Street | Q&A

Q&A: Behind the scenes of ‘that Spelman window’

Is that a Nyan Cat on the window? Wait, just kidding, it’s a Pokemon now. What’s that Titan doing there? Above all, what does it all mean? While Street can’t help you on the interpretation front (that is a personal decision only you can make), we can shed some light on the masterminds behind the famed display. Street interviewed Jan Cash ’14, Asumi Shibata ’14, Molly Carton ’14 and Vincent Castaneda ’14, four of the residents of 011 and 012 Spelman Halls, about their life in Spelman, their friendship and of course, their eye-catching window display. 

Daily Princetonian: How did you meet your roommates?

Jan Cash: Through the Japanese Students Association, Anime Club and knowing each other prior to coming to Princeton. Quite a few of us got to know each other during the Million Crane Project freshman year when we were doing a donation table from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every weekday.

Molly Carton: I met Asumi through Anime Club, and she invited me to room with her group. I’d known Jan and Vincent too, but not very well.

Vincent Castaneda: Mostly through the Japanese Student Association here at Princeton. The March 11 earthquake in Japan resulted in many of us working together at a donations table and collecting/making cranes, etc. I met Cam [Nguyen ’15] through a high school scholars program, and I met Molly and Eugene [Lee ’15] through Anime Club.

DP: Best memory in your room in Spelman?

JC: Nutella cheesecake?

MC: Probably just watching movies all together. It’s nice.

VC: We’re just people. Staying up late chatting with a beer in hand has always been fun with this group. That and Cam’s Thursday night dinners.

DP: Favorite thing about living together?

JC: We share common areas and kitchen space between two rooms, so it’s like living with seven other people rather than the normal three in Spelman. Eating together is pretty fun.

MC: Fun conversations.

VC: All of the constant, horrible puns we throw around.

DP: What’s with the bottles? Any good stories?

JC: I think the Pellegrinos are more impressive. We built up what we have in the window in less than a month. The alcohol drinkers spent all year getting their bottle collection going.

MC: The bottles are mostly from the boys, but our room now has a rival wall of San Pellegrino cans. We’ve been thinking about the best way to arrange them now that we have a few rows.

VC: Nothing too crazy that I can recall. We don’t drink too often, besides the occasional Triple 8 pregame. Generally we try to buy a variety of quality beers and try them out. This practice did, however, prompt us to try making our own beer, currently two weeks away from finishing. Cam and I were generally enraged by the companies claim that “If you can make oatmeal, you can make beer!” or something like that. It took us, like, six plus hours to brew the beer. I was up till 1:30 a.m. Them lies!

DP: How about the decorations on the windows?

JC: It’s from “Shingeki no Kyojin” (“Attack on Titan”). Asumi and Molly vectored and chopped up the images to make them printable on single sheets, and a few of the rest of us helped with taping them together and painting the red parts.

MC: The titans were a pretty serious project for the first semester. We spent a lot of time figuring out how to print them and then putting them together, but I’m glad we did. If we’d gotten them up earlier there we’d been thinking of putting red lights in the eyes for Halloween, but I think it’s pretty good without them.

VC: The giant face is from the anime “Shingeki no Kyojin” or “Attack on Titan” and was made by the quad in room 012. They had been planning this for months and got around to putting it up. It was my idea to use the projector. I wanted something to display to the rest of campus that could easily be changed and would be interesting for people walking by. I still have to laugh whenever people just stand and stare at whatever is currently showing.

DP: Gotten any good reactions from people/friends?

JC: The first day it was up, we saw a public safety car stop, roll down their windows and just stare at it. Tourists seem to like taking pictures by it.

MC: A lot of people take pictures. I’ve also seen people just stand and stare. It’s pretty funny to see.

VC: “I think you have to like, sign a contract that you’re going to put up weird shit on the windows if you live here,” is, I think, one of my favorite overheard quotes late at night.

DP: What about the projector?

JC: It gets really hot sometimes, so during winter it’s like a mini heater.

MC: I actually didn’t know about the plan for the screen until after it went up, but I think putting on Twitch Plays Pokémon was what made it worthwhile. We had a lot of people get excited about that — I remember we were having dinner one night, and someone held up a phone to the window to tell us how much he liked it. Gets a lot of thumbs ups, too.

VC: Answered above I suppose.

DP: Any decor plans for the rest of the semester?

JC: We were thinking of laser lights shooting out through the Titan’s eyes and tracking people as they walk by. Maybe. We’re waiting for the Doctor Who people to step up their game.

MC: Apart from arranging the soda cans in the window, nothing that I know of.

VC: Probably keep it mostly the way it is, but change what we display on the projector. May go back to adventure time or another personal favorite. We display what we want to display and hope others find it enjoyable. It’s an interesting experiment, I suppose.

DP: Any other fun things you’d like to share?

JC: We also have an impressive tea collection. 

MC: We’ve decorated the walls inside the rooms, too. Recently googly eyes appeared on various appliances, but you might want to ask Jan about that …

VC: Making your own personal suit of armor is harder than it seems.

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