1144: In the Absence of Cherry Blossoms – Chapter One

Title: In the Absence of Cherry Blossoms
Author: regina di cuori
Media:  Television/Cartoon
Topic: Care Bears
Genre:  Romance/Friendship
URL: Chapter One
Critiqued by Lyle

Hello, everyone!  With the end of “Shinobi & Wizards: Resolution,” Koori is taking a much needed break from riffing.  She’ll be spending a few weeks training our jumping shark while I go at riffing this fic solo.  I’ve found us an interesting little story called “In the Absence of Cherry Blossoms.”  It’s from the Care Bears wing of fanfiction.net.  The summary caught my eye; I’ll share it with you before we begin.

shoujo mangafied au care bears fanfic in which all the residents of care-a-lot are thrown into a change of scenery. here at carawood high, home of the carawood bears, we’ll explore the lives of the personified care bears through the eyes of sweet sakura bear, our japanese exchange student as she struggles and develops through the problems of a high school girl.

Personified Care Bears in a high school setting.  Where have I seen something like this before?

Let’s get started!

Chapter one is called “New.”  It’s preceded by an author’s note.

ksldjfksdajfk.

The hell is that?  Did our author just have a seizure on her keyboard?

please don’t mind me, i just had this idea in my head for some time now and i wanted to get it out. i guess it came to me when i, for some reason, looked up care bear fanfics and realized their existence. so when i saw that, i just had this idea that because i’ve grown up, i’d like to try my hand at taking part of my childhood and making it grow up with me. urghhh. frustrations. probably not gonna complete this lol

*slow blink*

Let me get this straight:  You’ve grown up but you’re using this story to parallel your current experiences in high school?  Oh, Cupcake, high school is not being grown up.  You’ve got a shit ton of growing still to do.  I know you think you’re an adult and you’ll just thumb your nose at me for saying you’re not, but you’re very much not an adult yet.

Also, where the hell did your capitalization go, and why are you admitting you’re not going to finish it?  If you know you’re not going to finish a story, why bother even starting it?  People are less likely to read something that they know won’t be completed.  Who buys half a book?

Oh, a line break!  That’s a sight for sore eyes.

In a new land, in a new place. It’s never easy starting out, but this is the dream that she’s always wanted. The chance she’d always been waiting for. The chance to come to America, and experience something completely unalike anything she had ever before. Sakura Hisano jumped at it like a lion closing in for the kill. If she didn’t take this chance to study abroad, who knew when the next opportunity would appear.

Holy fragmented sentences, Batman!  Punctuation is not Regina’s strong point, is it?

Koori: “Unalike” isn’t the word she wants here.  She should have used “unlike.”

GAH!

GAH!

Jesus monkey balls!  What are you doing here?!

Koori: Bartolomé is napping.

At the first mention of America, her parents had objected outright. They thought her crazy, why on earth would she want to leave Japan? Her home was a successful country, in all its own right. Everything their daughter needed in life grew directly in their backyard.

They have a very nice clothing tree next to the shoe tree.

Koori: I think it was supposed to be a metaphor.

It wasn’t a very good one.

Koori:  So why would her parents want to limit her life experiences?  You would think a parent would want their child to travel and see new things.

Meh, some people are very culturocentric.  I can’t really fault her folks if this is how they are.

Sakura knew this, but of course an American experience didn’t sound all that bad. The idea was first implanted in her head when she was five. Movies-especially American ones with cute boys-really had an influence.

Koori: Boys at five?

I’m guessing our author doesn’t remember being five.  At five you hardly even know there’s a difference in the genders, let alone find another person attractive in that way.  Your concept of relationships when you’re five are based off cultural ques you’ve learned from watching either your parents, movies, or television.  My son had a “girlfriend” in kindergarten but he had no actual romantic feelings for her.

This next section is a whole block of fail, so I’m going to break it apart.  *hefts the sledgehammer*

Sakura blushed, recalling the beginnings of her desire to see America.

Why is she blushing about wanting to see America?

Koori: I think someone has a crush on a country.

It wasn’t the only reason why she so desperately wanted to go. There was the differences between her proper, dignified lifestyle and the average American teenager’s.

Because in ‘MURCA! we can’t having proper and dignified lifestyles?

Koori: Americans are the most undignified and improper people in the world.  Didn’t you know that?

Apparently not.  I wonder if she thinks we all live in squalor, too.

And the education; the curriculum was surely different than that of her own in Japan.

Oh, that she has right.  In America we learn language, mathematics, history, and science.  In Japanese schools they learn language, mathematics, history, and science.  Totally a different curriculum!

Koori: The stupid is starting to hurt my head.  Maybe I’ll just go wake Bartolomé and get back to his training.  *slips out*

Sakura had also been informed that the customs in high school were also very foreign.

Finally, something that really is true.  Japanese schools have a much different climate than American public schools.  That’s more due to a cultural difference than an academic one, though.  You’ll find the customs of German or French or even English schools are different than one another.

And oh, the uniforms. In American schools, students had no need for them.

Except for the 19% of public American schools that require their students to wear uniforms.

Sakira could kiss goodbye the sailor uniforms that had drawn the attention of lecherous, creepy old men towards her.

Proofreading is your friend.  If you can’t get Salmonella’s name correct, perhaps you should find a name you can more easily spell.

Okay, that was the end of that paragraph.  Let’s see what else we’ve got here.  *swings the sledgehammer*

The girl tucked a long strang of jet black hair behind her ears as the spring wind blew.

Typo aside, at least our author has given her an ethnically appropriate hair color.

In the absence of pink petals flitting about in the air, she sighed.  There were no cherry blossoms here in America.

*slow blink*

‘S•Ä÷•ª•z}

Nope, no cherry blossoms in America. None at all.

The flower with which she shared her namesake would be missing from her sight for a few years. It would be one thing that Sakura missed from her homeland.

How fucking lazy are you that you can’t look up whether or not the country you fucking live in has something or not?!  That map shows over 40 locations known to the Japanese Embassy where acceptable cherry blossom trees have been planted.  It’s not specified in this chapter where Carawood High School is located but there’s only a few places where there aren’t cherry blossoms.

Koori: On another note, the most popular type of cherry blossom tree in Japan has white petals, not pink ones.  They’re pink near the center but actually a white bloom.  So this “Japanese” girl isn’t even missing the right type of flower in the first place.

Welcome back.  That was fast.

Koori: Bartolomé bargained for more time to sleep.

I… see.

Her aunt-whom agreed to let Sakura stay with her-had attempted to cultivate a few small cherry trees in her backyard, but the blooms on the branches were noticably different. Nonetheless, still beautiful, and very much appreciated.

x4alpjavc0y5nl5yvter

But you just said you wouldn’t see any cherry blossoms for a couple years.  They might look a little different due to your aunt’s crappy gardening skills, but they’re still fucking cherry blossoms.

Koori:  Except her aunt has apparently planted regular cherry trees.  Cherry blossom trees are cultivated to produce flowers, not fruit.  While a few will produce actual cherries, if the aunt has planted a variety of fruiting tree, it is definitely a species that is not really that closely related to the Japanese Cherry Blossom tree.

You’d think, being from Japan, Aunt Clueless would know this.

Koori: Yes, but American Author with No Google Skills doesn’t.  So her characters will remain blissfully ignorant to easily accessible information.

Burn.

Burn.

Sakura inhaled sharply, anxious to start her first day tomorrow. What would Carawood High School, home of the Bears, be like?

Was there seriously no other way to indicate the school mascot?  Like, I don’t know, maybe having an embarrassing scene the next day where she literally runs into the school mascot, knocking his comically over-sized head off?

The anticipation and excitement was chewing at her from the inside out. In such deep thought, she had failed to notice her aunt’s entrance to the back porch, swiftly taking a seat beside Sakura with a plate of store bought black cherries.

Did Sakura just sit down next to herself?

Koori: Must be a shadow clone.

Asako wasn’t all that much older than Sakura herself, at the age of twenty six. Still young and celebratory of life, much more than her own niece anyways.

Koori: Eeeeesh, that’s awkward sounding, isn’t it?

Incredibly.  Good thing Swenia isn’t near enough to my office to hear it.  I think her throat will be raw enough between “The Great Rift” and that “Legend of Dragoon” thing.

“You’ll be fine,” Sakura turned to look at her aunt. Asako was speaking English. Very perfected and well practiced English. Asako had instructed Sakura to speak in English only for the time being, to better her speech and familiarity with the language.

Understandable.

Koori: If awkwardly worded.

Yeah.  But I can see how keeping to English would benefit Sakura.  She’ll be going to an American school.  Having a good grasp of English will help her significantly.  Unlike Germanic and Latin based languages, Japanese is so far removed from English that deciphering unknown words will be incredibly difficult for her.

In all honesty, Sakura felt gratitude towards the older woman. Despite having practiced English for a long time, there were still major slip ups in her speech, and a lingering accent which Sakura found embarrassing.

Why would she find it embarrassing?

Koori: And why are we being told this instead of being shown it?

“I’m not worried. Just very, very excited,” she raised one cherry to her lips, the sweet tanginess of the flesh dancing on her tongue after she bit into the small fruit.

Jesus, that’s purple.  Where the hell did that come from?

Asako regarded her niece with a sideways glance, spitting out a cherry pit towards the direction of the grass in front of the two.

Koori: But it just hit the concrete instead because it only went in the direction of the grass.  I have no idea if it made it there since we’re left hanging on a vagueness.

She herself decided to move to America when she was twenty two. At the time, Sakura had only been thirteen, and envious of Asako’s ableness to travel freely. When Sakura’s mother, Asako’s sister, had opposed letting her daughter go abroad, Asako had been the one to support Sakura’s decision and desire.

Man, exposition up the ying-yang.

Koori: We might need Herr’s counter before this is over.

So, infodump aside, I’m not going to gripe about Asako being only eight years older than Sakura.  Things like this happen.

Koori: Indeed.  My adopted brother’s real nephews are older than him due to an oops.

Yes, and I talked to a reviewer who loved the fact that Hekai was younger than his nephews because the same thing happened in her family.  So it really does happen in real life.  The thing that I’m a bit annoyed about is that Asako moved to America four years previous and speaks absolutely perfect English.  I’m sorry, but that is unrealistic to me.  I know people born here to multi-lingual families where English isn’t their first language but they’ve spoken it for over 30 years, and they still have an accent.  Unless Asako is an obsessive linguist, she will still have an accent.  Hell, one of my best friends when I was in elementary was half Korean.  Her mother was born in America and still has a thick Korean accent, and she’s well over 50.

“Well, I’m sure you’ll do fine anyways,” Asako smiled assuringly, resting one hand on the younger girl’s shoulder.

Sakura gave a grin in return, “Thanks Auntie,” the girl exhaled, feeling her anxiety melt away with the oncoming of a new lifestyle.

Wow, this chick has got mad anti-anxiety skills!

Koori: You could learn a thing or two from her.

Shush, you.

So with that, we’ve finished this chapter!

Koori: Yay!  …So where are the Care Bears?

I’m hoping to meet some in the next chapter.  So far they’ve been conspicuously absent from the fic.  I can’t find anything in this chapter that’s even remotely Care Bear-y.  All there is is that reference to the mascot of the school being a bear, which is pretty typical for American school mascots so it doesn’t trigger any “This is totally a Care Bear fanfic” vibes.

Until next week, patrons!

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18 Comments on “1144: In the Absence of Cherry Blossoms – Chapter One”

  1. leobracer says:

    I can’t make heads or tails with this.

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    ksldjfksdajfk.

    The hell is that? Did our author just have a seizure on her keyboard?

    That, or she’s Finnish.

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    Despite having practiced English for a long time, there were still major slip ups in her speech,

    And why are we being told this instead of being shown it?

    We are being shown it. All throughout the ‘fic.

  4. GhostCat says:

    … we’ll explore the lives of the personified care bears through the eyes of sweet sakura bear, our japanese exchange student …

    :headdesk:

  5. GhostCat says:

    Let me get this straight: You’ve grown up but you’re using this story to parallel your current experiences in high school?

    She thinks being in high school makes her an adult?

    BWA-HA-HA-HA! :falls off chair:

    Oh, honey; life will kick your ass so very hard.

  6. GhostCat says:

    Why is she blushing about wanting to see America?

    Koori: I think someone has a crush on a country.

    Maybe she watched a lot of Hetalia.

  7. GhostCat says:

    And the education; the curriculum was surely different than that of her own in Japan.

    In that our standards are much, much lower so she is moving a very long way to receive an inferior education? Why, yes – yes, they are very different.

    • agigabyte says:

      Homeschool is the best school.

      • GhostCat says:

        Homeschooling has a bit of a bad reputation in the US; it’s strongly associated with extreme religious fundamentalists. Personally, I would have love to have been homeschooled; for me the worst part of school was the other students.

        • agigabyte says:

          Yeah, I have some friends in my tutorial program, but mostly, the other students are just annoyances.

          As for Religion, I’m a Gnostic Middle-Left Wing Christian Evolutionist that firmly believes Science and Religion can work side by side as long the scientists aren’t corrupt and reporting what someone tells them to and the Religious Leaders aren’t corrupt and trying to use their positions for power.

  8. GhostCat says:

    The thing that I’m a bit annoyed about is that Asako moved to America four years previous and speaks absolutely perfect English. I’m sorry, but that is unrealistic to me.

    She may have learned English before moving, English is taught in Japanese schools and it would be foolish to move somewhere and be unable to speak the language, but I doubt she’d be able to speak it flawlessly. In my own experience, trying to suppress your native accent when speaking another language is really frickin’ hard to do.

  9. GhostCat says:

    personified care bears

    So as far as I can tell, Sakura is human and presumably the other characters will be human as well. Methinks the author doesn’t know what “personified” means and assumes it refers to anthropomorphic animals being turned into humans, A.K.A. ‘persons’.

  10. neji7hyuga says:

    shoujo mangafied au care bears fanfic in which all the residents of care-a-lot are thrown into a change of scenery. here at carawood high, home of the carawood bears, we’ll explore the lives of the personified care bears through the eyes of sweet sakura bear, our japanese exchange student as she struggles and develops through the problems of a high school girl.

    Personified Care Bears in a high school setting.  Where have I seen something like this before?

    Is the fic in the link the one where some…terrible and not heroic things happened? Something that made someone rant?

    • "Lyle" says:

      The link is to a terrible Thomas the Tank Engine fic where the trains are teenaged humans in high school. There’s some ranting depending on the chapter. That is the fic where slavery is legal and people seem to have no problem with killing children of they are not useful.

      • neji7hyuga says:

        …that is very bad. And the fact slavery was trivialized makes it even worse. Due to the fact trivializing serious issues makes things worse by default.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        I dunno, black comedy can be very effective if done right, and the thing I always took away from the SHT rant was more that the slavery thing exposed how incredibly defective the characters are and how they can’t react normally to even obvious stimuli.

      • "Lyle" says:

        Yeah there was a much better way to handle the situation than just brushing it off like the author did.


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