Tumblr Time: Askthetic

Because half my creative energy (read: creative plagiarism) comes from Tumblr, so why not? Here’s one of those questionnaire thingies that gets reposted a bunch and all my compelling answers.

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1: what color do you talk in?

lavender gray

2: what songs do you think people remember you by?

“because of you” by kelly clarkson – one of my favorite solos

3: if you could take claim for any invention, which would it be?

toaster strudel

4: radio or mp3?

lol @ mp3. but if it means radio or downloaded music, i would prefer my own downloaded music.

5: what movie character would you choose to be your parent and why?

carl & ellie from up because goals.

6: if people floated instead of walking, how far off the ground would you be?

1 foot would be ideal

7: choose a song to live off of.

my silver lining by first aid kit

8: would you rather have clouds for feet or suns for hands?

clouds for feet

9: is your phone charged enough?

right now? not really. it’s at 48%.

10: if you could choose one person to protect with your life, who would it be?

my little brother

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11: if you had to choose one person to be protected by, who would they be?

sam & dean winchester

12: what book do you need to read?

station eleven by emily mandel

13: who saved your life?

my parents and my soulmate best friends

14: CDs or vinyl?

vinyl

15: if you could only repeat words said by one person, who would you want to be echoing?

stephen colbert

16: do you like feeling tall?

of course

17: do you like wearing other people’s shirts?

i don’t particularly like or dislike it. i borrow people’s clothing for practical reasons more than for aesthetic reasons. i guess i prefer wearing my own clothes for the most part.

18: if you could breathe music, which artist would you choose to inhale and which would you choose to exhale?

inhale the bleachers, exhale the 1975

19: would you rather have hair that changes color with emotion or get injured each time you’re touched by the person you love?

hair that changes color with emotion – sounds rad.

20: what are the promises you’ve made to yourself?

not to compromise my dreams/my life for money, not to romanticize boys too much, and to remember to repay my parents for all they’ve done

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21: if your family died, whose house would you go to for safety and reassurance?

one of my best friend’s houses whose family i know

22: what wouldn’t you do to help a friend?

depending on the situation, almost nothing. like if it comes down to it after weighing all the options, i’m willing to break the law.

23: if you had to choose one music artist, actor, or author to become your mentor, who would it be?

julie andrews ❤

24: who do you admire most in the world? why?

brandon stanton of HONY. because he humanizes his subjects; he shows how the entire world is admirable in some way.

25: what are songs that make you want to become the sky?

“american” by lana del rey, “hands on me” by vanessa carlton, “it’s a memory” by fred falke

26: would you rather be the night sky or the day sky?

night sky

26: would you rather be the sky or the earth?

sky

27: would you rather be the earth or the moon?

earth

28: would you rather be the moon or the sun?

moon

29: if you had to change your name to something else, what would you change it to? why?

i’ve always like the name rowan. idk why, it’s just pretty to me, and gender neutral – it might be my future child’s name.

30: are your hands cold?

my right hand is a bit colder than my left hand, but they’re mostly room temperature.

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31: if you had to choose three articles of clothing to keep for the next three years of your life, what would they be?

my “feminism is the radical notion that women are people” sweatshirt, a really pretty beige-ish/blue-ish jacket i stole from my mom’s closet, my ugly washu christmas shirt

32: monet or da vinci?

da vinci

33: van gogh or michelangelo?

van gogh

34: if you were a teacher, what would you assign to your class as their first project?

lol idk. maybe i would make them fill out a tumblr questionnaire.

35: how do you pronounce ‘crayon’?

……like it’s spelled? the “cra” in “crazy” and “on” as in “on and off”

36: have you ever wanted to be invisible?

yup. it’d be a cool superpower.

37: have you ever wanted to be everywhere?

i don’t think so. i want to go everywhere, but not be everywhere at once – not even abstractly. that sounds like too much.

38: if you could change any one thing about your current surroundings, what would it be?

more space & larger windows. more plants.

39: do you hear things in layers or all at once?

layers

40: neon light or natural light?

i love neon light aesthetics. but as a personal preference, i’m gonna have to go with natural light.

41: if you could choose one instrument to master overnight, which would it be?

cello or acoustic guitar

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5 Things That Surprised Me on My Trip to Japan

At the beginning of this summer, I had the immense privilege of visiting lovely Nippon, a dichotomy of a country. It’s where nature meets high tech, East meets West, and my awkward lumpy body meets the delicacy of a kimono. While I only saw a snippet of what this string of islands has to offer, as I only stayed a week in Kyoto and Osaka, I’ve already fallen in love.

I was walking back to the hotel room one night after a day of successfully navigating the subway rails when I looked around at the businesspeople, the schoolchildren, the rectangle apartments and glowing storefronts and said to myself, I can see it. I can totally see myself living here.

As always whenever I visit new places, I hope to return someday. Japan truly was a treat, a land of amazing photo opportunities and even better food. Despite the familiarity and the immediate feeling of home, there were still culture shocks along the way. It’s so strange that no matter how much you prepare yourself for being a foreigner, how much you tell yourself that your normal may not be everyone else’s normal, you always find that you were a little more close-minded than you thought you were. As much as I’d love to believe that I am a global citizen, I always end up feeling like such an American tourist. Here are 10 instances of the unexpected whilst in Japan.

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  1. It hit 90 degree Fahrenheit temperature and adults and children alike were wearing coats and sweaters out and about.

As a kid who was raised in Texas, this was incomprehensible to me. In the summer, Texans don’t have conversations that don’t start with complaints about the heat. Everyone is out in tank tops, short shorts, flip flops, bikinis, sunglasses…basically as little clothing as possible. Amazingly, everyone in Japan adheres to dress code even in sweltering heat. Everyone wore long pants or skirts. Everyone wore long sleeves. School uniforms were strictly in place – long dress socks, ties, sweater vests, button-down shirts, and all. I felt out of place in my T-shirts and jean shorts whenever I stepped out into the street.

  1. The streets of Japan are extremely safe.

Of course, I didn’t expect Kyoto or Osaka to be the favelas of Rio or the back streets of Detroit, but I did expect maybe the occasional pickpocket or even drunk person singing in a back alleyway. Never once did we experience that. We got lost maybe three or four times coming back to our hotel in Osaka, but even in the dimly lit business district where we were staying, we always felt relatively secure. Teenagers biked up and down the streets. One sweet lady even stopped to help direct us back to our elusive hotel.

  1. I didn’t hear as much K-pop as expected. Actually, I didn’t hear K-pop at all.

After reading Euny Hong’s The Birth of Korean Cool as well as experience the Hallyu wave in America myself, I expected a cacophony of K-pop to greet me in every store, restaurant, and mall. Not the case at all. To be fair, I was in quiet places the majority of the time – temples, shrines, nature walks, the Osaka aquarium – the kinds of places where pop music would be out of place. However, I didn’t hear any K-pop at all. I heard snatches of J-pop here and there. But never K-pop. I understand that the two countries have had a long-standing political rivalry, but I assumed that Japan would be willing to embrace the Korean pop culture boom heard round the world, especially the East Asian world. I guess not.

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  1. The food courts in large malls are FABULOUS.

It’s almost as nice as walking into Hogsmeade. Bento boxes, every flavor of ice cream, cute Italian restaurants, cafes upon cafes, sushi, seafood, ramen, ramen, and more ramen. It’s all pretty reasonably priced (although fancier places may be on the expensive side), and it’s all yummy. *Although one side food surprise: I expected there to be more bubble tea places! Maybe it’s because I’m used to drink shops every five feet in my homeland of Taiwan or maybe they’re just all in Tokyo, but I definitely expected to see many more cups of the Taiwanese  tapioca milk tea delight. My guess is that Japan wants to preserve its own unique culinary culture without too many foreign influences everywhere. Of course, there’s enough matcha lattes to simultaneously quench my thirst and sweet tooth.

  1. Everything is aesthetic.

The uniformed people. The delicate maple leaves. The pink and white pastel buildings. The draping subway lines. The fluid, singsong language. The food positioned just so as it’s brought before you. Beauty in Japan is on a whole other level. Everywhere I was surrounded by pale, flawless skin and slim, petite bodies – what seemed like the ideal of beauty for both men and women. What surprised me wasn’t this ideal, it was the incredible consistency. Everyone aimed for the same look, and very nearly, everyone achieved it. It seemed like such a stark contrast to American individualism.  There seemed to be some unspoken rule about makeup as well. Schoolgirls never wore it, but it seemed like after high school, you were required to don the foundation-blush-eyeliner-lipstick combo that every working class lady wore. Bright colors were a no go. Everyone matched in the same dark, cool colors normally reserved for wintertime back in the States – black, white, beige, navy, gray. It was interesting seeing Japanese collectivism and conformity manifest itself this way. I don’t think it’s my place to condone or object to this kind of behavior – it’s an entire culture after all – and I’ve always had my own inner conflict of individualism vs. collectivism that I haven’t quite resolved. But to me, this uniformity in aesthetics proved both strange and absolutely beautiful.

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So that’s my two yen on Japan. I think it’s safe to say it’s literally my favorite travel destination ever, 10/10 would recommend. Have any of you been to Japan? Are you considering it? Leave me a thought below. xx