MOORHEAD, MN—Foreign student Misako Takashima, 19, continues to delight third-floor residents of Carlson Hall with her crazy-Japanese-punk-girl antics, Concordia College sources reported Monday.
"Everybody loves Misako," said sophomore Jenn Erickson, 20, speaking from the third-floor lounge. "She's always acting all crazy, running around and making everyone laugh. We're so lucky to have her on our floor."
Takashima, a sophomore who has not yet declared a major, transferred from Japan's Osaka University at the beginning of the fall semester. She immediately stood out among her Concordia classmates, not just for being Japanese, but for her exuberant behavior and eccentric dress, which includes knee-high vinyl boots, ripped skirts and T-shirts, and magenta-streaked hair.
"I tell my father I want to go to New York City for school, and he say, 'No way!'" said Takashima, shaking her finger and frowning in imitation of her stern father. "So I go to Minnesota. It's good here, too. It snows, and everything is white! Then we have snowball fight!"
While most Concordia students take pains to seem mature, Takashima is unafraid to embrace her whimsical side: She makes chalk drawings on the sidewalk, puts on impromptu puppet shows, and takes pictures of her dormmates' bare feet and tapes them to her door.
According to Erickson, who lived in Carlson Hall last year, the third floor is "about 20 times more fun" since Takashima arrived.
"Last year was so bad around here: Everyone broke into these little cliques and hated each other," Erickson said. "But this year, it's completely different. We all get along great. That's totally due to Misako."
In addition to fostering floor-wide friendship, Takashima has broadened her dormmates' horizons, introducing them to numerous Japanese pop-cultural staples.
"Misako's room is so great," said freshman Rachel Alarie, 18. "She's got cool toys all over the place, like stacks of these Japanese comic books called manga and posters for weird Japanese cartoon movies. And she has a PlayStation that only plays Japanese games. Everyone's completely addicted to this one weird game where a little man shaped like a domino walks through a grocery store. Once I stayed up until 3 a.m. playing it."
Takashima's offbeat interests are matched by equally offbeat behavior. Often, she will spontaneously scream with delight or run in circles, attracting the attention of strangers. But despite such over-the-top antics, Takashima, her classmates agreed, is one of the nicest people they have ever met.
"Some people can be so stuck-up, but Misako is nice to everyone," said Chelsea Mason, 18. "Misako's mom mails her junk food with Asian writing on the packages. If she knows you're having a bad day, she'll hang some little candies on your doorknob with a note that says, 'Cheer up, my friend! Do not be sad!'"
When she makes phone calls home to Japan, Takashima loves to pass the phone to her new American friends so they can talk to her brother Ryunosuke.
"Ryunosuke sounds so cute," said Alarie, one of the many third-floor residents who has a long-distance crush on Takashima's brother. "He's 20. I told him he should fly to Minnesota for our Christmas party."
The floor's resident administrator, 23-year-old graduate student Erin Lorimer, said she expects the upcoming holiday party to be a big success, thanks in no small part to Takashima.
"At Christmas in the quad, there's a contest for the best-decorated lounge, and I know we're going to win," Lorimer said. "Misako taught us origami, and we decorated the tree and with hundreds of little white birds. Then we made a sign that says 'Peace On Earth' in English and Japanese. She's so awesome."
Unfortunately, not all Concordia students are lucky enough to live in Takashima's dorm. Stephanie Yoder, a Wycliff Hall resident, expressed jealousy of her Carlson Hall counterparts.
"I wish we could have [Misako] for our dorm," Yoder said. "We have a girl from Germany on fourth floor, but she's really shy. She's got a single [occupancy room] and hardly ever comes out."