End of year Q & A

Go back or Go home

”Who are your favorite artists? Any artform goes, doesn't have to be visual art.”

Wow, what a fun question! I have so many favorite artists. I think my absolute favorite artist, first and foremost, is Yoshitomo Nara. I love the Japanese Superflat movement & like Yoshitomo Nara’s work so much that I intend to get a piece of his tattooed. I like his work so much that I’m not even sure which piece I would get tattooed. When I go to Japan next summer, (2024), I’m going to visit N’s Yard, a museum that houses Yoshitomo Nara’s works. It’s hard for me to articulate why I’m so fond of his work, it goes deeper than words for me, an inexplicable attraction. I wish I could give you a more insightful answer than that, sorry.

Other visual artists that I very much like, that I adore are: Maria Prymachenko, Rothko, Yoshitaka Amano, & Aya Takano. Outside of visual art, I very much respect & hold high regard for Sufjan Steven’s lyricism. His Carrie & Lowell album is an album of some of my favorite songs.

”what was your favourite childhood book/series? do you still enjoy it even if you've outgrown it?”

I really liked this comic series called Babymouse as a kid. It’s about this over imaginative little mouse that daydreams a lot. She has this catchphrase where she calls everything “typical,” & I find myself doing that habitually, since who knows how long. I also liked the Bone comics by Jeff Smith. I sound silly admitting this, and who knows, I may redact this later, but I actually had a crush on the main hero girl in the series as a kid, can’t remember her name at the moment. I found an omnibus of the series at the discount bookstore & have yet to reread it, so maybe I’ll have to give it a read when I make it home from my trip. I could give you a laundry list of other things I read, because I was always reading as a kid, but those two series were the first that came to mind.

Outside of comic series, I more remember reading nonfiction books as a child, going through phases where I’d read about a certain topic. The two main ones that come to mind are the Black Death & mummies. I was fond of reading about animals & dinosaurs too, like every kid.

But yes, I definitely still enjoy all of these things. I wouldn't even say that I've outgrown them.

”do you have any good luck charms?”

So many. I’m not sure that I would call myself superstitious, because it comes with a caveat: I only believe in nice, happy superstitions for the most part. I’m a very fearful person by nature, overly cautious, and I think anything I’ll write about superstition & whatnot can be summed up with a single example: I used to be scared to leave the house, & whenever I did, I would walk the exact same path down the sidewalk because I was afraid something bad would happen to me. I still have mental inclinations toward disaster like this, so I don’t let myself believe in negative superstitions, or even negative intuition, because if I let myself, I’ll tell myself over & over that disaster is about to befall me, that pain & misery & danger is imminent, & it really never is. With all of this being said, I do have good luck charms, but I don’t think anything bad will happen to me if I don’t carry them, if that makes sense.

The main one that comes to mind is my lucky Beanie Baby, a doll named Shenanigan. I collect Beanie Babies & I found this one at a thrift store. I bring him with me when I’m taking difficult exams & he’s small enough to get stowed away in my bag. I also carry little daily lucky charms, which are two fortune cookie papers that I carry in my wallet, one reading “Enjoy yourself while you can.” & the other reading “Time heals all wounds. Keep your chin up.” In my wallet, I also have a small compass that I found at school one day, same place that I found a tarot card, but on different days. I keep the compass so I won’t lose my way. Those are lucky charms I keep in my wallet always. Beyond that, I also have a pretty big two dollar bill collection that I haven’t had to spend yet. I think last I checked I had twenty of them, give or take, (probably give). I also have a lucky clover, plastic, & a small white dog, a game piece from a game I won, a metal clover & dove, among other things. Maybe my definition of lucky charms is a bit loose. In a similar vein, I also carry my Build-A-Bear frog with me from time to time for moral support & if not my frog, I like to take a little Sonny Angel with me, tucked away in my purse.

”what was your favorite thing as a child?”

I love this question because it’s so open-ended. What was my favorite thing? There’s this memory I have about this white plush cat, a Jellycat if you’re familiar with the brand, & it was my favorite stuffed animal. One day, my mom took my stuffed animal away & I was too scared to ask for it back. Months passed & when I finally found it again, hidden in a drawer, so much time had passed that I didn’t love my stuffed animal the same way anymore. It’s hard to explain. I still have the stuffed animal too, but have mixed feelings about it. It’s not the stuffed animal’s fault, but seeing it makes me a bit sad, though I still care enough about it to keep it.

”if you had a favorite stuffed animal as a kid, what was it?”

Just realized that I accidentally answered this question above.

”ocean or lake?”

The ocean! Everytime I see the ocean, I feel intensely moved. I saw the ocean a couple of days ago & cried. I’m also fond of learning about deep sea creatures & to fall asleep at night, I imagine that I’m a jellyfish, or if I’m in a sour mood, whale fall that’s slowly being devoured.

”What's a treasured memory of yours?”

When we were kids, my little sister said a curse word & my dad told her she had to wash her mouth out with soap. Naturally, I went to watch & we were standing in my mom’s bathroom & my sister ate some hand soap & turned to my dad & went Mmmmm, this is really good! & he went Let me see! & squirted some soap in his mouth. It actually tasted gross, like soap, & my dad’s nose crinkled up in disgust because my little sister had tricked him. It was so funny that all was forgiven.

Another memory, looking back, is when my sister put a can of cat food in the microwave, because she wanted the cats to have warm food, which turned out as well as it sounds. Another microwave memory is when we wanted to make our parents chocolate dipped strawberries, so we tried to melt chocolate in a tupperware container & it burned this huge hole clean through the bottom. It makes me a bit sad that I shared all of these happy memories with my sister, because we’re not close anymore. I guess, well I know, that a large part of me would still like to be.

These are all old memories. I’m realizing that I just naturally gravitated toward my childhood ones. A more recent memory would have to be this day some months ago when I went over to my friend E’s house & she made me soba & buckwheat tea & we watched Japanese variety shows. It was a simple day by all means, but I was so happy, so absolutely happy.

”Favorite flowers?”

I like wildflowers. I don’t like my home very much, but every year there are wildflowers in clusters of every color. I do not take them for granted. I like that they herald the spring & admire them for their resilience. Every winter they disappear & every spring & summer they come back again, reborn. You can step on a wildflower & it will survive. Beyond that, I’d say I like all flowers really, though maybe I'm particularly fond of pansies.

”Favorite time of day?”

Sunset. It’s very hot where I live, so sunset walks are the most comfortable ones that you can take. I like to look at the sunset too. I mean, who doesn’t? Every evening, I get a new display of colors, just by virtue of being alive to see it. It makes me think that maybe there really is a god. I’d like to say I like the sunrise for its symbolism, but in practice, I love the sunset.

Someone shared this quote with me recently & I think it applies here: “A certain recluse monk once remarked, ‘I have relinquished all that ties me to the world, but the one thing that still haunts me is the beauty of the sky.” As long as I can see the sky, any time of day is alright with me. I suppose I don’t like the night very much, because there’s so much light pollution that the stars are never visible to me. I find the sky more interesting during the day. I spent all of that time talking about the sunset, but maybe my favorite time of day is a little bit before noon, when it is bright & not too early, but with the day still ahead of you. Mostly, I think it just depends on the weather for me, but as long as I have the sky above, I can find a way to be happy.

”Zodiac sun sign?”


”Dream vacation?”

Well, I’m going to Japan next summer for a few weeks which is quite the dream to me. I’d also like to visit France one day, because of all of the time that I’ve devoted to learning French. Really I’d visit almost anywhere if given the chance. On a smaller scale, I’d like to visit the ocean by myself, just sit with the water for a day. Every time I’ve gone to the ocean, I’ve gone with family & never been able to stay as long as I’d like.

”What is your favorite food ?”

Udon! Udon forever! I could eat udon every day & not get sick of it. I also like soba & pho, noodles in general. I could eat soba & pho every day & not get sick of it. (I know it’s true because I ate soba every day for two weeks or so till I realized if I keep doing it that I’ll have a heart attack.) I think I like noodles not just for their taste, but also because their texture is so predictable. I also like miso soup & salmon & tikka masala & dried seaweed snacks & tuna mayo onigiri & sweets: dark chocolate & frappes & cookies; I have a sweet tooth. Actually, I have sweet teeth. There are so many foods that I love that it’s hard to not keep going.

”a trolley is going down the tracks. there is nothing on the tracks. however, you have the option to pull a switch, that when pulled, would divert the trolley to another line. it'll still get to it's destination in the same amount of time, and nothing will ultimately change. it would be pretty fun though. do you pull the lever?”

You know, you’d think this would be an easy question, but I could see this going one of two ways for me:

  1. I’m curious & pull the lever to see what happens, & because it’ll be fun.
  2. I think about how pointless this all is & debate whether or not I should even bother pulling the lever. Before I have the chance to pull it, the trolley has passed while I’ve been wrestling with myself in indecision over something trivial. I continue on my way & wonder how fun it would’ve been to pull the lever. I regret not doing it. I tell myself that I need to get out of my head. Next time I’ll pull the lever.

”have you ever experienced anything paranormal?”

No, but I think that if I were to experience something paranormal, I wouldn’t recognize it as such. I think life & its experiences are already so mysterious that I wouldn’t even know how to differentiate between what’s considered normal & what’s considered paranormal.

”favorite pokemon? :3 or type?”

I really like Snorunt for some reason. I don't know why LOL. I tend to like the cute ones, like Snorunt & Lotad & Oddish & Cubone & Mimikyu & Gothitelle. I used to collect Pokemon cards; still have them. My little brother started collecting them too. I used to play, but really I just like the art on the card, which is why I have Japanese & Korean language ones too. I guess I like the Fairy types because their cards are pink! (Though I don’t know if any of my favorite Pokemon are Fairy ones…)

”Do you have a favorite "untranslatable" word?”

The one that came to mind is schadenfreude, the pleasure you get from others’ misfortune. I read once that people who experience schadenfreude tend to be insecure. I don’t think I experience it often, but when I do, it normally comes from a sense of justice. It’s hard to not think that bad people don’t deserve bad things, right? Maybe I shouldn’t even bother trying to convince myself otherwise.

At the same time, it’s also a good exercise to let go of the notion of deserving completely. I’m not saying that I don’t think everyone doesn’t deserve to be safe & well, I very much do, but rather I don’t deserve to be safe & well fed while others aren't. In the end, it’s a matter of luck that I was born into this safe & comfortable life. I didn’t do anything to deserve it. In other words, life is governed by chance, by circumstance, so when those circumstances align & something bad happens to someone bad, I’m happy about it. Why shouldn’t I be?

”do you have a bucket list? if so, what is on it? ”

I have things that I definitely want to do, but I don’t know if I’d say it’s a bucket list. Getting my degree, leaving, travelling, these aren’t just things I’d like to do, they’re things I’m going to do. To not do them would be a disservice to myself. Bucket lists always seem so noncommittal, so vague to me, like most of the things on that list are never going to happen. I guess I treat my bucket list more like a to-do list.

”also, do you prefer the big picture, or are you more detail-oriented?”

Big picture. For the most part, as long as I get things done, I don’t care how well they’re done. I can be pretty sloppy or careless when it comes to things, unless it’s something I really care about. I got rid of the idea of perfection & for the most part; I just do my best, (& my best isn’t always very detailed.) Shaky, stumbling steps are still steps towards where you’re going. Not everything can be a leap.

”whats the largest amt of money youve spent at once (and on what)?”

Like $1000, on classes. I wish I had an answer more fun than that.

”something you really want?”

To finish school. To move. A really good cup of coffee. A really good bowl of udon. Self transformation. A tattoo. To be more self disciplined. For things to feel meaningful all the time, or most of the time, or more often. A movie that will make me cry. To see snow one day; to play in it. To dye my hair again. Aya Takano tarot deck.

”favorite milk tea flavor (if you drink it)?”

I’m partial to mocha or coffee flavor frappes when I get boba, but sometimes I enjoy a taro milk tea.

”a song that brings you joy?”

Many, but for the past month or so Peng! 33 by Stereolab. Listen to its lyrics & you'll hear what I mean: "Incredible things are happening in the world / Magical things are happening in this world." I repeat it to myself all the time, its lyrics playing in a loop.

”how are you? :)”

I can’t always say this, but in this moment I’m good, completely good. Thanks for reading.