The Crow

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About two weeks ago my lady love noticed some odd splotches on the pavement here and there in front of our triplex.

“What’s wrong, dear? Found some schmutz?” I said.

“It looks like…blood,” she said with furrowed brow. I looked around and noticed several of the splotches on the driveway and trailing along toward our downstairs neighbors’ unit.

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On the State of the Japanese Film Industry and Also Myself

Electric Asano

The less I write on this site, the more the writing on this site becomes centered around apologizing for not writing more on this site, but The Hammering Heart was never intended as a blog about not writing, so I will spare any excuses and simply say, “Hello.”

This past summer was defined in part by a series of wakeup calls. Each of the calls suggested that, despite how I’ve constructed an identity for myself as a Guy who Likes Japanese Film, I might not actually be that into Japanese film.  Continue reading “On the State of the Japanese Film Industry and Also Myself”

The White Canvas – Theory over Execution

Years ago, I got into the Japanese film auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa, not to be confused with his non-relative, Akira, toward whom I’m mostly indifferent. I’ve already written at length about the personal impact K. Kurosawa’s “Pulse” (Kairo) had on me, but that account aside, what I mostly love about his movies is that they’re highly thought-provoking and great conversation pieces. What I would not necessarily call them is entertaining. The gratification you get from watching them is delayed and often wholly subjective. You might never get any. These are not movies for date night; they’re ones for your two-month solitary confinement sentence. They require prolonged, undivided attention. Under no circumstances should they be enjoyed while grappling with diarrhea.

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The Fine Art of Accepting Criticism, OR “No, YOU’RE a butt-butt!”


In 2007, not particularly funny nor likable comedian Jamie Kennedy created a documentary called “Heckler,” which examined our increasingly critically-minded modern world and provided a forum for Kennedy to respond to valid (albeit harsh) criticism of his work with sophomoric taunting.

The clip starting around 0:20 pretty well exemplifies Kennedy’s persistent failure to make an intelligent case against overly hostile or personal criticism. And it’s a shame, because there’s an intelligent case to be made.

Kennedy also appears unable to differentiate between professional literary criticism and the drunken hooting of actual hecklers, and this decidedly doesn’t help his case very much. Responding to a scathing review of his film with “Jesus why do you hate me?” just makes him look like an amateur who can’t take criticism. I, for one, felt inclined to side with the critic after viewing this clip.

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Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Part 3: Lackluster Love)

The next time I went to BL, she was there. She perked up as I entered and explained that she’d been waiting for me to show up. She was alone again. Again it was mango juice. I’ll admit that I’d half expected all this. I’ll also admit that I was struck by a faint flashback to about five different late-’80s and early-’90s Hollywood thrillers that I never saw. Was S  to be my own personal Glenn Close? Surely she wasn’t far off. Dahaha. A little Glenn Close humor for you.

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“What Was I Afraid Of?” – Dr. Seuss and the Essence of Horror

Did you know that yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday? I grew up with a lot of Dr. Seuss in the house. Green Eggs & Ham in particular had its definite place in the Annals of Greg, it being one of the earliest books that I learned how to read, but there was only one story of Seuss’s that had a particularly lasting impact on me. It was one of his lesser-known works, a short story called “What Was I Scared Of?” This story, peaceful conclusion and intended audience notwithstanding, is one of the most horrifying stories I’ve ever been told.

Following the narration of “I,” a lone, yellow imp-like creature, we find ourselves in an exceedingly creepy and desolate forest. The forest is illustrated in a unified midnight blue, a technique which proves surprisingly effective in its simplicity. This is the impenetrable darkness of night. Additionally, the unexplained context of this story–a strange creature wandering through strange surroundings–provides a chilling foundation. The reader is jarred into unease by a set of abruptly-presented unknowns.

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The Ghost – A Full Explanation

Let’s talk about “The Ghost,” because there’s a history to the song that is perhaps more interesting than the song itself.

In the fall of 2005, I lived in Nagoya, Japan as a student at Nanzan University. It was a brief stint, but the densest four-and-a-half months of my life. It seemed that nearly everything I did, I was doing for the first time. Among these firsts was the first time I’d ever set out on a lonely walk and returned home less lonely. I made lifelong friends at a tiny and dim but loud bar, the Rosetta Stone, home to men’s men, honky-tonk women, rock ‘n roll, and a great many Western spirits, all juxtaposed by the enormous cemetery across the street, which was itself home to a great many Eastern spirits.

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