Princess Mononoke Initial Musings

This past Thursday, I finally watched the Studio Ghibli film “Princess Mononoke” (directed by Hayao Miyazaki) for the first time. I was lucky enough to see it in theatres for its 20th anniversary special screening. In some sense, I cannot believe I’ve previously never taken the time to watch this film. I went into the theatre clueless about the film’s background and story line, and was in complete awe and blown away by the totality of the film. Some scenes overwhelmed me with sadness and despair, especially the hatred (brought about by humans) that turned animals into demons and the lack of care and conservation humans had towards mother earth. How relevant Princess Mononoke is to our world today! The extremes of both sides, nature and conservation vs. human industrialization, power, and domination, Princess Mononoke vs. Lady Eboshi, were convincingly portrayed. My heart broke and was in distraught seeing how the selfish desires of the human heart can lead to such intolerable destruction to humans and mother earth. Prince Ashitaka’s character brought forgiveness and hope for a genuine and respectful coexistence of humans and nature. One of my favorite scenes was when Prince Ashitaka comforted Princess Mononoke by simply hugging her after her heart was filled with brokenness, vengeance, and hopelessness, to remind her of love, among many others. My mind is still constantly thinking about the story, the beautiful soundtrack, and the important message for us humans alike. I by no means fully grasp the film, but appreciate Hayao Miyazaki and his staff for creating such a compassionate film filled with essence and timeless relevance. I do plan on re-watching the film soon, and look forward to one day visiting the Ghibli Museum in Japan.


Die to Swag and Live for Suffering

The Asian Rough Rider

We want it all and we want it now. As a culture, we in the West are enslaved by a near-worship of comfort and convenience.

I seriously just saw this app that digitally enhances your photos to make your face and body look slimmer. You can post your weight loss photos on Facebook and get comments on your swagger without ever hitting the gym or breaking a sweat! Instant results.

Sadly enough, this is how we live out our faith and operate our churches. We put much of our time, money and resources into the cosmetics of our faith (Big-shots, Budgets & Buildings) so we’ll have to do as little work as possible for the Kingdom of God. As a result, we’ve become a stumbling block to the Gospel when we should be a powerhouse of mission and change in our world today.

The world around us reinforces this idea…

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Today’s beautiful sunset.

This is my view most of the time on non-cloudy / non-overcast days. Today, I decided to take a moment to step outside and enjoy the view. Scenes as such spark such awe and amazement, that sometimes I wish time can be still.

But as I reflect, I recall Mark 13:31, where Jesus states “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

I think to myself, even this beautiful creation will eventually wither away. It’s a lovely and subtle reminder that I should not dwell on the transient, but focus my efforts toward eternity. At the end, only God’s word will remain.

Dear Tobias…What’s the Worst & Best Thing about Being a Missionary?

The Asian Rough Rider

November 23, 2014

Hi Tobias,

We’ve never met before but I’ve heard a lot about you from some mutual friends. My wife and I spent this past weekend with some missional families stateside and I know God has broken our hearts for the lost, especially for those in the 1040 window. I just wanted to say that honestly until taking this trip I never TRULY understood how much work and how much sacrifice it takes so I just want to say Thank You for what you do. I’ve prayed many times for you before, but after learning more from our friends I hope my prayers may be more effective.

My wife and I are thinking of missioning and I just wanted to ask you, what was the hardest or most difficult life change you had to deal with when you became a missionary? Also if you can sum it…

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AIMEE MANN Live at Wilshire Ebell Theatre

I was very ambitious yesterday and decided to head to LA (on my own, a scary decision indeed) to see Aimee Mann live at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. I found out last minute about her concert, and realized that even if I announced it, no one would be willing to pay $40 to see an artist they probably have never heard of; thus, my decision to go alone. I say it wasn’t the smartest decision only because I’m new to driving in southern California. It sure is different compared to the rest of California; so much more traffic, smaller roads, crazy fast drivers, you name it (ok, maybe I’m being a bit stereotypical, but definitely a lot more traffic). I was extremely nervous driving there, but thank the Lord for delivering me there and safely back home in one piece without getting into any accidents (and thank God it was a Saturday).

Wilshire Ebell Theatre is a very nice venue. Established in the 1920s, it is nicely preserved and maintained. I ended up buying the 2nd best level of seating ($10 more). However, when I got there, the theatre was not that big. Even if I had gotten the cheapest tickets, I would only be about 5 rows behind where I sat. Not a wise decision, but hey, I’m supporting Aimee Mann.

Majority of the attendees/fans that came to support Aimee were a lot older than me, in their 40’s and 50’s. There was definitely a younger crowd present also. Field Report (from Wisconsin) opened for Aimee Mann. They first sang “Route 18” from their debut album, and went on to sing for 30 minutes. I was able to buy their album and received an autograph from the lead singer/acoustic guitar player. Aimee Mann came on 30 minutes later, and began the set with a few songs off her new album Charmer. She was beyond AMAZING live. A great live musician indeed, and also very humorous. She was great interacting with the crowd and making everyone laugh. After her hour-long set, she came back and did an encore (after 30 seconds off state lol) for everyone, playing a few of her older songs: One, It’s Not, and Deathly. I, along with many others, wanted to meet Aimee and get her autograph, but unfortunately, she disappeared after her show (somewhere in the building, but no where near the front nor her tour bus). I really wanted to stay, but figure it wasn’t plausible since I still had to drive a long way to get home. Nonetheless, I do not regret taking the trip there to see her. Her music, lyrics, sound, and presence were fantastic. I did manage to get her official poster before it was long gone! During my drive, I pretty much just listened to her new album the whole way. It’s a great album, with different tempos in each track. I’m sure many people will enjoy it, especially with Aimee Mann’s lyrics!

Field Report opening act for Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann!

Aimee Mann’s Charmer and Field Report’s debut album

Aimee Mann’s encore performance of “It’s Not” (my recording, got the best view I could)