I just had tea time with Snowrice. She owns this personal blog about a lot of stuff. I mostly followed her when she was sharing this story about a romantic encounter. I like the way she write, and so I asked her for tea time. To recap, tea time is a collab project wherein I will have a conversation with another blogger. A normal interview is too boring though, for me. So, instead, I ask them about their favorite whatever. It can be a story, a movie or an anime. We’ll then discuss the movie and I’ll post the conversation. It’s a more casual way of getting to know someone.
I planned on doing twelve, but I burned out last year. I now plan on continuing this project of mine. I planned twelve guests, one for each month. I think I stopped at four, or something. So, this’ll be tea time for May.
The fave thing Snowrice chose is In This Corner of the World, so please enjoy.
In This Corner of the World
TPAB: Hey! good morning?
Snowrice: Yes! It’s morning over here–very sunny too. I guess I should say ‘good evening’?
TPAB: Time zones are weird like that
Snowrice: Yeah, but thank goodness we only have to do add 12 hrs in our case
TPAB: Thanks for recommending it. i had zero clue going into it and it was truly shocking and beautiful
Snowrice: Honestly, I didn’t know what it was going to be about either–I was post-surgery, recovering and needed to do something, and this movie was recommended. I took that time to review the movie since it’s been a while since I first saw it.
TPAB: sounds like a fun show to watch while recovering. you watched it again yesterday?
Snowrice: yes! I watched most of it yesterday.
TPAB: wow. I don’t think I can watch it again tbh
Snowrice: That’s what I thought too… I thought it was quite memorable and a one-time watch type of film, but watching it again helped me take note of more things that can slip through the first time around
TPAB: Oh, what slipped through the first time? i heard it was an extensively researched movie about Hiroshima
Snowrice: Probably, the use of a Christmas instrumental song at the beginning of the movie. Idk why but I totally missed out on the fact that Lin was Suzu’s husband’s mistress
TPAB: whoa he had a mistress? Who’s Lin? I think I missed that too lol
Snowrice: We see Lin at the beginning of the film as the girl who ate the leftover watermelon. We see her again as an adult when Suzu gets lost in the red-light district
TPAB: Ah, the hostess. I remember her. She was the mistress? How?
Snowrice: After one of the many air raids in Kure (after Harumi’s death), Suzu goes to her husband and after hearing the red-light district burned to the ground, Suzu asks him to “Find Lin.”
TPAB: hmm, I remember that loo. Oddly not the mistress part. Well, the movie is full of subtle details
Snowrice: It was a very subtle detail, but when I looked it up, my observation was confirmed. In the manga, it’s apparently more explicit.
TPAB: Ah, I should rewatch the movie and see it for myself
Life During War Times
Snowrice: It also seemed that Suzu wasn’t all too surprised if her husband visited red-light district, and I wouldn’t blame her, especially after he basically propositioned her to her childhood friend
TPAB: I remember that scene too, but it was actually a very beautiful scene as far as i remember. Basically, the husband knows she was separated from her normal life, she used to love the person and the guy was going to die soon, so she wanted him to spend the soldier’s final hours with her, the childhood friend. And the dutiful wife just promptly followed her husband’s order
Snowrice: Really? Re-watching that scene, I felt so much disappointment. I was glad he understood that Suzu and the friend would likely never see each other again, but he kind of disrespected her by making that sort of assumption of her. I’m glad that Suzu was able to gain closure without giving into what was expected of her though.
TPAB: I think he accepted anything can happen that night. He just really wanted Suzu to say her good byes. Kinda cool Suzu was very a respectable person though
Snowrice: I think a lot of the movie revolves around Suzu’s awareness and control in her life, which a lot of the characters in the movie tend to comment on often. A comment that was often made was “You were brought here.” “You were forced to live with us.” etc…
TPAB: yeah, a slice of the forgotten past. Those arranged marriages during the war times. I love that detail of the movie
Snowrice: I think what, to me, and to Suzu, what was offensive was that no one seemed to assume that, in fact, she chose the life she was living
TPAB: Yeah, I think she didn’t really want the life too, but she respects tradition, culture, and she makes the most of what she has. Often understanding some things are out of our control
Snowrice: I think she was affected with the speed of everything–one day, you’re single, the next you’re on your way to a stranger’s home. One second, you have your right hand, the next it’s gone. The movie really emphasizes the idea of timing–how timing means so much in a war. It also reflects how careful one needs to be in making life choices.
TPAB: True. So true. And life often just blows a bomb in our face.
Snowrice: I think part of why Suzu was against the marriage was because she was being separated from her family in the middle of a war to live in a place that had an ‘unsafe’ reputation.
TPAB: The movie really pulled her away from her life, and she even had a romantic encounter before the arranged marriage, highlighting how sudden the whole thing is
A Slice of Historical Life
Snowrice: But I loved the glimpses into the character’s lives as normal, ordinary people. I think when it comes to wars, people get too obsessed with the battle fights, the technology used, the political ideologies, so much that no one really acknowledges the mundane–what everyday life may have been.
TPAB: I think that’s really the strength of the movie. it doesn’t really focus on the war, although the historical details are true and accurate, but it instead focuses on the life the historical books doesn’t really mention. the struggle of the normal life during the war period and how tough people had it, but also how tough they are to go through it
Snowrice: The first time I watched the movie, I thought the scenes of her resourcefulness while cooking, having meals with the family, were relaxing, but the second time around, I realized that even though this was their normal, it was a very purposeful normal. They all endured and struggled because they knew they were in a war, and they really believed they had a chance to win–they thought they were in the right.
TPAB: She had to make meals out of stuff going outside their house, and she had to ration food to feed a lot of people. and she does it with a smile on her face. it really makes you want to cheer her on
Snowrice: It’s such a hopeful outlook–the one that Suzu presents, which makes it all even sadder when you, as the viewer, realize the true outcome.
TPAB: It was actually halfway through the movie when i realized the bomb was going to drop. hahaha
Snowrice: Me too, actually!
TPAB: I was really mesmerized by the slice of life aspect of the movie to notice it
Snowrice: When she said she was going back to Hiroshima to visit her family, I was like, well… nice knowing you.
TPAB: Yes! Exactly that moment too. but yknow, the movie actually pointed this out very early on, since it featured a lot of the Hiroshima views pre-atom bomb
Snowrice: Yep, when she drew Hiroshima, and how it all used to look from her perspective.
TPAB: And then the post-bomb was also shown. Absolutely horrific
Grave of the Fireflies?
Snowrice: I think the part about the bomb that made it especially horrifying was the flash. Everybody was going about their normal day, doing what needed to be done, and then a flash. During a sunny, clear day.
TPAB: And the impact was so massive. Suzu even felt it. Can you imagine being there, alive, on that day? my god
Snowrice: No one really thought too much about the flash. Oh my goodness, no. I can’t imagine that. I’ve had extended family and friends whose relatives were there when it happened. It wasn’t too out of the ordinary since they weren’t in Hiroshima.
TPAB: Oh yeah, you mentioned you were Japanese/Puerto Rican or something
Snowrice: They told me that it wasn’t normal, but at the beginning, there was no real indication that anything was particularly wrong–like really wrong. Yes, I am half and half.
TPAB: And then a screen door fell from the sky and landed on their trees. Anyways, I can tell you really like this movie huh? Have you seen Grave of the Fireflies
Snowrice: Yes, I really liked this movie! No, I haven’t seen Grave of the Fireflies. Heard of it, but haven’t seen it.
TPAB: Oh my, you need to see GotF. It’s an emotionally wrecking movie mostly about the same themes as this movie. In this Corner is just more positive, while GotF is tragic. So tragic I don’t want to watch it again
Snowrice: Really? You thought ‘in this corner’ was more positive? I thought it was depressing. I was crying so much at the end of the film.
TPAB: Compared to Grave of the Fireflies, since the movie is just super depressing. Especially for a Ghibli movie
Snowrice: I guess, to me, what makes it depressing is how that part of people’s lives is kind of ‘forgotten’ in a weird way. My dad, for example, didn’t really talk or know much about the war, other than the bombings.
TPAB: In this Corner featured their strong resolve though, which is really the best part of the movie. Life goes on, people go through awful stuff and yet you can’t give up. It’s super positive to me. Especially since Suzu was still so lifeful despite losing an arm.
Snowrice: I think, however, that part of that resolve was kind of ‘forced’ if that makes sense. There was no real other way to go but forward. Whether people liked it or not, they had to continue living with what they had. I perceived what you perceived as their strong resolve as kind of a numbing agent.
TPAB: Interesting viewpoint. I personally had to tough a lot of things out, like unplanned accidents, death of a loved ones and crushing defeat in various forms and I really can only be strong to live through it, since life won’t wait for me. it just moves on. “unplanned” accidents. wtf. i’m sorry
Snowrice: The song at the end, Kanashikute Yarikirenai, is what kind of gave that impression to me.
TPAB: What was the song about?
Snowrice: Before I tell you, the song was written in about 1967-68 by The Folk Crusaders during the mass student protests that took place in the late 60s. I wondered to myself, why use a protest song written in the 1960s for this type of movie…
TPAB: Oh, fascinating. Hold on, I’m looking up the song
Snowrice: At first glance, “Kanashikute” is nothing more than a sad tune about the anxieties of a troubled young adult. Unlike other critical folk songs of the 1960s, “Kanashikute” does not directly address any specific social ill or object of satire. In fact, its lyrics and passive deliverance run counter to the fierce and upbeat sounds popularly sung during this intensely confrontational time. If “Kanashikute” has any specific object of analysis, the whole Japanese populace of the 60s is it. The song pits “miserable sadness” and a lack of control to “bear it” against ideas of hesitant disclosure (“Shall I tell someone about it?”) to symbolize both the growing resentment and desire to quell it.
TPAB: Just listened to it. It made me sleepy, lol. and yeah, it does feel numbing. As if they don’t have a choice about their fate
Snowrice: I was obsessed with this song for about 8-10 months after watching the movie, so much that I actually analyzed it.
TPAB: But, is it weird, that I feel the grit beyond the frustration in the song? or am i just stupidly positive of a person? haha
Snowrice: I think the way Kotringo performs the song has that element of resolve and courage to move forward. The original tune, which I had heard since I was a child, was always very sad and reflected the uncertainties of a certain time, whether to act on those uncertainties or suppress and keep going because “it can’t be helped.”
TPAB: ah, but that’s the beauty of change though. what can be depressing can be interpret as something as culture evolve and whatnot. i find that thing fascinating. and you listen to protest songs as a child?
Snowrice: Lol no, I didn’t think about it as a protest song as a child. I came to that conclusion in my late teens/early 20s after studying Japanese culture and history more closely in college. and the original version of the song is much better, imo.
As a child, I listened to the tune because it was super relaxing, but the lyrics do translate to “It’s so sad, so very sad.” I thought it reflected uncertainty because later in the song, there is the option to let the resentment bleed into the next day or tell someone about it.
TPAB: I guess it does highlight the uncertainty of things, in a poetic way
Snowrice: As a child, I’d often ask my dad “why not just tell someone about it?” He didn’t really know what to say other than “it’s just not worth it.”
TPAB: Sounds like your dad went through some tough times too. Obviously he lived a very different and tougher life than us
Snowrice: Yeah, it was tough. Post-war Japan was full of very rapid economic growth and progress, so quickly that people would often doubt whether it was normal. He grew up during the bubble economy of the 80s. Once that popped in the 90s, the outlook was different.
TPAB: Sounds like you’ve done a lot research on this, huh
Snowrice: Yeah, I studied this in college and talked to relatives to back it up.
TPAB: History is a fun subject since it gives you an idea how people lived way back. the same thing this movie highlighted actually
Snowrice: Yeah, I think that’s what impacted me about the movie. I grew up primarily between the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In the U.S., WWII material focuses on the political and technological aspects of the war–the battles, the progression of the war, the treaties, and the consequences, but it’s unsurprisingly from a U.S./Western POV. This movie really captures in pretty much all of its scenes how the mundane was closely interwoven with a war society.
Snowrice: When Suzu says that Japan surrendered to violence, it’s a bit ironic and also sad since Japan was also a perpetrator, not a victim or a soldier seeking peace.
TPAB: I love that scene. I’ve seen it so many times in movie, when emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender. A lot of people were not really ready to give up, exactly how Suzu reacted. The Japanese was really so stubborn that it needed two bombs to convince them to stop
Snowrice: People relied on what the government told them and their own assumptions over what to make out of that information–they were losing since a very long time, but how could they have known?
TPAB: I believe they really considered themselves superior and their campaign was supported by the gods, or something. The movie also captured that mentality, imo
Snowrice: The contrast between the amount of effort, loss, grief, pain, and hope that the people experienced and endured vs. how quickly it was for them to listen to Hirohito “Yeah so the war is over. Carry on” was so powerful.
TPAB: That’s right. I mean, the characters in the movie alone endured so much
Snowrice: Keiko says “Oh, it’s finally over.” A few minutes later, Suzu sees her grieving for Harumi.
TPAB: That scene broke me since she felt like Harumi died for nothing. and the usually strong Keiko was out back crying for her daughter
Snowrice: Yes, for the characters, it seemed that they were left wondering “Was it all in vain?” Even then, whether it was or wasn’t, with the war over, it didn’t really matter anymore.
TPAB: Yeah, not a lot of happy endings during the war
Snowrice: And I liked that about the movie.
TPAB: You should definitely try Grave of the Fireflies next, lol
Snowrice: Okay, I’ll brace myself for it.
TPAB: No limbs were lost in that movie though. but yknow, it’s really devastating too
Snowrice: Lol glad to know everyone is in one piece regardless of whether they’re dead or alive. Losing a limb, especially the limb she depended on for her sanity, was heartbreaking.
TPAB: Oh, but trust me. I cannot pick up and rewatch that movie. It’s too much for me. I really admired Suzu though, for being so tough after that event. It truly displayed her grit and determination. I love it
Snowrice: I think after she lost her hand, we really got to see a ‘sober’ Suzu.
TPAB: Well losing a limb can do that to you
Snowrice: Her right hand provided an escape that made the circumstances of the war more bearable. Oh trust me, I know how hard it can be.
TPAB: Oh yeah, she painted and drew with that hand
Snowrice: I felt for Suzu when she was reflecting on how people said “I’m glad you survived.” “I’m glad you’re recovering so quickly.” For her, there was nothing to be glad about when a part of her was gone forever.
TPAB: She also shouldered Harumi’s death too, right? and it all happened fast. Didn’t even think the movie will go there
Snowrice: Yes. Harumi’s death was hard for Suzu, especially since it was preventable. Yet, at the same time, who could have foreseen it?
TPAB: Exactly. It was instant. Truly horrific
Snowrice: Same with the death of Suzu’s family–it didn’t have to be that way, but who could have foreseen that the war would escalate to that point?
TPAB: Yeah, my gosh, she lost so much.
Soft on the Eyes
Snowrice: I’m glad they showed glimpses of most of the different facets of the war in Japan. It wasn’t all too detailed, but it exposed enough of what may have occurred to give viewers an idea. It exposed what wasn’t obvious to someone reading a textbook.
TPAB: What do you think of the art btw? The cutesy style and the soft painting palette
Snowrice: It’s very soft, very childlike. Its vanilla and not super HD, but it functioned well for the movie. I think the art was meant to soften the tragic aspects of the film so as to not overwhelm the viewer, but also not diminishing the emotional impact. Had it been very saturated and detailed, it would have created a different impression.
TPAB: I think that’s why it felt like the ghibli movie, since also went cutesy with a bright color scheme. but yeah, I think the style is unique to the movie. It’s a refreshing style since it does feature more slice of life than the tragedy of it
Snowrice: Yes, the author of the manga and the animators presented that well.
TPAB: Whoa, this had a manga? in the same style too?
Snowrice: Yes, it’s a manga!
TPAB: Oh my, I didn’t know lol
Snowrice: The film was based on the manga. The author is from Hiroshima. I encountered the manga in my university’s bookstore a few months after seeing the film. It follows the same format and animation. There’s more detail and character build up to her husband (what I got from skimming a few pages), so I’m assuming there’s more that we missed out on in the film.
TPAB: If its character work then I’m sure the manga had plenty of it since the anime really focused on other things in its limited run time. It’s an awesome movie despite the lack of more character work
TPAB: Before we go, just need to ask ya about your favorite post from your blog, and what you blog is about
Snowrice: My favorite post from my blog… ah, I’d say my review of the webtoon “We’re so Over or not.” It’s one of the few posts I feel especially proud of. Also my most popular post too. lol
My blog… it’s about anything that comes to my mind. I don’t really have a specific theme or audience. My blog started out as me channeling my boredom one summer into something positive–to get my creative writing juices flowing. I wanted to interact and talk to people with similar interests as me, so I thought creating this blog would open a door for that desire.
Oh thank you for the free advertising!
TPAB: and I enjoy your posts even though they’re about makeup and currently, yoga. hahaha
I really enjoyed this tea time. The back and forth was fun to read back, and you can tell how much this movie meant to her. Snowrice is an awesome person guys. Give her a follow.
Here’s the previous tea time as well. If you’re interested
Keiko : Rose : Ameithyst : Thero
And if you want to be part of this collab project, just comment below. I’d love to get to know you.
(I’ve got far too much time on my hands right now, so) I’d love to participate in one of your future Tea Time posts.
Thank you so much for featuring one of my favorite movies and me on your blog! I really enjoyed our discussion. I’ll be sure to watch Grave of the Fireflies next 🙂