As my fellow interns have mentioned, the JANM is not the place for a diet. The Japanese Village Plaza is less than a stone’s throw away, the area is full of froyo and sweets shops, and the staff room is filled daily with a plentiful bounty of docent-brought treats. In conjunction with my new existence as a sedentary, headphone wearing, video editing machine, I can feel the pounds piling on. Flashbacks of my “Freshman Fifteen” come rushing back as I realize I am gaining what I’ve decided to call my “Getty Intern Gut.”
For ten weeks, I’ll forgo the summer California girl look of toned body and flawless tan, in exchange for a more pleasantly plump, florescent light-fostered glow. Of course, the food and company I’ve had is well worth it.
I’ve found that times at the JANM are celebrated with great food. Today marks the last day for another intern, Mia. To commemorate the occasion, the whole office went to lunch. And where else would the staff and interns of one of the largest Japanese American museums go but Chinatown. (**Side note: Japanese people always seem to come together for Chinese food. Be it a wedding, funeral, or family reunion, pan fried noodles always seem to beat out sticky rice for celebratory food. It’s something I’ve never understood…)
Mia’s celebratory lunch was at a wonderful little dim sum restaurant. We all had our fill of noodles stuffed with shrimp and beef, fried squid, rice, and Chinese vegetables. The feast was delicious, and the company at the table couldn’t be beat. One of the best things about these fantastic lunch dates is the friendships I can feel forming with the people I work with. Sure, sometimes conversation turns to business: the Discover Nikkei files that still need to be looked over, or some new exhibition space. But more often, deeper connections are made.
I’ve learned that Vicky has a thing for food photography. Before a grain of rice goes into her mouth, at least one picture must be taken. The result is a mouth watering online food diary whose size is comparable to that of the Museum archives. I’ve learned that Yoko can speak three languages. Geoff has a huge knowledge of science fiction literature. I’ve learned that John, long-time Obon attendee, is going to dance at his first Obon this summer (the Media Arts department is still trying to get footage of him practicing—more on that to come, hopefully).
This internship has proved edifying in more ways than I can count. I’m learning to shoot tape and edit video, sure, but I’m also learning about the people I work with, and the culture I come from. I’m learning to love and accept it all–even my Getty Gut. The trick, I’ve found, is not to run to the treadmill or the stair master. Instead, all I can do is sit back, smile, and try to get some work done before the food coma sets in.