All posts filed under: When I’m Not Writing

Cateriam: A Cat Cafe in Tokyo

Shimokitazawa is popular for its independent music scene and trendy boutiques. Delicious restaurants line the streets serving almost anything you want from actual poutine and handmade udon noodles to spaghetti and okara donuts. Most importantly, Shimokita is where you’ll find Cateriam—an adorable cafe where you can sip green tea lattes like a queen while letting your freaky cat lady flag fly. About a block or two from the train station, there’s a doorway with a Cateriam sign right next to a 7-Eleven. You climb up a flight of stairs and enter through another set of doors. A friendly proprietor will use an English menu to explain the rules. You basically prepay for the amount of time you plan on staying, and if you’d like, you have the option to add on food or drinks. You’ll take off your shoes then place your things in a cubby hole. Once you wash your hands, you’re free to commence with the all-you-can-snuggle fest. I will admit that my animal rescue side was a little anxious before I arrived—I’ve heard one …

Book Review: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth

All sixty-four of its pages are yellowing, and the copyright date says 1987. It must’ve been purchased used, because there’s a stamp on the inside depicting two bears holding a “this book belongs to” sign. I never filled it in, because as a kid, I felt my garish handwriting (and name) would somehow sully the book. I can’t remember when I first read The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth, but this book has traveled with me through two countries, ten different homes, five schools, six pets, and a marriage. If I had children, this would be the story I’d read to them every night. Good Fortune is a cat who lives with a poor artist. She sits with him every day watching him work on a commissioned painting of the death of Buddha. But as he paints a procession of the courageous horse, the gentle snail, the noble elephant, and other earthly animals bidding farewell to Buddha, he knows Good Fortune wants to be in the painting too. “But where is the cat?” thought …

Groupon Adventures: Acting Class (Part 3)

He’s a guy who’s worked as an engineer for most of his life. Next year, he’s quitting his job to become an actor. “I’ll give myself two years,” he says. “I’m going all out to pursue my dream. If I don’t make it by then, I’ll come back home.” No one knows he’s leaving. His coworkers think he’s moving. His family doesn’t approve, so he’s told them his work is transferring him to a new city. This guy has more heart than I’ll ever have.

Groupon Adventures: Acting Class (Part 2)

Acting class is like being inside my writer’s brain. Icebreakers include launching imaginary things at your classmates, squeezing your body through invisible doorways, and trying to be all stream-of-consciousness edgy when you’re really not. My favorite game is the ninja one. Classmates on either side chop me in half while I swing my sword at someone else. It’s about making our bodies match the sounds coming from our mouths. I direct my loudest HAIIII-YAAAHHH at you, then you send your loudest HAIIII-YAAAHHH over to someone else. It’s violent and loud and so freaking fun. Then there’s the Repetition Game. I’m sitting cross-legged in front of a partner. Our knees touch. The space between us is filled with so much awkward. “You are wearing glasses,” I observe. He agrees, so he repeats, “I am wearing glasses.” Then since it’s now his turn, he says, “You have long hair.” I do have long hair, so I repeat, “I have long hair.” WE DO THIS FOR TWENTY MINUTES. It’s uncomfortable and horrible and everything I try to avoid on a …

A Wildness Within

There is a wild place. Untouched by life, yet very much alive, this place sits at the base of a mountain on the edge of a vast grassland. Experience tells me to look toward the sun. Its brightness, coupled with the flatness of the land, ensures an unobstructed view for miles on end. No hills to climb. Nothing to fear. There is plenty of time to seek shelter when storms approach. My body tells me I am meant for warmth. But in this wild place where sunlight abruptly stops, shadows whisper, “What if?” I respond by pointing my gaze toward the West, away from the warmth of the rising sun, to find my individual story. My restlessness drives me to madness, and in this wild place, I will either find greatness or fall. “No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” —Martha Graham Source: Image by David DeHetre (cc)

Groupon Adventures: Acting Class (Part I)

If life experience is the hormone pumping up the beefy meat of my writing then I’ve got a helluva long way to go. I may have enough white hairs to respectably pull off the GET-OFF-MY-LAWN rant, but not enough to be a wizened old woman. I blame it on having had to move every two years while growing up, but the inexplicable BOREDOM washing over me every few years typically results in me shaving off all my hair then running away to some “exotic” destination. By exotic, I mean any place out of my comfort zone. The adrenaline bump I get from a dose of New Experience (henceforth to be written with capital N and capital E to signify overwhelming importance) is freaking addictive. The excitement from starting a new project, before my risk-adverse and commitment-phobic brain kicks in, is the only thing that stops me from continually ruining my hairstyle and savings account. This time, I decide to buy the first thing I see on Groupon. The first thing after botox and traffic school, …

Random Encounter

“You look so familiar,” some guy says to me while we’re in line at Starbucks, “Are you a well-known writer?” I give the guy a huge smile. Inside, my mind is all like, “FLWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I LOOK LIKE A WRITER!!! THAT’S, LIKE, HALF THE BATTLE, RIGHT??????” Some of the crazy must’ve slipped out because he backpedals and runs away before I say a single word. Source: Image by Tambako (cc)