The Power of Film

Film is important: 

And there are many reasons for this as it is such a vivid combination of so many arts; cinematography, music, sound design, editing, storytelling, acting…they all play a part in this unparalleled form of expression. It also possesses the sufficient wizardry required to transport us to faraway places and times – both physically and mentally…we can also experience a character’s life and gain an insight into their point of view, however wacky and odd their personality may be. This can serve to make us more accepting, and less prejudice people…or more unaccepting and discriminatory people – with great films comes great power, and (often) well…irresponsibility.

POwer GIF

For a quick example I watched the new James Bond film recently (Spectre), and I found myself nodding along like…“yeah…yeah…I AM in essence 007!” I mean I like clothes, travel, and alcohol – also I’m not a huge fan of overpowering authority figures – the only mark against is that I don’t shoot people for money: but that’s only a minor part of the whole movie franchise, so there we go! I am Bond, James Bond: and I don’t want to hear any arguments about it…

In other news my kindergarten kids have just got into Star Wars…I suppose they’ve been playing it on the TV recently, what with the new one coming out next month – and we’ve been delighting in having non-stop lightsaber battles throughout the duration of the day. I’ve also realised that I am more than likely closer to the dark side than most would say is normal…case in point I have been delighting in killing my six year old Jedi students with my force lightning ability. I mean someone has to be the Sith bad guy – and the red swords are a lot better looking…and yeah, yeah, I know I will eventually lose – but at least I get to look cool while doing it…

Darth GIF

« So you see there is this sense of escape, fantasy…or perhaps even unattainable galactic dreams – and it’s not a thing which can be easily shaken. Or stirred… (urgh, see what I mean?!) »

It’s always been this way though: perhaps I’m easily influenced, but there’s never been a time I can remember where films and their characters haven’t played a pivotal role in either how I want my life to be, or who I wish to be as a person. And naturally I haven’t adopted these roles entirely like some mad life-long method actor – but rather I have just absorbed certain elements which I then begin to endorse…case in point with The Lord of the Rings I became aware through Gimli that running for long distances wasn’t fun – and with Merry and Pippin, that second breakfasts were not something to be embarrassed about. And in Dumbo I learned that if you drink too much bloodthirsty pink elephants will appear in a frenetic dream sequence intent on killing you. All of these things are totally necessary, and I’m thankful for the world of film for enlightening me in so many ways… 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this ramble…would love to hear of some characters and movies which you have enjoyed – especially ones I haven’t heard of! Always on the hunt for a new favourite!

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Tokyo Tantrums

Japan ~ Tokyo – 2015

Tokyo has a big city sort of reputation to it, an air of grandeur accompanied with a sense of mystery somewhere within the non-stop luminous glare of the lights and the 24/7 rush…

So many films have painted a picture that has made an impression on me, and because of this it was high on the list of places I wanted to see…so when I realised I had a long weekend coming up I didn’t hesitate and booked it up straight away! Just a couple of hours to get from my home in Korea to the unknown world beyond – armed with nothing but a friend’s recommendations (which proved invaluable) and a feeling I was soon to be in my very own Lost in Translation remake…

Lost Trans GIF

Sidenote: when travelling you really do need to think long and hard about who you will actually travel with. Well maybe not too thorough – nothing too ridiculous, but at the very least you need to see a clean bill of health (both physical and mental), a criminal background check, and dental records. Also check their voice and typical conversation topics as otherwise you may be locked in with the most boring groaner on the planet – which is never going to be fun. With this particular adventure I was meaning to go alone originally, and then at the last minute a lady friend of mine tagged along…which brought some erm, shall we say – complications? 

Anyway I mean this sincerely when I say that Tokyo is a marvel. So much to see and do, a far cry from the more reserved and traditional parts of Japan I had visited earlier in the year.  But oddly I found it manages to retain a fantastic balance between the two often conflicting sides; you see one second I’d be staring up at a 60 foot tall science fiction juggernaut in the form of the powerful Gundam, the next I was wearing a traditional yukata and relaxing in an onsen…then I’d blink and be back to the mad rush of the Shibuya scramble crossing! I was completely in my element, roving around searching for the weird and wonderful, straining my neck to try and see as much as I possibly could…it was everything I had dreamed about for so long, and so much more…

Shibuya GIF

But yeah: the ghost at the feast…the wasp at the picnic…the drunk and slightly creepy uncle at the family reunion. Hmm, that last one was a bit weird, but you get my point – this is the part of the story where I say what didn’t go so smoothly, and most of it had to do with my travel companion: hence my warning earlier. You see I try my utmost to remain as friendly and light hearted as possible during trips, as from experience I understand that it can be a pretty stressful period if you let the small things seep in and truly affect you…if you do that suddenly the foul smell of a certain street, the incessant honking of horns on the road, or perhaps even your friend’s breathing can have you suddenly enraged beyond all comprehension: like smashing an axe into a locked door screaming “heeeeere’s Johnny!”  sort of level rage. So it’s best to take a deep breath instead, and just let most hiccups roll off your back…

However, my lady friend didn’t share this ethos…which meant that any small thing became the reason for a monumental day-ruining mood. Juxtapose that dark rain cloud along with my attempted cheery sense of humour and you had quite a pairing; something like if Voldemort was to meet one of the Teletubbies. Well actually that’s unfair (to he who must not be named): it would only be like that if Voldemort had the emotional range to both grimace and groan about public transport, and literally burst into tears about the levels of salt in Japanese food…as it stands I don’t think he is quite on her level yet.

I can understand the frustration though, Tokyo is huge and it’s far too easy to become dazed and confused by the sprawling subway system: which I honestly think was designed by someone throwing spaghetti at the wall, and saying: “that’ll do just fine.” We took many wrong turns during our days there, and the hours were long and well travelled…but I don’t see how it helps remaining silent or dragging your feet along as if you are a pathetically non-threatening zombie, or almost defunct robot:

Robot GIF

There is an answer to such problems though, and one which I will gladly share with all of you…and that is; beer. Yes, you heard it here first! The golden elixir is the perfect remedy to all sorts of ailments, including the frustration you may feel when a friend (or something more) is becoming more than you can bear. Thankfully there was a so-called “English pub” just off a side street near to the Shibuya crossing…where for three times the normal price I could enjoy beer, ales, and all that good stuff as if I was back amongst the smoke and laughing guffaws of my homeland…“Wait, it’s how much?! Jesus tap-dancing Christ!? It’s not worth that!”

But yeah, that’s how things go! Ups and downs, smiles and frowns…you have to take the good with the bad, and try to carve out memories that will last: and despite all the issues we were still able to do that…pretty much.

However I must now look for an AA meeting in South Korea: so yeah, wish me luck. 

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Kids Go CRAZY.

So there was some weirdness today, as there is every day…actually it is so common place that I feel silly even reporting it to you – but nonetheless I will, as it got me thinking about something…

You see I was in the soft play bit of the kindergarten school, and had probably just fell down the slide, or been accidentally headbutted in the groin – when one of my students began to yell for my attention… “JOHNNN! LOOK. JOHNNNNNN! JOHNNNN! LOOK, LOOK, LOOOOOOK!” Well of course I span around, wondering what was so urgent that I couldn’t miss – you know,  what was it that meant I had to drop everything just to gaze upon it?

I wasn’t disappointed….there little Daniel was – flailing his arms in a frenetic motion, grinning from ear to ear, eyes half open – as if the joy of the moment was too much to fully witness. There was no rhythm, there was no steps, technique, or order…it was just whatever feels good, do. And oh my was he doing…

Peep Show GIF

I laughed, and he laughed…and the others laughed too, they didn’t join in – they just appreciated that he was having his own little kind of crazy moment, and he was having fun with it! And I thought it was amazing – adults are so restrained, and limited, and…well, let’s just say this – if I did the same thing it wouldn’t take long for the men in white coats to take me away, and sedate me for the rest of my life…how depressing. 

I love to just let loose – and just be yourself…your true self – not the pretend one you show people…it’s unfortunate that people find it quite weird, and unsettling when you just go with whatever is lurking in your head. Like on a date this Sunday I found myself laughing out loud quite literally – a thought I’d had crept into my head, and forced this reaction…then I had to explain myself to someone who really didn’t get what I was talking about – never mind find it funny…

“You see…well…the sections of that store – they have like…the BODY section, weirdly close to the HAIR section. So it looks like the BODY HAIR section, hahahaha…at a beauty store, haha…yeah, like…body hair – you know? Body…erm…hair…yeah…” 

Awkward Franco GIF

“There’s nothing funny about that. At all.”

And that was me put in my place. She was right of course, I suppose that should have just stayed in my head along with a bunch of other things I find myself saying, and doing – but it just gets so congested in there sometimes – it’s not surprising some hop out almost against my will!

I wish we lived in a world where we could just say, and do what we liked (as long as it didn’t hurt anyone else)…kids get an out. Where’s ours? And when did I trade it in – I don’t remember that at all…

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Hot Wheels!

We made wooden cars in class the other day…and as we all know, science-backed scientific research has proven flame designs make any car go faster. So obviously mine was the fastest.

Flame Car

Aaron’s really got the mean-mug look down!

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Curse of the Ninja

Was reminded of this childhood memory by Melanie, after my previous post regarding childhood lies!

When I was in primary school, like most kids my age – I used to love The Power Rangers. The kicking, the punching, the flipping, the monsters, and the explosions…I mean, the whole package appealed really. So it wasn’t a rare sight to see me, and a couple of friends acting out crazy fight scenes in our school break times! We’d be jumping out of trees, doing killer rolls…the whole works…basically just battling evil wherever we found it…

And we didn’t skimp on any of the realism…oh no…we’d be using elaborate formations, working together to beat these savage creatures which had every intention of taking over the world. We’d jump in, one by one; “HIIII-YAHH! HUHH! PAAAH! KAPOWWW!” 

Power Rangers Boss GIF

It often took a few hits, especially if our foe was one of the big bosses – but we always, always triumphed…I mean, we’re The Power Rangers, we’re only ever going to win – that’s kinda the whole deal.

But one of these bouts stands out…you see, one of them was very, very different…

Which is odd, because it started out very much the same; we fought over who gets to be who, and then fought again over who gets which stick…just the same as every other time – but after these usual formalities, we were able to continue with our normal crime-fighting ways as per! …but this truce wasn’t to last – and before we knew it we found ourselves  arguing over something else…something which hadn’t ever been an issue before…

“YOU JUST SAID A SWEAR WORD!!!” protested one of my so called Power Ranger colleagues – wagging an accusing finger in my general direction.

“No…no, I didn’t!” I argued, unsure of what he was referring to. I assumed he had misheard one of my amazingly realistic “SHIPOWWWW!” sound effects as something more menacing. So I pleaded my case, I was innocent GODDDAMITTT!

Power Rangers Oh No GIF

“NO. NO. NO. I’M TELLING.” He smirked out the side of his mouth…the grin sent my blood boiling – did he really think I had swore, or was he just trying to fuck with me? I wasn’t sure…but for once, I hadn’t actually done a thing! So I tried to grab him, I had to keep him from spreading his lies – his arm alluded my clutches, and I found myself pulling desperately on his empty jumper sleeve…but with one big yank, he was free – albeit with a stretched bit of material that was now twice the length…

“YOU FUCKING BACK-STABBING PIECE OF SHIT!” I screamed after him, as he ran towards the classroom. Well obviously I didn’t really say that; I was eight or nine – so it was more likely I said “GET LOST, YOU BUM HEAD!” Which roughly translates to the same thing.

I ran away in the opposite direction, hoping that this would somehow make all of my problems go away – or at the very least bide me some time. It didn’t work. Before long I found myself in front of my teacher Mrs. Mc.Dermott…she was usually so friendly; she always appreciated my artwork – even the ones using paint which I constantly messed up. But she wasn’t friendly now, after all he had whispered his bullshit into her ear – and she had believed him.

He was sent away, and the interrogation began. Why had I said it?! What had driven me to use such horrible language?! Where had I learned it?! I tried to explain, tried to sputter out my defense – but she wasn’t buying it. So it was a stalemate. I didn’t know what to do…and hunger pains began to pulse through my body…urgh, now I come to think of it – I was STARVING…

“LISTEN, JOHN! You either own up, and apologise – and then go for your lunch. Or we just sit here. Your choice.” 

 Well obviously I admitted to it. It was like the carrot, and stick – except it wasn’t a carrot on the end of it…it was a lovely chocolate doughnut, apple juice, and whatever other goodies I had waiting for me in my bag. I’d probably do the same thing now, food trumps just about anything…for me anyways! 

You see I needed my energy. I’d be playing Power Rangers again in the afternoon break – and there was a new enemy I’d need every bit of strength to take down…“HIIIIII-YAHHHH!”

Power Rangers Beat GIF

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Batman Returns

You may not expect it, but as a kindergarten teacher – you have to be VERY aware of what you wear, on a daily basis. If you just slap on clothes, without a second thought…you are asking for trouble!

Awful Wear GIF

Case in point, today I haphazardly threw on a Batman t-shirt, under an open shirt – without really thinking! I just thought it would be an ordinary day…how wrong I was! You see what ensued was an uncontrolled brazen assault by just about every child that spotted me – I had a target on my back! Well, you know…chest…but you get what I mean. They would come up, and attempt to beat me down with their chubby little fists – or attempt sneak attacks from the rear…which were very unwelcome, let me tell you that straight away. No one needs that kind of surprise, especially so early in the morning…the phantom fingers of death as you try to wash your hands…

Jonah Shock GIF

WOWWWEEEE! PLEASE DON’T!

Usually I dress differently, not for any real reason other than I wear what I like to wear – which just so happens to be shirts, ties, and blazers. I’m sure I look quite odd, a little out of place for a kindergarten teacher…who should probably be wearing a rainbow sweater, with like HAPPY UNICORN CHOCOLATE WISHES! Or something like that, written all over it! But no, it’s not really me.

Mind I totally understand where Batman is coming from now, especially the Christian Bale incarnation…not that I am saying I am like him or anything…although we do have the same chest, abs, and biceps…kinda...if you are in the right light…on the right day…HEY IT WAS JUST CHRISTMAS, NO FAIR! But yeah I can relate, I totally get why he was so pissed off all the time, and why his voice was so croaky…it was probably from all the Korean kindergarten kids jumping on him whenever they saw him, prodding him in every orifice – all the while he is screaming in failing desperation “NO, NO, NOOOO!”, but it’s no use! And he has now yelled so much that his voice starts to become crackly after time. He tries drinking honey, and lemon water…but it’s no use.

It would get to you after a while I’m sure. Short version of all this; I’m Batman, basically…but yeah, don’t tell the kids!

Party Hard Batman GIF

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Back to Bogies

This is the first of hopefully many new YouTube story videos – it’s a little resolution of mine to branch out, and try a new format…I hope you enjoy it, let me know either way – as it is a big learning process for me! 

In this video I’m talking about my new kindergarten class, and the struggles that have came with it so far!

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