2007 Music Highlights - 宇多田ヒカル

So, 2007 was, musically, a rather interesting year. I discovered quite a few new artists whom I now <3, saw previous favourites dim a little and became re-obsessed with my favourite singer of all time, 宇多田ヒカル (Utada Hikaru).

Hikkichan (as I like to affectionately call her), has been my favourite singer for a long time now. I can remember first hearing her little known song Blow My Whistle used for the Rush Hour 2 OST featuring Foxy Brown from my brother. Yep, I wasn’t introduced to her by Kingdom Hearts or as a rabid Japanophile, it all happened rather by chance. And whilst my love for electro-pop music belies my overall musical tastes, I do like R and B too! A little after I first heart Blow My Whistle I was sent an instrumental version of First Love which I adored! The music on that song is so beautiful, I eventually found out that they were the same person, subsequently heard Simple & Clean and I guess the rest, as they say, is history.

My journey for love of Utadasama’s music has not always been that undivided love, in fact, 2006 belonged to Angela Aki but despite the fact that Akisan released an album this past year and Hikkichan did not, I still listened to Hikki more and rather unashamedly obsessively. She only released three songs: Flavor Of Life, Beautiful World and Kiss & Cry but I loved and listened to these songs so much. Beautiful World is my number one listened to most song (last.fm lists it at 330 but I know it is more because it does not scrobble repeated tracks on iTunes), and deservedly so. It is an amazing aural symphony and definitely one of my favourite Hikki songs; the lyrics are poignant and sweet without being heart breaking.

I was thinking last night, sleepless in bed, that I think what I love about her songs (asides from a lot of other things) is their composition and perhaps I loved her production just as much as her singing, melodies and lyrics. I think this is exceptionally true of SAKURAドロップス which is my favourite song of all time. The composition of that song is breathtaking and undoubtedly adds to the heartache I feel when listening to the song.

Hikki recently became my most listened to artist according to last.fm (over 2,100 plays), which is, for sure, by no means the most played anyone on here has but I think it is a position long deserved for Hikkichan ❤

Other respectful mentions should go to Girls Aloud who made an amazing electro-pop album, Tangled Up, (and Call the Shots is one of my favourite songs! 安室奈美恵 (Amuro Namie) who made a great J-Pop album, PLAY, that I love! So many of the songs on the album I can listen to and dance to, it’s one of the few albums where I actually want to turn off repeat ^_^ (because I tend to only listen to one song on repeat, which is why there are such big spikes in the amount of times a song has been played). As mentioned previously, Angela Aki released a new album this year, Today, which has many beautiful songs on it. 蔡依林’s latest album, Agent J has some great songs on it too! Other artists who released albums I loved this year include: Siobhan Donaghy, Vanessa Carlton, 孫燕姿, Tori Amos, Rihanna, Delta Goodrem, Avril Lavigne, Andrea Corr and Alicia Keys. Other artists I discovered were: m-flo, Youhna, melody., S.H.E, Crystal Kay and BoA!

This entry was cross-posted from my last.fm account which can be found here.

平と心 <3

秋の雲は美しいです。

秋の雲は美しいです。

あきのくもはうつくしいです。

Aki no kumo wa utsukushii desu.

Autumn clouds are beautiful.

So, I took this picture a couple of days ago. It is from my window, from my room, from our flat. It is of the trees along my road and the trees in the park near my house and the sky. It’s not necessarily the prettiest or most moving picture I have ever taken, or seen, but I like it.

There is something about the weather in the Autumn, in the Winter, that I find captivating. It all seems rather desolate. The trees crook and bend; their branches arch to the sky as if they are trying to scar the rolling clouds. The sky takes on a dull, ache of a colour and the clouds hang heavy in the sky. It is all at once mundane and epic. Depressing and overwhelming. Ugly and beautiful. When you are walking along the street in the heavy Winter light (as if the Sun is only half awake), and the wind stirs… it twists and turns around you, your hair and scarf dance in the air… that is when I feel alive. In the sweltering Summer heat, it merely feels that I am living.

That is not to say that I do not enjoy the other seasons, I do. The flowers in Spring never cease to bewilder me; flowers are perhaps the most beautiful thing in the world to me. Summer’s long hot days and short warm nights bring out the happiness in people. Winter has a creaking isolation about it, but I find that heart warming. Alas, I digress. My point is that I think Autumn is beautiful, not really the changing colours of the leaves, but it feels like the sky has lulled down to the ground, the wind swirls, the clouds hang that much lower and the Sun hides away. I love it.

Belated Guy Fawkes

So, for those that don’t know, in the UK (and perhaps other parts of the world), Guy Fawkes Night is a national holiday celebrated on the 5th November, every year. It celebrates, or rather, commemorates the capture of Guy Fawkes in 1605, who was caught trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament, to kill the then king, James I, because James I was protestant and Guy Fawkes was catholic (yes, religious extremism existed long before 9/11). This is the same guy who V from V for Vendetta is based around. Anyways, British schoolchildren are taught all about this and although no one really thinks about what we are *actually* celebrating, the holiday is still one of my favourites ^_^

For the holiday itself, lots of firework displays are put on and hundreds and thousands, if not millions, of people across the country brave the Autumn cold to attend the displays and go ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ at the fireworks! It’s really quite cool ^_^ The holiday is also more commonly called Bonfire Night, but I don’t like this term… because we’re not celebrating because of bonfires… and most firework displays don’t even have a bonfire, so I think Guy Fawkes is more fitting!

Here is the poem you have probably heard a thousand times before, but it’s cute and about Guy Fawkes so I have to post it!

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Anyways, I went to a firework display that was on the River Thames. It was really beautiful, quite cold but the fireworks were well worth it! Here are a few more pictures of them ^_^

*peace* ❤

Belated Guy Fawkes

Belated Guy Fawkes

Belated Guy Fawkes

Belated Guy Fawkes

This is perhaps, one of the most bittersweet, poignant songs I have ever heard. Sung by ex-Sugababes member, Siobhan Donaghy (she was always my favourite and I have both her solo albums which are some of my favourites!), it’s a sobering slice of electro-pop for anyone who has just broken up with their partner or some such. The lyrics are carried with such honest emotion.

Sometimes this song makes me cry. ❤

So You Say – Siobhan Donaghy

So you say we should just be friends, Adam
But I know when I get the bends
That I’ll hate you so

So you say we should drift apart, Adam
But I know that’ll break my heart
And I’ll hate you so
‘Cause I loved you so

So you say I can be afraid
But I know I would have strayed
I sit and miss you so
A batch of alcohol ceases to control

Don’t say you’ll think about me
Or say that you can live without me
Didn’t we make it nearly
For everything that I hold dearly
How many ways can I say plainly, we can
Before it wore on us thinly
To each and every degree
You’ve got me in agony

So you say I should call sometime, Adam
But I know that’ll make you cry
I’ll say I hate you so
That you burned me so

So you say we should make it work, Adam
But how long does this feeling hurt
I’m sure you’d like to know
‘Cause I loved you so

Don’t say you’ll think about me
Or say that you can live without me
Didn’t we make it nearly
For everything that I hold dearly
How many ways can I say plainly, we can
Before it wore on us thinly
To each and every degree
You’ve got me in agony

So I’m going to blog again because I have some free time at the moment ^_^

For those that know me (and probably a few that don’t) they know I am utterly obsessed with Final Fantasy; they are my favourite video games ever and contain so many of my favourite things. They’re just so fun; I am a complete Final Fantasy otaku! (and yes I know the negative connotations of that!). Most probably you’ll also know of my squealing fangirldom of phone charms (in the first blog entry you could see my Hello Kitty charm on my DS) so as I was looking at my favourite phone charm site (www.strapya.com) I saw that they had more stock of the Squenix phone charms! I don’t care how much of a poor student I am, I had to get them!!! I got the moogle and the chocobo one because they are my favourites ❤ The moogle is now annoying me on my phone with a chibi Santa-Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas whilst the chocobo one has now kicked the Hello Kitty charm to the curb and resides on my Nintendo DS! (yes, quite a few of my friends will be getting phone charms as Christmas presents!). Below you can see pictures! They are so cute!

*peace* ❤

Choco-mog-charm~!

Choco-mog-charm~!

Choco-mog-charm~!

Hi hi ❤

So I know it’s kind of been a while since I last blogged and this is a little late but Happy Halloween! I hope you all had a fun one! Mine wasn’t so greet but it was fun all the same! I carved a pumpkin which was very tiring and took forever but fun! I also watched a K-Horror movie called Wishing Stairs which wasn’t very scary… basically it was about a gir’s ballet boarding school… or something… and after a lot of weird… unrequited lesbian feelings and back stabbing of said unrequited lesbian feelings, one girl dies who then comes back to haunt various people – as well as there being a very weird psychopathic girl who over eats… It’s very weird and not very scary but was a cute Halloween film (you know, like over dramatic but not very scary but quite enjoyable!). Sung Ji Hyo is really pretty though! I’m not quite sure why… she has a very unique face… like a Studio Ghibli character…

Anyways, below are pictures of the pumpkin I carved! Enjoy~!

*peace* ❤

Belated Happy Halloween~!

Belated Happy Halloween~!

Hi again everyone ^_^ *peace*

So this entry is slightly out of sync because I took these photos last week but I’m slow at uploading things so you’re only getting them now! I would like to quickly point out at what a pretty word ‘fallal’ is! Regardless, I’m sure a lot of you know about Zhang Yimou’s most recent martial arts epic movie, ‘Curse of the Golden Flower’ (满城尽带黄金甲). It’s my favourite of Zhang’s most popular martial arts movies (’Hero’ and ‘House of Flying Daggers’ being the other two); it’s amazingly lush, extravagant, fantastical and psychadelic. It also features my favourite Chinese actress, Gong Li, who I think performs her role of a scandalous and abandoned yet determined empress, hell bent on revenge; yet, she plays this somewhat… anti-hero with a poetic beauty and sombreity you can’t help but empathise with her. Kudos go to Chow Yun Fat too, who is revered as always and, of course, to Jay Chou who is cute =^^=

Anyway! To celebrate the DVD release of ‘Curse of the Golden Flower’, somehow… the flagship store of HMV in London (Oxford Street branch) has some costumes from the film on display! My friend told me so I waddled off to see; they’re amazingly beautiful and intricate. I’m not really sure where they appear in the film or who wears them… *checks*

Golden Flower Fallal

Golden Flower Fallal

Golden Flower Fallal

No, I can’t tell who wore them, if it was anyone important, or if they were ever seen in the film really; but they’re very beautiful so I thought I’d show you all. Also, if you’ve not seen the film yet, you really should! It’s great ^_^

Here’s a small extra bit! If you know anything about Chinese culture then hopefully you will know about the Mid-Autumn Festival! This year it was on September 25th. I don’t really know what you do for it, but I do know that you eat yummy Mooncakes and it’s about erm, a goddess on the Moon (basically!). Sadly I didn’t go to Chinatown for it nor did I have any Mooncakes *sniffles* but here is a picture of Chinatown, a few days after the festival. You can see the pretty lanterns! I hope everyone is safe!

*peace*

Golden Flower Fallal

汉� - Part One

So, last week I started my Mandarin class at university. We didn’t learn much but it was fun! We mostly worked on trying to practice the pronunciation of the four tones so that was pretty cool. The teacher seems friendly enough ^_^ Anyway! I was reading the syllabus and in the exam we have to write in Chinese! Scary scary! Anyways, I wanted to really practice my Chinese writing so I bought a couple of books and have been practicing. The pictures show my first try! If you know how to write them then feel free to give feedback on how bad they look!

I should note that they are the simplified characters as the Chinese government, during the Cultural Revolution, found that a large majority of people were illiterate. So they set about simplifying some of the complicated characters in order to help aid literacy. Not every character was simplified and there are still large amounts of people that use the traditional characters (in Hong Kong and Taiwan for example) but, as we are learning Standard Mandarin, we are learning the simplified characters.

汉� - Part One

This picture shows the rows I wrote when practicing! I bought a notebook that has squared paper to try and help but I still have problems writing sadly 😦 Anyway, from top to bottom they read: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, you, you (polite), good, please (then please again, the first line of please is the traditional version; can you see the difference?), ask, honourable, surname. Some of the characters have more than one meaning but I only listed one.

I think the characters are so beautiful. I love how they are combined into new meanings etc. It’s a very… abstract and conceptual way of writing, totally different from using an alphabet. It’s like you are writing in ideas and not words. It’s very beautiful.

So, I’ve decided to post more and bee a bit relaxed about my whole: ‘must write something different with pictures!’ philosophy, which is why I’m going to post this entry!

I recently came to learn about the singer 윤하/ユンナ/Younha! She’s a Korean singer who debuted in Japan with J-Pop. She sings, writes, plays a mean piano and can sing in English too! She is really cute and can really sing and play the piano great! I learnt of her after someone compared her to YUI (who is a J-Pop singer who plays guitar and writes her own songs, a bit like Michelle Branch if you know her; I like her too!). Anyway! I checked out a couple of Younha songs and at first I was a bit disappointed, I didn’t necessarily like the melody to the songs but after a few plays and watching some more videos I can only say that I’m pretty amazed at just how talented she is! She has a great voice and a sweet personality! Below are a few videos I picked that show a few different things as to why I can’t stop listening to her!

This song is called, Te wo Tsunaide (手をつないで) which I think translates as ‘Holding Hands’ but don’t quote me on that. It’s a bit of a rocky, poppy, melodic slice of J-Pop. Younha has a really pleasant voice that suits a lot of music but I really like this song for the music!

This song is called Bi Mil Bun Ho 486 (비밀번호 486) which translates as ‘Password 486’ and is a really cute poppy, rocky K-Pop song with really sweet lyrics – guys pay attention!

This song is a video of Younha singing Alicia Key’s If I Ain’t Got You and she sings it amazingly well! Just listen ^_^

*peace* ❤

So, I know it’s been a long time since I last wrote here but nothing exceptionally interesting has happened. I am, however, just about to start university again so hopefully I’ll have lots to blog about! I’m going to be taking Mandarin and Japanese so that should be great fun! I’ll let you know how it goes and maybe even write about some of the stuff I learn!

Anyways! This morning as I was stirring from my slumber on a fine, autumnal Sunday morning I got into the idea that I would bake muffins today! So I looked up a random recipe on the internet, checked if we had enough ingredients and set about baking them! I wanted to cook a basic muffin to add my own ingredients to; first it was going to be bananas, then chocolate, then I was thinking – why not just try both! So I did! And I’m really proud because these ones actually look like muffins as opposed to the not so well honey and apricot ones I baked before… They are yummy nonetheless – you can really taste the bananas! Real, proper bananas; don’t you think it’s strange how ‘real’ things don’t always taste like the artificial flavours of said ‘real’ things. I’ve never tasted a strawberry that tasted like strawberry milkshake.

Here are a couple of pictures of the muffins! They look good, right?! =^_^= *peace sign*

Banana and Chocolate Muffins

Banana and Chocolate Muffins

Lychee Juice

Hi =^_^= thanks for coming to my blog! I'm just a normalish, 19-year-old half-Scottish, half-Chinese English girl who loves art, videogames and music. I hope you enjoy my fickle musings on anything and everything that takes my fancy; thanks for coming!
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