I’m not going to go all out and say that I’m an anime aficionado by any means. Because I’m not, I simply dabble in lots of series and compulsively collect memorabilia. But I spend a large portion of my time watching anime and reading manga and, you know, thought I’d share that side of me. Like many of my fellow British-born Chinese friends, we grew up in cultural limbo. Here were our parents; bravely building businesses in a country they were relative newcomers to, raising us with traditionally Chinese backgrounds, whilst we were beginning playgroup and pre-school chattering away in Cantonese and a handful of English words to our new English friends! What do you mean you don’t understand me, new friend? Our grandparents brought back Hello Kitty VHS tapes, Sailor Moon holographic sticker cards, T-shirts from the clothing markets scattered with Chinglish phrases, Pokemon cards – SHINY CHARIZARD THO, sweets filled with E-numbers that were probably banned and unavailable in England for a reason. Sundays were spent in cold classrooms learning everything we learned twice over in pre-school and primary, only in Cantonese.
Evenings were loud, full of laughter and that familiar crashing clink of mah-jong tiles. Mornings spent sipping hot Milo (an energising chocolate drink and one of my utmost favourites!) and eating siu mai for breakfast. Although, could that have been to deter my siblings and I from those inevitable arguments over who got the free cereal toys? We learned to use chopsticks before knives and forks. In fact, I can very clearly pinpoint an early at primary school where I sat down at lunch and got told off by the dinner lady that I was using mine the wrong way around and couldn’t stop panicking from then on that I was doing everything incorrectly (discuss; fork in left or right hand?!).
I grew up surrounded by anime and cheesy ol’ TVB dramas (think a glossier, more dramatic and inherently better version of EastEnders, etc.!). Anime is comforting and homely to me. My brother adored Ultraman (both animated and live action) and I was somewhat obsessed with Cardcaptors, 小丸子 Siu Yuen-Chi and Sailor Moon when growing up. Dad loved reading manga strips in the weekly Chinese newspaper and we loved settling down in the evenings with an episode of our favourite anime or TVB drama. And always in Cantonese dub! But we also watched Funhouse, Zzap! and all of those other things, after a while. And, I mean, SM:TV, can they bring that back for us in-limbo twenty-somethings?! Somethin’ to get up at 9:25am for please? I should run for mayor or something, this is the real key to getting us all up and motivated. It felt odd to be torn between being able to join in with all the other kids and sticking to what we knew.
Fast forward through those awkward years of growing up in England and attempting to somehow know about things ‘the others kids knew’, when my lifestyle was so richly grounded in my Chinese background and I started to re-appreciate having been exposed to so many things. I got back into anime, I got back into listening to music from Hong Kong, soon freefalling into the one-way route down to K-pop land and here we are now. A content middle-ground where I spend many an hour squirrelling away at my anime, drama and K-pop obsession! I rarely talk about music and TV and that kind of thing unless it’s the classic Made in Chelsea, OINTB, Game of Thrones, Sherlock etc. chats that we always career into over on Twitter. Not sure why. I think we all feel some sort of pressure to ‘fit in’, to some degree, right? I feel it all the time.
My Top 7 Anime Series
– Sailor Moon
– Sword Art Online
– Lucky Star
– Ouran High School Host Club
– The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Himouto! Umaru-Chan, 5 Centimetres per Second, Attack on Titan (sorry! It’s good but not my usual sort!), Ao Haru Ride (only because I prefer the manga), Absolute Boyfriend.
Favourite TV Dramas
– Missing You (South Korean)
– Devil Beside You (Taiwanese)
– Tokyo Juliet (Taiwanese)
– Feast of the Gods (South Korean)
– Boys Over Flowers (South Korean)
– Déjà Vu (Taiwanese)
– Miss No Good (Taiwanese)
– Heirs (South Korean)
On another note, if you’re an anime enthusiast, I highly recommend you browse Kixkillradio‘s site and blog! She’s a collectible toy photographer and I’m utterly captivated by her work. So pretty, intricate and covetable; she makes me want to immediately head out and buy all the collectibles!
Which are your favourite anime series or things to watch? I’m currently in need of something to fill up my evenings with! I’ve just started Kotonoha no Niwa, but you know how it is… 😉