Arakawa Under the Bridge – Review

It took me a while to get through this series. Not only because I lack the time to just sit down and watch a series from one end to the other right now, but also because it’s not a series I could have watched like that anyway. It’s really funny and weird, but also hits hard sometimes. Besides, although it’s an on-going story, every episode is neatly wrapped up, and the need to watch the next one right away simply isn’t there. Is that a bad thing? No, it’s not!

It all starts off on top of a bridge, where Kou is standing without his pants, as some naughty kids stole them from him, and placed them further up on the bridge. As he is the son of a wealthy businessman, who has been taught to never owe anyone anything, he decides to decline the help of a girl who is fishing nearby, and climbs up a pillar to grab the pants himself. As he even refuses to listen to what the girl has to say, he finds out the hard way that the pillar is broken, and in the next second, he is falling into the river with both pillar and pants.

As he is being dragged towards the bottom of the river by the heavy metal pillar, a hand stretches out towards him, and pulls him out of his misery. It’s the girl who was fishing just seconds ago; who now saved his life, and thus Kou feels that he owes her something now. That feeling is making him literally sick, and he wants to pay his debt right away, for him to move on and not owe her anything. The girl doesn’t really understand why he owes her anything, as she helped a person who was in danger, and finds that to be quite the normal thing to do. Kou keeps insisting though, and the girl decides, that if he really owes her anything, then it’s to be her lover.

Baffled by that kind of wish, but unable to refuse it because of not wanting to owe her anything, Kou agrees, and stays with his new lover under the bridge. It turns out that the girls name is Nino, and that she actually lives under the bridge, together with a lot of other people, who must now welcome Kou into their ranks, whether they want it or not. As he meets more and more of them, he realizes that not a single person seems to be normal in any way. Nino is a girl from Venus, the mayor is a man in a Kappa costume, and the nun is a huge man with a gun they all call Sister, just to name a few of them.

To top it all off, one of them is a musician named Hoshi, who is already in love with Nino, and is bound to cause trouble for the new citizen under the bridge. After a while of living in this new society, Kou realizes that every single one of them has their own purpose, and contributes to the system in their own way. Desperate to find his own place among their ranks, he becomes a tutor, and tries teaching the kids how the real world works. To them though, living under the bridge is the real world, and Kou will soon have to settle with that thought, especially since he wants to stay with Nino, who would never leave the bridge for any reason.

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As he finally finds himself at home with the people under the bridge, he is found by his assistant, and an employee of his father, who is not amused by the way his son is living his life. Determined to get his son back on track, he decides to buy the rights to build along the riverbank, and thereby forcing the people who live there to move, hoping for his son to move back home again, and be the businessman he’s supposed to. That’s not what Kou has in mind though, and he starts a fight with his father where he has to show his businessman skills, not only to save himself and his new friends, but also to show him that he has indeed learnt a lot about his father’s trade.

While Arakawa Under the Bridge is a comedy, it also touches some of the more serious matters in life. Like Kou’s issues with his father, who never gave him the attention and love he needed, or Nino hinting towards coming from a broken home. All characters seem to have a background that leads them to living under the bridge in the end, but we never really get to know them. Sure, they tell a little about themselves now and then, but we never really know if it’s a lie or not. From the events we see though, they all seem happy with their lives, and wouldn’t want to trade their way of living with the one we call reality.

One can watch the series as it is, and see a bunch of colorful people running around, having almost no care in life, while teasing poor Kou until he becomes one of them. I’ve always seen Kou as the narrow-minded everyday guy though, who was raised to become what his father decided, not asking any questions, because he doesn’t know any better. He is the outsider among outsiders, and has to learn acceptance more than anything else at that point in his life. He is not used to people being different, or not even living in the city, like he always has.

The people around him are disturbing, and he tries his best to fight their system, because in his mind, it’s not right. His only gateway into their world is Nino, who is also just a lunatic in his mind. Right until he becomes a teacher, he does his best not to fit in, which only makes it harder for him to live under the bridge. As soon as he realizes that the people are actually very friendly, he decides to open his heart towards them, and even becomes one of them, which in the end improves his life.

If you are tired of the mainstream characters that seem to populate animes nowadays, take a step back in time to this little “old” gem, and dive into a world that makes no sense, but has so much more to offer than you might think.

Have you watched it already? What do you think about it? I’m looking forward to watching season 2 already, and will start doing that this week for sure 🙂

Pokémon Go – One week in

Like so many other people in this world, I’ve started playing Pokémon Go, because it’s fun, regardless of what you might think of the franchise. The last time I played Pokémon was back when Blue was still new in Europe, and that wasn’t exactly last year. I can’t say I was hyped about Pokémon Go though, and patiently waited until its official release in Denmark, as I had hoped for the servers to be more stable by then. Okay, so they are still not stable, but it’s getting better.

I registered an account close to midnight on the 16th, but since it was impossible to enter the game with the newly created account, I decided to log in with my Google account. Of course this resulted in me not being able to use my normal nickname, which I had already registered on another account, but I just chose something else. It didn’t take long for me to understand the basics, and a few Pidgey’s and Weedle’s were caught that night. Those 2 seem to be the most common Pokémon in our apartment, so I kept catching them the next day.

Actually, I was already lvl 5 and a member of Team Instinct before I even left the apartment the first time after I started playing. Since I suffer from severe anxiety when having to leave the apartment, I never go out alone, unless I have something important to do, like going to the doctor or the like. After going out hunting with my boyfriend though, and thinking about how horrible it is to stay in an apartment with monkeys as upstairs neighbors (see previous post), I decided to go out alone on Wednesday. It took me a while to leave the building, but I eventually did.

This resulted in me walking 8 kilometers for 5 hours, getting a little sunburned, and me now knowing where the weirdest Pokéstops in the city are located. I actually wanted to go to the beach at first to look for sea glass, but it was plastered with tourists! Me + people = nope. I ended up wandering close to the water up and down the harbor and beaches, where I found a lot of water Pokémon, funny enough. 1 big Cocio, ½ liter of water and 2 second hand stores later, I found myself with used jewelry in my bag, my phone plugged into a portable battery, and myself waiting outside my boyfriend’s work.

His plan was to come pick me up after work, and go hunt with me, but I was so tired, my feet hurt like hell, my arms were burnt red from the sun, and we had to attend his cousins birthday even though we were not originally going to. I guess that was the result of teasing her with her birthday gift for 2 months. It was a Carmine artbook by the way, an item which screamed her name when I found it a while back. Anyway, it turns out that her big brother plays Pokémon Go too, but there is absolutely nothing to get out there where they live, other than maybe some Rattata’s, Weedle’s and the occasional Ekans. There is not even a Pokéstop nearby…

That made me think about our new house, where it turns out there is nothing to get either, so I guess I’ll write the creators and ask for a Pokéstop. No, I’m not kidding, I’ll write them.

While Thursday was rather lazy (besides getting a Hitmonlee without leaving the couch), because the whole country was struck by some evil curse breaking the mobile internet for hours and hours. I decided to take another walk yesterday, while getting help from my mentor when getting out the door. She walked me to a part of the beach where there were almost no people (aside from some nudists further down *cannot unsee*), and this time I looked for sea glass. After almost 2 hours of doing so, I had enough and started hunting Pokémon. This time I walked 10 kilometers, and hatched a Jynx right behind our car at my boyfriend’s work, and guess who was already on his way there? Perfect timing!

This time though, I got a major sunburn, and my arms hurt like hell, so I’ll just stay inside today and lick my wounds. Battling in Gyms yesterday was more than enough for me right now anyway. My poor Magmar was sent home late yesterday evening with wounds all over, and he needs a break too. I’m home alone most of the day, so I guess I’ll take a cold shower, finish the bracelets I’m currently making, pull apart the second hand jewelry I got on my first Pokéjourney, and then maybe grab a bite to eat, which isn’t always easy when it’s as hot as it is right now.

So how about you, have you played it yet? Is it a yay or nay for you? 🙂

In search of a place to call home

Last time we wanted to escape our so-called home, we had no luck, and ended up in a far worse place than our old one was. This has resulted in many health issues, mainly because of noise and harassment from our upstairs neighbors, who seem to have never heard the word ‘respect’, nor did any of them ever grew up knowing what common sense is. It’s come to the point where I am not even able to call them humans anymore, as they behave like wild circus animals, and seem to have no life whatsoever, other than being dicks toward us. And no, we’ve never done anything to deserve this, and actually talk well with all the other neighbors, who on the other hand don’t even come near the upstairs monkeys. Go figure…

We found out that we needed to move again during the first week we even moved in here, but it costs time and money to do so, and it’s been a struggle with both. Since the start of this summer though, we’ve been working on getting away from this here rat hole, as well as helping the housing association trying to get rid of the ones causing this situation for every family who has moved into this apartment over the past 10 years. Because, although they want to, they can’t just kick them out, like a landlord could do with ease. It requires having evidence against them when they do something wrong, which they need to take to court. Recording their noise night and day, as well as taking photos of their food being thrown out the window and other stuff sadly wasn’t enough, so we’re kind of giving up here.

Another issue is the building itself, so even if they’d get kicked out, we’d not want to stay here. The outside is literally crumbling, and pieces of bricks can be found all over, and I can even hear the plaster inside the walls disintegrating at night, waking me up from my needed sleep. As a result, we have ants coming in, and once again (like in the old apartment) we have mold in the windows and in corners where the outside wall is leaky. To top it all off, the housing association decided to raise the rent, while doing nothing about the problems at all. As things are now, I’m quite sure we’d have to wait at least 5 years until they do something about the wall, while I’m gonna give it a max of 1 year until ants and mold will be a bigger issue than screaming monkeys.

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A little while ago, we had our eyes on a house in another town that was just what we needed. It was quite small, but big enough for the 3 of us, had a neighbor on each side of it, and was located in a very family friendly and quiet place. Sadly though, we needed to sort a lot of things with the bank, because they don’t have any trust in my current situation, and decided to ignore my boyfriend’s economy. We’ll take a loan through my stepdad though, and he trusts us. As everything was finally settled with the bank, and we called the real estate guy, he had sold the house few days before though, and overbidding was apparently no option at all.

Devastated, and bound to stay here until we’d find something else, we’ve been looking at houses every day, waiting for something affordable to show up. As a matter of fact, few weeks ago, something did show up. It’s a bit far away though, and we’re not too fond of living that far out, but our situation requires us to act now, and if it’s within our budget, we’re going to buy it and move the heck away from this here place. So yeah, we decided to take a look at it, and that’s what we did last week. It’s really nice and spacy, and since it was built in 2005, the new rules for how to isolate a house were already enforced by that time. I don’t mind the higher rent, if we can save money on heat and water, which we surely will, as it’s not leaky, and no toilet will be running all night.

There are also no direct neighbors, as the nearest house is separated by 2 carports, so we are not sharing a wall or ceiling with anyone. As a matter of fact, the neighboring house is empty and also for sale. As it’s a bit cheaper than the house I’ve been writing about, we had a look at that one first, at least from the outside, and on photos on the internet. Sadly though, it’s nicotine yellow inside (like the very first house we looked at few months ago, yuck!), and the isolation around one of the windows doesn’t look good at all. Thinking about how we’d have to spend the money we could save on the price of the house itself on repairing stuff (which we don’t have time for); we decided to go for the slightly more expensive one.

As you might be able to read in the text above, we already decided to buy the house the same day we had a look at it, so we did. Earlier today, I signed the contract to become the next owner of the house, and by the end of next month, we’ll cancel the contract for our current apartment. I’m done with monkeys and lazy housing associations, and from November, I won’t have to think about either anymore, as our new neighbors seem very friendly and everything but noisy. Maybe I’ll be able to finish reading The Divine Comedy without using headphones with loud music after all?

On a sidenote: A dog will be welcomed into our lives next month, but you’ll notice soon enough if you stay put 🙂

Tiny bits of a life