Monday, January 06, 2014

Substitution for the 2013 wrap I didn't like

Had a horrible dream that I inadvertently skipped out on work without telling anyone.

Woke up, relieved it was still Monday, and ate the last of the X-mas cookies mom sent before heating up some ume daikon okayu for breakfast.

Did assorted Internet tasks.

Went to work. It was the first day back after winter break and I couldn't really catch the rhythm of all the standing and bowing as people went around greeting each other for the first time in 2014. You'd barely know it, but we're kind of down to crunch time on [all the work I've done for the past year]. I wish I felt like I was a little more on top of the process in addition to the actual work, if that makes sense, but maybe that is a good goal for 2014.

I'm guessing it was the fish I had for lunch, but whatever it was, something upset my stomach, so I felt pretty crummy for much of the afternoon. I took a walk anyways, since I told a friend I would get him a Hello Kitty x Arino Kachou plushie, which you have to reserve at Lawson.

Got home and made lemon soda water, sipped it while doing email and assorted Internet tasks……

Had a slice of awesome bread from Wisconsin with wonky pb. (Seriously, you can taste the extra oil they added. Never add oil to pb. Gross. I can't wait till my next order of Good Spread shows up.)

Proofed some manga.

First I was thinking I would edit the 2013 wrap I wrote and didn't post, and then post it, but it's still just kinda hokey. I dunno. Then I thought I would write something about things I'm looking forward to in 2014, but I guess I can still do that right now.

By the way, I took my hands out of the below scarf before writing this, lol. It was a present and it keeps me pretty warm in my room.

Anyways, on the horizon so far in 2014:

- Asymptote Journal translation contest results (Really crossing my fingers for even an honorable mention.)
- Manga Translation Battle results (Already a finalist so that is pretty cool! Would be great to win in my category.)
- Seeing the 有頂天家族 stage play on the 19th. (You can imagine how excited I am about this!)
- Will I be giving English lessons again? It's a possibility. (You know I would have to have a really good reason.)
- Taking a course called "The Modern and Postmodern" online.
- Accompanying a Japanese director to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival to promote/hopefully accept awards for this.

Probably plenty of other fun stuff. But for now, I need to get off my computer for a while.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Doesn't really feel like Christmas

Here's what I did on Christmas Day 2013.

ぐずる <---the a="" alarm="" already="" and="" anyways="" awake="" bar="" be="" bed.="" body="" break="" but="" by="" clock="" cocoon.="" cold="" compounded="" day="" demands="" describes="" did="" do="" feel="" function="" futon="" get="" heat="" i="" in="" invested="" is="" it="" knowing="" knowledge="" less="" more="" much="" my="" nbsp="" of="" on="" or="" other="" out="" p="" phone="" s="" shame="" so="" soon="" taught="" that="" the="" this="" time="" to="" unwillingness="" up.="" up="" ve="" verb="" warming="" was="" when="" winter="" would="">
I knew (or thought I knew) I had skyping to do at 7 a.m. so after spring out of my blanket at 6:45 I assembled some silken tofu, fresh veggies, and microwave brown rice into something like a cross between a casserole and a stew and waited for a phone call or a message requesting a phone call or anything. Instead I turned down a friend's translation request, thinking I was busy, and then moooostly killed time for two hours. No, I did do a bit of work. I did.

But I also talked to a friend about how I (or I guess maybe lots of us) have forgotten how to live with other people. Having roommates means you sacrifice privacy for interaction, but that interaction is something people are supposed to be able to do, I think. We should cook together and eat together and watch old movies and discuss the books we read and co-exist in the same space at least some of the time. Living alone is great, but it's great because it's lazy. I guess that is how I've been feeling lately. I want to cop out and say I require that laziness to do all the rest of the things I do, but I bet I don't really. If I could live with a bf, I could live with a roommate, and we all know I'm proactive when it comes to guys.

Anyhow, then I went to work.

I was in a pretty unfestive mood, to be honest. Some guy was breathing audibly into a mask behind me on the train. So audible I could swear I felt it on the back of my neck. Too biological. I was horrified. If you have a cold so bad you can't breathe to yourself, you really really really really really really (etc.) need to stay home. I thought about how I wanted to stay at home and read the Xmas presents from my dad instead of go input data. I didn't wonder what I would have for lunch so much as mourn the fact that my favorite place is closed for the holidays. (They deserve a break, it's not that…) I got mad at everyone on the planet for all the usual reasons like walking to slow. And I got mad at myself for all the usual reasons like forgetting to bring my book. Who forgets their book?! A true lunch break (as opposed to a solo branch meeting of the Association of People Who Work Their Other Job On Their Lunch Break) without a book to read is actually pretty painful. I mainly resorted to switching between my two Twitter accounts, FB, and email. Yeah, painful. Lunch itself was pretty sad, too. A place that has twice been too busy for me to even get in to proved to have lackluster taco rice. Ho ho hum.

Oh right, it's Christmas. I have to say my boss spread more holiday cheer than I expected (anyone to spread?) Besides the mini tree perched precariously (on what, I haven't ever actually looked…maybe a PC tower?) over our desk island that has gradually sprouted more and more decorations over the month, he passed out holiday Snicker bites and M&Ms today. Someone else had a huge box of mikan, too. Kind of made a haul in terms of snacks.

And in terms of data input, thanks to listener-sponsored public radio. I put WBGO in my headphones and immediately felt 1,000x better about my entire life.

And you can count on them to play the same classic tracks I listened to on jazz NPR as a kid at Christmas. That is what I really want at Christmas, nostalgia, lol. There's no way to get back what you had, but you can get the right feels if the right music plays, or the right cookies show up in a box from your mom (the 29th, says the post office).

So somehow it became 6:00 and a few minutes later I had to decide what to eat for dinner. I tried a curry place I had eyed a while back while wandering the maze near Mita station, but in the end it wasn't really worth the trouble to cross to the other side of Tamachi station. Not bad, but not noteworthy. The combination of ingredients was fun, though: bacon, scrambled egg, cabbage, eggplant, and green pepper.

After that I got a little sweet potato cake. I hadn't gotten suckered into one in a while, and X-mas seems as good a time as any. But it's true, I should be saving up sugar consumption for the 12-type strong battalion of cookies coming my way.

I had thought about where I could go to like…see people or whatever, but in the end I decided that I would rather do what I wanted to do in the morning: read a book. So I came home, did the dishes from breakfast, and read. I meant to go to bed around 10 or 10:30 and was on track until I decided to write a blog post, but I dunno. If I don't write down any of this stuff I won't be able to look back at the posts because there won't be any.

Tonight was really nice because of the most part, I was able to just read and read and read without wondering what was happening on my phone. That must mean I was relaxed. It's a shame to be relaxed all alone like that — certainly it would be more fun with someone else — but I'd like to try to spend more time NOT actively avoiding my phone (because that is just as stressful and fake) but just genuinely not needing to know or care what is going on with it (and the Internet).

Tomorrow I am actually skyping with my family, then working, and finally having dinner with a friend I have never met outside of his returning to Japan for the holidays. We met a year ago. A whole year of knowing someone primarily through Facebook. I must be different now. Maybe he is, too.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

To all the 17 and a half year old girls who feel sad listening to The 1975's "Girls"

They're just boys, breakin' hearts
Lewd stares, don't care, just boys
You know he can't be what you need if he's 33
They're just boys
They're just boys

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sky diving off the O2

I had slipped and if it weren't for free motion flyer ball I managed to clutch for dear life, would have plummeted 50 odd floors, but looking out across the peachy-orange sky, I saw it and all my attention was immediately absorbed, "What IS that?

Alternate Universe Neo-Tokyo, lol. Dream time. Sky Tree was not completed yet, but that's because it wasn't Sky Tree, it was "O2," and it was going to reach into outer space. Or it was supposed to. It was clawing its way. Maybe the project got halted, or maybe they were just going to start letting people sky dive off it on the weekends, but we were going to do the jump (with a guide). It was for work, of course. Someone had to blog about it, though why it had to be me in particular I couldn't fathom.

The tower was by the beach and my friend abandoned her ski cap in the sand, saying it was dirty anyways. I was anxiously watch the sun go down as we walked over (we were going to jump at night?!) but then couldn't even do that because a dark cloud (so evil it had taken on a semi-solid form and was dripping actual filth) moved in to blot out nearly the entire sky. A slim horizon of hellfire marked the ocean.

Heading up, there seemed to be some sort of gorilla infestation, the outer walls just crawling with them, but no one working in the office seemed to mind. Our guide arrived looking like he had just descended a mountain: the backpack, the shoes, tights of a subdued magenta with some busy patterns in black and tan under his sporty black shorts, windbreaker mostly turquoise. Walking with quick steps, he seemed to think I, in particular, would never be fast enough to follow him. We were to turn off the hall lights behind us as we went. Setsuden? I woke up mulling whether I was prepared to die as we were boarding yet another elevator.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Note from the new abroad

Maybe you noticed I quit updating my overseas blog. It's because what used to count for overseas is now flip-flopped. I've been the states for a little over a week now and will head back to Tokyo on the 9th.

I'm not being Tokyo-centric, I'm just being honest. Returning to Japan for me, does actually mean to Tokyo, at least for now.

My goal for the afternoon is to either avoid eating pumpkin pie or being ok with eating more pumpkin pie. I can't decide which.

It seems like since I've gotten to visit relatives and see my brother graduate with his B.A. in computer animation and bake cookies and am on my way tomorrow to live it up in San Francisco for the rest of the week that I have gotten everything done that I felt like doing. What's kind of weird is that I can't really see myself living in any of the places I've been. Even SF has a kind of "been there" kind of feeling, which is strange, considering how much I like it there.

I decided to be ok with eating more pumpkin pie.

Anyways, who knows if Tokyo is the final answer either. Especially if I decide to go for the MA, which WOULD actually land me back in the states, or the UK. Before I do that though I need to find out what "significant preparation in one or more literary traditions" even means.

I finished the third story in きつねのはなし. It seemed to reach the conclusion I thought it would but in a hazier way than I imagined it might.

Other than that, still marching through that Yale Lit Crit class. It's really fun. I wish I weren't doing it alone. I love doing the readings and then being like, "Hm, I hope the prof goes over this concept." Of course, I can't ask questions so it's a little frustrating, but the fact that I can get talked at for 50 minutes about literature whenever I feel like, for free, is pretty nifty.

It's after three. Was writing this blog to put off deciding what to do, I guess I'm kind of out of time to decide. Just gotta do.

Friday, October 18, 2013

When you read other people's 2007s

You start to want to read your own 2007.

(I have read jottings from a couple different important peoples' 2007s lately.)

It's good to blog.

In terms of epochs of my life:

1. The town life of a toddler (before I can really remember what was going on)
2. Tribal existence in a country forest with bicycle (till 6th grade, 1996)
3. 青春 (middle school and high school, graduated 2003)
4. I'm an adult (all boundaries pushed, college before Paris, pre-2005: I started blogging)
5. Paris (lots of things changed, spring 2005)
6. California dreamin' (college after Paris, finished early Dec. 2006)
7. REAL LIFE (after college, pre-Twitter, 2007, 2008, early 2009)
8. Alternate universe (June 2009-Nov 2011, but also the dreamy period after that leading up to...)
9. Yet another realm (Japan, i.e. everything since March 2012)

Here are the most important events that have happened so far:

1. Summer 1985 Born (lol)
2. 1993? Some kids back from a foreign exchange taught us how to count to ten in French and it was the coolest thing in my life up to that point. Even if Paris wasn't as huge as Tokyo in the grand scheme of things, realizing that I cared about learning languages was.
3. Spring 2000 Got up the courage to partner with a guy I liked in my math class on a project which ended up leading me straight to Japanese and also further into the Internet. (Also was my first boyfriend.)
4. Fall 2005 Inspired to start writing freelance. (By my first serious boyfriend.)
5. Fall 2007 Went to Japan for the first time.
6. Summer 2008 Paradigm shift. For better or worse, we cannot say. (Via a guy who later claimed to be my boyfriend.)
7. Summer 2009 Got hired at Twitter.
8. Winter 2012 Bought ペンギン・ハイウェイ based on the cover.

That's only 8 things. I dislike the number 8. I wonder if there are two more important things.

I guess I'd say...
x. Fall 1996 Finally got to play saxophone (5th graders were not allowed for some reason; this is not on the original list because while it was crucial to my high school years, it became irrelevant later on except for the super bitter sweet nostalgic feeling I get whenever I listen to symphonic band music or jazz.)
z. Spring 2012 Moved to Japan (but I pretty much see this as a direct extension of #7 because it would not have been feasible otherwise, and the ball was already rolling at #5. I knew I would get here, even if at the time I had no idea when or how.)

I guess there is plenty of other stuff that happened. I mean, my whole life happened.

My universe is expanding and I have my own cosmic microwave background.
Seems to make sense.

One thing I think about a lot, though, is when I will feel like I'm in "real life" again, and/or how I will know when I am. Which I realize doesn't make sense, but if there is a time that I feel was "real" then wasn't it? And isn't now not? Actually lately I'm getting closer to that feeling, but...something still seems so meta. Maybe it's because I'm living in Japan I have this film of over-awareness that I didn't have in SF? SF was raw and crazy. Japan is still crazy sometimes, but I'm watching myself from somewhere. I wonder if it's really just Japan or if it happened earlier...I wanna climb back into my skin.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

flying update

I have a hard time flipping back into work mode lately. The stuff I am doing in non-work mode is too damn interesting and I'm so alone during much if it that my head spins off in a million directions and I can no longer concentrate even on that much less the project at hand. It's cool, though, I still have time tonight.

Today woke up to an alarm at 6:30.

I had a dream about running around a huge college campus to hand in a term paper.
There was a map like a video game with a glowing dot, but I couldn't navigate the halls properly.
It was a mess.
I haven't had a dream like that in so long.
I can only blame it on the fact that I am desperately wishing I could be an undergrad in a Japanese lit department.


I had granola and soy milk and did some newspaper work.

Then I went to K-town and did some work there.

Lately I have been getting omiyage from people via a representative. The other day I found a box of shark fin-flavored Pretz from Hong Kong on my desk ("from the CEO, for girls only, I got shrimp-flavored") and today I was given a mini snow globe from Germany ("when you have time, you should thank O-san").

Lunch was brown rice doria with chicken and asparagus, but they were really stingy with the asparagus.

That is why after work I went to a place in Akihabara where I knew I could eat a lot of vegetables.

It was like a dream. I sat and drank espresso till it seemed like dinner time, while reading some people talk about novels in this extremely over-my-head kind of way. I really want to learn how people become able to make judgements like that and just go riffing along about things. Or maybe I just wish I could lie on the floor near their feet while they talk, as long as I can hear.

I took the Yamanote line to Mejiro and walked home from there. It got a bit brisk so I was able to wear my Cool New Jacket Which Is Difficult To Zip today. You really have to choose carefully beforehand whether you will wear it zipped or unzipped and if you intend to zip it, you must zip it in the way you would like to zip it before you go before the public. Otherwise, if you fail repeatedly to zip your own jacket you look like an idiot.

I don't actually know why I'm blogging all of the sudden, but...but yes I do, it's because I have work to do. You'd think if I wanted to procrastinate I would go read some more Maupassant, but my frequency of procrastination is tuned so finely that I can't seem to do anything actually productive. The ONLY productive option right now is work and therefore I am left with unproductive options. I could roll around on my futon. That would be perfectly acceptable. I might.

Last night My Favorite K and I ate vegetables and fish and rice and soup (because we both like this kind of food and I'm so glad we have that in common) and walked walked walked around Nakameguro, Daikanyama, Ebisu. All roads there lead to T-Site, at least, I can't seem to go anywhere near Daikanyama without setting foot there, and he looked at cooking magazines. I looked at them over his shoulder, but also at him looking at them (which was more fun, I think).

Tomorrow is Friday. You know what I did last year on that day? Drummed taiko in the Oeshiki festival down the street. It was really fun. This year I was invited once again, but I can't go because I will have a translation to edit (the translation I'm supposed to be creating right now). I think I'm ok with that, but it's a little sad. It also makes me realize how hard it must be to keep up traditions as an adult. Like for your kids even or what not. Culture is hard work! Actually!

Honestly though, I'm losing my mind about literature lately. I need to meet people to talk about books with and more importantly learn how to talk about books. If anyone has some ideas, let me know.