10 August 2012 @ 03:06 am
sitting in front of my computer holding an ice pack to my mouth because i got my wisdom teeth removed yesterday. it's not like EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL or anything, but it's just constantly noticeable and really distracting, kind of like when you need to pee but not all that much but still just enough that you can't stop noticing that you need to pee, except instead of needing to pee it's ACHING PAIN and you CAN'T PEE IT OUT.

anyway, i am back because i dug up my old marble journal a few days ago while trying to inventory my things so that i can figure out how to pack enough stuff for half a year in denmark while still being under the 20 kg luggage limit WHAT THE HELL THAI AIRLINES. and i looked at it and realized i haven't been writing anything here OR there which is really frustrating because i have been having THOUGHTS A LOT???

so i'm currently experimenting with living in taipei for two months as female. (ALSO I HAVE BEEN IN TAIPEI FOR THE PAST MONTH AND A HALF??? i am so terrible at this aaaaaa) this is sort of in response to my two months in japan last summer as male, which MIGHT HAVE MESSED ME UP A BIT (maybe psychologically but also practically as i may or may not explain at some point later or in another post or something) but also helped me see a lot of things more clearly and work out a lot of stuff so i figured it might be worth trying to try living as female again and see how i take it. [*]

[*] by living as male, i mean that i was read as male by my host family and most of my classmates, i used male facilities and pronouns, and in general attempted to present myself as male (binding, speaking in a lower pitch, using masculine forms of speech when speaking in japanese, etc). i did not explicitly call myself male, but all unofficial documents labeled me as such. by living as female, i mean that most people are unaware that i do not identify as female, i use female facilities and pronouns, i go by my relatively feminine chinese name, and while i've still been wearing the same clothes as always i have not been binding. i have not explicitly called myself female, but all official and unofficial documents label me as such.

during the conversation with my parents mentioned in the previous post, my mom expressed concern that i'd been "tricking" those i'd met in japan by allowing myself to be perceived as male. i sort of tried to explain stealth-shaming and how binary-identified trans* people living as their identified gender are not tricking anybody in the same way that cis people living as their identified gender are not tricking anybody. I JUST WANTED THEM TO UNDERSTAND sdkjflhs but while this doesn't quite apply to me, neither can i actually present as my actual gender because most people aren't even aware that it exists. so no matter what i do, i suppose i'm "tricking" people in some way?

and yeah, that DOES make me uncomfortable, actually. but it's not like i can go up to everyone i meet and be like HI I'M JESSIE AND BY THE WAY I'M NOT A BOY OR A GIRL THANKS FOR ASKING NICE TO MEET YOU.

but to her, "pretending" to be female wouldn't be nearly as bad as "pretending" to be male, because y'know, i have a vagina and all that girlstuff. to her, i wouldn't actually be tricking anyone. i mentioned my discomfort with not being completely honest with my host family last summer, and she perceived that as my "understanding" that there is something wrong with "pretending" to be male. but actually, now that i'm "pretending" to be female, i sort of do feel a bit of the same fakeness, but in a less stressful way?? (THERE ARE SO MANY QUOTATION MARKS IN THIS PARAGRAPH.)

a common image of the deceptive transsexual depicts them as taking a perverse pleasure in tricking people. and to be honest, while i wouldn't quite put it in those terms, i'm probably closer to that right now than i would be if i was presenting as male. as male, my reaction to people is more one of nervousness, that they may realize i'm not maab. as female, i can use the women's restroom and do women things and all that and pretty much nobody will ever realize i'm not a woman unless i tell them. so if it IS trickery, it's more successful trickery, i suppose. which allows me to be a bit more relaxed, and possibly even lets me gloat about the fact that i'm "passing" so well. i'm still constantly aware that i'm not female, but i don't actually feel any dysphoria or anything.

so if i'm able to handle living as female so well, why don't i just do that? while i may not be, it's certainly easier on me legally and socially. if i'm able to access cis privilege by pretending to be cis, should i? do i even want to?

in the beginning i think i basically identified as male for quite some time, but now that i've mulled over genderthings for quite a few years now (seriously, i just want to figure this stuff out and be done with it and move on to thinking about more exciting things augh), i think my identity is becoming increasingly fluid and ambiguous and also more politicized. if i wanted to, i could probably get by living as female without significant distress about being perceived as female. i could probably even choose to identify as female. if i wanted to, i could probably start taking testosterone and physically transition and get by living as male without significant distress about being perceived as male. i could probably even choose to identify as male. but i do need this, in some way. i need people to know i exist, the way i am, and that this is a legitimate existence, and so i choose to identify the way i do.

which is WEIRD because i'm not really that into debating gender or explaining gender theory to people and i've always kind of wished i could be androgynous without people noticing or without drawing attention to my androgyny? BASICALLY I JUST WANT TO BE ME WITHOUT HAVING TO POLITICIZE MY IDENTITY, BUT IN ORDER FOR THAT TO HAPPEN I NEED TO POLITICIZE MY IDENTITY.

kjdsghsdg DOES THAT MAKE SENSE i am figuring out most of this as i write and i will probably look back at it later and realize that it was ALL A LIE.
location: Taiwan, Taipei
mood: contemplative
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05 July 2011 @ 02:45 pm
been pretty short on time lately (note to self: next time you have to write a paper about some aspect of japanese culture IN JAPANESE, pick something easy, like food, instead of trying to explain the historical origins of discrimination against minority groups in japan and how that has permeated modern society, using a second grader's level of japanese), but i do want to get back into the habit of writing regularly. not just because i feel antisocial, but also because i don't WRITE enough. used to write long, detailed entries EVERY DAY in middle school about anything at all and i don't know what happened but i can't seem to do that anymore. (i'm sure being bombarded with japanese 24/7 hasn't exactly helped my already-not-so-great english, either.) it's just so easy to put off posts for one more day, one more day, one more day, and suddenly it's been a month of nothing but a half-written draft.

but to start, thanks for the comments on the previous entry! i feel a bit bad because i haven't been reciprocating, but hopefully once i ease myself back into using lj regularly i'll get back into commenting as well. i've just been pretty terrible at this whole thing, haha.

anyway, not going to get into gender issues right now. instead, some amusing stories about cultural/linguistic misunderstandings (i haven't had much trouble with my own family, but i've gotten plenty of stories from other students):

on sarcasm )
mood: sleepy
location: kanazawa, japan
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18 June 2011 @ 10:38 pm
passed the three month mark of not posting (publicly), which is a bit saddening considering how often i used to write. but i'm not dead, not really! i've just been posting a lot of private entries (mostly about a certain person) and writing by hand (mostly about religion) in a marble notebook which is starting to look suspiciously like something that should belong to a serial killer. NOT THAT I'M SUGGESTING ANYTHING /hides knives

ANYWAY, hi. way too much stuff has happened since pax for me to cover it all, but to start with the most recent significant development: i'm currently in japan! living with a host family for two months and taking intensive language classes with the princeton in ishikawa program. a few complications have cropped up regarding the fact that i declined to select a gender on the application (and subsequent administrative forms). that, combined with the fact that my dad has recently been pressing me to confront my increasingly inconvenient and complicated gender issues, has finally brought those issues to the forefront, and there will likely be some significant changes in how i go about my life following the summer.

mentioning these issues, however, led me to realize that i never even wrote about them on my livejournal in the first place. i don't think any of you (besides a few who know me offline, and maybe one or two others -- but even then, only vaguely) have the slightest idea of what i'm talking about when i say "my gender issues" -- not to mention the other things (most notably previously mentioned religion/certain person, plus a few other things) that have been occupying my mind lately. i guess i never was able to think of my livejournal as the first place to come to with my more abstract/serious thoughts, which in a way probably contributed to my recent disappearance. went and skimmed through some old entries and realized just how many things i had made private, for no reason other than that they addressed something relatively more serious/introspective than my usual drivel.

may or may not go into further detail on any number of these things, depending on interest or a later urge to ramble, but just wanted to post SOMETHING, since i'd hate to disappear without a word.

THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST SERIOUS-SOUNDING POST I'VE MADE IN A RIDICULOUSLY LONG TIME so here is a picture of a turtle skateboarding to balance it all out.

in more mundane news, my friend tori convinced me to buy a kindle, and i have since been working my way through isaac asimov's entire bibliography. hnnnnnngh isaac asimovvvv ♥
location: kanazawa, japan
mood: contemplative
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24 August 2010 @ 11:50 pm

anyway, if anyone's interested, here's my two week late photo dump. i actually cut down the number/size from facebook, so if you want to see all of them there's more there. it's still RIDICULOUSLY IMAGE HEAVY, though, so be warned.

location: scarsdale, ny
mood: blah
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10 August 2010 @ 11:57 am

picspam to come (it's already up on facebook so feel free to add me there!)
location: scarsdale, ny
mood: satisfied
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04 August 2010 @ 10:09 am
spent all of monday getting from hong kong to sapporo. had a fun time getting around since i'm the only person who speaks a word of japanese (and that's... not very much...), but luckily i picked the right person to ask for directions. she probably spoke like five words of english but she was ridiculously nice and helped us for like twenty minutes finding the taxi stand and directing the driver to the right address and waving us off as we drove away.

my mom did all the vacation planning so we had no idea where we were staying. she really likes the whole backpacking tourists thing so we ended up staying at a hostel even though we have like 100kg of luggage or something and i also don't think families usually stay at hostels. i like it, though -- it's fun meeting other people and the whole place is really chill and feels more like a home than a hotel would.

tuesday we went to some really touristy ramen shop for lunch, then walked around the city for most of the day. after being in hong kong/china it's really nice to have some cool weather fffff. went to a shopping arcade, stopped by a game center and watched some of the crazy intense gamers. played time crisis 4 with my brother, a few rhythm games, street fighter... went to a few other souvenir shops and other stuff and bought a few things.

after we got to the end of the mall we walked towards this park that was on our map thing and there were like five beer gardens in a row so my mom stopped and got some sapporo beer. my brother and i played in the kids park, which had like a water park and ridiculously epic slides and my brother doesn't like japan anymore because it's "too cool for america." i got takoyaki. all you can eat lamb for dinner and one of the waiters looked like an asian evgeni plushenko.

took a taxi to book-off where i bought some artbooks and mugen no juunin. walked back to the hostel where i sat around in the living for a couple hours watching some tv drama with/secretly doodling portraits of the hosts.

today we took a train to otaru. everything is melon flavored. there's some character thing that's in all the shops and is basically a creepy-face marimo with a hard on and i bought a cd. i wanted to go see the marimo in hokkaido but it's too far. :( basically walked around and looked at lots of shops the whole day. stopped by various places for lunch and dinner, really good food. we bought a melon!

going to tokyo tomorrow afternoon. we'll be staying in ikebukuro so i guess i should watch out for flying vending machines.
mood: relaxed
location: sapporo, japan
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19 July 2010 @ 06:25 am
STAYING UP ALL NIGHT TO FIGHT JETLAG, YEAH (and also to pack since i haven't started yet;;;)


i'll be in hong kong, china (I FORGOT WHERE, SOMEWHERE IN MAINLAND), and japan (sapporo and tokyo), so if you're around or if you want me to get you something awesome just let me know!

I HAD TO GO BACK AND FIX THE SPELLING ON THIS ENTRY LIKE FIVE TIMES i am really tired. i'd been planning on staying up all night since i hadn't packed yet and had some other things i wanted to finish but then there was the park event (apparently >700 kids came, wow) and i walked like twenty blocks to [livejournal.com profile] ketsune's house in HEAT WARNING WEATHER and then we went to flushing and walked around some more and ate noodles and did purikura so i don't have much energy left sob
location: scarsdale, ny
mood: exhausted
17 February 2010 @ 03:32 pm
YEAHHHH BACK FROM RETREAT tl;dr it was awesome. )

i got my host person and sent her an email. we're supposed to attach a photo of our family but i don't think we have any non-stupid family photos fffff i need to find a normal-looking one. her name is yui murata and she likes singing, shopping, and baseball. singing's a good common ground, and we can definitely take her shopping as much as she wants, but baseball? i asked mrs. matano about it and she was all, "well your family's into basketball, right? same thing." and i was like aaaaaaaaaaaa what i don't know anything about baseball

on a somewhat related note, i'll be going to japan for about a week in the summer (in addition to the usual hong kong and taiwan). IF ANYONE WANTS ME TO BUY THEM ANYTHING LET ME KNOW LOL
location: 10583
mood: bouncy
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