12 Days of Christmas 2014 #07 – Honeys, Clovers and Bicycles

HoneyAndCloverTakemotoBicycle

Honey and Clover is a peculiar anime. It was one I was almost always recommended and told I would love by avid fans. Years passed and I eventually watched it shortly after having started studying on university level, a very fitting choice as it takes place in a college setting with adult characters. Indeed, I don’t think there ever would’ve been a better time to watch it.

To describe Honey and Clover would be futile as it is unlike every other anime I’ve seen. Perhaps it is thanks to its adult characters and college setting. Perhaps it is how there are no easy solutions to problems. Perhaps it is because it does not follow a straight line in storytelling, instead embracing the meandering nature and finding something meaningful to tell in in exactly that. Or perhaps it is due to how it is about life itself and how it all just sort of happens whether you are prepared or not.

There is a certain sense of adolescence and melancholic atmosphere that at times feel very real. The way music is heavily integrated into the series helps create a rather nostalgic sensation of a time that may have taken place in your life. It makes me think of all my worries about the future.

HoneyAndCloverTakemotoBicycle2

One particular part in Honey and Clover that struck a chord with me was at the end of the first season, where the character Takemoto rides on a bicycle throughout Japan in hope of discovering something – a meaning to life and his existence. His friends have long left him behind and found their purposes and goals, however Takemoto has not. What does he wish to do with his life? What does he need to do in order to discover that? Will be become stronger if he does? He does not even know himself.

I am currently a Takemoto. I am lost in life. Slowly, but surely, I am seeing those around me growing more confident in their aspirations or even working their way through them. All this while I am left behind, not knowing what to do with myself. I will ultimately work my way through university, but for what reason? And then I cry.

It has been tempting to do something, by my standards, foolish in order to escape this feeling of emptiness. Stop studying and travel abroad. Get a job. Switch to studying something completely out of left field. Or, as Takemoto, take my bicycle and travel across the country. The latter is something I was close to doing, as it felt very liberating when I once ended up completely lost far from the city centre. It would be a bicycle and I on a journey, even if it would be nothing more than a pitiful escape from reality rather than a solution to the problem.

From time to time I still quietly think to myself:

How far can I go without turning back?

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9 thoughts on “12 Days of Christmas 2014 #07 – Honeys, Clovers and Bicycles

  1. miharusshi says:

    I’m currently in the same situation. Lost in life. Yes, I do well in school and am one of the top students. But what they don’t know, despite giving me those words of praises that make me happy at times, I don’t have exactly what people often attribute to me–scholarly drive.

    People around me are interested in the results of the latest licensure exams, or who graduated with Ph.D. degree, or who is the newly hired faculty just after graduating with high honors. While here I am, standing in my own place, not giving a care to those things. No, those aren’t the things that interest me.

    It’s quite a dilemma that I’m not interested with academics even though, at the same time, I find myself indulging in reports, papers, and projects and wanting to get good grades and make my parents happy (now, its just my mother).

    I know what I want to become, but the means are just aren’t present. And it’s not simple to look for other means, since I have this responsibility for people around me to meet their expectations. It feels like I’m walking on a tightrope.

    • Marow says:

      It’s strange, isn’t it? To me, it feels like getting good grades is the only little motivation I have at the moment as it’s at least some sort of goal… a destructive goal, but a goal nonetheless…

      I really wish you could become want you want to be one day, I really do.

      • miharusshi says:

        Thanks! Same to you, Marow. I wish you’ll also find what you want to be and do. 🙂 This is a confusing stage in our lives, but an important one that will eventually lead us to what we’ll be doing in the future. And I’m sure we’ll look back to this day with a smile. Again, Happy Holidays and best wishes!

  2. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what one wants to do in life. For myself, I figure that there’s no better career than being a novelist; but, few survive on that career alone, and it’s hard to stay focused–even though few other activities make me so happy.

    Just keep trying and I’m sure that you’ll find what makes you happy as well and also the means to pursue it.

    • Marow says:

      Are you a successful novelist? Aren’t you afraid of such a career?

      I like writing myself, but I would never be able to have a sustainable living of it. So I have given up on pursuing that as of now.

      • I wish that I could claim success as a novelist! I’ve placed 3rd in a writing contest and a novel of mine is in the running to gain a prize in a contest whose results will be released in February or March. Also, I have some other writing projects on the side. Success is either down the road or will never happen.

        That can be scary, but other things are more scary to me–in particular, gaining success by not being true to myself and feeling envious of those happy persons who struggled long and hard enough to see their dreams bear fruit. Fortunately, one can write only a little each day as one tackles more pressing problems and earns a living. Over time, novels and short stories drop from one’s pen, and one might see readers attracted to one’s individuality. One gains more joy from that than a life of sustenance and having the same sorts of things other people have–as I know from sad experience!

        So, you should keep writing even as you pursue careers which are as attainable and reasonable as they are joyless. 🙂 But, who knows! You may find a career you love as much or more than writing.

  3. […] Marow’s post got me to start watching Honey and Clover. It’s an anime I hear a lot about from other anime bloggers. Most of the praise centers around the true to life depictions of college and early working life. So I expected the show to feel somber and mature in tone compared to the usual anime set in high school. […]

  4. animecommentary says:

    I find myself asking the same question – what do I want to do? College is an amazing experience, but life doesn’t provide the “ultimate answer” to itself; people do “foolish” things because they want to know what life holds, and find something meaningful in their own personal experiences that they can call their own. For me, my post-college life’s been a bit of a rough time psychologically, and sometimes I wonder where life will take me.

    Ultimately, though, I find myself looking at all the positive experiences – I graduated from college, I have a blog, and (most importantly) my friends and family help me through any rough patches in my life.

    • Marow says:

      College, or rather university, hasn’t been very amazing in my opinion. I guess it’s mainly as I don’t go out partying, which at least in Sweden seems to be the main thing many have fond memories of. School itself isn’t particularly special, although I like the environment in general.

      I’m glad you’re managing (?) to get through the rough patches in your life. It’s not fun being affected psychologically, so I feel for you. I may not be much, but I’ll always listen to your problems if needed.

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