Maria Holland

Manga That Kills People

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2010 at 2:21 am

Class today was moderately interesting, despite a deadly boring text.  We’re talking about – surprise, surprise – research!  And it’s about health!  Specifically, sleeping!  Add this to the list of most-discussed topics in Chinese language classes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sleep – but I’d rather do it than talk about it.

Also, it just kind of bothers me the way they talk about sleep schedules.  You should sleep after lunch, and between the hours of 10 and 2 at night, but 1 a.m. is the optimum super-duper best-ever time to sleep. 

Baloney, hogwash and poppycock.  You cannot name an ideal time for sleeping based on the clock when your entire country (which spans the area of FIVE time zones) is constrained to operate on Beijing Time.  The clock is meaningless here – “time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.”  If my talk of 3 a.m. sunrises in the northeast wasn’t enough, how about this?  My friend Shawn from Sichuan (mid-West China) said that instead of saying 晚饭 for dinner, they say 下午饭 (‘afternoon meal’) because it just seems strange to call it ‘night meal’ when it’s still bright outside. 

But at the end of the class we played a game and I was happy.  It wasn’t even a fun game, really – we just started with a word and had to come up with another word that began with the same character the other one ended with. 

午睡 – 睡觉 – 觉得 – 得到 – 到底 – 底下 – 下课 – 课文 – 文学 – 学校 – 校长 – 长大 – 大家 – 家里 – 里面 – 面前- 前天 – 天气 – 气温 – 温暖 – 暖和 – 和平 – 平时 – 时间 – 间接 – 接受 – 受伤 – 伤心 – 心情 – 情节 – 节日 – 日本 – 本来 – 来自 – 自然 – 然后 – 后天 – 天空 – 空调 – 调查

Afternoon nap – sleep – to think/judge – finally – to drop – class is over – literature – school – principal – grow up – everyone – at home – inside – the day before yesterday – weather – temperature – warm – warm – peace – usually – time – indirect – accept – to be injured – sad – mood – holiday – Japan – originally – to come from – natural – the day after tomorrow – the sky – air conditioning – a survey

We got stuck on 调查 because nothing starts with 查 . . .


This afternoon, while studying in my room, a little box popped up in the corner of my computer.  I use Google’s pinyin input software to type Chinese, which was kind of an adventure to install because it’s only available in (wait for it) Chinese.  So every now and then when boxes pop up I click OK or something that looks like it and hope for the best.  But I’m more and more able to read and understand, which is exciting.  A few months ago I realized that these pop-ups were Google’s way of telling me that it had added new words to its software.  See, when you type in pinyin, there are like a bajillion possible characters that you could have meant – because Chinese is evil like that.  So good software, like Google’s, tries to figure out what you probably meant and put those options first.  Thus, when you type ‘zhongguoren’ you get 中国人 (Chinese person) instead of 忠掴任 (I literally just chose random characters and have no idea what this means.  Probably nothing).  But what happens when a new word comes into usage?  For instance, when Alice in Wonderland comes out and everyone is QQ-ing about it?  No worries, Google just added 爱丽丝梦游仙境 so you’re good!  I like watching those pop-ups now that I know what they are, because they’re a window into the buzzwords of the Chinese internet.  Today included 火车哥, or Brother Train – and the link is worth checking out. 


This evening, I had plans with Carlos and YongZhi.  We went to dinner first, paid for by Carlos because we compared and his news (getting a scholarship for his Masters’ degree in China) was the best.  Then we went to the movie theater.  We had planned on seeing Iron Man 2, but were a little bit late so we just bought tickets to 杀人漫画 instead.  Japanese horror film with a name that means Manga That Kills People – what could possibly not be good about this plan? 

First of all, the theater was super sketch; I guess when you pay $1.50 per ticket you should expect beat-up couches and a screen the size of a PowerPoint projection?  Then the movie started, and we realized that while it was in Japanese with Chinese subtitles as expected . . . the subtitles were in traditional characters.  Aaaaaah my most of me . . . I studied traditional characters in America but only like 700 of them, and that was almost a year ago.  Also, it’s not like I read at talking-speed even in simplified characters.  As it was, 90% of the movie had passed before I realized that 發生 meant 发生 (to happen) and 當然 meant 当然 (of course).

So I can’t say for sure that the movie was stupid, but I’m pretty confident it was.  It centered around a manga book that told the reader what would happen to them.  At first it was always good things – mainly finding lost wallets or stealing them, but one girl became beautiful and got an even more beautiful (and more feminine) boyfriend.  But then at some point thing got really f-ed up and this ghost appeared and made them sew themselves in awkward positions with red thread.  Also, one girl jumped off a building; we’re not sure how she avoided the needle and thread destiny the others suffered.  The jumper was the first to die, and her two best friends and older sister tried to figure out what caused her to kill herself.  They somehow found the manga shop and even the right cubicle and finally heard talk of this manga that makes things come true . . .

And then the movie ended.  No resolution, not even close.  It was hilariously bad, and I couldn’t stop laughing for at least 10 minutes.  Honestly, the whole thing was so overdone that it wasn’t scary at all.  Unless you count the boyfriend who, in some other universe might have been considered hot but actually just looked like Michael Jackson, only more female.  Or unless you’re talking about the girlfriend who was clingy and needy and dramatic like no other.  The sounds – picture needle piercing flesh and thread passing through, magnified 1,000x and played over and over and over – were exceedingly disgusting, but other than that there was nothing scary in it.


We walked back from the movie theater, making a prolonged stop at Paradise Bar for a friend’s birthday celebration.  It was a wonderful leisurely start to my first weekend at home in a while, marred only by one thing: a text message from Zhang Lei.

I heard you and your boyfriend broke up, and you’re looking for a boyfriend in China, is this true?

  1. Tell Zhang Lei (whoever he is) that your Dad says he has “manga that kills people” and he should stop bothering you!

  2. The best part of this story is your Dad’s comment!
    Don’t get me wrong your story was great but man your Dad just sums it all up!

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