Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Japan after Korea

Experiencing Japan after Korea will be interesting. I keep telling myself that if I survived Korea, I definitely can survive Japan. Both countries have a lot in common, but they're also so different on many levels. I look forward to compare notes. I also know I'll be missing many things about Korea, but I'm not worried I'll fall in love over and over with so many Japanese things.

I started this blog right when I arrived in Korea, so I never tackled the "before" part of a move abroad: taking care of all the paperwork, visa, interviews, packing... getting ready for Korea was kind of a mess. Everything was so last minute, we obtained our visa ONE day before we were flying out, and we only found out our departure date two days before. It was a bit stressful. We only had a short 5-minute phone interview with someone who barely spoke English, so I suspect our hiring was solely based on our pictures (no kidding).

Japan is a different story. The whole process is so structured, so organized. I know exactly which documents I need, how many photocopies of each, my departure date, and every little detail I could imagine (except for my exact location!! which is fine, all of Japan is beautiful, as long as I live in a cockroach-free flat). The interview itself was a serious 2-hour long ordeal, and in person, no less.

Could the hiring process reflect the whole experience? In the sense that Korea was so chaotic... which I grew to love. And I'll miss it, Korea was just so... random. Full of surprises. Bad ones (like cockroaches, mold, and an overly zealous employer), but good ones as well (such as Seoul being an amazing cosmopolitan city, with full of cheap thrills). Japan will probably be a lot smoother in general, but also a lot more expensive. It will be a completely different experience, that I know for sure.

Almost everything is in order! Yesterday I visited the Japanese embassy... it was scary! A metal detector? But they had pretty pictures on the wall.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekend soundtrack

Friday...
Time to share some good stuff.

Kasabian "L.S.F."
{Fell for the fun Brits when I saw them at Pentaport festival in Seoul}

Neutral Milk Hotel "Two Headed Boy"
{My Korean friend, who's visiting me, impressed me when he started to play Neutral Milk Hotel on his guitar. I couldn't believe he knew them.}

Matt and Kim "Daylight"
{Hoping to catch them in Montreal next weekend}

The Jesus and Mary Chain "Just Like Honey"
{I had the chance to see the JAMC last summer at Summer Sonic in Tokyo. It would have been wonderful to see them perform my favourite Lost in Translation song, but instead I scalped my ticket, pocketed 50$, and got lost in Tokyo. Not bad.}

Stars "Your Ex Lover is Dead"
{Some Montreal love}

{High school, anyone?}

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Asia, take two.



It's no surprise that I've been obsessed with Asia since I set foot there, and I somehow knew I'd be back sooner or later. My short visit to Japan last summer left me thirsty for more, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since then. I was so tempted to go back to Seoul for another stint: a city I love so much, a city I know by heart. But it would maybe be too many memories, and I needed a fresh start, something that would be my own.

The timing is perfect. It's the end of my television contract, and I'm secretly happy to escape yet another freezing Canadian winter. Finally living my Japanese, Lost in Translation fantasy. For a second time. I am aware it will be difficult, and challenging. To say good-bye to loved ones all over again. To jump into the unknown, away from familiar and comforting things. To be on my own, and to not be able to share the experience with someone I love.

But I'll be fine. I forgot how much paperwork and organization moving abroad involves, but it's going smoothly. The second time around, it's so much easier, as I know what to except. I'm surprisingly calm and collected (except for the occasional 3am panic attack...hmmm). My family and friends have been so supportive and happy for me, and I wanted to thank you all for your lovely comments. I'm definitely looking forward to writing about it all.

To be honest, I'm terrified. I remember flying to Korea for the first time: I was completely frightened. I woke up not knowing where I was, and it was the worst feeling in the world. But it got much better. In fact, it got amazing, and I didn't want to leave anymore. This time, I'm determined to do it right. I'll learn Japanese (I'll make a real effort and take classes), I'll be more outgoing, and I'll embrace Japanese food and culture instead of wishing I were home.

Six more weeks in Montreal. I'm soaking up every little last bit of it. Eating cupcakes, baking my favourite treats, long, lazy brunches with friends. Learning Japanese (um, trying).

You can get out of Asia, but you cannot get Asia out of you.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Love Letter to Japan

From the west to the east I have flown to be near you
I have come all this way to be close, to be here with you
And now, all my heart I will lay down precisely at your feet

My beloved, oh my sweet
All the gifts you have given me
The patience and the peace,
Cherry blossoms and the candy,
I am yours, I am yours
For as long, for as long as you will have me

Dearest one, I had a dream
I mouthed the words,
The sound came out,
I spoke to you in Japanese
Oh, my love I cannot see, I heard your name
I know at once there was no place I'd rather be
All at once there was no place that I would rather be

I packed my bag, I'm on my way
I am prepared for any season
I am prepared to stay
Here is my heart, my beating heart
Oh, how I'm longing for this love affair to start
How I'm longing for this love affair to finally start



I'm taking the plunge. I've accepted a job offer in Japan, and I'm moving there in November. For a year. To teach, to write, to live, to experience life in one of the most fascinating places I have ever been to. Montreal will always be home, and television contracts will always be there. I want to do something that will make me truly happy, and I'm longing for an adventure.

 I'm taking a deep breath, and I'm jumping in. This time, on my own.

Hello, Japan.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gone running



I'm not the most athletic person, but I love running. I try to go for a run every day, even if I'm tired, and even if it's short. Running is my thing. I put on my headphones, and just get lost in my thoughts.

I missed running outdoors when I was living in Korea. The few times I did, I got some weird stares, as it is a very unusual activity to do in public (walking while clapping your hands, however, was considered completely normal). Seoul doesn't offer tons of green spaces either, and running in the streets is way too dangerous. 

Since I've been home, I've been running so much, and loving it. Now I just need new music to run to. I usually run to anything ranging from Girl Talk, the Pixies, Hot Chip, Bloc Party, and even Wilco. Care to share you favourite workout playlists? New music, new motivation.

PS- The playlists you shared last time were so much fun!

image: apple.ca

Vivi






My style icon. My favourite Japanese magazine. And, named after me, too!! Vivi magazine. Could it get any better?

via the lovely Seasonal Lust <3

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A lesson in television

My favourite part of working in the television industry is the learning process. Okay, I'm lying. My favourite part is actually the lavish champagne and oyster parties, the gossip magazines (we're talking local Quebec ones, folks, don't get too excited), and seeing my name in the credits. No, but seriously. I have been learning so much about the filming process in the past few months.

I thought TV shows were filmed in chronological order. This is false (I learned the hard way). Instead, we film according to the location. For example, if you think about Sex and the City, they most likely shot all the scenes in Carrie's apartment in the same week. Then, all the restaurant scenes the next. This saves a lot of money, but requires a lot of costume/makeup changes within a short period of time. That's why so many people take pictures on the set, and write notes about every little detail, so there's continuity. Maybe most people know that already, but I guess I was quite clueless about that kind of thing.

I also learned that most crew guys wear T-shirts of their previous production (at the end of every show or movie, you usually get a present, such as a tee or baseball hat with the name of the project) to work, and have silly nicknames they insist we write on the call sheet. This is not important info, I know. I'd be happy to answer any of your television related questions, if you have any!

We're now done filming the first part of our series (it's a series of ten one-hour long episodes), so we're taking a little break in filming for a few weeks. To me, it means frantically preparing the last few episodes we'll be filming in October, and the production (of season one) officially ends in November. In all honesty, I have a love/hate relationship with the whole television industry. Sometimes I get so frustrated working 14-hour days, getting calls on my days off, spending hours fixing papers jams in the copier, or go for coffee runs (The Devil Wears Prada, anyone?). But then again I sit around on the set and observe, and think about how lucky I am to be working in such a creative field.

{Food from the craft table. We're being fed constantly on the set. It's nice, but dangerous for your waistline. I have to use lots of self-control, and work out twice as hard!}

{Petting the production dog. A lot of people bring their dogs on the set, which I love!!}

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Vice



Vice is one of my favourite magazines. Not only is it originally from Montreal, but it's free, it's hilarious, it's controversial, and it covers everything that's hip. They feature a wicked Do's and Don't section, but they also tackle deeper issues in the form of mini-documentaries on VBS.TV.

A few years ago, two of Vice journalists entered North Korea, and they documented their experience on this fascinating feature, The Vice Guide To North Korea. I've always been intrigued with anything relating to North Korea, and while being so close to it in Seoul, I deeply regret not going to the DMZ to get a bit closer. As terrifying and sad as it sounds, I'm still fascinated. If you haven't seen it yet, watch this.

picture via viceland.com

September Love

What makes me a happy girl these days.

{My blogging and lounging place... so cozy}

{Breakfast smoothie decadence: bananas, peanut butter, honey, chocolate soy milk, apple juice, ice... delectable and filling}

{Aranciata San Pellegrino... for the Italian girl in me}

{My boots and jackets.... because fall is finally here}

{Trying to learn Japanese... just for fun}

{Vogue September issue.... Paris Vogue, oui}

{Stars "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead".... I've been loving this song forever... so Montreal}