Jason Porath

has a website, i guess

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My calling

My stepdad just asked me to watch and help contextualize Rising Sun, a movie about Japanese businessmen in LA who murder a Kentucky callgirl and cover it up with mid-90s visual effects software.

I feel that I am uniquely suited to this task.

Europe trip pt. 5: The Things I Carried

Since the holidays are basically over, I can continue writing this blog… and it is only proper, I suppose, to write about the cause of the moratorium — the presents I got for everyone.

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Europe Trip pt. 4: Barcelona

Barcelona. Is. Beautiful.

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Europe trip pt. 3: Madrid

Yeah, I’m not exactly writing these things in detail, I know. I don’t want this blog to be a 5th grader “How I spent my summer vacation” essay, with a list of events in chronological order, punctuated with the occasional “and then.”

So, Madrid.

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Europe trip pt.2: my London hostel

I am going to murder everyone in my hostel.

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Europe trip pt. 1: Edinburgh

So I, being the whimsical lunatic that I am, decided that, before starting at Dreamworks Animation in February, to do a LOT of travel. After all, Dreamworks will be the first long-term job (3 year contract) where I have limited vacation time (as opposed to just up and leaving after a show is done). So I’m hitting up 8 cities in 6 countries, coming back to the states around Christmas, then leaving for Japan at the end of January. It’s exhausting me already!

Here’s the rundown on my first stop, Edinburgh.

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Our fated journey

Kishidan – Wedding March (Mabudachi)

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One Year Later

Five days ago, I got a call from a recruiter at Pixar. She told me that, thanks for my time, but they were moving forward with another candidate. Three weeks ago, I’d interviewed up at their gorgeous campus in Emeryville. I’d felt welcomed, appreciated, accepted.

One week ago, I got an email from a well-known comics creator, informing me he’d have to pass on my short comic pitch for the time being. Five weeks ago, at the insistence of a mutual friend who’d loved my idea, I’d emailed the comics creator with my pitch. I’d thought it’d gone really well.

A month ago, I broke up with a very fantastic girl, whom I haven’t seen since. Three months ago I’d met her at a JET alumni event, and we hit it off immediately. Two months ago, we started dating, holding hands while watching Easy Rider in a cemetery. Five weeks ago, faulty communication and paranoia started putting stress on our relationship. Four weeks ago, I opened up her apartment door to find her drunk, afraid to talk through our issues.

Three months ago, I completely cut off ties with a close friend. We’d met six months earlier, and had grown very close very quickly. She confided in me and I in her, and we even dated briefly. Four months ago, we went on a trip to Las Vegas with friends, and she spent the entire time hanging off the arm of a mutual acquaintance. Two weeks after that, I gave her several expensive baseball tickets as a parting gift, and told her I didn’t want to see her again. Three months ago, I drove off as she threw them at my back window.

Four months ago, I told my workplace I didn’t want to stay around. Three months before that, I’d been made a liaison to the supervisors for my department. One month after that, my boss called me a liar and insulted my work to my face. One month after that, I worked 27 hours in a row to help out a company I didn’t feel respected me. Two weeks after that, they offered me a staff position as a tool-maker, not as an artist. Four months ago, I said no, and next month, I will finally stop making tools for them and go back to being an artist. An unemployed one.

One year ago, I left my job as a teacher. Three days later, I started work at a company that would come to make me miserable. Thirteen months later, I will finally leave it.

One year ago, one of my best friends broke my heart. Four months ago, a good friend broke my heart again. One month ago, I broke someone else’s.

One year ago, I came back from Japan. Tomorrow, I will be in the same place as I was then.

Maa-kun

I lost a friend today.

I met Maa at a Christmas party in Japan — his mom was one of the people organizing it, and he was there helping out. From the get-go, it was clear that he was a little bit off. I’d soon learn that he was diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and light schizophrenia.

Still, he was a delight. He’d dance around and act goofy and make funny faces. We started inviting him out to karaoke and dinner, and he’d always show up on his little yellow scooter, a cigarette dangling from his lips. He loved the color yellow, and would excitedly (and exaggeratedly) yelp out “ye~e~errooo~” whenever we showed him something yellow (including my friend Ananda’s hair).

Maa was going to design school and wanted to make sports shoes for a living. He worked very hard, struggling with his tests, but making good grades. He worked so hard that it was sometimes difficult to get him to come out and join us for our frivolities, but we tried nonetheless. His mom would tell us how much she appreciated it — he didn’t have many other friends.

Almost one year to the day after I met him, Maa killed himself.

I didn’t learn about this until today. My friend Amy, who is still in Japan, went to lunch with her Japanese “grandmother,” and asked about Maa, whom she hadn’t seen in awhile.

“He’s dead,” was the reply.

Amy stammered. “…what?”

“Jisatsu. He killed himself. Suisaido. On Christmas.”

Amy began to tremble. The grandma continued. “Long hair boy right? Yeah, he’s dead. Shinda.” She didn’t even phrase it politely, the way a Japanese person would, by saying “nakunarimashita” (went away).

She then started talking about how delicious the salad was.

When Amy began to cry, the grandmother comforted her by informing her that Maa’s dad had two sons, so it’s okay.

And it’s about there that I completely lost my shit and started crying.

It was preventable. The whole fucking thing was preventable. Maa was always full of life and energy and willing to hang out. And we were the only people who would talk to him. Everyone else ignored him, even his own family — actually, especially his own family.

And I think, if I’d just emailed him a bit more since I came back, invited him out a couple more times, just… done something… he might still be alive. I know I can’t blame myself for this, but…

…this was preventable.

As Amy and I sat there, typing to each other from across the planet and crying, I felt so alone. Like I’d witnessed some sort of secret tragedy, one that nobody would ever know about, that nobody would ever care about. Something I’d carry in silent, in the dark.

And that’s why I’m telling you. I’m telling you that once there was a bright and beautiful person named Maa. He always did his best and never stopped smiling. He was my friend. And now he’s gone.

Child of precious reason

The title of this post is a literal translation of Yukiko’s name. I’ve posted off-and-on about her, but this post is to tie all that up — and really, so I don’t forget, cause god knows I’ve got a shitty memory.

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