i thought i’d written this up on here before, but i can’t find it. so let me tell you my favourite story about my time in oxford.
my college library is a converted church (with graveyard still attached). and it closed at about 1am every night, but they let people keep working in the vestry – where there were… i think six desks? – overnight. i was not very good at doing my work at anything other than the absolute last minute, and would fairly often end up in the vestry the night before an essay was due.
it was grim. honestly i do not miss it.
the highlight of those nights was when i allowed myself a break to go out to buy a burger from the kebab van that was on the other side of the high street. the nearest kebab van was ahmed’s. kebab vans in oxford are serious business (there are few kebab shops, and they’re mostly not near the colleges, where the first and third-year students often live in). i just looked ahmed’s up to check i was spelling his name right and found this amazing painting of the van!!
anyway. so one night in – i guess it was probably april? i think it was in my final year, and not too long to go before exams – i walked out to the kebab van. it was 2am, or maybe 3am. a weeknight – maybe a tuesday – and there was nobody around. too late for other people taking study breaks, and maybe the people who were out clubbing weren’t coming back yet. i felt like i and ahmed and the other guy who worked in his van were the only people alive.
and then an entire band of men turned up in full 16th century regalia.
i think maybe one or two of them had musical instruments with them, but not all of them. they stood there. they didn’t seem to think that they were doing anything unusual. i guess for them, it wasn’t. nobody else came by. nobody said anything except to order some food.
i thought: am i hallucinating??? what is happening???
i always ordered a cheeseburger at ahmed’s, and as it wasn’t a busy night they didn’t already have any cooking, so i stood by the van for a good five minutes while it cooked, just watching these men, who seemed like time-travellers, solemnly order their kebabs. none of them had phones out or anything. nothing broke the illusion except the situation we were in. it honestly felt like time was collapsing. like we had all been pulled out of the timestream and were just chilling here together. it wasn’t april whatever, 3am, 2011. it was no time, no place. The Kebab Van At The End of Time.
they just seemed like people from the past who wanted to get something to eat. an eternal constant. and the guys in the van were as nonchalant about it as the men themselves were. yeah, we get sixteenth century people through here all the time.
I’ve realized I don’t actually believe it’s possible to “teach” someone a language.
You can provide resources, but the student needs to use them.
You can answer questions, but the student needs to ask them first.
You can point at a word and say “This means that.” And then the same again for the next word. And then again, and again, and again. But a dictionary can do this too.
You can give a long awkward explanation of all the grammatical exceptions to the rules, but you’ll probably leave them even more confused than when they started.
What you can do is inspire them, give them passion – the longest-lasting and most useful gift you can give someone who wants to learn a language. If you ignite the flame of excitement within them to pursue the language on their own, they will continue to learn for the rest of their lives, even without you.
The dub of episode 12 was wonderful, but one line really stood out to me, as a summary of the unique format of the Yuri on Ice story and how it plays with the usual happy ending cliches. (It was in the sub as well, and it caught my eye there as well but something about hearing it made it a lot more interesting.)
“No tale is more compelling, than one that never ends.”
In context, it’s about JJ and Seung Gil Lee, two skaters who are in the prime of their career and whose subtle interactions with each other will continue long past the Grand Prix Final. After all, the Grand Prix is just the start of the skating season. There is so much left to do, and so many stories to be told on the sidelines of the greater Victor/Yuri arc.
And the thing about skating is that it never stops. Individual skaters work through their careers, but then they coach or choreograph or inspire other younger skaters, who step into their places and continue refining the art. It’s a neverending story, one that only gets greater over time. There’s so much love for the immortality of the ice- the infinite and eternal possibility of greater things in the future- in the writing. No ends, no neatly tied up resolutions. Everything keeps going, and that perpetual motion is beautiful.
Look at the story we get told with Yuri on Ice. It starts with two skaters in a standstill, trying to figure out how to move forward with their lives. Their victory is not winning a gold medal or getting married and having babies, it’s continuing with their careers, continuing to contribute to the eternal story. They don’t get to settle down, they get to be immortal.
Even if we get a season two, I don’t think we’ll ever get a cut and dried ending, where everyone waltzes into the sunset. That would be a betrayal of the story they’re trying to tell. It isn’t about finding happiness, it’s about progress, about inspiring each other to be better skaters and attaining happiness in the process.
Maybe one of the main characters will retire, but certainly not permanently. There will always be the next generation in the wings to be tutored, a surprise comeback to be made. One more competition, one more year, one more medal or routine, all the way into forever.
Not only is that sort of open ended storytelling uniquely poignant, it’s also perfect for a show that endeavors not just to tell a love story but to tell the story of an entire sport. Nothing ever stops, there is no final goal to reach, only an ever evolving conglomerate of beauty that every athlete contributes to. A happy ending for Yuri on Ice is an anti-ending, one forever that promises a more glorious future just around the corner.
Let me explain what everything is wrong with this one sentence.
First of all, no characters except the characters that actually are involved in this relationship have something to do with the relationship itself. Is the relationship unhealthily from both parts there’s no other character who can fix this.
Another thing is, other characters shouldn’t be used as arguments in serious discussions, especially when they have nothing to do with it. Have fun with your headcanons but when you want to argue in a way that someone can take it seriously keep them out.
Finally, a character can’t ship anything except he says it. When he don’t say anything, then it’s fanon and should be keep fanon. Having facts and headcanons mixed up is a dangerous thing to do. When it comes to ss it mostly ends up in glorifying abusive elements that shouldn’t be glorified (but that’s nothing new….)
But you know what? A character can actually support another relationship with his actions and words. And that’s what Itachi did.
Let’s make it clear. Itachi wanted Sasuke happy. He was never pro-”insert-shipname-here”, he was only pro-”Sasukes-happiness”.
“But Itachi never said anything about another person who could make Sasuke happy!!!”
I found these Ixamitl clothes on the thieves who stole the scroll from Wael’s temple and so on. They are utterly defenseless but I popped ‘em on Lenn anyway, as you do, and then they were so CUTE I had to try them on the whole party in a variety of colors too.
Can we have a very late retroactive DLC in which we all need to travel to Ixamitl in local attire? This is adorable.