Plain Talk


Anime Review: Violet Evergarden by Limarc Ambalina

Violet Evergarden is truly one of the most unique and emotional anime I've seen in a very long time. The anime has a beautiful soundtrack, masterful graphics & cinematography, with a heartfelt and mature story about love, war, and human connection.

Violet Evergarden is an orphan who was raised to be a soldier and a tool of war. Given as a gift to a Major Gilbert, Violet entered the war front at a young age, swiftly killing men twice her age and size. However, Gilbert takes pity on the girl, always trying his best to raise her as he would any other child. He teaches her how to read and write, and tries his best to protect her.

On Love
After a major battle, Violet is found at the ruins of an enemy encampment with her arms torn off and Gilbert nowhere to be found (assumed to be KIA). Now that the war is over, Violet is given metal prosthetic limbs, and is taken in by Hodgins, one of Gilbert's best friends. Hodgins runs an "auto memory doll" company which provides letter writing and transcribing services for people who don't know how to write or can't quite put their feelings into words.

Never quite grasping the concept of human emotions and relationships, Violet travels the world, writing letters for strangers and learning about human relationships. She writes letters for others, in hope that by understanding other people's feelings she'll finally be able to learn what Gilbert's final words, "I love you," truly mean.

Graphics & Soundtrack
Violet Evergarden already has so many things going for it, and the art is one of its strongest points. The graphics are crisp and sleek, and the cinematography is artistic in its scene transitions. The anime flows from scene to scene seamlessly or with abrupt changes meant to take you aback or catch you off guard. Moreover, the Violet Evergarden score is among the best I've ever had the pleasure of listening to in any anime film or series. The songs are good enough to be standalone classical music pieces, often employing strong violin leads.

At its core, Violet Evergarden is about human relationships and love. It's about a sister's love her for crippled and alcoholic brother, a mother's love for her only daughter, a son's gratitude toward his loving parents, and Violet's bond with the only man who saw her as more than just a weapon. To say that Violet Evergarden tugs on the heartstrings would be a massive understatement. It hits you in ways you won't expect and, if you're like me, it will leave you in tears in the middle of a crowded train.

Violet Evergarden-The Verdict: 10/10
Every anime fan should watch Violet Evergarden. The anime has a mature story, grounded in the reality of war. It's as relevant today as it would've been in the 1940s. It has a little bit of everything: great music, stunning graphics & cinematography, action, romance, and most of all, stories that feel real.

ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデンは、 僕がこれまで見てきた数々のアニメとは異なり、類をみない心を打つものだった。美しいサウンドトラック、優れた画像と映像技術により、愛、戦争、人との交流を描いた繊細で心温まるストーリーが展開する。


Plain Talk


"Monkeying-Around" at Inokashira Park Zoo by Curt Neilson

Got a free Saturday? Tired of Frisbee at Yoyogi Park and not too hung over a Friday night in Shibuya or the Pong?

Head on down to Tokyo’s other zoo, the smaller and arguably more charming Inokashira Park Zoo in Musashino/Mitaka, a five-minute walk from Kichijoji Station (JR Chuo Line)or a one-minute walk from Inokashira-Koen Station (Keio-Inokashira Line). While the larger zoo in Ueno may house the king of the beasts or a panda or two, its long lines and crowds can be unpleasant.

There are several different areas in the Inokashira Zoo to please everybody:

The entrance area has the glass enclosures of the cute creatures, most notably the guinea pigs. Along the side are the larger beasts of giraffes, elephants, and a larger open area more like a pasture to home the gorgeous spotted deer. The open areas between enclosures provide a more refreshing feeling for both animals and humans.

While the goats and sheep greet you as you approach their area and invite you to reach over the short fence to give them a little scratch behind the ears, the penguins have their own water area to swim and slide and remind you not to take life so seriously. Raccoons, foxes, capybaras, raccoon-dogs, porcupines, snowy miniature leopard-ish cats, otters and other creatures also live within the zoo.

Then towards the end of the larger beast area, you have a nice break as you enter into the bird enclosure itself and observe you’re your fine feathered friends under a tall rather mysterious canopy. Some water creatures are also included on the bottom floor of the enclosure. This is a nice spot to slow down and meditate a bit on life with your special friend as you slow down your walk and inhale more deeply.

As you leave the enclosed canopy area―after saying farewell to your bird friends and company―you catch some trees bridged together and a large slide that instinctively draws you toward it. You see your look-a-like cousins, the Japanese Macaques (i.e. monkeys!), doing there silly antics of “king of the mountain” but on trees! You laugh at them and feel sorry for the young ones who miss out on the food. This is a nice place to have a seat and relax, enjoying your day away from the city center and all its rushing and noise.

Next to the monkey area is a few squirrel enclosures where you can enter and have the little critters climb up your legs and up your back or at least see the lightning fur-balls race across the human walking path through the enclosures that seem like miniature adolescent training grounds for the squirrels.

Surprisingly, a children’s art section is included as well as some quite wonderful bronze sculptures that will dare you not to capture them with your camera.

After your walk throughout the zoo’s open grounds, you and your friends can head up to the numerous kawaii charming places to eat around Kichijoji to put a nice ending to your afternoon now turning into early evening. If you’ve got any energy left and don’t fear the Inokashira curse, you can take one of the giant swan boats out for its foot-paddle ride and see if the curse (from a movie of course) will split you from your beloved one.


Tokyo Fab


Drive in Theater Japan Tour (Tokyo)

Bringing ‘Theater’ to anywhere in Japan.
“Theaterising” places in Japan to create a space for people to “connect” whilst keeping social distancing.
With the concept of “Minimize contact while maximizing the memory making experience”, OUTDOOR THEATER JAPAN will be bringing special exciting experiences over Japan! Around 50 lucky winners by lottery will be invited without admission fees. Please check the website for how to enter the lottery as it may be closed on publication.

Date: June 13th (Sat) Hours: 7:30pm (Venue opens at 6pm)
@ Tokyo Summerland Second Parking Lot Movie: Casper


Drive in Theater 2020

Films and music have always given us hope through tough times. It is the power of entertainment that help people escape from suppression and hardships, giving us excitement and encouragement. More than ever with the COVID-19 crisis, people need entertainment: Do it Theater will bring back the good old days Drive in Theater with the latest system in the heart of Tokyo, The Tokyo Tower. Check their website for the update including the title of the movie that will be played on the night!

Date: June 20th (Sat) @ Tokyo Tower
Movie: to be announced soon

What’s App With You?



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Roadtrippers is the map built for travelers. Plan your summer road trip with friends or find an amazing place nearby you never knew existed. You're always 5 minutes away from something awesome! Discover millions of places, like local diners and quirky roadside attractions, or scenic points, national parks, and hotels. Get inspiration from our pre-made trip guides of some of the most interesting and once-in-a-lifetime routes you need to see at least once. You can use Roadtrippers for free to find these great places and come up with some big ideas. Any trips you've saved or places you love will sync automatically across devices as well.


Tokyo Voice Column


Making the rainy season easier to deal with by Olivia

Rainy season… Is it a curse or a blessing? No sunshine and damp weather may make you want it to end. However, if you have experienced a typical July or August in Japan, you will soon regret your wish. Scorching hot days will be good for our laundry but not for our health. Not talking about Hokkaido here. They don’t even have a rainy season!

So, let’s enjoy the rainy season while it lasts. Here are just some tips on how to make it a bit easier.

Laundry: In the season when the rain comes and goes unexpectedly, we can’t leave the laundry on the balcony. If there is a coin laundry nearby, I use it for drying bigger items and sometimes just all the laundry. One of the options is to dry some of the laundry in the bathroom using bath dehumidifier, although you can’t hang too much there. The button you need to push is 衣類乾燥. If you have some extra money and space, you can even buy a dehumidifier and dryer machine 衣類乾燥除湿機, which can be used for drying inside the apartment (heyaboshi) in any season. It dries laundry overnight and also prevents it from getting a bad smell. If you don’t have it, you can always use a similar drying option on the air conditioner. It isドライor 除湿.

Rainy day footwear: Rain boots, rain shoes and crocs. Which ones appeal to you? For me, there are not so many options. Why? Shoe size 26. So, I usually opt for men’s rain boots. Sometimes they look very cool but come mostly in two colors, black and brown.

Umbrellas and raincoats: Don’t get an expensive umbrella, because eventually, you will forget it somewhere, but don’t get the cheapest one either. The plastic ones that range from 100 yen to 500 yen are intended as a quick, one-time remedy if you forgot or lost yours, so they get broken easily. The same goes for raincoats. I bought mine at 3 coins store (300 yen) and used it only once before it got torn by a gust of wind.

梅雨入り...。気分は滅入るが、恵みの雨をもたらしてくれる。 日差しのないどんよりした天候が続くと、早く過ぎ去って欲しいと願うだろう。しかしすぐにそう願った事を後悔することとなる。カラッと晴れた暑い日は洗濯にはもってこいだが、体力はもたない。北海道に住んでいるわけじゃないのだから。それに北海道には梅雨はない。






You are a dog and a lier!

A man says he witnessed his dog 'lie' to another dog on a trip to the park - and plenty of other owners have said they've seen their pets do the same. On a recent visit to the local dog park, the man says he watched his pet carry out a move of masterful doggo deception which proves man's best friend may be even smarter than we first thought. The owner says his dog behaved in a way he had never seen before in order to get to play with his favourite toy and people in the comments concluded that his pet was 'clearly ready for a job in sales'. He says while they were at the park, his dog lost possession of his favourite ball and it was quickly snagged by another dog, who he refers to as Richard. He watched his doggo go into his 'thinking expression' before fetching a stick and playing with it as enthusiastically as he could right in front of Richard, bouncing it around in a way which was 'not how he plays with toys at all'. The owner wrote: "After 20 seconds of this act, Richard with the popular ball takes notice of this apparently fantastic new toy, drops the ball AND MY GUY BOLTS AND SNAGS THE POPULAR BALL with zero hesitation, leaving this formerly lucky dog with nothing but a lame stick that none of them actually wanted. Did my dog just f***ing lie to Richard?"

Who’s Vulnerable?

Older men are doing the least to protect themselves from coronavirus, despite being at highest risk, a new study claims. Researchers from Georgia State University claim that older men are less worried about catching or dying from the virus than women their age, or younger people or both sexes. In their study, the team surveyed 302 participants about the perceptions of COVID-19 and any behavioural changes they had made in response to the global pandemic. The study showed that compared to all other participants, older men were less worried about COVID-19, and had adopted the fewest numbers of behaviour changes. While the reasons for this remain unclear, the researchers hope that their findings will encourage older men to be more vigilant about reducing their risk of catching the virus.



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