Tuesday, December 30, 2008

100 Things I Learned in 2008

1. "It's easier to leave than to be left behind." --REM, “Leaving New York”

2. You can push a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical to a certain point of seriousness.

3. But beyond that point do not attempt to venture.

4. If you do attempt to venture, trust your actors when they start to yank you back.

6. Directing a play is exhilarating and wonderful.

7. Directing a play is scary and lonely.

8. By turns and at the same time.

9. Showing a play to 1000 children under the age of 15 gives new meaning to the word “detail-oriented.”

10. Showing your play to 1000 children under the age of 15 gives new meaning to the word “vulnerable.”

11. For a single, blinding instant, I wanted to throttle every single child who left the auditorium to go to the bathroom.

12. That means that I wanted to commit at least 990 murders.

13. However, when one actress told us that her hairdresser’s six-year-old had sat perfectly still, mesmerized, for the full two hours, I loved the whole world again.

14. The audience never responds the way you think they will… but sometimes they respond even better than that.

15. When the curtain falls on your play for the last time… there are no words.

16. The best way to get over post-show withdrawal is to immediately begin a new show.

17. “I should have raped you and then talked to you. Resistance is futile.” --Matt Lewis

18. “Our audience won’t be that sympathetic to brother-sister incest. Then again, they might. This is Sackville.” --Mark Blagrave

19. Getting to watch the audience figure out that a love scene is actually an incest scene is quite entertaining.

20. When you combine a very organized director and a very organized stage manager, every single detail gets written down at least four times.

21. When in doubt, make more charts.

22. There is a good chance that I am a tech, not an actor.

23. The JET Program has a list of very, very strict rules.

24. According to the paperwork, if you break these rules, you will not be accepted.

25. The actual Program appears to only rarely actually care if you follow these rules.

26. Having interviewees go through security to get to a job interview is a pretty good way to have them thoroughly freaked-out before the interview.

27. Phone interviews can take place at 11 pm.

28. I talk really fast.

29. In person or on the phone.

30. Twisting an interview question so as to be able to admit that seems to go over well.

31. I am hireable!

32. Victory dances in the computer lab of the library are generally frowned upon.

33. Just try to restrain yourself.

34. Oh yeah… I took classes too.

35. I don’t like punk music.

36. And I don’t find it particularly academically interesting, either.

37. I can write essays.

38. I cannot write fiction.

39. Having first-year tests to mark is a good excuse to order overpriced beverages at Bridge Street.

40. Only some of the first-years will improve after they fail the first test.

41. Being busy is good.

42. It is possible to be too busy.

43. When you are too busy, some things will slip through your fingers.

44. Sorry, Rights and Democracy.

45. A Cockney accent is as difficult as a French Canadian accent.

46. There is painful irony in telling an actor to drop her natural abilities at enunciation.

47. I hate accents.

48. I am not sure how I feel about dogs on stage.

49. I am quite sure how I feel about glass and food on stage.

50. Don’t. Just, don’t.

51. Get someone to take a lot of pictures at your college graduation.

52. You won’t remember a thing.

53. It must something about the robes.

54. Graduating, performing in a show, and packing to move home -- all at the same time -- takes so much energy that you won’t have much left to be sad.

55. Sadness comes later.

56. To move overseas, you need an exhaustive and exhausting collection of items.

57. Again, there isn’t a lot of energy left over for being sad.

58. Or being excited.

59. It is possible to entirely the excited-honeymoon stage of culture shock.

60. Jetlag, homesickness, and the other stages of culture shock are a real bummer.

61. Especially when they all hit at the same time.

62. A Japanese junior high school runs on the power of "kawaii" (cute).

63. I am kawaii. On a good day, I am even “lo-vu-lee.”

64. Talking to my students requires the use of a two-way dictionary.

65. But somehow we both still enjoy it.

66. Whatever the foreign teacher does, it is worthy of notice and wonderful and hilarious.

67. Just laugh along.

68. Theatre experience is very useful when living overseas.

69. I can pantomime the concept of a soap dish to a puzzled store clerk.

70. And I don’t even care when people look at me strangely!

71. Being illiterate at 22 is an odd experience.

72. Being vegetarian in Japan means that you will learn the kanji for “niku” (meat) very fast.

73. Niku is everywhere!!!

74. Japanese dollar stores put all American stores (dollar or otherwise) to shame.

75. So does Japanese service.

76. It is really easy to get used to not tipping.

77. Constant shoe-switching is an acquired skill.

78. It is almost impossible to stand in front of something and fully appreciate that it is 400, or 800, or 1200, years old.

79. Having so many chances to practice is an incredible gift.

80. It is easy to become blind to the little differences, the little curiosities, the little miracles.

81. The little things happen every day.

82. Pay attention!

83. August 2009 is creeping up really fast.

84. But August 2010 is really far away.

85. Yes, We Can.

86. Well, actually “Yes, You Can.”

87. I was in the wrong ****ing country! Again!

88. “Breaking up is hard to do.” --Neil Sedaka

89. Even when it’s the right thing to do.

90. Japan loves Christmas decorations to an extreme degree.

91. Japan does not love Christmas to the same degree.

92. Christmas at work isn’t as bad as you might think.

93. Disney is almost as much fun at 23 as it was at 3.

94. People will wait in line for four hours to go on “Pooh’s Hunny Hunt.”

95. I won’t -- but having gone on the ride, I can understand why others will.

96. “It’s a Small World” with Christmas decorations and carols is every bit as good an idea as it sounds.

97. I am the Little Foreigner That Could.

98. Actually, I am the Gigantic, Extremely Tall Foreigner That Could.

99. There are days when I miss being the Regular-Sized Native That Didn’t Have to Try So Hard.

100. I miss you all!

1 comment:

  1. I like this a lot. I might imitate it in my own blog. Or, if I realise I didn't learn that much interesting stuff, just refer to it.