Posts Tagged 'graduation'

Kumamoto Summer: The Complete Series!

Ten years ago, after graduating with a useless Master’s Degree in Japanese Studies, I panicked and fled the country for a wild and woolly trip around the world.

Five years later, after graduating with a largely useless Master’s of Fine Arts in Film and Video, I again panicked and fled the country. This time, I went to Kumamoto, to work at a Japanese production company and live with my then girlfriend and her family. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Over the three so months I was there in 2003, I shot two commercials that aired on Japanese TV (you can see them here and here), read Gravity’s Rainbow, and suffered a low level headache from speaking Japanese pretty much 24/7.

I documented my time there on my first blog Broad Spectrum Antibiotics and now I’m reposting them, cleaned up and with lots of pictures and links, on WITMOT. You can read the first entry here.

Additional material: I also posted blogs entries from my first visit to Kumamoto here. And you can look at more pics of Kumamoto that I took here.

These are the items want to consume

Hello all. It’s hot here and the days are long with the structuring element of school gone. I’m struggling to stay focused on re-editing my film but instead I’ll retreat to the air conditioned comfort of my favorite coffee shop and read the latest issue of The Believer — a sort of New York Review of Books for the OK Soda crowd.

Actually when I was buying said magazine at Santa Barbara this past weekend, I was in a very weird mood. Perhaps it was the free chai they were doling out, or maybe I had spend too long breathing mall air, or maybe it was residual bad vibes from my mentor’s critical sucker-punch at graduation, but I approached the counter in a strange trance-like state…

Me:These are the items in which want to consume.

Clerk: (after ringing them up): That will be $23.

M: This is the card in which I want to paid for the items I wish to consume.

C: Would you like a bag?

M: Yes, I would like a bag to carry the items I have consumed.

As I was walking away from the counter, in a post-consumption haze, a middle-aged woman dressed from head to toe in pink cut in front of me and proceeded to dawdle in a way that made it impossible to pass her. Before I could even think about what I was doing, I hissed at her like a threatened alley cat. As the startled woman stepped aside muttering “Sorry,” I zipped past her, realizing what I had done. Vaguely embarrassed, vaguely proud I quickly exited the store and told Ted who was waiting outside.


Well, I’ve graduated. I’m done except for my thesis film which remains an albatross slung around my neck. I’ll think of more overwrought metaphors later…

Anyway, Ted came down and videotaped much of the ceremony, which was held in a large courtyard. There were African dancers, massive puppets, some weirdo painted in red, and a least one guy strutting around in speedos and a Mexican wrestling mask. We were told to wait in a nearby hallway where we made teary-eyed promises to keep in touch and we drank cheap beer. This was taken as me and my cohorts were being lead to our seats.

The speakers spoke. I and most of my friends paid more attention to each other and to the hipflasks of cheap whiskey being passed back and forth. It was a very relaxed affair. I got up, walked around a bit. Talked to some of my non-graduating CalArtians. Talked to my mentor who informed me that she suddenly thought that my thesis should be cut by half. If I hadn’t indulged in some of that cheap whiskey, I would have been furious. Not only does that suggestion indicate that she didn’t understand the intent of the piece (and as such has been less than truthful with me for a better part of a year) but her timing shows a real lack of tact. But fortunately, I was three-sheets to the wind at the time.

Later on stage, a fight broke out between Spiderman and a cowboy with another Mexican wrestling mask. Spiderman quickly vanished his opponent and the head of the department shoved them both off stage. By the time I got on stage, sporting my friend Jeff’s secret service shades. The Dean made it clear that there was no time for me dedicate my degree to Dick Cheney and the corporate thugs at Halliburton.

I was given a daisy and a class photo in a binder that looks like it should have a degree. (I’m assuming my degree will be mailed to me.) As I got off stage, someone sprayed that disgusting chemical party string stuff at my forehead.

March 2023

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