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Where Did Blue Ogre Go?

Even though it was supposed to be the first day of spring, it became very cold and snowed in Tokyo. ONI(Japanese goblin) On the other hand, it was very warm the day before, which was also Setsubun, the last day of winter.

Japanese people have a custom called mame-maki, in which they throw and scatter beans inside and outside their houses while saying “Ogres out! Fortune in!” on Setsubun. Ogres are one symbol of Setsubun. I saw many red ogres, on the Setsubun advertisements around town.

Where did Blue Ogre go? By blue Ogre, I mean the Blue Ogre in Naita Akaoni (The Red Ogre That Cried) by Hirosuke Hamada.

The main character in this story is Red Ogre, who is eager to become friends with humans. He is a character with strong desire to earn the trust of the humans in the near-by village. His best friend Blue Ogre, who understands Red Ogre’s wish, comes up an idea that he attacks the village, and Red Ogre comes to defeat him. Then the village would know Red Ogre is trustworthy figure. Blue Ogres’ plan indeed works and Red Ogre does become friends with villagers. But when Red Ogre visits Blue Ogre, he finds out that his friend disappeared. Only a letter is left on the door.

Dear Red Ogre,

Whatever happens, be sincere and stay friends with villagers. I hope you have a happy and fun life with them.

I will not see you for a while. If we keep hanging out together, the villagers might begin being suspicious of you again. That’s would indeed be disappointing. So I decided to go out on a journey. It might be a long one. But I’ll never forget you. We might see each other again somewhere. Farewell, my friend. Please take care of yourself. No matter what happens, I am your friend.     

Blue Ogre

naitaakaoniRed Ogre reads the letter again and again, and cries.

I suppose that Blue Ogre thought that it was impossible to continue his friendship in the same place (situation) with Red Ogre, who wanted to be friends with the skeptic humans, and that was why had he left.

When Blue Ogre shares his plan of him attacking the village, Red Ogre worries the villagers will think of his friend as evil. But we can see his philosophy in his reply.

“You cannot avoid feeling pain or loosing something when you accomplish something. Someone must be the sacrifice, or the scapegoat for someone other’s success.” 

Is that true? It may be that I just don’t want to agree with him, I don’t know. But  I think Blue Ogre is very cool.

Red Ogre’s dream comes true and he becomes friends with humans. But they might have doubts in him again if they find out that Blue Ogre is his friend. That’s would indeed be disappointing. So Blue Ogre goes on a journey. He chooses the way to best leave hope for his best friends’ future.

It might be a long journey. I wonder if Blue Ogre had always had a choice to go on a journey. Maybe he had always had that nature to encourage him to live that way. If so, it means that the day to go on a journey just came in a wake of the incident.

I think that Blue Ogre had compared himself with Red Ogre who is purely eager to become friends with humans, and could not help but seeing that his nature is absolutely different from Red Ogre’s. After realizing that he couldn’t hide it any longer, he decides to help his friend’s dream come true, and takes the role which he thinks is correct.

Red Ogre cries to read the letter, but I think that Blue Ogre does not think that he had sacrificed himself. Even though they can no longer stay together.

No matter what happens, I am your friend, Blue Ogre said.

I respect Blue Ogre’s capacity for compassion. Not just during Setsubun, but I sometimes wonder: Where did Blue Ogre go?

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photo by: tanakawho

Gordon Lam ( 林家棟 ) in Cold War

I haven’t updated this blog for a moth. Well, let’s leave that as it may be.

I went to see a Hong Kong movie, Cold War in Shinjuku. Normally I wouldn’t but this time I bought an advanced ticket, as it would come with the movie’s postcard.寒戦postcard To be honest, I already watched the movie several months before on a flight, because its blurb sounded so attractive. It said Cold War  exceeded Infernal Affair, the original story of Academy Awarded-winning Departed.

I developed a huge crush for one of characters whose name was Arnold played by Gordon Lam. Since then, I have become his fan. Sometimes I look vide interviews on You Tube and watch them, even though I have no idea what he is talking about. It gives me bittersweet feelings.

Gordon Lam has played supporting roles in movies starring Andy Lau or ones directed by Johnnie To. He looks so different depending on which character he plays. I remember someone saying “Emma Thompson is Emma Thompson in every film,” which was why the actress was not his favorite. Some actors look exactly the same no matter what character they play. But Gordon Lam is never that kind. I think he is a really good and attractive actor.

If only I could see Gordon Lam in person! Right now I feel as if I were a teenage girl who is in love with a pop idol.

I haven’t mentioned the storyline of Cold War so far, but I would say it’s enjoyable enough. Tony Leung Ka-fai’s dazzling performance definitely makes the movie lively and it is worth watching.

One thing, Arnold’s last scene is a bit disappointing though.

Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff ?

The Sorting Hat

I went to a Harry Potter exhibition in Roppongi.

There were few children, as summer vacation had not started yet.
 So I didn’t hesitate to volunteer for trying on the sorting hat, and luckily I was chosen.

When a guide asked me which house I wanted to be sorted into, I didn’t have a particular one in mind, but I had an image that Hufflepuff wasn’t cool so much.
 So I said, “I would be happy to join any house as long as it’s not Hufflepuff.”

The sorting hat announced its choice, “ Ravenclaw !”

Harry PotterI was pretty happy for the call and felt good to be a member of the smart fellows.

Next day, I told someone that I was sorted into Ravenclaw. He said “It doesn’t fit my image. I would put you in Hufflupuff .”
I got shocked and asked ” Why?”
He stammered for a moment and continued ” Well, you’re friendly and blablabla…”
Nothing of what he said made me feel better. It wasn’t like he knew something special about Hufflepuff that could make me want to join the house. It was obvious that he didn’t think Hufflepuff was cool at all.
What on earth does he think of me?

Then I asked another person which house would be for me.
 She said, “It’s a hard question because there are only four houses.
 Good wizards for Griffindor, evil ones for Slytherin, super smart ones for Ravenclaw and losers for Hufflepuff.”

Well, I know I’m neither the Griffindole type nor the Slytherin type. Maybe I’m not smart enough for her and surely she thinks the Hufflepuffes are losers anyway. They totally blew my day.

Harry Potter : The EXHIBITION

I kept asking the question to Harry Potter fans around me.
Some said “Ravenclaw” with warmth. Others, especially kids, said “Hufflepuff” without hesitation and it hurt my feeling a bit.

However, the more I got to know about Hufflepuff, the more I came to like the house.
Hufflepuff has produced the fewest number of dark wizards than any other house.
Unlike the Ravenclaws, most of the Hufflepuffs stayed and fought with the Griffindors against Voldemort and his forces in defense of their school, Hogwarts. They were neither showing off nor being reckless. They just wanted to help and showed their loyalty.

The author, J.K. Rowling says Hufflepuff is her favorite house in an interview answering to the question: “What would you say to people who are disappointed that they have been sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore?”

Pottermore is a website launched by J. K. Rowling, partnered with Sony to develop the site. On this site, you will be sorted into one of the four houses by answering some questions.

Once I was sorted into Ravenclaw, but people’s reaction casted doubt on the call.
Am I a Ravenclaw or a Hufflepuff?
I decided to entrust Pottermore with the answer.

Now I’m officially a Hufflepuff and I’m proud of it!

Harry Potter