joy magnetism: Lost and found

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Lost and found

Magnet #493 - Hannya


So, this guy - or actually, gal - came from a friend and colleague of mine during his trip to Japan. It's a Japanese nō theatre mask, with two horns, very mean eyes and a giant scary mouth from ear to ear.

Freaky deaky, I know. Supposedly it represents a jealous female demon - she was soooo jealous that she grew those horns. Huh. Ok.

The sad part is that I can't even tell you what the rest of the writing is on the magnet, despite taking Japanese at school. I only took it under extreme motherly duress - she was convinced that I should learn Japanese, so that I could do business in Japan. In the end, I took those three ill-fated semesters of Japanese in college.

Which meant, every Friday, I had a katakana/kanji quiz. Ugh. Oh, I loved writing the characters. Loved. They were so pretty and fun drawing them! It was when I had to actually associate them with words and speaking that I had troubles. Good gravy, those were some of the hardest semesters at Chapel Hill. I hated it.

And guess what, Mom wasn't wrong - my first advertising client was NEC, whose headquarters were in Japan. Oddly, my clients were actually based on Long Island, so I rarely had to interact with their headquarters. But, having not retained one word of it, it was about two years or so on the account that I even confessed that I'd had Japanese in school.

There's a part of me that's a tiny bit envious for those whom Japanese came seemingly easy - for example, the friend/colleague of mine who went to Japan? He took Japanese in school, and ran the complete gauntlet, totally immersing himself in the language and the culture, even went to live there for several years. It's weird how some things stay with people, and some things just fall away...

Here's another weird thing...that same friend/colleague? I lost touch with him after freshman year, as you do. But one day a couple of years ago, I was sitting at my cube minding my own business, and my chairman rounds the corner and introduces us, saying that we had to get to know each other since we were both big Tar Heel fans. And it was a good two minutes before I placed him to JAPN101 at Chapel Hill.

See, that kind of thing happens when you go to smaller schools. But when it's a school of 22,000 kids in NC, you don't often expect former classmates to randomly pop up in your cube in NY.

Talk about freaky-deaky.

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