Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pokemon & music...

I began the day with a hot flash, which would have been a drag, but it woke me up in time to let our friend, who cleans the house very other week, in the door without his having to bang on it & cause a ruckus (the front doorbell is on the fritz). One of the hazards of break week is the intersection of things that occur regularly with a more relaxed, "don't bother to set the alarm" mindset. It all worked out ok, though, with Brendan & me enjoying a leisurely breakfast & then having fun exploring the most recent update of the "Pokemon Daisuke Karabu" ("I Love Pokemon Club") online newsletter. Tomoko found this Pokemon club for us last summer & we've been having fun with it ever since. They have bi-monthly calendar pages that you can print out featuring Pokemon characters (colouring pages, too, but Brendan doesn't colour...), updates on the "kaa-do ge-mu" (card game) releases & also the latest on the movies. We watched the trailer for the next Pokemon movie, the 10th to be released, & found a poster advertising the IMAX release of the movie that featured Pikachu & friends wearing 3-D glasses. We just roared with laughter at the picture... It occurred to both of us that we might be able to catch the movie when we go to Japan (since it won't be released here on dvd for probably a year). Charlie's comment, when we mentioned this at dinner, was to ask wearily if it would be subtitled... (no way! :) I was pleased by how much of the information from the site I was able to get with my still pretty limited understanding of japanese- reading the katakana really helps, since words written in katakana are likely to be english words translated to japanese, & Brendan's getting really good at figuring out the translations so we make a good team.

After he finished a 45-minute stint on Adventure Quest, I asked Brendan to help me with a special project. Our neighbour had shared a treasure with us last fall- a set of 12, 20-year-old cassette tapes called "101 Favourite Songs Taught to Japanese Schoolchildren". The set had been given to him by a friend & our neighbour thought we might be interested in it as well. There's a songbook & list of all the songs as well, & it all seems to have been produced by the Japanese Ministry of Education. I started listening to the first tape a while back, which began promisingly with "Sakura, Sakura" (the famous song about cherry blossoms) & a few other old & well-known tunes that we've even heard in episodes of InuYasha, but then it veers into very weird territory... For one thing, the arrangements of the songs are 80's pop-esque, with a mix of traditional-sounding instruments & obviously synthesised instrumentals. For another, some are actually western tunes, such as "Auld Lang Syne", with japanese lyrics not related to the western tune at all, which comes off as truly surreal. The A sides of the tapes are all in japanese & the B sides are the exact same songs as A, but in english. I had decided that the only way to make use of all this music was to record the songs that seemed authentically japanese on my laptop (in QuickVoice) & turn them into mp3 files so they could be put on cd. That way I could burn a disc for our neighbour & have one to listen to in the car, to enhance our learning of japanese. The only hitch in the plan was that I hadn't done much with the QuickVoice software, but recording the sound effects for Brendan's class play had taught me what I needed to know, so it was just a matter of finding the time & help... I wasn't sure if I'd be able to jump from tape-player to laptop quickly enough to record each individual track, so I asked Brendan to help me get set up & work the tape player. He was a real trooper through the first few songs, but boredom set in, as well as the giggles, & then he started dropping things while we were recording, so I decided that I could manage & let him go back to AQ (with the sound off, bless him...).

On & off for the rest of the day I alternately worked on recording (winnowing out the really cheesy stuff) & doing stuff with Brendan. We had planned to go to his best friend's house this afternoon, but E's mom has the flu & so we couldn't go :( We did read to each other from "Eldest" after lunch, & then Brendan finished weaving a scarf (that his class had been making in school so they could raffle it off to benefit the Heifer Project) while I read more "Eldest" to him. In the late afternoon, just after finishing an AQ stint, the tics started getting to him & he was having trouble being on his own, so I closed-up the makeshift recording studio (I had just begun the 5th of 9 tapes-hooray!) & we watched some old episodes of "Rough Science" that we'd taped probably 5 or 6 years ago for him. Brendan was a bit teary because of the tics & told me he was glad I was alive, & I replied in kind. Eventually the tics went away, & it was nice to relax with him before dinner.

As we were finishing dinner Brendan began telling Charlie & me about some of his made-up Pokemon characters, called "Rabitor":

Although he hasn't drawn them yet, he was describing the habits of the evolved forms, called "RabbitRats", & at one point said, "...and they have a staff...". This struck me as funny & I said, "What, you mean like they have secretaries & stuff?" Brendan gave me a "very funny" smirk & said that, no, they had sticks... A couple of minutes later he was on to a detailed description of how these critters choose their leaders, "... and the one that wins becomes the new leader...", to which I replied, "...and the rest become the staff! You, take a memo... you, make some coffee!" Brendan graciously laughed at my persistent silliness & told me it was a "good one, mom"... and proceded onto another aspect of Rabitor-society life. I'm lucky my kid has such a good sense of humour because my attempts to add levity to his perseveration (as self-preservation) would not be nearly so successful if he didn't...

Tomorrow Brendan & Charlie will spend the morning visiting his psychiatrist, having a haircut, & buying ice cream. I am going to try to start making the duvet cover for our comforter that's been shedding wool since we got it, since it's driving me crazy. In the afternoon Charlie & I go see Brendan's psychologist & Cherie will stay with Brendan, which he's really looking forward to (how many kids look forward to seeing one of their teacher's during a school break ? :). The mitten wool I made over the weekend is dry & wound into a ball, so I can start swatching (to know what size needles to use to knit them). So far we're having a relaxing & pleasant break week- what more could we ask for? :)

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3 Comments:

At 9:27 AM, Blogger mcewen said...

oh ye multi talented folks you. I'm going to TIVO 'rough science' and see if anything comes up. And thanks for the minti tip and the translation - I thought I was the only one who said 'pointy arrow'!
Cheers dearies

 
At 11:10 PM, Blogger kristina said...

Like those floppy ears and eyes! And I can barely stitch up the tear in the pocket of my coat.....

Charlie's break has been pretty uneventful----one more day....

 
At 5:12 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

I love Pokemon! Did you know the creator of Pokemon, Satoshi Tajiri, has been DXed as having Asperger's Syndrome? It makes alot of sense, especially seeing how many Aspie kids are drawn to the Pokemon phenomenon.

It's really cool that you visit Japan. How did you learn the language? I tried learning Japanese, but the language characters all look like squiggles to me when I try to read them.

The Rabitor picture Charlie drew is adorable. Kind of looks like a male answer to the Pokemon Wigglytuff.

 

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