My slice of life

Finding Self-Acceptance Through Translation+Translation Request+End of Chapter 1

Hey guys, how’s life going on your side? It’s Glasses-Kun here~

It’s the first of August here, and I thought this would be a nice time to do some reflection. So here we go~

 *Warning. If you don’t want to read some heavy stuff and just want to find more about translation, just keep scrolling to the bottom.*

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As some of you might already know after having checked my ‘About Glasses-Kun’ page or my Twitter account, I’m a Korean. Yeah…I’m not a Japanese.

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I’ve encountered numerous people who were like,”Oh cool, you are a Korean!” through my international school, church, part-time jobs and etc. But to be frank, I didn’t really get why some individuals make it sound as if I should feel happy to be a Korean.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine with the fact that I am a Korean. And to a certain extent, I can see why some foreigners might think being a Korean is pretty cool. In the last several years, Korean culture has been attracting lots of interest worldwide. Korea’s beautiful girl K-pop groups(Ex.Girl Generation, Red Velvet, Bae Suzy are great. Sorry, I digress), handsome K-pop boy groups(Ex.BTS.), foods, entertainments(Ex.Running Man), movies(Ex.Train to Busan) and more.

But while Korea has its charms, it also has its flaws. As someone who suffered from these shortcomings during childhood, I can’t help but have slight aversion to moments when someone speaks of Korea as if it’s a paradise.

The main drawbacks in Korea that I’ve experienced myself are Korea’s education system and bullying that happens inside it. Korea’s education system seems to determine a student’s value and future(no exaggeration here) through his/her academic scores. As a result, this kind of environment causes the children and parents to place academics above everything. Youth? Romance? Friendship? Sport? Pfft, kids, just put them aside for now; if you don’t study, you will have no job and no future. This is what I was told when I was in my kindergarten.

When I was in the 2nd year of my elementary school, I was already daily studying until 1am. Morning to afternoon would be spent at my school, and the rest of my time until about 8-9pm would be spent at academic institutions. Occasionally, when I managed to come home early, I would have my dinner with my grandparents and watch TV. Fictional works(western movies, Japanese+Korean animations) had provided me escapism, which helped me and my friends to hold onto our sanity. If it weren’t for them, we would probably have broken down……..

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(But these challenging experiences helped me grow. You will see how by the end of this post). 

(more…)

Glasses-Kun’s Reflection about the Overall Blog Progress, Expression of Gratitude and Some Rambling About Translation

Hey guys, this is Glasses-kun here.

I was going to say “Ladies and Gentlemen”, but I realized that it is more likely that everyone visiting my blog is male. Considering the type of translation projects I handle. *Manly Tears*

This is fine. Brotherhood is cool in its own way.  (more…)

High school graduation and what anime has done for me.

So I am no longer a high schooler. I just graduated from my high school two days ago. And it got me thinking…man, what a ride it was.

No doubt, my high school life was the period of biggest growth for me. Now that I saw the end of it, I understand better why many creators in anime, manga and light novel industry love the high school setting so much that it is overused in anime. Besides from the fact that the large market segment of the industry likely consists of high schoolers, high school life is also a pivotal stage that involves struggles and growths that many of us can relate to, regardless of our ages, genders or races.

It is during this time when some of us face challenges such as identity crisis, cynical phase (like Hikigaya from oregairu), intense academic pressure, relationship problems (friendship and love), bullying, insecurity, self-contempt, self-acceptance and others. In order to hide our vulnerability and avoid feeling hurt, we often hide our true feelings and thoughts. As a result, we can be misunderstood, and this could lead us to feel this devastating sense of loneliness. As if there is nobody out there who sees and empathizes with your genuine-self. Neither our family members nor our friends, whom we cherish dearly.

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And anime shines compellingly as a medium of storytelling because it deftly explores these universal issues. These problems are not just limited to high school period, and anime explores them in refreshing directions that other forms of media do not usually use. By doing so, it touches our hearts. (more…)

Round Square Conference: The Essence of Youth I had been seeking

Although UWCSEA school plaza’s tent fortunately protected me from scorching sunlight, it could not improve neither the hot weather nor the suffocating haze from Indonesia, as long as I was outside. The fact that I had to wear jeans for the conference did not improve the situation.

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Round Square Conference is an annual conference that prepares students for the future. Every year, a different school is given the responsibility to ensure a successful and memorable conference, and numerous representatives from approximately 150 schools from different countries attend the conference. United World College South East Asia— the school I attend— was in charge of the 2015 Round Square Conference

Colors of Kattike, a student-led group that raises awareness and funding for non-profit organization in Nepal, was running a small hotdog stall during the Round square Conference, but did not have enough volunteers. As a member of both Round square’s leadership and sponsorship committees, I would have to be present at school for the conference during the weekend; so, I volunteered. It had been a long time since I interacted with middle schoolers, so I thought it would be interesting. After all, they would likely not talk about academics as seriously as those in my year. Moreover, I had zero experience with any cooking; sooner or later, I would have to learn how to cook for myself, so this interesting opportunity was “killing two birds with one stone”. But on Sunday, the event turned out to be slightly different from what I had expected.

Firstly, there were no juniors; instead, there were six teachers from the service department. None of the volunteers were able to be present for personal reasons. Therefore, the adults volunteered to help. Secondly, it wasn’t just a small hotdog stall that you would expect to see on Orchard street; it was actually pretty huge. It was the biggest hotdog stall I had ever seen in my life. Lastly, I realised that I was expected to serve a much larger amount of people than I had initially assumed. When I signed up, I thought I would be able to learn cooking little by little while serving about 100 people at most; now, I was told that I had to serve close to 1000 hungry delegates over three hours. The unexpected increase in workload was overwhelming, and I honestly felt rather nervous. It was almost as if my orchestra conductor suddenly nominated me to play an unfamiliar solo piece on the day of the performance. Yet, this was a great challenge. It was a rare chance to test my teamwork with adults. After all, not only were we so understaffed that I was selected as one of the main members of the cooking team, but we also had countless people to feed so we had to cook continuously.

By the time Ms.Jane finished informing me, my senior staff members and I had less than half an hour to start cooking the meat. Every delegate was listening to a keynote speaker in the sports hall; the presentation would not end for another 25 minutes. During the first 8 minutes, with the staffs’ guidance, I figured out the basic process of cooking garlic and onions; during the next 10 minutes, I attempted to perfect the art of grilling pork and chicken sausages as much as possible. Throughout the entire process, my eyes teared up three times because of the onions. Whenever this happened, I chuckled because the situation felt so surreal. I felt incredibly out of place because I was the only teenager. In addition, I was the only one with no cooking experience at all. Yet, I was now partly responsible for cooking for 1000 people, when I had only just learned how to properly cook a hotdog several minutes ago. I loved this sensation of absurdity and challenge; it was the essence of youth I had been seeking.

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Initially, although there was a hint of panic in the atmosphere, everyone’s movement was coordinated and efficient. I thought we could finish the preparation with no problems; but soon, things went haywire. In an attempt to clean up the surface of our grills, an elderly female teacher carefully placed a pile of tissue papers on them. As a result, we suddenly had massive clumps of burning paper next to our sausages.

By the time we had solved the issue, we only had 3 minutes to rest before facing a wave of starving delegates. Most of us were still trying to gather ourselves from the fire and were hardly prepared to begin calmly distributing food. Despite this, I felt a strong rapport between my fellow volunteers, regardless of our age gap. I already felt glad I chose not to stay at home. I would probably have spent my time either sleeping or just surfing the internet in my room alone.

As a student of economics, one of the first concepts that I learned was supply and demand. As the price of a good rises, the quantity demanded decreases and supplied increases; it is the basic rule. After all, economics focuses on the optimum allocation of resources, and nobody would be willing to give resources for free. However, my situation was an exception to that rule. We were planning to provide 6 boxes of free hotdogs to approximately 1000 delegates, when there are not many other rivalling food stalls. Now, imagine the quantity demanded…I literally could not see the end of the customer line.

If there had been no deafening EDM (Electronic Device music) from the speaker above me, I would not have lasted that long. In front of me were three connected tables, on which hotdogs were piled up like gargantuan meat pyramids. They were separated into three categories: pork, chicken and vegetarian. Behind me were two barbecue grills. I was so close to them that I could clearly hear the sizzling meat, occasionally tempting me to look away from my work station. However, the demands of the ravenous horde were much louder.

***

Unlike my time at Koi Cafe, there was no air-conditioning; instead, we were honoured with the presence of the Indonesian haze. Moreover, the customers did not come in regular intervals; they arrived in one large wave. Yet, I felt alive; I felt more alive than I had ever had in the last few months. I was excited from the frantic energy of the situation. I lost count of how many customers I had served. I was working at the same pace as the other staff and received equal respect from them. I was accepted. This sense of achievement acted as a powerful drive. I consistently greeted, served, and thanked the delegates as I served them their food. Similar to my time at Koi Cafe, I encountered an incredibly wide range of people from different countries. While some customers were very amiable and smiled at me, several people did not even look at my face. Moreover, the delegates from my own Bazara group, a group that consisted of delegates from other schools, did not even notice that I was there. Yet, the experience was refreshing, as I met countless new people. Certainly, there were moments when I almost felt overwhelmed; however, there were also plenty of moments that revitalized me, such as my meeting with a Japanese delegate’s daughter, who gave me the brightest smile I had seen in the last two years and reinvigorated my desire to become a teacher.

After three hours, there was no more food; yet, the line was as long as it was three hours ago. I chuckled. What an experience it was.

“Sorry, everyone. We are out of food now. I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.”

After this announcement, the line dispersed as quickly as it had appeared; and in a few minutes, there was no trace of anyone. The BBQ event was finally over, but my heart instead felt hollow.

After thanking the other staff members, I called for a taxi. As we departed, I noticed the driver turning on the air-conditioning to maximum level. Noticing my stare, the driver laughed,

“You had a sport day, right? You deserve it.”

I was confused by his comment only for a moment. After seeing the condition of my jeans, I understood, without looking at myself through the phone camera, what a mess I was. I was literally covered in grease and sweat; I also smelled like a combination of three different sausage types; but I never felt so alive since I started IB. All I needed was just a cool shower.

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