Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Boxes and a Cat

Monday, December 21, 2009

Writing Carrier:
Moving Out from College Town

So, I am moving out again. This time though, I am moving completely out of South Bend. I knew that South Bend is a passing city and not my second home town even though I have lived here for six years. South Bend is the city of my college memories, thousands of broken hearts, and good friends. I learned how to write poetry in South Bend and I also learned how to fall in love with random men and even a particular one in South Bend. In addition, I spent a huge amount time by myself in a school housing attic.

I will miss my college life by the St. Joseph River. The life was not as crazy as my neighbors’—who were arrested by growing prohibited plants in their basement—but it was enjoyable. There was one time when a campus police officer came to my house because of my 21st birthday party. Without that, I had been a very quiet resident of South Bend.

I ran a total of thirteen roommates out of my old house. When I lived with a Russian pianist, the entire kitchen ceiling fell in on our fresh chicken curry, so we cussed in our own native languages together. When I lived with a Thai roommate, mold and mice were everywhere, so we screamed in our languages. When I lived with an American roommate, we cried together over broken hearts. There were some language barriers, but emotions and friendships bridged us all… until I got bored and kicked them out.

The old house has been vacant since I moved out. I heard that the university wanted to remodel or rebuilt those houses into apartments.

After I moved out from the house, I have been living with my death metal guy. Because he is my husband, I cannot kick him out like I did to my roommates. To be honest, I sometimes want to run away from him. Nothing is wrong with our relationship, but I miss my lonely feeing in the attic. If I am alone, maybe I can write more sentimental poetry like I did in the past. Even though I complain to my guy, my heart had somehow filled with warm, so maybe that is the reason I cannot write like before. With my moving from here and my new life with him, I am nervous about being able to write good quality poetry in the future.

When packing boxes here, I found some old letters from my grandfather who passed away last year. He wrote about how I have to be careful when dating international (or even domestic) men. He wrote, “Be careful of men. Men are just men whether they are Japanese or not.” He sometime drew pictures and sent me a photograph along with the letters. He gave me letters more than anybody else. I realized that he was both my grandfather and my pen pal for five years. I already have two boxes of letters from family and friends and thought about recycling them; however, I changed my mind. I will keep them. They will be beautiful trash after my death anyway.

I am still packing. My death metal guy is sleeping well and he has not finished packing his closet yet. I seriously do not know how he is going to pack all his stuff. I love throwing things away but he is like a pack rat. He keeps old socks, underwear, DVDs, CDs... I recently packed his shot-glasses, one of which had on it, “I’m here for the blow job” with a big smiley face. That’s a pretty spunky glass, I wonder how many times my death metal guy accommodated it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

There are no Christmas decorations this winter,
so Aaron brought home Christmas flowers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Writing Carrier:
Selling My Textbooks at Book Trader

I sold my textbooks at Book Trader on 1614 Mishawaka Ave and received $110.00. I have never sold textbooks before because I wanted to see my knowledge lining up on my bookshelves, but this moving out situation changed my mind. I never expected I could get so much money.

Book Trader (Your Alternative Bookstore)
Buy, Sell, Trade Any Textbook from Any College
1614 Mishawaka Ave.
South Bend, IN 56615

The buy-back price is obviously higher than the IU South Bend Barnes and Noble Bookstore. The IUSB bookstore did not accept several used Spanish textbooks, which are specially edited and published for IUSB students, but Book Trader accepted mine and paid me $12.00 for it.

Since this 2009 fall semester, the IU South Bend bookstore has been run by Barnes and Noble, and to that I would like to say “S$&%!” The bookstore is now exclusively about profit instead of providing excellent service for motivated students.

There were so many freshmen who were interested in taking Japanese classes this fall; that provided for three Japanese classes to be offered instead of two. However, the bookstore had never ordered additional textbooks to accommodate an entire other class. The IUSB bookstore simply did not want to deal with replacing, returning, or any other function that would require more effort than profit generated, which is absolutely not supportive of high quality education.

Therefore, the majority of my students could not have textbooks until the end of October—the first third of the semester! As a result, they had a harder time finishing homework, speech and listening exercises. My fellow teachers used the IUSB library’s reserve system to make sure that all their students had access textbooks anytime they wanted. However, it is absolutely unfair for students to have to share a textbook with twenty or more other students under the two hour reserve rule. Most importantly, they were willing to purchase textbooks. Even though they already paid their expensive tuition, they could not receive enough personal attention.

So, I am happy that a friendly bookstore has opened close to the campus and has varieties of used textbooks with decent prices. Plus, it only gets better with more people visiting and supplying it. Let’s see how this bookstore works out and supports the IU South Bend community.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Writing Carrier:
When has mundane ever been so desirable?

I am in the middle of my pre-mid-life crises. I turn twenty seven next year, but I seriously have no idea what I want to do outside of academia, outside of a cage of books. As a reference, my work experiences are at a book store in Japan, a college library in America, and teaching something, something, meaningless in domestic and foreign countries. Today was my official last day of being part of a university. I submitted my students’ grades this afternoon and said ‘farewell’ to fellow teachers.

I sound academic; however, I am not smart enough to achieve a doctorial degree. In other words: I could achieve a master degree because so many professors were generous enough to support a foreign bookish cheerleader. When I smiled, they gave me B. I wish that I could have nice boobs, then maybe… a B plus.

“Congratulations, you achieved a lot in academic years! I am proud of you” people told me while I taught at a college after graduation. I wish I could tell them, “Please do not say congratulations.” I just spent my parents’ retirement money and a five year college scholarship, then turned all my assignments in a couple days after they were due. This degree is based on mercy and sacrifice.

Packing boxes and boxes of books that I never touched aside from using for quotes in my thesis papers; I still do not have a clear plan for the future. Well, I want to do curtain things with poetry and painting. When I move to Chicago, I am definitely going to walk around the city and find cafés and galleries that may display my art. But people think of this as a hobby. I cannot afford $1,000 a month for rent by just showing my art. Unless my art sells at $500 a piece…and I’m definitely not asking that much for it.

My close professors are worried about me, like, “How will this spoiled girl survive in Chicago?” This question is actually very popular amongst my mother, father, younger sister, grandparents, friends, and just about everybody, even my cat.

Last night, my cat attacked a Japanese fish broth packet in the sink, dragged it through the entire apartment, and spread its buried treasure all over the carpet. She could not satisfy her recent tasteless dry dinner and she desperately wants fresh fish canned meals. Attacking fish sauce is her natural instinct. I can hear my professors advising that I should have gotten the job that I turned away last week and they warned me that my hair will turn all white by next March without food and money. Maybe I am going to jump into somebody’s sandwich, grinning my teeth just like my cat and the fish sauce.

I admit that I do not want to work but I still keep looking for a job. There are several jobs using Japanese and English language skills, but most of those are related to business such as selling Japanese seasonings, Japanese cooking tools, and Japanese dental equipment. If I work for a Japanese seasoning company, at least I could let my cat drag countless varieties of fish sauces around to satisfy her killer instinct.

Meanwhile, I still cannot give up the most important parts of me (art and writing); though it is a tough reality in America. I can write in English but I need a proofreader, so I cannot work in editorial positions or journalism industries. I can paint, but I cannot use computer graphics and other computer design programs. In the end, I am always a B student—proficient enough to show I can do something, but never over-the-top.

I thought about moving back to Japan so I can fully use my abilities, but what can my death metal guy can do in Japan? With his bachelor degree in English he can be an English teacher, provided he pursues a masters and gets certified for it. But then what has he done in Japan up to his mid-thirties that can help him outside of teaching when we return to America?

I am getting nervous when I think about my future life. I start working for a company with benefits to make monthly payments in whatever. My death metal guy and my future children are happy and healthy. I have time for writing and painting (I do not know their qualities.) I should be happier with the prospect of such a life, but I am terrified to be a part of society; a society far away from academia and far away from craziness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Moving Out or just a dinning table on a regular day

Boxes and Christmas gifts

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Writing Carrier

I am ridiculously stupid when it comes to job searching. Several days ago, I wrote that art and business should never become best friends—artists need to concentrate on whatever they are doing without pressure from their daytime jobs—and I was very clear about not wanting to work at an office.

However, I (stupidly) applied to an office position at one of the most powerful insurance companies in the world, and made the final interview. The company sounded fantastic in that they support health benefits for all their workers and their families; in addition, they provide private gyms and four weeks paid holiday. From their office in the 20th floor of their building, workers have a beautiful view of Lake Michigan.

I thought that it was a good idea to work for the company until I discovered mandatory night shifts in the last interview. They did not say anything about my need to work for two major Japanese insurance companies in the Japanese time zone; therefore, one out of four months I have to work 6:00pm to 4:00am.

I am definitely not a night person and I do not want that kind of exhaustion from a job. I sill need to keep writing. So, I said, “Thank you very much for the opportunity, but I am afraid to say I would not like to work after 1:00am.”

Because this company is deals with seriously injured people from time to time, I will be 100% responsible no matter the situations. I cannot make the excuse that I am sleepy or my brain does not function well from the night shift hours.

Then the company offered more money. I know I wrote my views on stressful work being so bad for an artist before; but here I was tempted with the salary increase.

I asked myself how I am going to write and how I am going to maintain my health if I work for their alternating schedules. The answer was very easy— tossing a coin.

“Am I going to regret not taking this job?”
The coin flip landed on heads, “Yes.”

“Am I going to need health insurance so badly in 2010?”
The coin landed on heads, “Yes.”

“Am I not going to get sick even though I would work night shifts?”
The coin landed tails, “No.”

And my last question was,
“Am I going to die tomorrow?”
The coin answered, “Yes.”

Therefore, I refused their offer. The universe was so close to communicate to me but the last answer was not accurate. Well maybe it is accurate. There are still 10 minutes left until tomorrow.
"Call Me; I'm in a Tea Cup"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Burning Piano"

Monday, December 7, 2009

"I love bubbles."