I rest my fingertips lightly on my glowing keyboard. time to meticulously carve out a blog post. 「久しぶり」 I say to myself, one of the japanese words I have down pat because I say it constantly. if only I said all japanese words constantly, I would be fluent by now. my year 2.0 in japan is beginning, apparently. I haven’t seen much from my bedridden state. the 31st of december 2014, I came down with a debilitating flu, rendering my body heavy and unstable.
I’ve scrolled through my instagram feed with varied levels of envy as people snap photos of their firsts of the new year. first food, first trip, first memories of 2015. I know my year will begin soon, I’ll catch up. I lay on my side and pull the covers up to my nose and imagine what is in store for me in the coming months. 2015 will be great, if I could just get out of bed. my spirits are high, this isn’t the end. I’m not kicking myself for not washing my hands enough during cold and flu season, because kicking would require energy I don’t have. to feel so weak and useless is so frustrating. it only reminds me to motivate myself to keep active so I won’t feel like this again when I reach 80.
lying awake at 4am stiff and unable to sleep, I think back at 2014. what an emotionally juxtaposed year that was. from aimless depression to near enlightenment. 2014 was concurrently the lowest of lows and the happiest and most content I’ve ever been in my life.
the best week of my life and the second best week of my life both revolved around a bi-yearly event. fashion week in seoul. for 5 days I am whisked away to another plane of existence, a glimpse into what it would be like to be a sought-after celebrity.
Six months in Seoul: a somewhat brief summary reflection
The overall goal had always been Tokyo. I took an opportunity to join some friends in Seoul, hoping to make mad monies from modeling. I had some trouble getting on my feet right away, got screwed out of my initial plans and spent 5 of 6 months trying not to freeze(/starve) to death and eventually grew to love a city I originally only knew k-pop dance moves about.
When I arrived to Tokyo 2 weeks ago, I found myself really missing Seoul. Although the buildings and skyline are terribly ugly, there were a lot of charming qualities about Seoul I missed right away. cheap transportation, amazing food and a close-knit community of friends I had made. They helped show me things about Korea I would have not known or explored on my own. the mix of personalities together was a perfect puzzle of wonderful (and crazy) people.
that’s the trouble with travel–leaving behind people and places. for exchange of experience and memories, your list of “longing” grows larger. holes begin to form in the heart and you can only attempt to fill it with new people, places and things in the next destination. it won’t be the same but that could be a good thing.
my mind wanders too rapidly to focus these days. I got my blog back (thanks mom!) but can’t think of one thing to focus on. so from here, I will ramble. It will be as random as a cat in a bag. speaking of which, check out this cat in a bag. my new friend has a cat–probably the best cat I’ve ever met–and this cat has no name. it is fluffy, talkative (only when you first meet) and complacent. he likes to play, but only for a minute.
my new friend and I had a casual Sunday, a type of comfortable hang time I knew existed but hadn’t been available to me for quite sometime. the type of hang out where no plans are made before hand except the reassurance of seeing each other. plans that had no set time arrival or departure. it was quite natural and the hang flow fell right into place, like an easy game of tetris. the type of hang you see common place in 90s sitcoms, where there are no boundaries from neighbors. did I mention, we are neighbors? in a really cool neighborhood? in Seoul?
I’m here. I’ve been here for nearly two weeks now, yet I’m still out of order. Have you ever tried to explain to someone an incredible vague dream that was almost too hard to put into words? Over explaining one simple concept just still couldn’t portray what you saw or felt while you were having this dream? The type of dream where you say:
“Then my friend appeared. but it wasn’t my friend, I couldn’t see their face. actually, they looked like someone I’ve never met, but in the dream I knew it was my friend.”
Seoul is a familar stranger to me. In combination with the other types of dreams wherein you can’t speak or hear a communicable language back and forth, that is what Seoul has been like so far. the vertical signs, the dark haired masses and small shops feel like Japan, but something is different. oh, it’s a whole ‘nother country and culture! I can’t help but compare things without accepting them first, but I’m still new at this. isn’t that what people naturally do though? compare and contrast what they know and what they begin to learn? everything I know about Korea is through pop music, dramas and vengeance films.
In 30 days I am leaving behind everything I am familiar with. all my friends, family, and the one person who loves me unconditionally. I am sacrificing security and comfort. I am trading it all to move to a country I have never been to, where I only know the popular dance moves and how to say “Hello! I love you! Really?”. I have a one-way ticket to Seoul, with dreams to be on billboards and magazines.
for the past 3 weeks or so I have been eating the same thing every day. Korean seaweed, sticky rice, tuna, honey soaked umeboshi (pickled plums) and some variety of green tea. It’s all I crave, I don’t want anything else. maybe a smoothie or a salad here and there, but mostly just this. sometimes twice a day. almost 99% of the time while watching anime. I hope I don’t eat so much of it that by time I get back to Japan I won’t want to eat onigiri ever again (that will never happen)!!
This upcoming week is going to be intense! Wednesday I am shooting a commercial for a casino that will probably be on local TV (本当に恥ずかしい). I tried out through my modeling agency, not thinking I would get it (I am not good at acting, but trying out is always a ridiculous challenge) and then I got it. now I am laughing at myself. I don’t watch TV and I’m hoping no one I know from high school does either…
Thursday I am doing my very first DJ set as DJ BABYLOVECRASH! It’s pretty much a big chunk of dreams come true all in one night. I got the name from Super Junior’s A-Cha! Video and Eunhyuk says “HEY BABY LOVE CRASH!” and it just spoke to me ya know? That will be so much fun! Picking my own K-pop playlist that I can dance to in the club! everyone will be riding the Hallyu WAAAVE! adding “DJ” to my list of things I have done in life… now I can say “Lazy Otaku by day, Model DJ by night”. these life choices continually make me laugh, so I am having fun amusing myself.
Then! Friday and possibly all weekend I am trying out/doing another hair show, involving high end fashion London hairstylists on a run-way at the old Neptune Theater. Last time I worked with them I got signed to SMG! That was a fun show.
Happy Halloween weekend. It’s mother effing snowing! I have stylish boots that have only form and no function. I was sliding all over and the seams were undone and my thirsty wool socks soaked up all the hypothermia my toes could handle. it’s slushy and stormy and snowy and slippery. I had to cancel my plans to meet a friend in the city and just trudged along with my other friend to finish getting her halloween costume for tonight. we held hands all the way back to her place, so I wouldn’t fall. it was pretty adorable, her saving my life like that.
I have officially about 10 days left in New York. I have met most of my goals, but still have a lot I would like to do while I am here. I feel good knowing that I came on a whim and my hunches were mostly correct. I also feel pretty good knowing I would like to live here for a little while, sometime next year (after winter time please). there are many a things & people I miss from Seattle, even being gone for just 3 weeks. although it goes without saying that if everyone and everywhere was the same, life wouldn’t be very adventurous or interesting would it. but there, I said it anyway.
the big picture is really to get to Korea and back to Japan (the ultimate goal is obviously to get a K-pop husband). so I got my massive $100 check from the Korean commercial shoot and spent it on a Korean lunch and a few language books. I gotta start learning Korean. but Japan is still 一番 (ichiban… #1!), don’t you ever forget it.
I saw Super Junior the closest I’ve ever seen them so far. My 3rd time seeing them, and my second SMTOWN LIVE! Gotta say, they really out-did themselves. Last year in LA, the stage was pathetic. the set was essentially a printed banner hanging up above a screen. This year they did it at Madison Square Garden and had all the lights, pyrotechnics and stage tricks you could think of. there were flying k-pop idols and fireworks everywhere!! Also, I am 99% sure I communicated with Kyuhun at the end of the show, which was a heart stopping moment.
I brought my Nikon D90 with a prime 50mm lens. the girl next to me snuck in a zoom lens and got some really nice shots. the girl behind us had the biggest telephoto lens I’d ever seen in my life! it was like a foot long! she must run a k-pop blog or something, but I have no idea how she snuck that in. I took random video clips and made a VIDEOOOO!!
The show was amazing to say the least. but the real adventure was after the 4 hour long show. Soon all the confetti had rested gently on the ground, and all the pumped up crying fans had shuffled out of the stadium, I was hesitatingly heading back to my friend’s place. I passed two girls waiting for the subway who were blasting k-pop out of their headphones. the avenues were very long and dark blocks. I played A-Cha! on repeat, getting more and more frustrated at myself. WHY!? WHHHYYYY of all the things to be unhealthy obsessed with, I want to sleep with a K-Pop idol. For some reason now, it seems more feasible that I could hook up with Justin Timberlake but maybe only for language reasons. K-pop idols are so over protected and closely watched by their fans and managers. They are prisoners. sexy sexy prisoners for entertainment purposes only.
one of my biggest dreams of all time came true last Sunday (thanks to yukari~!). I saw Super junior Live in Japan. I was the only blonde haired white girl in the whole arena that I could see. I sat in the high up seats, but it was a small arena. to my left was a princess-type who barely reacted. to my right, an extreme fan girl who screamed and cried and jumped around. I myself, was right in-between those types. literally and type wise.
the show was nothing like anything I’d ever seen in my life. the stage went all over the entire arena. the lights themselves were their own show. it was like MJ’s “this is it” stage theatrics meeting a Korean boy band. trap doors, pyrotechnics, moving screens, color changing lights, shooting confetti, shifting stage mechanics, and flying harnesses. cute/cool mini-videos would play when they needed to change costumes several times. every single person in the audience had a special suju glowstick they did not set down for a second (I would later see fans on the train ride home and wave it at them and it created magical friendships between us despite language barrier). there was a really surreal moment when the show was finished… some stage lights stayed on, glowing on all the faces in the arena while everyone still had their blue lights waving. it was a gradient of heavenly colors. it got incredibly quiet. then slowly I could hear more and more tiny voices singing together–the whole arena was a giant choir or angelic Japanese girl voices singing a song I didn’t recognize.. but everyone knew it! it was going on for 3 minutes over and over until the lights shut off and everyone started screaming. a video played of cartoon suju members as vegetables. when it was over, suju came out dressed in vegetable costumes. it was ridiculous. the show continued for a few more songs, and they also spoke to the crowd. the show was 3 1/2 hours long, and it flew by completely.
When I first got in the concert, an older Japanese women stopped me in the crowd and was so surprised I was there. we spoke briefly, she had flown up from Australia, but was so shocked I even knew who super junior was. I stuck out like a sore thumb. if only I had floor seats so suju could have seen my beacon of light hair!
I had two moments with the fan girl on my right. she was crying after the first 3 songs. I was too, I couldn’t help it! (if you think I’m a lame-o for crying, take a second to imagine something impossible. then imagine that impossible thing happening in real life. it was a wonderful thing, boy band concert aside). I was just overwhelmed with … feelings. and not the usual boy-band love-sick goofy-girl feelings. like, imagining being them–the power to make girls scream and fall in love with you with just a smile, despite language barriers. it was so cool to be interested in something from another country, in an entirely different country. it made the world smaller. the moment I would become beside myself I would tear up. it was like I was staring into something so beautiful, I couldn’t even comprehend life itself. I think it was just happiness and pure joy welling up inside of me and it had to come out of my face somehow. at least I wasn’t peeing my pants.
so I tap the girl on the arm and say in the only Japanese I could: “me too! it’s okay!” and motioned to my eyes and we both laughed and used our scarves to dry our eyes. later siwon had his shirt off but it wasn’t projected on the screen. I tapped her again and shouted “SIIWWOONNN” and she was like “eh??” and I pointed and yelled again. he was half naked. we both looked at each other and screamed with the joy that comes with staring at incredibly ripped and naked korean men. it was glorious. although I couldn’t talk with the people around me, I was still so happy to be there with other fans. I do wish AJ was there to scream with me in English.
speaking of English, during one of their mini videos they had some lyrics on the screen. parts included “baby baby baby” and “lady lady lady”. rest was in Korean, translated to Japanese on screen. lastly they had “Shawty shawty shawty” (shorty) or, what it was suppose to say. it actually read “shwaty shwaty shwaty” which made me laugh. I might have been the only one realizing that was not even close to an English word. but no one cared. who cares. but I caught it.
Although I saw a great amazing show, cried a little, screamed a lot and couldn’t stop smiling…. THIS AIN’T OVER YET! I WILL SEE SUJU IN KOREA!! AND I WILL SEE SUJU WITH FLOOR SEATS!!! I WILL TOUCH A SUJU HAND! ONE DAY! my goals are slowly to be realized. this will be an expensive goal, no doubt. sigh. I better start learning some korean language.