The Hunger Games VS. Battle Royale (warning: slight spoilers involved)

As of March 23, 2012 3AM EST, I have watched and read the movies and books of Suzanne Collin’s “The Hunger Games” and Koushun Takami’s “Battle Royale.” Despite the concept of sending teenagers to a remote location and having them kill each other until one lone survivor remains, the two stories are surprisingly different. Sure, if you have never read/watched either of the stories, then, yes, you’d probably think HG is a “rip-off” of BR. That’s certainly what I thought when I was introduced to HG for the very first time. I thought “damn, another American rip-off of a great Japanese film...” Oh, how I regret saying or even thinking of such a judgement. Let me tell you, HG is a very well thought out story. Suzanne obviously took a lot of time and, most importantly, writing skills to create the world of the Hunger Games.

   So, what are the similarities? Let me point them out in list-format –

  • 20-30 teenagers are sent to a remote island to off each other until one lone survivor remains
  • In the end of the story, more than one survivor walks away from the game
  • Suzanne and Koushun-san has taken a great amount of skill to create and develop each of the characters in their stories.
  • Trackers are forced onto the students in order to track their whereabouts.

Overall, the similarities are material and physical.

What are the differences?

  • Battle Royale is involved with pointless killing. The survivor goes home to his/her typical everyday life. They aren’t treated in any way special. In HG, survivors are crowned victors and given expensive gifts. They are elevated to almost capitol-level. Most importantly, the concept of the Hunger Games is to remind the 12 districts of past uprisings against the capitol. It is the capitol’s tool, used to control the people of each district.
  • There is near zero emotional investment involved from the readers towards any of the characters in BR (I say near zero because a VERY smart part of me roots for Nanahara Shuya’s survival. HOWEVER! I have also rooted for other characters in BR. For example? Mitsuko Souma who is a seductive, manipulative, and purely evil character). For HG, we are very much investing our emotions towards Katniss Everdeen. We want her to win, to survive, and to have a happy life.
  • Battle Royale is all action and violence. Unlike HG, you WILL see severed limbs and leaking entrails in BR. Sure, you see a little bit of blood in HG. However, in BR, you see full footage of exploding heads and victims being hacked to pieces. The reader/watcher of BR is more focused on the strategies and techniques used by each killer which is the essential elements that defines BR. In HG, we are concerned with the people of Panem. We are in love with the idea of creating a better place for the 12 districts. We can relate to the people of Panem because there are certain elements of the government that are corrupt and we want to change it for the people of Panem. Why do we want to see Katniss survive? We want her to become a symbol of rebellion and hope. She is the key to bringing peace and happiness to the 12 districts. For BR, the title of survivor is meaningless. The end results is simply a lone survivor who goes back home as an average-joe.
  • In BR, the program is secret and the deaths/survival of the selected students cause zero to no impact to the Japanese society. These students could just as easily die from a car accident or natural causes and no one would know. HG is a worldwide, public event for all of Panem.
  • BR is not based on a first person perspective. The novel is told in 3rd person but most of the time it is told from the perspective of a single student per chapter (http://www.ratracerefuge.com/bookreviews/takami-battle-royale.html). Unlike HG, the reader does not become absorbed and emotionally invested in one protagonist (Katniss Everdeen). BR zooms in on the minds of each killer/student and helps us to relate to each one.

Neither of the lists are at all conclusive. Please feel free to point our any similarities/differences that I am missing.

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Rule to the fitness bandwagon: NEVER eat foods that you do not like

I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned throughout my life in regards to fitness and health is to eat what I enjoy. I have fallen off the fitness bandwagon multiple times and one of the leading reasons is that I ate foods that I simply did not enjoy. This list includes plain oatmeal, plain yogurt, certain types of salads, black coffee, etc. I can go on, & on. For a long time, I never thought that simple alterations can make a complete difference in not-so-enjoyable foods. For example? I used to force myself to eat mixed greens with a drizzle of olive oil simply because it is good for me. Eventually, I stopped and lost all hope in lettuce and olive oil. Until, only recently, my friend introduced me to balsamic vinegar. Just a couple of drops of this stuff in the olive oil spring mix turned my taste buds around! I love it so much that I try not to eat too much of it in fear that I may lose my fondness of the recipe. I also used to hate carrots until I added peanut butter to the little orange sticks prior to munching.

You might ask me “well, Fanny, aren’t you adding more calories to these supposedly healthy foods?” The answer is yes, yes I am. But what is a little bit of balsamic vinegar if it gets me to eat my greens? What is a little bit of peanut butter if it gets me my vitamin A? Alterations to recipes and foods should be beneficial, not counterproductive. Instead of adding sugary dressings, I chose balsamic vinegar. Instead of ranch sauce, I chose peanut butter. These are only little example of beneficial alterations. My equation to healthy eating? Generic plain healthy recipe + beneficial alteration = WIN.

Now, you’ll probably ask “Fanny, doesn’t it take a ton of time to figure out WIN foods for myself?” My answer is yes, yes it will. Taste buds change all the time; therefore, figuring out what you enjoy eating will be a lifelong adventure. We spend so much time searching for schools, jobs, and love… why is it any different with food? (That is my question to you) You should always give your body the best, quality AND taste. If the food is not tasty, it is not worth it. Think of your body as your car, would you fill your car with low quality gas? You’ll just end up messing up your car (obviously, I’m not a car kinda gal…)

I found myself sticking to my fitness lifestyle when I eat what I enjoy. That does NOT mean you should eat cheesesteaks, french fries, pizza, etc.  Healthy foods that are delicious are just as abundant as unhealthy foods. Believe me. It just takes time to find those foods. Remember…. generic plain healthy recipe + beneficial alteration = WIN.

Do you want to look like the loch ness monster for 10 minutes?

I recently found out that oatmeal is not only good for your heart but it is also good for your face. Apparently, oatmeal has the ability to absorb extra oil, exfoliate, and strip dead skin cells. Since eating the oatmeal will not do the job, one must apply the gunk onto the face. Now, imagine walking around with oatmeal over your face…

Anyway, as a typical girl (with acne problems), I decided to give it a try. My first attempt did not get me anywhere. The problem? I smeared the oatmeal, as it is, straight onto my face. It took me 20 minutes to cover one small section of my face simply because the chunky mixture would NOT stay on my face. I immediately got impatient and walked away, leaving the oatmeal mess all over my sink.

The next day, I woke up to a bunch of oatmeal boxes that I purchased for the purpose of creating a DIY mask. There was no way in hell that I’m going to waste good food. Therefore, I rolled up my sleeve and determined to make this damned mask for me. After a bit of searching around the internet, I came across simple recipe to make the perfect oatmeal mask.

Ingredients are –

  • oatmeal
  • water
  • honey

Tools needs –

  • food processor
  • cups
  • fork for mixing

I mixed the oatmeal and water together with a fork and grind the concoction in the food processor. This way, the oatmeal looked more like puree baby food. I mixed in the honey so that the concoction became sticky. By now, the oatmeal smelled so good I just want to eat it (which I did. Don’t worry, I left some for my face). I went back to the bathroom and smeared the puree baby food .. I mean, oatmeal… to my face. This time, the oatmeal actually stayed on my face. Success!

The results? Pretty fabulous if you ask me. The acne on my face diminished in color and my face did not feel as oily. Just one day, my mom noticed that my face looked more plump and dewy. If you don’t mind looking like the loch ness monster for 10 minutes, I highly advise trying this mask. I’ll have pictures for the 3rd time I do this again.

References

Confirmation that my Asian Parents actually did not find me in the garbage can

Young and impressionable, I was raised by eccentric parents to follow a specific path: go to school, get a job, get married to a man, have 2 kids, and retire comfortably. This is the specific path that my parents believe in (and fight for). I can understand their reasons for believing in this path. Hell, they immigrated all the way from China to America for a “better life”! They simply need something to believe in.

I have no doubts that this path will bring happiness in the forms of social acceptance, financial stability, family comfort, personal intellect, and much more. I’m not saying that it’s the wrong path. Not at all. I just wish they would have introduced me to different paths. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are pretty open-minded (by Asian standards). They respect and value my choices; however, they also know how to alter my choices in a subliminal and passive level. My parents won’t straight up tell me “no, that’s a bad choice” or “you should probably reconsider.” They know me so well that they are able to manipulate me to cater to their fancies. In the end, I’m following their path again.

Like almost every typical asian child, I was raised to learn how to play the piano, meticulously do my homework after school, dress to impress, look down upon “lesser” or “inferior” human beings, be compared to other robotic asian children, get scholarships, go to harvard, become a doctor slash engineer slash lawyer. Some of the items on this list, I have followed or achieved. Some, I simply refused to even acknowledge. I’m sure my parents meant well. Otherwise, they could’ve just thrown me in a garbage can and walked away. I just wish that they would’ve given me other options, instead of turning me into another little asian robot. Couldn’t they just tell me to start my own business or, even better, become a rock star?

Reference