Monday, June 30, 2008


I think that having a website would be a good right now I'm looking through some tutorials on how to build and code different web sites. Hopefully I can put one up in a few weeks. I want a good idea for a name thought. is just kind of boring, but then again it might work. how about that? That could be cool, and it would all be Pete's idea, too! But then again just using my name would be better for companies who might want to hire me...maybe I could set up something where would redirect to We'll see. Does anyone have any good ideas for a good name for a website??

Also it's the last day of June today. Where is the summer going?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leaving Chicago

I'm packing all of my things now. My room in my apartment looks so plain and boring and white. Tomorrow at this time I will probably be back in Minnesota starting a new version of life. Lets hope this pans out.

I was in Hokkaido one year ago. That was more fun :(

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I've resumed studying kanji again! I think I'll make a brief post now about how I've been studying kanji for the past 6 months. First of all, I purchased this book from amazon:

According to this book, there are 1945 Kanji which are used regularly in everyday Japanese texts, so I guess the idea is that if you learn them all you can read pretty much anything. And on the subject of reading, one of the biggest things that has been bugging me about Japanese is that even if you've been studying it for a few years you still probably will have a lot of trouble reading anything because you don't know a lot of the characters that you see. So, I bought this book and told myself that I would study all the Kanji at least to the point that I really got down the readings of them so that I would be able to pick up a book and actually be able to make sense of it.

The book takes each individual kanji and gives the meaning, all the readings, sample vocabulary and even a lengthy paragraph about the origin and history of the character. The first half is the 996 characters which are learned in grades 1-6 and the second half is the remaining 949 characters grouped alphabetically. So I started to go through and write every single kanji over and over again. Grades 1-4 went pretty fast since I studied most of those characters in the first 2 years I took in school. Then things began to get more difficult as I hit more and more characters I've never seen before.

Right now, I'm currently studying numbers 1121-1223 which means that after I'm done with this set I'll have 722 kanji left to study...which just scared me just now. That's a quite big number...but I hope to at least study the rest by August or so...then the trick will be to remember them. Since I already feel like I forgot a lot of the kanji I learned in the past few months. After I look at them all...I'm not sure what the best thing to do is. Maybe just start reading books? Reading Japanese novels is something I've really wanted to be able to do since I was in Tokyo for the first time and saw people reading on the train. I think it would be really cool to read a book in a different language...and understand it. When the time comes I might need to ask for help in recommending me some good authors...maybe stuff that's normal for younger teenagers to read...

This post was a little dull I'm sorry about that. I do like kanji though. it's interesting the way this was adopted as the main writing system since there seems like there's so many issues with it. I mean, I always hear Japanese people complaining about kanji and not being able to remember kanji and how today's newest generation can't remember how to write them anymore because of computers, etc...I wonder if another revamp of the writing system is coming anywhere on the horizon...


My Japanese teacher, Matusgu-sensei is thinking of creating a picture book and is currently brainstorming ideas. I offered to help out in any way I can so she asked me about the following idea...

The Japanese word for "sports shoes" or "sneakers" is 運動靴(うんどうぐつ)((undou gutsu)) and apparently her daughter, who is quite the fan of the delicious Japanese delicacy Udon, often makes the mistake of saying "うどんぐつ" or in english...Udon shoes. This might indeed make a very interesting idea for a picture book...but anyways here are some quick sketches that came from the top of my head:

Any ideas, feedback, whatever is greatly appreciated!

Also, I'm glad that I did this again since it's the first time I've actually drawn anything in months. It reminded me again about how much I love drawing and anything where you have to try and be creative. It's also incredibly meditative and soothing to just sit and draw for a while. I used to do it all the time as a kid but really began to stop, especially when I entered college.

Anyways, I want to keep drawing from now on so I've recently decided to start on a new project. It's one that will require a lot of work, even more drawing, and even more time. But I think that's ok since I've got my whole life ahead of me...It's an idea that I got not long after I came back from Japan last fall. I've been thinking a bit about it everything I get some free time, but I think now is a good time to really start fleshing it out and making actual tangible things come from it. I'll update again on that one when I have something to actually show about it.

Until then, have a great day!


My roommate Tim is often times much more enthusiastic about Pixar than I am, and the upcoming release of their newest film Wall*E is no exception. He found an ad on Craigslist for a guy selling tickets to an advanced screening of the show! I don't know how this guy got tickets and I was a little suspicious, but Tim payed the $20 and received the following pass:

So now we are going to head to the theater a few hours early tomorrow. There should be a lot of interesting people there so...I'm pretty excited!!! :D

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Track and Failed

Oh yeah, I completely forgot to post this up here. Sorry about that. Here is the official blogger grand opening of Track and Failed, please enjoy:

And with this, I officially declare the Hurdles Production Project closed. I'll update with new developments on what I'm doing with this short, like film festivals, companies I send it to, etc.

If you have critiques and/or comments, I would love to hear them!


In the past day I've received two emails from two of the students who were studying here from Osaka, both telling me that they made it to their destinations safely. Then it hit me that these kind of emails and maybe instant messaging online will be the only way I will be able to interact with these awesome people for a period of time that has not yet been determined. Though it will probably be pretty long. Darnit.


I'm starting to feel like the things that we want most in life and where we want to go and what we want to make of ourselves isn't based on our experiences, dreams, or any of the other stuff that I've believed it to be for almost my whole life now. It seems like it's instead based on context or what's happening in life right now.... Like, when I finished 'Track and Failed' and everyone was nice enough to want to compliment it, I wanted nothing more than to go from there and continue my studies of animation and get started right away on a new short film and start working my way up and begin a life of storytelling, always making people feel better through the stories that I give them.

Then I had this past weekend fall on me in which I had to say goodbye to all of the friends from Japan with whom I've worked so hard to build and maintain deep and meaningful friendships with since the beginning of the year. And crap, bidding them farewell is not easy. It also rocketed my mind into thinking that what I really want to focus on is my study of Japanese. I was reminded again of all the fantastic feelings I got when I was in the country, speaking the language, and generally adding to a society and culture which was very much not my own. I totally wanted to feel that again. On top of that I also went through the graduation ceremony this weekend and got all kinds of encouragement from my family. So now my mind is a big mish-mushed tornado of what's important to me, what I want to pursue, and what I want out of life. I think in the coming days I'd like to post a bit of information as to why both animation/storytelling and the study of Japanese are so important to me. Maybe it will also help me sort out which one I want to focus on.

But yeah the context thing. So when i got back from Hokkaido I wanted nothing more than to continue studying Japanese and make my abilities awesome. I wanted to strive for fluency and focus almost all my energy into studying the language so I could improve greatly by the end of the year, and then maybe get some kind of opportunity to go back to the country. Then I started work on my short. The entire year has been me flip flopping between animation and Japanese and here I am at the end. And as of right now, they are in a dead tie.

Either way, I need to get this all figured out because I'm getting sick of posting things on this blog that aren't very funny or interesting. I don't think that's who I least it's not who I want to become.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I am completely done with finals. I graduate on Sunday. Then I will stay at my apartment for about another week, then return to Minnesota. I'm still unsure as to how long I will be in Minnesota, but I'm really hoping it's not longer than the summer. I'm going to have to begin really searching for jobs, maybe try to submit "Track and Failed" to film festivals, and just enjoy being me. I don't really like to concretely plan out exactly what I'm going to do in the future, because it seems like I usually have more success in taking things as they come.

Tonight my parents and grandparents will be in Chicago. We will go get pizza or something. Then I might see The Incredible Hulk with some friends:

Oh yeah, I saw the Blue Man Group last night with some other friends of mine. It was so awesome, I couldn't have imagined anything like it. And we also got pictures, it was cool. But before the show, me and two of my friends from Japan went to Itto Sushi which is fairly close to my apartment. It was interesting because all the employees there were native Japanese speakers.

Which means that naturally, the waitress looks at my two Japanese friends as says "お飲み物は?” then she looks at me and says "What do you want to drink?" It reminded me of the feeling I got in Japan that because of my hair, eyes, and to a lesser extent height and skin, I am immediately assumed to not know a word of Japanese. I thought it was kind of funny though. It's completely understandable being that this is America and, when you compare the whole population, there are very very few people who study Japanese, but it was still interesting to hear. Also made me want to someday become a grandmaster sushi chef. Perhaps its time to start a new lifelong dream.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


So this morning, the first of the four Osaka people returned to Japan. I just got back from seeing him off at the airport. I also realized yet again how bad I am at saying goodbye to people. It's basically to the point that I don't even do it. I think I said "see you soon" or something like that. It's gonna suck having to say goodbye to the rest of them, but I guess there in lies the folly of exchange students.

Anyway, my roommates pete and tim having been showing Track and Failed to a lot of people and so far everyone is saying that they like it. And not just a "oh, good job" kind of run of the mill response, but it's usually appended with something like "no, seriously, I actually enjoyed that unlike most college animations," so I'm really hoping I made something people can enjoy. I also hope it got selected to be shown in the student film festival tonight and if it did, they have the final version of it and not the old one with a mediocre sound pass.

And then soon I'm gong to have to figure out what I'm doing next. Like, in life...and stuff. Everyone is asking me what my plans are for graduation, and I just have to tell them all "absolutely nothing" it would be nice if I had even something of like a prospect or like...I dunno anything.

Gonna study Japanese though. Lots and lots of the Nihongo study. Enough to learn all them kanji and crap.

Oh well, for this weekend, I think it's worth it to just take some time to relax. And do a little light cleaning around the apartment....and laundry :-/

Thursday, June 5, 2008

One week out

I finished my capstone and my translation for my Japanese class! All that's left now is a paper which I will finish in the next 3 hours, a presentation, 2 tests, and a short essay in Japanese.

Capstone turned out better than I thought it would, and it sounds like it's getting a lot of praise, so I can't wait to show it this weekend.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wow look at me

I hope me getting busy with all my projects doesn't always prevent me from updating here regularly. I'll try to be better about this in the future....I hope. Oh well.

So, my capstone is so close to being finished. Pete, the acting sound guy, just has a couple things to add and then a final 'professional' pass over everything and I'll be done. I'm hoping I can see it all tonight. But from what I've seen so far, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. There's about a hundred things that I see that I would like to go back and fix up, but there's not much I can do that since it so close to being done and that might be the best feeling of all.

And also on that note, I'm nervous as hell to show this to people. The only people who have watched it so far have watched it literally hundreds of times so it's very difficult for any of us to offer any objective viewpoints on it. I'm apparently showing it to my Japanese class tomorrow, which is comprised of almost entirely very god friends of mine, so I'm already shaking. And I'm going to have to explain it in Japanese on top of that. It's going to be a very interesting hour and a

Also I have a friend who was a fellow animation classmate, she always worked herself to death every quarter so she could graduate early so she graduated last quarter and she's now gone. I kinda miss her though. She was nice to talk to...oh well.

Speaking of my Japanese class, my other final is also due tomorrow. It's a subtitled episode of The Simpsons and I also offered my other friend who's also doing a movie to help her burn hers onto a DVD. So I'm currently figuring out how to combine a movie file and a subtitle file onto one movie. It's really complicated. Ayayayya.