Hello~! Christmas is done, time for another yearly recap on those pesky resolutions! 2017! What a year! I’d say utter shite on both personal- as world-scale. But hey, this time I try to keep it short. I’ll only talk about the resolutions that succeeded. Still, I need to warn you: it’s still going to be a long one and it’s sort of sickeningly light-hearted.
Out of the 10 resolutions I had written out around this time last year, only 5 of them made the cut. I watched 12 memorable movies, I read 14 books, started learning Japanese again, found a new home and tried at least 12 new recipes.
Now some resolutions failed, like I tried my hand at embroidery. This might be the least interesting hobby anyone might pick up. But turns out, I quite enjoyed myself. I even got myself one of those boxes to keep my floss organised. Yeah, buddy! Though, confessions: when I do embroidery I need my glasses, natural light and not too many people around me — but enough to show off my progress. And it does hurt my brain a bit, which I find hilarious, but also a bit of a shame to admit. But look!! You have got to like my finished Eevee embroidery thing that I made my friend.
One resolution I really enjoyed this year was the ‘watch 12 memorable movies’. I have watched 60 films this year, not all new ones. But the resolution was to list my 12 most memorable ones. And believe you me, I dared to rank them, but don’t hold me to it. I might change my mind about the ranking tomorrow.
An honourable mention: The Lego Batman Movie. This film is hilarious, if you haven’t seen it, I’d say you’re in for a treat.
12. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Wanted to see this for the longest time — even though it only got out last year. Definitely did not disappoint, it was beautiful, heartfelt and I loved the ending song from Mr. Harrison, covered by Regina Spektor.
11. La La Land (2016)
There was so much hype around La La Land that I didn’t want to like this film. There’s something ‘meh’ about things going mainstream, sorry. It has gotten to my attention that maybe I’m a bit of a snob. But back to this film. It was magnificent, and I loved the layers upon layers upon layers in this movie. And Ryan Gosling. Obviously.
10. After the Storm (2016)
Hirokazu Kore-eda is a favourite of mine. After the Storm was released this year, and I saw it on my own in a tiny, tiny cinema. It felt very comfortable to wallow in someone else’s trouble and be back in Japan even for a little time. It was a bit depressing, but it was about life, had a lovely take-away and was light enough to feel happy after leaving the cinema.
9. Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America (2015)
I saw Daryl Davis on the Russell Howard Hour, such a boss (you can see the interview here). It was very interesting to see Mr. Davis explore these subjects: meeting with the KKK on a human-to-human basis, but also with Black Lives Matter-protestors. It was a bit awkward or painful at times, but that made it all the more interesting. Made me think that ignorance might not always be bliss and dialogue and respect is really important.
8. Our Little Sister (2015)
Another Kore-eda movie. Wanted to see this for ages. Extremely atmospheric and brought me back to my last trip to Japan in so many ways. Probably one of the reasons why it ranked higher on this list than After the Storm. But it was also more… relatable. The movie showed interesting family dynamics, beautiful scenery etc. etc. Just a lovely film.
7. The General (1926)
I was lucky enough to see this after a film-talk about Buster Keaton my friend brought me to. The General is brilliant and hilarious. Very appropriate to see in a tiny theatre-room. You can see more of his work on YouTube (like ‘ One Week’).
6. Summer Wars (2009)
This was seriously cool. A perfect embodiment of what got me into anime when I was younger. It had that Japanese high-school charm, that first love awkwardness, that coming of age thing, that cute awkward stumbling to find your own place, the family-aspect and then *BOOM* the kick-ass action. Yeah…It had everything. It was good.
5. The Lobster (2015)
This movie! (!!!) I saw a flyer for this in a coffee store, it looked mental yet intriguing. I had totally forgotten about it until my friend told me excitedly it was available on apple tv. Now, hear me out: the main couple is portrayed by Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz and in the film single people are given 45 days to find a romantic partner or otherwise be turned into animals. It’s set a dystopian ‘near future’ and it falls under the romance and sci-fi genre. It’s all kinds of weird, and it’s most definitely memorable. Go watch it. Yes. Do it.
4. Swiss Army Man (2016)
I have no words. Well… I do. But they’re absolutely futile for this film. And I still am not quite sure if I grasped everything this film gave us. I was full of emotion when I watched this film, it was so weird and good and the soundtrack so epic. I’d be there for you if you felt like you had to live-tweet throughout this film. So give me a heads up if you ever have some spare-time and are up for it.
3. The Garden of Words (2013)
This was a last-minute thing. I was ‘Your Name’ in the cinema in November, and I was quite underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful and funny and interesting. But it there was something off for me. I shared it on instagram, and my friend Avalonne mentioned The Garden of Words, also by Makoto Shinkai (same maker, just a couple of years older). And I am so happy I listened to her because this movie was a perfect mixture of sadness, hope, beauty, despair… I’m not sure but the overall feel of this film really gripped me and therefore landed on this spot.
2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
This one came in last minute, but almost swooped into the no.1 spot immediately. I loved loved loved Jumanji when it came out in ’95 with Robin Williams. It was creepy, but brilliant — I definitely could grasp as much when I was a little kid (yeah, eh…no). But seeing this film now gave me all the feels. It was nostalgic, had the right amount of gaming-references, there were adults who acted as if they were teenagers, the ending was happy. I must say, Kevin Hart was ace, Karen Gillan was kick-ass and the The Rock was epic… but Jack Black, oh my, I don’t want to spoil, but he said “yasss” and it rocked my world.
1. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
This winner might have something to do with Chris Hemsworth (looks — mostly, I’m not that shallow…kinda), or Taika Waititi’s genius, or Immigrant Song, or Loki a.k.a. Tom Hiddleston dressed in a beautiful black suit or just maybe the fact that this is the first (and so far only) film I’ve seen twice in cinema. I loved this film.
Now, onto books. Last year was a kind of a breakthrough for me (yeah, with last year I mean 2016). I discovered that audiobooks are actually quite a treat, I especially seem to enjoy them when the sun is out and I get to walk about. They’re great at airports, at solo-travels or at long train journeys as they allow you to immerse yourself into a story, while also enjoying your surroundings.
I set myself the goal of reading 14 books this year, and I managed to read 21. Now, they are not as high-brow as I would have wanted (secretly I am a bit of a pretentious snob). But I did manage to read some books that I have really enjoyed. And who’d have thought they would all be written by women? Hmm… maybe there’s a new challenge in the making?
1. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto / 2. Buffering by Hannah Hart / 3. Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart
/ 4. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven / 5. Geef de moed niet op by Toyo Shibata
I had this resolution that I would try and succeed with 12 new recipes. I don’t want to toot my own horn but I know my way around in a kitchen, and not just to the fridge. But I was wondering if I could really pull this off and not keep recycling my weekly meals. Turns out this was astonishingly easy to do. I’ll share 12 recipes that I tried, succeeded in and can be found online (I don’t like making blogs about recipes too much, and others do it way better anyway — you know, like, I don’t know, Jamie Oliver’s team maybe?).
1. Flaky pastry pesto chicken 2. Ponzu Pasta 3. Jam Cookies 4. Kitsune Udon 5. Vegan Mushroom Rolls 6. Beetroot, Carrot & Orange Salad 7. Gyoza 8. Sticky Lamb Chops 9. Miso soup 10. Pear and fennel salad 11. Stir Fry Vegetables 12. Almond Pasty Puff
I might try and do something different cooking related next year, but we’ll see.
Have a good New Year’s Eve! See you in the new year :)