Sunday, November 29, 2009
Tangental thought: Airplane/airport jargon is so fun.
Tangental thought 2: My seat is two rows behind the lavatories and the aerospace smells like noxious, intermingling fart. Circulated air is not fun in this metal tube.
Anyway, I've been home for the last 10 days and it was like L.A. on speed--the pace and the drug. It was exhilarating seeing family and friends after my year away and eating like a king, but there were mornings where I woke up feeling completely disgusting AND disgusted by myself. I'm about five pounds heavier, my liver has a death wish against me, I'm chronically somnolent, and my chest pain has come back. And that's the just physical stuff. I've depleted mentally and morally. I don't know what's worse, spending time with Hollywood douches or realizing you've become one yourself. I will rep' L.A. till I die, this city is so...indescribable. It's a city of contrasts. Freeways that take you anywhere in twenty minutes if they weren't gridlocked for hours. Fast-slow, decadence-indigence, natural-artificial. It's vast but you feel like you're in a vacuum sometimes and I got sucked into it for this past week, sucked lifeless and I'm tired and I'm dying to go back to quiet, clean, polite Japan in my little nest I've built for the last year in lil' Bepp'. The only thing that stays the same in L.A. is the sunny weather and I'm not looking forward to the blistering winter weather Nippon-side.
Since Thanksgiving just passed, I'm gonna use da Beat to verb the holiday to my homies in the West side, wut-wut. This goes out to:
Mom, thanks for being my favorite person in the world and giving me my second favorite person in the world, my little sister Jessica. I am an annoying brat who can be self-destructive and incredibly insensitive and you've loved me selflessly every second of my life and I know it better now than ever.
Cousins Eunice, Bryan, Heather, Kenny, Jasper (even though you weren't in LA!), Jasmine, Milton, and Juan (my new cousin in law!) thanks for being my brothers and sisters from other mothers and misters who understand me better than anyone else. You're all welcome to ruin my wedding reception.
Aunts Yatyat, 2yema, 3yema, Maymay, 6yee, thank you for being my other mothers. When I grow up I want to be like you.
Jo, thanks for being more excited about my homecoming than I was and reserving me in that so super exclusive spot in your crazy life! Thanks for letting us be best friends all over again.
Kan, I don't think I've ever told you how much I appreciate your selflessness and your kindness. And for showing me that burrito joint.
Steph, Jess, Kyrsti thanks for letting me live vicariously through your Westchester lives again. If I ever want a reckless night of fun I know who to call. It never feels good waking up hungover on a couch on a Wednesday morning but I wouldn't do it for anyone else.
And thanks to Jeannette, Tasha, Michelle, Ray, Lauren, Amber, Jean, Bob, James and Annie for keeping me in your lovely company this trip back.
I will see you all Summer 2010.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
This last week has been punctuated by moot stress. I have convincing evidence my hair thinned a bit during this time. For nothing!
The following is a long keitai-mail I sent my dear friend Joe this morning. It sums up what I've been up to lately.
"I had a minor nervous breakdown a moment ago when my ipod wouldn't turn on. my laptop's dead already, i woulda jumped on the next plane home if i lost the tunes too. it came back to the light after frantic power-button cpr. i curse japan and my appliance dependency. oh home! ive had sooo many lost in translation moments lately, especially transportation. i usually call the office so they'll get a taxi for my taxi school but THEY WERE CLOSED BECAUSE IT WAS SUNDAY. hmm funny...i guess SUNDAYS ARENT WORK DAYS UNLESS YOU ARE AN NT. so i called my own taxi somehow just repeating hachiji over and over to the receiving end and luckily a taxi came at 8. then [the company] fucked up my train tickets and i had to cancel them and buy new ones, literally scraped the bottom of my purse for the yens to pay for it with a minute left b4 the last train leaves. fri night after work i had to pretend to fall asleep once i got on the train bc i only had enough to pay for the stop before. the ticket guy pushed me awake once he realized i 'slept' past my stop and i faked 'HONTO?!?' he bought it and i ran off once the train stopped and jumped the wicket. i want my car = ("
Chronologically, "week of unnecessary stress" starts with coming home to a comatose laptop. Macky-B had been purchased only a year and a half ago and I never download anything, so until then it was running like any other shiny new toy. So when the damn thing wouldn't turn on after numerous attempts I was devastated. In a place where nothing's familiar, a pitch black screen can be one of the most daunting. Slipped into transience was not only my DVD, music player, but also all those photos, videos, term papers, etc that had been stored in non-backed up fashion (who actually does that anyway?). If this sounds anything like my lost-Internet post all the ways back in Beppu Beat time, it was actually way worse. It's like waking up, finding your arm (which was all good and army every day since fetal development) on the floor, not knowing how your arm detached and made itself useless, and being fucked over with the whole attachment bit. Okay, it might not be THAT bad, but my MacBook became laptopy carcass. I was busy every day from work so I had no time take it somewhere to get it fixed. On the upside, it being gone meant I had more time to study for the GREs, play lotsa guitar, get lotsa reading done, and I had an excuse to not reply to mounting emails (or compose blog entries). Freedom from material attachment...yadayada.
(All's well though! I was thisclose to sending it to Apple, but I'm typing on the little shit-tease right now! After floating in purgatory for a week, it decided to come back to life! I still probably wont get to all those emails in due time. Oh, I love my pretty little Mac.)
At the same time the company's dreaded Summer School kicked off. I'll gloss over that; I hate talking about work. Basically for eight straight days my life consisted of scuttling for about 12 hours a day. It was awful, I'm beyond glad it's over and now I can go back to my job sucking as usual.
So after a bad week everything is right in the world now, woohoo, I've learned nothing from this and I'm still stuck in Kyushu.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Had I been at home I would have just weakly exasperated to Mom who would have cured me before I could even say lickity. But you can imagine how it's way more difficult here, especially if you only have enough language skills to order food off a menu with pictures. It would have saved me a lot of pain if going to the doctor consisted of pointing to an illustrated menu of symptoms and saying please.
Friends suggested I should "probably go get that checked out." I'm aware I should have. But I had several reservations. The most minor being I didn't want to use up my sick days while I was actually sick. The most pressing was not knowing where to "go" to "go get that checked out" and having no idea how to communicate the "that" of "probably go get that checked out" even if I found the place to go. And incredible pain and discomfort aside, even if I did jump those locational and verbal hurdles (I could have just asked for directions to a hospital, found a nurse and pointed at the protrusion on my neck) there was then the price of good health. I aint insured, hun! Crossing my fingers that I would heal on own my was appealingly free of charge! It's so much more fun spending yens on things other than doctor's fees and prescription mediation.
So my stubbornly stupid or stupidly stubborn self settled on self-medication. I tested Mom-approved home remedies, but I soon learned that eating healthy, gargling salt water, and sipping hot lemonade and honey only works if it's administered by your doting mother during a mild cold. And I guess taking six Advils every few hours numbed the pain but it didn't actually improve the situation. Seeking some sort of answer, I tried diagnosing myself on the Internet (which I now believe causes acute hypochondria) but Googling ambiguous search terms like "sore throat" and "pain in the neck" led me to believe my ailment could be any number of peculiar diseases. Goitres, cancerous lymph nodes, thyroid malfunction (never mind that mostly pre-menopausal women suffer from that)! Oh my!
I think the hardest part to being sick is admitting you need help. It took me awhile but I finally accepted I was sick and not getting any better. I reached a feeble hand to my cell phone and called the one person who could help me, a mother. My sympathetic Japanese Okaasan eagerly whisked me to a throat doctor, patiently helped me translate my pain, instructed me to open my jaw as requested by the doctor, explained to me that I caught tonsillitis after the doctor's inspection (TONSILLITIS!! I SHAKE MY FIST AT THOSE THOSE BASTARD CHILDREN!), dealt with all the administrative stuff, and showed me how to swallow the meds. She stopped short of wiping my ass. My swollen, bacteria-laden salivary glands went back to being unobtrusive in about a week. I was back to my genki self.
There's probably a lesson in this. My chest hurts.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
"WHY DO ALL JAPANESE WOMEN FOLD THE FUCKING TOILET PAPER INTO A TRIANGLE?!"
After said holler, a fit of giggles surfaces from a bystander. Twas an English-speaking Japanese woman! So I doth implore: "WHYWHYWHHYY must you make me feel bad for not folding the toilet paper into a triangle after I use it?"
She continued giggling. I think she was too polite to tell me that I probably shouldn't bother.
Thus begins The Beat's Japanese bathroom enigma analysis (for women at least). Only in Japan would urination merit a proper blog entry.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
1.) What is your salad dressing of choice?
the one that comes with chinese chicken salad.
2.) What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
don't have one. i dig conveyor belt sushi though.
3.) What food could you eat everyday for 2 weeks & NOT get sick of it?
4.) What are your pizza toppings of choice?
only sausage. or only chicken and bacon together. i love eating animals.
5.) What do you like on your toast?
butter and jam. and nutella.
1.) How many T.V.'s are in your house?
one but it's unplugged.
2.) What color cell phone do you have?
black and silver.
3.) How long would it take you to look up 'who invented the Rubber Band?
google responded in .24 seconds. william h. spencer.
4.) Have any idea, how many Megahertz your computer has?
1.) Are you right-handed or left-handed?
righty. i want to be a lefty though.
2.) Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
teeth, i guess. nothing major.
3.) What is the last heavy item you lifted?
backpack through tokyo.
4.) Have you ever been knocked out unconscious?
does blacking out from too much alcohol count? that's more like knocking myself out unconcious.
1.) If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
2.) If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
wouldn't want to.
3.) Would you drink an entire bottle of HOT Sauce for $1,000?
1.) How many pairs of Flip-Flops do you own?
2.) Last time you had a run-in w/ the cops?
hong kong, day after christmas with my cousin jasmine for peeing on a public building. got away with it because i think they were more embarrassed than we were.
3.) Last person you talked to?
joe on the celly.
4.) Last person you hugged?
greg at oita station last night.
summer, but only L.A. summers.
don't think i have one but st. patrick's day is moving up there. no other obligation besides drinking and wearing green.
3.) Day of the week?
saturday or sundays in the morning if i'm not hungover from saturday.
december cause of the birthdays and holidays.
1.) Missing someone?
definitely. a lot.
3.) What are you listening to?
1.) First place you went this morning?
post office but it was closed.
2.) What's the last movie you saw?
3.) Do you smile often?
i do. i like smiling.
4.) Sleeping Alone Tonight?
1.) Do you always answer your phone?
nope. but i always feel guilty when i don't.
2.) It's 4am and you get a 'text' message, who is it?
3.) If you could change your eye color, what would it be?
a lighter brown.
4.) What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic?
never had a sonic drink before. i've always wanted to go to one. they don't actually exist, i'm sure of it. they just tease me with their tantalizing commercials.
5.) Do you own a Digital camera?
6.) Have you ever had a pet fish?
yeah. the last one was named little kevin and it was kept in the loyolan. there was an office poll on when it would die.
7.) Favorite Christmas song(s)?
i've always liked the one that repeats bells over and over. but the bing crosby, david bowie, little drummer boy is probably my new favorite because it's fucking hilarious.
8.) What's on your wish list for your Birthday?
i want everyone to be happy.
9.) Can you do push-ups?
yup. like 5 before i collapse.
10.) Can you do chin-ups?
11.) Does the future make you nervous or excited?
12.) Do you have any saved 'texts'?
13.) Ever been in a car wreck?
nope. fender benders, yes.
14.) Do you have an accent?
doesn't everyone? i have a southern californian accent.
15.) What is the last song that made you cry?
pale blue eyes, by velvet underground. it was downloaded long ago and came up on shuffle on my iTunes two weeks ago, and it hit me like a boulder. i couldn't move for about 5 minutes after the first time. then i played it like 6 times after.
16.) Plans Tonight?
i have all those ANTM eps and south parks to catch up on. i'm so excited.
17.) Have you ever felt like you hit 'rock-bottom'?
18.) Name 3 things you bought yesterday:
beer, chu-hi number one, chu-hi number two.
19.) Have you ever been given roses?
20.) Current worry?
i need to pee and i have no idea how many more questions are left.
21.) Current hate right now?
22.) Met someone who changed your life?
of course. everyone i meet does.
23.) How will you bring in the New Year?
not sure yet.
24.) What song represents you?
good question. i'll probably ponder this one for days.
25.) Name three people who might complete this?
26.) Would you go back in time if you were given the chance?
27.) Have you ever dated someone longer than a year?
28.) Do you have any tattoos/piercings?
four piercings on each ear, but i don't wear earrings anymore.
29.) Will you be in a relationship in 4 months?
30.) Does anyone love you?
31.) Ever had someone sing to you?
32.) When did you last cry?
two days ago. it was the last night in tokyo with paul and joe.
33.) Do you like to cuddle?
34.) Have you held hands w/ anyone today?
35.) What kind of music did you listen to in Elm.School?
pop--spice girls, TLC, anything on kiis fm. then i got into my 'cool' 90s alt rock phase like no doubt, matchbox20 and third eye blind. funny.
36.) Are most of the friends in your life, new or old?
new. but i lovelovelovelovelove the old ones who stuck it through.
37.) Do you like pulpy orange juice?
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Being a Chinese American in Japan affords me the relative anonymity that any East Asian country grants its phenotypically similar denizens. Only upon close inspection of immediate signifiers like choice of clothing or perhaps my gestures will a Japanese person's sixth sense of "foreigner radar" get all tingly. However, once I open the damn trap I have for a mouth, the nihonjins know right away I'm a gaijin and depending on the situation, it can get plain embarrassing. It has become a running joke to put me at the front of the pack when I go out with my more gaijin-looking friends (read: white) to restaurants where the staff instinctively searches for me, the Asian face for language familiarity, 'cause those white folks CAN'T POSSIBLY know nihongo. So they'll spit a flurry of Japanese to me, I look dumbfounded at them, they return with an equally confused/disappointed look of "oh crap, how do I pantomime this?", then my bilingual gaijin friends interject with perfect Japanese, the waitstaff is thrilled, we are seated, the day is saved, and I'm well, kinda small but relieved.
Now, I've tried to adapt as far as language acquisition is concerned, wanting to really, truly try to understand what's being said to me. At the beginning, my most useful phrase was wakarimasen or I don't know. My modified "wakarimasen with a cute shrug" could get me out of paying the exact amount of bus fare. But six months later, I tell myself that I should have more confidence than to look that stupid all the time. My new favorite phrase to use upon interaction is hai or yes. Now, hai is the word that opens doors for you, and for me, it lets me get away with playing Japanese. I pretty much say hai to everything even if I have no idea what's being said to me, even when hai is probably not one of the verbal options. I'd rather be agreeable than a stupid foreigner, or at least now I'm an agreeable stupid foreigner. Most of my interactions in Japanese are with servers or transportation folks so the most damage hai can do is get you trapped into an extra bowl of rice or an upgrade to an express train. But I fear the day when I get sick or come across a nasty situation when my hai will probably not be the most wise response. I guess I can always resort back to my cute shrug.
So I'm apartment sitting at the moment which means I temporarily have access to a personal computer with Internet connection, leaving ample time for a proper entry. Possibly entries! Internet sabbatical has been thrilling, thrilling in the sense that I'm like an addict in constant search for another elusive fix. My iPod Touch has been a mobile wifi meter, and successful wifi acquisition, depending on signal strength, renders me requesting more...just one lil' bump, or maybe a little line for the road, oh, give me the whole fucking gram. I swear this is the last time I'll complain about not having Internet or write about drugs.
Anyway, I am slightly cracked out. Soy latte on an empty stomach. Soy?? Are you on a boring hippie ethically-conscious diet, Lorraine? No sways. Gimme all the lactosey fatty goodness you can muster out your cow's suckle udders, thank ya kindly. In fact, I just polished off the remaining milk in the fridge (it was about to expire!). Ethically-unfriendly reason being, I'm a creature of habit even if the habit disgusts me. Even though the Starbucks soy latte (in the Oita Forus at least) tastes like cardboard, I get it every time. I'm aware of the plethora of creamier, tastier and even less pricey products, but when you're pressured by an impatient Japanese Starbucks employee, excuse me barista, to order, you just go with what rolls of the tongue-- and trust me, hoh-toh gu-ran-dey soy ra-tay, hitosu, onegaishimasu is easier than sounding out that caramely thing in Japanglish. Plus, I refuse to change because I think I'm more interesting when I'm tagged with an idiosyncrasy. In my Oita Forus Starbucks fantasies the baristas will just smile and ring me up with "The usual?" I've always wanted to have a "The usual?" even if uttered in Japanese. The gaijin bar folks seem to be catching on to my usual gin and tonic though. I swear this is the last time I'll mention bad coffee or Starbucks.
I'M GOING TO TOKYO IN FOUR DAYS! Apologies for the Tourette's-like outburst, but I'm fucking stoked and it's all I'm thinking about! I don't know if I'm more excited to leave Oita or if I'm more excited by the allure of the big T during Golden Week madness. I haven't left the prefecture since Hong Kong in December, and this blogger's antsy pantsy! Alright I'm not going to talk about Tokyo anymore. I fear the anticipation will supersede the actual journey. Yeah right it's going to be fabulous.
Long useless entry. I've just got all this creative energy in me, yo! Writing for the sake of writing. I love the sound of my fingers slapping the keys. On da bus ride ova, I contemplated writing a book or maybe a short story compilation, if only to look furiously busy with a laptop. And the other day before classes I channeled my artistic rage and chopped up various sheets of colored construction paper into countless pieces and glued them onto a larger piece of construction paper, and I felt like genuine cubism-era Picasso plagiarist. Sorry for sounding ghetto, the computer I'm using has a lot of gangsta rap on its iTunes.
What else...I bought two new pairs of shoes. That's all.
I think I'll YouTube America's Next Top Model now. I miss Miss Tyra.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
I'm so much more interesting when I'm angry. No one likes reading about happy people.
Friday, March 20, 2009
It's been three days since YahooBB cut off the Internet in my apartment and I gotta say, I don't miss it nor do I feel any sense of urgency to reset it. I was horrified at first, naturally. I came back to my apartment after a weekend away deliciously anticipating the big fat number of new e-mails I had received only to notice the damn Internet was not connecting. Panic mode ensued, I tried doing whatever amateur computer user faced with such a debacle would--resetting the computer, plugging and unplugging the modem, aimlessly clicking on Internet related icons on the hard drive. But no, the ominous green light on the modem blinked and blinked and blinked into the ether, mocking my desperation. I was cut off cold turkey. I had been using my predecessor's Internet for three months without paying a single bill so it had to come sooner or later.
But after the panic and the cold realization came a calm. I channelled Buddhism 101 and cried, "freedom from attachment is the cure for suffering." I seriously think I was addicted to e-mail, Facebook, the blog. I would just stare at my unchanging screen for no apparent reason and hours would go by without notice. I had to quit the Internet. And gee willikers, I do feel a little enlightened. I got more done in two afternoons than my entire four months in Japan because I don't have the Internet immediately accessible. I signed up for Japanese lessons, bought running shoes finally and went for my first jog, I signed up for a gym, I bought a guitar, wrote letters back home, finished a book, and somehow fumbled through a hilarious new member registration at the Internet Cafe (OK, so I haven't completely cut myself off). The home computer is now just a glorified multimedia player. I've chucked the heavy modem into a closet and don't plan on releasing it ever.
The only thing that I don't like is that I just added $10 to Skype and I don't get to call Gramma as easily! And posts will now come intermittently and with fewer photos, I imagine.
I'm back on Internet land from a friend's laptop, and I only have one more thing to add:
My page looks ugly on a PC.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Anyway, this was a pretty pointless entry but here's some more of my idiosyncrasies to flagellate. I've got a new hobby to ease the sometimes terrible commutes to class (it sometimes takes two hours one-way). I sketch still life to a different album on my iPod. I'm not much of an artist but I'm really into drawing perspective, and I wanna see if music will affect how pictures turn out.