They’re born into magical families, but they have no magical ability themselves. They never get to go to Hogwarts, they never get a wand from Ollivander’s… But they are always surrounded by magic. Mothers and fathers all casting spells all the time, while they trudge along behind, unable to join in. And it must be the worst, to know about this world and know that you’re the disappointing child who can’t be like the rest of the family.
But what if they just develop their own brand of magic?
Dream with me. We know that Harry & CO learn all about the witch hunts. It’s brushed over in the books and stuff. We only hear about the witches and wizards who get caught, enjoy the process of burning with all their protective spells, and then go on their merry way. We assume that it was a bunch of muggles who were really killed. Weird old women who lived alone in the woods. Young women who made poultices and grew herbs. Men who had great affinity with the earth and the seasons.
They were targeting squibs.
Squibs, who had grown up with magic, but always seen it as unattainable. So they turned outward, toward the magic of the energies of the world. They learned to divine the future with cards and drops of ink. They found a way to gently push at the flow of life around them, doing a smaller, slower sort of magic. And they formed covens, to talk about their way of life and to share their methods.
And as time passes, as history moves past burnings and trials, they still practice. They charge crystals in the moonlight. They have incredible gardens. And, incredibly, they have access to the magical paraphernalia in their homes. Their brothers and sisters come home from Diagon Alley with bags full of mandrake root, because wouldn’t you know it, it’s the perfect thing to mix with mugwort to produce deep, dreamless sleep! They pour over the old family copy of The Standard Book Of Spells for tips on how to give a real kick to their sigils. When a friend is stressing over exams, they may not be able to help blocking hexes, but you can bet they’ll be there with supportive words and a fresh spell jar to help soothe anxiety!
And sure, witches and wizards mutter about the incredibly simple magic. It’s a big joke that’s giggled over in Witch Weekly articles. But simple as it is, the magic works. And better, it provides these beautiful, kind people with a community of their own that they can turn to. And sometimes the families will get involved, celebrating Samhain with conjured bats and floating candles, and enchanting maypoles to twirl through the air for Beltane, and always offering tips where they can, for the bits of magic that you don’t need to be born magical to do.
It’s not the right, “normal” sort of magic. It’s magic with a big bold “k” tacked onto the end of it, bold as brass. But somehow, this world blooms in the heart of the wizarding world. Somehow, everyone gets along.
So at the end of every volume of NANA, Ai Yazawa has a brief paragraph about the manga or just some introspection about her life. They give great insight into the series and I think only a few are found on the scans of NANA online, so I thought I’d share them all!
The creator, Ai Yazawa, told us, “I created this story so that it could be enjoyed as a stand-alone and, at the same time, have a complete ending that could be connected to an ongoing series. I hope you’ll look forward to the future of the two Nanas!”
A note from Ai Yazawa: “I had thought that if the two Nanas met each other, they would probably be constantly fighting, but they seem oddly friendly. What’s up with that?! It’s one of me (not so) seven wonders (ha-ha).”
Since childhood, the artists I’ve looked up to haven’t been writers and illustrators, but mostly musicians. Music provides me the most emotional effect and excitement. If there was no music, I don’t think my creative juices would boil. Music is that important to my life.
- Ai Yazawa
I realized one day that there are hit songs with the same names as the main female characters, NANA, JUNKO, and SACHIKO (the kanji for JUNKO is different, though). It’s not that big a deal, but I sometimes just hum the melodies longingly.
- Ai Yazawa
In the initial drafts, Nana’s band was a rockabilly band like the Stray Cats. But due to various circumstances, I didn’t keep it that way. But if they were rockabilly, Ren, Nobu and Shin would have had pompadours. And Yasu too?
- Ai Yazawa
When I was a child, I used to take piano lessons. Even after I stopped taking lessons, I bought sheet music I liked and continued playing. I’ve had my hands full for several years now, but one of these days I’d like to learn how to play jazz piano, which I’ve wanted to do for years now.
- Ai Yazawa
I had an opportunity to interview a group of professional musicians. I showered them with questions, but they answered willingly, and it was very helpful. I was having problems balancing the fictional world of manga-like simplicity and gorgeousness with a sense of reality. But I realized again that what’s important is the humanity of the characters.
- Ai Yazawa
When I was in high school, there was a cool girl in my class who was a lone wolf. I was really into a foreign New Romantic-type band then, and when she asked me one day, “Do you want to go to their concert together?” I was overwhelmed. My heart fluttered more than when I was with my boyfriend (☺). Have you had a Hachiko experience like that? - Ai Yazawa
Well lemme just tell you a lil’ about this Michigan Native!
Born and raised in Troy, Michigan. Her parents signed her up as a kid to Rec, went to 5 tryouts but didn’t make a team until one needed a back-up. Eventually became a starter and from then out performed for her team. In high school,
she was named to the all-state first team, the all-district first team, the all-conference first team, and all-region first team. She then attended the University of Michigan! Go Blue!
She had a terrific career at Michigan. During her best season, which was her 1st after a season ending injury her freshman year, Kopmeyer led the Big Ten in saves (56), save percentage (.862) and saves-per-game (5.60) during conference play while topping the conference in overall save percentage (.848) and sharing the lead in saves (95). She played in 16 games, making 15 starts and set the school rookie record for shutouts with six. She was awarded the University of Michigan Athletic Academic Achievement Award for the second year running and earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
After 4 incredible seasons, this Michigan product, to her surprise, was drafted 31st overall by the Seattle Reign in 2013. Kopmeyer didn’t believe she’d even be drafted and thus already had plans working somewhere else in marketing. She even watched the 2013 NWSL draft until the 29th pick and stopped there and went to work bc she thought she wasn’t going to be drafted only to get a call from her father to which she started bawling.
Unfortunately, she was released from the team due to league roster constraints; however she was re-signed by the team for the 2014 season to back up Hope Solo.
In 2014, as back up to Hope, Kopmeyer believed it was a year she and Hope had began their relationship which was ‘massive’ , in her own words, in the sense that she had the opportunity to grow and learn from the best goal keeper in the world. She finally had someone who believed in her and thus from there on out kept improving as a GK.
On her first ever start in 2014, something only our Kop would do, she went to the wrong goal and so ran the entire field to get to the right one.
However, she did keep a clean sheet and the unbeaten streak while bringing the club to its fifth shutout in twelve games. Not to mention, some really good saves
Kopmeyer has been the back up since 2014 but in the years 2015-17, she’s taken a bigger role as Hope is in rehab now and taken a break from football. She is now the No.1 and has been putting on stellar performances for the Reign.
From being rejected as a kid in rec games, to starting in the wrong goal as a professional to being Player of the Week and now Seattle Reign’s No.1, Haley Kopmeyer is a Seattle Reign FC Original and forever a gem to our team.
I spent most of my weekend attempting to go through and transcribe more of Rachel‘s letters.
For those who haven’t been following along, Rachel was a teenage girl who was attending a prestigious boarding school in Boston (and later in Philadelphia) in the 1890s. I bought a bunch of letters written by her (and other family members/friends) at a flea market two summers ago. Most of the letters were written to her cousins Will and Jack, who were right around her age and were at Phillips Academy and later Harvard and Yale.
I’m going to try to get around to photographing the letters soon, but for now here are a just a few of the many, many highlights and interesting tidbits…
Rachel was almost expelled from Dana Hall in 1895 for… something. She never says exactly what she did. The only thing I’ve managed to discern is that it started with her and her roommate going to the headmistress to jokingly “confess their crimes” after another girl had been expelled for fighting, and ended with two full school faculty meetings and her losing her Hogsmeade Boston privileges until Easter.
Rachel has an aunt named Isabel S. Smith. As far as I can tell the S also stands for Smith.
Will sent Rachel a picture of himself and his roommate Allen. Rachel
hung the picture in her room. The other girls in her dormitory saw it
and now everyone is in love with Allen.
Allen refers to himself
as Will’s husband. He signs his letters to him “Hubby”. Rachel randomly
ran into Allen’s dad somewhere and wrote Will to let him know that his
“father-in-law” seems like a lovely man.
A lucky rabbit’s foot was THE must-have accessory of 1896.
Trying to make plans by letter and telegraph seems to have been surprisingly similar to trying to make plans by text
For the 1896 Election Rachel’s school had mock elections where each dorm room was an election district, and then they stayed up late waiting for the results which were announced by ringing the electric bell in the tower (6 times for Bryan, 12 for McKinley). None of these girls would be able to actually vote for president for another 24 years.