Thursday, December 26, 2013

Marvel Superheroes

Marvel superheroes have charmed children as well as adults the whole world over. Marvel comics have created superheroes that we have looked up to and so will our children and our grand children. Most of these superheroes have not only been depicted in the comic books but have since moved on to TV shows as well as the big screen.

Superheroes like Captain America, Iron Man, Giant Man, Black Panther and the other Avengers have given positive messages to how we can save our planet as well as how we can grow up being patriotic to our country. Other superheroes that from marvel such as the X-Men have shown us how hard it is to grow up when you are different and have shown us how indifference is a bad thing and that people are scared of what is different from them. Basically most of marvel superhero comic books and cartoons have messages and are just plain fun to read.

Several Marvel Superheroes have gone on to become big merchandise for the company such as the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, Blade, Daredevil and not forgetting Electra. Superhero action figures as well as plain figurines have been created by the Marvel group for children to play with as well as for keeping if you are a collector. If you are interested in buying the collector items of Marvel superheroes you can always find them online, where you will also find the new and old comics as well as movies and DVD.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2 Ways To Keep It Cool As You Learn Japanese

Listen, if you are the brave person who has chosen to study Japanese you are taking a path less trodden regarding languages and choosing a less commonly learned language will stand out on your resume and will set you apart from the crowd. Congratulations and more power to you! However, learning Japanese can be challenging and if you are feeling overwhelmed, do not be discouraged. Learning to speak fluent Japanese, will give you direct access and insight into the special terminology used in these 2 cool Japanese activities that will keep your learning and knowledge of Japanese fresh and interesting.

Join a Japanese martial art school. There are many different schools ranging from Jujutsu to Aikido to choose from. Not only will you get in great physical shape and learn self-defense, but this will also help you to learn Japanese quickly because you will be using the terminology associated with your marital art. How many of us have or had our children enrolled in martial arts? And the reason we did this was because the practice of martial art is a way of life that encompasses the physical, spiritual and moral discipline with a focus on self-improvement and personal growth. Child or no child, learning a Japanese martial art is a cool thing to do to for self-improvement and to learn Japanese. And who knows? You may make a new friend or two.

If martial arts are not your cup of tea, you could check out other Japanese art forms such as Japanese film, animations or comic books. Anime animations and Manga comic books are everywhere and are made for youth and adults alike. Anime and Manga have many genres typically found in any mass media form. Such genres include action, adventure, comedy, drama, medieval fantasy, horror, romance, and science fiction. Manga books are readily available at specialty bookstores or at major bookstore chains such as Chapters. Anime DVDs series or movies such as Spirited Away, Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence plus many more are also readily available in DVD stores or you can download or watch Anime for free online. It's a cool thing to do with your family or friends. Or how about some Japanese horror (also known as J-Horror) films which were commercial hits remade in English such as Ringu, Kairo, Dark Water, Yogen, or the Grudge series? You can watch these in their original Japanese version and do not forget the popcorn!

These activities hand-in-hand with an excellent Japanese course will surely be able to make your learning less tedious or abstract. When you incorporate your learning with real-life activities, you will improve your retention, comprehension and auditory skills for Japanese thus making your path to learn to speak fluent Japanese shorter and more enjoyable.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is Cosplay an Absurd Escapism Or Creative Self-Expression?

Is cosplay a cool pastime to hone creative self-expression or a nerdy and expensive way to escape pressures of the world? And do you care either way?

CosPlay 101 for the uninformed and misinformed

What the heck is CosPlay? Sounds like a new online video game or a new Facebook apps like Farmville to you? Well, no. CosPlay is a combination of two words: "Costume" and "Roleplay." Therefore, a Cosplayer is a geeky, not necessarily good-looking somebody who assumes the role of a character from an anime show, a video game, comics, manga, comic series, movies or TV series. These cosplayers step into the shoes of the characters that have inspired them or they think is really cool and copy their costumes, prosthetics, make-up, hair and uber-cool accessories. Here's what really surprised me, cosplayers not only have to look like characters, they have to act like, sound like and essentially be the characters they portray down to the last giggle.

There is this issue among cosplay elders as to how and when this social phenomenon really started. However, they seem to agree on one thing - the origin of the word Cosplay. Most of the elders agree that the journalist Noboyuki Takahashi, first coined the term in the article "My Anime," after attending the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention and seeing a bunch of Trekkies (Star Trek fans) strutting their stuff. From there, cosplay has evolved into a subculture among enthusiasts of anime, manga, comics, movies and basically everything fun and fictional under the sun and elevated into an art form and subculture in various countries. In the Philippines, the popularity of cosplay has also spiked in the last few years.

Cosplay and The Modern Escapist

"I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?"
-- J.R.R. Tolkien--

I'm no card-carrying psychologist or sociologist, but I can tell you roughly on the observations I made that cosplay is now part of the modern escapism. Mr. Webster defines escapism as the habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine.

I'm sure you will agree that the world in which we live is full of stress, threats, constant noise, irritating soap operas, unhealthy fast-food junks, dizzying billboards, and overnight facebooking. Hence, we all need to escape - to refocus our attention on things pleasant or enjoyable, as opposed to the hard realities of the everyday world. When we are stressed we want nothing more than escapism, and cosplay certainly offers that for others.

It is nice to add a bit of fantasy to an otherwise boring or stressful world. Yet, translating someone's fantasy into reality can be tricky. I don't know if parents should really get worried about their teens' expressing strong desire to live in fantasy world of anime, perhaps they should consider that as healthy and part of today's social reality. And that the desire to 'escape' is part of the complicated process of discovering ourselves. I think we are all escapist in different ways.

This is where I got myself into the most trouble-of-judgement. I failed both to understand how important the notion of escape is to many cosplayers and to clarify the exact type of escape I was addressing. I admit that many Filipinos nowadays participate in cosplay not mainly to avoid their own personal wars such as their jobs, relationships, school pressure and other life hassles, but rather to have fun, compete, and even make a living.

The Magical World of the Escapist

"Harry goes off into this magical world, and is it any better than the world he's left? Only because he meets nicer people. Magic does not make his world better significantly. The relationships make his world better. Magic in many ways complicates his life."
--J.K. Rowling--

Is there a difference between healthy and unhealthy escapism? In today's reality, we cannot do our ancestor's way of escapism - which is telling stories around the fire or do writing on the caves. We now escape the woes of the world by reading books, watching soap operas and movies, browsing the internet, blogging and so on and so forth.

As I said earlier, cosplay is a new and modern form of escapism. Unlike other forms of escapism, cosplay is much more involved. Other "characters" are directly playing in their magical world, interacting using their assumed personality. Events, such as regular conventions and gatherings, also take place in this new form of escapism that is directly dependent on the authors of the anime characters.

Fantasy Self and the Anime World

Therein causes the problems of the cosplayers. This is just my theory OK. The assumed character, which I will call the Fantasy Self begins to rival the real world. Because of the sheer complexity and magic of the anime world, the Fantasy Self may continue to rely on the cosplay as his or her form of escapism. There is a possibility that the Fantasy Self will treat the anime world as a large part of the person's real life and may dominate the real world.

When the anime world becomes part of the their real world, any stress from the anime world will be brought with them when they enter the real world. Now, no longer does the cosplayer have to be concerned with only real world, but also must be concerned with the happenings in the anime world. Such cosplayer are those who come home so stressed and depressed after attending a cosplay convention - when it is supposed to be just a fun day walking around in costume and be someone extraordinary for a day.

The Collapse of the Fantasy Self and Real Self

The other possibility that might occur with prolonged stay in the anime world as a form of escapism is the collapse of the Fantasy Self into the Real Self. I repeat, this is just a possibility, I'm not a psychologist - but I do read psych books - and it's just my theory. This is the situation when the cosplayer loans money to buy costumes, skip classes or work to attend cosplay conventions, and if they started claiming that cosplay is more than just costumes. Actions such as these are clear demonstrations of where the cosplayer's priorities lie.

The trouble with this sort of collapse is apparent. As their real lives are no longer the focus of their attention, their grades in school will falter, their health will falter, their performance at work will falter as will their social lives - often sacrificing time with friends and family for time with cosplaying.

The Cut-off Point

I guess the cut-off point is whether it can be a healthy means for not getting completely depressed by reality, and on the other side, in its extreme form, whether it results in obsessive behaviors that make people completely ignore reality to their detriment.

After all, I'm not the final arbiter of what counts as healthy or unhealthy, and more importantly, I can't claim to know everything about cosplay- I am not a cosplayer myself. I just want to give my comments and learn surprising things about what is happening around me. For people who are more extreme than I am, I respect their choice to be that, just as I hope they respect my theories and opinions I make regarding my observations or what I prefer to keep as leisurely pastimes.

I can safely conclude that Cosplay, can be a healthy form of escapism and a great opportunity in developing creativity and self-confidence. Of course, extremes have bad effects.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Read Comics Online - An Offshoot for Valuable Entertainment

The humor media, which is a combination of the art of sketching and of writing, is even offered on the web making it far more accessible to those people who are interested in comics. Considering that the public are now able to read comics online, many people get more opportunities to find and read comic books that are of their passion.

With the ability to read written comedy on the web can help people select the comics they really want in an easier and quicker option. Simply search for it on the internet, and within seconds, you will get the comics that you have been searching for.

The web also offers a broader array of choices of humor books to choose from. Since they are already made available on the web, readers could select from several genres of comic books. Comics have various types and genres to fit each and every individual's choice. Among the current genres of comic books are superhero, manga, suspense, crime, slice-of-life, romance, humor, science-fiction or fantasy, non-fiction, horror, crime, informative or possibly a combination of the types pointed out. Making comics available on the web provides more choices and easier entry to the excitement from comic books.

You will also have the opportunity to access comics that were released years ago any time you read comics online. You can search online for tales that were published many years ago via numerous websites that offer online comics. Most of them, if not all, would certainly be accessible, especially the famous and most read ones.

Folks who read comics online may also be able to save their favorite comics and read through all of them over and over again through their computers and laptops. Internet sharing of comic books may also be done among those individuals who read comics online. Due to this, they get to read a lot more stories and share all of them with fellow comic enthusiasts.

Yet another advantage caused by reading comic books on the internet on within online humor sites is that you will get to read suggestions of fellow comic readers. You are able to decide comics that will be wonderful to read and be capable to recommend comics to other people as well. Thus, if you read comics online, you can also promote and swap opinions with others which happens to be a brilliant way to determine what comic books are nice to read through.