Tuesday, July 17, 2012

KAC news Bulletin (July, 2012 issue)

Ten years ago now, in India, barely anyone knew about anime. There were a few...then there were tens. Disconnected though, and without a clue that there exists others in this 'planet' [no exaggeration here] who share the same interest as them. Then there was the fear of people making fun of you, calling you a child or worse still, a weirdo, for having an interest in what we call 'anime' and what they call 'cartoon'.THEN SOCIAL NETWORKS ON INTERNET HAPPENED!!!Through Orkut, Animestan and now Facebook, we are thousands and our number keeps growing with each passing day! No longer closet Otakus, we now make the news. And one such example is what you see below in the screenie. The cutout is from the Indian Express, Pune. Read it once before I say more.

[The cutout from the article {Bottom left corner : Leon Wesker (Winner of the CJF cosplay contest) from Mumbai anime Club]

It talks about the growing popularity of Japan pop-culture, about anime clubs across the country and about their usual activities. The paper also quotes a few lines from one of KAC Admins, Reetam Majumder. He is quoted as saying "fans are making an effort to popularize the art form and raise awareness..."
He also goes on to talk about the KAC radio and about the anime club activities. The article further writes that manga and anime scenario in India has gotten further boost from the cool Japan Festival which was held earlier this year on March 2012 in Mumbai. For a further account of CJF, click on these two links : 

We thank the people responsible for this article. It is a huge morale booster for clubs like us who have been trying desperately for years to reach out to the mass and create an awareness about the world of anime/manga and Japanese pop-culture in India. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Hi ,guys and girls!!!!!A little translation from the above tape. ^^
"みなさん こんにちは、
ひざしぶり です。お-げんき です か。やっと あめ の きせつ が きて くれました ね。みなさん の なつ は どう でした。こんど の にほんご の じゅぎょ に ついて、 あたらしい こと を おしえて あげたい と おもいます。では、 はじめます。"

"Hello everyone, it has been a while, hasn't it?! Has everyone been keeping well? Finally, the rainy season has come to grace us hasn't it?! How was summer for everyone this year? Regarding this Japanese language lesson this time around, I was thinking of teaching you all something new. So, let us begin."

[N.B - For those of you who's seeing this blog for the first time, you can also scroll through the 'Beyond anime' section of the blog to find out the previous lessons. ]

  • あたらしい ことば,
  • あたらしい かんじ,
  • ぶんぽう (Grammar)
  • かいわ
  • Self assessment test.

あたらしい ことば [New words]
  • Doll - にんぎょう
  • Form/shape - かたち
  • Electricity -  でんき
  • Bullet Train -  しんかんせん
  • Underground railway - ちかてつ
  • Train - でんしゃ
  • Elevator - エレベータ
  • Card - カード
  • anime - アニメ

Press play to listen to the correct pronunciations. 

Particle Lesson.
Today we shall learn about the particle 'の'. 'の' is an object marker used to show possessions. like 'My pen', 'Her Phone', 'His wristwatch' etc.
Consider the following three examples :

  • わたし の もの です。(My stuff)
  • さちこ の かさ です。(Sachiko's Umbrella)
  • おんな の こ です。   (A girl)
In each of these sentences, ' の' acts like an object marker and a possession marker.

Press play to listen to the correct pronunciations.

Lets us learn about a few daily life conversations. :D

           [Two friends talking together]

  • 1>A : なつやすみ まで は まだ いっしゅうかん。B : ああ、 もう がまん できない わ!
    - A : Still one week left till summer holidays.
       B : Eh?!!! I can't be patient anymore!!

    [At the bus stop]
  • 2>
    A :
    すみません、 これ しんじゅく へ いく バス です か。
    B :  いいえ、 この バス は ちば に いきます。 しんじゅく の バス  なら、 はんたい から きます。
    A :   どうも ありがとう ございます。
    A : Excuse me, is this Bus going to Shinjuku?
    B : No, this bus is going to Chiba. If it is Shinjuku bus you are looking for, it will come from the opposite direction.
    A : Thankyou very much.

Press play to listen to the correct pronunciations.

Lets Learn some Kanji.

In today's lesson, we will learn how to write Kanji for Japanese numbers. ^_^

Press play to see how to write the Kanji.


For those of you who wish to find out how much you've progressed with your Japanese, here is a very simple and easy self assessment test paper. ^__^

Q1>Fill in the blanks. (5)

あ __ う __ __
が ぎ ぐ __ ご
さ __ __ せ そ
__ __ つ __ __
__ に __ ね __

Q2>Match the following  ひらがな with its カタカナ counterparts. (5)

  • あ                  チャ 
  • げ                  ム 
  • り                   ア 
  • ちゃ                ゲ
  • む                   リ

Q3>i>Write the Kanji and meaning of やま and かわ.
       ii> Write the english meaning and hirangana for the following kanji. 日,月,人. (5)

Q4>Translate from English to Japanese. (5)    
  •  My name is Li Yong.
  • This is a pen.
  • This is Kolkata.
  • This is a school.
  • I am a teacher.
Q5> Translate from Japanese to English. (5)
  • わたし インドじん です。
  • ここ は アメリカ  です。
  • これ は テーブル です。
  • あれ は カメラ  です。
  • さん は アメリカ じん です。


[P.S - I don't claim to be an expert in Japanese lessons and as such may have committed a few mistakes. If and when you find them, please notify me. As I keep saying, the best way to learn anything is always to find yourself a good teacher. If and when you get the time, please do so.
I Hope you people find this blog helpful. ^^]

Japan Diaries

I consider myself very lucky to be among the few people who got chosen to be the goodwill ambassador for India in Japan. Especially, since this year marks the 60th anniversary of India-Japan friendship and also the final year of JENESYS program for India. It was an eleven day program where we visited Japan as young ambassadors of India to further boost the wonderful relationship that exists between India and Japan. After assembling from all parts of the country at Delhi's Suryaa hotel on 9th June, we were given a detailed orientation about our program by the officials of JICE who were also be our coordinators during our stay in Japan.

[At Suryaa Hotel conference hall.]

[Pre-Departure orientation program.]

We left for Narita Airport, Tokyo on 10th June in the eve and we were all beaming with excitement, overwhelmed by the fact that our dream of visiting Japan was really going to be fulfilled!!
 We reached Tokyo early morning next day and from the aircraft we got to see Fujisan(Mt Fuji) which was a sight to behold.

[Mt. Fuji from JAL flight window.]

We had been divided into five different groups viz “Aichi/Gifu”, “Hokkaido”, “Ishikawa”,”Nagasaki” and “Tottori”. I was in the Aichi/Group and was delighted since we were the only group travelling by the Shinkansen.

[Our Aichi/Gifu group.]

The five different groups left for their respective destinations and we were very excited about taking a ride on the famous Shinkansen (Bullet train) from Shinagawa Station. It was an amazing experience and we took lots of pictures!!

[Inside the shinkansen (Bullet train)] 

After reaching Nagoya, we were taken to the Tie and Die Museum and got a first hand experience at “Arimatsu Shibori” – an experience to remember and we were mesmerized by the skill of the old ladies who were the masters at it. Next day we visited the Toyota Motomachi Plant and the ECO-T plant. Being an engineer, these were extremely interesting to me especially seeing the robots do welding in front of my eyes at Toyota Plant and getting to know robotics has been implemented in Japan since 1971-at a time when India didn’t even have a television set!!! It was also an eye-opener to us knowing Japan is so much involved in recycling used items and producing usable electricity from waste energy at the ECO-T plant.

[At the Toyota Plant.]

We visited Aichi University and got another amazing firsthand experience at Kendo, Sado, and Ikebana and also interacted with students of the university and developed great friendship with them. 

[Cultural exchange at Aichi University.(Kendo lessons)]

[Ikebana (Flower arrangement) workshop.]

We left for homestay which was an experience- never to be forgotten. Throughout the next two days we got an amazing experience of Japanese culture and our host families were very kind and polite and took good care of us. On the 17th we had a big farewell party to honour our homestay families and in the end we were all in tears to part with them. They had become our family too!

[My home stay family]

[Farewell Party]

After that we had a very interesting workshop about the characteristics of Japanese culture which appealed to us the most!
The next day was our last day in Japan. We went to Tokyo University(Todai) and got a general tour of the university campus following which there was a big conference where two members of each of the five groups gave a 4 minute presentation about Japanese culture! It was an honour for Bhuvanesh and me to give a presentation of Aichi/Gifu group at the best university of Asia!

[Tokyo University.]

Overall it was an amazing experience for each and everyone of us, fulfilling our dream of visiting Japan and getting a firsthand experience at Japanese culture. We’d loved our stay in Japan so much that each and every one of us can’t wait to visit Japan again!

[Aichi/Gifu group presentation at the Todai university]

[Certificate distribution]

~Contributed by KAC member Budhaditya Pyne.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sakamichi no Apollon Review

AniDB description - The coming-of-age story of love, friendship, and music follows a naive boy and a scruffy boy in a provincial town in Nagasaki Prefecture in the late 1960s. In the early summer of 1966, Kaoru transfers to the local high school from Yokosuka. Thanks to his family's nearly constant cycle of moving from town to town, Kaoru has only known school as a difficult place for readjusting every time. However, on his first day at this new school, he meets Sentarou and takes a new direction in life.

Anime about music are few and far between. Same goes for anime with good music. Of course, there are enough anime with good OSTs.... but they are usually either piano based instrumentals, or techno/electronica, or some form of rock which might or might not be hybridised with Japanese music, or simply J-pop. But anime whose music really stands out as something unique are not all that easy to come by. Similarly, I have not yet come across any other anime till date which is set in the backdrop of 60's Japan. My knowledge of that period comes only from Murakami books. So when I read about this anime and found out that it is going to have a lot of jazz, I was really excited. Especially with the 60's connection, since those were the heydays of jazz in the west.

Then I read about who will be the director and the music director, and the names Watanabe Shinichirou and Yoko Kanno left me stumped (if you don't know why, just read up on them). I have been waiting for this anime for quite some time now.

People who were expecting a jazz version of Beck or Nodame would be disappointed. This is less of that and more of a slice of life anime. But jazz permeates it to the very core. Can you think of Cowboy Bebop without jazz? No, right? Same goes here. Like the music that is present in our day to day lives, jazz is present in every frame, every note of this anime. When it is not the protagonists jamming to some hard bop and getting lost in the music, jazz is still there in the background, setting the environment and pushing the story along.

The story is a simple enough slice of life. The backdrop gives it a tint that one would normally not find in most anime. The era and the atmosphere have been faithfully recreated. As have been the differences between the 2 main characters, Kaoru and Sentarou. Everything about this anime is so believable that it takes us no effort to immerse ourselves in the music.

And yes, I keep coming back to the music. This anime would be a pretty decent story even without the music factor. But the music is what really sets it apart. Without the music, the story would have to revert to a either a lot of melodrama or to tons of gags, but the tension and the sheer energy of the jazz duo and the jazz quartet is enough to make all that unnecessary. Bonding over music is one of the most natural things in the world, and that has not been forgotten. In this setting, Sakamichi becomes a story of growing up, of friendships and love, and of inexplicable forces that bring people together and also tear them apart.

I loved the detail in this story. Everything, from life in the 60's, school uniforms, family reaction to rebels, to the cover sleeves of the jazz albums, everything has been researched thoroughly. Right down to one of the characters mourning Coltrane's death, and another guy who intends to use Beatles' mania to be popular with the girls. The visuals, too, were gorgeous. The character design made me really glad, since most characters in almost every anime look very similar nowadays. The characters in Sakamichi looked like real people and not like anime stereotypes. The plausibility of Sakamichi makes it a delight to watch. 

From the point of a music lover, this anime is a treat. There are some really famous tracks rearranged and played. This is vintage Yoko Kanno. I especially fell for this anime due to the choice of two tracks which form, in a manner, the motifs for this anime. My favourite things (Gone with the Wind) and Moanin' (art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers) are repeated time and oft', and make for amazing hearing. All the tracks, including ones which are covers and ones which are OCs, makes the OST flawless and makes you go back and listen to parts again and again.

Even though I am completely sold to Sakamichi, the anime is not without flaws. Just like Beck, the end is rushed. I heard from people who've read the manga that they have compressed a lot into around 3 episodes, and it did feel like that. the last episode itself spans around a decade. Even though the ending was quite good, I would have liked to see it fleshed out for a few more episodes. That would also have given more space for some more music (I would never get over this music). But then again, extending it to 20+ episodes might have turned it into a bit of a drag. At 12 episodes, this series is a bit short (maybe 13-15 would have been kind of perfect), but I was comfortable with the pacing of this anime in general.

Sakamichi no Apollon is not perfect, far from it. But it is definitely something special. It evokes visions of a world faded away, a world that actually was. This anime is not make believe. It is very real, and it definitely deserves the attention and the applause it has been getting.

AniDB Rating - 8.09
Reviewer Rating - 8.50

Sunday, July 1, 2012

KAC Showcase: July - Let The voice Echo~

For the month of July 2012, we have chosen to showcase Ahelee Bhadra.

She's being featured here for her awesome talent at perfectly covering & singing various Anime/Manga OST & songs.

A small interview with Ahelee:-

Did you learn to sing or are you self taught?
-Haha, no I didn't learn and I don't believe I'm much of a singer anyway.

What kind of songs do you sing/cover?
-Almost always Japanese, since my voice is a little too weird for English songs.
Anything from screamo to cute songs. A lot of Vocaloid. No 'kawaii" J-pop.. *shudders*

What are your future plans?
-Mmm... Attend one of the KAC meets. University starts this October. Learn how to shuffle (dance). Try not to go poor. Travel around Europe.

Which anime songs/OSTs will you be covering in near future? 
-Ah, I don't really get the chance to be alone at home to be able to record really :p
"Bouken desho desho!?" - Hirano Aya
"Whats up people" - Maximum The Hormone :P

What do you think of KAC?
-Super friendly community with members who are pretty much close to each other. Very welcoming.

Her covers:
Maximum the Hormone - Zetsubou Billy cover:

【Blood +】Aozora No Namida FAN cover【リー】:

A Note: We are glad to have you on KAC, hope to see you on one of the meets soon! Keep rocking!