Feeling like a minority; plus a general update

I have had the hardest time getting started, today.

At least I have my things arranged for tomorrow, and I’ve sanded my plywood; the gesso on the first side is drying now.  After this, I gesso the reverse side and start my underpainting with charcoal and acrylic medium.

I didn’t make it out to drop in on the Studio Art lab; I woke up sometime around 11 AM and was still tired.  M wanted to take me out clothes shopping, which she sprung on me by surprise last night.  Then she yelled at me to get back out of bed after I’d eaten and taken my medication (I was trying to rest).  I think I looked so tired, though, that eventually she said it was OK if I went back to sleep.  I didn’t really wake up until sometime around 2 PM, when I was ready to do more than just eat and check the Web.

This is actually the reason why I took the Studio Art Lab in the first place; Mondays are really my only time to recuperate from the rest of the week.  All the other time it’s work or school.  But I’ve really been kind of slacking, recently.  I have to work on this underpainting, and then read about 40 pages in my Art History text, which has turned me off because it’s talking about Napoleon Bonaparte’s patronage of the Arts (the case of which was basically propaganda).  They don’t outright clown him, but it’s really evident that this was one of the more absurd moments of Art History.

I’ve decided to stick with the Japanese Language learning, because at least that will give me a window into East Asia and my own heritage.  I’ve really been feeling like a minority, recently; my co-worker’s going-away party was at a Japanese restaurant, and I was the only person who knew anything about Japanese food, at the table.  I ordered ramen, because I figured the sign of a good restaurant was whether its ramen was decent — this is even though it was a sushi place.  (I wasn’t getting raw fish on my first visit.)

Then a day or so later, one of my coworkers comes to me talking about how her recipe for miso soup was much simpler and was based on chicken stock (I have never seen a miso soup recipe using chicken stock), although the recipe I told her about uses a combination of iriko dashi and kombu dashi (my variant).  Given that I found the recipe book in a Japanese bookstore, and that her recipe is from a book largely containing Chinese recipes, I lean more toward the idea that it’s likely that my recipe is more traditional, and that this is why it’s complex.

Then later that same day, another one of my coworkers comes up to me and asks me how I liked my Top Ramen.  Seriously?!  SERIOUSLY?!  Like Japanese food is a $0.49 package of instant junk food.  (this was not a white person, for the record)

D says that they’re just repeating what they know, and they don’t know.  I tried to go easy on them, because I’m thinking it would be the same issue if one of my friends from Mexico came over to my house on a taco night.  But still, I wouldn’t go up to a Mexican friend who I went out to dinner with at a Mexican restaurant and ask them, “how did you like your Taco Bell?”  You know?  That’s just really inappropriate, and it angered me a bit.

Then I realized that the issue was that, like most Japanese people, I have pride in my heritage, and that does not fall short of ryouri (cooking).  I don’t care if it’s traditionally seen as “women’s work,” it has an aspect of pride to it.  Just like other traditional crafts — the thought is to work hard and come to be good at what you do, regardless of what you are doing.

Seething aside — the encounters (and prior ones at that) have just basically shown me that most people know squat about Japanese culture.  Even if they know about anime.  Because chances are, ALL THEY KNOW IS ANIME.  Ch’.

But in any case — I’d like to get more into contact with my heritage, even though I’m sure there are some Japanese people who wish I didn’t exist.  Not all of them would do so.  And it’s my effort which will get me into contact with the beneficial aspects of my culture and not the xenophobic ones.

My gesso’s probably dry, now —


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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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