Hana Kimi

Argh. I have been staying up late these few nights. Why? Because I got suck into Hana Kimi.

The original title is 花ざかりの君たちへ, Hanazakari no Kimitachi e ~ “For You in Full Blossom”, which is really a mouthful in any language. It is a Japanese manga series about a girl who disguised herself as a guy to attend an all-boys high school. Mizuki Ashiya is a Japanese girl who lives in the United States. One day, while watching a track and field competition on TV, she becomes enamoured with one of the high jumpers, Izumi Sano, and decides to transfer to Japan to attend the same school that Sano does.

Needless to say, there are plenty of jokes and funny scenarios of a girl living with a dorm-ful of high school guys, including overtones of homosexual loves. One of her classmates starts wondering about his sexual orientations when he finds his heart fluttering at the sight of her(him). Yes, a manga with a harlem of ikemen!! I don’t know how Mizuki manages not to blow her cover (to the whole world). I mean, Asian guys tend to be less muscular and hairy, and more androgynous, but still, to have her walking around in shorts… maybe she does have some hairy legs? Then I remember reading Norah Vincent’s Self Made Man, in which she disguised herself as a man with remarkable success, and mentioned that people choose to believe what they believe, and once they identified her as a male, she could be careless and still maintain her cover. Either way, once you let go and enjoy the manga, it’s actually a lot of fun.

It has been a while since I got that into a manga. The last one was Hikari no Go. I only have vol 1-9 on hand, so after blowing through them, I went on to YouTube to see what anime version they have. To my surprise I found that there are in fact two TV dramas made from this title, one Japanese and one Taiwanese.

This is a pic of the cast:

I am not sure about the Japanse Mizuki. I mean, NO ONE will for a moment mistake her for a boy. She looks like a girl with short hair, period. Not effeminate, but outright female. The Taiwanese girl, Ella, does a better job passing for a guy. In fact, I think most of the Japanese male cast scale a higher kawaii factor… I haven’t watched the Taiwanese version and opted instead for the Japanese first, but from what little I’ve watched, looks like the Taiwanese one is a very close redition of the original manga, while the Japanese one just takes the title and run away with it. They also changed the school, Osaka, from one that excels in academic and athletes to one that uses looks as admission criteria (and as a result the average IQ drop at least 3o points).

As for Sano… I didn’t know at the start that he IS Hanazawa Rui from Boys Over Flowers. Oguri Shun has lost a lot of baby fat since then… and most definitely handsomer… I like the manga version better though. Oguri seems to bring in too much of Hanazawa into this series, at least in the beginning. Moreover, being a monosyllable, expressionless, moping guy is one thing, but acting mean is not cool at all. The manga Sano is not mean. He does say a few angry words, but he’s a yasashii person through and through. There are a lot of tender moments in the manga. It’s really cute and heart warming how he goes from “what the heck do I do with a girl?” to “I want her by my side and protect her” from one moment to the next. He makes me wish I had a boyfriend like this. But in the TV drama, Sano is rather cold and said some very rude and hurtful things.

Nakatsu in the TV drama is excellent! Ikuta Toma totally steals the show, and deserves the Best Supporting Actor award he received. No wonder some fans would rather wish him to be Mizuki’s love. I would have picked him too. Interesting how the chemistry is different than the manga. In the manga, it’s so obvious Sano and Mizuki are deeply bonded, sorry Nakatsu you don’t stand a chance.

On the other hand, Umeda is so much more fun in the manga. Campy and sexy.

And… Nakao… This is the actor, Kimura Ryo’s pic on his official site. I am like, gosh, he can be Mizuki!!! What big beautiful eyes!

The handsomest of them all? My vote goes to Shirota Yuu. He’s Kagurazaka Makoto, Sano’s competitor from another high school. He’s half Spanish.

Ahem, really, it’s embarrassing to be oogling over boys a decade younger than me… Last week another BookCrosser commented that she wishes there were more manga in America that are not the typical shoujo high school romance genre, as she’s grown out of them. What failure I am!

Published in: on August 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm  Comments (2)  

A Many-Splendoured Thing

by Han Suyin

This is a book sent to me via Bookcrossing. (It’s a great site, a great site, a great site!!) I found it in our mailbox on our way out, so I read bits and pieces of it while my husband drove. The story was written in 1951, but we enjoyed the description of events and landmarks in Hong Kong (where I grew up) and Macau (where he grew up), some of which still stand after half a century, while some long gone. A few we didn’t know about until he verified with someone our senior. We chuckled at the writer’s complain about

Hong Kong‘s crowdedness (at 2 million people – 1/3 of what it is today), and marveled that the city had already made a reputation as shopping mecca half a century ago.Suyin, an Eurasian doctor, widowed with a girl, arrived in

Hong Kong and lived with a group of missionaries who were kicked out of
China during the political turmoil. At a social gathering, she met Mark Elliot, a British reporter. The two fell madly in love, despite the ostracism and bleak future.
Part of my enjoyment in reading this book was to learn more about my birthplace in an era before my time: a colony taxed with a sudden influx of Chinese refugees as civil wars broke out, with the communists advancing closer “just over the hills.” A place where the wealthy

Shanghai immigrants and shrewd British merchants transformed the little fishing port into a world renowned city, where “no one knows where Heaven with its stars ends and the earth with its lights begins.” It’s one thing to know what happened in history but quite another to learn what the thoughts and reactions of the real people in that era are.The author did a beautiful job describing the world around her, from the little details of a dinner on a boat, to the turbulent political climate of the world. Observant, poetic, soulful.

Nonetheless, it’s an interesting read. And I just want to copy down some favorite passages:

Hong Kong, look, no one knows where Heaven with its stars ends, and the earth with its lights begins.””[The squatters’ wooden shacks] Untidily stacked above each other, clinging to the crumbling hill slope, huddling beneath large threatening boulders, in danger of being washed away by the rains, in danger of being pulled down for health’s sake, in danger of fire every time a meal is cooked, many thousands of huts house many tens of thousands of people. The government of the colony cannot do more, for new thousands cross the border every week.”

“We did not look at each other, draw near, or touch. Only to be like this. Not to want anything. To sit, a little tired, a little muddled with weariness. Happy to know that in the world he was alive, and I was alive, on the same spot on ths earth, at the same moment, aware of each other… We sat, frigthened and grateful. Frightened because so easily we might have missed each other; grateful and asking no more than what we had already, because even what we had was too big for us to encompass.”

“I stopped to stare at the frontage of St. Paul’s Church, divested of any inside or any walls behind it, an abandoned stage prop, high on a hill, framing the evening sky in its doors and windows.”

“If he cannot [marry me], he will feel unfree, and I shall possess his imagination more than ever. If he can, I shall have to give him back to his world, otherwise he may leave me. Not bodily, but part of his mind. One woman is very much like another, after a while.”

“If you were Chinese, I could be your concubine. But we’d have to stay in Hongkong, because concubines are allowed only in your British colonies, Hongkong, Singapore, not in China now.”

“…the new, foolish amah, an irregular comet, darted at intervals from the outer spaces of the kitchen into the planetary system of our supper table to refill our rice bowls…”

“For your absence is even more potent than your presence to evoke you to me.”

Published in: on January 6, 2007 at 4:12 pm  Leave a Comment