The Anime Music on Melodica Project

My latest otaku learning project - playing video game and anime theme songs on the melodica.

Kowaii, Myanimelist!

I got quite the scare this month. Since 2009, I've maintained my anime and manga list on . It's great for the times I take a break from a show and can't remember where Ieft off. Two weeks ago, I was locked out of my MAL account. I tried various likely passwords. No dice. Password recovery was useless as well since I couldn't find a place to notify MAL that my email address changed a while back. くそ!

Then on Wednesday, all of a sudden, I had no problem logging in. なんだよ これ?

Needless to say, I've exported both my manga list and anime list as soon as I logged into Myanimelist. I have 215 anime and almost 20 manga on my list. There's no way I'm going to rebuild that from scratch.

It's pretty scary for an otaku to be locked out of her lengthy list of anime.

こわい です ね?

Perhaps I'll check out some of the other anime list building sites. Any recommendations from the peanut gallery?

Fun Time Planning, Minamiーke Style

One of the anime shows that I've been watching this winter is Minami-ke Tadaima. It's a slice of life comedy about the adventures of the Minami sisters and their friends. There is responsible eldest sister Haruka, lazy middle sister Kana and study bug Chiaki. Once in a while, Kana comes up with a brilliant idea. In Episode 5, Kana and her friends make a pie chart with various summer fun activities. Kana posted the chart on the wall and throws a dart at it to choose the activity of the day. In Episode 6 (the obligatory pool episode), Chiaki adds studying, seeing as Kana never studies.

I digress. I decided to take Kana's idea and made my own fun time planner filled with fun activities. It's in Japanese to test my vocabulary:

Minami-ke pie chart

Would you look at that? First up is: きっさてん へ いきます。 じゃあ また ね!

What a Difference Time Makes

It's amazing how much of a difference time makes.Pieces get stronger and diction improves like magic. Well, magic in the form of practice, that is. I first performed つばさ を ください ("Tsubasa wo kudasai" - "Please Give Me Wings") in the Spring of 2011 before I enrolled in Japanese language classes. Considering that my おとうと and I had approximately a week to throw this charity performance together, it didn't go too badly. Musically, I should have sang it in a lower key to fully utilize my chest voice, but whatever.

Here's the performance from the 2011 Calgary Hana matsuri:

We performed it last week at my music studio's winter showcase. Let me tell you, I worked hard on my pronunciation! My hand was forever moving to shape the phrase just as sensei does in class with our sentences. I grilled myself on "tsu" and "hatamekase" ad nauseum. For an additional challenge, I "misplaced" my romaji and typed out the lyrics and chords in Hiragana:

This year's challenge: Can I read the kana fast enough to sing the lyrics AND play the music in tempo? Photo by R-M Arca.

During rehearsals, we experimented with a couple of things. For instance, we knew we still wanted to pay homage to Megumi Hayashibara's version from Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance [Blu-ray]. We also wanted to direct a nod to K-On! from their FUWAFUWA TIME mini-album.

The fun thing about music is that it's organic. We can personalize it and make it our own. The ending was one of those on-the-spot ideas that popped up mid-rehearsal - and it stuck.

Here's the performance. Sure, I repeated a line twice since I blanked out on "とんで ゆきたい よ", but who cares? It didn't lead to a train wreck and still worked out. People enjoyed it and that's all that matters when all's said and done. Oh and I think I can pat myself on the back for improving upon my pronunciation. やった!


Levelling Up My Japanese

When I first sang a Japanese song at karaoke, I read off a sheet that I printed with the lyrics in Romaji. It was truly a magical moment last year, when I cracked open my Inuyasha music book and could actually read the lyrics to one of my fave songs: I did the happy dance when I realized that I could read the Japanese characters to one of my favourite songs in real time (that is, in time to the music). Photo by R-M Arca.

What a difference a year makes! Now that I'm in Level 2, I have truly levelled up. These are the chords and lyrics to a song that I will be performing in the near future:

This year's challenge: Can I read the kana fast enough to sing the lyrics AND play the music in tempo? Photo by R-M Arca.

Now I could bring the Romaji and keep it close by. However, that defeats the purpose of being able to perform music in Japanese. Go big or go home.

The next challenge of course will be comprehension [Must work on vocabulary!].