Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Night, Ten Years Ago, and Tomorrow

Last Night:

I was on a foreign island of a foreign country and it was hundreds of years ago and everyone's wearing period costumes, all fancy dresses; but mostly we're all immigrants, wearing shoddy draperies or tousled pirate clothes. I am with a small group of comrades and we are trying to hide, for whatever reason. We board a train. Now, there are good pirates and thief pirates; we're hiding from the thief pirates who are rumored to attack our train, and the good pirates (a more bumbling, old-fashioned kindly breed of pirate) are helping us. Most of the people on the train are poor immigrants, and they are fairly helpful. In my group of comrades, looking disheveled and messy in our ragged clothing (I'm the only female wearing pants, of course; I think we're thieves but not thief pirates) we don't have seats so we run from car to car talking to passengers about the current literature of the time period. Suddenly, the train is attacked by thief pirates and I freak out and duck under a seat until they leave the car. A little immigrant girl comes up and asks me to tell her a story. I agree to under the condition that she lets me hide under her blanket if more thief pirates come. Later I look out a train window and it appears we're on a very small jungle island. How far can the train even go, if we're on such a small island? Perhaps in circles. I'm not quite sure. I woke up some time after I started considering the terrain.

I left public elementary school, an environment in which I had no friends and I cried daily because teachers were mean to me because I was constantly thinking but not about the given assignments, a problem that still affects me to this day, but I digress; I left public elementary school in fifth grade for this new school in the city where the Texas Boys' Choir studied. It was small and cool and adventurous and there I met some fantastic friends. We were the "punks" of the school. By that I meant that we painted our nails black with sharpies and laughed at the straight-laced "popular" kids and talked about how much society sucked and how much we liked Avril Lavigne. But I still studied hard and made good grades and all that, because no matter how much of a rebel I wanted to be, I couldn't shake off the nerd. Oh, and gray became my favorite color, which is still true to this day. But I made great friends from that time. I started working at Funimation as a voice actor and I started to value myself as a performer. And that was that, I guess. Yup. A whole decade ago, in 2000. Bizarre.

Today and Tomorrow: 2009 & 2010
: fade in on girl, about 20, sitting at computer, struggling to write a blog entry.
[Tracy enters.]
Tracy: What up.
[Kate looks up at Tracy]
Kate: Not much.
Tracy: I love that headband. I love going through your stuff. I always find lots of... cute things.
Kate: [types away]
Tracy: You writing some kind of happy family entry? Ok.
Kate: [continues to type furiously]
Tracy: Man, you type fast.
Kate: ...Wait, don't go away.
Tracy: K.
[There is a pause. Tracy puts things away in the room]
Kate: Do you have any New Years Resolutions?
Tracy: [looks over Kate's shoulder at screen] Why are you writing this all verbatim?
Kate: Urrrrr I dunno.
Tracy: Um, yeah, I'm gonna lose at least twenty pounds.
Kate: That works. [continues typing. Tracy sits on couch next to two useless but happy dogs]
Tracy: I'm always so sad to take the tree down. Especially this one. This one was so nice. Didn't you like it?
Kate: Mhm. [types for a while, then pauses and swivels chair]I love this tree. It's a little lopsided.
Tracy: Well that's cause it's a real tree. Oh look, iz Charlie, hey little buddy! [Tracy makes cooing noises at fat useless dachshund, who wags tail and pees a little] What dreary weather. Some time, though, you know it's gonna get up to 70 and we're gonna end up having drinks on the patio... Are you writing down everything I say?
Kate: [laughs] No...
Tracy: [coughs, hacking up a lung]
Kate: Are you feeling any better?
Tracy: A little bit, yeah. ...Are we going to Angelo's to see the Thayers tonight?
Kate: No, I'm going to Lauren's. I love Angelo's but I can't handle that much meat.
Tracy: When do you want to take the tree down?
Kate: I dunno. I'll help you though.
[Tracy fiddles with ornaments, then steps behind Kate's chair and looks at computer. She guffaws, almost as if offended, and saunters out of the room.]
Kate: [over shoulder] It's a playwriting excersize! ...Kind of!

A collection of New Year Resolutions
1. I will become proficient in Japanese, and memorize the two other alphabets other than Hiragana (Katakana and as much Kanji as possible)
2. I will gain a basic knowledge of French, Mandarin, and possibly some other language.
3. I will be as kind as possible and gather up lots of good karma.
4. I will figure out exactly what it is I plan to do with my degree.
5. I will start writing a play called "Landslide Birds" that will make people laugh and cry and become philosophers.
6. I will finish planning my philosophical short film "Solipsist" and perhaps even work on filming it.
7. I will buy my brother Pocky because he just discovered that I ate his box he got for Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I would be more excited about Christmas

but I've got a six-page research paper to write.

I would be more excited about Christmas

but I have five different points to research in the library tomorrow.

I would be more excited about Christmas

but I have two callbacks tomorrow, on top of the research paper I have to finish.

I would be more excited about Christmas

but tomorrow is the last big day of rehearsals for Once On This Island,
and I have to work on my part as the "Beautiful Goddess of Love,"
on top of that damn research paper.

I would be more excited about Christmas

but I have a full 8-hour (at least) work day immediately upon my return home.

I would be more excited about Christmas

but I have five finals to study for, including at least two that are ≥7 pages long and will take a full three hours to complete the same day I leave for the airport.

I would be more excited about Christmas

but I haven't done any of my Christmas shopping or gift preparing because of my insane life.

I would be more excited about Christmas

if it weren't for this feeling of "wait, why the hell am I complaining about time when I'm sitting here blogging about my lack of time to get excited about Christmas?"

I'm plenty excited about Christmas already.
The tree is up at the South Street Seaport and I just remembered that my mummy and ol' army man are coming up in a couple days.

I have plenty of time to get excited about Christmas. It's just a busy time right now.

Gotta remember it's the simple things that matter.

And on that note, I should go shower.

Peace, love, and pickles, everyone. Remember that you are, in fact, Seymour's fat lady.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Japanese 101: the Epic Adventure

"I've gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good good night..."

Note: I must preface this entry by saying that if you are going to mock me for my blatant geekiness, then please stop reading this now and go watch something terribly generic and awful like The Hills or Gossip Girl, like every other average American with a TV set. Otherwise, you can shut yo mouf. I am my own person and I am quite proud of that fact. Thank you. Carry on...

"tonight's gonna be a good niiight..."
I should have played that song in my head yesterday morning, but there was audition music and awful Japanese techno and Korean girl-bands playing instead.

After a late afternoon voice lesson, I got a text from a friend in my Japanese class to meet them at Astor Place for a night of hanging out and general merriment.

Before we continue, I must introduce to you my friend group of Japanese class. Since I didn't take pictures, I drew them instead.


Andy: Speaks fluent Korean. Possibly the most "normal" of all of us, he is also most likely a ninja.

Winston: Scratch that, Winston is probably way more normal than Andy. He's chill and cool. He hails from the nation of Taiwan. 'Sup.

Jye-san: Far too adorable and awesome, she hails from the nation of China and sings in Mandarin. <3

Steven: Could be an MT major in a heartbeat but chooses to sing Korean pop music instead. Which I fully support. He'll be famous before me-- also speaks fluent Korean (and always makes better grades in Japanese than me.)

Dylan: Oh Jesus. Dylan, Dylan, Dylan. Where do I start? He's a self-proclaimed, perverted, anime lover with a weird, weird love for Asian females. And somehow he fits perfectly into our group. I hope that doesn't say anything about the rest of us.

Osiris: He has an Egyptian name and he can eat rice like nobody's business. Pretty quiet generally, but will randomly spout something subtly hilarious. Oh, and his hair is longer than most girls'.

Me: I'm your resident waspy female taking a Japanese class 'cause it sounded like fun. The boys spent most of the night trying to get me and Jye to make out. It didn't work.


1. We meet up at the Astor place Starbucks. It's friggin cold the whole night.

2. Tiny Japanese hole-in-the-wall joint where nothing is over five bucks and most of them don't speak English. All of the customers were Japanese, hardcore (That's how you know it's legit.) We got seated in the back and pigged out on yaki sake onigiri (grilled salmon rice balls) and sashimi and miso soup and eel and dumplings and anything else Japanese. Since the menu and bill were only in Japanese, it was good practice. And cheap.

3. We head over to a Tokyo toy store and Dylan dashes in to Pomme Frites because I mention "oh, that's a really good place to get fries." He's intensely thin, yet he eats a full course meal every five minutes. Anyway. We go inside the toy store and it's amazing and I have to restrain myself from buying every Gloomy Bear and Hello Kitty item known to man.

4. After that, we all head a couple blocks away and I quickly get some takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings) since, hey, it's like a night of Asian madness, and I may as well.

5. The Japanese supermarket. Our professor, Kurahara, had mentioned this store and how all the Japanese people in NYC go there, so we went and oh lord is it magical. No one spoke English (this is a common thing throughout the night) and we bought Pocky and noodles and oh my god whatever that Hello Kitty snack is and I don't know because I can't read Japanese and is this egg flavored? And then, why would they make Hello Kitty marshmallow snacks flavored like eggs? Because they're Japanese and they do what they want. (I realize this didn't make sense. It was my thought process at the time)

6. From there, we had some time before the real fun part of the night, so we went to a restaurant called Saigon-- due to certain delightful circumstances we got to pay about twenty percent of the original price, and this is a friggin nice restaurant. It's huge and fancy and the food is AMAZING. Our table shared fried noodles and shrimp dumplings and spring rolls and Thai tea (on the house) and rice and some kind of kimchi-beef thing (which I didn't eat because I don't eat beef or kimchi) but it was amazing. Brilliant restaurant. You should go there, and take your girlfriend to impress her.

7. Ba ba baaaammm...... KOREAN KARAOKE TIME.
So there's this Korean Karaoke bar place in the tiny but bustling K-town of Manhattan that Steven knew of. We got there and had to wait-- the place was packed busy, even so late at night. Our karaoke session didn't start until 11:45, a couple minutes after we arrived.

So we get there and the place is dark, with disco/ravey lights, a bar, and this really cool, dark atmosphere that's hard to describe. The music is thumping and loud, and hosts are dressed in classy black vests and suits, serving drinks and fruit trays to rooms. Here's the thing: Asian countries' karaoke is different from America's because rather than make a fool of yourself in front of a huge restaurant, your group of friends rents a room by the hour. This is your karaoke room, and there are two large TV screens, couches, a coffee table, two songbooks, and two microphones. So we went in and Steven and Andy (the two Korean-speakers) work out our deal with the hosts, and we went into the room and started plugging songs into the computer for us to play.

I sang Japanese songs, I sang English songs, I sang Korean songs that I didn't know what the fuck was going on but I sang them anyway-- we did everything. Everyone sang everything. We stayed in that room for THREE HOURS OF AWESOMENESS AND MERRIMENT. The time flew by far too quickly. The host kept bringing us beer and beautiful fruit trays-- it was so, so marvelous. And each time the host would enter the room, Andy or Steven would thank them and order more things in Korean (which is a highly attractive language, much more mature sounding than Japanese but less harsh than Mandarin.) We sang, we danced, we drank, we ate, we laughed, we sang some more, and we made absolute fools of ourselves in the best way possible. Jye serenaded us in her native language of Mandarin, Steven crooned Korean boy-band songs, Osiris and Dylan belted Beatles songs, and Andy and I acted out Barbie Girl because that's how we roll. It was pretty hilarious.

So we left the karaoke joint by... er... three something, and stumbled back out into the cold, bleak night of New York. By that time we were all pretty tired, but it took us two more hours of walking around the city and train-hopping before we somehow ended up back at the school and half the group had to go all the way back up to Queens.

The Japanese 101 Group's Epic Adventure came to a quiet close as I happily dragged my tired feet into bed, throwing aside my new Gloomy Bear bag, now full of Pocky and complimentary yogurt drinks from the Koreans. It was a good, good night.


Next entry: the differences in friend groups: theatre people vs. Japanese class people