks to some of the other students, and then she heads off to find the instructor’s house, students live with a instructor while attending class in Tokyo. She has to find her way to the Shimokitazawa district of Tokyo, along the way she takes in the sights and sounds of the area.

Once Sora arrives at her instructor’s house she introduces herself to Hara (her instructor/dorm dad) and she thanks him for being her instructor. He tells her where her room is, and he tells her to rest up until dinner. Sora also finds out that other students will be staying there too. Once Sora gets to her room she sees that she’ll be staying in a room that’s decorated for a boy. Sora then opens the window to get some air and she notices that the boy from the intersection and class seems to be staying there too. Well, That’s all for this episode.

Well, after viewing episode two we find out some more about how the magical system in this world functions, and how it governed.

1. Whether a person as the ability to use magic is determined by their DNA.

2. A person may train to use magic and be called a mage at age 16 or older.

3. A person training to be a mage must undergo one month of a live-in apprenticeship/training program.

Now that I’ve given you the basic rules governing the system, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. What this series is really about is how Sora will react to meeting new people and experiencing new things, and how those people around her will change due to meeting her.

Also, another key character in this series is the city itself. I know that several blogggers have expressed their displeasure over the use of real pictures/photo realistic backgrounds throughout the episodes. But, with the liberal use of these backgrounds and the weaving of music and background noises makes the city come alive, it has it’s own pulse and rhythm. I like watching Sora, a small town country girl, interacting with the sights and sounds of the city. Overall, I find this series to be a nice stress relieving distraction, it’s easy to get pulled into the ebb and flow of Sora’s awaking to the larger world around her.


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