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The bagel crumbs cool and harden as they hit the plate.

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CSotD:

FIGHTING
LAUNDRY

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I've been watching Lain again after a several year break. It makes so much more sense this time around, it's not even funny. And my Japanese comprehension is so much better than it was the last time I saw it. And although I can't read everything at the speed they show it, I'm almost that fast. And I can read Lain's name. 玲音. It means "clear sound." So there's even meaning in the name. I mean, I knew the whole series was rancid with symbolism, but I never noticed the kanji for the name before.

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Went against my instincts and headed to Osaka at around 5:30pm last night. I say "against my instincts" because my natural tendency is to stay home and do nothing after a long day. Biked to 西北, bought mints, supplies for the 言コミ speech contest, a new sketchbook, body soap (necessary), a metal case for my business cards (unnecessary), video cassette tapes, clearasil mild, flashcards, and other stuff I'm forgetting at the moment, I'm sure.

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Wore my new cream-colored canvas peacoat-style jacket, black velvet cords, black turtleneck, black leather boots. Had my hair pulled up high and tight, falling in a single braid down my back. Fixed my makeup. Looked fashionable, frigid. Unapproachable. Spritzed on a bit of my moonflower perfume. Hooked up my ipod and I was set.

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Stood as far as Juso, was stared at by a guy standing across the doorway from me. Nabbed a seat when the train emptied. It was a smart move on my part, since I hadn't been out shopping in months and I should have known my feet weren't going to be up to the challenge. I went right, he went left. Caught his reflection glancing at me through the glass.

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I was amused by the fact that I looked so cold. Lovely frozen hard-eyed ice queen laughing warmly and invisibly on the inside. My skin matched my jacket in direct contrast to the black turtleneck collar pushing up past white lapels. My eyeliner, irises, and earphones matched the turtleneck.

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Got to Osaka around 6:40pm. I always seem to think I'll get lost in 梅田駅, but I have yet to do so. I was low on cash and needed to hit 三井住友銀行 before heading to Loft (where I really wanted to go), but I wasn't sure exactly where it was. I knew it was underground, between the station and Yodobashi Camera, but I decided to take the way I knew, and headed to Yodobashi. I gave in to guilty pleasure and went up to the 3rd floor of Yodobashi, to look at headphones. Tried on various ones, compared prices, features, size (my ears are abysmally small and I can't wear earbuds because they're all too big) and whether or not they interfered with my piercings (my old ones kept snagging on the backs of my earrings and nearly ripped them out a few times--the pain of having small ears, I suppose). Decided on a pair of Victor Be! 自動巻き earphones. There's a small bump on the jack that can be used to access a button that automatically rolls up the cable (or the jack itself can be used). Pretty sweet. Hopefully it'll keep me from having to untangle any more wires in the future. Went with gray because although the blue ones were pretty, they looked ridiculous on me (there were mirrors set up like it was a jewelry store so you could see which ones looked best on you). Used my Gold Point Card and ended up cutting the price by more than half. (Yay for point cards!) Hooked up my new earphones and headed to the basement.

Went underground and took a wrong turn (but I knew it was a wrong turn, so I don't think it counts). Ended up on a catwalk between the main station building and the subway building. Went down down down, past 紀伊国屋, past the 2-story-tall 宝塚 promo televisions, into the sub-level Sanbai (?) Shopping Mall (can't remember the name now). Turned back behind the stairwell into oncoming foot traffic, scraped along the wall and found relief from the stream at the 三井住友銀行 ATMs I had been looking for in the first place. Took out loads of money and went back up up up to the main entrance floor for the 阪急 train and stopped in the 石井成城 (?) foreign goods store. Bought bagels (oooh, how I miss bagels) at about $1.75 a pop (but they're the big kind, and I never buy bagels, so I can sort of justify it, not really) and cereal bars and spicy mustard.

By that point, my poor backpack was near capacity.

Headed down and out again, making a left this time and trying to find Loft. I'd been there once before, with Ashley, but it had been a number of months since that last trip, and I although I tried to pick out landmarks that time, everything looks different at night. My saving grace was the construction boards still up around the block blocking the hi-tech McDonald's that blocks Loft (that that 3 times fast). Went to the 6th floor and picked up a present for Mia and one for Beanie.

Then I went in for the kill. It was the whole reason I was in Osaka in the first place. That lightbox had been eating at my mind since the trip with Ashley. No more redrawing, no more dealing with imperfect symmetry. I picked out two Deleter dolls (one male, one female--both far better than the wooden モデル人形 I had picked up in Kobe half a year ago--you should see how their knees bend) while I worked up the nerve to ask the guy behind the desk for help. They're kinda expensive, so they're kept in back. I went with the smallest size they had (A4), since it was plenty big enough for what I'm going to use it for, it was the cheapest one they had, and I'll have enough crap to send home in a year. (A few inches may make all the difference.)

I also picked out one tone sheet (sky/clouds) and blew a little extra cash getting two issues of CDB (Character Design Bible). By that point, my backpack was starting to pinch my right shoulder and I was having trouble with the lung on that side. My grand total at Loft came to 40 yen short of 20,000 yen. Yes, ouch. (But I haven't bought anything for myself except groceries for the past two months, so I can sort of justify it, not really.)

No more presents for Abby, it would seem.

-----

People looked at me in a new way that day. I mean, they always stare because I'm not Asian, and being tall and blonde doesn't help. But this time it felt different. They weren't just looking at my hair or my face, they were checking out my clothes, the whole image. It gave the whole trip to Osaka this weird surreal quality. Like I was wandering around in someone else's body. Like a lone ship in an open sea with the denizens of the deep swarming behind and breaking before her. I sat at the helm behind frozen eyes locked straight ahead don't look back at the people looking at you but I saw them anyway through peripheral portholes.

My body is taking on a new shape. I am more woman than I've been before. But I don't mean "woman" the way people think of "woman." I mean like Sebry or Georgia or any of my other characters are. (Okay, maybe just like Sebry is.) She's/I'm growing along with me/her. At first, she was just a 2D image, but now she's starting to evolve in my mind, taking up space in my brain/personality. It's almost scary, but kind of good, I think. Then some day she'll get too big for me and I'll spill her out on a page and I'll no longer have to decide what I think she'd do because she'll be a free agent.

I have muscles I simply never possessed before, it seems. I keep flexing my abs just because I can now. I flex them and they scream back at me, rock solid yessir.

How can I be a pretty snowflake girl if I so clearly remember being ugly?

So much of who I am and who I was has been shaped by how fugly I was in middle school. (Those of you who knew me then can remember and laugh at the horror.) It was horrible, it was scarring, it was who I was. I know that sounds melodramatic and stupid, but it's really true. When I'm alone at home, I'm ugly. I fall back into being that ugly girl from a decade ago. I don't know what part of me is so fixated on not getting past that, but I have serious emotional problems dealing with the fact that I would have fared better in middle school had my face actually resembled an ass. (At least then I might have had some symmetry.... ::sigh::) The asymmetry of my face still bothers me. A lot. I had a panic attack the other day because I was playing around with my camera and I noticed that my cheekbones are uneven.

Sometimes I feel like the guy in Secret Window. Slowly unraveling. So slowly you don't notice it. Like an apple being peeled by someone napping in a summer hammock.

The world's ending and I'm worried about my cheekbones? I wear makeup? I color coordinate my clothing? Who am I? I'm not who I thought I was. I used to be "above" looking nice because it was a moral issue. You make yourself look nice because you're a slave to society and the only way to break free is to be disorganized. (She's right-brained? No way!) I still have moral problems with things because I'm one of those cursed people who constantly think about what they're doing (unless it's something actually important, it would seem). But I actually like looking nice. And it doesn't really take all the effort I thought it would.

Ugh. I'm just going to stop here. I'm not waxing poetic, I'm waxing ETERNAL.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
byakurenbrent
Oct. 27th, 2004 04:38 am (UTC)
Next time you want to kill time in Osaka, go to Kosaka station on the Kintetsu line. After exiting the very small station, walk straight, keeping under the actual train line itself. You'll cross one street with a family mart at the corner about a block down, then about 50 meters you'll see Byakuren Kaikan Sohonbu on your right (the other side of the small street). Seriously, everybody I know thats gone and checked it out said it was cool. Tell them you are my friend. ^_^
alexakaruda
Oct. 29th, 2004 09:47 pm (UTC)
Do you exit the station heading east or west? Or is there only one exit? (I'm going to check it out the next time I have some time off.) Also, are they open on Sundays?

-A
byakurenbrent
Oct. 30th, 2004 11:56 am (UTC)
Only one exit. No sundays. Sorry.
byakurenbrent
Oct. 30th, 2004 12:20 pm (UTC)
HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY!!!!!!!!!!! NOVEMBER 21st!!! Im fighting in Byakuren's world championship! Im on the flyers and everything! You should come and cheer for me!!!!! Its downtown Osaka, in Osaka Gymnasium Main Arena. It should be pretty much all day. Search it on the internet. Or check www.byakuren.com
Seriously. Its a sunday. Make plans. WOOOT!
alexakaruda
Oct. 31st, 2004 04:17 pm (UTC)
??? I thought you were back in the States! I'll check the times and stuff, and if I can, I'll be there!

-A
alexakaruda
Oct. 31st, 2004 04:19 pm (UTC)
I checked the website, but it doesn't say what time it starts or how much it costs. Do you know?

-Abby
byakurenbrent
Nov. 1st, 2004 04:18 pm (UTC)
There's a link that says "Whoes number one on the world?" Click it and it will show you the poster with the info on it (times/price). I am in the States, but I'll be back for a week in November.
alexakaruda
Nov. 15th, 2004 11:17 pm (UTC)
>_< It starts at 10am, right? I can't get there and back in time. I have to be here from 12-1pm. Do you think the tournament would last past 3pm? If so, I could try to come to the end of it. If not, maybe we could meet somewhere later, if you wanted.

-Abby
(Anonymous)
Oct. 27th, 2004 02:55 pm (UTC)
This was very nice writing. As always. Maybe I'm just in the mood to feel it more today. I especially liked this line:

Lovely frozen hard-eyed ice queen laughing warmly and invisibly on the inside.

~Leo
impishlaugh
Oct. 28th, 2004 04:55 pm (UTC)
Abby, you're a butterfly, too.

I know how you feel; a large portion of Ugly (Social Outcast) Jen has never gone away. The chip remains firmly in place on my shoulder. In my HEAD I know that even though I'm not Miss America, I am not hideous. Still, I'm always a little shocked when someone else agrees with that assessment. I was tormented for so, so long.

Do you think butterflies ever forget that they once lived in an ugly, shriveled-up chrysalis?
alexakaruda
Oct. 28th, 2004 06:22 pm (UTC)
I don't know if we ever forget, but I never thought it would become such a part of who I am. Not to say that I'm all ugly-girl all the time, but sometimes I find myself pulling away from people because I'm sure they don't want to be friends with Fugly Abby.

Sometimes I wish I'd just grow out of it already, though....

-A
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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