Things are looking up

I found three potential new tenants for my apartment! Let's hope one of them will satisfy the idiotic housing company.

I am still nervous about Japan, but it will be better than growing an ulcer over crap at work. And considering all the shit I've been through this year, I feel like it will be fine. It's sad Kotaro's parents are against our marriage, but so be it. I just hope he'll be able to spend time with me instead of working 24/7 like he's doing this week.

Back home

I flew back home to Germany Thursday right after work and had to go to the dentist first thing Friday morning. At lunch, I visited my grandmother, saw my niece (who remembers me! She called me Tante!!!) And had my hair cut, bought some more clothes (I had already bought some online which were waiting for me here) and then met a friend.
Today, my sister came to visit, then I went shopping with my parents again. I got presents for Kotato, some small things for my colleagues, stuff for a Japanese friend and for a swap, and some other things for me, like supplements, cosmetics... My parents also bought me the keyboard I am writing on right now with my Kindle Fire, because the kind of netbook I wanted for writing on the train (matte display, light, no Windows 8) was harder to find than I had thought, so I`ll try it like this for now. I'll try writing some fiction again, which I really loved some years ago, and see how that goes. Maybe I'll also look fo an online degree - the legal translation one is.scammy according to people ohiene.

Tomorrow is my grandma's birthday and on Monday morning, I'll fly back to Geneva already. It's our second anniversary on the 26th. It feels much longer to me. I wonder how things will work out next year when Kotaro graduates. I do wish I could live closer to my family. For all their faults, I do want to seee my grandma and niece more often. I also still love my room, because it still has tons of my stuff and my favourite chair, whereas our new apartment is not very comfy and doesn't feel like a home much yet. I guess that may take some years and less moving.

Drama master list + recommendations

Since I've been watching more dramas again lately, I thought I'd make this post about dramas I have seen so far and whether I liked them or not. Feel free to comment!

While the first dramas I watched were Hana Yori Dango and Nodame Cantabile and I still love those, I have since moved away from manga adaptations to more realistic dramas. Dramas I'm interested in can basically be divided into two major groups:

Romantic comedy: I like the ones with a kind of moral or social problems aspect, like Ohitorisama and Kimi wa petto, which deal with successful, but unmarried women and their problems, or Buzzer Beat and Kekkon Shinai, which make you think about what is more important, love or your dream. Special points if the characters don't act like spoilt brats and misunderstand every harmless situation for the sake of the plot (or to distract from the lack of plot.)

Detective drama/ mystery: Can be one huge mystery solved over the course of the show, or an episodic drama, as long as their is some continuous story line, e.g. relationships between the characters or something from a protagonist's past. Nice if it involves a bit of romance, but no necessity. While I like dramas like Bloody Monday once in a while, for this category I am mostly thinking of dramas like Mr. Brain or Maou.

I am also trying to watch more dramas based on their plot (summary) than by who's in them, although sometimes I do watch a show just for an actor I like.

(For your reference, my favourite US show is the now ended Gilmore Girls*. At the moment, I am also watching Revenge and Glee, although the latter is... a difficult case. As for sitcoms, I really liked Friends and The Nanny. Also, I love, love, love the BBC series Sherlock. Of course, that's not all I've ever watched, but I thought I'd only list my all-time favourites. I also really like Pushing Daisies, which was cancelled way too early. :/
Shows I tried and didn't like enough to continue watching were The O.C., Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs... They're okay, I guess, but not quite my cup of tea.
If anyone knows a good Gilmore Girls replacement, though, please let me know! I guess I'd also enjoy watching a good crime/mystery show if I could choose one from the bazillions out there!)

*which I have on DVD and watched way too many times already

In alphabetical order, marking recommended dramas in italics, and my favourites underlined:

33pun Tantei: Episodic detective drama playing with the genre cliches. Fun for a while, but gets annoying quickly.

Akai Ito: A bunch of teens with too many problems to be realistic, yet somewhat heartwrenching.

Binbou Danshi: Oguri Shun is too nice for his own good. Made me irritated after a while.

Bloody Monday: (Still haven't seen season 2. >.<) So exciting I watched the whole thing in one night.

Buzzer Beat: Great characters (even the minor ones), good plot, recommended. YamaPi <3

Code Blue: (Haven't seen season 2 yet.) The whole cutting people thing isn't my cup of tea, but nice human drama and again, YamaPi <3

Gokusen: Watched it because of MatsuJun, who was good. Story of Yankumi saving students got old pretty quick, though.

Hanazakari no kimitachi e: Fun to watch, but nothing to write about home about.

Hana Yori Dango: My first drama love, although I now see several flaws (hello. season 2!) Still, a classic. (The manga is waaay better, though!)

Juui Dolittle: Oguri Shun as a grumpy vet, Inoue Maou as his assistant, cute animals and some serious questions to us humans.

Kekkon Shinai: Great actors, extremely realistic storylines and very well made. Highly recommended, especially if you're into dramas with a bit of a background (like real social problems Japan is facing nowadays). (Also, this could be "Ohitorisama, ten years later".)

Kimi wa petto: Single women have it tough, and sometimes, they need a special kind of pet.

Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo 3: Apart from the fact that I can't seem to find this without absolutely crappy hardsubs, I mostly liked it.

Kudou Shin'ichi e no chousenjou: Doesn't feel quite right for me as a Detective Conan fan.

Last Friends: Looked promising at first, but the main girl grew on my nerves and the end was such a joke.

Love Shuffle: 4 guys and 4 girls get coupled randomly for a week each while coping with their individual problems. Good actors (Tamaki Hiroshi <3) and the right balance between light-hearted comedy and more serious problems.

Maou: Arashi's Ohno-kun is a surprisingly good serial killer who meets a psychic girl. If only the police wouldn't act as stupid.

Mei-chan no Shitsuji: Annoying main girl chooses the wrong guy. It's not enough to look good if you lack personality. (As you can see when you click the link, I was slightly obsessed with this drama at the time it was airing. Don't ask me why.)

Mr. Brain: KimuTaku as an eccentric detective solving cases with notable guest stars. Gackt eats his own fingers.

Naniwa Shounen Tanteidan: Based on Higashino Keigo's writing, starring Tabe Mikako as an ill-tempered teacher and Koike Teppei (<3) as a cop who I wouldn't object to put me in handcuffs. *coughs*

Nodame Cantabile: Apart from male senpai on girl violence, a fun and heartwarming drama with quirky characters and great music. Chiaki <3

Ohitorisama: Should have been subtitled "Julia's life in ten years". Veggie boy has the nicest smile ever. Highly recommended!

Otomen: I think I gave up before the end. Seemingly perfect and "manly" guy has a secret desire to knit. Oh my God.

Pride: KimuTaku plays substitute lover for OL's absent boyfriend. The rest you can guess. (Not as bland as it sounds, though.)

Rebound: Apart from unrealistically fast weight loss and gain, nice drama addressing several problems at once. Funny male rival.

Samurai High School: Miura Haruma gets possessed by a samurai spirit at the most inconvenient times. Yawn.

Shikaotoko Awoniyoshi: Anti-hero has to save the world - at least a talking deer says so. Japanese history for the lazy.

Sora kara furu ichioku no hoshi: Dark and mysterious. When will girls learn to stay away from bad boys?

Stand up!: Or why it's hard on four guys if all they can do is stand and watch...

Sunao ni narenakute: Similar to Last Friends (same actors O.o), good ideas wasted.

Tokyo Dogs: Will two cops save a girl, and who will win her heart? Mizushima Hiro has facial hair. >.< Thankfully, Oguri Shun doesn't. 

Uta no Onii-san: Ohno-kun lands the wrong job and has to start liking it. Crazy people. Not recommended for Japanese studying.

Voice: Listen to what the dead people are saying. A bit slow and a bit lacking in the character department, but solid.

Watashi ga ren'ai dekinai riyuu: Why can't I, indeed? Surprisingly realistic look on love nowadays.

Yasuko to Kenji: Over the top and a tad repetitive, but great fun.

Yoiko no Mikata: Kids are cute. Arashi's Sakurai-kun is cute (he cries in every episode). Addresses child raising issues in modern Japan.

Yuukan Club: Bunch of high school kids is bored with their rich and sheltered life and get involved into cases. If that isn't boring.

Zenkai Girl: She's never had it, now she wants it: Money. But what about the poor, but cute ikumen and her ideal of a good lawyer?

Zettai Kareshi: Never in her life had she imagined she'd be torn between her hot junior boss and a ... robot?! Be careful what you wish for.

* No italics doesn't mean I don't recommend the drama, but the italics are my favourites and should be safe for most tastes to watch. Some dramas were nice (if you like the genre), but didn't thrill me. Should I mark the "definitely not recommended"s? I don't want to offend anyone who does like those, though.

Shall I list the movies, too?


I got the job!!!

Well, okay, I got an inofficial job offer (内定) and I need to get a work permit for Switzerland, but I think I can manage that. Woohoo!!!

Now if only this awful cold will disappear quickly. The father here is pretty mad I haven't seen a doctor yet (but didn't offer to accompagny me -.-) but then again also wants me to work. So am I sick enough to warrant seeing a doctor or not sick enough to stop working? Usually, when you have a cold you're supposed to rest...
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Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me

Today I'm bringing you a different kind of translation. This time, it's not Japanese → English, it's Taylor Swift → damaging hidden messages. Yup.

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Plus, has anyone seen the promotional video for this song? Of course the nerdy girl turns beautiful in the end - and that's when he realises he likes her better than the other girl. So much ouch.
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Garnet Crow - Float World

The miniqlo version of this song has been stuck in my ears for a while now. Probably because my friend Naori sang it at karaoke last year. <3 I translated the first part of this while on Skype with my (Japanese, for those of you who don't know it) boyfriend and asked him for the meaning of 底なく because when I googled that expression, it appeared so rarely used that the third result and half of the other links on the first page were actually this song.
Translated with lyrics from here.

Float World

Don't you have moments when you want to leave it all to your impulses, putting everything to an end?
The times full of love won't go on forever

Because people are weak, they live for someone else
With that intention, they go on desiring

Are we still trying to go to unknown places?
Despite its vague image
Isn't here fine?
If we attack the coming tomorrow
we'll be content... Float World

I'd rather be stupid than want nothing but the truth and get hurt
It's better to be able to give a bottonless
don't you think?
I don't have any experience to boast of
but I'm rescued again by a measureless feeling [?]

I'll be born again by midnight...
I gazed at the moon, like I was praying
One more night...? Another night?
What should I permit?
What is it that's lacking?

No matter how much loneliness controls me
I can't surrender my heart to someone

Because when you turn around someday, suddenly lonely
at that moment, I want to hold you

We're wandering about, because we're hoping there's something
in a different place, aren't we?
Isn't here fine?
If we attack the coming tomorrow
Surround myself...
Float World

Harry Potter fanfic recommendations, please!

I'm looking for Harry Potter fanfics that read like continuations of Harry Potter. Or fics that fill time missing from the books, like what Dumbledore's Army under Neville, Luna and Ginny experienced during DH. (I know there's Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness, and I believe it is very good, but it seems a little too dark for me.)
This could be anything from direct war aftermath fics like this one, rebuilding the wizarding world and reforming the ministry, or a new threat (a believable one, please!) ten years down the road, or a fic about one or several of the next generation kids going to Hogwarts.
This should feel as close to canon as possible. I know we don't really know a lot about the children of Harry & Co., but at least the adults should be in character here. I also like my pairings canon, so Harry X Ginny and Ron X Hermione, please.
My favourite characters apart from the trio are Luna and Neville - not as a couple, although I wouldn't mind to see them dating prior to Luna X Rolf and Neville X Hannah. It can just be one of them in the fic, or a friendship story.
Stories about the lives of Lily and the Marauders would be interesting as well, if they're well-written and fit with the books.

I have read the first of Lippert's James Potter "books" and hated it. I'm sorry if you liked it, this is completely based on taste, but to give you an idea what I'm not looking for: I hated it because I felt like the author did not do his research properly, gratuiously changed canon details, had characters like McGonagall out of character and shoved American stus down our throats with no real purpose to the story. Plus, the villains annoyed me.
I also read the first volume in the Albus Potter series by Vekin87 and was disappointed by the writing and weak story.

On my reading list are Cursed by Myth and Legend, Harry Potter and the Next Great Battle by pokecharm, Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts by VanceMcGill, Hogwarts Houses Divided by Inverarity and Rebuilding Life by Kezzabear. Have you read any of these, did you like them and do you know similar stories?

To sum it up: I'm looking for good (as in well-written and canon-compliant) and preferably complete or regularly updating fics that expand the HP series. They can be prequels or sequels or depict "missing" time in between the books.

Nakajima Miyuki - 銀の龍の背に乗って (Ride on the Silver Dragon's Back)

My friend who gave me this Kokia song always sings this at karaoke, and I've grown very fond of it. I almost like it as much as 時代.

Beyond that pale ocean, someone is surely hurting right now
Like a young bird yet unable to fly, I am lamenting my powerlessness
Hurry up, sadness, and turn into wings
Hurry up, scars, and turn into a compass
Like a young bird yet unable to fly, I am lamenting my powerlessness

Until my dreams will came to pick me up, I spent yesterday trembling and only waiting
Tomorrow, I'll go to the dragon's feet, climb the cliff and yell: "Come on, let's go"
Ride on the silver dragon's back, let's go and deliver to life's desert
Ride on the silver dragon's back, let's go carry a swirl of rainclouds

Even having lost anything you can lose, people will still cling to somebody's finger
The reason we only have soft skin is so we will listen to others' pain
Hurry up, sadness, and turn into wings
Hurry up, scars, and turn into a compass
Like a young bird yet unable to fly, I am lamenting my powerlessness

Even on wings like cotton dust, with undependable nails like leave buds
Tomorrow, I'll go to the dragon's feet, climb the cliff and yell: "Come on, let's go"
Ride on the silver dragon's back, let's go and deliver to life's desert
Ride on the silver dragon's back, let's go carry a swirl of rainclouds

Ride on the silver dragon's back, let's go carry a swirl of rainclouds
Ride on the silver dragon's back
Ride on the silver dragon's back

KOKIA - 0 kara no hajimari (Start from 0)

When I first started feeling down, a good friend of mine made me a CD. I like this particular Kokia song, so I thought I'd translate it for you all. :)

Start from 0
I, I love you, I am here
I wanted someone to know that, and the pain in my chest, too
You don't have to hold out more than you already do
is what I wanted someone to tell me, in gentle words
I wanted to lean on someone

My hurt, closed, half-broken heart
is nevertheless shouting out for love
"It's painful", "help me"

Hey, it's scary, isn't it, relinquishing everything
Nonetheless we have to go on, starting from 0

A~, I start up, a~ many times
A~, please give me reassuring courage

Please give me the courage to take the first step
as I am, I'll drown
I can't even breathe

My hurt, closed, half-broken heart
is nevertheless shouting out for love
"It's painful", "help me"
Please give me the courage to take the first step
as I am, I'll drown
I can't even breathe

Hey, it's scary, isn't it, relinquishing everything
but nonetheless I have to be going on, starting from 0
omg lol

Speaking of TV shows...

... after watching way too many episodes of Pretty Little Liars lately, now I keep thinking "text message from A!" every time someone's phone beeps on Revenge. X'D I guess the similar premise of the stories doesn't make it any better.

Btw, these Pretty Little Liar recaps are hilarious.
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