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Friday, March 26, 2010

When I Grow Up

When I was a young girl... (what a cliche beginning.  XD)

Every person had dream jobs when they were growing up.  We change our minds so many times because we find something new and cool to get into.  I think that most women go through a stage where they want to be teachers.  I remember wanting to be a teacher at one point.  Then when I got older I realized that kids are brats!  haha.  At least the ones I was used to growing up with.  If I were to be a teacher, there would be no way that I would teach middle school.  I give credit to the teachers out there who do teach middle school.  Those kids are tough brats!  I would have classmates that would make my teacher cry almost 3x a week in my last year of middle school.

I used to dance when I was younger.  I always wanted to do pointe.  The ones that you see in movies with the pink shoes and standing on their toes.  Sure that would really mess up your feet and the bones in them, but I think those shoes are so beautiful and the poses that the girls can hold are amazing!  If there is one thing I wish I could do still, it would be pointe.  I miss dance.  I did it from 1st grade to 10th grade.  But then people in my studio towards the end were just getting too catty and mean for me, so that's when I decided to make the switch to full time kendoist (for those that are new, i posted about it here:  My sister still does it, and I hope someday to photograph her and make her feel beautiful.  :)

At some point in time I remember wanting to be a Disney animator. I grew up on Disney films and always found it so magical and perhaps a bit nostalgic when I watch them now.  My favorite were always the random, under appreciated ones like The Great Mouse Detective or Atlantis  (though I must point out in this picture....Anastasia is NOT a Disney movie!!).  I remember researching what it took to be an animator and was always drawing.  But then Disney announced that they were no longer going to be doing hand-drawn animation and thus, my dream ended.  I didn't want to do stuff on computers like everything is done nowadays.

Around the time I was in 4th grade to about 8th grade I wanted to be an astronomer.  I went through this giant phase where I was absolutely obsessed with the universe and how it worked.  I wanted to be a cosmologist, someone who studies the universe and how it works.  I was obsessed with the planets and stars, and I partly contribute it to my love of Star Wars and Sailor Moon.  hahahaha.  I know I'm a nerd.  =P  I loved pictures of nebulas and deep space and my goal at one point was to own a telescope.  My dad took me to the top of Mount Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii to go look at the observatory at the top!  It was a great adventure and since it was so high up, we had certain rules for eating before traveling up there.  But then I realized around high school that I'm terrible at math and my dreams of researching the stars died.  Now I just enjoy looking at them and knowing what I do know about them.

I've always wanted to learn Japanese.  I'm a fourth generation Japanese American, and have always had great pride in my heritage.  I set out to learn Japanese in high school no matter what and took it for all four years.  I loved it, but we had a mix up with teachers and my class never took Japanese seriously after that.  It was a struggle to learn in that class because we had a few different new teachers and less interest in the students.  I learned a little but what I did learn stayed with me.  In college I took Japanese 1-4 and found it much more work that high school.  I learned a lot of stuff, but we learned it so quickly, it never really stayed in our minds.  My goal was to go to San Francisco State University to major in Japanese and become a translator.  Unfortunately, I had some slip ups and ended up deciding against it.

In the end, I am now here at the Brook's Institute.  I started photography in high school during my junior year.  I feel in love with it and haven't looked back since.  I originally was thinking of art school, but my parents wanted me to get a degree in something else first before art school.  Then with a few years at a community college and a little persuasion, I'm down here in Santa Barbara living my dream  :)  I'm already halfway done with my 2nd session and time just keeps on racing by.  It's a crazy road that life has taken me down to get to where I am today.  Looking back on my childhood dreams I can see connections between the ideas.  Majority of the things I wanted to do growing up has to relate to connecting with people and being creative.  My ultimate goal is to become a successful photographer, live in Japan, and photographing the things I love most in the world.  I'm living the dream.  And enjoying life while I do it.  :D

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action

I've always had a thing for pretty lights, reflections, and shiny things.  Typical girl I know, but I love it.  haha.  So this last time I went to Disneyland, I decided to do fun things at night with slow shutter speeds and play with the amazing spectrum of lights at Disneyland.  Here are my favorites from that night.

can you see the light source?

There's little hearts in this one!  

Disneyland makes bank of selling stuff at night

Fireflies in Disneyland

Disneyland is full of amazing things

I love Disneyland

Teacup Whimzy

Can you guess what this is?

Flowers of Light


I finally have my own annual pass to Disneyland!  :D  So anytime anyone wants to go I would totally meet you down there.  ^_^  Disneyland truly is my happiest place on Earth.  It's where my childhood was.  It's where I have so many great memories with friends.  I still would like to go with a boyfriend someday.  Disney is such an important part of my life, if someone can't accept that, then how would it work?  =P  If you saw my house, you'd understand how much my family's love for Disney goes.  I love taking people to Disneyland who haven't been in awhile or who have never been, or who say they hate Disneyland.  People tell me that I'm the Disney insider, and I guess that's all thanks to my dad.  Back in 2007 I went with a guy who said he didn't like Disneyland because of his childhood experience.  I just told him, that's cause you haven't been with me yet!  haha.  Thankfully after that trip, he said he liked Disneyland.  :D  It makes me happy when I can help someone's experience be the same ones that I remember and enjoy.  For me, Disneyland really is the happiest place on Earth.  And it is somewhere that I hope to enjoy for as long as I'm around.  :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Miyazaki Hayao

Miyazaki is one of the most celebrated animation artists of all time.  Some call him the Japanese Walt Disney, but I think he brings something completely different from a Disney film.  His animation style is simple, yet amazingly detailed.  The first Miyazaki movie I ever saw was Spirited Away in theatres.  I fell in love with the story and the animation, and quickly picked up more of his classics.  Mononoke Hime (or Princess Mononoke) has amazing works of animation.  The scene depicted in the first picture is one of the most amazing, and that's all in the first few minutes.

The storylines of these movies are deep enough that you can get into them if you're one of those people who think, "oh it's just a stupid animation movie.  I've had many people turn away from things like this because they think everything will be set for a much younger audience.  Miyazaki is a master storyteller and really draws you in with relatable characters.  His animation style is super unique and it is always easy to tell when it is a Miyazaki movie.  I just recently saw Ponyo when it was released on DVD about a week ago.  The main characters are supposed to be 5 years old, and the story doesn't have much dialogue, but it is super cute and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.  :D  Aren't the little girls cute?  hehe

The voice choices for the english dubs are always well done with well known actors and actresses, to probably get more of the American audience into it.  But I can't bring myself to watch it in English.  The intention is to be in Japanese, so I will watch it in Japanese.  Plus, it gives me practice since I can't take classes anymore.  I highly suggest a Miyazaki movie to any fan of cinema.  My favorites include,
Spirited Away, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, and Castle in the Sky.  The saddest one by far is "Grave of the Fireflies" which is a story about 2 young kids living on their own after the atomic bomb kills their mother.  I hope you guys find joy in Miyazaki's movies too, and I hope that these movies are an inspiration to you.  :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nishino Kana

It's been awhile since I did a music related post, but in the last few months this girl has impressed me so much.  Nishino Kana is a recording artist in Japan with BoA-esque sounding vocals. I remember seeing her first single "I" back in 2008.   I listened to it because it had pretty album art (something I am known to do) and thought it was so-so and just a generic pop singer.  In the course of a year, she has become standout, and I am officially in love with her.  I'm a bit biased though so perhaps it is because she did a duet with Verbal (of m-flo, the best band in the universe).  =P  That song is called Kimi no Koe Wo.

Verbal is definitely THE coolest rapper in the world to me.  But yeah, getting off topic.... XD Her songs are the typical j-pop/soul-ish sounding.  Not super high pitched bubble gum pop, but the kind of voice like Utada or BoA (i'm trying to be more generic for those not really into Japanese music).  Her vocals are nice and sweet and 2009 gave her some nice singles such as "Motto" and the duets with the likes of Wise in "Tokutemo."  I tend to like her duets a lot, such as the lastest release with a guy named Nerdhead.

Gotta love when Youtube videos are in 1080p!!  :D  (the best 1080p video I've seen so far is Tae Yang's Wedding Dress.  I love that song and video)

Kana has one album and 9 singles.  Her latest one is called "Best Friend" and a very nice release from her.  I highly suggest her to you guys and hope you find love in her songs too.  :D

First Single- "I"
Seventh Single- "Motto"

Eigth Single- "Dear.../Maybe"

Ninth Single- "Best Friend" 

First Album- "Love One"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Perfect Kiss

Didn't want to post too many pictures in case you are wanting to see any REALLY good dramas!  Check out the earlier blog post about some of my favorites!

I noticed that in Japanese dramas, kisses are sparse and when they do happen they are much more subtle than ones we see in movies in America.  Maybe we've gotten so used to the passionate kissing in movies and shows that it doesn't really phase us.  But I think that in Japanese and Korean dramas, the passionate kiss is still something that they save for the end of the series.

Japanese dramas might not have the most amazing kiss scenes, but when they do happen, it's super sweet.  In Korean dramas, there is definitely more kissing, but each of them are just as sweet as the last.  One of my favorites is from the Boys Over Flowers (korean version) in Episode 9.  I found the video on youtube to share with those of you who have watched it.  :D 

For the big fans of Hana Yori Dango or Boys Over Flowers or Meteor Garden you 
MUST see this video.  It is no doubt in my mind the BEST fanvid I have EVER seen.  She chose "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson which perfectly personifies Tsukushi/Tsukasa or Jan Di/Jun Pyo's relationship (I haven't watched the Chinese version, cause I don't like Chinese dramas).  There might be a few spoilers, so you're warned when watching this, but I do suggest that you MUST watch this sometime in your life if you're a big Hana Yori Dango fan.  :)  

~This next section will be about my favorite one, so if you haven't seen Hana Yori Dango Final (the movie) stop here to not be spoiled!~

I noticed that in Hana Yori Dango, they kiss about once per season and each kiss is kinda just a cute peck that's held out a bit longer.  I had some of my non-asian friends watch it and they were complaining about how they rarely kiss even though they're supposed to be in love.  But of course, at the end of the Hana Yori Dango Final (movie) they have this nice tune by Arashi and at the swell of the song, Tsukushi and Tsukasa have this amazing kiss!  The way he pulled her in was just about the sweetest way to kiss someone.  :)  It makes me smile every time, because even though I know that these characters are just acting, it is still really sweet to see love between two people.

~End spoiler~

I'm such a sucker for a sweet kiss.  XD  A hopeless romantic who is still waiting for her kiss in the rain.  =P  Though if it was like the one from Boys Over Flowers like the one here, I wouldn't mind that either.  ^_~