A Sign of Affection Ep 1 [First Impression]

Eva’s First Impression

So, before I begin to give some context for the following: I’m actually hearing impaired, so for that reason manga has a special place in my heart.

But gosh, let me tell you: I didn’t expect myself to be crying while watching this. Like full out tears man, WHO’S CUTTING THE ONIONS?!?!?! I gravely underestimated how just hard this would hit home in such profound ways. It hit differently than Koe no Kotachi did, because as much as I love that series, that one was straight up depressing. This just feels so relatable on so many levels because they really made the viewers experience the silence in the world of hard of hearing and the deaf. Not hearing the cars, motorbikes or bikes– god sake bikes I tell you man, those are the hardest because the rider sometimes or most of the time just assumes you can hear them. Nerve-wracking I tell you!  The quietness or silence of the train sounds, the loneliness of not knowing what conversation is being had, and the inability to jump in, but also the times you instinctively know that you’re being talked about. And I absolutely loved that they didn’t voice over the messaging, but in reality that’s exactly what it is– silent communication. So yeah, the team did such a fantastic job of giving us a little insight to our world.

Introducing Yuki, our precious little sunshine! She has always been deaf, and while she wears the hearing-aids she really can’t hear much more out of that. Honestly hearing-aids are really the only thing to indicate that we can’t hear because hard of hearing/deaf is ironically one of the most invisible disabilities on the block. She found herself in a bit of a pickle on the train when a foreigner came up to ask a question. She was panicking a bit because she didn’t really know how to communicate as she speaks in sign language, but while she couldn’t confidently help them, she did have a gist of what he what he was asking for, which were directions to a place in a magazine. She can only lip read a little bit, and the guy was not speaking Japanese, so there was not much she could do except try to express that she couldn’t help him out. Fortunately Itsuomi was around, so he swooped in to help out. (Though as it turns out the foreign could speak a bit of it, but it was probably too rough around the edges for her to really make out the words. It be like that sometimes.) She was instantly charmed by him and with the help of her friend, she was able to meet him again at the place he worked at in hopes to get his contact info.

Itsuomi is a guy who’s known for travelling all around the world (just recently returned from visiting Canada) and enjoys learning all sorts of languages. Currently he is trilingual, and also speaks English, German, and a little bit of Chinese, and currently studying Spanish too. (Gosh I envy though who can speak like three to five languages, and here I am struggling just to speak two). It’s inspiring but also leaves Yuki in awe, especially when she considers just how small her world is. He’s friendly guy, and especially considerate of as soon as he realizes she cannot hear him, he makes the effort to speak more slowly to she can read his lips.

Though if I have thing say one thing: Just a public service announcement, don’t you put your hand on one’s head to make them look up. That was the one part I was yelling: ITSUOMI NO! There’s other ways to grab one’s attention, such as tapping the top of the menu would’ve been enough to get her to look up. I mean think about it for a second, she showed us how startled we can be! Please!

We have seen that Rin, Yuki’s friend speaks minimal sign language, and by that I mean really simple words like “okay”, “love”, etc… The other thing, and up to the part I’ve read of the manga, is that Yuki’s parents don’t appear to use Sign Language to communicate with her and then for her to respond, she needs to use a writing board or her phone, and that honestly that made me sad. I will say in advance though, she does have a friend (Oushi) who can speak fluently in sign language. We saw him briefly at the bakery.

Anyways, it’s for that precise reason that Itsuomi’s willingness to step into Yuki’s world  was the freaking most romantic thing I’ve seen in a long time. Like god damn, he just met the girl and he’s like, you know what, I’d like to get to know her more so I’m going to learn how to speak her language! Yuki’s reaction was so freaking wholesome and adorable– I mean, who wouldn’t be over the moon to get that kind of response?! SO UTTERLY PRECIOUS! The guy totally fell in love at first sight at that.

And that’s the other thing a lot people don’t get, and it really frustrated the heck out of me growing up. People who complain and make a fuss about having to “accommodate us” don’t realize how bloody difficult it is for us to navigate and fit into theirs. It’s exhausting. You’re talking with your back facing us, or behind us, or anything obstructing your face, we’re not going to hear what you are saying so don’t get mad at us for either not responding or asking you to repeat yourself. Patience is needed, and unfortunately not many people have that patience and it leads us to being left out or yelled at as result (which I promise you, never helps). SO BLESS ITSUOMI FOR MAKING THE EFFORT!!!!!!

I really adore this series so I’m going to do my best to try and cover it. I’m also a little behind on the manga, so there’s going to be a point where I don’t know what’s coming. (I tend to put series on hold after I catch up to it after a certain point, and I started reading this one years ago, though I’ve been meaning to catch up on it). Bearing that in mind, there may be weeks when I feel I’ll need to do a double-post because there’s not enough to talk about, but I’ll give you a notice in the previous entry’s comment section if that’s the case.

Possibility of Blogging: High