— Temporal Vortex

Tatami Galaxy – The Search for the Rose-Colored Campus Life

Tatami Galaxy had me fascinated probably because I could relate well to the protagonist’s disposition and goal, which is to find his rose-colored campus life. I, just like Watashi, think that one way of finding the rose-colored campus life is to have an association/organization/club in the campus that you can involve yourself into. Watashi and I believe that clubs and organizations that you join during your college years are integral parts of your campus life and that it influences us on how we define our college experiences (I mean, it should…normally.).

If you somehow caught my tweets in twitter, you’d probably know that I’m a college student and I’m currently in my last term before I do my practicum (yes, I’ll be finishing my thesis this term). And so, I guess I’ll be graduating soon. This makes me somewhat wistful about it so I decided to make an entry about Tatami in relation to my college experience.

Several animes focus on the idea of school clubs as a plot tool to develop a story from which the story revolves. From Haruhi, Genshiken, to K-ON! All of these animes center around the idea of  a school club from which the characters are members.

It feels good to have that club where you could say you really enjoy being a part of.

This takes us back to my current college experience. I won’t say I’m deprived of club activities and such, since it’s too late already as well but I guess I should say that I was never that happy with my organization. Well, unlike Watashi though, it was never my aim to score a girlfriend in the club that I’m joining so the discontentment I’m feeling isn’t because of that.

The only organization which I joined during college was just the organization which addresses my academic concerns or the so-called official organization for those who have the same college degree that I’m taking (ie Economics). It would be biased to say that I didn’t enjoy my club if I was a mere member who’s not participating but… I’m actually an officer (not of high rank though) of that organization so we frequently hold some activities where I do participate in… and well, it’s not like that it sucks, but the organization was pretty bland to death (inclusive of the parties that we hold). I never felt I’m doing something really worthwhile all throughout the year since the committee from which I’m an officer is tasked only for a yearly special (but major) convention. After that convention, it’ll never be worthwhile anymore to attend the meetings. Everybody seems so contented already merely by doing that one convention and past that are just idle talk and nothing much else. There’s nothing to look forward to, really. Except that one and only preparation stage for the convention.

Of course, this is not Tatami Galaxy where I could have several episodes as well as clubs to choose from. Then again, I do not want to experience being trapped inside that endless and vast extension of 4.5 tatami rooms. All I could do was to wonder what could have been my college days if I joined something else entirely different to my course. Then again, organizations in universities of developed countries are more diverse unlike here in the Philippines where the only organizations I could count as something not really academic would be the Theater Guild, Outdoor Club, and Filipino-Chinese Friendship stuff club, adding to the hackneyed Student Council and Batch Government committees. And yes, there’s no such thing as Study of Modern Visual Arts Club. Now that I think of it, If only I had the courage I could have been the founder instead. meh. Maybe you’d ask me why I didn’t choose to join the Japan Studies Society instead even though it’s the nearest thing related to anime. First of all, the environment didn’t feel so welcoming and I heard they don’t really hold that much activities. Second, I’ll really, really be out of place since 99% of the members are taking the Japanese Studies degree.

I don’t know if it’s just here but I think organizations have gotten lamer and lamer all because the students only seize the officer positions for Curriculum Vitae (credentials) purposes instead of actually seizing the position because they are capable of handling it and they love what they are involved into. Other than that, it has become a culture already that every course has its own designated course-related organization, which is something I really hate. It’s nice to have those but I quite do not know why there are no hobby-related clubs in my university. It’s really disappointing. I mean… even Astronomy Club?! I have no intention of bragging but, I’m quite sure my university is among the top universities in the country and yet… -_- Let me take a look at the Literature Club in my university for example. Instead of having members dedicated to simply reading literary works, almost all the members are taking the undergraduate program for Literature. *sigh* I don’t know why clubs in my university are like this. I mean it should be common, but it definitely doesn’t have to be the primary practice because it leads to a point that there’s not enough diversity for the students anymore to enjoy. Actually, I’m quite dumbfounded why there are very few hobby-related clubs in my university.

Searching for the rose-colored campus life eh? This makes me quite envious of Jougasaki-senpai, Akashi and even Ozu. They all have these remarkable experiences of different clubs from which they could say they actually enjoyed, even with the mischief which befell Ozu.

Then again, Tatami Galaxy is about grabbing that opportunity hanging right in front of us. We search and search for the things we would want to find but we don’t notice anymore the things that ‘s been laid there already in the very first place. Who needs a damn club to roll these things out for us? I mean we can still find our own not-so-rose-colored campus life in the company of our friends. Right, Watashi? At the end of the series, Watashi didn’t say what club he chose to settle to, or whether he actually still joined one since it didn’t matter anymore. After all, he has finally gained a bond with Akashi, the raven-haired maiden of his dreams thus realizing his very own rose-colored campus life from there on.

Of course, I can’t really apply what is happening in the Japan in comparison to what’s the university environment here in the Philippines. It was worth a try but I think clubs here in my country do not work out that much compared to Japan’s. Then again, although several animes might have shown that being part of  certain clubs is one of many ways from which you can find/discover your rose-colored campus life, it’s not necessarily always the case since just as how Tatami Galaxy showed it, there are harsh realities for every club (eg. a mere facade of an occult, see the softball-honey-related episode from Tatami) that would actually hinder you from experiencing that rose-colored campus life. In the end, it’s not the club which gives the college life the rose-color (based on how Watashi calls it) and although it does contribute, it doesn’t completely rely on that aspect as one could actually discover it through mere social relationship and rapport towards other people, specifically friends.

Of course, you’re lucky if you were able to find a certain club which you can proudly describe as something you really liked and enjoyed being a part of.


image credits: pixiv users 残ネン子, ひなた, はち, ろばた

  1. Mint says: February 19, 201112:45 am

    Seems like there's one of those unspoken social rules that clubs are for students studying the same field of interest, and it's tough not to conform. At my school, students usually never join clubs without a group of friends with them, so I can see how awkward it would be to join an club where everyone's studying something else.

    Even if everyone in the literature club is taking an undergrad in lit, do they still read and enjoy what you'd typically do in a lit club? Perhaps there's some way to overcome the clique-y nature of your school. :< (Like grabbing a friend and forcing them to join the club with you. Heheh. |D)

    Anyways, no one joins any clubs at my provincial university. It's not as big of a deal as anime makes it out to be, or maybe everyone's too busy clubbing… XD Also, you're 18 and almost finished university?! Whaaat

    • foomafoo says: February 19, 201111:31 am

      Haha, we don't have junior high,.. which is why Philippines lack 2 years of education. Actually, that's my worry since Philippines is starting to be left out because there's already this Bologna Accord which is somehow trying to make the years of schooling year same as in the western countries… I heard some international companies are already complying to it, like accepting only applicants with certain number of school years. It's ridiculous though if you think of it because in order to actually got accepted to some companies, I would need to take masters just to compensate for that 2 years that we lack. Anyway, back to the topic.

      It's pretty easier to acquire diversity though if the club is definitely a hobby/interest related one, but yes it's very hard to overcome that unspoken rule alone. I can only think of diversifying the activities of the club so it'll gain attention from other colleges… No one joins? Hmm I'm actually guilty because I've considered joining a club because of co-curricular activities since it is a measure of your leadership abilities. But really, I don't aim for a high position. I just want to take part on something I led to do. Then again, it's more fun if it was not just for your course mates .

  2. Kyokai says: February 21, 20117:06 pm

    Can you believe I took the Bungaku Shoujo route? I was part of the departmental magazine but you can't really call it a 'society' or 'club' because we just met up on occasionally and coaxed people to write for us. My college/University was devoid of such well formed clubs except for the Student's Council, which was actually the umbrella of all other 'little' clubs.

    I think my rose-coloured campus life was defined and punctuated by the acquire friends, some of whom I am still in contact with. Humans are social animals for a reason. The same reason I loved Tatami Galaxy so much as it showcased all that can go wrong but actually be right in a surreal way. You have to speak up for what you want or else be forever silent. Also, if you have a friend like Ozu or someone you admire like Akashi and interesting gathering like Jougasaki, Higuchi and Hanuki can spice up anyone's rose-colour campus life. :3

    • foomafoo says: February 23, 20117:18 pm

      The same reason I loved Tatami Galaxy so much as it showcased all that can go wrong but actually be right in a surreal way

      I agree. Whether superficial or not, it really depends on the person whether something appears correct for them or not. In Tatami's case, the surrealism was actually very fit for a dreamy attitude of Watashi. And yes, I guess my regret is that I didn't spoke out that much in order to voice out what I wanted. I found it discouraging and impossible since everyone around me were complacent.

  3. Kriselle says: March 7, 201112:33 pm

    Unlike you, I couldn't relate to the main character. I'm not really looking for a fun-filled college life (although I want it to be fun, it's just not my main focus). Truth to be told, what I look forward to the most would be learning more about what I like to do, since I finally get the chance to learn something I love.

    I don’t know if it’s just here but I think organizations have gotten lamer and lamer all because the students only seize the officer positions for Curriculum Vitae (credentials) purposes instead of actually seizing the position because they are capable of handling it and they love what they are involved into.

    APPARENTLY it's the same for other universities! I've learned the truth, thankfully, during first year, so now I just remain active in 2 orgs (1 of which I'm an officer this year, but I wasn't very active because it's the same as what you said – plus the management's really bad with sudden meetings, etc; the other org holds more promise, though, because it's school-centered and we're assigned to regularly-scheduled activities in the school). And the CV thing.

    I'm surprised that you don't have an official anime org o_o I remember coming across one before, though! Genshiken?

    • foomafoo says: March 8, 201112:30 am

      By fun, I didn't really mean the party-party type since La Salle's got that covered haha! but anyway you can say I also want to learn at the same time but other than that, I want to experience something else entirely new compared to high school (in the context of co-curricular activities).

      Really? I didn't know that. I've always viewed organizations in UP as something more detached from academics but maybe I'm wrong with my impressions… Yep, it's a blatant slap in the face the moment you discover the truth that real org/club presidents here don't act like the ones in anime being full of energy, doting, slave driver BUT FUN. I rarely experience that here in the college, the sense of "excitement" despite overworking yourself doing the org work. I can only say I'm fulfilled with what I'm doing if it's like that. haha (wait, that phrase make it sounds like i'm a maso!!! XD)

      Yes we don't have… Ateneo has?!?

  4. Kriselle says: March 8, 201112:53 am

    I actually meant rosy life, and not party life either ;^^ (Wow, this is a positive thing, believe me, but I didn't know you were the type to party hard! — I haven't even gone to a non-birthday/family party before.) That sense of fulfillment beyond academics – was that what you mean or am misunderstanding it?

    Anime presidents = trufax. ._. However, I have to hand it to our president – she's the only one REALLY responsible in our org. ;^^ And yes, that DOES make you sound maso – cannot unthink.

    Seriously!? We do have an 'anime org' but it's a Japanese culture org with… um. A passion for lolitas, maid cafes, gaming and moe? Or more. I'm not active! They're a bunch of cool people, but I don't think I share the same kinds of fandoms with them.

    • foomafoo says: March 8, 20111:11 am

      Haha, nooo. I don't party hard at all. I only attend parties for incentives o/. I don't even drink alcoholic beverages. Yeah, perhaps that fulfillment… aka that one day you cut classes and you still think it was worth it (unfortunately, I haven't done this yet). Well I guess it takes a lot of guts and being responsible to run as a president but that's so typical for anyone who wants a position. I want the goal-oriented ones that would want to take the org to it's next level.

      LOL. unthink it! XD. We do have Japanese culture org stuff too but it's not more on modern visual arts ie anime but more on traditional ones like tea ceremony and stuffs so~ it's not really more on the hobby side which is why the org's populated only by jap studies students.

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