So, seven random things about myself... well, here we go:
- I absolutely love history. Name any part of the world, any country, any period, and I'll likely know something about it. This knowledge also extends to current events as well. My friends joke that I have bardic knowledge. I know the most about Asian history, especially Japan. I fell in love with Japanese history in seventh grade or thereabouts as a result of reading a book about samurai in my school's library, and I've never looked back. As a corollary to the first point, I have an absolute and overpowering fascination with Manchuria in the interwar period. For those who don't know, Manchuria is the northeastern-most part of China (the part that looks like the rooster's head). It was a Japanese sphere of influence for a long time, and eventually became a Japanese colony in all but name. I have a fascination with interwar period Japan in general, but there is something particularly fascinating about Manchuria. There is a kind of faded glamor to it, a tarnished, flawed beauty that is all the more beautiful for being tarnished and flawed. Manchuria in the interwar years was a land between the ancient world and the modern world, and that kind of thing is pretty romantic.
- I'm rather well traveled. Aside from Canada, which is incredibly easy for me to get to, I've been to Ireland, Thailand, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Japan. Unfortunately, most of those were not on the same passport. I dream of having a ten year period where I travel so much that my passport gets filled up. I loved all of the countries I've been to so far, but in different ways. If pressed, I would probably say that Japan has been my favorite, with Germany a close second.
- One of my hobbies is weightlifting. I wasn't athletic at all growing up, and didn't do a lot of sports. After I got into middle school, I think the only sports I ever did were for PE, so I'm making up for lost time now. The sensation of getting stronger, of struggling to lift a heavy ass weight, is an incredible rush, and I can't believe I used to think that athletics was completely pointless. I certainly wouldn't want lifting to be the ONLY thing that defined me, but as a hobby, it's a lot of fun, and the benefits it (or any kind of athletics, really) can give you are huge.
- I'm slowly (very slowly) teaching myself to play guitar. I have a nice Gibson electric sitting in my bedroom. It has been lonely for far too long. There are a lot of other instruments I want to learn how to play too (there's a lonely bowed psaltery who is first in line behind the guitar), but I'm going to start with guitar first.
- I speak German and Japanese. I'm pretty rusty on both, and getting back into both. I decided recently that I didn't want to lose them, especially after I busted my ass to learn them. I'm somewhat better in German than Japanese, and I've been told by native speakers that I sound like I come from Munich. Considering that my German teacher in high school studied in Munich, and that he was the greatest influence in my learning of the language, this isn't very surprising. In Japanese I am very good with kanji, but not as good with spoken or written. When I visited Bridget in Japan with a friend, we joked that what we needed to do was have a Vulcan mind meld, because between the three of us we were tops in kanji, speaking, and writing. Kanji are a pain in the neck, but they're also kind of fun, and they're really pretty.
- I actually got interested in creative stuff when I was in my teens. Back then it was a lot of drawing (I loved manga, so it became my style), some extremely derivative fanfics (again based on manga and anime I'd read and watched), and poetry. I kind of dropped out of it for a while. I might have dropped out of it completely, but Bridget pulled me back in during my second year of college. She asked if I was into writing, and I said I was because, well, it sort of was true; I liked reading, and I thought it would be cool to write my own stories, and I had made some efforts at it in the past, but nothing very organized or serious. So then she suggested that I do NaNoWriMo with her. That was in 2005. Since then, while I have had long periods of inactivity when I haven't really been working on things, I've never really considered myself as having stopped being a writer. There have been times I thought about quitting, but I never did. I didn't want to give it up. When I go over my old notebooks, I see that I've actually had a lot of cool ideas over the years, and it'd be good if I could finish some of them.
- The unexpected influence on my writing that people who don't know me wouldn't see coming is H.P. Lovecraft and the other writers who have delved into the Cthulhu Mythos. It is present in some form or another in many of the ideas I've had over the years, some obvious, some not so obvious. For some reason the concepts and the world of the Cthulhu Mythos are really fascinating to me.