Hapa, biracial, multiracial, mixed. There are many names people call me here in America. In Japan, where I grew up, people call me “ha-fu,” or “half”, because my mother is Japanese and my father is European American. But am I, and those who are mixed race in Japan, not full Japanese because we don’t look like standard Japanese people? I am a Japanese citizen, and my first language is Japanese. I consider myself to be both American and Japanese. I’m not only half of a country.
Ariana Miyamoto, Miss Japan 2015, is considered to be only “half” Japanese to some people. Her father is African-American and her mother is Japanese. She is the first mixed-race woman to win the title. She grew up in Japan, speaks the language and is a citizen. What more does she need to do to be considered “Japanese”? From my point of view, there is no question that Ariana is Japanese.
Started in 2009 by artist Jake Parker, it has since grown into a worldwide event.
At this point, many popular artists have created their own iterations of the basic prompt. Like @missupacey ‘s Witchtacular or @lyfeillustration ‘s Goddess Lyfeink16.
This year I have been following many of these artists working through Instagram. I also happen to just browse the art the rest of the world is doing.
It has, thus far, been a really really cool experience because no matter the level of art experience, people who like art are united for a whole month.
The best part is that since it is a self challenge, there aren’t really any hard and fast rules. The art is really up to the artist, they can choose to follow a prompt for all 31 days, parts of a prompt, no prompt, or only certain days.
While I don’t consider myself an artist per say, I do really enjoy art, so I decided to take part in the challenge.
It has been an amazingly eye-opening experience so far.
While I hold no candle to the likes of @missupacey or @lyfeillustration, I have found that I have grown so much in technical ability and ability to translate my creative vision into an actual tangible image.
But most importantly, since starting (a day late albeit) I am finding that I feel happier.
I have a bad habit of reading a lot of good books very quickly. I’ll pick one up and think hmm seems interesting enough and then all of a sudden my Saturday is gone. I realize that somehow I am now reading in the dark.
So, it’s January.
The last word has been read, the cover closed and I want the rest of the story right then and there instantly in my hands. Forget food or anything else. After a cursory search of my shelves I realize I don’t have the second, third, fourth, tenth, or umpteenth book. My heart breaks.
In point two seconds my phone is in hand as I research the next book.
I religiously read the description hoping to glean just a little bit of information before my greedy fingers move to order it.
I move the mouse down till I find the order button.
My heart more than breaks it is razed, obliterated, ground into nothingness.
Receive order on November 2.
I slide out of my seat into a puddle on the floor. The middle of the school year. I can’t help but think, I’ll bet a million bucks I’ll have a calc test to study for, and goodness knows how much other homework.
So I give up, I order it and put it on my shelf to look at me and shake it’s head in disappointment. Every once in a while I’ll look up at it like a scolded kid as I try to figure out the slope of a tangent line before it costs me my grade the next day.
Music is the most powerful of weapons. It is a loaded gun to your mind and you pull the trigger when you press play. The beat is the rounds going BANG, BANG, BANG. The feeling you get, the euphoric experience you get whilst listening to that song is the bullet piercing the depths of your mind, the target.
Music is a drug. Once you listen to a really good song, you’re hooked. You need it. You can’t focus without it. When a song is stuck in your head, it’s like the peak of addiction. It is the moment you can’t go back because the song has ensnared you so deeply in its rhythm, that your mind can’t think of anything else. The only remedy is listening to it again and again and again.
Music is like a flower. Some songs are like deep maroon roses. They’re beautiful to look at, but they’re infested with thorns. The words will sink into your brain like a prick to the finger. Some songs are like smiley daisies. The message sent is that of the bright yellow center and the delicate, white petals.
The thing that is so desirable about music is the other-worldly experience you get. Even if it’s for a split second, one envisions another world while listening to a song or lyric. Each song delivers a message. Peppy songs can lift your attitude. Love songs give you a warm feeling. Sad songs can give you reassurance in a blue stage of your life. The list goes on.
Music is universal. Try listening to a song in a language you don’t know at all. Even if you don’t know what it’s about, you know how the artist feels in a particular moment. You get the feeling. Music is one rare thing that almost everyone can enjoy. Whether it be a beat, a lyric, a voice, or the inter-workings of a piece of music.
Music is like a good book (or a good movie).
A song can go down in history for you. Sometimes I’ll hear a song that is practically a decade old and feel the same I did when I first heard it. A song can’t change, just like a book or movie. There’s something so comforting about the stability of music. If you are totally in love with one song, nothing can stop you from reliving the same experience again and again.
The thing is, I’m not the average “music person.” The person whose earbud is almost surgically attached to their ear. I don’t even own a speaker. I don’t even really listen to music all that much. But when I find a good song, album, or artist, it almost overtakes me. So try listening to a new song, nothing like you’ve ever heard before. You may just surprise yourself.
Celebrities entering the high fashion arena is becoming a common occurrence. Kanye West’s collaboration with Adidas, Yeezy, has released multiple seasons, each season selling out faster than the last. Rihanna’s collection for Puma, FENTY, just showcased its second season. Model Gigi Hadid also did a capsule collection for Tommy Hilfiger.
But these aren’t like the typical celebrity brands being sold in shopping malls, targeted at the masses. Kanye, Rihanna, and Gigi’s collaborations are all being marketed as high fashion. All three of these shows were showcased during fashion week. Kanye’s controversial Yeezy Season 4 was held in Roosevelt Island, garnering countless celebs and fashion’s elite. Gigi’s show, held during NY Fashion Week as well, was a spectacle to say the least. The show, a full-blown carnival theme, had A-list celebrities sitting front, fashion’s top models walking, and a huge social media presence. Rihanna’s show, however, was held during Paris Fashion Week.
These celebrity’s personal styles are influencing these collections, considering many designers couldn’t get away with a collection that looked like it was chewed up by a pack of wolves before it debuted on the runway, besides Kanye West. These celebrities are also transforming these brands such as Adidas, Puma, and Tommy Hilfiger into not just popular brands, but high fashion brands. Do I agree with this, or the fact that celebrities are now becoming “high fashion” designers? Not very much, but it doesn’t matter, people are still going to buy a $800 ripped up sweatshirt from Adidas, because it was “made” by Kanye West.