Friday, August 29, 2008

So it's not just me?

I've been back at Creighton for a few days now. There's still a big brown box next to my computer and the suitcases are half-full of junk, but I am more or less settled.

I started my position as ad manager for the school paper, which sucks right now, and I was stuck in my little corner for a good part of the afternoon catching up on calls and emails. One of the editors, Mary, who had just returned from a stint in Poland this semester, came by to entertain me. We studied abroad for the same reasons, and ironically seemed to have had similar outcomes from the time abroad. Neither of us knew the local language very well and still don't have a firm grasp of it, drinking was always a good time (in Poland? I would have never imagined), and we didn't really hang out with the natives.

The same editor was in my dorm when I got back today, prepping with my room mate for a photography adventure on the roof of the law school. My room mate, Lisa, studied abroad last semester at a Jesuit school in Ireland. The three of us started talking about our trips, and we agree that:

1. We have no idea where our money went
I just read on the interwebs that Tokyo is ranked as the second most expensive city to live in, and I can believe that. My application packet to Sophia said I'd need about $1500 a month to survive, and I laughed. It's so true, though. I don't even want to think about the amount of money I spent, let alone try to figure out what I spent it on. My room mate had to deal with the currency exchange in euros and pounds, and Mary managed until she got to traveling around Europe.

2. There's no place like home, but... America sucks.
We don't like it here anymore. Mary told me point blank, "I do not want to be here. I want to be in Poland." I've been telling anyone who wants to know about my trip that I loved Japan (despite the cost) and I will run away one day to live there, or at least get paid to fly back and forth a lot. All this journalism stuff? 18 credits a semester? Ad manager? I love it, it'll look great on a resume, but in the end it's all part of the plan to return to Nihon.

3. America sucks but Americans are so interesting!
Why are Americans so fascinating to everyone? We're magnets for odd things and attention. Mary had some crazy clubbing stories, and I've complained enough about the looks I'd get in Japan. Lisa didn't mention anything weird, but she went to an English-speaking country. Americans aren't *exotic* to the Irish.

4. Foreign guys > American guys
I walk around campus completely unimpressed with the boys. I grew to appreciate the smaller, less intimidating, chou kawaii, not-so-freaking-hairy Nihonjin boys; Mary and Lisa grew to appreciate the wonderful accents and charm that all European men seem to be blessed with. American boys... gah... they're so impolite, they're too worried about "looking gay", they don't dance, they're so dumb, etc. I'll take Arashi and KAT-TUN over whatever boy bands we have in America. Who's Diddy pimping these days? Day26 or something? Whatever.


I forgot to add one very important halfie to the list last time...


Like Crystal Kay, he's half-black and half-Japanese and a popular singer. Catch is, he sings enka. KiKu airs enka singing contests from time to time, and it's usually old men and women singing about long lost loves and heartbreak. It's strange to watch his YouTube videos -- looks like Ne-Yo but he's singing in slow, drawn out Nihongo. Perfectly fluent, too; I think he has a video with that other half-Japanese girl in my last post.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Chance at Japanese Superstardom

...cannot be fulfilled this year.

Ma and I were watching House last night and a commercial for the LesPros model search came on. They are having an open audition to join the agency/win some prize, but I'll just be starting classes at Creighton when it happens. I looked online and you don't even need to speak Japanese to go to the audition! The website specifically mentions that people who are half-Japanese tend to do very well in Japan, and I'm pretty sure that's what LesPros is looking for.

Here are some halfies that I know of off the top of my head:

Shirota Yu is half-Spanish and half-Japanese according to his DramaWiki. Ashlie and I got sucked into the Rookies two-hour series finale thing on TV one day, and we were like, "That guy is NOT full Japanese, even though he is speaking the language perfectly and has a funny haircut."

Crystal Kay is a big JPop singer, half Japanese and half black. She attends Sophia University, and I know one of the Oizumi girls had an art class with her. She said Crystal usually sat at the back of the class and didn't pay attention (I can't say I'm any better), but she didn't make an ass of herself in front of the class for a presentation. Good enough for me.

And this girl. I'm not sure what her name is, but she is always on TV and I'm almost positive she's half.

Granted, I don't look at all like I'm half, nihonjin always thought I was insane or lying to them when I told them, and I'd probably have to drop 15lbs. before I'd get to do anything fun. Christina always tells me, "Yeah for an Asian girl you're kinda chubby, but you've got those big innocent eyes that everyone loves so that makes up for it." I guess I can only be an ANTM contestant in purikura booths.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now that I'm back...

I've been back in Hawaii for a few days, and I can't say I'm overjoyed. Sure, I'm happy that I won't have to spend as much money on a daily basis, happy to see all my friends and family, happy to speak English and not feel completely retarded.

But I'm not sure when I'll get to go back to Japan, and even when I do I won't be able to go back to the crazy life I had over the last four months. I'm too old to go back to Sophia for undergrad studies, and it will be a long time before I can enter their Japanese graduate program. I can't even fathom writing an essay in Japanese, forget a thesis. I'm not interested in doing the JET program because I hate kids, I might get stuck in the countryside, and it's not an opportunity to formally learn Japanese, which I think I'd benefit most from.

Despite the Debbie-Downer side, the semester in Japan was definitely one of the best things I could have done. I'm that much more motivated to learn Japanese and incorporate that into my future career. "Bilingual in Japanese and English" is not just something that would be really nice to put on a resume (insert accent mark over the second e), it's a very personal goal. I've had my little victories in Japanese, like reading the names on mailboxes or having short conversations, and IT'S SO COOL YOU HAVE NO IDEA. I'll enroll in Japanese school for little kids or be the oldest person in a Japanese class at UH I don't care. I'm not that weird, I can pass for an undergrad. Hopefully I'll retain something by the time I finish my degree at Creighton.


Over the next few blogs, I'll try to do some reflecting (i.e. stuff you don't really have to read) and put up stuff I never got around to posting.