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It seems as though if you're pretty enough, nothing you do can mar your beauty. If that's the case--and I know it has to be because I saw this stunning girl the other day, couldn't-keep-my-eyes-off-her-beautiful, who had pierced herself so she was more metal than girl--then how come I can't draw it? What in the foundation of my drawing is missing? There needs to be a base of beauty that can be built up from, not down. And that base has to be me. I get these "breakthroughs" in my head that allow me to draw better, more dynamically, in a more complex manner. That's what happened last weekend (well, the breakthrough happened the week before, but I acted on it last weekend). This story is growing inside me and has gotten really complicated and detailed and interesting, but my drawing is nowhere near advanced enough to handle it. Should I hire somebody else to draw for me? That'd be like buying a Thunderbird and hiring a chauffeur.

That book over there looks like it's levitating. It keeps moving up and down. I can't stop staring at it. Maybe if I concentrate on something else, gravity will do its job. Imagine if I did drugs....

My brain's been doing weird things lately. Maybe it's 'cuz of my heart. My heart was being awful yesterday when it's been good for so many months now (the daily bike ride has done wonders for my heart...and my thighs). My legs are the last thing I need to work on. I do 400 sit-ups every other day, and yet I'm still thick around the middle. Go figure. It's not that my body is resistant to losing weight, it's resistant to change. Gaining this weight took 5 years, so I guess getting rid of it might take a while.

But back to my brain: it keeps freaking me out. I was sitting on the train yesterday and looked up at the map on the wall that I had been looking at earlier and just freaked out because it was a totally different map. I felt like I had been teleported to a different train. Then I realized that it was beside the one I had been looking at. It's not the first time, though, that I've half forgotten where I was and got freaked by my surroundings.

When I think, I don't think in the space behind my face, I think in the air around me. My brain-self encompasses the area around my body. It is mostly focused around my head, but not always and not entirely.

The MUN thing on Thursday was a little dull but we met some really nice people (and this one guy named Todd had the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen--they were liquid diamond blue and had perfect black eyelashes spiking out around them). I felt so stupid: I didn't catch a thing he said 'cuz I was so busy falling into his eyes. He has a 3-year-old baby girl. Damn. Met the guy in charge and he has the greatest name: Angus McGregor. How cool is that? Can't get any more Scottish than that, huh? Also met this beautiful girl named Rani (I've always liked that name) who seemed really interested in me and what I'm doing, how I got here, stuff like that. She told me to look for her when Carolyn and I stopped talking with this awesome lady whose business card I have around here somewhere [...] whose brainchild the Kyoto MUN thing was. Rani made fun of me because I look so young (pretty bad when you get that in another country as well as your own). Oh, well, it'll be good in another 20 years, if I live that long.

Anyway, C and I never made it back upstairs (she had to pick Liam up by 6pm and it takes about 2 hours to get back), so I didn't get to talk much with the other people, but it wasn't a total waste 'cuz what's her name had so much info. (It also made me hate my job even more, 'cuz these people have such a good environment and coworkers and stuff. They have ELEVEN foreign teachers. We have two--Dellming-sensei doesn't count 'cuz he's the chaplain).

After going to Kyoto for the MUN thing with Carolyn, I took her downtown to Takashimaya where she bought some Origins stuff (she loves that company). I showed her where to get on the train and then walked down to 五条通り on my own so I could get a lightbox at the art store down there.

It was closed. The building had been gutted completely. Needless to say, I was really disappointed, especially since I had walked that far in the heat. I was sweaty and unhappy. Went all the way down to Gojo Station on foot. Felt gross and foreign (so many things have changed in Kyoto since I studied there, and I've forgotten everything else).

Took the train back to Shijo, asked the ticket guy where the bathroom was, got lost, had trouble peeing 'cuz I knew these girls were listening to hear a foreigner pee (sometimes I get a little paranoid--although often rightly so). Was gonna go to Maruzen but it was too far, found a bookstore on the way out of the bathroom and back to the station. Bought a fashion magazine for ideas for costumes for my characters in TASWAN. Magazine called "SPUR." No, I'd never heard of it either, but it has great pics. Came with a CD which sucked greatly, although one song on it was alright.

Got home and played Wind Waker (that game is pure genius--it's like running around in a cartoon). Stayed up 'til about 3am. Not what I was going for.

Got up around 10am (body woke me up at 9am sharp--it always does that and it's always exact which is pretty cool, albeit annoying sometimes). Had a bowl of cereal (shocking! I haven't had complex carbs in a looooong time 'cuz o' the calories in 'em) which left me full the rest of the day. Went to Kobe to get my re-entry permit--ended up getting at the Immigration Office at 12:40, during the lunch break. Waited with a bunch of random people until 1pm. Thought I was in the wrong place 'cuz they changed the layout of the floor so much. It's waaaaay more efficient now and easier to figure out. Filled out the form and some lady checked it (that was new) and I didn't hear a lick of English while I was in there (which was new as well). No half-assed attempts at trying to speak to me in my own language, which I appreciated. Bought a multiple pass this time, since it may be cheaper in the long run (now that they changed the law without telling me last time). Including wait-time, I was there for about 40 minutes, which is amazing. Bought a diet coke in the convenience store downstairs and went and sat in a park in downtown Kobe. Drank my coke and fanned myself--it was really freaking hot--and rolled my elbow-length sleeves up to my biceps. (My poor biceps: they don't hold a candle to what they looked like a year ago when I was still doing taiko.) Watched an old man practicing juggling tricks in the hot, hot sun. He was terrible, but fun to watch. He flipped a ball from the end of a cane and almost caught it in the handle. A businessman walking by said, "おしい." A guy sat down pretty close to me, drank his can coffee, and left. I had cooled down a little, so I walked on to the shopping arcade near Sannomiya Station.

Hit Tower Records and bought FLOW's new album "Game" (I love every song), and picked up a random album by some group called "Roovy." The album's called "Roovy Cheers Up Summer!" The first song is called, "Dear Beer." I had to have it. Plus, the songs are upbeat for the most part and the blurb on the display said (in Japanese, of course) that they were a combination of Punk (パンク), Rock (ロック), and Ska (スカー). Incredibly enough, they weren't kidding. They really are this weird combination of genres. It's hilarious, and the group's pronunciation is so bad that I thought all the songs were being sung in Japanese (they're all in "Engrish" except one). It's so bad that I can't follow along with the lyrics. I have no CLUE where they are in the song. It's great.

Went up to 東急ハンズ (the best store ever--they have EVERYTHING) which was good for shopping but bad for my poor wallet. Came out broke and had to go down the street to the bank. Hit up my poor bank account (I'm getting poorer by the minute) and realized that I was near Sanjirushi, so I headed down there and stocked up on foreign goods (everybody needs a little Hershey's chocolate syrup every once in a while). Saw a ガンガール (?), those scary girls Ashley's always pointing out in Umeda who literally looked like a clown. She was scarier than the awful one I saw a the MUN thingy. She had this brightly-colored poofy overalls-shirt jumper from hell that was black with polka-dots and matching dreds in two clumps, one on either side of her head. That, plus the tan and the gross white makeup. It was horrible. I almost laughed at her as she passed me. Then I realized I was wearing a pink shirt, blue sunglasses, and I was holding a black parasol. Pot and the kettle, Abbers. Mofo pot and kettle.

Since I had biked to ACTA, I had to get off there anyway, so I went in and bought a dull pink hat (it was the best-looking one in the bargain bin) 'cuz I knew I'd crash if I had to squint all the way home. I put it on and ::magically:: (see the magic dust?) I wasn't a foreigner anymore. If people saw the braid sneaking down the back (my hair is so freaking long now), they'd know I was a foreigner, but otherwise they didn't have any idea, since the hat covered my eyes and most of my hair. No more stares, no more weird reactions. I was suddenly a dime a dozen and it was wonderful. Oh, to be accepted.... (Never thought I'd say that....)

Sometimes I'm curious about who I used to be and who I have become. If the me of 8 years ago saw me now, what would she say? She'd probably be horrified that she was going to be so fat and geeky (I was skinny--various eating disorders--and geeky in high school). I was "misunderstood" and "dark" and "thoughtful." Now I'm "fat" and "underpaid" and "forgetful." At least my brain still sorta works....sometimes. (Note the quotation marks. Ooh, that reminds me: the latest punctuation developed for the English language was the quotation mark. It's only 150 or so years old. What DID they do before then?)

Bought a purse at ACTA, too--one that matches my brown skirt and sleeveless blouse with tiny creme polka-dots. With that and my knee-high brown leather boots, I'm gonna be killer. (Who is this girl, planning outfits and buying things because they match? Where did she come from? She certainly isn't me....)

I think if I had my proportions but was 5 inches shorter, I'd be the same size as many of the girls around me. Unfortunately, I'm a fucking giant. Sometimes I want to put on big stone shoes (like in "The Princess and the Goblins") and smash them all. Smash smash. I might as well take advantage of my size. Good grief.

My hands are starting to age. You can always tell how old somebody is by their hands. Don't bother asking them how old they are; just shake hands and find out. The veins are starting to come out, which was cool when I was 15 but not so much now. It's not bad; it's different. It's strange. In a few months I'll be 24. I can't believe I'm so young. It's bizarre. I have the next 60 years to do art. What more could I ask for?! Of course, it won't all be drawing, but I get to live my time over a little less than 3 more times. I hope I make the most of it. I hate people who complain at the age of 17 that they're SO OLD. Yes, I suppose if I kill you now, 17's the oldest you'll get, so that's pretty old, relatively.

I saw an old woman on the train the other day and I tried to see beyond the wrinkles. There's a young woman in there--she's just full of experiences. And I could see her. Do people venerate the elderly because they feel sorry for them? I already try to treat people the same regardless of gender, but that's not enough. All this time I've looked at old people differently. That's changed as of two days ago.

Yesterday I stayed home and cleaned my apartment a little, did some laundry, and played more Wind Waker. I knew that game'd suck the art out of my weekend. Oh, well. Sat down Saturday night and tried to draw but I wasn't in the mood. I can't figure out the outfit for this new character. She's an asshole and I want her to look like a badass, but everything I draw looks stupid (although I gave her these awesome plated ear piercings). I need to get better at drawing black patent leather.

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