Author Archives: Gabrielle Pilgrim

Two Halves of the Same Time Being

 Although Nao’s Feelings of Isolation are central to the novel, the reader senses isolation in Ruth as well. Is there a way in which Nao and Ruth form two halves of the same character? Why do you think Ruth feels that Nao’s Diary was written specifically for her?



  [ahy-suh-ley-shuhn, is-uh-]  Show IPA


1. an act or instance of isolating.

2. the state of being isolated.

3. the complete separation from others of a person suffering from contagious or infectious disease; quarantine.

4. the separation of a nation from other nations by isolationism.

5. Psychoanalysis . a process whereby an idea or memory is divested of its emotional component.


Isn’t that one of Nao’s goals, to make Ruth (or anyone who found the diary) feel like it was written for her? Then again, when you can relate to a character on an emotional level this tends to happen.

Nao and Ruth could be two halves of the same whole. Nao does more things impulsively, while Ruth plans out her actions. Both of them let their emotions lead their lives most of the time, taken from what they feel is comfortable, forced to adapt. They however handle these similar situations very differently. Nao tries to escape her isolation by finding her happiness away from school and home, Ruth escapes through either writing or trying to find out more information about Nao and her family. It probably doesn’t help that Ruth may see herself in Nao, going through similar struggles when she was younger. Both of them ended up being more connected to one another than they first expected. It’s amazing how much a book can change a person’s life.

Who Are You? Am I a Time-Being Too?

Ozeki quotes Dogen Zenji on page 259: ” Every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, at the same time they exist as individual moments of time. Because all moments are the time being, they are your time being.” What does it mean to be a time-being? Do you think Nao, Ruth, and Oliver share the same understandings of what a time-being is?


What does it mean to be a time-being?

time [tahym]


1. the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another.

2. duration regarded as belonging to the present life as distinct from the life to come or from eternity; finite duration.

3. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) a system or method of measuring or reckoning the passage of time: mean time; apparent time; Greenwich Time.

4. a limited period or interval, as between two successive events: along time.

5. a particular period considered as distinct from other periods: Youth is the best time of life.

Am I a time-being? I do not know. There are times where I feel that I do not want to be constricted to time, so I don’t look at any of the clocks around me. Though I know that time and I will always be connected. I do not try to stop time, just like I do not let time try to stop me.  I exist in with time, in time. But is time a being itself? I think I’m getting ahead of myself here.


  [bee-ing]  Show IPA


1. the fact of existing; existence (as opposed to nonexistence).

2. conscious, mortal existence; life: Our being is as an instantaneous flash of light in the midst of eternal night.

3. substance or nature: of such a being as to arouse fear.

4. something that exists: inanimate beings.

5. a living thing: strange, exotic beings that live in the depths of the sea.


I don’t think that Nao, Ruth, and Oliver each have their own definition of what a time being is. Oliver would look at it from a scientific standpoint, applying quantum mechanics while petting pesto on his lap. Ruth would listen but still think of it from more of an emotional perspective, recollecting her dream with Nao’s father and the pages of the diary vanishing and reappearing. Potentially thinking that the journal is a time-being itself. And Nao’s deifinition would be based around old Jiko’s teachings. They might share an understanding, but it will be interpreted in different ways for each individual.

Let Me Tell You a Story, Time Being

Imagine that you had a notebook like Nao’s diary and you wanted to communicate with an unknown reader as she does. What would you write about? Would you be as honest as Nao is with us? What are the benefits and risks of writing such a document?


Calling it a document seems to belittle what Nao’s diary is. It makes the journal seem like something that should just be filed away and looked at when research deems it necessary, nothing more. Which feels so wrong…

There is always a benefit of telling your own story for yourself and for others; to educate, to look back, to grow. Self reflection it a skill that can be difficult for people, because it is through this that we must be honest with not only ourselves but our pasts and the choices we have made as individuals. It can be worth it, it’s just up to what you want to tell with your story.

Personally, I could write about a lot; seeing that I’m a low income first generation college student who is a female of color. I have enough struggles to write my own novel. However, I don’t want to only write about all of the pain and misery I have had to struggle through to get to where I am. I admit that all of this is important but it’s not all that my life is about. I would write about my mother, and how she is an amazing individual who knows that she can make mistakes. I would write about my friends, who have sometime been there for me more than my actual family members. I would write about how my goals for the future have changed so much over the years. I would write about cosplay, conventions, music. And use quotes that have touched me at one point or another in my life. Lastly, I would write about my three muses; the moon, stars, and rain. I would be as with what I write about as I am to myself about the events I’m recollecting.

There are only two risks I can see happening with telling your own story. The first, is that no one can connect with it. That it touches no one, doesn’t inspire, that it’s just another “document”. The second risk is an obvious one, you are putting your truth in the public eye. Which can cause certain things to happen depending on the content of your story. But hopefully, the benefits outweigh the risks and you will grow from telling your story.

A self reflected evaluation

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
― Bruce Lee

In life, you must absorb what you need in order to grow. However, in doing this, you shouldn’t forget where you came from. Some can say that this can also be applied to pop culture. In this class, I have become more aware of the history of Asian Americans in the U.S. that isn’t usually told while also analyzing the popular culture of today and making connections with these and my own passion for the time being.

That is the key to popular culture; making connections through time. To be able to see that the popular culture of the past isn’t always different as you think from the popular culture of now. We explored the origins of the trope known as the Dragon Lady, placed on Asian/American actresses in film, the stereotype of the overachieving smart Asian student, and websites like We learned to analyze things in a new way using our hello kitty lunchboxes; an item of time can be an ipod, used to measure time based on when a song ends. And letter can be a movie used to show your appreciation for a popular culture that is from a different shore.

With class, I began to grow curious, delving further and further into the cosplay community. I found out that, just like with popular culture, not everything is as it first seems. There are so many problems going on; inequality among cosplayers, elitism, and public harassment (sexual and otherwise). Even with events like Cosplay World Summit, which is an event that supports the coming together of many different cultures for a common passion, these problems continue to persist. This is something I refuse to let continue, one person can make all the difference.

Though, you can only do so much when you already have too much on your plate. Unfortunately, I overestimated myself and took on way more than I could handle. This caused my work to slip along with my health, and gradually I fell into a hole that I couldn’t get out of. Looking back, I should have talked to my faculty and been more inclined to ask my classmates for assistance. With all of the challenges I faced this quarter, I’m relieved I was able to make it until the end.

As I continue with my higher education, I will remember these notes:

  • History is usually told by the victor. Try listening to the victim instead.
  • Use your “supapawa” to be the change you seek.
  • Popular culture is an ever-evolving concept that is enhanced and widely received by society.
  • I may not know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to do everything and then some. Set your priorities and manage your time wisely.
  • It is ok to not be ok and ask for help, communication is key.

Cosplay World Summit

To put it in simple terms, it is the Olympics of Cosplay.

Click here to view the embedded video.

A team of two cosplayers from each of the 25 participating nations/regions are chosen to represent their country in the event hosted in Japan. WCS is an event that brings many different backgrounds together in celebration of their love for anime and manga. The cosplayers go through preliminary competitions and have to have certain criteria in order to be chosen for WCS. Once the team is chosen, they must not only fabricate all new costumes but create a three to five minute stage routine. The interesting part is, none of the participants are costuming professionals. It’s actually in the rules, no professionals are allowed to participate in this event. Crazy right?! Cosplayers of this caliber; able to interweave lights into armor, fabricate dresses that transform, and build wings that move are not professionals. Going to WCS does a lot for your cosplay career whether you win or not. From a business standpoint, it’s a lot of exposure (especially considering that it’s on an international level). Another rule is that can only cosplay characters that are of Japanese origin. Interesting right?

“Pageants are reflections of larger social forces.” - Dave’ pg. 204

In a way, CWS is a new form of beauty pageant (A really nerdy beauty pageant).  Ironically enough, it’s forces competitors to do their research and appropriate enough to follow the rules they have created. Not only do they have to look the part, but act and used Japanese audio during their performance. The teams represented their country while still becoming a part of the Japanese culture through cosplay. Taking a close look at the rules, (no costumes that are skimpy, no dangerous weapons, et all.) I can see the various parallels. Part of me actually wonders if the contestants are as catty as some of the Japanese American beauty pageant girls were in the 1980′s.


“East Main Street: Asian American Popular Culture” Dave’, Nishime, Oren


An Understanding of Communication For The Time Being



[kuh-myoo-ni-key-shuhn]  Show IPA


1. the act or process of communicating; fact of being communicated.
2. the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.
3. something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted.
4. a document or message imparting news, views, information, etc.
5. passage, or an opportunity or means of passage, between places.
Each time you communicate with someone (or something), you’re learning from them. Even if you’re learning something small. Communication is an opportunity to gain and impart knowledge onto someone. You can communicate in various ways, talking, yelling, social networking. Sometimes you’re communicating without even thinking about it. Through facial expression, body language, your tone, the way you write, the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, all of these are different forms of communication! Your behavior, emotions, how you look at people!
These forms are overlooked when the topic of communication is brought up. Most people are limited to talking, or signing, or writing. Even if you don’t do anything you are communicating something! Silence speaks on so many levels. No words. Even music communicates with us, on various levels as well. Even if I ended this with an image instead words, it would speak to you in one way or another. Don’t believe me?
(Also, this GIF is my reaction to the novel. Too many feels!!! Feels = emotions)
Each of the characters communicate in their own way as well, though their methods vary based on their personality and experiences.
She communicates when it’s necessary to her, when she either wants to know or understand something. She communicates from more of an emotional place usually and filters what he say very often.
She only really communicates the thoughts in the journal. She really doesn’t talk to others that much, not even her own parents. She though when she does decide to communicate, it can be very brash and not always well thought out. She says what she thinks.
Communitcates by comparing Nao and Ruth’s experiences to our own. Questioning the author’s purpose for writing this text, wondering why they wrote this and why in this method. Why center the book around time? Why did she end the book where she did? Is the character Ruth actually the author or is the name similarity jut mere coincidence? (I doubt that)

Rantings of a Stressed College Student

I read

I did

I did the reading, I swear!!!

Please just, I did the readings…. I did. Sadly, I don’t remember them.

If you were to try to quiz me, I’d fail.

But… But I did them. And in the time I was supposed to.

I even spoke up during seminar, and tried to make connections.

I asked questions.

But nothing stuck. I couldn’t write about it because nothing stuck. None of it. No matter how hard I tried, nothing stuck.

The cover is bent, the spine is wrinkled, some of the pages are dogeared.

I read I swear.

“Rumors about us came and went fast and furious.”

The title is a quote from the movie, Better Luck Tomorrow.

Which is directed by Justin Lin, who also directs The Fast and The Furious Tokyo Drift. Which also stars Sung Kang, who plays a character named Han. There is a character named Han in both movies. In Better Luck Tomorrow, Han is a high school kid that smokes, steals, and takes good care of his car. In the Fast and Furious Series, Han is seen very often eating snacks because he has stopped smoking, he still steals but on a much grander scale, and definitely still has a thing for cars.


“Although not “officially” part of the Fast and the Furious franchise, as repeatedly confirmed by director Justin Lin and actor Sung Kang, an integral part of the story. The film tells the story of Han Seoul-Oh in high school, before meeting Dominic Toretto in Mexico, as confirmed in the short film Los Bandoleros.
During the Fast and the Furious series, is possible to find many easter egg that refer to this film, like the one in Fast Five, in which Gisele Yashar reminds Han of being a former smoker, referring to his habits in Better Luck Tomorrow. Justin Lin explained that, due to the restrictions of the Universal show scenes in which one of the protagonists smoke, have had to make and replace the habit of smoking of Han with always something to eat to keep hands full, because the character has lost the habit of smoking before the events of Los Bandoleros.
One scene in Better Luck Tomorrow also features the line “Rumors about us came and went fast and furious.”.”

^ Directly quoted from the wiki page for Fast and Furious


Chibi Chibi Con Aftermath

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What can I say? I had a blast. Though parts of it was really stressful.

I didn’t totally finish my costume, actually I had an emotional breakdown the morning of because of not finishing everything I wanted to.  I stressed myself out, made myself sick. And I cried. For a good 10 minutes, I cried. My friends were so confused and didn’t know how to react. I was miserable because no ones costume was finished and everyone was so stressed. I just wanted to dress up and have fun with my friends. I got so caught up that I forgot why I cosplay in the first place.

I walked to the convention. Eyes red, mother on the phone trying to cheer me up, heart in my stomach feeling like things were just going to get worse. Some of the volunteers actually saw how miserable I was, I explained the situation and they understood wholeheartedly. They’d all been there before. 

About an hour went by and the con was in full swing. And people started recognizing who I was cosplaying as. I was met with smiles and sweet comments on quite a few occasions. Though there were multiple times throughout the convention that parts of my costume broke….

Then the most memorable moment of my cosplay career happened. I was about to leave the con, to go and get ready for my performance in the Vagina Monologues, when one of the volunteers caught my attention. They told me that someone had been looking for me, talking about me a lot. It caught me off guard, I already ran into everyone I knew. Who else would be looking for me? With further explanation, it became clear. They were looking for me because they were a fan of RWBY, the series that the character I was cosplaying as was from. I agreed to come along, figuring they just want a picture or they were just going to be let down because of some self deprecating reason. To my surprise, when I entered the room I was met with a boy who was sitting on the floor, his hands on his face, a huge smile appeared, his eyes lit up with joy, the purest expression of awe. He exclaimed that he was so happy that he got to see me, I was the first Ruby cosplayer he’d seen. He was overjoyed (and of course asked for a picture, which I was ok with). I couldn’t believe it. He said he wanted to cosplay another character but wasn’t able to make the costume in time, didn’t have the money for it. I understood and decided to make him a promise.

“How about I cosplay Ruby again next year? That way you can make Jaune, and we can take a picture together.”

He was ecstatic, agreeing to it in a heartbeat. I smiled, nodded, then told him to not forget and have a good rest of con. I quickly used the hot glue gun and left. I just kept running the scenario over and over again in my head. I still couldn’t believe it. It didn’t matter that I was black, it didn’t matter that my costume wasn’t complete, just seeing that I cosplayed that character made him that happy. I felt like crying tears of joy (but of course I couldn’t, wearing makeup and all that jazz), for years I had gotten backlash for cosplaying characters that weren’t my skin tone or my body type. But this boy didn’t care about any of that.  I was dressed like her, acted like her, and that’s all that matter. And you know what? I had fun.

That’s what I had forgotten earlier that day. I cosplay to have fun, to bring joy to other fans, to pay homage to the series. I don’t do it to be accurate, I don’t do it to please elitist. I will try my best to never forget this again. And if I do, I will look back to this post.

4632 people showed up, but one person made my entire day.