Interview by Peter Underwood
The fiftieth issue may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep celebrating it! In the concluding segment of Aomori Spotlight’s 50th Issue extravaganza, we take a look at the people who write and run GMA itself. These people volunteer and give up their free time so that you all have an interesting magazine to read twice a month, and it’s time we got to know them better! Preferably through a series of silly questions. So without further ado, here are your 50th issue staff (deep breath!):
Amanda Lynn Marcroft (Head Editor), Andres Oliver (Publishing Manager), Mel Tee (Events), Rebecca Manuel (A Novel Idea), David Applebaum (Hot Springs Eternal), Robert Kondo (Mediabug – Film), Michael Diana (Mediabug – Music), MiNa Kim (NomNom Tabemono), Kat Skarbinec (NomNom Tabemono), Sam McCalip (Northern Sweat, Wordslingin’), Ellen Fraser (Photo Corner), Michael Smith (Photo Corner), Daven Lu (TechKnowledgey), Jackson Pietsch (Voracious Vernacular), and last, and by all means least, me – Peter Underwood (Trivia Trap, Aomori Spotlight). Let’s get this show on the road!
What is your current phone wallpaper/lock screen?
Mel: A purikura taken at Roppongi Hills with my husband while we were still just dating.
Sam: This one!
I chose the one that looks most like the Ice Kingdom in Adventure Time, because I basically turn into Gunther during winter (sliding on my belly in the snow, slightly evil, mostly cute).
Amanda: Wallpaper: a hiking path. Lock screen: Tokyo Tower (suck it Skytree).
David: I have a basic Docomo cellphone; it’s not a “smartphone.” It is purple, but it seems that nobody ever uses phones as phones anymore, so it almost never rings. Sigh.
Daven: Mayuri from Steins;Gate.
Jackson: A red panda curled up in a tree making a 😛 face.
Kat: It’s a cute theme that came with my phone: a little orange and blue bobbly solar system. I picked it because the default caller display is an astronaut, and I thought it would be awesome to look like you were being called by astronauts.
Rebecca: I have two: my home screen is a picture of colorful umbrellas, and my lock screen is a drawing of an iceberg, but underneath the water it shows that it’s actually an ice cream cone with killer whales swimming around it.
Michael D: It’s an image of Kusama Yayoi (the same artist who did the pumpkin/mushrooms/etc in front of the Towada Art Museum) standing as part of an installation she did in the Louis Vuitton NYC store when she collaborated with them like five years ago.
Andres: Snowy mountains.
Ellen: Always and forever the love of my life aka 90s Britpop heart-throb Damon Albarn
Peter: Lock screen is a purikura my girlfriend and I took on our third anniversary. My wallpaper is a background scene from Undertale.
Robert: My home screen wallpaper is a picture of Charmander! My lock screen is a picture of the OG Pokemon Red home screen from the Gameboy game.
MiNa: G-Dragon’s sexy existence. Is this a surprise to anyone who knows me?
Michael S: iPhone’s default picture of stars. I really can’t be bothered to micro-manage the personal lives of my electronics, I take what they give me.
What’s your favourite cocktail (non-alcoholic is also ok)?
Mel: Shirley Temple. It was always a treat to be allowed to order one at Swiss Chalet* when I was a kid.
*Canadian rotisserie chicken restaurant chain
Sam: Cranberry Vodka, because I’ve accepted how basic I am.
Amanda: Shirley Temple (+/- a shot of tequila).
David: I love Bailey’s on ice. I know it isn’t a cocktail, but can it count? I love a good sangria with lots of fruit, but I haven’t had one in Japan. Of course, I will never say no to a good ol’ Shirley Temple.
Daven: I’ll have water :>
Jackson: Does Malibu Coke count?
Kat: Best one I’ve had in Japan is amaretto and sweet ginger ale. You can buy it at this amazing pizza bar in Tokyo and it’s delicious!
Rebecca: Shirley Temple.
Michael D: A Screwdriver.
Andres: Kahlua Milk.
Ellen: Mojito! Novelty mojito flavours are also appreciated.
Peter: Can never go wrong with a gin and tonic, though a Tequila Sunrise is also a good option.
Robert: Is rum and coke a cocktail?
MiNa: Bloody Mary! It’s just so damn tasty.
Michael S: Well, I like Piña Coladas, and getting caught in the rain…
How many times have you seen the first Harry Potter movie?
Mel: Once in theatres. I pretty much gave up on the movies and stuck with the books after that.
Sam: Without rifftrax, maybe twice. With rifftrax, maybe twice but I laughed a lot more.
David: Once. And I only read the first Harry Potter boo. Not really my thing.
Jackson: Proooobably two.
Kat: Maybe four times? It’s one of my least favourite ones actually xD
Rebecca: Probably quite a few times, since it’s my favorite of the film series–but to be honest, I prefer the books.
Michael D: I think like three times. Not that I dislike Harry Potter, I just don’t like it either.
Andres: Once or twice.
Ellen: It was the first DVD I ever bought, back when they were like £20 each. Definitely at least five times, although watching it as an adult makes me realise what terrible actors children are.
Peter: Maybe two or three? I’ve seen Lord of the Rings way more.
Robert: The real question is, how many times have I NOT seen the first Harry Potter movie (I don’t think that’s a real question haha)? There was a time in college when I always had a movie playing in the background of my room whenever I was home. I think the first Harry Potter was that movie for a solid two months. In short, enough times to know most of the dialogue without having to actually watch the movie.
MiNa: Wow, it’s like these generic questions are just for me! I’ve seen this movie, no joke, over 50 times. On VHS at that.
Michael S: 0.75, I’m pretty sure I left…
If you could have any animal as a pet, real or fictional, what would you choose?
Mel: A dragon from Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. They not only fly, but they can also teleport between places and even times!
Sam: I’d take a daemon, like from The Golden Compass [that’s Northern Lights for any non-US readers]. Shift into a corgi one day, a snow leopard the next day, then a red tailed boa. I would have all the animals.
Amanda: Tibetan Mastiff.
David: I think I would like to have a pet dragonfly. They eat mosquitoes and I could take it camping with me.
Daven: A docile Pikachu or Eevee.
Jackson: A peregrine falcon that was sleek and graceful and fierce BUT also sweet and friendly like a puppy.
Kat: Toothless, hands down. He’s definitely the coolest sidekick!
Rebecca: A dragon, obviously. Who wouldn’t want a dragon?
Michael D: Tribbles.
Ellen: I’d quite like a Aragonite.
Peter: Probably a rodent-type pet that a lot of 90s kids’ show characters had, that would sit in your pocket or on your shoulders, and could be asked to do things as if it understood English.
MiNa: Pegasus from Hercules comes to mind, but I wish I could be friends with almost every animal I see on TV or real life. Plugging myself into animals like in Avatar would be most ideal.
Michael S: Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant! …or like, maybe a big cat.
What’s your favourite type of juice?
Mel: 100% Aomori Apple. Can no longer go back to the watered down stuff.
Sam: Grapefruit or cranberry! My anti-favorite is clam juice.
David: Watermelon juice. But the real deal, fresh pressed from actual watermelon… none of this “watermelon flavoring.”
Daven: Mango juice with 100% mangoes. Did you know that the first (and only) thing I’ve juggled is mangoes? [I did not – Spotlight]
Kat: If I had to pick one, smooth orange juice.
Rebecca: Does apple cider count as juice?
Michael D: Blood. Virgin blood is preferable, but I’m not that picky.
Andres: Apple juice.
Ellen: Any kind of fruity combination, especially if it includes mango. Definitely not Japanese apple vinegar juice though, that shit is rough.
Peter: もも水！Though I guess that doesn’t count as juice…
Robert: The blood of my enemies!
MiNa: Apple juice.
Michael S: Fruit juice.
Name three things you can’t spend a day without.
Mel: Husband, iPad, chocolate.
Sam: Laughing, coffee, typing.
Amanda: Imagination, faith, oxygen.
David: A nice cup of tea (with honey and soy milk), my daily newspaper (Japan Times and New York Times), and underwear (I have tried to go without underwear before, but it just feels weird).
Daven: Reddit, League of Legends, the thought of playing DDR.
Kat: Notebook, pen, and Netflix.
Rebecca: Internet, food, iPhone (it’s pathetic, I know :D).
Michael D: Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.
Andres: Bread, my computer, a shower.
Ellen: Bananas, coffee, and lip balm.
Peter: Music, girlfriend, internet.
Robert: Water, food, and dark chocolate.
MiNa: Breakfast, water or tea, and I guess technology.
Michael S: Cellphone, glasses, regrets.
What one word best describes your GMA column?
Mel (Events): Eventful =P [I’ll admit, I cackled at this – Spotlight]
Sam (Wordslingin’): Creative! (because of the submissions!!!)
Amanda (Issue): Necessity
David (Hot Springs Eternal): Unwritten
Daven (Techknowledgy): I have a GMA column? Oh my god I have no idea what’s going on with my life.
Jackson (Voracious Vernacular): Whimsical
Kat (NomNom Tabemono): Delicious! (Hopefully!)
Rebecca (A Novel Idea): BOOKS!
Michael D (Mediabug – Music): Specifically my side of the column: complete shit
Ellen (Photo Corner): Photo-y
Peter (Trivia Trap/Spotlight): Trivia Trap – Challenging. Spotlight – Illuminating! Ha ha ha
Robert (Mediabug – Film): PASSION. I would say the blood of my enemies, but that’s what FUELS the column.
MiNa (NomNom Tabemono): Food
Michael S (Photo Corner): Apollonian
Which article from your column is your favourite (if possible, choose one you didn’t write)?
Mel: Not from Events column (obviously), but my favourites are I Pity the Fool, from Voracious Vernacular, because shortly after it was published, an ALT from my town had a story about getting called this by Kacho, and Original Gangster from Japantics. I still laugh every time I remember this story!
Sam: Melissa Pavy’s poem “igai” makes me tear up when I read it, but I also love the 50-word Scary Stories that people sent in for Halloween last year. I’m always surprised in the best way by the directions different writers in the ken choose to take prompts!
Amanda: “Kappa no Yu: The Kappa and You” from my old column, Off Route. I still love this trip.
David: I am new here, so no columns as of yet, but I am thinking of having rows instead of columns.
Daven: No one has written in my column except for me..;;
Jackson: Secret Menu by Eric Larsen.
Kat: My favourite is definitely Bianca’s Internet Resources article. It’s full of really useful websites and fun stuff to help you cook in Japan, and everyone should take a look at it some time.
Rebecca: I don’t have any that I didn’t write (at least, not yet), so right now I’d choose my most recent one, which is the Fangirl/Carry On double review. It’s the longest one I’ve written, and I had just read the books for the first time, so they were super fresh and new in my mind and I was still really excited about them.
Michael D: I think I really liked the last installment of my series on 80s idols.
Ellen: My favourite column is Spotlight!
Robert: I like all the articles! They’re all really cool and informative.
MiNa: I love reading Voracious Vernacular! Always learn something new.
Michael S: Too many, B]but categorically, I’d say Golden Week/vacation photos.
Any words about our 50th issue?
Mel: Yay! Cheers to the next 50!
Sam: I hope you all realize how rich your submissions make GMA! Your contributions to ANY volunteer activity in Aomori just enhance the community atmosphere. I dunno, I can get all mushy about it, but suffice to say I’m proud to be a part of Aomori because of stuff like this. ❤
Amanda: I’m just so happy I lived to see this day. *tear*
David: 50 issues is a great milestone. Today Aomori, tomorrow the world!
Daven: I was there for about 2 of them LOL.
Jackson: May GMA’s reign last for a thousand, eight thousand generations, until small pebbles become boulders lush with moss.
Kat: I’m really excited that we managed to hit fifty! I’ve only been doing this for a year, and I’m happy that I’m a part of this issue. Hopefully GMA will continue being awesome in all the issues to come. Nice work, peeps!
Rebecca: Congrats GMA on 50 issues! And thanks to everyone who submitted to the special article for my column this month! 🙂
Michael D: It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating our 49th issue, and now we’re celebrating our 50th, almost as if numbers run in a certain sequence and the number after 49 is the number 50… Amazing. I can’t believe it happened so soon after the 49th issue. It came entirely out of left field, as if it were a completely different number from someone else’s list of numbers, totally at random.
Andres: As publishing manager, I’ve really enjoyed getting to work with all the content from our talented fellow JETs. Here’s to another 50 issues!
Ellen: I’m very excited about this because I LOVE milestones! Can’t wait to see what the next 50 issues have in store. Even after I finish JET, I shall eagerly await each publication and sigh wistfully as I read and reminisce about all the wonderful Aomori things.
Peter: Well done GMA! I’m excited to help run it come next month, and I’m looking forward to many further issues!
Robert: Glad to be a part of this team! Let’s carpe the heck outta that diem!!
MiNa: Congrats, GMA!
Michael S: Mellifluous, ineffable, and ephemeral.