Cherry Blossom Season

It is that time of the year when it starts to get warmer. The spring breeze is so nice and warm that you just want to take a nap. The flowers are blooming and the birds start to chirp. This is when I know my birthday is coming up.

Photo Credit: eskipaper.com

I have a Japanese middle name, “Sakura,” meaning cherry blossom. This name is common in Japan among people who are born in the spring. The day I was born, my grandma in Japan said that since the cherry blossoms were in bloom she would name me Sakura.

Spring is my favorite season. Although it is the season of my birthday, the reason I like spring most is because of the perfect weather. It’s hot enough to go to the pool and also if you drive a couple of hours to the mountains you can go skiing. I love to ski and I love to surf, so this season is perfect for me.

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Skiing and surfing in the same month?

Ojai Valley School is really big on outdoor education, so we have a lot of camping trips throughout the academic year. I realized that in this month of March, I’m going on two trips that are for opposite types of activities. One is the Mammoth Mountain skiing trip and the other is a beach camping trip.

I just came back from the Mammoth Mountain skiing trip. I can’t move as much as usual because my arms, legs, and neck are sore from skiing and snowboarding. I can’t even think about surfing right at this moment, but I need to in a week, so I hope I feel better by then.

This experience – to have both of these trips happen in the same month – is only possible in California. It is crazy to think the weather can be this different in one state. I’m from Japan and I know for a fact that California is bigger in area than Japan, so this blows my mind.

Mammoth Mountain
Photo Credit: Evelyn Brokering

Tale as New as Time

On Friday, audiences will once again revisit the “tale as old as time” when the Beauty and the Beast makes its live action debut. The movie, featuring the amazing acting abilities of Emma Watson and other Hollywood veterans, has already been featured in many famous news platforms. Why? In an interview done by Attitude, a British magazine, the director, Bill Condon, revealed that LeFou, Gaston’s trusty sidekick, will be gay.

While he didn’t specifically say what will happen, this statement was met with many different reactions. To some members of the gay community, this was a breath of fresh air. Finally, Disney, a huge media influencer, has validated the gay community with its first “exclusively gay” moment. The fact that a character in such a beloved classic is out, or at least exploring his sexuality, is the representation that many wished they had when they were younger.

However, some members of the gay community were upset by this update. Ryan Houlihan, a Teen Vogue writer, states his ailments in the following, “They made the gay character a villain, relegated him to being a sidekick, gave this explicitly queer role to a straight actor, and then muddled the issue by making him sexually ‘confused’ – just to hedge their bets.” It’s also terrible that Lefou’s entire “gayness” is him pining over his unattainable straight friend. What the LGBT+ community needs is a gay character who gets his feelings reciprocated and a meaningful plot progression.

No matter the opinions, the media has gone into a frenzy about this new additive to the plot, making it a hot topic for new interviews of the stars. Emma Watson, the actress of the remade feminist Belle, made it quite clear that LeFou’s gay moment isn’t extremely pronounced, on the other hand, she called it “subtle.” Apparently, it’s a mystery whether he is in love with Gaston, as it isn’t written in the script.

Bill Condon thinks the attention is “overblown,” as Josh Gad’s character is featured in a background dance scene with another man. Condon’s response to this attitude surprises me. Saying that this movie will feature the first “exclusively gay moment” in Disney’s history is a pretty big deal, so being shocked by the media outburst seems a little odd.

Nevertheless, I’m excited to see this moment for myself, as I want to experience this revolutionary moment on the big screen this Friday. Watch a preview of LeFou’s famous “Gaston” here: