Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reading is fun

I'm not as active a reader as I'd like to be. It's not that I don't have more than enough material to keep me busy, I'm just lazy. My wish lists on Paperback Swap are impossibly long, and they get longer every time I hear about a great new book or see an interesting cover at a bookstore. I want to go back and read stuff from high school and college that I wasn't able to enjoy because I was too busy writing essays or analyzing them. This past summer I wanted to get through a stack of books that have been sitting around since forever, but I only managed to get through three of them. It didn't help that my enthusiasm was curbed with the first book, which I gave up on about 1/6 of the way in (The Other Boleyn Girl).

A good smutty book

I like smutty books; most of the books I read now have some theme about sex or drugs in them. I think that started when I read Memoirs of a Geisha, which led to my interest in Natsuo Kirino, the author of Out and Grotesque. I have Real World sitting on my shelf right now, but I'm waiting to read it until her next book is translated so I have something to look forward to (I'm a nerd lol). Kirino led me to other not-so-nice titles - In the Miso Soup, Battle Royale, Lost Girls and Love Hotels (super quick and super smutty!), After Dark and Tokyo Vice all fall into that sordid group. Jake Adelstein even tweeted me recently OMG I squee'd; I'm a big fan girl now because of that and the fact that he went to Sophia University. I'm reading his sugoi journalist tales of keeping up with the yakuza right now.

Go watch his Daily Show interview, he's funny.

But after a while I begin kind of guilty and spoiled by just reading fun books all the time, so I try to temper the filth with *real literature.* Normally I'd read the *real literature* in class, so I've been slacking on my own. I kept some Natsume Souseki novels from my last lit class and there are some other classic titles and anthologies lying around somewhere. Botchan has been staring at me from a shelf for about a year. And if they aren't anywhere in my room, I live near some funky used book stores where all the books are haphazardly stacked by genre and I have to wonder how they pass fire inspections.

I have been purposefully staying away from one author in particular - STEPHANIE MEYER. When I go to book stores I can usually pick up a book and read a couple pages, even if I chose only because the cover was pretty and I have no real interest in buying the book. I've tried ironically reading Twilight aloud to my friends who like the books, and I can't even make it through a damn paragraph without wanting to whip out a big angry red Sharpie and start editing. The films are unintentionally hilarious in part because the source material is so awful. Though her success does give me hope that maybe I could start writing bad fan fiction and make it rich and never work a day in my life.

Then I could just read smutty books all day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's Primary Election Day!

Today is Hawaii's primary election day. I can proudly say I voted! You know why?

If you don't vote, you don't get to complain.

I mean obviously you can complain if you don't vote, but if you purposely didn't take the time to make your voice heard through your votes then I couldn't give a shit what you have to complain about. People my age LOVE to complain about everything the government does or doesn't do, yet many don't get involved with trying to change what they don't like. You don't have to email your lawmakers or sign petitions or give money to campaigns, but you should at least vote when you get the chance. My parents vote in every election and I'm trying to do the same.

And honestly, only voting is kind of half-assing it. I know that every single email gets read by someone, even an intern*, at the offices of most lawmakers. Every time some controversial issue makes big news or an important vote comes up in congress, you can find ready-to-send email messages all over the internet. The last few I remember coming across had to do with international whaling issues and women's health care when the reform bill was up for vote. When Obama was elected you could donate $5 to the campaign and receive awesome stickers as a thank-you (which I believe I have misplaced ಠ~ಠ).

IT'S NOT THAT HARD. Don't prove people right when they say things like, "Oh these young whipper snappers don't vote and they're all apathetic! They don't care about where this country is going! (Raaaaawwwrr get off my lawn!)" I care, so I vote.

*Not that I'd know anything about that from my own personal experiences.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

YesStyle Order YAY

MY STUFF FROM YESSTYLE CAME IN!!! I only ordered two things since it I was just adding onto an order, have some photos:

I've been wanting a maxi dress like this since the beginning of summer when I started seeing all the Japanese girls at the mall wearing them. The restaurant I work in is always featured in Japanese tourist publications, so we regularly see the J-girl packs of 2-8 girls all dressed up (we almost never get cute J-boy packs, life just isn't fair). It smelled awful when I opened the package, so it's soaking in the sink right now lol. I don't *love* it, but it wasn't even $20 and it might grow on me.

I threw this top into the order since it was cute and fairly cheap. It looks kinda sloppy in the photo but it's really cute, I like this a lot more than the dress. I think I still have more than a dozen items in my wish list for YesStyle, I'm waiting to see if some of them drop in price like this top did.

Also got a new set of calgel done! I thought I chose light blue and silver as my colors, but afterward it came out looking more like mint green and gold. I went to Salon Glitter, which was a bit more expensive but the girl did the best job so far. I might actually get off my butt and get a fill for this one in a few weeks.

From an iPhone, I didn't know their cameras were so good!

Still searching for a mystical job in Waikiki... My dad cut out an article from the paper about the new mega Forever 21 store opening there, it's like a bajillion square feet of cheap and awesome designer knock-off clothes. I haven't climbed the retail/mall job ladder to be almost high-end just to go back to Forever 21, though. I like shopping there, but it's a mad house most of the time... we'll see.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Last week Friday I held a marvelous little party for my Japanese classmate Matsuura-kun! He's studying abroad in Japan for a whole year and his birthday recently passed, so I thought it would be good to send him off with a little party and fond memories of his Hawaii tomodachi. It wasn't a huge deal, I hosted dinner (oven pizza + edamame + gyoza + gross beer Gima-kun bought) and a movie at my house. But before we did all that, a few of us went to do purikura, which is always amazing.

Eyeliner makes your eyes pop :3


Tracy and I made the best birthday card EVARRR for Matsuura! We knew we wanted to somehow incorporate our favorite idol group Arashi, so I decided to get a recordable card to illegally record their songs INTO a card. Genius idea, although most of the ones at Hallmark don't let you do a simple recording; for most of them you can record a message and then a stupid song plays. I found a princess one that didn't have a song snippet, but apparently it distorts the recordings made (we didn't figure this out until it was too late lol). And to make it even MORE awesome, we cut up some of my gyaru-o (male gyaru) magazines and pasted pictures of half-naked ikemen (good looking fellas heeeeyyyy~) into the card.

Best card of all time. OF ALL TIME.

I do hope Matsuura has a wonderful time in Japan, despite not being anywhere near the mega-tropolises like Tokyo. It'll help him keep his nose in his books! I told him to send pictures of his Japanese roomie, who I hope will be tall and handsome and maybe a JE reject.

Speaking of studying Japanese, I'll be applying to various places in Waikiki so I can have more opportunities to practice. Should've got a fill for my nails but I didn't think about it until it was too late. I think I'll just have to get them redone anyway, they're getting too long to type properly.

I also hope to be receiving my YesStyle stuff soon! I added a few things to an order another classmate of mine made, and I haven't been keeping track of how long it's been since the order was placed. I can't wait to have a maxi dress just like all the Japanese girls I see around the mall~

Allow me to get on my soapbox for a minute...

Preface: In college, I came to the conclusion that you don't do yourself any favors by being ignorant. When I restarted this blog, I told myself I'd start writing about politics and serious subjects, in addition to the fluffy stuff. I purposely made the layout more friendly to the fluffy stuff, in part because I wanted to present such things to people who wouldn't normally care about such things. I can kind of understand why people don't care about politics or feel that it is beyond their control, but I feel that such an attitude is generally inexcusable. Roll your eyes as you will at the talking heads on the news networks or politicians in an election year (like this year!), but the things they do and say affect everyday people, including you and I. To me, choosing to be ignorant or apathetic about politics/current events/why shit matters is the same as choosing to let people walk all over you, because you've taken yourself out of the conversation and taken away your own voice. Even worse, in some instances you've made yourself unavailable to help others.

This so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" has been a big shitstorm for a little while, and I find the discussion fairly ridiculous. It's not a mosque, it's not at Ground Zero, and it shouldn't be a big deal. It's a community center, currently named Park 51, that happens to be run by a group of Muslims. This is America, and everyone gets to practice whatever religion they see fit to practice. Your relationship with your higher power or whatever is your business, not mine. If you own land, you get to build whatever you want on it.

Those responsible for the 9/11 attacks were part of a militant Islamic group, and I'm pretty sure most Muslims want nothing to do with those guys. Grouping all the many branches of Islam* together and labeling them all violent jihadists is like saying every Christian church is like the Westboro Baptist Church (the group that protests everything and everyone with signs like GOD HATES FAGS, they're pleasant). But the discussion on TV and on the internet will inevitably affect everyday people, and that's what really bothers me. All the hatred and fear that gets stirred up with such inflamed discussion of Islam or Ground Zero or Al Qaeda affects people who just want to go about their lives and be happy. There's enough racism and xenophobia and fear already out there, why would you want to make it worse?

My dear Japanese grandmother experienced stuff like that after Pearl Harbor was attacked. She's told me people would hurl racial insults at her or treat her badly just for being Japanese, despite having brothers who fought in the war for America. I can't help but assume that Muslims go through that kind of crap everyday after 9/11, even though a few hundred victims of the attack were Muslim. Given the extent of the news coverage of this community center, I'd bet that innocent people using Park 51 for knitting class or playing basketball or prayer will get harassed, too. It's not fair.

I have no big influence on this issue, but I can put my two cents out on the internet and hope maybe someone thinks about it a moment after reading this post.

*Fun semi-related fact: Jesus is totally in the Qur'an! Check out the Wiki page.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I hate kanji, part 298482910

I was too lazy to post this to Twitter, but my story in a nutshell:

For Americans, kanji is DIFFICULT. For example~

My "classmates" and I were reading through our yomimono, like theいい学生 that we are, and we came across the first character in the equation. None of us had ever seen it before, though we were all familiar with the radicals (the individual components that make up a character - the roof, the water splash on the left side, the katakana マ thing in the middle). The textbook didn't show us that exact character and my DS jisho didn't want to cooperate when I tried to write it, so I took to Twitter. The almost unanimous answer from my Japanese followers was, "IT'S 冷たい (tsumetai - cold to the touch) YOU NOOB."

I know the differences between Japanese fonts can sometimes make reading kanji difficult, especially with the complex ones (機械 kikai - machine is a favorite), but these were clearly different since THAT RADICAL UNDER THE ROOF IS TOTALLY NOT THE SAME. It's not even simplified, it takes three strokes to write either radical! UGH. I HATE KANJI.

Aside from looking like a total waste of space on Twitter, I got my nails done last week.

Not quite how I wanted it to look, but it's still nice. I went to Smiley Nail and they did a good job, the gel is all even and was perfect before it started to grow out, but it was about $20 more than the first salon I tried.

Also had a chat with the big cheese owner of my working place, in regard to moving up in the company. It wasn't all that productive, and the thought of not having an opportunity to live and work in Japan made me sad. I've been dragging my feet about what I want to do since I won't be returning to UH next semester - move up at my job, get another job, continue to wait for that teaching position, apply to JET again (UGH). I definitely don't want to get stuck in management (not until they pay more, which is probably never), so I guess I'll entertain the idea of getting another job and wait a little longer.

Maybe I can work in Waikiki with all the J-boys wandering around, especially now that I know the two kanji for tsumetai.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Can retainers be gyaru???

I'm finally at the last stage of straightening my teeth (again!), and I got fitted for plastic wire retainers. I GOT TO CHOOSE WHAT COLOR I WANTED!!! I was excited. I chose *sparkly white* because retainers can be cute, too!


 Do you see the sparkles???

And if you don't wanna think about retainers *omg* then have a picture of Bobby (大石一聡) from PlayZ, he's easily the best of the five since he can actually sing.

I'm usually partial to the "girlier" looking models lol.

Maybe I'll put sparkly rhinestones and stuff on the case hahahahaha.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So now the A in KAT-TUN is... auto-tune?*


Dearest Jin formally announced he's leaving KAT-TUN. Oh. Let me recap it for you so you don't have to hunt all over the internet for articles:

The other members of KAT-TUN have been saying nice things like "Please support us in our efforts and Jin on his solo project!" or whatever, but supposedly they're glad he's gone behind the scenes (I'd say they're fairly boring without him, but that's just me).
Johnny's been harsh, "Don't come crying back to me when you failwhale all over America. Not saying that you will failwhale or anything... because you better make me some money."
And all the rabid fangirls are crying and upset and hoping Jin will fail. Very mature, ladies. He didn't run over all of your dogs and laugh at your misery, stop acting like it.
And all of America is like ULTIMATE GAIJIN SMASH!

Director's cut

I'm just hoping that this incident hasn't created anti-fans similar to those in Korea. As far as I can tell, anti-fans spend their time spreading rumors and generally trash-talking whatever pop groups or celebrities they don't like. I've even heard of them buying the merchandise from whatever group they despise only to destroy it and post pictures of it on internet forums. Yes, really. I'm not sure if they harass or personally attack fans of the groups they don't like, but I wouldn't put it past them because most of them are some kind of crazy.

Otherwise, I haven't been doing anything incredibly interesting lately. I did get the jisho (dictionary) game for Nintendo DS and I highly recommend it. It's not as detailed as an EX-word but it's useful.

*KAT-TUN's name comes from each of the members' surnames:

K(amenashi)A(kanishi)T(aguchi)-T(anaka)U(eda)N(akamaru - often misspelled as Nakamura)

I think they should rename the group KUNTT for teh lulz.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


ある日, 日本語で書こう...  Just not today.

Today I had my second broke-ass summer school session for Japanese! I'm not actually taking a Japanese course, I'm learning through helping my friends with their homework and following along on their worksheets. Cheers to spending money on flying to LA for concerts and not formal Japanese classes! The university is still using the same textbook that we had last semester, so I'm comfortable with the format of the lessons and whatnot. We use Tobira (literally "door," but they translated is as "gateway"), which is a traditional textbook and quite a few online resources for listening practice, kanji, videos, etc.

One really useful site is smart.fm. As far as I can remember it's a free service - you set up a profile and add activities or quizzes from textbooks. I just started the kanji practice for the lesson we're working on, IT'S SO HARD but it is a nice way to study.

Aside from studying, I'm getting into gyaru (the Japanese transliteration of "gal") and hime-gyaru (hime means "princess") subcultures. I discovered a super cutesy brand at Sephora called Tarina Tarantino and bought a bright pink blush. I've been seeing all the Japanese tourists wear this kind of blush and I wanted to try it out. Here's the blinged-out pink packaging:

Look at the rhinestones on that case!

Not the best lighting, but it's awesome.

And before I left for LA, I got my nails done. Mother chided me for spending $40 on my nails, but it's so pretty and my nails aren't dying from all the chemicals in nail polish. I offered to pay for her to get Calgel done on her nails, but she declined. It's been about three weeks and they're only starting to chip now:

I'd write,"すごい!" but I usually say, "すげえええ!"
because I don't like sounding like I'm in AKB48.

And as much as I love Egg/Men's Egg/Men's KNUCKLE (yes all caps, it's such a manly magazine) I still LOL when they publish things like this:

Yay for misspelled everything and not changing graphics around to suit the layout!

Monday, June 28, 2010


And not you since you probably didn't go *nyah nyah*

Last weekend, I went to Jin Akanishi's first solo concert in America omgsoexciting. Who the heck is Jin Akanishi, you ask? He's one-sixth of the popular Japanese idol group (read: boy band) KAT-TUN, managed by Johnny & Associates, Inc., one of the largest entertainment agencies in Japan.

Akanishi is top row, center. I have soft spots for the other two in the top row, Taguchi and Kamenashi respectively.

He's taking a break from the group to do a solo tour in America. He's one of the few to even acknowledge the Western fan base, much less put on a tour of his own material in English. Some of the other idols in the company have visited the states for promotional activities, and most of those appearances are available in full on YouTube if that gives you an idea of how painfully short they are. Akanishi has given a few interviews about his shows and the motivation behind them, and he seems to understand that catering to only Japanese fans is pointless (and maybe to some extent xenophobic - which I could go on and on about).

BUT OMG HIS SHOW WAS GOOD. The time on the tickets said 5PM, so my dear friend Christina and I went to stand in line at about 430PM. I thought we had a pretty good place in line for showing up only half an hour earlier, since this was the situation about 15 minutes later:

Girls picking up their tickets.

Club Nokia is on the third floor, accessible only by elevator or escalator,
so the line continued downstairs.

*Tangent: I was tweeting the entire time, so you can read my Twitter for sarcastic bite-size commentary*

I woke up too late on ticket purchase day to get floor seats, but I think our seats were pretty good. The stage was a bit smaller than I expected, but it was perfect for the show he put on. You can't see it in my crappy cell phone picture, but there are TV screens on both sides of the stage and above the balconies. Since this was almost all new material, someone decided that it'd be a good idea to put the title of the song on the big screen at the back of the stage and on the TV screens, which also had the lyrics scrolling down as the performance went along.

Opening acts were good (aside from Akanishi's producer person, who was waaaay too cocky for a bad NeYo rip-off), although I had to get up and pee quite a bit because I drank a lot of water before arriving and I had the Best Idea Ever™ to have a beer at the show.

The opening was a song titled "Christmas Morning," which had nothing to do with Christmas and featured Akanishi doing his best Justin Timberlake falsetto for the entire song. And he played a bunch of instruments. It was weird. But the song was good, and the next five songs were good and dancey and clubby. I read an interview today that Akanishi wanted the American crowds to get into his songs and not just politely watch like how the Japanese crowds do. Don't worry, Jin, I did my part.

I forget if he performed "Yellow Gold" during the first or second half, but that one also stuck out and I was singing it the next day. The only song I remember really not liking was "Hey Girl" (something about the girls saying, "Maji?!") and I'm still kind of torn on "Paparats." He finished the first half with "LoveJuice," his first English song released under KAT-TUN, which is the quintessential Jin Akanishi song about getting down with a foreigner at a club, and then some. I'm still not convinced he understood all the double entendres he made while writing the lyrics.

And then an intermission! Thank God, because I needed another potty break. The audience was 95% female, with a few guys scattered around, so the line to the restroom was ridiculous. The men's restroom was located a few feet before the women's restroom, so I asked the attendant (seriously the men's restroom had an attendant and not the women's - and they had candy and stuff lined up by the sinks!) if anyone was even using the restroom. He begrudgingly let me in, and then a few more females followed. I got some looks for that from the Japanese girls, "Shameless American girls! Using the men's restroom, how uncivilized!" They're the exact same toilets as the women's restroom, and I even got a mini Snickers bar and you didn't.

Second half of the show was more ~*performance art*~ than anything. Akanishi and his dancers showed off their skillz, ABDC style. In fact, one of his dancers was a girl from the Beat Freaks(?) crew on ABDC, she was amazing. Akanishi even threw in some kabuki-esque stuff for good measure. And his Japanese pop-and-lock dancer was adorable, I think they said he was 16 and he was also really good.

This was from the finale. They put a big bubble on the stage and I guess it was supposed to represent the world but... uh... I don't know. He performed three more songs, including "Tipsy Love" which was reeeaaallllyyy goooooood. Normally I would not encourage people to download stuff or watch these things on YouTube, but Akanishi hasn't officially released most of these songs and has no plans to (he said he wants to, but that isn't set in stone), so until he does I don't see how else you'd get to enjoy them. You can find the entire show on YouTube, because someone was kind enough to record it in their pocket.

It was AWESOME and he's going to make another stop in San Francisco later this summer, so I'm going to try my best to go again (and drag more people with me muahahahahaha). As much as I love Arashi and my darling Aiba, it is safe to say I have a lot of respect and admiration for their kouhai Jin Akanishi.

And maybe next time I can try to hunt him down at the clubs, and not wimp out with a $14 martini at go to bed.

Friday, June 25, 2010


久しぶり! (Can't see that? Download a Japanese font package, お願い!) (It says, "Hisashiburi!" or "Long time no see!")

I seem to have found myself with extra time these days, and after nagging from older bro I've decided to put some of that time into my blog again.

I had a hard time deciding how I would like to focus my blog, now that I'm out of Japan. What sorts of silly things can I write about now? No more lost weekends in Shibuya, no more nampa... But I still have crazy Japanese classmates, strange encounters with Nihonjin, and still love the J-boys.

Meh... I'll just write what I want. Try to keep it strange and kawaii.

And so I'll begin working on my first *real* post in about a year and some odd months. I just came back from L.A. to see the A in KAT-TUN~ I have like 3 photos to show for the entire trip, but that's okay!