Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Foto-Flash Mob

Taking a break from preparing my German presentation for tonight. It's a really short presentation and there really is no reason to feel pressured, but my brain is on fire. German is hard. Mleeeh.

Anyway, this was a few weeks ago. G and I had just met up at a station when some guy came up to us offering us tulips ("For your girlfriend!"). We thought he was just trying to sell it to us but he offered them to persistently that we eventually took them. And then we look up to see a few people with cameras (SLRs with tripods) taking photos of us. I kind of stood there dumbfounded while G tried to pull us away to the other end of the platform. They continued to take photos of us from afar. I guess we should have asked what they were doing instead of running away...but yes. If you see photos of us somewhere, let us know. Ha. Watch our photo be used for some stupid dating website...or contraceptive pills...or something. Uh.

Ok. Back to trying to explain conceptual art in German. Unngh.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pork Paranoia

Monday! I'm feeling better, loaded with brand new antibiotics, and back to business. 

An oldish anecdote from last month:

So yes. I visited Z and M in Turkey last month, and as planned, I'd taken a crap load of pork with me (ham, sausages, bacon bits) as a souvenir. I'd had some trouble getting through passport control in Germany (my stupid fault), so I was already a bit on edge. I eventually made it to Istanbul, but then I was suddenly struck by huge paranoia about how the customs officials were going to bust me for the 5+ kilos of pork I had in my backpack. I started imaging drug-sniffer dogs reacting to my meat by mistake (they're dogs, after all) and then me being hauled over to the examination room and being questioned and searched, and then eventually getting in trouble for bringing meat into the country.

But yes. In the end, nothing happened, and Turkey was awesome. End of story.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


So I just finished my five-day's worth of antibiotics, and I'm off to the doctor's tomorrow morning for some more. When I went to the pharmacist to get my medicine on Wednesday, I was told not to take my antibiotics with dairy products...and of course, when you're told not to have them, you want them even more. I've had major cheese cravings during dinner last night, but I have to take my antibiotics during meals so I couldn't have any.


Happy Postsecret day!

Friday, March 25, 2011


I watched Wordplay yesterday. It made me want to play crosswords again, so I got out my New York Times Tuesday puzzle book full of half-finished puzzles. I could still only get about half done. Eh.

Anyway. No hugely exciting news today. Spent a good part of the morning making calls (auf Deutsch!) to arrange appointments and whatnot for my mom. They've finally begun tearing down the old Mensa across the street from our house. I busted out my watercolour set. That's about it.

I'm a big Tom Waits fan, and ever since I heard "9th and Hennepin," I've wanted to illustrate the first two lines of the song: "Well, it's 9th and Hennepin. All the donuts have names that sound like prostitutes..." 

This is what I imagine the Dunkin' Donuts equivalent at 9th and Hennepin to be like.

I love Tom Waits because he can really paint a picture in your mind. And because he's possibly the coolest man alive. 

My mom just refers to him as the "grumbly old man" (だみ声親父).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weddings and Babies

Feeling much better after antibiotics and painkillers. Ah, modern medicine. I guess it will be a day of catching up on some drawing.

I had a really weird and slightly depressing dream last night. I had made an appointment with some important art professors to get feedback on my portfolio, so I had to take a taxi to Roppongi (central Tokyo). But when I got there, I found that I was on some tropical beach. I had to spread out my artwork on a beach towel. Everyone said the portfolio wasn't good enough. My friend A.Roy was there, consoling me. And then we all decided to go to a costume party by the beach. I can't remember what I was wearing, but someone was dressed up as one of the little GI Joe soldiers from Toy Story. And then a different friend A took me down to meet another artist, but the only way to get to his atelier was down a chute with wooden chairs nailed to the sides as footing. The guy was supertall and friendly. He took us to a gallery where they were selling a feather--a single, normal, possibly even pigeon feather--for 6,500 dollars. He kept saying that it was the best conceptual art piece he'd ever seen and how much he wanted to buy it. My friend and I just kind of looked at each other.

And then I woke up. Mostly, I was sad that they didn't like my stuff.


I've been trying to stay away from Facebook lately. I know I can't really do without it so I won't cancel my account, but I'm trying to keep myself from posting too much on it. But I do check out photos regularly and I realized that in the last year or two, the amount of wedding/engagement/baby photos have practically tripled. And I do enjoy looking at them because people generally look happy in them! And I enjoy photos of funny-looking (I mean adorable!) babies.

Hm, I apparently can't draw straight lines. Or cane chairs. It looks like I have a beaver tail. Meh.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


So I'm sick, but actually I'm sicker than I initially presumed. I finally went to the doctor's this morning after lying in bed with a 39C fever yesterday, and as it turns out, I have a kidney infection. Again. Ugh. At least I'm on antibiotics now and the fever has gone down significantly, but it's no fun. Boooo! It's house arrest for me this week, but at least now I can sit up and draw.

These are the times when I wish I had a cat to cuddle. Although really, I'm kind of warm and sick and sweaty and gross right now so they probably wouldn't want to cuddle with me.

Once I decide to stay put in one place, I am definitely getting a cat.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I'm sick. Again. This is the third time I've been sick this year. Somehow, my immune system had gone to shits in the last couple of months; I never used to get sick! Blergh. I was actually starting to feel slightly better and helping my mom make rhubarb crumble (so delicious!) when I began feeling feverish again. So pathetic! Hence my blogging from bed. Urgh.

Anyway. This is a recap from something I mentioned in a previous entry . . . but I think this is true for a lot of people.

Gee, what's up with all the Asian joke cartoons these days? Um...yeah. Rhubarb!


ps. Happy 5 months to Bonsai!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Priorities and Dishes

Oh crap! I have to leave the house in about 20 minutes to my art class and then to my German class, but I haven't even put on make-up yet. Blegh. I spent all morning accompanying my mom at the doctor's office and then we briefly checked out the Agathe Snow exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim. 20 minutes to get ready! Gah! But somehow, updating my blog takes precedence over prettying myself. Meh.

Anyway. I just wanted to say, Iris, you are totally right about this---unless it's just us. Something about not doing the dishes makes me feel guilty.

Bah. I have to be off, Internets. Bis morgen!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Happy Sunday!

Another dream-related cartoon. Kind of a creepy story--on the morning of the earthquake before we even knew about the disaster, my mom told me that she wasn't feeling well and that she had a dream where she was trying to make her way out from under the rubble. I'm not a superstitious person, but it was still a bit unsettling.

I, on the other hand . . .

I have retarded dreams. I remember consciously thinking to myself in my dream, "Why the hell am I running with an ice cream cone in my hand?" I think I had to deliver it to a friend before it melted or something. It kind of reminds me of that really cute Frog and Toad story.

Or maybe I was thinking of this guy:

This is my personal favourite:

Uh. Right. Ahem.

It's Postsecret day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Inspiration! Or . . . tweetspiration! (badum'ch)

I'm actually astounded by what an amazing source of information Twitter has been in this catastrophe. I'd created a twitter account a while ago but had always wondered what it was really good for (aside from reading ConanOBrien, StephenAtHome, and grantimahara tweets)---now I know. Internets, you never cease to amaze me.

Anyway. On a much less serious note, my friend Eri tweeted about having a dream about an alpaca. Not just a regular alpaca, but a furious, horned alpaca with rainbow fur. Freaking trippy. I had to draw it.
I've also learned that alpacas are very hard to draw. It took me five tries just to get it right . . . kind of.

But yes. Thanks Eri for getting me back into the swing of things. I've been doing a lot of still life drawings for my portfolio (which has been somewhat depressing and frustrating), but cartoons is what I enjoy and do best!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

the case of the un-funnies

Hi friends!

Sorry for the lack of comics lately. I don't want to blame it on the earthquake, but strangely enough, I haven't been able to think of anything really funny lately. I mean, not that my cartoons are hilarious anyway . . . but still. I'll post as soon as I think of something. The world can use more silliness at a time like this.

Anyway! Better get some drawing, work, and homework done!

Lots of hugs,


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I can do

The only skill I have to contribute that's worth anything is translation. Here's an inspiring and empowering blog entry that I found:

Original source: 被災者の役に立ちたいと考えている優しい若者達へ

To all the kind-hearted young people who want to do something for the victims—A piece of mind from my experience as a naive youth

It was the day after the central university entrance exam in my last year of high school that the Hanshin Awaji earthquake happened. Somewhere between dream and consciousness, I heard an ominous rumbling like that of a thousand trucks coming from afar, and I woke to find the entire house was shaking. My father woke me up, opened the front door, shut off the gas nozzle, and turned on the TV. The Hanshin freeway had collapsed. I remember the fear from the tremor, the inability to understand what I was seeing on television, and the silence in the city.

I had to go to school that day for a self-assessment of the university exam and an interview for the second part of the exam. I was hesitant, but I eventually took off on my bicycle. There was water overflowing from the moat around Osaka Castle.

As school, everything was as usual. Some students hadn't showed up, but our teacher said nothing. The self-assessment and the interviews were carried out solemnly. Our friends from San'nomiya and Nishinomiya had not shown up. During our lunch break, two friends and I discussed that we should go out and volunteer after the oral exams were over.

And then at the end of the school day, our physics teacher started to speak.
"Some of our teacher and students have been affected by the earthquake and are unable to come to school. Many of you have finished your university entrance exams, and your application processes are over, and may be moved by your sense of justice to march into the affected areas. This is not wrong. But to be honest, there is nothing that you could do. If you still feel that you want to do something for the victims, listen carefully to what I'm going to tell you.

First, take your own food, and when you run out, come home. Do not touch the food that is meant for the victims.
Bring your own sleeping bags and tents. The dry floor is space for the victims to sleep on, not you.
Once you have registered as a volunteer, do not refuse any type of work that you are given, no matter what. There is no bigger hindrance than people that drop out half way when working as a group. If you are ready to abide by these rules, you may be of some help to the victims. You have no skills, but you're young, smart, and have energy.

But my honest opinion is that you should remain here and focus on your exam preparations, acquire specialized skills and knowledge in university, and become someone who can help prevent disasters in the next ten, twenty years."

I forget what was said word for word, but I remember what the gist of what our teacher wanted to tell us.

Like our physics teacher had predicted, we were of no use to the victims.
We went around handing out bread, accompanied the elderly, and cleaned the area around the evacuation shelters, and ran other small errands, but our food ran out in five days. We didn't bathe, but we were told that it was unsafe to sleep outdoors, so we slept inside the evacuation center. The fire fighters and the self-defense force were astonishingly competent in restoring the infrastructure and removing the rubble, and they efficiently dealt with any issues. Our existence was a joke—we were just a bunch of kids that were pretending to “volunteer.” There were actually some young pepole who'd brought nothing with them or were reluctant to do dirty jobs, but I couldn't really say that there was a big difference between the amount of help we and they were able to give.
What I learned from the experience was that nothing is solved with just people who need help and people who want to help. For things to actually start moving forward, we need people who can mobilize people. I was ignorant of this obvious fact.

Crushed by reality, we left the affected area, and eventually enrolled in university Kyoto. We also eventually lost our passion for the affected areas. I honestly admit and regret the fact that our sense of justice was ultimately nothing more than a facade. We couldn't even hold onto our feelings for Kobe for even a single year.

I'm sure there are many young people out there who want to do something for the affected areas and the victims of this earthquake. But I want you to stop and think. There is not a thing you can do for them there right now. Your existence at the site will only be a hindrance. All you can probably do now is donate money and blood, and that's a great contribution that I urge you to be proud of and to continue.

What I want you to do is to hold onto your passion, your feelings. If you continue to feel what you feel now, there will be opportunities for you to act. You could help out in the temporary shelters, psychological care of the victims, restoring daily life—some issues far more serious than ones directly following the earthquake. NPOs will start moving to deal with these problems, and only then will the victims start to need you, a kind-hearted person who wants to help in any way possible. Maybe it will be an experience that will change your life completely.

I ultimately became a geographic information system specialist, and though my field is different, I am now in a position to be able to contribute to disaster prevention. I think I've become someone slightly more capable of helping others than before. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rice cooker

While cooking dinner at a friend's house, I was asked to cook rice in a pot. I couldn't do it. Ha.

On a more serious note, please continue to keep the Japanese earthquake victims in your thoughts. You can also help out by donating to the Red Cross.
If you read Japanese, here's all the different ways you can donate: 募金情報まとめ, and be wary of donation frauds. When in doubt, donate directly to the Red Cross.

Also, it's Postsecret day!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Praying for everyone's safety and Japan's quick recovery from the giant quake. I still can't really believe it's happening--it's all so unreal. I'm glad to hear that Tokyo wasn't hit as hard as other prefectures and that my friends are safe. We think that my extended family should be all right, too, but we hope to get in touch sometime soon.

For all those in Japan, stay safe, and we'll be keeping our eyes on the news for the next while....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Something Awesome

I've recently discovered the blog 1000 Awesome Things through a friend, and have been slowly going through the list of awesome. If I had to add one to the list, I would say:

I often check my mailbox as I leave the apartment and take the contents along with me so I can read them on the go. For some reason, postcards and letters feel much more special when I'm reading them in the train or during short coffee breaks or sitting outside waiting to meet somebody.

And. I can show off the fact that I have awesome old-school friends who still send postcards. Ha!

Basically, I'm just a show-off.

Happy International Day of Awesomeness!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Punctuality and Mapplethorpe

Went to see the Mapplethorpe retrospective at the C/O Berlin today, as the gallery's due to close at the end of the month. My favourite was probably his series of portraits of artists, including photos of Cindy Sherman and Louise Bourgeoise. Louise Bourgeoise had a wrinkly smile and a giant phallus in her arms.

She was probably the coolest and kinkiest mamie when she passed away at 98. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Phew! Still barely Tuesday. And what a gorgeous day it was! Spring is just around the corner, or so we hope!

I come home fairly late from my evening classes three days a week, and I just don't learn from my mistakes . . .

Speaking of which, I think I'm going to make myself a sandwich . . .

Monday, March 7, 2011


Practiced drawing perspective today at my art teacher's studio. Or tried to practice, rather. I kept measuring everything wrong. Bleeergh. All my lines look wonky and wrong.

Well, the view of Karl-Marx-Allee was nice, though.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


A colour post after having ranted about colour in my last post. It's coloured pencil, so it doesn't really count.

So I went to my friend F's birthday-slash-Karneval party the other day. Karneval party implies costume party---so it's as close as the Germans get to Halloween (completely different concept, yes, but yay costumes!). I wanted something easy and cheap but also recognizable, so yes. This is what happened.

The theme of the party was actually "heroes from our childhood," so my costume didn't exactly go with the theme (unless I wanted to argue that Vermeer was my childhood hero, which probably would have made me one of those obnoxiously precocious kids), but thanks to the presence of many like-minded art nerds, I had fun being recognized (except I had to do the neck-twisty-pose every time)...until I started to lose track of how much wine I was drinking. It literally took me 24 hours to recover from my hangover the next day. Ugh.

I also think I lost one pearl earring at the party. Damn. I guess that made it even closer to the original, seeing as the only mention the single earring. Except I somehow doubt that Vermeer's model was a drunken mess. I just pray that I didn't do anything too stupid . . .

Anywho. Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 4, 2011


Am finally finished with one pencil still life that I can include in my portfolio. I actually don't mind doing pencil drawings because well, you don't have to deal with colour. I've never been interested in colour; even as a kid, my crayon and pastel sets went completely untouched whereas my I constantly needed new pencils. I'm not really sure what it is about colour, but I feel like greytones can do everything colour can do. And what's not to love about grey? It's so perfect, so subtle, so classy, so . . . grey.

So yes. Grey is awesome. Better go draw some more.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Pap test day. My gynecologist was an awesome little lady who asked if I wanted a tiny towel to cover myself (what for?), and then was like, "I don't know how it is in Japan, but we have no shame here in Germany! HAHA!" Anyway, she was perky, straightforward, and competent. That's more than anyone could ask for from a trip to the gynecologist's.

It's a strange compliment, but a compliment nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Letter of Demotivation

Writing letters of motivation is hard. I'd been procrastinating and avoiding it for a few days, but it had come to a point where I was seriously running out of time, so I worked on it after coming home from my evening German classes and actually got it done in an hour. Go me!

But of course, now I have to translate it into German. Ungh.

Still. Hard part's done. Now I can meet G tomorrow without feeling too guilty about it. Maaybe.

Also getting the first of my HPV vaccine tomorrow. Owie. But good.