Hey,

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1. I made no-meat enchiladas today. The filling was made of lentils, tomatoes, and yellow peppers sauteed on tomato paste. I also added grated soy cheese. The sauce was from a powdered mix I got from Save-On. The finished product tasted great (lentils are awesome!) except I couldn’t get the tortillas to remain in one rolled-up piece while transferring them to a plastic container. Still though, props to me.

2. I’m thinking of going full vegetarian this year—no meats, no fish, not even dairy. F is definitely a big influence on this decision although a part of me just wants to be “that vegetarian girl.” You know, have some sort of label that’s not “the older girl who’s bad at math.” Another part of me also wants to test how long I could commit. My last attempt lasted two days. Hmp, we’ll see.

3. I’ve been listening to a lot of Korean pop these days. That, and hip-hop. F likes hip-hop and he used my Spotify once while we were studying. Kendrick Lamar is awesome and Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has always been amazing. I also really enjoy listening to Hopsin. H made me listen to “Ill Mind of Hopsin 7” and it got me hooked. I really want to be good friends with H but ah, maybe not in this lifetime.

4. I bought a Laura Mercier setting powder for $42. Damn that’s pricey. I don’t even know what to use it for. I barely put on make-up and I don’t think blush and lip tint need to be set. Man I really should stop going to malls.

5. My brother told me he’s been having suicidal thoughts. I suggested therapy and he said he’s thinking about it. I am also encouraging him to work out regularly. I too should go back to working out. I might start going again this January although there’s a huge chance I might just stop showing up after a month or so. Ah, Jolens, your ass is flat as it is predictable.

6. This year is the year I must officially stop saying I’m in my mid-twenties. I’m not anymore. I’m old. I feel old. I still live with my parents and I’m still in undergrad. I want to move out, I do. I just don’t know how. I don’t think I’m ready. Who do I live with? How do I find an apartment? It sucks and I’m probably gonna stay single until I hit 30. ‘Tang ina but oh well, it is what it is.

7. I hope y’all have a good 2017! 🙂

When the night has come…

After watching Stand By Me for the hundredth time a few days ago, I was urged to finally finish Stephen King’s The Body from the novella collection Different Seasons. This throwback of sorts was triggered by binging all eight episodes of Stranger Things, a Netflix series about many things strange (alternate dimensions and gooey monsters) and heartwarming (a mother’s love and the solidity of childhood friendships).

Consuming all these coming-of-age stories is not doing any good to my self-esteem. I am currently trailing the remaining days of my 24th summer and being reminded that I am now older than River Phoenix when he bid buh-bye makes me feel deeply sad and lonely.

Aside from that one time when I went out on a picnic with a few friends, I did nothing else this summer but work and sleep and sleep some more.

I’ve shut down everyone who’s invited me to go out and bask in the elusive Alberta sun. I’ve said no to a barbecue, a photo session, a beer night, a visit to a popular festival, and a walk-around to search for Pokemons. To be fair though, there’s a fat chance I would have said yes if somebody had invited me to go watch Suicide Squad.

But I do feel bad when I say no; it makes me feel like an asshat. Imagine having the luxury of so-called friends, of people willing to tolerate my higher-than-thou snark, yet still turn my back on them like they just offered me the dream job of being a multi-level marketeer.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about myself in the last decade, it’s that I’d rather be a recluse than turn homicidal in the company of people I don’t fully get along with. And unfortunately for me, the company I truly enjoy is back home. Man, I just don’t think I can ever have friends like the ones I had when I was in college.

But I guess being so hung up on who I hang out with is counterproductive. I’m not home anymore. Beers are not as cheap and so are random out-of-town trips. I’ve been in this country for years and to this day, I still feel like an alien who doesn’t destroy and invade but instead tries to fit in. Someone like Ford Prefect, I think, although it doesn’t really matter because I am an outsider all the same.

Everyday, I just remind myself that I chose to leave home. If Chris Chambers chose to make it out of Castle Rock, I chose to make it out of UP. My perspectives have changed since I let go. It’s not easy and I’m struggling but at least it’s my own decision to play this game on the toughest mode.

Yes I did burn some bridges—quite a lot of them—when I left home but that’s part of moving forward. A more important goal, perhaps, is to not burn the ones that are right in front me. #

Review: Wasabi (2001)

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Gerard Krawczyk’s Wasabi, to put it simply, is forgettable. It has its funny moments, but its use of tired slapstick cliches that exaggerate action sequences and make fun of dim characters can be both tiring and annoying—-usually both and at the same time.

The plot kicks off when police officer Hubert Florentini learns that his Japanese ex-girlfriend is dead and that they have a teenage daughter together. This discovery brings Florentini to Japan where he uncovers the mysterious death of his ex and tries to establish a relationship with his newfound daughter.

Florentini’s unexplained affection for his ex is an early red flag. The first act of the film shows us how the the Frenchman is so enamored by a Japanese woman who left him almost two decades ago. There is little back story to prove that their relationship is rooted in something deeper other than Florentini’s longing for what’s absent, which unfortunately (accidentally?) paints the protagonist as a white male fetishizing his Asian ex-lover.

Yumi the daughter is played by Japanese actress Ryoko Hirosue who speaks French in most of the movie. And while around 80 percent of the entire film is set in Japan, everyone surprisingly speaks French including bank officers and the Yakuza gang leader.

The only character who doesn’t speak French is Yumi’s grandmother. Her non-fluency in the language is of course used as a comedic device. In the only scene she’s in, she awkwardly stands behind a traditional Japanese partition door and when Hubert’s sidekick asks her if he could use the washroom, she answers politely with a bow.

This misunderstanding is central to the film’s portrayal of Japan. While Franco dominance is expected in a French film, the problem lies on the movie’s depiction of Japan as a caricature and as the “Other” even in the country’s own territory.

The title alone, named after the pungent Japanese condiment, implies the film’s intention to highlight the foreign and exotic traits Japan is known for. There is even a specific scene in which Hubert eats a handful of wasabi without flinching. His sidekick, on the other hand, visibly struggles with swallowing the sauce.

This scene demonstrates two typical reactions of foreigners looking into Japan’s culture: that of total acceptance due to sheer awe and amazement, and that of repulsion. But Wasabi merely goes over these opposite absolutes and only scrapes the surface level of a culture that is so easily reduced to quirks and stereotypes.

In the end, Hubert still wins and frames the gang while taking their millions to fund his and Yumi’s life. The white guy always wins, they say, and sadly Wasabi does nothing to subvert this and many other cliches.