As a kid I was very much into astronomy, and the stars and constellations was very much my thing. Oh to be a grade-schooler oblivious of the rigors of astrophysics and its related mathematics! It was all romance then. I would bring a flashlight with red cellophane over the lens to reduce light pollution, but bright enough to read constellation charts to this strip of concrete in the middle of a large grassy vacant lot by the creek.
I called the place my ‘UFO Landing Strip’ (yeah I was 10, no I hadn’t seen E.T. yet). There I spent many nights trying to identify the constellations, and back then I got to know many stars by name, particularly those whose names were given by Greek mythology. My favorite sky is that of winter, when it gets to be truly dazzling:
Click the arrow for a constellation guide [->]
Betelguese, Rigel and the Great Nebula from Orion; Sirus from Canis Major; Aldebaran and the Pleides from Taurus. Those are the stars I can remember by name without looking at the sky itself, or on a constellation chart. It pleases me that my daughter will be born under this winter sky, just as I was.
In a rather powerful way, I could relate to Senjougahara. When I was 15 I was lured into a room by my hairstylist who flattered me with an endorsement for a modeling gig and he had me try on clothes. I had no idea what I was getting myself into until I was trying on animal print swimming trunks. The phone rang and he had to get it, and I changed back into my clothes and ran from his house. I ran and ran until I was utterly exhausted.
The end of that school year my vernacular language teacher told me that the only way I could avoid getting kicked out from school was to re-take his finals. Again I found myself in swimming trunks in a classmate’s swimming pool (I didn’t have any so she had me wear his brother’s red stripey things) where my teacher and 2 of his other male friends had drinks by the poolside.
The teacher had me go to his house that night so I can re-take the test. I brought my mother along that time.
But I was ashamed, so very ashamed. And I hated gay people for the next few years. I joined a poetry contest in my freshman year in university and wrote a gay hate poem in rhyme. It was a long terrible thing too. It was through my lesbian homeroom professor — who was spectacularly patient with me, that I overcame my hate and thereafter took 9 units in gender studies; and became friends with gay and lesbian people. I don’t think I would’ve been accepted as faculty of the literature department later on, had I not accepted people and their life choices — which had nothing to do, with the perversity of the individuals I met when I was 15.
Maybe it would’ve been harder had I been actually touched or groped like Senjougahara. But I wasn’t, and for that I’m very thankful. We are different too in that my sky was there before these ugly things happened. I’m not sure I can say the same for her. In any case she found it soon enough, and I know exactly what she means when she acts like it’s a sky that’s hers to give away.
Click on the arrow for a constellation guide [->]
I don’t have the same affinity for the summer sky. I even like the sky of fall more, but this isn’t important. I’m just glad I can write about Bakemonogatari this way. I feel fortunate that when the time came, I could give more than just the night sky, help with studies, and clever banter to the person I love. However, it took a so (many years). Senjougahara is off to a great start if I think about it.
It’s no wonder really why so many of us like her. We too, can have the cheek and the power, to give someone the night sky away.
Digital images courtesy of All the Sky.
Diary of an Anime Lived is a series of posts across the sphere organized by 21stcenturydigitalboy in Fuzakenna! I wrote this somehow in the spirit of that series too.
My original post on Bakemonogatari 12, it’s more about the episode itself in case you want to remember love that way [->]
A life experience shared! Yes, you just leveled-up my Senjougahara love. This reminds me I should be more friendly with the night sky, it’s a great thing to be able to share. Giving the sky away feels human.
Cheers 🙂 … can finally comment on one of these moments posts. Didn’t have much to say, but I enjoyed the read.
It’s funny how you say that giving the sky away feels human. On one level, it’s ‘impossible’ to do because one doesn’t have ownership or rights to the (non)property; but at the same time it’s very human indeed to lay claim onto ‘found’ objects.
Wow, yeah, the personal memory really adds an extra punch to the Senjougahara memory. Great post, and even better to hear how your story ended on a positive note.
Thanks, it took me some time to get over a literal homophobia/hatred; but I’m glad I did get over it.
I like this post, though I had a bit of a hard time understanding exactly what you were talking about without having seen the episode in question. I will add this post to The Diary.
Thanks man, I appreciate it.
The summer sky is pretty lame. Its most notable feature is a triangle. It isn’t even a constellation; it’s an asterism. Weak. The winter sky’s where the money’s at.
Indeed. I wouldn’t mind a mythological character smackdown though. Are you really betting on Taurus v. Leo? I do think that the Castor and Pollux team along with Orion can handle Perseus handily.
Interesting life experience… Don’t know whether I should be glad you managed to relate your life to Bakemonogatari.
It’s just a set of signs representing another set of signs, apparently systematic and rational but quite arbitrarily actually. Forgive this cryptic message, I only mean that it’s not that remarkable. We relate to stories a lot, unless you find something terribly objectionable to Bakemonogatari’s?
WOW! I would’ve never guessed you were that way. But I’m glad to hear you’ve grown and learned from your experience. Thanks for sharing.
I don’t have any personal experiences to draw on for this situation. The night sky was just a sign that I had to get to my house before it did. And I have lost that race many times. *sigh* I can’t count the number of times I’ve grounded. The night sky was damn near my enemy as a kid!
An enemy is a figure of significance, and I find it interesting that even as children we tend to frame epic conflicts: human vs. nature, and the sky is such a powerful representation of nature, the closest to God as they come.
So you took on God in a foot race as a kid. That’s pretty GAR don’t you think?
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