My Thoughts on Silence

!!!!SPOILER WARNING!!!!

Watched Silence today. It was a good movie. I feel like it asked a lot of important questions that I have also asked myself at times. In the beginning the main character starts out zealous, courageous, and idealistic. After much tribulation however, he ends up being very humble, not nearly as sure as he thought he was, but also closer to God than he was in the beginning. I honestly identify with Rodrigues’ journey. I cringe when I look back on my zealous but ignorant past as a young Christian. I was so sure back then, and I felt like I needed to convince others to believe like me.

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After suffering great hardship in life and allowing myself to think critically about my religion, I became much more humble and more comfortable with the mystery of existence. I’ve repented of the sin of certainty, and I’ve embraced tolerance, love, and inclusion. In doing that I feel like I’m closer to God or “god” than ever before.

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While that all sounds nice however, Silence doesn’t exactly end triumphantly like that. Both Rodrigues, myself, and anyone who has been weathered by life remains a little jaded. That brings me to the topic of persecution. I always get so angry when people are killing each other because they believe a certain way. It’s truly one of the worst injustices. But I also think that it’s really stupid to die and endure torture for your beliefs as well. Before I even watched this film, I have seriously questioned the passage in Matthew where Jesus says that if we deny him before men then he will deny us before the Father. It seems to me that if my son was going to be tortured and killed for knowing me, then I would much rather have my son deny me than to make him suffer. That’s why I loved the part when Rodrigues hears Christ telling him to step on his image. I feel like that is more consistent with love, and more consistent with the Christ who came to share in our pain, and relieve the poor, sick, downtrodden, and oppressed of their sufferings.

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If a god or man ask us to suffer for his glory, then he’s a selfish dick. And he’s not worthy to be worshiped.

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Then again, the people who were torturing and killing Christians were truly fucking evil. No matter how they tried to justify it. How are we supposed to fight them? We can’t do it by resorting to violence like they do. That would make us evil like them. So what do we do? Is change only brought about by martyrs? Is change worth dying for? Is there any point if you don’t live to see change? Will the change that we are hoping for really be what we desired? This gets even more complicated when you add the afterlife mystery. Is there really a heaven or hell? Is there really any life after death at all? How should we live our lives here and now? Is what we’re doing really worth it?

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These questions and many more are asked by Silence?
That’s what silence does. It gives us room to ask questions, and when we do that we grow. Growth is often painful. Is that what this life is about, learning and growing by enduring hardship? If that’s true then we must suffer to some degree, and that must pain God to watch as we go through it. But as God tells Rodrigues in the end, “I was always with you in the silence, sufferings beside you.”

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Of course I am just speculating again. And even if you don’t believe in God, we all still have faith in something. That’s what Liam Neeson said about the movie. This movie is about having your faith tested, and how doubt actually plays a part in strengthening our faith rather than destroying it.

I would also like to say that the Japanese persecutors had a lot of good things to say. It was perplexing. I’m like, you’re saying a lot of really good stuff about tolerance and not forcing your beliefs on others and the senselessness of martyrdom, and yet you’re fucking martyring people! Like whaaat? But I guess that’s where we have to know that this is a fictional story and we were meant to learn from these characters, not just hear a heroic tale of martyrdom where one side is good and one side is evil. The story isn’t as simple as he ones we often see in the movies, or even in the simple minded worldviews that we like to hold. Reality is more complex than that.

On another note, the faith, courage, and compassion displayed by the Japanese Christians was touching. They are often made to seem like sheep being led about though.

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And that brings me to Kinichiro, who repeatedly denied Christ and betrayed his brothers and sisters, and then asked for forgiveness later. He wasn’t the most glamorous character, but he was an interesting one. It’s interesting to me that Rodrigues and no doubt the viewers are frustrated by Kinichiro’s cowardice, but in the end Rodrigues and probly most the viewers agree that denying the faith is the right choice in those situations. And the most ironic thing is that Kinichiro is the one who dies for his faith in the end. It reminds me of Peter who denied Christ. Jesus didn’t deny him or forsake him as the verse in Matthew said he would do. Instead He intentionally goes to Peter and restores him. In the end Peter was martyred for the faith, as was Kinichiro. BTW I was impressed by Kubozuka. This character was completely different from his previous characters, but he nailed it. haha

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I was also really happy to see some other familiar actors. Tadanobu Asano who played the translator did a really great job.

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So did Nana Komatsu when she played one of the Christians who was jailed and martyred.

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All of the actors did a good job. I felt like they all fit their characters well.

Andrew Garfield with his courage and compassion

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Adam Driver with his conviction

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Liam Neeson with his dejected reverence

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The scenery in the movie was also very nice.

The momentum of the movie kept me watching without worrying about time. Although to be honest it wasn’t quite perfect. I felt like it could have hit a little harder in some moments. Anyway, it inspired a lot of thought, and it was a really great movie that I won’t forget.

A Stalker’s Guide to Horikita Maki

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I’ve been enchanted, spellbound, captured and completely taken in by one Asian drama starlet. Yes I, like many others, have fallen prey to Horikita Maki’s charm. Her adorable face and her cute mannerisms have had me enamored since I first seen her in Hana Kimi. I know what you’re thinking. “Joe, wasn’t she dressed like a guy in that show?” And I know where you’re coming from. I had my own Nakatsu-like hesitations at first, but her “Yosha!” got my heart melting in episode 1 and by the time she put on girl clothes in episode 3 I was smitten.

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Horikita Maki is beautiful, but she’s not the only beautiful Japanese girl in existence. So what makes her stand out from the rest? I’ve discussed this with other Maki-Lovers and we’ve discovered that she just has a certain charm that the others lack. You can see it in every role she plays in. Some roles are similar, some are more diverse, but she always brings her charm to every one of them.

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Maki is every guy’s kind of girl, seeing as when she was younger she enjoyed playing baseball and mock Dragonball Z games more than playing with dolls. Yet at the same time, she looked up to her mother and turned out to be a beautiful young lady. Maki’s allure is so great that it even attracts her own group of body guards who are willing to go so far as to dress up as women and become a hostess in her place.

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Not yet ready to cross-dress in order to protect Maki? You might change your mind after you watch the following dramas. And with that, let the stalkers’ guide commence!

Nobuta wo Produce – Shy but Sweet Maki

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Although, Maki had done commercials and a few other dramas and movies, Nobuta wo Produce was the drama that put her on the map as an actress. She won her first acting award for best supporting actress from Japan’s Television Academy awards for her role as Nobuta. While Nobuta wo Produce may not show off her most attractive side, since she actually had to wear make-up to make herself look worse in order to play the role, Maki’s fans will still love this drama because it’s a great drama. Maki does a fantastic job playing the shy, sweet, socially awkward Nobuta, and your heart will definitely still be pierced when you’re beamed with Maki’s Nobuta Power Injection.

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Hana Kimi – Tomboyish but Cute Maki

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As previously mentioned, this is the first drama that I saw Maki in and also the drama I fell for her in. Apparently so did everyone else because she won her first Best Actress award for her role as Ashiya Mizuki, a girl who pretends to be a boy in order to enter an all boys school so that she can help her hero, Sano, high jump again. Even though I watched Hana Kimi early in my drama days, it’s still one of my favorite dramas, and it’s the only one I’ve seen 3 times and still loved. Maki is superb as the tomboyish, hamburger-loving, super-cute-girl-who’s-one-of-the-guys Ashiya Mizuki and if you watch this then I’m sure you’ll develop your own crush on her.

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Atashinchi no Danshi – Attractive and Motherly Maki

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Now that you’re totally crushing on Maki, like the rest of us, how about watching a drama where everyone else is too! In Atashinchi no Danshi (Boys in My House) Maki plays Chisato, a girl who was forced to become homeless because of her irresponsible father’s gambling debts *takes a breath* who then is given an opportunity to inherit a large sum of money if she can be a mother to an unruly group of boys… men… uh man/boys. Three things I love about this drama:  1. It’s hilarious, 2. It’s fun, 3. Maki looks great in it. Maki fans won’t want to miss this one. It’s my second favorite Maki drama, after Hana Kimi.

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Cartoon Kat-Tun – The Real Adorable Maki

Now that your crush has elevated to stalker mode, you’ve got to see this Cartoon Kat-Tun episode. It’s only one episode, or 2 if you count the cooking episode, but it’s a must-see for Maki stalk… uh, I mean fans.Cartoon Kat-Tun is a variety show hosted by the six group members of Kat-tun. It’s a pretty funny/fun variety show, but when Maki becomes the guest, it is epic. This is one of the best Kat-tun episodes I’ve seen. It’s so funny watching everyone else crush on Maki, even the camera crew. Plus you get a chance to see the real adorable Maki outside of her acting roles. Here’s part 1 of 4.

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Innocent Love – Innocent and Romantic Maki

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Innocent Love is a Maki drama that I avoided for a while. I mean look at the poster. It looks a little too melodramatic for my taste. But eventually my longing to see Maki again got me to give this one a try and I’m so glad that I did because this drama is excellent and Maki is amazing in it. Innocent Love has a dramatic, touching and suspenseful story, and Maki does wonderful job playing the role of Kanon, the sweet, innocent, cute girl who has fallen victim to life’s and love’s circumstances. Don’t make the same mistake I did by putting this drama off. If you’re ready for a more serious drama, go ahead and watchInnocent Love.

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Tokyo Boy – Incredibly Sweet/Tomboyish Maki

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Tokyo Boy is a very cool movie. It has a very unique story to it. It’s a little weird and it’s kind of subtle, so much so that some people don’t like it, but if you’re in the mood for a movie that’s not as fast-paced, has a kind of out there story, and stars our heroine Maki as a beautiful and “multi-dimensional” character then try Tokyo Boy. Again, this is one that I almost passed up, but I’m glad I didn’t. Thank you Maki for starring in these fantastic dramas so that I would be encouraged to watch them.

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Tokujo Kabachi – Strong-willed and Beautiful Maki

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Tokujo Kabachi is where you’ll see Maki in a much different light. She’s not shy or sweet in this one, but she is attractive. Maki plays the role of the strong-willed, man-hating, super hot administrative scrivener who hates to lose and will do whatever it takes to win the case for her client. It took me a second to get used to this Maki, but once I did I enjoyed Tokujo Kabachi and…… Maki’s beautiful face.

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Umareru – Gorgeous and Responsible Maki

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Umareru is one of Maki’s more recent dramas. She’s grown up a little more, and she’s grown up nice. *Me Gusta*  Maki plays the role of an aspiring writer who takes the assignment of writing a book on one of Japan’s recent phenomenons: late-life child bearing. After taking this assignment she finds out that her mother, who was recently widowed is pregnant. You’ll see Maki playing the role of a young, responsible woman/older sister. I liked Umareru, even though parts of it were like reading a book on late-life child bearing. She’s absolutely gorgeous in this drama, and the story is good. The problems the family faces are a lot deeper than can be told in the description, and Maki can be seen looking breathtakingly beautiful in every episode.

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Other Dramas and Movies That Maki Has Starred In (That I’ve seen)
Yonimo Kimyona Monogatari 2010 Fall [SP]
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
Seito Shokun
Densha Otoko
Chance!

Now that you’ve received your stalking guide, stalk away. Maki-chan, I wrote you a song: *sings* “I see you through your window, and I’m standing on a tree outside.”

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How I got into Asian Dramas

Domo, Say It Ain’t So Joe desu.

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Single

Asian drama addict

Yoroshiku.

For the last six years, Asian dramas have been a constant source of joy in my life. They’ve kept the serotonin in my brain flowing at a healthy level with their unique style of humor, philosophy, and story telling.  Often I have been cheered up, inspired, and relieved of my stress by watching dramas. I am very glad that I have discovered them. “But how did you discover them?” you might ask.

Well, one day I was really bored

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So I went on the internets and found a movie called Shinobi 

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 Shinobi was pretty cool so I looked around Dramacrazy.net (R.I.P) to see if there was anything else interesting to watch. I saw all these foreign shows and at first I was like, “This is weird…”

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But then I saw that some of them were live action versions of anime so I decided to check out Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

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Like Sunako in the gif above, my heart was struck by the awesomeness of dramas. I no longer thought they were weird. Instead I thought they were awesome!

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Now 300 + dramas later you might say that I’m an addict

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But at least I’m having fun

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