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The two papers below were written in spring 2014 for a USC class called Tokyo The Modern City in Literary and Visual Culture taught by Professor Miya Mizuta. 

Gaijin in Tokyo: Liberation in Lost in Translation: An exploration of Tokyo as the essential character in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation

Tokyo's Dark Underground: An exploration of Japan's social nature through the lens of Murakami Haruki's non-fiction book Underground (2000). 

The following essays were written for a Television Criticism class at USC, taught by Professor Howard Rosenberg.

Burbank and Beale: Primetime Prophets: A critique comparing the implications of Network (dir. Sidney Lumet 1976) and The Truman Show (dir. Peter Weir, 1997).

Swastikas and Synagogues: Being “The Believer”: A review of The Believer (dir. Henry Bean, 2001), a Sundance film starring Ryan Gosling that ended up on Showtime.



In college, I was the head writer of USC's division of Campus Basement, a college news and satire community. My posts for Campus Basement can be found here



While at USC, I maintained a personal blog that grew fairly popular within the student community. Below are some samples of those posts. 

Non-Rebel With A Pseudo-Cause

I just Googled “irresponsible things to do.” The fact that I Googed “irresponsible things to do” instead of actually being about to come up with any “irresponsible things to do” probably defines my personality pretty well. It probably also means that I’ve officially crossed over into quarter life crisis territory. In a couple weeks I turn twenty. This is a number of little consequence, really. There’s no real rite of passage as a twenty-year-old. When my friends started turning twenty, I gave them solid backpats and culinary treats (depending on how d33p our friendship goes, obviously), but there wasn’t a big “OH MY GOD YOU’RE TWENTY THIS IS AMAZING YOU CAN DO SO MUCH MORE NOW.”

What I can no longer do: claim to be a teenager. Since 35% of my life thus far (and 47% of life that I can actually remember) has been spent as a teenager, the idea of peacing out of this hormonal territory is a little unnerving. I don’t like the idea that my Rebel Without a Cause years are coming to a close – with very little rebellion in tact. I don’t wear angst or white T-shirts as well as James Dean did, but fact remains that I sat around being pretty damn responsible for the last seven years. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to regret that or not.

I think this is a nature versus nurture situation when it comes down to it. I was granted a lot of freedom growing up – as evidenced by childhood memories of getting stuck in a tree two times taller than my best friend’s house, riding trains alone at ten, and making the vast majority of my “mature” decisions independently. Sure, my parents provided me a foundation of morals and ethics that came into play, but honestly I was an overanalytical worrywart before I reached the double digits. No decision could be made without me carefully weighing the options: and of course the potentially disastrous outcomes (“what if we get caught by the yakuza and die” comes to mind) were a lot more influential than the promise of a memorable act of rebellion. To be fair, my irrational fear of the yakuza came from a very real, pure place. When I was in fourth grade, I was at a Girl Scout sleepover. We were being loud (wow, shocker we were ten) and obnoxious. Our troop leader/owner of the house came into the room, crazy eyed. She told us to be quiet or the yakuza would come for us. It was well-known that members of the yakuza did live in this neighborhood, so I guess it's totally possible. Apparently members of the Japanese mafia aren't big fans of ten-year-old girls belting Britney Spears songs.

Two years ago when sydbee51 asked Yahoo! Answers what irresponsible things to do at a sleepover, a user generically named Allison (clearly without the inventiveness of sydbee51) told her to “draw on walls, hi jack a car, tp a house, take a sh!t on the ground, sh!t on ur neighbors dog, eat the last piece of pie, and run outside at midnight bein naked and screaming for a minute or 2.” Well. Clearly Allison is not the best speller. She also sounds like a kind of awful person. I have absolutely no desire to do any of those things, especially the one about my neighbor’s dog. I really like dogs and my neighbor does not have a dog. Yahoo! Answers has really gone downhill since third grade.

Since sophomore year got out (uh, yeah that was like two weeks ago), I’ve done precisely two college-y, Rebel Without A Cause-esqe things that I really should feel guilty about. Or I mean, high school version of myself would have felt guilty. Now, I feel guilty about the fact that I don’t feel guilty. Which makes me feel even guiltier for feeling guilty for things that I really shouldn’t feel guilty about. Guilt and the nature inclination to stay home and watch Felicity incessantly: that’s my teenage years in a nutshell. So… honestly? I’m kind of ready for them to be over. Feigned rebellion is overrated.

This PSA has been brought to you by the girl who was terrified of the Japanese mafia, the unseen Communist regime, and now of the Secret Service tracking her every move on the internet.

But if any of you have actual fun, teenagey things to do in the next two weeks – HiT mE uP. I’m running out of teenage time here.