It hit me perhaps a few years too late that by way of introductions, a proper one has never been made here in spite of all that has been shared. I have never been too good with formalities but thought for a change it would be nice to provide a brief glimpse by sharing my responses to the infamous Proust questionnaire.
I did not attempt to answer all the questions partly because I found a few varying versions of the questionnaire and wasn’t sure which was the accurate copy, partly also because answering 35 questions felt a bit excessive.
Nevertheless, here you go:
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Maintaining a sense of lightness in the face of perpetual learning and unlearning.
What is your favorite journey?
The process of getting to know people, places, and experiences slowly, tenderly, patiently, curiously. Savoring all the details with unfeigned keenness is a journey of its own and I value the process even if it isn’t always pleasant or apparent in its consequence. I am sentimental about these things which I catalogue in my consciousness, often using them as reference in my own writing.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Still relatively buoyant at twenty four.
What is your greatest fear?
What is your most marked characteristic?
My most marked characteristic from childhood to adolescence to adulthood is in being slightly detached from the real world sometimes, a moody Asian girl who likes to live under the guise of being infallible.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Desiring many things but not wanting enough to act upon them.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I hate people when they’re not polite. Decency should be a foundation for all human interactions, don’t you think?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Indulging in this burning need to travel and occasionally watch live shows and occasionally eat good food and occasionally dress well.
What is your current state of mind?
Floozy and caffeinated with a hint of cranky.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Niceness. I often feel like a lot of people have a very convoluted concept of niceness and mistake it by being too accommodating to the point of bordering on impracticality or by being bland because they feel like being nice is enough to scrape by.
On what occasion do you lie?
If and only when absolutely necessary. If it gets me a free cookie.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
That sense of ease and the solidarity of control and assurance present in a select few which, when well-utilized, is very handsome.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
That inimitable daintiness and automatic fluency in knowing how to react under situations of duress. More importantly is self-sufficiency and good taste.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“That’s not very considerate” and the unglamorous but very real “Aiyo“.
When and where were you happiest?
Overlooking the top of the Tokyo Sky Tower in August last year. After an hour of walking in the scorching summer, I reached the top of the building just as the sun was beginning to set with pen and blank paper in hand. Youth had never felt as prevalent in its towering glory till then.
Who are your favorite writers?
Fitzgerald, Vonnegut, Nabokov, Dostoevsky, the ever prevalent Murakami. That said, favorite writers and favorite books do not always correlate.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Edmond Dantès, the Count of Monte Cristo.
Which living person do you most admire?
Zadie Smith comes to mind due to her talent, graceful wit and overall intelligence.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Losing human dignity due to uncontrollable circumstances. Also suffering from food poisoning while stuck in uncontrollable circumstances.
Where would you like to live?
Japan. However, due to language barrier problems and the potential inability to fully assimilate, Chicago would be my next choice.
What is your favorite occupation?
I admire the occupation of being an academician and an artist; the former for its nobility, the latter for its importance in nurturing the human soul, but both in their functions of inspiring and educating others in their respective ways. That said, I especially like the idea of being a novelist which sounds almost as sexy as being a surgeon.
What are your favorite names?
I am drawn to one-syllable names inspired by luminaries – Franz, Kurt, Sid. For female names, I have always liked the name Berlin.
What is your motto?