The Great Wave off Kanagawa |Representation of Japanese Aesthetics

The Great Wave off Kanagawa also known as The Great Wave is an ukiyo-e woodblock print by Japanese artist Hokusai. It is Hokusai’s most well-known creation and famous artwork for Western collections. This artwork displays enormous waves carrying boats off Kanagawa and a sight of Mt. Fuji.

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The Japanese Aesthetics can be considered as weird. But sometimes weird things are better than the ordinary. Through the Japanese Aesthetics, I learned to appreciate the beauty in everything. The flaws that we think destroys us can be something that makes us into something more beautiful. The everyday life we get bored about is something beautiful in the context of the Japanese Aesthetics. It is surprisingly different but at the same time it’s something worth it.

This work can easily display different Japanese Aesthetics. The waves which are very obvious in the work tells us the message of how tsunamis are highly possible to occur in Japan. It shows how lack of steadiness can become something beautiful. With that, it is safe to say that the picture shows that even with the presence of a wave that is about to bring destruction to the people, there is such a thing as Japanese Aesthetics that in some way considers perishability beautiful. The Mt. Fuji can be considered as an icon for Japan and in some way it is something normal or simply Japanese. Speaking of simplicity, Japanese Aesthetics is also about simplicity and not fancy things which we grew up to believe because of all those Western influences. In Japanese Aesthetics, there’s no need for perfection. Imperfection is beautiful and embracing your flaws makes you beautiful.

Subway by Etsuro Sakamoto — Sidewalk | the resemblance

“Everyday I step into a coffin

With strangers

Nailing hurriedly

My own coffin,

I go toward the city

To be buried alive.”

– “Subway,” Etsuro Sakamoto

The first time I read this poem, I wasn’t expecting to get a lot from it. It seemed a bit plain or it is really plain. But just like all plain things, there’s always a story behind. The title itself speaks about how we might visualize the story. It’s a subway. A place where in thousands of unfamiliar people are always in a hurry. It’s a place where I’d display my bored face simply because there’s no such thing as ‘fun’ in riding the train (if you do it everyday). The poem also provides us with an element of time as it starts with the word “everyday”. By “everyday”, we mean it is done repeatedly, constantly and may even be part of a routine. This poem displays the repeated action of the persona and their struggles in the everyday life. As the poem was explained to me in a deeper manner, I’ve come to realize that it was more than bored faces, subways and life struggles. Subway by Etsuro Sakamoto revolves around how the persona decided to write their own fate. The lines from the poem are in the persona’s point of view as he/she explains how they make their own fate even though it was somehow ‘forced’. This poem is about how a person feels about doing something they don’t like or even love. They don’t do it because they want to. They do it because they have to. It’s been a daily routine that the persona gets sick and tired of it but in the end, still has no choice but to continue. Knowing my self, I know that I lose all the excitement I have in my body if I don’t like what I’m about to do. It’s practically the same thing with the persona. The persona hurriedly assembles their own death every time they do something they don’t really want. As they head to their destination, they prepare themselves to be buried alive again.

I am not that kind of person who lies about not liking happily ever afters. I am  that kind of person who would want every character to get their own chance to have a happily ever after. The sad truth behind the poem Subway was an eye-opener. It may seem small but it can give this feeling of wanting to go beyond the things you do. It speaks about letting yourself not to have the happily ever after you always wanted.

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

– There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, Portia Nelson

This Poem is entitled “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk. I find it very similar to Mr. Etsuro Sakamoto’s poem, Subway. First things first, both poems talks about an action done on a daily basis. It also speaks about making decisions that could seal your fate. In the poem, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, the persona knows that every fall was his fault yet he ignored it. It was very similar to Subway because the person knows that by doing something you don’t like, you slowly murder you’re whole being because there is always something missing. Even though both personas in the two poems knew their mistakes, they didn’t stop because they knew that they had to do it. The persona felt that they forced themselves to do things because they had to even though they had to go through it everyday. It was very hard not to slowly murder yourself because what you were doing was something you are not interested in. Both poems end without a clear answer. It doesn’t speak of change and even puts you back to the thought of starting from the top. It does not show whether the persona has finally decided to go their on way because that’s what they want to do or if the persona continues in preparing their own death and struggle in the everyday life.

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Kulay ng Buhay

Minsan sa iyong buhay, iba-iba ang madarama
Damdamin mo’y nag-iiba, mula puti hanggang pula
Puso mo’y tila lalabas na kabog ng dibdib na di mapigilan
Parang tambol ang lakas na pati manhid ay nagugulat

Ang dating puti na tila ay wala, sa paglipas ng panahon
Sa mata’y nagiging pula, umuusbong na paghanga iyong nadarama
Sing tamis ng bukayo, pagsinta kung tawagin nila
Mula puti hanggang pula, pag-ibig nga ang nadama

Kung pakiramdam mo’y nag-iisa, paligid ay nawawalan ng kulay May mga bagay na sa iyo’y nakakapagpasaya, mundo’y inuulan ng dilaw
Kakaibang saya taglay nito na pati ang pangit ay gumaganda
Mga puno’t sanga ay napapasayaw

May mga pagkakataong na damdamin ay mabigat
Di mapigilan na ika’y mapalumbaba
Madilim ang nakikita sapagkat ilaw ay wala
Tanging bughaw at luntian na tila anino ang nakikita

Bughaw at luntian ay mabigat sa mata
Pakiramdam mo tuloy ay nababagabag
Napupuno ng hinagpis sa tuwing ito’y makikita
Sa panahon na ito ang iyong napapansin

Tulad ng araw ito’y may taglay na kinang
Kulay na sa iyong pangingin ay nakakabighani
Anumang dilim ng bughaw at luntian
Ginto ay tiyak na mas makikita

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SONA 2014

White paint was slowly dripping from a black canvas.
Streaks of yellow and peach that slowly covered the dark.
More of it and darkness was no longer visible to the eyes of one who believes.

If I would imagine how that artwork would have ended up, I’d see a picture with no contrast.  Light colors embraced the whole canvas leaving us to figure out how the elements in the artwork were sorted out. That was exactly how I felt during President Benigno Aquino III’s 2014 State of The Nation Address. There were many dark shades missing, though I must admit  the yellow and peach were surprisingly believable. Frankly, I was never a fan and will never be a fan of Mr. President so I guess I’m more of the opposing team, who’d give forced applause rather than genuine smiles. If I were to base my answer only on what the president said, I may have thought it was agreeable but I am also a Filipino Citizen. Its very hard to deny something when it is already right in front of you, waiting to be noticed.

I may not have liked the SONA as a whole, but I have to agree that many Filipinos have already crossed the lines of poverty. Among all topics discussed, what really got my attention was about TESDA. I can say that this is one of the biggest accomplishments of the president. Based on personal experiences, I know quite a few people who are currently under TESDA Training. Yes, it is true, surprisingly. I think that through TESDA, we are given second chances to move forward in life specially to Filipinos who has less that what we may have. Given the opportunities, we are able to help our country by investing in the economic growth of the Philippines.

I must say, the president did quite a good job expressing his love for the Philippines. With that, he was also able to convince me about the current state of the Philippines. Being quite emotional could sometimes persuade a person to believe in what you say which made his speech compelling enough. For me, the 2014 SONA was better than before. Considering that there have been a lot of changes around us that we may or may have not noticed. Among his entire speech, what kept me wondering was why did he have nothing much to say about our agriculture which was supposed to be one of the biggest industries in the country. Aside from that, I think that even though I’m not quite a supporter, I must say, a job well done to the president. Comparing my thoughts with the people around me, among all the things I said, we only had one thing in common, which was about the job opportunities. The main thing that we really didn’t have the same answer was about the current status of the Philippines based on the 2014 SONA. The 2014 SONA, for them was agreeable. The reason behind that is maybe because I am only a student and have yet to explore the real world while the people around me already knows how things in the real world works. They know how it has changed over the years and the fully understand how it may still be changed.

Footnote to Us

Jose Garcia Villa’s Footnote to Youth tells us about the life of a seventeen year old boy named Dodong. Dodong at a young age married, believing that he was man enough to enter adulthood. He was full of conviction, no doubts, not even a single ‘what if’ entered his mind whenever he thought about marrying the girl he always dreamt of. With his parents’ consent, Dodong and Teang married each other. Unlike Dodong, his father had second thoughts as a strange helpless light in his eyes was visible according to Jose Garcia Villa. Why is it that he didn’t make any objections in Dodong’s sudden declamation about marriage? As for Dodong and Teang, their sweet young dream got even sweeter as their first child, Blas arrived. Dodong, being a first time father, no wonder felt afraid but eventually, he got through it. As Blas grew older, Dodong and Teang had more children as well. It may sound cliché but history repeats itself, Blas came up to his father asking his approval to marry Tona. Though he had objections, Dodong agreed.

The first time I read Footnote to Youth, I honestly thought it was just about youth getting married at a young age and finding themselves full of repentance. But I guess there is more than what you think there is. Behind the not so ‘shallow idea’ of marriage at a young age, I think that what Jose Garcia Villa’s footnote to us is to be brave enough to accept our mistakes and make a change. Dodong and his father accepted their mistakes but failed to correct it. Many of us are full of conviction specially when we believe in something but when life gets a little harder, we give up. It’s not that I approve on marrying at a young age but maybe since it’s reality I have to agree to the idea of Jose Garcia Villa. Sometimes we are too brave that we forget to think about the possible consequences we might face and when it comes, it will shock us to the point that you would just want to surrender. For me, he wants us to start strong and finish stronger.

My Little Infinity

I’ve been really ecstatic about writing a TFIOS FanFic so basically what you’re about to read is my interpretation of what had happened to Hazel after Gus’ death. Play this song while reading, it’ll make you more emotional, like what it did to me. —> Tee Shirt – Birdy (It’s part of the TFIOS Soundtrack, by the way.)  Hahaha :)

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The cold breeze touched Hazel’s skin. It almost felt like there were butterflies fluttering their wings making her shiver as she made her way to Support Group, at least the one near their new house. Hazel’s medium-lengthed dark hair with streaks of brown and white was tied up in a bun, a few strands falling on the side of her face as the wind blew harder. Her cheeks were as red as a tomato, soft as a marshmallow. She was radiant, similar to the sun on a warm day which she wish was the weather. But she never saw herself that way. Hazel always thought she just looked okay. She sat behind everyone else, always trying to hide herself from the spotlight. She hated attention, but today wasn’t her lucky day. She stood up and walked to the front as their support group leader wished to hear a short introduction from the newbie, she felt her heart thumping. The tip-tapping sound of her new support group leader’s shoe was making her feel uncomfortable. it made her even more nervous. “Hi-i.. Mm-my name i-is Hazel Grace Lancaster, I was dd-di-agnosed with ss-tage 4 Thyroid Cancer.” Hazel said, stuttering. She couldn’t help but remember him. “I only started living after he died.” That’s what she thought after Augustus passed away. Hazel had to live in a life where there was no Augustus Waters annoying her. She missed it, she missed him. “I am happy, healthy, hearty, lovely, and laughing loudly, I…. am…..great!” Support group was finally finished and she no longer had to sing that song which she thought was even worse than what Patrick did before. She let out a deep sigh as she brushed that thought away and immediately remembering the only difference Mr. Green, her new support group leader and patrick had. Mr. Green, was a good joker, he said “People who joked about cancer had no sense of tumor.” She laughed her lungs out, only in her mind, trying not to capture too much attention. Her knees weakened as she stepped outside, she wanted to die right away remembering that she left her gloves at home. “Oh right! The cold never bothered me anyway!” She said sarcastically to herself. She started walking, the cold wind making her hands feel numb. It made her wish Augustus was their to keep her warm just like how he always did before. She shrugged her shoulders and kept walking, wondering if Augustus was watching over her.

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