Will J. J.

Day-to-day musings and occasional short stories for your delight.


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Your Name – Kimi No Na Wa.

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You guys might not know this about me, but I love movies. They are, hands down, my favorite form of media. A couple of weeks ago, I was on a flight back from New York City with Emily, and I found a Japanese movie called Your Name (also known as Kimi No Na Wa.) on the in-flight screen on the seat in front of me. The title immediately rang a bell because I’m a fan of anime and had heard that this one was insanely popular in Japan, breaking all kinds of box office records, and I had seen other films by the director, Makoto Shinkai.

 

I started the movie, expecting to watch it casually, because, let’s be honest, you don’t usually watch a movie on a plane expecting to be the most engaged. I was dead wrong. From the very first scene, I was sucked right in, and I was just praying the flight wouldn’t end before I finished the movie. At one point, I was actually crying and clutching the seat in front of me with both hands. It was an intense experience, an incredible movie, and it finished just before we landed. What I didn’t realize is that it won’t be released in the U.S. until April 7th, so no one I know has seen it yet. It has been KILLING me not having anyone to talk about this movie with, because it’s downright amazing.

 

Your Name is a fantasy, drama, romance story about two high schoolers in Japan who begin waking up in each other’s bodies at random, and the two must adapt their lives around each other while building an unlikely connection. The two are bound by fate, but kept apart by more than just distance. The premise might sound silly or overly sentimental, but instead, the result is genius. I don’t dare divulge more of the plot, because the film reveals itself in such beautiful ways that it would be a crime to spoil. What I can say is that the characters are equal parts hilarious and authentic, the animation is astonishing, and the story is heartbreaking, thrilling, and satisfying. Even saying that, though, doesn’t really capture the essence of what makes it great. This is so much more than just a romance, and it would be a shame to try and cram it into that category alone. 

 

Your Name is a special movie. It’s ambitious, original, honest, and vivid. This movie tapped into so many of the themes I cherish most, including love, time, and dreams. It explored love in such a pure yet genuine state that I have never seen portrayed nearly so well. Quite frankly, this movie reminded me of some of my deepest beliefs that I hadn’t really thought about in ages.

 

Your Name is my new favorite movie, and I haven’t had a new favorite movie in over a decade. I take favorites very seriously. Rest assured, when it comes to the U.S. on April 7th, I will be the first in line to see it again. I recommend you check it out too 🙂

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Friday

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Hey everybody! I know it’s been a while. This is a little something I’ve been working on this week, a poem about the wonder of Friday. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Friday

You spend your week, slaving away,
Fighting and driving and toiling, all day,
Waiting for the moment when you can rest,
Free of the work that’s had you so stressed.

The week passes slowly, each moment a grind,
Every minute dragging, exhaustion combined.
You claw toward the weekend, so eager to send
Those troubles away, replaced with your friends,
And become that person you are on the weekend.

At long last it comes, the wondrous Friday,
One day of work, all that stands in your way.
Your eyes light up, giddy with joy,
Flooding your mind with the times you’ll enjoy.

Remember how it was when you were a child,
Waiting for the bell so you could run wild,
Dashing away, your face a bright smile,
Knowing the teachers couldn’t catch you for a while.
All the effort and stress of five long days,
Releasing it all, that’s the magic of Friday.

So pick up a brew, go out with the crew,
Open a book, settle in your nook,
Run through the grass, catch a prize bass,
Start a game, bring glory to your screen name,
Go for a hike, break out your bike,
Catch up on tv, steep yourself some tea,
Whatever your choice, dive in and rejoice.

Embrace the cheer you seek,
For you’ve survived another week.
You’ve lived through many, with many to come,
But the struggles of life aren’t easily overcome.
Don’t lightly forget them. No, celebrate, and praise!
For we measure life in years, but live it in days.


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Why I Love Long Drives

Day 3005

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            This past weekend, I took a short trip to my hometown to see some family. On Sunday, as I blankly sat in traffic on the return trip, I started thinking back on many of the long drives I’ve taken in my life, and I realized something pretty interesting: I have never arrived at any destination feeling the same as I did when I first set out.

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            Growing up, my grandparents lived 500 miles away at the southernmost tip of Texas, and I used to visit them every so often. I grew up an only child, so any chance to see my relatives was more than welcome. Every time we had to leave their house, I was devastated, and I remember on one occasion sobbing uncontrollably as I waved goodbye from inside the car. I recall thinking in that childish fit of emotion that I would never feel happy again, but as the orange fields and palm trees gradually gave way to endless prairie and desert, I started feeling better. There was something about the hypnotic view just outside my window that soothed me and told me that everything would be alright, even if I didn’t understand it right then.

            Perhaps the most memorable journey I’ve taken is the 200-mile drive between my hometown, Fort Worth, and Austin. I’ve always had family in Austin, and I attended The University of Texas at Austin, so I’ve made this trip countless times over the years. Those 200 miles have become something of a friendly trail for me, and as I have grown, so has that trail’s meaning. I remember excitedly packing the car for all sorts of trips back and forth, but the memories that stand out most powerfully are the trips that began more somberly. Whether it was just a sentimental reaction to leaving home, the emotion of saying goodbye to someone special in Fort Worth, or something else entirely, it seemed like almost every drive back to Austin during my college years began wistfully.

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             But as sadly as those drives began, my perspective always shifted over the course of the journey. With each curve of the highway, my jumbled thoughts cleared slightly. The emotion of the moment was replaced with a view of the bigger picture, and without fail, by the time I reached Austin I was left with a sense of resolve and a renewed focus on my path ahead.

 

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            There is just something about a long drive that’s so beautiful. Maybe it’s the rare opportunity to reflect within yourself, or maybe it’s the sense of the world passing all around you, but it never fails to give me a new outlook.


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Valentine’s Day

Day 2995 

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Once a year, February 14th rolls by on the calendar, and this day is accompanied by a flurry of emotion. This holiday drives so many people to extraordinary lengths in the name of affection, as if one forgotten gesture might negate an entire year of love. I should know; I’ve been there myself. For others, Valentine’s Day is a somber and unwelcome reminder of their own loneliness. I have been there as well. Like many things in life, however, I have learned that this holiday is more about the significance you attach to it than anything else.

If you are happily involved in a relationship, I wish you only the most joyous of holidays, but I urge you not to place too much pressure on yourself or your partner for this one day. It is only one among many, and all that makes this one special is that it won a lottery with 1/365 odds. I give you this advice because I have committed the sin of overvaluing Valentine’s Day several times, and it has never ended well. In my past relationships, I was pretty gung-ho about Valentine’s Day, to the extent that I would spend months planning. Not that planning itself is such a bad idea, but trying to design a perfect moment in a world beyond your control will almost assuredly lead to disappointment. Don’t be afraid of spontaneity. Many of life’s greatest moments come at the intersection of luck and coincidence.

If you are single this Valentine’s Day, you might be feeling lonely and down. If happy, relationshipped people surround you, it’s easy to wonder why you haven’t been as fortunate, and that question can lead to a very dark road. So, for all of you feeling disconsolate on this holiday, I would like to share a thought that has helped me through many a lonesome hour. Try to remember that being alone and being lonely do not have to mean the same thing. Alone has a power and a freedom that no one in a relationship can have, and being with someone does not necessarily make you less lonely. In fact, I’ve been in several relationships that lead me to places of greater misery and loneliness than I have ever experienced alone.

 All those lovey-dovey people surrounding you, they might be happier than you, but maybe they aren’t. Maybe there is some boyfriend or girlfriend out there on this Valentine’s Day wishing they were in your situation. The grass isn’t always greener, and I can attest to that. This is the third year in a row that I’ve been valentine-less, and I am happier now than I have ever been before. Why? Because I recognize that being alone, while not without its own challenges, can also be something brilliant. I like being unattached, and I think that getting to know yourself is a very underappreciated prerequisite for happiness. Put simply, I’m satisfied, and I hope that you, single or not, know that joy also 🙂