After LBF, I went to the Netherlands to tour around and visit places. I went to Eindhoven due to it being cheaper to fly into and stay in, but it’s only a two hour train ride to Amsterdam, which I visited throughout my five day stay. I also met with a Dutchman whom I talked to in Frankfurt Book Fair way out in the country, where he worked in a printing company. We talked about working in the Netherlands and the state of publishing there, and I still thought about filing in paperwork for a work visa in the Netherlands where I don’t need a work sponsorship to job search there.
The big mistake was when I entered back into London. Border security became “concerned” that I didn’t have a return ticket to the states yet, and had even accused me of not having left the country after my student visa expired back in January. One, I did, and they even noted that i came back to the country back in the beginning of March anyway. They also asked me if I had a boyfriend there, as if that was reason enough to return to the country so soon after my visa finished, and they were suddenly “confused” as to why I would come back to visit the UK after leaving. which, for one, within my right to do so as an American traveler anyway, and also there isn’t any kind of grace period where i can re-enter the country. An issue which was already addressed when I flew in anyway by Border Security in Gatwick Airport. Well, they pulled me aside, and told me that they wouldn’t let me into the country until I bought a return ticket within a week after coming in. So that meant that I flew back to California on March 28.
Here’s some non-spoiler observations:
Not that it isn’t more evident in the JPN version, but Goro Akechi sounds more obviously patronizing in English, and especially so to Sae who is supposed to be his superior. I guess the mild-mannered personality doesn’t stop him from throwing jabs at authority through being condescending to at least two female characters (both Sae and Makoto).
Also, Sae is a really good example of someone who goes through the risks of both the glass ceiling and a glass cliff, and it’s kind of irritating to see someone who suffers through this being used as implied motivation for her initial position as an antagonistic character.
Having replayed through Persona 4 to completion recently, I can honestly say that Ryuji is actually less sexist and annoyingly horny than other male characters sharing those characteristics in this franchise. Eikichi and late-game Junpei (especially through FeMC in P3P’s route) are actually the best ones. I think it’s cuz Ryuji’s other flaws as a glory hound are more forefront, but compared to Persona 4 and in instances of 3, the fan service moments that Ryuji partakes in does actually move the plot foreword and at least doesn’t go through creepy, nonconsensual forms of fan service that Yosuke makes in the slice-of-life portions of P4. In hindsight, P4 really did not age well in that aspect, since I recall those specific shenanigans as being fairly normalized in that era of anime.
Also I wore jeans and a turtleneck under my gown thinking the gown would cover it. It did not. Also was told after the ceremony that jeans were a no-no in the dress code that I should have read. I also had to shake the president’s hand when my name is called for my diploma, so I sped walked really fast for it which shocked a lot of people.
Saw most of my classmates there, many have flown in from where they had gone home. Saw the one person who had disrupted the whole program and whose behavior (in spite of being a grade A Adult) have totally despaired the whole class and teachers with her mistreatment of multiple people and inappropriate comments. I even had my own slight drama with her, but it was nothing compared to what her groupmates had endured.
But anywho, I got my diploma and I was able to go to Florence for a post-grad travel vacation with my parents. Which was almost cut short (or elongated) because my dad got a retinal detachment on the second day there, which meant he flew out of Florence directly back to LA for treatment, leaving me and mom to worry over him in our hotel room.
Also, I did not get that job at a film production company. But i did get an interview with Archtype Publications/IAP for an administrative position that is a PAID INTERNSHIP. Fingers crossed for that one.
Which, siggghhhh. I was hoping they would take a chance on me so I can build on my existing skills alongside getting new ones; I was really hyped in wanting to do audio and help on their podcast, especially since audio is a huge opportunity now in Publishing.
This derailed my plans for coming back to the UK under a different visa, although I’m also seeing this as a blessing in disguise; I’m not really thrilled in the idea of spending most of 2019 in an unpaid, full-time internship when there’d be a very low chance of getting a work visa considering that Home Office isn’t exactly keen on getting more people into the country.
I guess this means that I should just stay at home and apply for work. My student debt isn’t going any lower nor the interest rates, and I think I should just get on with trying out freelancing while applying for jobs in California. Or New York. I can at least apply for internships in New York for publishing jobs in the summer. The other option, if I decided to leave the States for work abroad, is to go for the Orientation permit in the Netherlands where recent graduates can have up to three-years work visa to find a job there. What with the Brexit putting the country in shambles, maybe getting out of the UK is a good thing.
It just sucks to leave all the friends and contacts I had there.
- Got the giant letter from my school that I passed my course and will graduate on January 22, 2019
- Got told the harsh news from a bigwig publishing recruitment and hiring consultant that the UK actively denies visas for people outside of the EU applying for Entry-, Mid-, and Senior level positions in the UK, and that if I wanted to work here, I should just work in a US company and transfer.
- MICE. IN THE HOUSE. ACTIVELY RUNNING IN MY ROOM AND WARDROBE.
- The tasks I’m doing in the internship I’m in keeps getting vaguer and vaguer. Feeling a little bit like I’m out of the loop on some things, but know how to catch up.
- Saw “Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse” and it is really. The best movie I’ve ever seen in recent memory, animated and otherwise, in 2019. It is fulfilling in many ways that just complements other films in that year, from Black Panther to The Last Jedi and so on.
- Been reading a lot more; going through my To-Read pile of free books and ARCs I accumulated from Book Expo and London Book Fair. Also books I’ve bought. Milkman by Anna Burns is phenomenal and very worthy of its Man Booker Prize. Crazy Rich Asians was the funniest book I’ve read in 2018. Also read the “Check, Please!” Graphic novel from Book Expo, and loved it, and so happy the author got signed.
- Leveled up my housekeeping and cooking skills a bit, so been feeling a little more adult in that regard.
- Started bullet journaling.
Things for me to do in 2019:
- Learn how to be a freelance proofreader and editor so I can make the money that I won’t be making under a Tier 5 internship visa scheme I signed onto for London, thinking foolishly at the time that if I stayed on longer, I will eventually get someone to sponsor me.
- Get a blog??
- Bullet Journaling to the max?
- Get a good instagram and twitter presence.
I hoarded a lot of free books from Book Expo, and I bought a couple for myself on Kindle and as a physical copy. Trying to go through the pile of YA from Pan Macmillan but, well, there's just so much I can tolerate from reading in a 1st person pov sometimes. But next on my list is "The Girl King" by Mimi Yu and "Darius the Great is Not Okay" by Adib Khopram, as they're going to be the coming fall's darlings in having more diverse authors. I finished reading "Solo Exchange Diary: Sequel to My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness", and "Call Me By Your Name" both of which is timely for UK's pride month in July.
I'm listening to podcasts a lot. "Mostly Lit" which is like a book club by a trio of BAME professionals who are in publishing in one form or another, and having strong opinions about philosophy, films, and the book they're reading. The most recent episode has the grandson of Nelson Mandela as their guest for Mandela 100, which is really cool, and before that it was Gabourey Sidibe, when she was in the UK to promote her autobiography. I'm also listening to "Stuff You Should Know" to keep me company, and I try to keep up with "This American Life" but I feel recently it's sometimes hit and miss. I'm behind already on Critical Role, because trying to keep focus on a four hour podcast episode can test my ability to pay attention sometimes. "London Book Reviews" podcast also has some pretty neat authors speaking, and the actual physical bookshop itself is really cute. "Alice Isn't Dead" is also something I'm catching up on too, in anticipation for the book that's going to be released in October.
I haven't sat down to play FFXIV in a long time, not just because I felt tugged around by other strong powers, but also because I suspect that my computer might be reaching its limit on playing MMOs at the lowest settings. Which is a shame because I've been milking Heavensward still and still haven't started going into the next installment. I did finish playing "Transistor" and the Atelier of Dusk games recently, and am going through a replay of the Ace Attorney games. Visual novels has claimed me for a while, playing "The Arcana" and "Regency Love" because I really do like impassioned indie studios making a labor of love that isn't a fairly pared down anime visual novel app.
Hopefully once this dissertation is done I can revisit past games and books I enjoyed. Persona 4 and a proper game of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Maybe trudge through FFXIV without fear of destroying my computer. Lot of netflix to watch. But now I'm just trying to get productive in a heat wave, and it suuuucks.
Looking forward to Book Expo starting Wednesday! There’s lots of panels featuring authors, genre publishers, indie publishers, and innovators there, more so than in London Book Fair, and I’m hoping to make the most of it by networking and doing some research for my dissertation. I also haven’t been in New York City since 2001, which was my only time there, so I’ll be using Tuesday to explore a bit and grab some souvenirs from some historic establishments. And some tacky baseball caps for my colleagues.
Back in April, I attended the London Book Fair, where authors, people in sales, representatives of international and local publishing houses come together to buy and sell rights and get the intel on what is the next prospective hit in the publishing world. The theme for that event was the Balkans, which means many panels and events revolving around what's new and innovative about publishing from the Balkan countries such as Latvia, Estonia, and so on.
It was a good walk around the convention center in Olympia, London; I went to a lot of events targeting networking and the Society of Young Publishers where people trying to get into publishing come in to talk with hiring managers and people in publishing about how to get a damn entry-level job there.
Pretty sure no one is going to get me a visa sponsorship to work in the UK tho. Curse you, big name publishers! Penguin Random House can be like "oh our pay gap is actually much more equal compared to other big names (cough cough Harper Collins), but they're like "oh... we don't mention at all how to get international workers here." Big sigh.
I'm also going to Book Expo at the end of May which is at New York City, where hopefully I'll get more out of it in terms of career prospects, but also I'm looking forward to all the events that are going in the three days there. I'm particularly looking at Children's Lit and Graphic Novels, so Oni Press and indie publishers are having booths and talks there that I'm going to attend. I'm also looking at Romance-focus publishers too, since when I was doing my essays and my group projects, I didn't know how enjoyable it really is to work on something you really love and felt an affinity towards.
So I'm gonna try to learn more about publishers that focus on genre lit, but I really want to focus on Children's publishing since it seems like more people are willing to try new things with it.
But also The Bookseller states that Penguin Random House, well at least at Penguin Group, has narrowed the gender pay gap compared to other major publishing houses such as Harper Collins where the average woman's salary is 1.6 percent greater than the men. Granted there are other statistics involved, but this was a notable feature within Penguin Group so yay I think.
Like holy heck, the Beneath the Stitching link still works and all the Vincent/Tifa fics are still there without broken links. The power of Angelfire, I guess. Also makes me nostalgic and wonder if those usernames are still going on doing other stuff somewhere on the interwebs...
Also all those FF7 fan shrines and online encyclopedias. I guess FF Wikia has taken over and centralized all the data, but still a lot of love in those websites.
All of which, ostensibly, I can put on a CV, but like, I wish we have another month of just doing all these things over and over again.
SO. Useful skills I'm learning and cramming in my pea sized brain:
- MarvelApp and by extension prototype app making things.
- Adobe Indesign
- Canva, for making recipe cards and graphics.
- Making SWOT graphs
- Trying and flailing over Nielsen Bookscan UK
- Trying and failing to make excel graphs
- Market reports that are somehow harder than making essays.
Also, cuz I got a shiny iPad Pro (2017) from ebay, cuz Apple shit is more expensive in the UK than in the US, I am trying and being overwhelmed by:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- More Adobe editing shit
- a how-to-make comic books app with storyboard and drawing tools
Btw, I'm really liking the Apple Pencil. It's really rad. And I guess I'll have to make the deal with the devil and go sign up for an Adobe subscription, those evil fools who tempt me with easily accessible tools and materials. And stock photos.
Follow me on Twitter for my UK adventures and fails @fallon_liang
But the winter break also worsened some of my worst tendencies, no less because of doing all the research and finishing assignments almost at the last minute (although I was rewarded with decent grades on the confusing UK grading scale - a 65 is like an 85 on the grading scale). For one thing, it made me a lot more reclusive and flipped my whole sleeping cycle, and the fact that there’s only 8 hours of sunlight everyday in December kinda makes the days blur together. Also it’s really cold in this country, although I did see snow and frolic a little bit when it falls down magically in London. I suspected for a while that I’ve been doing some typical depression habits that made me suspicious of my mental health- I was reluctant to shower early, although if you see my shower you’d understand why, I don’t eat regularly and for a lot of days I just eat one big meal for tha day (which is dinner). I also found a couple grey hair for the first time on my scalp, and I had pretty deep feelings of my mortality as a result, and almost like the previous year in Japan I felt a big wave of existential crisis regarding my life and how I perceive myself in relation to time going by.
However, I think the biggest wake up call to my behavior was that I treated my friend poorly over break, where I was taking out my frustrations on her by implying things like how I help her more than she helps me even though I never really ask for her help. Sometimes it had felt to me that I make more effort in the friendship recently, which isn’t fair in my part because I know that it’s not like she takes me for granted, but it sometimes felt like it is. I also got irritated by the things she ask me to help edit because I see a lot of grammar and spelling errors, and that it felt more simple to me as a work than it should be, because I felt that I had to put in a lot of effort into something that isn’t about my own worries and concerns (like my final essay), and that I do sometimes forget that she is dyslexic and had admitted at the time that she was overcoming a stomach bug. But the whole of it is that I let my frustration and anger get the better of me, and so I took it out on her in a way that made her feel terrible, and it was something that really took a rift between us for about a month. Now she wants to talk, and i think it was a conversation we should talk about, not just because I wanted to apologize but also that I wanted to let her know that I was making efforts to change. Like today I went to the Mental Health and Wellness center to have a consultation, since like if over the break and at France if I just holed myself up in my hotel room for two days and not really eating during my personal vacation, then something must be really wrong because I decided to blow up a friendship over school.
But it’s February now, and I bought a month gym membership at my school’s gym. Gonna try to exercise regularly so I get some kind of pattern going that’s good for me. Gonna try to make myself eat more regularly even if it’s garbage food, since I more likely need the calories or else get more grey hairs on my head (which caused me to buy zinc tablets and b12 tablets alongside iron supplements). Starting to think more about what I eat and how to take care of my hair and skin even though I just want to replay video games and binge watch Fargo on school days.
in terms of Publishing and getting the most out of my program, we started talking business talk about content creation and ideas in the marketplace. One of the group projects I’m excited for is looking at children’s literature and seeing what kind of content can still be created for it that could be new or being more innovative. My group wanted to focus on children’s comics, which is pretty exciting to me. Other group projects is looking at a new imprint at Hachette’s imprint, Octopus, which acquired Kyle books which is primarily a cookbook publisher, and trying to come up with ideas on how to utilize the imprint for Octopus. One strategy is looking at what had worked at Kyle books and also what didn’t work which resulted in Octopus buying the publisher to make an imprint. Should we make the imprint stand out or should it contribute to Octopus in some way, or shuffle books from Octopus’ other imprints which are very diverse but more experience-based, like photography imprints or an imprint on antiques.
also, follow me on my professional twitter where I talk about books, publishing, britishisms, and making snappy quips to endear myself to my classmates so that publishing interviewers can see that i have an active social media presence @fallon_liang
I’m investing in my career.
*joins as member of Society for Editors and Proofreaders, pays down membership*
Investing in career
*booking ticket to the FutureBooks Conference 2017*
sobs, this is for my career.
*looking up making business cards for myself*
wallet: Fallon no-
me: Future Fallon says yes!
Speaking of which, I’ve been playing a lot of games nowadays, and one of them is the totally relaxing farming sim/dungeon crawler/crafting/dating sim Stardew Valley. Sprites that make and craft materials is pretty darn soothing, although I do wish that it was available as a handheld, since to me small screens and something that’s in my hands feels less intense than gluing my eyes straight ahead and hunched over a computer screen.
Currently, my classes include visiting professionals such as authors, both YA like Carlie Sorosiak (really cool lady) and Sue Gee who is more towards indie publishers, literary agents and copy editors and publishers, from companies like Hachette, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. Listening to all of them talk about their jobs and having following lectures about them is really neat, and helps plans out my goals for the future.
By the way, in London there are a lot of pit bulls, but also like, these adorable pups walk around with no leash?? Just ambling about at the heels of their owners??? On sidewalks next to hazardous traffic?????
Just more worries to add when I look around the city.
But, it's nice to have them talk about the team of writers and the role of the production in the study of Shakespeare, and what the heck a colophon is.
In in other news, I have got my Yuletide assignments and it is definitely outside of what I usually write, which will be fun because it’s good to expand beyond what I usually go for, which was mostly Final Fantasy and other JRPGs. Although, i did wish that I had requested for some fandoms to be part of the selection process that I am currently into. Next time, Tales fandom, next time.
The university is really nice, tho. The food is cheaper compared to buying it around cafes and restaurants, which i heard is because food is subsidized in school. It’s near cute shopping neighborhoods where there’s delicious street food. It’s still not quite the city center and I can walk there from home in almost a perpendicular route at about 40 minutes if I fast-walk. I decided that will be my daily exercise unless I decided to dedicate myself to a gym. I’m also excited to start the program cuz the lectures are all about working in the job with some theory, and that’s pretty damn motivating.