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Volume 2. Issue 1

Cover Art by Christina Lu

ISSUE 1 2008

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

ART

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Featured: Christina Lu

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Featured: Shaobo Han

MOVIES/THEATER 11 Hancock Review 12 Batman: The Dark Knight Review

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FOOD Copy Editors Maria Plotkina Ariana King Jaime Sunwoo Benny Lam Paul Vergara Hilary Davies

Louis Peralte Rio Nose Ren Santiago Tyler Cannon Hannah Cassius Lucia Gioiello Amy Crossman

Amanda Sonnenschein

10 Bluesmoke

MUSIC/CONCERTS Warped Tour 08’

22 La Revelucion 24 25 Album Reviews

IN THE LIFE OF

Christina Lu (Cover)

Layout Editors Mary Turgeon

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14 3 Friends. 3 Cities. 1 Japan. 20 Untitled: How I Could Never Summarize This 29 Subway Stories: Paris Edition

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A R T

featured

CHRISTINA Interviewed by Paul Vergara If art were Olympic gymnastics, Christina Lu would win the gold medal in the allaround competition. She is extremely gifted in every artistic medium, and she brings her cute and funky style into each of her pieces. Whether she is painting, etching prints, drawing, making one-of-a-kind plush toys, or even dabbling in computer animation, Christina Lu’s work is sure to make even the toughest critic smile. Paul Vergara: This summer you took classes at the School of Visual Arts. What did you take, and how was the experience? Christina Lu: I took Computer 3D animation using Maya software at SVA this summer. And let me tell you... It was extremely stressful because I’ve never taken a computer 3D class before. I sat by the computer for several hours a day until my eyes would bleed, but it was definitely worth it. I had the chance to bring

my character to life and show the character’s internal thoughts and feelings through its physical external motion. It’s such a rewarding feeling to see my character alive, even though it’s a 30 second video clip.

Christina Lu, Ryan, Digital Painting Adobe Illustrator, Courtesy of the artist.

PV: You do art in a lot of different mediums. Which do you like the most, and which ones do you work with best?

RIGHT: Christina Lu, Raleigh, Wood painted with acrylic, Courtesy of the artist BOTTOM LEFT: Christina Lu, My Friend, Zee, screenshots of the 3D video clip, Courtesy of the artist Christina Lu, Mama, Dry point etch print, Courtesy of the artist.

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CL: I’m a pretty indecisive person. I even have a hard time ordering in a restaurant. Since I have to choose, I love vectoring on Adobe Illustrator. If you don’t know what vectoring is, the illustration of myself and the kangaroos are good examples. It’s clean and fun, and every color is on my computer, so I don’t need to buy any supplies! All you need is paper, a printer, and patience. Besides vectoring, I work best with dry-point etching. Seriously. I’m a beast. I love the lines, the texture,

Christina Lu, Mandy, Digital Painting Adobe Illustrator, Courtesy of the artist

and the tone-wipes. I even love cranking the etching press. It tones my arms. PV: The subject of a lot of your pieces is animals. Why do they inspire you so much? CL: I had wanted to be a zoologist while I was growing up, but I realized that I wasn’t much of a scientist, and my science grades were horrible. PV: Are you planning to do an animal theme for your Senior Art gallery? CL: If I can get a spot in the show, it will most likely be animal related, but I don’t want to be too typical. You just have to wait and see.

PV: What have been your favorite classes at LaGuardia? And what are you taking this year? CL: Obviously, Basic Printmaking has been one of my favorite classes! This year I’m taking Computer Graphics because I’m scared I’ll forget how to vector, then hopefully I can switch into Advanced Printmaking second term because it’s not paired with the CG class. I’m allergic to the solvents in oil painting class, so hopefully someone from the programming office is reading this so I can transfer!

PV: Will you be applying to art schools? Which ones? 5 ISSUE 1 2008


want to be an art educator because I love seeing kids draw. It’s insane. They have a bigger imagination than I have, and I’m glad that they’re using their minds rather than copying what they see on TV. PV: Where do you see yourself in ten years? CL: I will certainly still be doing 3D animation, and I hope to be working at Psyop for experience in the art CL: Of course! I’ve decided to apply to Parsons: The New School of Design, the School of Visual Arts, and Ringling School of Art and Design. I will be majoring in 3D animation. PV: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you? CL: Fresh water, Thai food, and a boat. PV: How in the world did you make the wooden deer? CL: I made my wooden deer out of blood, sweat, and tears. Well, not really. It’s a secret between my teacher, Mr. Viglis, and me. That man taught me everything about wood. 6

PV: If you were to meet any artist, living or deceased, who would you meet and why? CL: I bet you wanted me to say Walt Disney, but I’m not going to. I actually want to meet Ub Iwerks. He’s the man behind the mouse, and I believe that he was Disney’s least credited animator in the early 20s. Iwerks is like the true father of cartoons to me because many classic cartoon themes lead back to Iwerks.

industry. Psyop is a 3D advertising company in the city that worked on the Converse commercial with Santogold, The Strokes vocalist, and my “husband,” Pharrell Williams. My ultimate dream is to work for Disney Pixar Animation Studios. Hopefully, I will be good enough to get a job there.

TOP LEFT: Christina Lu, Mama Kang, Vector on Adobe Illustrator, Courtesy of the artist. BOTTOM: Christina Lu, Billy, Acrylic, Courtesy of the artist.

your

PV: Tell us about your work at the MOMA. CL: I work with children in the Ford Family Art Workshop every Sunday afternoon. I secretly

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featured

Shaobo Han Interviewed by Tyler Cannon Tyler: What is your actual name?

Shaobo: No I do not. I love it here.

Shaobo: My actual name is Shaobo Han. Believe it or not, it is Shaobo Han. I know, it doesn’t sound like a typical Chinese name like Ting-Tong or Fen-Fen or Ching-Chong. Believe or not, it’s Shaobo.

Tyler: Do you feel you can express yourself better here?

Tyler: Where are you from originally, and how did you get to America? Shaobo: I took an airplane, um, China Air? Air China. I am from a city from Cheng-du where many of China’s pandas are from. I came here roughly five years ago when I was in the sixth grade. Tyler: Do you miss your home town?

Shaobo: Um, I mean, China is a communist country and people believe that there is no freedom of speech or freedom of expression. I believe this is not true. That’s way off tangent though… Tyler: What kind of art do you do? Shaobo: Expressionist work. I like to express myself through my artwork. Recently I’ve been working on an exotic woman with exotic flowers.

Shaobo Han, Pause, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist.

Shaobo Han, Lust, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist.

Tyler: What medium do you use?

hurt my ears.

Shaobo: Oil paint. My favorite’s oil paint. I find it very, very useful.

Tyler: Is it true that you love flowers?

Tyler: What’s your life like? What’s a typical morning for you? Shaobo: I wake up, and eat a little bit of breakfast. I think that people should not eat that much. Honestly, I don’t mean to have hatred of fat people, but they eat too much! I do not wish to offend anyone, but a bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel is not healthy for you guys. I know you had one for breakfast, Tyler, but yeah… Tyler: I didn’t!

Michele Jang, Afroman, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist

Shaobo. Oh, and don’t live in Queens, either! It’s like the worst thing ever. I take a train, then another train. It’s too far away. Where I live, it’s like a forest. It’s so far away! Tyler: Do you listen to music on your way to the city?

Shaobo Han, Patient, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist.

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Shaobo Han, Nude, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist.

Shaobo: Yeah, I do. I have my iPod, and I enjoy all kinds of music as long as it doesn’t

Shaobo: Flowers are so sexual. I mean honestly, flowers are like a vagina. I know that Georgia O’Keefe thought this (I’m not copying!), but she also said that flowers aren’t actually vaginas, also. Tyler: What are your favorite foods? Shaobo: Organic salad with organic dressing. Tyler: (blank stare) So what do you want to do with your life? Shaobo: I want to go to Europe but not start my own company. I’m never going to get married. Don’t ever get married. Ok? I’ve never been in love. Love doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing as marriage. Tyler: Do you have any final thoughts? Shaobo: Make sure you dress good. You shouldn’t over dress, just make sure you stay stylish. Also, volumize your hair. Men, you too. It’s what’s in. ISSUE 1 2008

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MOVIES

Bluesmoke

116 E 27th St New York, NY 10016

Unless found in a tiny diner in the middle of nowhere, American cuisine is usually hard to find and is hardly ever both good and cheap. Blue Smoke on 27th street between Park and Lexington Avenues is not particularly cheap, but the food is appropriate enough to bring the family for any type of gathering. Constantly acclaimed for its burgers, ribs, and macaroni and cheese, it may be a bit overrated, but the food is nonetheless tasty.

*

Personally, American style food is not one of my favorites, but the seasonings are all extremely tasty. The restaurant itself sells its seasoning, known as Magic Dust, and it really does have a nice flavor that isn’t too sweet or too salty. In the opinion of a few people I know, Blue Smoke has the best burger in the city, and in the annual barbeque parties around Madison Square Park, when barbeque chefs from around the country compete for the nations best ribs and burgers, Blue Smoke is always included. The ribs are, in my opinion, undeniably remarkable. There are about 5 different types of ribs to choose from, so a rib eater really has a wide selection to choose from. The macaroni and cheese is also well renowned. The cheese is so unreasonably creamy that one bowl, though not too large, is an entire meal. 10

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Review by Maria Plotkina

Most superhero movies are epics based on well-loved comic books, and they revolve around misunderstood but inherently noble superheroes with split personalities who go around wearing very flashy leather outfits. Hancock had the potential to be a refreshing departure from this formula. In some ways- particularly in the beginning- it does accomplish this. In others, it falls disappointingly flat.

by Ariana King

Taste:

HANCOCK

Courtesy of Kelly Boggs

Price:

Overall:

It’s not the type of restaurant one would go into alone and only carrying a bit of cash. Each side dish is about $7 and change, and the larger dishes are all over $10, usually around $18.

In my personal opinion, the food tastes fine, but I don’t desperately want to return to the restaurant especially because it’s not particularly unusual. The most undesirable characteristic of Blue Smoke is the price of the meals. To those who love ribs and burgers, it’s worth the money. To those who just like them occasionally, save the money and find somewhere cheaper. My entire family obsessively loves this particular restaurant, but to me, it’s worth a trip on occasion.

Environment: Obviously, the price of the food pays for the rent. The interior is actually quite large and the entire dining area is generally clean despite the massive amounts of flies inside during the summertime.

* All scales are out of 5

The movie, directed by Peter Berg, is the tale of John Hancock (Will Smith). He is a superhero, or at least he has superhuman abilities. Hancock spends his time drinking and lounging around on public benches. When he does decide to help out, the cost of the damages he inflicts tends to outweigh any good deeds done. At one point, he saves Ray (Jason Bateman) from being flattened by a freight train and wrecks the train and a bunch of cars in the process. However, Ray is grateful and decides to help Hancock improve his image. Along the way to becoming a respectable superhero, Hancock encounters Ray's skeptical wife Mary (Charlize Theron), who has a few skeletons in her own closet, and several resentful criminals. The acting and the effects in this movie

are good. The actors are able to move away from the roles they typically play, for once. Will Smith isn't too likable and he delivers some witty lines. The effects, mostly involving Hancock's powers, are done very well and look natural rather than overthe-top, as some action movies tend to be. The one major problem with

into a drama. However, it is impossible to feel true emotional sympathy for the characters because we are used to seeing them as sarcastic, flawed and comedic. If Hancock had remained an action comedy, it would have been a very good movie. The twist in the middle of the movie could have b e e n

this movie is the plot. It starts out well, in a comedic fashion, with a cynical, interesting hero. However, the second half of the movie fails to deliver. After a confusing and rather unnecessary plot twist, Hancock abruptly turns

more artfully and clearly done. Instead, it simply fails to carry on the emotions found in its first half. All in all, Hancock is not a bad movie- it’s an average movie that had the ability to be excellent and failed to do that.

photo courtesy of amazon.com

RESTAURANT SPOTLIGHT:

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BATMAN:

THE DARK KNIGHT Review by Hannah Cassius

In Batman: The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan encourages his viewers to peer into the minds of evil and to grapple with the mentality that good may cease to exist in the world. He invites the audience to take a glance into a world where each of the major characters, good and evil, must follow a gradual descent into

moral anarchy and face a brutal decision. This movie, greatly contrasting a majority of the films produced this year, is more than just a simple thrill. It proves to be a thought-provoking, intelligently designed film that poses the question as to whether genuine goodness truly prevails in society. Christian Bale ap-

propriately portrays the protagonist of the piece, Batman, with a necessary grace and heroic demeanor. All the while, he continues to display clear internal dilemmas between right and wrong. In the opening scenes of the film, Nolan mirrors this indecision with the gripping cinematography of Batman gliding through the air above the beauty and turmoil of Gotham City. He dives down into the depths of the city, attempting to aid the town against crime and adversity as rising public admiration of him seemingly grows stronger. The District Attorney of Gotham City, Harvey Dent, (played by Aaron Eckhart), faces a similar dilemma. Originally setting out to be the “white knight” of Gotham City, Harvey Dent is brought unto a path of evil following a series of horrific misfortunes. The primary source of Batman and Dent’s troubles is a character which will continue to haunt the minds of movie-goers for countless years to come. The Joker is as frightful and maniacal a villain as one could possibly imagine. His anarchistic spirit displays a horror to us all that is great-

“If you have yet to see [The Dark Knight] you are missing out on what could possibly be the best movie of the year.” er than any other. He lives life by no rules. He kills for no purpose. He only seeks to create chaos and perform sadistic human experimentation. It’s a waste of time looking for reason behind the Joker's smeary psychoharlequin inspired makeup. "I'm a dog chasing cars," the Joker says, "I wouldn't know what to do with one of them if I caught it." Little needs to be said about Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker. Simply put, he is amazing. To convince the audience of The Joker’s true insanity is indubitably a difficult feat, yet Ledger proves to be beyond capable of this action, clearly giving an Oscar worthy performance and surpassing all expectations. It’s a shame to have lost such a talented young individual at the start of his career. The Joker will live on as one of the most mesmerizing and twisted villains in movie history. The only flaw in this movie, although minor, was Christian Bale’s awkward voice transition between Batman and alter ego Bruce Wayne. Despite this minor mishap, The Dark Knight is nonetheless a spectacular

movie highly recommended for those capable of handling a movie filled with dark tones and underlying questions of ethics and morality. If you have yet to see it you are missing out on what could possibly be the best movie of the year.

PICTURES COURTESY OF AMAZON.COM

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3 Friends. 3 Cities. 1 Japan.

Left to right: Ariana King, Rio Nose, Lucia Gioiello

OSAKA

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by Ariana King Osaka is the city most often overshadowed by Tokyo. Perhaps the two most world-famous cities from Japan, Tokyo and Kyoto are both easy enough to remember because they have their syllables flipped (though the cities are actually written differently in Japanese). Amusingly enough, it’s not Kyoto, but Osaka, which is more often compared to Tokyo. As I was really only taking a vacation, I can’t properly describe Osaka with the detail and sweet affection of a native, but from my two-week experience, I already cry out love and pride for Osaka. Osaka Prefecture is perhaps fairly small, being the second smallest prefecture in Japan. The only one smaller is that of Kansai International Airport whose construction is on an artificial island. However, Osaka City is heavily populated and filled with places to go and things to eat. The most famous thing about Osaka is its food. Not only is it really good, but the specialty dishes, like okonomiyaki

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and takoyaki, are arguably better in Osaka than anywhere else. Opposite of Tokyo’s high class, big city stereotype, Osaka natives have the stereotype of being loud, noisy, and hungry. Perhaps one of the more famous things about Osakan people is their accents. Kansai ben, the name for the dialect spoken in the western Kansai region, often generally refers to Osaka in particular, though it is very similar to accents of the surrounding Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe peoples. In Nanba, a popular area of Osaka city, many of Osaka’s famous points are located. The giant billboard of a runner that lights up at night advertising the company Glico (creator of world-known snack Pocky) hovers over the bridge in a strip called Dotonbori. Giant moving crabs are part of the outer walls of restaurants specializing in crab meat and numerous neon signs, shops and aromatic restaurants line Nanba. Through Nanba’s bright shopping tunnels, prodigious pachinko parlors shrieking out loud electronic game noises and the clink of thousands of tiny metal balls falling, giant game arcades, and huge cheap karaoke buildings are everywhere. Shops with clothes for scarily thin girls and vending machines are, though not indigenous to Osaka, everywhere. Anyone who goes to Japan is likely to admire the lines of vending machines, usually holding drinks and cigarettes. All of Japan has these vending machines prepared to feed out a drink to a thirsty pedestrian, but in Osaka, after a long walk and an unreasonable amount of food, they are perhaps the most convenient things around. Another thing about Japan as a whole that may bring awe to tourists is the trains. As elaborate as the New York City subway, the Japanese railway can be extremely confusing. Ticket prices are bought in accordance with trip distance, and your ticket is one of the most important things you can have. In fact, the turnstiles have no metal bars, but there will be if you don’t use your ticket. From personal experience, if you can’t find your train ticket, find it. If you try to leave the station without putting your ticket in the turnstile, the once nonexistent metal bars spring up at you. Contrasting New York subways, the turnstile eats your card and spits it out on the other end, instead of you swiping it. Short trips by train from Osaka, however, bring one to famous cities like Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. The most memorable of the three is probably Nara. While Kyoto is filled with temples, Nara is home to Todai-ji, a temple which is home to a 50-foot tall Buddha statue, and the grounds leading up to it are filled with wild but friendly deer. Apparently, the deer have a spiritual (continued on page 32)

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OKINAWA My six-week experience in Japan was much different from what I expected. I imagined big cities, small apartments, and super skinny girls. I imagined crazy styles and lots of technology. But I wasn’t in Tokyo, I was in Okinawa, a small island in the southern part of Japan, a two and a half hour plane ride away from Tokyo, known for its world record life expectancy. Although it wasn’t the most metropolitan area in Japan, it was definitely not in the Stone Age. The cellphones were like computers, and the cars had satellite TV. The students were definitely different from those in New York. The boys, although having the same interests and personalities overall, were much shyer and definitely more fashionable. Every girl, and even every boy, plucked their eyebrows! If you didn’t, you were considered a loser. That was definitely a shock to me. In school, kids were not allowed to raise their hands, and at least ten people fell asleep in each class. Everyone in my class in Okinawa failed almost every test. I think the average

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by Lucia Gioiello

was about a 50, which is not that bad considering that the passing grade in Japanese school is 35! A huge difference between kids in New York and those in Okinawa was what they do after school. Most days in Japan, we stayed in school until around 7 pm. My sister said the school closed at 11 pm. Other times, I went to karaoke with about 15 people. Twice, we had a party at a friend’s house. The party consisted of video games, cooking, and horror movies. This was a co-ed party! The people I met in Okinawa were much more naive than the ones in New York.

They had marijuana leaf symbols scattered everywhere from pencil cases to car fresheners, but they had no idea what it stood for! They thought it was just a “reggae design” and nothing more. Baseball, as most people know, is loved by Japanese. My high school’s team won the nationals, so the pitcher was literally known all throughout Japan. Because my school’s team was in the prefectural championships, I went to see the game. The sta-

dium had the capacity of 2500 people, but I sat in the grass, along with at least a couple hundred others who couldn’t get a seat, because it was completely filled. The game was even broadcast on TV. They take high school baseball very, very seriously. Although I expected girls to be skinny, I was not prepared for how thin the boys would be also! Most of them were barely taller than me, yet weighed around the same! One boy who was about 5’8’’ weighed 110 lbs, and the heaviest boy weighed 130! I’ve never been envious of a boy’s stomach, but over there, I was. Okinawa is not on mainland Japan, so that was one huge reason why it wasn’t quite like Tokyo or Osaka. Rather, it had a strong Chinese influence, being one hour away from Taiwan. During World War II, they were attacked by both the American and Japanese armies due to their strategic place and different culture. The fights there were accordingly named “The Battle of Okinawa.” Because of the war, a large portion of the islands are taken up by US military bases. I learned to play the Sanshin, the ancestor of Shamisen, which was basically a three stringed banjo. Okinawa is also where Judo was originated, so they learn that in school. In Okinawa, there is strong pride for their prefecture. Okinawans have their own dialect, called “uchinanchu,” and have their own traditional dance and song. Another thing they are very proud of is their aquarium, Churaumi. Okinawa has the second largest aquarium in the en-

tire world. Its largest tank is 10m deep, 35m wide, and 27m long. The thing was absolutely huge. Speaking of water, Okinawa also

had the most incredible beaches in Japan. The clear, cool Pacific Ocean was easily accessible, and between the little blue fish and gorgeous sky, I would compare it to Hawaii. Being an island with one of the longest life expectancies in the world, their food was amazingly good and healthy. Their specialty, Okinawan Soba, is made of wheat noodles in a seaweed broth with lots of cabbage and usually “stewed pork.” They also had this vegetable called Goya, which I strongly do not recommend. It resembles a cucumber, but has a bumpier outside. It was the most bitter thing I (continued on page 32)

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TOKYO This summer vacation, I visited my homeland, Japan. I stayed in Yokohama and Kanagawa, but almost every day, I went to Tokyo. In Tokyo, I did so many things that I can’t even name them all. I went shopping in Shibuya, a very famous part of Tokyo. This is where practically everything takes place. Shibuya109, also known as “Gyaru,” is a shopping mall that is very popular with young people. It’s so cramped and loud in there that it’s scary, and one may become uncertain if they can exit the place or not. However, it is definitely a must-go place if you visit Shibuya. The stores I visited the most were Samantha Thavasa, Chille Anap, Rojita, Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger, Barbie, and Tsutaya. I don’t think Samantha Thavasa is too popular here in New York, but it is well known in Japan. This time I bought a new wallet there, and I am absolutely in love with it. When I mention the store “Barbie,” I’m sure many of you think the same thing. Barbie? How lame is that? That’s what I first thought when I heard of this brand. When I went to the store however, they had an adorable line-up. Tsutaya is a famous book store in Japan. They sell practically everything: books, magazines, comic books, games, DVDs, CDs, and really cheap used CDs (as cheap as 315yen, or $3!). Tsutaya is a HUGE building, and it stands right in the middle of the entrance to Main Street. I went to some really cool restaurants in 18 ISSUE 1 2008

by Rio Nose

Shibuya. One was called “The Lock-Up.” This is a restaurant where you have to walk through a really scary and dark hallway before you make it to the dining area. The tables are surrounded by bars of imitation dungeons. I ate in a small room with a small door, also made of bars. The food was amazing, and the drinks were fun and weird. Another restaurant I went to was called “Insomnia Lounge,” which is a really unusual name because the whole restaurant is made out of mattresses. It was a really calming restaurant with delicious dishes. The lights were dimmed, the seats and walls were made of red mattresses, and the floor was covered with a fluffy red carpet. Shibuya is full of really interesting restaurants. The thing I did most in Shibuya, though, was going to game centers. Here in New York, there are scattered games in the weirdest places. However, in Japan, there are so many places filled

with games. Some places even have up to 4 floors. This visit, I spent so much money on crane games and “purikura,” which is an abbreviation of “Print Club.” The crane games have adorable toys, useful goods, candy, and sometimes even ice cream. Every play is definitely worth 100yen ($1). “Purikura” is a machine where you take pictures and draw on them, and they are printed as little stickers. They’ve been around for a while, but the machines that are seen these days are so technological. Some machines allow you to send pictures taken from your email ad-

Photography by Ariana King

dress (only for cellphones), while others allow you to send the pictures directly to your cellphone using a tool called “Sekigaisen;” you put your phone into the machine and the data is sent. Speaking of cellphones, I think it’s amazing how obsessed Japanese people are with their cellphones. I used my mom’s cellphone while I was in Japan, and I really understood why they are so obsessed. There are so many sites made just for the cellphone. You can play games, watch TV, send emails, and basically do anything you want to waste your time while you’re on the train or waiting for something or someone. Email on the Japanese cellphone is really fun because of the adorable smiley faces and

tools such as “Deco mail,” which allows you to send mail with cute frames and fonts. I think the iPhone is the closest America gets to the Japanese cellphone, and it still can’t beat the remarkable tools stuffed into the typical Japanese cellphone. In Japan, if something becomes popular, it becomes really popular. This summer, the most popular things were “Obakasan” and “Gake no Ue no Ponyo.” Obakasans are people that “baka,” or are stupid. Dumb celebrities are really popular on TV these days. Two idol groups, Shuuch-

ishin and Pabo, are the most famous obakasans. This sounds so queer, but it’s true. They appear on quiz shows to prove how stupid they are. “Gake no Ue no Ponyo” is Hayao Miyazaki’s (continued on page 33)

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Untitled: How I Could Never Summarize This

by Amy Crossman

August 2nd, 2008. The day before I was going back to New York, they asked us to summarize the Powerhouse Apprentice Program in one word. My peers, sitting at a brightly lit room in the Kenyon building at Vassar College, seemed unfazed and continued to write on the feedback survey that Tom Pacio, the Educational Director, had given us. I looked around in awe. How could anyone put this six week experience into one word? Who could expect me to funnel all these high strung emotions into a tiny cramped space on an 8 ½ by 11 piece of paper? And who could expect me to leave this sanctuary of creativity?

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A scene between Julia (Hannah Rubinek) and Lucetta (Amy Crossman) from “The Two Gentleman of Verona.” directed by Anthony Luciano. Photography by Eliza Haun.

I found the Powerhouse Apprentice Training Program after an exhausting college search and an equally exhausting healthy internet stalking of a certain recent Tony winner. This relatively famed person who’s name I will not mention participated in this program back when he was a teenager, thus I was immediately intrigued. In addition, Vassar College was on my college radar. The program’s website wasn’t terribly detailed, but I extracted that the program was divided into four different focuses: acting, directing, playwrighting, and technical theater. I auditioned in April, and was accepted a few weeks later as an acting apprentice for the 2008 summer. Summer at Vassar College is very eventful. Numerous “camps,” for lack of a better word (including several with rather precocious and annoying small genius children who engulf the cafeteria) take over the campus. The Powerhouse Theater, the theater at the college, partners with New York Stage and Film, a professional company, to provide a safe environment for theater artists to bring new works. For six weeks, professional actors, writers, directors and technicians travel to the oasis that is upstate New York to put on a series of readings, workshops, and even two full productions. These outlets provide an invaluable opportunity to develop new works out of the eye of the media.

Quite frankly, I knew little about the Apprentice Program itself when I arrived in Poughkeepsie in mid-June. I knew that I was expected to work crew-calls for the professional productions. I knew that the apprentices would get to see the professional shows and have opportunities to interact with the professionals as well. I knew that the apprentices were going to put on their own shows, in addition to the classes we were going to take. But little did I know about the lack of sleep I’d get. Little did I know about the large amounts of Diet Coke I’d digest in hopes of staying awake for the new Eric Bogosian play. Little did I know that I’d discover Shakespeare in the most remarkable way. Little did I know that I’d meet my best friends at the scenic liberal arts school. I can’t speak for the playwrighting program, nor the directing and technical theater focuses, but I was thoroughly pleased with my acting curriculum. After auditioning in front of a rather large number of people, the actors were divided into classes. We had class from nine in the morning to one in the afternoon. These classes covered a plethora of material from Alexander Technique to Technical Theater. These classes challenged me to be uncomfortable. I was pushed to do things I know I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I was forced to trust other actors in a way that I hadn’t been able to be-

a scene from “The Overcoat” featuring Joshua Joya as the Tailor and Amy Crossman as the Overcoat. Photography by Eliza Haun.

fore. It was an unsettling feeling, but my teachers challenged me to be comfortable in the discomfort of it, which, it can be argued, is the essence of acting. The actors were also divided into two different casts. One cast performed Brecht’s The Good Woman of Szechuan, and the other, my cast, performed Shakespeare’s The Two Gentleman of Verona. I love theater immensely, but I

was apprehensive when I was cast in the latter show. I was terrified of Shakespeare. I struggled with the language, I struggled with the concepts. I simply did not understand it. I was scared of letting down my director, my audience, and most importantly, my entire cast. I wouldn’t have known that I would not only learn to perform Shake(continued on page 31)

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MUSIC

CONCERT REVIEWs

08’ W a r p e d

Tour By Hilary Davies

When I think of summer, the first thing that comes to mind is the Vans Warped Tour. I have been going every summer since my freshman year, and it's the perfect way to propel a summer forward. In past years, I have been able to see Motion City Soundtrack, Rise Against, and one of the last performances by The Starting Line; I have ridden pogo sticks, won heaps of free stuff, and made some great connections with people I wouldn't have known otherwise. This year was no exception. It was an appallingly hot day and we had arrived at a perfect time to catch Florida band, We The Kings's set. I saw We The Kings in 2007 at the Knitting Factory when they were nothing but a wee baby band working hard to achieve their dreams. Everyone in this crowd, which was significantly larger than the KF crowd, knew the words

Photo Courtesy of Carrie Musgrave.com

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Photo Courtesy of Hilary Davies

to their songs. That made me smile. It was apparent that Travis Clark, the singer/ guitarist, was just as stoned as he was the last time I'd seen him (when he nearly fell on top of me). This made me smile even more. I couldn't get too into their set because I was on the outskirts of the crowd, but they were great entertainers who kept mentioning how much they wanted to do inappropriate things with the crowd as a whole. Their stage presence had improved greatly, creating a tighter set that I could enjoy without cringing at missed notes, flubbed lyrics, and sloppy instrumentals. Next up was The Academy Is… from Chicago, Illinois. I have to admit that I haven’t been a particular fan of their music up until recently, so I felt awkward initially. However, singer William Beckett's mesmerizing stage presence won me over. I am not exaggerating when I say that you could not look at anyone or anything else but him the entire set. I have been to many shows and he is one of the few frontmen that consistently kept my attention. He engaged the audience in the perfor-

mance, going so far as to jump off the stage and go into the crowd for their last song, "Checkmarks." Since Beckett is a fairly attractive guy, a giant hoard of hormonal girls rushed toward the front, screaming their heads off and grabbing at whatever piece of him they could get. I was shoved to the front and since I am not a particularly big person, I started to fall. Throwing my hand up, I grabbed onto the nearest available support. This just so happened to be Beckett's wrist. I would have been acting like a total fan girl if I wasn't trying to save myself. My friend Valerie and I were together for the whole day, so we spent much of the time wandering around. We caught brief snatches of some killer sets— Family Force 5 as an example. One of these sets that we passed through was for a band called Dr Manhattan. Their sound is absolutely indescribable. It's just different from many of the generic emo bands that we passed by before stopping at their show. The keyboardist was banging on floor toms (continued on page 31)

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La Revolucion by Ren Santiago Tonight Immortal Technique fans gather into the Highline Ballroom to celebrate the self-release of his latest album, The Third World, with the artist and those he likes to refer to as his "various accomplices, soldiers, lieutenants and skilled specialists that work with him.” These are the men that open the show, one by one, leading up to their General of the Revolutionary Army. The hype goes up and up as each man spits his s**t, all accompanied by DJ GIJOE and Southpaw. Finally, Technique joins his men. They spin some old tracks like Bin Laden and the room recites along with him. He stops in between songs to address the 5-0 he knows are lurking in the place, commanding: "When I say f**k, you say cops! F**k--!" At one point, one of his soldiers, Arch, scooped up a Guy Fawkes mask from someone in the audience and wore it proudly. They played Peruvian Cocaine with CrayzWalz, Pumpkinhead, Loucipher, Tonedeff, Diabolic and Poison Pen spitting just as smooth as in Revolutionary Vol. 2. The highlight of the night comes when Technique cuts the track and turns to his fans. He tells us what we know about this man: he's not some underground rapper 24 ISSUE 1 2008

MUSIC

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Academy Is... Fast Times At Barrington High Reviewed by Hilary Davies

PICTURES COURTESY OF AMAZON.COM

PICTURE COURTESY OF AMAZON.COM

fighting for notoriety, and his album dropping is not the only thing he's doing tonight. It is also the official launch of Project Green Light. The first stage is given the Green Light. Technique tells us he has decided to work with a non–profit human rights organization called Omeid International*. “We will come together to build an orphanage/ clinic/school in Kabul, Afghanistan for children who have been left without families because of the wars and diseases that have ravaged the land." He has already donated $10,000 of his own money to prove to us that he is in it for the cause. His cause is to change the world at large. He's already done so with immigrant groups,

youth detention centers, and with those organizing against police brutality, gang workshops, and funding children's hospitals in Palestine. "So once again I am here to answer the call of my brothers and sisters, whether it comes from across the street or across the ocean," he pledged to us. Then he instructed us to stick our fists in the air, and turn around to face outside. "You face them, not me, because they're the ones we're going to be fighting against.” We repeat after him, "Viva la Revolucion!" And again. And again. We pump our fists and shout it louder with every pulse of adrenaline: "Viva La Revolucion!" (www.omeid.org)*

The Academy Is... has never had a concrete sound. Their first album, Almost Here, was a mixture of laid-back, wishy-washy ballads and fast-paced, aggressive songs delivered with a combination of instruments and rough vocals that didn’t seem to fit together. Santi, the band’s second album, would be difficult to identify as The Academy Is… were it not for William Beckett’s unique voice. Their latest album, on the other hand, Fast Times at Barrington High, seems to be the beginning of a new era, an era in which they can finally be at ease with their line-

up and their new musical chemistry. This is a much darker work, teeming with heavier guitars and angstfilled lyrics. Fast Times is by no means a particularly profound album. However, that's the point. It's an album about high school and all it entails, including mishaps in romance, stupid drama, and the occasional escapade with an older woman. (“Beware: Cougar!” is one of the best songs on the album!) I can

definitely relate to this CD, since I am approaching my last year of high school and have started to reflect on the past three years of my life. The Academy Is... hasn't found their sound just yet, but I think the group is coming close to where it belongs musically, and that is a beautiful thing. ISSUE 1 2008

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Jay Brannan Goddamned

Reviewed by Paul Vergara

Ghostland Observatory

Robotique Majestique Reviewed by Louis Peralte Not too long ago I found myself bored and lonely, a typical summer night for me. “What to do?” I repeated as I struggled to entertain myself. I surfed the net and came across a video in which a beat-driven fan danced to the sounds of Ghostland Observatory alongside his cat. The song in the video was “Stranger Lover” from their 2006 album Paparazzi Lightning. It was interesting enough to catch my attention, so I checked out the last album released by the band. Robotique Majestique was released on February 29th of 2008 by Trashy Moped Records. I expected to hear more of what was sampled in the video, but the new album fell short of my expectations. Instead of hypnotic boogies that would keep me dancing all night long, I was bombarded with instrumentals birthed by a synthesizer. I have mixed feelings about the album. I feel that the songs have potential, but I firmly believe that the fact that the band is a two-piece consisting of 26

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PICTURES COURTESY OF AMAZON.COM

only Aaron Behrens, vocals and, occasionally, guitar, and Thomas Ross Turner, synthesizer and drums, is holding them back. Now one may think,“But how is this possible? A sprightly man donning pigtails and sunglasses teamed up with a cape-clad synth wizard must make great music!“ All I’m saying is that with more support, they’d have my approval. I enjoyed listening to “Heavy Heart,” but I felt like it was building up to a point that it never reached because it started out light and made its way

to a heavier section only to go right back to where it started. Unfortunately, this set up seemed to be the framework for the rest of the songs in the album as well. I didn’t notice a climax in any of the songs, but they were decent. They’re an electro duo, so if you’re into that, check it out.

Jay Brannan is a product of the YouTube generation. His claim to fame is his starring role in the risqué film “Shortbus,” and he has since become an internet sensation. The singer/songwriter/actor began posting videos on the popular website where he caught the eye of many who religiously tune in to hear his new songs and watch his entertaining shirt-

“Brannan has a smooth, soulful voice, and his songs are sweet, blunt, simple, and addictively catchy.” less rants. His long anticipated album, Goddamned, is a compilation of many of his hits from YouTube. A self-proclaimed folk singer, Brannan has a smooth, soulful voice, and his songs are sweet, blunt, simple, and addictively catchy. He is a master storyteller. Some songs are packed with raw emotion, while others can make even the saddest bloke smile. The first song on the album, “Can’t Have It All,” is infectious. It combines Brannan’s wit, philosophical nature, and pure

PICTURES COURTESY OF AMAZON.COM

randomness, a style that he capitalizes on. Sometimes his songs don’t seem to make complete sense, such as “At First Sight,” “A Death Waltz,” or “Half-Boyfriend.” In the emotional title track “Goddamned,” Brannan questions religion. My favorite song, “Housewife,” the second song Brannan ever wrote, is

about his dream of having a perfect life with a man whom he has never met. Oh, I’m sorry if I never mentioned that he’s gay. Oops. Anyway, it’s probably the most romantic gay love song I have ever heard. All in all, Jay Brannan’s music is fresh, and he’s great to listen to in any mood. He’s a true starving artist, and you should all support him by buying this album which is only available on iTunes or on his website. You should also click on to his YouTube channel. I am sure that you will like what you hear, and I’m also sure you will like what you see because this guy is absolutely gorgeous! ISSUE 1 2008

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Drastic Fantastic - KT Tunstall EMI Music Reviewed by Benny Lam

Her international debut album, Eye to the Telescope, sold more than one million copies worldwide, resulting in a knock on the door from the Grammys. Now, KT Tunstall, the native Scottish musician, returns with another steady rocking album that contains a much edgier look and sound. The second time around, Tunstall reveals a much more gig-like setup on her new record. A wide range of rhythmic beating and rap-

PICTURES COURTESY OF AMAZON.COM

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id acoustic guitar picking can still be found among her songs, (after all she is known to be the Queen of Folk of the twenty-first century). However, Tunstall has also incorporated elements from her personal experience into a series of her songs. One example would be her latest single, “Saving my Face,” a rather upbeat and rhythmic song revealing her doubts about going under the knife when surrounded by the glamhollywood-female-per-

fect-appearance pressure. Thankfully, she resolves to stay real, stay herself, and “save her face.” With all of her work being composed on the round, during and or after gigs, KT has always been compelled by the idea of a “Studio-album.” But then again, who could forget her one-womanband-performance of the commercial hit, “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree?” All in all, KT Tunstall is a fresh new talent who is not afraid to be herself even as she is morphing into a different artist. I highly recommend this budding artist’s new album.

PARIS EDITION by Paul Vergara The train cars of the Metro in Paris are a lot smaller than those in New York. They also seem a lot more unsafe: patrons on either side of the train can manually open the doors by cranking a lever or pressing a button. I may have heard a French version of the infamous phrase “Stand clear of the closing doors,” but I would not have understood it anyway. The subway seems more cramped because of the size of the train car and the layout of the seats, but the fact that they come every three or four minutes without fail counteracts any overcrowding. It doesn’t smell as fresh either, but I think that’s just because it’s French. The only perk about them, perhaps, is that the seats are cushioned. Sitting on the Metro gave me more insight into the culture of the French people than any other thing I may have done during my trip. I sat in a café and sipped a cup of tea. I went to the local bread shop every

day to buy a baguette. I frequented the Monoprix, the French equivalent to Wal-Mart. I tried to speak French and failed miserably, because I’d just speak English in a stuck-up French accent. I looked down from the Arc de Triomphe at the cars circling around it. I shopped at the largest flea market in the city. I trudged down what seemed to be every street. I visited world-famous museums, wonderfully decorated parks, and age-old landmarks. I enjoyed a boat tour on the Seine River. I sat down in the grass and looked up at the Eiffel Tower as the sun set. I tried to be as stereotypically French as possible. However, every time I got back on the Metro, I realized that it was the one place that was full of native Parisians rather than tourists. It’s like seeing the French in their natural habitat. In this underground tunnel system, the natives hide from the vacationers that they seem to hate so much above ground. There was a weird

atmosphere on the streets. It was filled with massive groups of foreigners asking for directions or being lost. However, there was a bustling metropolis underground that seemed like only real Parisians knew. Trains came every so often; you’d never know that you had missed one because another would pull in almost immediately. There was always a constant flow of people coming in and out of the manually operated doors, but there was always a free seat. There were so many different people, but they had an approachability that seemed almost weird. They seemed to be content. The one thing that separates the Parisian Metro from the New York subway lies in human interaction. This idea is evident in the fact that many of the seats are positioned in a way in which one pair is directly facing another. Thusly, they form some sort of box. It’s like a small dinette set with the table missing. It forces four people, likely strangers, to be together in ISSUE 1 2008

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CONTINUATIONS Untitled: How I Could Never Summarize This

PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL VERGARA

a confined space and almost forces them to interact. Many times, I found myself sitting in this four seat formation with my parents on one pair of seats while I situated myself opposite to them. A very attractive Parisian would always sit next to me, and I would always get happy. It gave us a reason to pounce on this poor man or woman and bombard him or her with questions. Sometimes it was the other way around. Either way, an enjoyable conversation ensued. Other than that, everyone else would be talking and smiling. They looked genuinely pleased to be in such a cramped and smelly place with a bunch of strangers. It was weird. There were no “I see a space in the middle of the train car, so please move in so I can fit before I slap somebody” fights. 30

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There was no blatant, catty rudeness that New Yorkers think they can get away with because they are New Yorkers. These people were down to earth and calm, but they knew that they were completely and utterly fierce human beings. They were not ostentatious like most people think Parisians are. They were approachable. I was able to speak with several people. Whether we spoke in English, my fake French, or even Tagalog, there was a feeling of camaraderie and brotherhood of being another human being. We were completely different and from different parts of the world, but we bonded over being so different. I never thought

that being on the subway in Paris would eventually be the thing that has left the most lasting impression on me about the city. I loved it. I still love it. I will continue to love it. But something as overlooked and underrated as their subway system was the thing that prevailed over everything else to be my most memorable experience in the wonderful city of Paris. It just goes to show that one can find happiness in the most unexpected places. Even if it smells funny.

speare, but I would learn to love it. Powerhouse has an amazing faculty that doesn’t treat Shakespeare with the porcelain-doll quality I’d grown accustomed to. While there is an intellectual approach to it, I never felt as though I was in an English class. I never felt talked down to or really instructed, merely invited to take part in discussions. I learned that not only is Shakespeare sturdy and resilient, his words are meant to be thrown around, really delved into, and explored. Shakespeare is full of extreme, honest, important emotions and topics. This hadn’t been apparent to me until I attended the Powerhouse program. Apart from introducing me to the Bard, I gained invaluable performance experience. I’d never really been involved in any sort of theater production, and I was involved in three pieces with my small ensemble of actors, as well as several apprentice-written and apprentice-directed pieces. This formed the strongest sense of community I’ve ever felt. It was the most intense bond between artists I’ve ever been blessed to witness, let alone be a part of. Everyone at Powerhouse wanted to be there. Everyone at Powerhouse knew that theater was an important tool, an important outlet through

which we could change the world. Celebrating this with my fellow artists helped me grow exponentially, as an artist, yes, but more importantly as a person. I at least hope I’ve grown to be more honest and caring, more open to things I wouldn’t have been otherwise. I’ve realized the importance of not only art in my life, but knowledge in general. It’s important to be a well rounded individual in this world, especially if you want to be an artist, and I was certainly challenged to be so at Powerhouse. I was challenged in a way that I haven’t been at other places. I was challenged in a way that I know I couldn’t have been at other places. Okay, so you’re probably thinking “Jeeze, Louise, could she get more hyperbolic?” Yet bear with me when I tell you, I felt more myself this summer in Poughkeepsie than I have ever felt before. Getting out of my hometown, out of the heat and chaos of New York City, the theater capital of the world no less, made me appreciate and understand my craft much more than I have ever before. Living, eating, sleeping, and breathing with young artists matured me in a way I could never fit into one word, let alone a two page high school magazine article. I cried myself blind when I got back home on that surprisingly frosty August Sunday. I sobbed at the sight of

the New York streets because I knew that I wasn’t truly home anymore. Warped Tour and screaming, climbing onto the rafters, and going crazy. We caught their acoustic set later and I was impressed by their playing ability, particularly the ability of the keyboardist, Andrew, who was able to play at different speeds in separate hands. After their acoustic set, we both introduced ourselves and hugged them. Throughout the day, we kept running into them. Eventually, they began to approach us with open arms, diving in for hugs and handshakes. I am looking forward to the next time they come around the area. The next band we saw was a Japanese ska group called Oreskaband. At first, I thought they were going to be a fluff act, because it's difficult for female musicians to make it out there unless they have some element of attractiveness. However, when six tiny girls who spoke in very broken English bounded onto the stage, I knew things were going to get fun. They were excellent musicians, especially the bass and brass players, (the drummer was mediocre at best, but ska music isn't known for its fabulous drummers). Their bassist was singing while moving her fingers all the way up the fret board on different ISSUE 1 2008

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strings. Any musician out there knows that it's not easy to sing and play an instrument at the same time. That aspect of her performance impressed me greatly. I skanked my heart out during the first few songs along with the rest of the crowd, (skanking is a ska dance that I compare to a somewhat updated cancan. Of course, this is my personal definition, not the official one.) However, my skanking ended when I slipped on a crushed Gatorade bottle and twisted my ankle. I was pulled up and helped over to the side by two very nice guys that were near me. Though I was grateful for their help, I was in horrible pain. I limped over to the last set we saw that evening, Angels and Airwaves. This was the only set of the day that I did not enjoy. I am a big Blink-182 fan, so the fact that Tom Delonge is in another band that falls by the wayside when compared to the musical chemistry that Blink-182 had irked me to say the least. However, I tried to put that aside and listen to the music objectively. I came to the same conclusion. There is hardly any distinction between one song and the next and their stage presence was barely existent. On top of that, it was difficult to pay attention when stupid guys and girls were crowdsurfing from all different directions. You would be watching peacefully one moment and a foot would be in your face the next. The worst part was when a young guy leapt into the air, did a triple somersault, and landed on me. It would have been epic if he hadn’t made my pinky bend in a really strange direction. With my foot also not being in such great shape, I 32 ISSUE 1 2008

was not a happy camper. After their set was over, we piled into our friend's car and drove to McDonald's, where we stuffed our faces and recalled the highlights of the day. There were many, and it was definitely a fun experience. I can't wait till next summer. Warped '09, baby! 3 Friends. 3 Regions. 1 Japan. OSAKA meaning in Shintoism. The pedestrian walkway was in fact crowded with nonhumans, and the deer almost violently chased any tourist who decided to buy rice crackers; the deer actually cried when the food ran out. In Nara, a small festival and a huge extravagant light show was taking place while I was there. The festival offered tons of food and a memorable goldfish catching stand for fun. It was a good way to spend about an hour after the light show. On return to Osaka with three goldfish (which died the next day from overheating), I got lost in the train station. I then returned to watch the Olympics from the Japanese point of view. They were as obsessed with the swimmer Kitajima Kousuke as much as Americans were with Michael Phelps. Sports, of course, are taken very seriously, as they accompany food and drink. The people in Osaka, of course, just like in New York and in the rest of the world, come in a variety of personalities. The common stereotype of noisy and hungry is not at all true of everyone. Perhaps Osaka natives have a different lifestyle since eating until you drop isn’t the most common ethnic-activity here in New York. However, the people I met,

even the local Yakitori chef and store salespeople were intensely friendly. Ignoring the language barrier, I had one of the best two weeks of my life. I know it wouldn’t have been the same had I gone anywhere else. 3 Friends. 3 Regions. 1 Japan. OKINAWA have ever tasted in my life. Just imagine a really bitter thing and multiply it by 100. Okinawa also originated the purple sweet potato, called beni-imo, which is constantly incorporated into their specialty pastries; they are really pretty, delicious, and healthy. By far the weirdest traditional thing I saw, however, was their Sake. It priced about $100 per bottle, and had dead poisonous snakes called habu on the bottom, with fangs and all! Scary stuff, I tell you. When I went to Japan, I saw super skinny and “groomed” boys, made friends with innocent hardworking failing students, attended over packed high school baseball games, met some of the sweetest most amazing people, swam in beaches with the most gorgeous blue, clear-watered oceans I have ever seen, went to the second largest aquarium in the world, ate amazing food, and gained so much Okinawan Pride. I would definitely recommend that people come here for vacation. It’s a beautiful place! 3 Friends. 3 Regions. 1 Japan. TOKYO new motion picture. It is about a fish who falls in love with a little boy. It sounds a little like The Little Mermaid, huh? The song for the movie had a huge outburst in popularity throughout Japan.

My personal favorite Japanese fad is a new animated character, “Kapibarasan.” This is a character based on a real-life animal called the capybara. Stuffed animals and toys of this character are all over Japan. One of my favorite things about Japan is the snacks. This summer, I ate many times at a store called “Mister Donuts.” It has the most delicious donuts ever, and I snacked on a candy called “Pure.” Mister Donuts has a very famous donut called “Pon de Ring” which is so popular that almost 10,000 are sold a day. This could also be known as a mochi donut because of its softness. “Pure” is a gummy type candy with many different flavors, including grape, grapefruit, lemon, green apple, pineapple, and many others depending on the season. I always had a pack of these gummies in my bag. The Japanese are well known for their love for Walt Disney. In Chiba, they have two Disney theme parks: Disney Land and Disney Sea. This summer, I went to both. It’s really amazing how much fun you can have at a children’s theme park. With exhilarating attractions such as Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, The Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Indiana Jones Ride, and many others, you are left exhausted at the end of the day. I personally like Disney Sea more than Disney Land. Disney Land has Cinderella’s castle and stunning shows, but Disney Sea is built for people who want to have adventures. Disney Sea is really a dream land where you look one way and you see gondolas, and then you look the other way and see a huge moun-

tain with steam coming out of it. Also, because it’s Disney Sea, there are many water related sections and rides. It’s the perfect place to go during the hot summer to make so many magical memories. Oh, and one more thing: I want to add on to how remarkable the Japanese metro system is. First off, it’s unbelievable how clean the platforms are, and even inside the train. It’s very rare to spot a can rolling around with spilled soda all over the floor, whereas here in New York, that’s an everyday scene. Inside each car, there are two mini t.v.s at every single door, one telling you where you are, what station is next, and all the stations and the number of minutes it will take to get to each station. The other t.v. shows some commercials, and sometimes a one-point English lesson. These are pretty amusing to watch when you have nothing to do in the train. This is just one of the trains. Some trains don’t have these, but it’s really easy to tell where you are and where you will be in every train. What I find the most incredible about the Japanese metro system is the “PASMO.” You fill this card up with money (just like the metrocard), and when you go through the turnstile, you place it on a platform that makes a “beep” sound, and you go through. Sounds pretty normal, huh? But the thing about the PASMO is that you can keep it in your wallet or anywhere that’s easiest for you, and you just put your wallet or your card case to the censor and it’ll let you right through. So you don’t have to keep taking it out every time you want to ride the train. Another

amazing thing is, you can use it to buy things. Inside the station, there are vending machines with the same censor at the turnstile. You just put your PASMO to the censor and choose the drink you want, and you get it! It is simple as that. You can also use it at certain combinis (short for convenience stores, and these stores are REALLY convenient), so the PASMO basically works as a credit card as well. So many things about Japan are amazing. When I came back to New York, I realized and appreciated the greatness of Japan’s culture and technology. This summer, I was able to make fantastic memories. I definitely recommend everybody visit Tokyo when they can.

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LaGMag Vol.2, Issue 1