One of my close friends was a professional athlete. He hasn’t competed in five years and is, by all accounts, retired. I rarely see him anymore, but the few times I have visited in the past five years, there are still trappings of his career — tucked away in corners of the apartment, shoved behind his brother’s discarded motorcycle in the garage, photographs in his father’s living room.
He began when he was three, coaxed and coached by his father. He retired at 25, already older than his more successful counterparts.
Perhaps this is why, for me personally, Yuri!!! On Ice is a story about time, and has been since I first saw the series’ ending sequence — a series of instagram posts that only linger for a few seconds before scrolling down to the next.
“The weather’s so nice today, I can’t get any work done. Though, I can’t get anything done on rainy days either. Not many days come along that are just right.”
-Iroha Irodori to Cocona, Flip Flappers, Episode 4
Art club upperclassman Iroha Irodori has always been visible in Cocona’s periphery. She is the plein air painter in the shade of a tree as Cocona walks past in Flip Flappers‘ first episode, encounters Cocona in front of a large painting at their school in the second, and progressively grows closer to Cocona throughout the series. Come Episode 6, Iroha has an entire Pure Illusion adventure where Papika and Cocona explore Iroha’s past from Iroha’s childhood perspective.
Titled “Pure Play,” the episode tells a sad story of Iroha’s relationship with an elderly neighbor and how it shaped her life and art up to the point where Cocona meets her — the slightly-eccentric art club upperclassman who offers tea and a friendly ear. Not only does it offer a different perspective of Iroha herself, but it brings to the forefront a few more of Flip Flappers‘ thoughts on art and the human psyche. This is a series with many visual and named references — Cocona’s pet presumably named for Jakob von Uexküll is one of the more interesting ones — dealing with illusion, art, and human psychology. Iroha’s episode offers a bit more insight into these references, allowing her to step forward from the periphery and become a key component in the series’ narrative.
My first day at a real job — something in my field of study, journalism, and not a retail position — was actually a paid internship at a newspaper. The moment I walked in on my first day also marked my first time seeing an actual newsroom in action. My expectations were shaped by television series, movies, and my personal experience working for the school paper — the latter was simply a university computer lab, trashcans overflowing with crushed Red Bull cans and empty coffee cups. A group of seniors would drop by once a week to scour the room for these precious recyclables in order to earn more beer money.
I had expected a high pressure environment — and later learned exactly when the pressure would come, towards the midnight rush — but was met with a fairly dingy corner in an old building. To this day I don’t know if this particular setting was limited to the sports section, or if the rest of the newsrooms were similar environments because I never saw them. Our windows faced the downtown shopping area, which we could look down upon from three stories up. The same low ceilings and florescent lights that characterized the computer lab were also present in the newsroom, but desks were much closer and piled with files, papers, and various office supplies. A television that was permanently tuned to ESPN was mounted to the wall next to a small, sealed office that had been placed haphazardly in the corner of the room. This is where my boss worked, although it offered little to no privacy as the large glass windows made it easy for us to look in. More often than not, he kept the door open, or would come out and sit on the opposite side of one of our desks. (more…)