click to see entire image
I finished it! After what seems like half a year!
I just recently introduced this piece, but there is actually quite a back story. A very hateful and dirty one.
I got the idea for this picture around the time when the JLPT was approaching. The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is necessary in order to enter a Japanese college. By that time, I didn't intend to go to any college, but it's something I wanted to have just in case.
I was taking a prep class everyday and trying to cram minute grammar details into my slightly stressed head. Soon, I were taking practice tests every week - and getting bad scores on all of them. I was starting to feel like it was pointless to even try. If I couldn't even pass a practice test, what hope was there for the real thing? So the test's date was fast approaching, and the practice tests were being loaded on more and more. One particular Thursday, I had to do two practice tests. Too much. So I just sped through them in order to leave!
That night, I arranged to meet up with a fellow foreigner friend. But while waiting for her in front of the Star Bucks, I was constantly being under close surveillance by the staff. Once I walked away, they immediately came out to check if I had stolen anything. Ouch.
Whence my friend arrived, we spent a few hours complaining about everything we hated about Japan (over a few cups of hot chocolate). Sure that's how prejudice is created, but you really can't complain to me until you live there yourself.
What really irked me about Japan was the whole "Go to the best schools to get into the best company." It's a lifestyle of studying, working, then dying.
Now onto the artwork! I actually couldn't even start working on this until at least a month after the test. I felt so sickened by it that any reminder sent my a little berserk. That could be why I snapped at my school's principal. Though it was only a misunderstanding on my part. Sorry!
The test grid is an almost exact reproduction of the JLPT answer sheet. It's slowly morphing into the skyline. Now, that probably represents how schooling leads to a lifetime of nothing but working. But originally, I think the skyline meant freedom from schooling. Large cities represent absolute freedom to me.
In conclusion, this represents my hatred towards the typical Japanese lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I loved all the people I met (except the JLPT administrator. His notion on his self importance was way overblown).
Ps. The title is actually a Franz Ferdinand album.
Pss. I did pass the JLPT! How the hell did that happen? I didn't even try during the listening part!
By the way, can you find my signature?