Monday, November 29, 2010

Musical Discovery: Welle: Erdball

It seems if I so choose, I can see these guys live in Berlin at K17 on Dec. 30. I think I would like to. People ask me why I'm so infatuated with Germany, and I think Welle: Erdball sum it up nicely by combining elements of nerdy electro beeps and boops (pioneers of 8-bit), EBM/synthpop vibe, and a touch of retro/steampunk for good measure. It helps that their style is fucking fabulous and they create music about computers. One more "I'm such a doofus for not acknowledging the existence of such excellence years ago" to add to the big pile.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Something big is happening in Korea now. The North has attacked the South and the world is on alert. I have no idea what's to come - how many will end up dead, how many other nations will end up getting involved, what it means for the future of the Korean Peninsula. I do know that when I read news of the attacks, my heart sank into my stomach.

I was born in Gyeongsangbuk-do in the east of South Korea. My birth certificate just lists the county so it's possible I could hail from a tiny fishing village, or from Daegu which is one of the biggest urban centers in the nation. Anything is possible, and it's the uncertainty of it that makes me a bit sad sometimes.
I'll never know who my biological parents are. I sort of envy "homemade" people who can look at their parents and know with absolute certainty that they have their mother's nose, their father's eyes, and facial bone structure just like Grandpa's. On the other hand, it's nice to know I dodged the bullets of wavy/curly hair and ahem "strong" noses that both my adoptive/real parents have. I don't have to shave my legs, my hair is effortlessly straight and manageable, and I have a symmetrical face with small features. Thank you, blood-mom and blood-dad.

I applied to donate eggs for money in college, and was turned down because of my lack of family history. While it's probably not a bad thing that I didn't go through with the egg donation, it was brought to my attention that I don't know if any of my blood relatives carried hereditary conditions or illnesses that could spring up later. I'm not bipolar or an alcoholic or diabetic and I never get sick. Despite having abused my body for years stuffing it with junk food and wasting 4 years smoking cigarettes, I am proud of my health. Thank you, blood-mom and blood-dad.

"The story" is that my birth mother couldn't take care of me and gave me up so that I would have a better life. She was 40 years old when I was born and I have a feeling she and my birth father were not married and possibly not even together as a couple. Maybe he raped her. Maybe she gave birth and thought I was ugly or something. I don't know. I'll never know. But I do have a pretty darn good life and I'm proud of her for giving me up. I got to grow up with loving parents who planned for my existence and wanted me in their lives. They raised me well and taught me that it's okay to live your entire life with split identities.

People give us shit for being white-washed as if it's our fault, something we did wrong. As if looking Asian but being raised by non-Asians is somehow criminal and inferior to a "real" Asian-American upbringing. Sometimes "real" Koreans look at us and feel pity, like we've been cheated out of our destinies. I feel humble and lowly in a room full of bilingual Korean-Americans as if I am an impostor. It's irrational and it shouldn't be, but it is. Just in my few experiences on flights and layovers in Korea or on Korean airlines, I feel nothing but idiotic talking to Koreans who could be my fucking cousins or something in English, Japanese, even German. I haven't been traveling in Korea because I am terrified of how stupid it feels to be in your birthplace and not be able to understand anyone or speak the language. It's a two hour boat ride away and I've used every excuse in the book not to make the journey. I don't think I'm ready.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A weekend getaway

A few good friends and I took a road trip to Aso-Kuji National Park in the rural mountains of Oita. Perfect clear skies, mountain and volcano views, mini-hikes, and natural hot springs. I won't be forgetting this adventure any time soon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Parisian life

I made an omelette for Walter for his breakfast yesterday and he was flabbergasted that I can cook. It's not unreasonable; up until just a few months ago I ate out or bought 90% of my meals from convenience stores like a Japanese bachelor.

Now that I'm cooking and packing my own lunches for work, life feels different. I don't make anything too gourmet or complicated since my love of eating is equally rivaled to my disdain for cleaning up. But coming home and seeing the fridge full of vegetables, tofu, eggs and yogurt reminds me that I am far more in control of things than I used to be. My simple concoctions are healthy and I know exactly what goes into them. I try to buy groceries from the nice little old ladies on the corner instead of at the gigantic corporate Wal-Mart clone.

Paris is a famously thin city. Factoring out heavyset tourists, it is rare to see French women bigger than a size 8 in any given street scene. It is normal to buy your groceries in smaller quantities several times a week and to walk everywhere since public transit is good. People complain that the French must be superhuman in order to eat all that bread and croissants and raclette and duck confit without getting fat. A diet book, "French Women Don't Get Fat," became an overnight sensation in obesity-ridden America. A study comparing fullness signifiers was conducted in Chicago and Paris. Chicagoans said they were full when their plates were empty or when their TV shows were done, and Parisians said they were full when their stomachs felt full.

I am working on the last bit. I still have issues with leaving food on a plate since for whatever reason I feel like "wasting food" by throwing it in the garbage is worse than putting it in my body even if I'm already full. But other than that, I think I have almost successfully achieved what some people would call a Parisian life. I walk everywhere: to work, to the train station, to the supermarket. I buy groceries for 2-3 days at a time instead of trying to load up for a whole week in one go. Produce is always fresh, never canned. I cook in single servings because I don't trust myself not to peck at leftovers once one plate is finished.

And I am sincerely worried that I won't be able to maintain this lifestyle when I move back to the U.S. in the summer.


The easiest thing ever...

-Spinach (any amount will do - the more the merrier)
-8-12 shiitake mushrooms
-Some sort of cheese - I use individually wrapped Camembert
-Soy sauce

1.) Boil the spinach and sautee the shiitake mushrooms in soy sauce in a pan.
2.) Cut spinach into sections of 2-3 inches.
3.) Cut cheese into tiny cubes.
4.) Throw it all in a bowl and sprinkle garlic on top.
5.) Eat with a fork.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Peeling back the layers

Different shoes in each shot, all brand new.