Friday, November 27, 2015

Classic Mom

Leftover rolls sounded like a good life decision, this morning.

I popped two into the toaster oven, selected "bake" and then realized that my parents' toaster oven doesn't let you just bake need to specify the amount of time.  I set the time to 15 minutes, knowing it would take less, and my mom exclaimed, "15 minutes?!"

"I'll stop it before then, but I don't want to set it for 5 minutes and then have to reset everything when it's not long enough."

"Are you sure you want 15 minutes?" asked my mom, which is her way of saying 15 minutes is too long!


After 1 minute, "Don't you want to check on your rolls?"  This is her way of saying you should check o the rolls.  My mom is very passive aggressive that way.

"Nope."  I am more direct.  :)

After a few more minutes, "Do you want me to check on the rolls for you?" she asks.

"Nope, it's fine."

A few more minutes go by.

She goes to the toaster oven and exclaims, "The rolls are burning!!!"  Now, you have to understand, she said "the rolls are burning" but it was exclaimed with the same panic that one might exclaim, "Your baby is on fire!"

"Do you want me to turn off the toaster oven?!"

"Nope," I say.  I was very doubtful that anything was horrifically burning, considering it didn't smell like it was burning.

"Should I put it on warm?" she asks.

"Nah, it's okay."  I was slicing some apples and wanted to finish it.

"I'm going to put it on warm," she fusses.

I finish up my apples, and walk over to the toaster oven.  My rolls are nice and golden brown - toasty on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside.  You a roll.

"Are they too burned to eat?" asks my mother.

I start to wonder if she has sustained some kind of head injury.

"No...they're good."

Man, what is it like to lead a life where you get that stressed out over dinner rolls?  They weren't even hand made dinner rolls...they were bought in a 12 pack from the store.  It'll be okay.  Even if they caught on could probably have still eaten the bottom.

When dinner came around, I left my room and walked to the kitchen.

"It smells like burning," I announce.

"I burned the rolls," says my mom.

Because I'm the nicest person in the world, I say nothing.  I didn't even laugh at her.  Well, I mean, I laughed on the inside.  I'm not dead inside.

In a nutshell, that is my mom.  ^_^

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Forget / F**k You! (a onenaoko interpretation of Cee Lo's song)

I was listening to this song a while back, not paying it much attention, when it got to the bridge and the dope bass line really stuck out.  "Whoa!....I'm putting this on the list."  It seemed like a fun lighthearted video to do, and who hasn't wanted to tell somebody, at some point, "f**k you!"

Or at the very least, "I don't like you.  You need to go over there now."

My favorite part, aside from the bass line, is the "ooh ooh ooh!"s that come after Cee Lo sings.  I'm not sure why they seem so funny to me.  I like the idea of someone angrily saying "f**k you!" to someone, and backup singers appearing to go "ooh ooh ooh!"

In other news, my last day of working two jobs was yesterday.

I'm relieved.  It hasn't really hit me yet.  I think it probably will during the week, when I come home and don't have to work another 2-4 hours.  I also am glad I don't have to spend 10-16 hours working on the weekend anymore :)

While everyone always says, "I don't know how you do it," with the whole 70-75 hours a week (ish), people don't quite grasp just HOW much time I spent working when I was a teacher.  70 hours minimum was my work week.  I was honestly probably closer to 80.  My "me time" was me going to the grocery store.  I do not recommend this type of lifestyle, actually.  But in comparison, working 70ish hours doing very different worked seem fairly easy and doable.

I now ask myself: what am I going to do with all my time??

Sleep.  I hope the answer is sleep.  And maybe I'll start watching tv again.  And practicing more.  And making more videos.  And I'd like to learn how to skateboard.

I'm sure I'll think of something :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Producing a song

It has been a busy week.

Fun, but busy.

At work, we are producing a song, for all intensive purposes.  We took a song, spruced it up a bit, took it from a piano background to piano, drums, bass, ukulele, and cello (this is why I'm involved), recorded it, mastered it, and shot a music video for it.

Yeah, my job is super cool.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Worst Song

I try to be relatively positive in life.

I consider myself an optimist.

I find joy in small things.

However, I'm sad to say that I have discovered the worst song.  I THOUGHT it was "Party Hard" by Andrew W.K. (it's really really bad).  I've come across a lot of forgettable songs in my line of work.  I've come across some gross ones.  I've come across songs that other people may like but I find very blah (What Do You Mean by Justin Bieber would fall under that category).  I have discovered both the music of and my dislike for Calvin Harris.  I many times can you do a 16 bar build up of nothing with the same syncopated rhythm that just drops into...the same thing.

Having said this, THIS song is worse.

So so much worse.

Are you ready?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back to Orchestra

I joined an orchestra.

It's just a local community orchestra, but it's said to be the best in SF, so that's nice.  I had to actually audition to get in, which is reassuring.

I haven't been a regular member of an orchestra since graduating college - it's something I miss.  I love being part of a group and being surrounded by sound.

Monday was the first rehearsal, and just getting there was stressful.  It involved having to get my car jumped by AAA (the guy rolled my car out into the middle of the street), and then driving into the sun with a very dirty windshield, and then spending 40 minutes looking for parking.  And then parking super far away and using my phone's GPS to get me to the rehearsal room.  Gross.

BUT I made it!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Holberg Suite - Air (onenaoko)

Holberg Suite!

Every string player eventually plays this piece.  I have definitely forced more than one former class to play the Prelude (I have these vague memories of talking about galloping and coconuts.  Props to you if you get that references).

This is the Air, which is the slow and very pretty movement.

A student once said to me, "I wish my bow was this long" and spread his arms out as far as they would go.  Yeah, that's basically how I feel about this piece.  I wish my bow was ridiculously long so I could sustain a note FOREVER.  In lieu of that, I opted for a lot of staggered bowing.

I doubled up on the parts for two real reasons:
1.) Most of the parts had divisi parts
2.) I thought 10 mimicked a chamber group better than 5, and created a fuller sound

On another note, I'm looking for new video editing software that can handle multi-track videos.  My software is nice but....once all the parts are in, the video gets super choppy and I can't properly align everything toward the end.  I have both a PC and Mac, so if you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

Okay.  Here it is:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My First Racial Slur

Today, someone emailed me back, after I tried to help with a problem, and said merely that I was dumb and was writing from a third world country.

I had two reactions:
1.) Eugh, just because you haven't seen my name before doesn't mean I'm writing from not-America
2.) Uh...Japan is not a third world country.

And also, this person did not write anything else in their response to me.  Not exactly giving me a lot to go on to help you out...

I wrote back asking if she had tried any of my suggestions, and what the results were.

She wrote back, saying she was from America and she knew I was writing from a third world country.  And then called me "chingy".

I gasped out loud and went, "Oh.  My.  God."

And then I laughed.

Monday, July 6, 2015

BUS STORIES - Can't a white man ever catch a break?

Going home, I took my (now) normal #2 bus home.

Since they prefer you going through the backdoor rather than the front, I walked up to the bus, held down the button to open the door, and walked into the bus.  Easy, right?

As soon as I sit down, a man starts angrily muttering.  "Oh, you open the back door now, huh?  You open it for HER?!  That's DISCRIMINATION!  I'm being discriminated against!"

I peaked over at him and furrowed my brow with confusion.  It was a 60 something year old Caucasian man.


Yeah, man.  You have it so hard.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

3 Years

Today marks the 3 year anniversary of my last last day of school.

It's a little crazy that it has already been 3 years.  It feels like it was both a couple months ago and a lifetime ago.

On Friday, a co-worker asked, "Do you miss it?"  I do still tell a lot of teaching stories...

My honest answer was, "No.  Not really."  And everybody laughed.
Another person asked, "Did you like it?"
My honest answer was, "Yes.  I loved it, at the time.  I loved it until I didn't, and then I stopped."

Especially when talking with people who have not been in education, it's hilarious to me when they ask me about my classes and ask me which was my biggest one.  The look on peoples' faces when I say, "I had a beginning 4th grade class of 100," is priceless.  It brings me such amusement, I can't even tell you.

"How did you do it?!"
"I don't know.  I didn't know how I was doing it at the time...I just did."

Everyone asked me this at the time, too.  "I don't know how you do it," is the phrase that was told me the most often.  It's the phrase that people still say to me.

I miss the good kids.  I miss the banter and the funny things that would happen on a daily basis that only happens with kids.  I miss making a difference and seeing that difference over time.

However, there's such a long list of things I don't miss.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin'

I'm not sure if I would know who Meghan Trainor is if I didn't work for a music company.

It started with All About That Bass.  It was a divisive song at work.  We agreed that it was almost empowering except that it wasn't and it fell short.  We supported Ms. Trainor's notion of being all about that bass, but were worried that she still sought validation from men about it.

Personally, I just changed the lyrics:
"Because I'm all about that cake, 'bout that cake (no veggies),
I'm all about that cake, 'bout that cake (no veggies).
I'm all about that cake, 'bout that cake (no veggies),
I'm all about that cake, 'bout that cake.

I'm bringing JUNK FOOD BACK....go ahead and tell them skinny b*****s that..."

I like my version better.

Then came Lips Are Movin.  And then Dear Future Husband.  That sealed it.  Meghan Trainor is a feminist icon.  (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

Nobody wanted to do any of these songs for work, so I ended up doing every Meghan Trainor song (because I always blink first) for all of our apps.  A quote I never thought I'd hear anybody say, "So really, Naoko IS Meghan Trainor."  No.  No, I am not.

However, her music IS catchy.  And once you remove Meghan Trainor from it words, I think it's quite enjoyable.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

SF Symphony Workshop

Apparently, there's this thing where you can sign up to be part of an SF Symphony workshop!  You go and rehearse, and then have sectionals that are lead by an SF Symphony member, and then you rehearse as a group and play.

I got an email about it, since I'm signed up for the newsletter, and thought...yeah, sure!  Why not!  That sounds fun!

There was a Thursday night rehearsal, and I thought do I really need to go?  It's not mandatory...I'm kind of tired.  The music isn't that hard.  In the end, I figured...why not?

It was mostly professionals who had picked up cello later in life, or maybe had come back to it.  I quickly realized that it probably wasn't fair to label myself as an "amateur", so I tried to discreetly warm up.  I really didn't want to be show-off-y, or make anybody self conscious, so I did my normal scales and a little Bach.

Tonight was the rehearsal.  I really wanted to sit 3rd chair - one of our pieces was the Elgar String Serenade, and there's a cello divisi part.  I wanted to play the top because that's the fun part (and the melody).  I didn't want to be the jerk who was like, "I am going to sit first chair!  Because I'm SO AWESOME YOU GUYS!"  But I also wanted to sit close enough so I could hear all the parts.  Unfortunately, 3rd chair was taken when I got there, so I sat in the second row next to the second stand.  I don't even know what chair that was.

People filtered in.  A fun woman announced, "I will be brave!" and sat first chair.  The guy sitting behind me covertly told me to save the seat next to me so that our coach, Sebastien (the sf symphony cellist), would sit there.  I shrugged and put my purse on the chair, though at that point almost everybody had come in and....nobody wanted to sit with me :D

So that's how I ended up sitting next to an SF Symphony cellist.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Police Report

I filed a police report yesterday.

This time, I called the police at around noon so that they wouldn't show up at 2 in the morning while I slept again.  They arrived after 6pm.

Two guys came in; one looked like Mike from Mike & Molly (but slimmer).

Highlights included:

"'s gone." - when talking about my phone.

"The bus was full and nobody helped you??" - said in disbelief.  Nope.

"So you were on the bus, not paying attention to your surroundings..."
Seriously?  Who is alert for a 60 minute bus ride that's taken twice a day ever day??  I'd have an ulcer.  Again.

"My daughter wants to play cello...god knows why," he says with misery.  WHAT?!
"Because cello is awesome??" I respond.
"Yeah, I guess," he says halfheartedly, while looking at my cello.

Needless to say, I'm not holding my breath.

But at least I did SOMETHING, right?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mugged (a.k.a I hate my bus)

It started with waiting for the 47 on Tuesday.

I waited for 5 minutes.  It finally showed up and stopped behind another bus.  Some people got on, and the other bus left, so my bus driver put up his hand to stop the rest of us from getting in.  He closed the doors and started scooting forward...and then drove away.


Next bus: 14 minutes.

I then called a Lyft, since I was at a hotspot.

I was pickup #2, but saw the driver was going to drive past me to get to the first pickup, so I called to let her know.  Apparently, this confused her, and she decided to instead drive the opposite direction of both of us.  As I stood in confusion, watching on the map as she got farther and farther away, I wondered if I should call her again to let her know she had gone the wrong way.

Instead, she canceled my ride.


At that point, the next bus was coming in 4 minutes, so I decided to stick it out.

I got on the 47.

I like the seat by the back entrance, where you scan your clipper card.  You only have to sit next to one person, it's easy to get out of and make an exit (which is challenging on the 47), and you can tuck your feet under the seat so people don't step on you.

There's a pole for people to hold onto, a little window-like area, and then a plexiglass partition that I can rest my head against.  I like it.

I had just finished my game of scramble with friends when some man reached through that little window and aggressively grabbed my phone out of my hands.  The only problem headphones were plugged into it, so he got stuck and I got stuck.  I couldn't get up to go after him, and he was a little confused.  My first reaction was, huh?  What just happened?  Am I stuck to something?


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

UPDATE - April

I am a bad blog updater.

I'm tired, you guys.  For reals.

Some things I have done in the past month:

- I went to OC for a former co-worker's wedding.  I wore a dress that touched me.  I was uncomfortable about it.
- I went to Disneyland and ate everything.  Seriously.  Everything.
- I decided to have the bed of my dreams.  That's still a work in progress.
- I had Reese's Oreos.  They were okay.
- Saw Punch Brothers!!
- Fought with the company who replaces m-audio keyboards for Guitar Center.  They suck.  BOO!
- Saw David Bazan perform in this guy's loft in SF.  He's pretty great!
- Got stuck to a ukulele.  It happens.
- Scored the complete Avatar: the last airbender series for $10!
- Bought an exercise program from an infomercial.  I am in week 4 of Body Beast.  It's hilarious.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bus Adventures

The bus.

I was not shameless enough / brave enough to go running up to the first bus, as it was pulling away from the stop.  Some people will run up to the bus and bang on the door, but I have yet to acquire that level of courage.  I'm more inclined to say, oh man...well, 10 minutes isn't that long of a wait.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or totally sad.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Boyz II Men

Oh, man.

I liked them in middle school.

But listening to them now, I have even more respect for them.  They are a GOOD group!  That bass singer?!  So good, you guys.

In retrospect, it's probably a little weird that we were in middle school awkwardly slow dancing, 12 inches apart, to "I'll Make Love To You".  It also begs the question: what are kids slow dancing to these days?!  Actually, I kind of know that answer since I used to chaperon dances.  But the music was so unremarkable that I don't remember.

Kids, you are missing out.  Boyz II Men, man.  Heck yeah.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hozier - Take Me To Church Cello Cover (OneNaoko)

That moment you write an entire blog post, and then inexplicably press "ctrl-z" and you can't undo your undo.  Or redo?


So here is yet another song I discovered through work.  Actually, I might have first heard it on tv for random commercials and show trailers.

What got me about this one was the bass moment.  "DUH DUH!   DUH DUH!"  Yeah.  Exactly like that.  The scoop also got me, which is why I transposed the song down.  However, after listening to a few live versions, Hozier actually does sometimes sing it in this key!


I just really want to hit the top of the scoop on a harmonic.  Full disclosure.  I'm keeping it real, people.  Real

I have a running list of songs I'd like to do covers of.  One day, when I have time again, I may actually make more videos more often.  One day.  One day.


Sunday, February 8, 2015



"Hey Naoko, what's Sketchfest?" you may ask.

Uh, it's this comedy thing?

It's a series of events held over a few weeks.  You buy tickets.  You go.  You laugh.  You see celebrities.  Happiness ensues.

Last week, I went to see Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Michael McKean.  If you're not familiar, they're in a series of movies together, including Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, Spinal Tap... (just IMDB it).  I'm not actually a huge fan, but figured they'd have fun anecdotes (which they did) and would be entertaining (which they were).

I had been on the fence about seeing anything else, as it costs money.  However, after enjoying myself so thoroughly I decide I had to go see...


You guys just don't know.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


I got a little distracted.

And...uh...typing is hard.

However, Happy 2015 everybody!

And by "everybody" I mean...the one person who is reading this.

What has happened so far?

- I celebrated my 9 year anniversary with George (my cello).  We are very happy together.
- A stranger tried to convince me to go see Taken 3.  For 10 minutes.
- I went to the zoo!  It was awesome.
- I went to a Tape Music Festival!  Yeah, that happened.
- I saw Whiplash.  You should, too.
- "Naoko IS Meghan Trainor," said someone at work.
- I got a fancy blender and made amazing soup.  I'm so fancy.  You don't even know.
- I played Street Fighter II.  And won.