So I bought a CD from a group called Smokey and Miho, which is a side project between Beck’s guitarist Smokey Hormel, and Miho Hatori, who used to sing with Cibo Matto. I actually interviewed Yuka Honda from Cibo Matto once, and thus have had peripheral contact with Ms. Hatori. You may know her as one of the Gorillaz as well. The Japanese looking Gorilla in Gorillaz 😉 Anyway, I think it’s safe to say that I found Miho to be a very attractive lady and got off day dreaming about what it would be like to be involved with a Japanese woman…and then I realized – it probably wouldn’t be that different from being married to an Estonian.
There’s a bit of a running joke in my family that my wife is part Japanese because she is in love with taking photographs. And I don’t think it’s her, it’s a national trait. Almost every Estonian I know has a very well documented online life – complete with blog, photo galleries etc. And they take pictures of the dumbest things. They take photos of ugly buildings and passing vehicles and the dinner they ate. And somewhere back home in Estonia, they take the photos out and show them to family members. “And this is a photo of the steak I ate in Los Angeles…” says the well-traveled Eestlane. “Oooh” the other Estonians must reply.
I wonder if there is some truth to the 19th century deeply racist theories that placed Finno-Ugric peoples in the same “yellow race” with Japanese across the Eurasian continent. I won’t believe the idea that these peoples are related solely based on their love of electronics and trading digital images, but the high cheek bones sure seem to connect Peipsi and Honshu. As the non-photo person I often feel weird about this cultural obsession. I mean I like taking a few photos, but I prefer moderation. A photo here, a little camcorder there – it all comes together into a perfectly lazy mosaic of my life. I feel sort of anxious about taking 40 photos for every outing then putting them all online for the world to see.
Not my Japanese/Estonian wife. She lives to take photos and I have become an expert at downloading them and troubleshooting camera problems at her insistance. Just like her love of smoked fish, blood sausage, and recording every moment via digital camera, I take it all in stride. It’s like I am an American exchange student stuck on a trip to Estonia I will never return from. All I can do is continue to learn more.
Today was the perfect example of cultural collision. My wife had an article ready for SL Ohtuleht, and they wanted photos. Being Japanese-like Estonians that meant that, like, I should have a digital camera lodged in my anus and a wireless card in my brain so I could transmit images almost instantaneously. I should be able to blink to take the photo and send it – poof! – like that. I kept that poor Estonian at Ohtuleht waiting and waiting for those photos as I rushed to get them uploaded (after some mechanical problems) in time for his deadline. I called up a girl at a photo store nearby to see if they could put the photos on a CD because my computer wasn’t working. But they could only do it by tomorrow. TOMORROW!? 24 hours is like 500 years in Estonian time. So I sweet talked my way into my old office down the street and used their computer. It was a holiday party and nobody seemed to mind. Yet by virtue of my gift of gab I got the job done in time. I guess it pays sometimes to have an Italian-American by your side!