Thoughts on image and accents

June 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

I always find it interesting that one’s perception of apperance often overrides their ability to distinguish things aurally. Back when I was working as an RA, I had a Vietnamese resident who was born and raised in Germany. He didn’t speak any Vietnamese, and had a heavy German accent when he spoke English. But for several months, everyone on our floor assumed that his accent was Vietnamese. Once they realized he was from Germany, people noted that it was almost as if someone flipped a switch in their brains and the accent suddently turned into a very obviously German one. Likewise, when I was in Korea, a lot of the people there had a hard time believing that the Asian-Americans who came to do missionary work there could actually speak English without an accent.

On occasion I’ll get a comment on my youtube videos from a non-Japanese speaking person (or perhaps a non-Japanese person who watches a lot of anime and likes to say they “speak” Japanese because they studied it for a few semesters in college) concerning my “accent.” It’s funny to me because I don’t have an accent when I speak or sing in Japanese since I grew up speaking it. At this point I usually direct them to my last name and point out the fact that I am Japanese. An even more baffling thing is the fact that on occasion I will get a comment about my “accent” when speaking English, despite the fact that I grew up speaking this language as well. When people perceive me as Caucasian, they have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that I can speak Japanese without an accent, and likewise, when people perceive me as being Japanese, they have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that I have no accent when speaking English either.

Growing up as a “hapa” (in my case, half-Japanese and half-European descent) I often struggled with identity since people seemed to have such widely varied opinions about my race. On the upside, I’ve found that my own personal experiences have helped me to be more open-minded and able to relate to wider groups of people. I’ve also come to understand that as humans we are such visual beings that we almost can’t help our intial perceptions. However, I still consider it rather foolish to condescendingly tell someone “your accent could be better” if you don’t even know enough about the language to be able to distinguish a native speaker from a non-native one 😛

Frog, Korra, and Spirited Away

June 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

1.) I held a frog in my hand this weekend at a mini-golf course. I also caught a little girl copying me when I yelled, “no hands!!” while riding on what looked like a flying seal from the Mall Carousel. Thankfully her mother was propping her up, otherwise I would have felt like a really bad influence.

2.) One of my theories about the main antagonist in Legend of Korra was debunked after watching the most recent episode.  And now that I have to wait one week until the next one, I feel like I’m going through major withdrawl.  However, binging on Avatar the Last Airbender (currently halfway through season 2) has helped tremendously.

3.) After a long hiatus that involved a brief stay in the hospital, I’ve finally gotten back into composing, singing and video game/animation music covers.  So I hope you’ll enjoy my first collaboration with the wonderful pianist Zorsy.  Here is “Inochi no Namae” from Spirited Away (also known as 千と千尋の神隠し if you saw the Japanese version first as I did):

Indie Game Music Bundle 3

June 8, 2012 at 12:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I hope you’ll enjoy my goofy song about the 3rd Game Music Bundle! For as little as a dollar, you can get 5 wonderful game soundtracks: Terraria, Plants vs. Zombies, Dustforce, Ilomilo, and Frozen Synapse (a game that is not about ice).  For $10, you can get over 10 additional albums (full of great game soundtracks and chiptunes).

Juice Fiasco

April 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Upon reflecting on the incident I’m about to tell you about, I realized that I wrote a journal entry at some point in my past entitled “milk fiasco” in which I endured a similar liquid beverage mishap. I had to go look this up because I figured it was wholly appropriate. I will copy and paste. Observe shigi circa 2004:

Okay, I’m like the biggest spaz in the world. I’m supposed to hang out with YC today, so I decided to make some lunch before he got here so that I could take my magnesium supplement. For a drink, I was going to make matcha with milk; it tastes like green tea ice cream (Ken’s mother was nice enough to pick me up a bag of the amai matcha, because I couldn’t find it on my own, and nobody at the store seemed to think it existed). And as I’m taking the milk out of the refrigerator, gosh, I don’t even know what happened… I must have let it slip somehow, and the side of the carton hit something, and it basically, exploded. Well, I honestly don’t remember how it started. But I do remember somehow having to catch the carton, and milk flying everywhere… and then I remember seeing the hole in the side where milk was spilling out, and I frantically tilted it so that the milk wouldn’t spill out. But in doing so, the milk started pouring out of the top of the carton.

At this point, there was milk everywhere… all over the floor, and the fridge, and the windows (wtf!?!?!), and me… so I threw the thing into the sink and let it drain out there. And the whole time I was screaming, and the window was open, and at some point I think one of my neighbors walked by while I was tilting the carton, so it probably looked like I decided to pour out milk all over my floor. I must find out which neighbor this was. The worst part is that I seriously can’t remember why it happened in the first place. I think I’m losing my mind. But I did salvage some of the milk, and now I’m drinking amai matcha and it’s good.

And in true mindless random shigi fashion, I closed with this:

Oh, here is a picture of the octopus at Heundae beach. It was nearly as big as Grace.

Yes, I ended the entry about how I poured milk all over myself, the kitchen, and the floor with a photo of a giant octopus.

So now onto what happened today, in 2012. This morning, I decided to mix cranberry and orange juice together, so I got out a cup and started pouring the cranberry juice in first. I don’t know why this happened, because the cranberry juice bottle was not slippery, but for some reason the (very full) bottle slipped out of my hands as I was pouring. In a vain attempt to catch it, I managed to knock the bottle upwards, causing it to slam against the counter. At this point, bright red juice flew out all over the place. It was on the counter, the floor, inside the drawers, all over the things on top of the counter, and me.

So throughout all of this, I was screaming in horror. Then George comes over to see what’s going on, and he sees me standing there screaming in the middle of the kitchen, that also happens to be covered in bright red liquid. That took an amazingly long time to clean up, but perhaps because it was so red, it was much easier to see than say milk, and thus much easier to thoroughly remove it. And the cranberry orange drink ended up being very good.

And just to be consistent with the shigi from 2004, here is a picture of an egg that I painted over at the Librande’s house for Easter. It’s the Sunflower having tea with a friendly ghost.

Have a nice day!

Kickstarter project offers hundreds of video game tunes

February 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

If you’re a fan of video game music, then you’ll be happy to know that my friend Jeriaska has been organizing a site called Nubuwo which is devoted to all things related to the video game music world. Jeriaska has helped promote game music for many years now, and has published several great interviews with game composers like Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda.

For only 24 more hours, folks can help support Jeriaska’s Kickstarter which offers literally hundreds of video game music tracks from 12 different games. Higher pledges can receive special items like signed albums and unreleased interviews with Final Fantasy composers Nobuo Uematsu and Kumi Tanioka.

Terra’s Theme

February 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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Hi everyone! I hope you’ll enjoy my first collaboration with my friend Britaney! She is a really talented violinist who does covers of video game and anime music on youtube. You can find her channel here. We decided to arrange and perform Nobuo Uematsu’s lovely composition, Terra’s theme from Final Fantasy VI. I hope you’ll enjoy!

Indie Game Music Bundle 2!

February 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Quick SPSA (shigi public service announcement, haha): For just 4 more days, you can pay whatever you want to get 5 really awesome indie game soundtracks as part of the 2nd Indie Game Music Bundle! This bundle has some really great music from games like Aquaria, Swords and Sworcery, and To the Moon. If you do pick up the bundle, please let me know what you thought of it — Did you enjoy the music? What were your favorite tracks?

Also, quick RSS (random shigi story): At dinner last night, we were talking about my favorite character (the noble Dinobot) from Transformers: Beast Wars. George decided to quote a line from a pivotal moment in the series, “What is a warrior without his weapon?” Right then, the waitress walked by to refill our drinks, and she was like, “A DEAD WARRIOR!” But she said it so zealously that she accidentally overpoured the drink and it all came spilling out all over the table, haha… I don’t know why, but I thought it was so hilarious.

“Kimi o Nosete” and “Everything’s Alright”

February 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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I’m really excited to share a couple new videos with you! This week I posted my 2nd collaboration with lonlonjp, who is a really talented guitarist from Japan. We decided to do “Kimi o Nosete” which is the ending theme song from my favorite movie of all time, Laputa. If you haven’t watched this anime, I strongly recommend it… it’s adventurous, funny, sweet, and so whimsical! When I visited the Ghibli museum in 2005, I got Sheeta’s pendant as a souvenier (which I’m wearing in this video):

For the second video… I have a short announcement to go along with it: Due to copyright stuff, SOPA, etc. I thought it would be safe to post all my original music from here on out at my 2nd channel. Per request, I’m planning on redoing some older songs, as well as posting new songs and arranged/piano versions of video game soundtracks I work on. I really hope you’ll check it out and subscribe so that I can share these things with you! For the first song that I’m posting here, I decided to redo “Everything’s Alright” from the wonderful game “To the Moon.”

I hope you’re all doing well! And if you have any requests for my 2nd channel, please let me know ^_^

Escaflowne – Sora

January 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments
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I’m not sure why, but I’ve been on a singing kick lately. I think that singing helps me to relieve stress. I hope you’ll enjoy my cover of “Sora” from the anime Escaflowne. The song is composed by Yoko Kanno, who is an incredibly talented composer. I love her musical style; it’s very mysterious and has so many influences from around the world.

Kiki’s Delivery Service music and cosplay

January 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments
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When I first watched Kiki’s Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便), I remember relating a lot to Kiki’s character. She was very optimistic and excited about trying out new things; very determined. But her ability to perform her special gift suffered as a result of self-doubt. I loved how she took a break from flying to hang out with her artist friend/older sister figure. She learned a lot about herself during that time, and later on was able to rediscover her gift when it was most needed. I know it sounds strange, but sometimes when I experience anxiety, self-doubt, or lack of motivation I try to think about this movie. It helps me look at the bigger picture.

Anyways, today I bring you a collaboration video that I did with my friend lonlonjp. He is a talented classical guitarist who posts video game music covers on youtube, and he is providing the lovely guitar you hear in this video. And since Metroid always manages to walk into my videos (and since he is a black cat), he gave me the idea to do a bit of cosplay. He makes a pretty good Jiji, don’t you think? Hope you enjoy!

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