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Pile. Of things to watch. To review. Or some, just to rewatch for joy. And a few, like Kokowääh, to never look at again. (The books are mostly uni stuff.)

I’m back – back from my blog hiatus and recently back in the UK also.

I’m through my pile of exams, which were as ever. As usual the majority of students went for the prose passage (there are two options: one prose, one poetry), which I personally thought was a real tough cookie. I mean, I always had a penchant for poetry in this part of the assessment, while most students somehow seem to believe that the prose option is easier because it’s… not poetry. Like some sort of automatic fear factor. But the poem just had a very clear literal interpretation, while the literal meaning of the prose was vague and somewhat ambiguous, with a metaphorical meaning layered on top of that and, in a way, more important than the literal one. As I said, a tough cookie.

I was more efficient with marking this year, but still not quite as efficient as I had hoped to be, despite the fact that my visit home was one of the least eventful ever because of being cooped up – 30° C weather and all – inside the whole time.

I missed a train by 1 minute one morning and had to wait for an hour. Then I ran into a mom & daughter from Panama and chatted with them for 45 minutes. Nearly made me cry with happiness and miss Central America (where I lived from 2005-2009) insanely.

In my parents’ city I made it downtown once – only because I absolutely had to get a new passport (have been unable to find the old one since last July).

In my sister’s city I didn’t even make it to my favourite food market which I always go to – real bummer.

I went running twice in three weeks – uh.

I cycled at most 5 km (my weekly average in London is 75-100 km).

I read a single book (Kim Young-ha’s 빛의 제국/Your Republic is Calling You, 2010) while waiting for the exams to arrive. (Will review it some time.)

I watched a single movie (となりのトトロ/Tonari no Totoro/My Neighbour Totoro, 1988) – only because trains aren’t good places for marking exams. (Will also review this some time. It was a total riot.)

I missed all films at the KCCUK this month, the screening of 雨あがる (Ame agaru/After the Rain, 1999) at the Japanese embassy and the Taiwan Cinefest.

I barely listened to any music (too distracting when marking) and nearly cried when I put on a song from 넬 (Nell) for the first time in weeks.

I didn’t write those Trailer Weekly posts either. My apologies.

What I did do, in addition to marking exams, however was babysit the family dog, M, for a few days while my Mom was at work. This wasn’t a normal thing and wasn’t planned at all, but he needed to have an operation and we were worried he would tumble down the stairs or something. That didn’t happen, but his recovery did not go well and just after I came back to the UK he had to be euthanised. It wasn’t unexpected because he had only been given four months to live by the vet, but it just happened a lot faster than we thought it would. Everyone in my family right now is heartbroken about the loss of this dog that was a beloved member of the family for 15 years. This was the dog that convinced my Mom-that-would-never-let-us-have-a-pet that animals aren’t just “smelly” and “dirty” (they are, and towards the end M certainly was, often unable to control his bodily functions – but it really didn’t matter at that point anymore, least of all to my Mom). This was the dog that was dragged in front of the camera during every one of my weekly Skype calls home. The dog that once peed onto my Dad’s shoes out of exhilaration after he (my Dad) returned from an extended stay abroad. The dog that’s the reason why my family takes doggie treats to feed strays in Taiwan, or Thailand, or wherever (indeed, why holiday pictures will always include photos of such strays).

In some ways it was lucky I got to see M one last time, because I don’t normally go home at this time of the year. But that makes me no less sad. Anyhow, those of you that have (had) pets, I’m sure you know what I mean…

M

Anyhow, before I get all teary…

I’m working to get the promised review of キツツキと雨 (Kitsutsuki to Ame/The Woodsman and the Rain, 2012) finished asap and then will tackle ヒミズ (Himizu/Himizu, 2011) next, to have that ready for you in time for its UK-wide release on June 1st. UPDATE: Reviews added for Kitsutuki to Ame and Himizu (click on film titles to read).

I probably won’t get the Trailer Weekly scheduled for today done, but I do promise I’ll make up all the missed ones. I’m also working on the June Events Calendar post and one on Lee Jun-ik, KCCUK’s K-director of the coming month. Plus on a lot of partially finished reviews (Atmen/Breathing; 星空/Starry Starry Night; 転々/Tenten/Adrift in Tokyo, etc.), thoughts on つり球 (Tsuritama) and 僕等がいた (Bokura Ga Ita/We Were There) as well as further reflections on 風の又三郎 ガラスのマソト (Kaze no Matasaburō: Garasu no masoto/The Glass Cape). And on ideas for a gazillion of other things. 🙂

So stay tuned!

キツツキと雨 (Kitsutsuki to Ame/The Woodsman and the Rain, 2012)