Meta, Otaku Academy

“What’s wrong with your faaaace?”

Apparently, Roger Ebert and William Gibson have discovered that Japan has a thing for surgical masks. This is true. Japan does have a thing for surgical masks. They are worn as protection from both allergens and airborne illnesses. They’re available in most every convenience store, at a variety of price points. (Here are some examples from 2009.) When I visited…

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You are now free to move about the world

Via David Forbes, I found this post by John Haffner. It’s a strictly philosophical (read: Kant gets name-checked) discussion of rights and freedoms as they pertain to immigration, a summary of a panel on the subject held at Sophia University in Japan. Japan’s stance on migration is problematic to say the least: for a variety of reasons, it has always…

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Your daily dose of mukokuseki

Mukokuseki (?????) is a word meaning “without country of origin.” Since Koichi Iwabuchi started using it to refer to the statelessness of anime, the term has come into more common use among Western critics. Generally it refers to the way Japanese cultural products can be seen to erase national history and identity in an attempt to ingratiate themselves with a…

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And now, a surreal video from Japan about food.

Via Just Hungry, we learn of Air Yakiniku, which is not an airline whose vessels are made solely from grilled beef, but something far, far stranger. Seriously, Lynch and Cronenberg could not have made a creepier ad if they’d tried. Note the total blackness surrounding the characters of the commercial. Note the muted laughter of the “family,” and the Ring-like…

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News you can use, These fragments I have shored against my ruins

And now, a descent into immaturity:

I CALLED IT! Panels that generate energy from vibrations have been laid by ticket gates through which up to 80,000 passengers pass every day at Tokyo station. In theory, the system consisting of slates, rubber sheets and ceramics can generate enough energy to power automatic ticket gates or electric billboards at the station. In Fitting A New Suit, the main…

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This is why we can\'t have nice things

Reasons to go running:

Two rejections in as many weeks. I’m missing a weekend of free Japanese films, including one by Takeshi Miike, to go out of town. …By contrast, running is simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. I’m not good at it, but it’s something I can at least manage. Also lately I’ve been reading this book:…

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Otaku Academy

Review: Astral Project

I found out about Astral Project via this post at MangaBlog, and I’m glad I did. Because even if this story didn’t have call girls, cults, and free jazz beats that literally pull you outside your body, it has one very special thing going for it: it makes me feel like I’m back in Japan.