Nov 11

Inaka—Portraits of Life in Rural Japan

Inaka life is something special, and Camphor Press is celebrating it with an anthology that it calls “an affectionate but unsentimental taste of authentic rural living.” I’m happy to be among several JET alumni authors who contributed work to this collection! Sarah Coomber – writer


Nov 10

Seeking a special holiday gift? Consider, Kokoro Care Packages! *Special discount code included*

Kokoro Care Packages offers hand-crafted Care Packages filled with premium-quality, artisanal Japanese foods delivered straight from Japan to your door. Each item (including noodles, cooking essentials sauces, spices, snacks, soups, teas and more) is carefully selected for its quality, ease of use and of course, great taste! All products are free from chemicals and many cannot be found outside of Japan. They work closely with local producers who share their values and are passionate about the foods they create, while connecting you to their stories and their communities. They also include all the English translations making it easy to enjoy all these Japanese tastes and flavors.

Their Care Packages are available in two options: Subscriptions and Collections

Just in time for the holidays, their upcoming December Nourishing Essentials and Winter Seasonal Delights Care Package theme is Oshogatsu – Japanese New Year Celebrations where they’ll be featuring their favorite New Years inspired foods from Japan. Order yours or as a gift by Nov 30th and use discount code JETAA for 10% off your first order of a subscription purchase.


Nov 6

Japan Foundation New York Online Pop-Culture Event Session 3

The Japan Foundation, New York launched a monthly online series delving into Japanese pop culture from academic and professional perspectives!

For our third session, three musicologists in U.S academia will unravel the power of music in anime. You may love anime soundtracks as much as the anime itself, but have you ever thought about the role of music in storytelling, how the music affects the work itself, and what meanings might be hidden in the music?

Come join the panel discussion with Stacey JocoyKunio Hara, and Rose Bridges as they discuss how directors and composers collaborate to create the music, explaining the role of music in storytelling, and the uses of music in beloved anime such as My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka)Cowboy BebopYour Name. (Kimi no na wa.), and other animes.

The discussion will be followed by a live Q&A. If you have any questions about music and soundscapes in anime, now’s your chance to ask the musicologists! Please feel free to post it on the Eventbrite page when you register. Live commentary will also be enabled on the YouTube stream, so you can participate in the Q&A session.

This is a free event. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email.

Eventbrite link:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ep3-the-power-of-music-in-anime-tickets-125762034631?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing
Twitter post: https://twitter.com/JF_NewYork/status/1321149344674963459?s=20


Nov 6

Japan Insights—Spirits of the Countryside Exploring the folklore and yokai of rural Japan

*********By Makoto Shirai, secretary, Japan-Insights Research Institute (Non-profit organization in Tokyo)


Hyakki yagyo, 1865, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892); Courtesy of International Center for Japanese Studies

Dear Friends,

Have you met with Yokai in Japan?
Let me introduce an essay from Japan-Insights archives.
The third one is on exploring the folklore and yokai of Iwate, Akita and Tottori prefectures.
Dr. Michael Dylan Foster introduces the spirits of the countryside of Japan.
https://topics.japan-insights.jp/#spiritsofcountryside
https://topics.japan-insights.jp/Public/pdf/japan-
insights_jp/topics/JIN_SpiritsOfCountryside.pdf

Japan-Insights is a nonprofit open database compiled by leading experts in Japanese studies. The posts present a broad range of historical and contemporary topics that encourage visitors to engage with the real Japan through immersive experiences. Follow the Facebook page and website to learn about and share these insights from around the country!”

#japan #japaneseculture #iwate #akita #tottori


Oct 27

WIT Life #347: Japan events

Professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03) presents WIT Life, a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she offers some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

As we get deeper into fall, I hope everyone has been enjoying the cooler temps, かぼちゃ (kabocha or pumpkin), and 紅葉 (kouyou or autumn foliage). I went hiking upstate two weeks ago and the leaves were just starting to turn pretty colors, so I’m hoping when I go again this weekend they will be in their full glory.

In sad news, last Sunday’s Times featured a story on the horrific attack on Japanese pianist Tadataka Unno. I first heard about what happened on the Japanese news, and since then many publications have covered it. A groundswell of support followed this tragedy, and a GoFundMe campaign to help Unno and his family has since raised more than $255,000.

Finally, there are couple of great webinars coming up for all you Japanophiles. Tonight at 8 pm Columbia’s Center on Japanese Business and Economy will discuss the transition from Abenomics to Suganomics. Tomorrow at 6 pm Japan Foundation will sponsor a Q&A with Stephen Snyder, known for translating The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (excellent read!), nominated for this year’s International Booker Prize. For all the Noh fans out there, Noh Society will be continuing its monthly webinar series this Saturday at 8 pm with a session focusing on the play Izutsu, based on the classic literary work The Tales of Ise. In addition, the 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative at Indiana University has a bunch of interesting events coming up. You can directly sign up for next month’s webinar, but for next year’s events you have to sign up to the mailing list to receive further information. Happy viewing!

Read More
Oct 23

Japan Insights—Miyazawa Kenji’s footsteps in Iwate prefecture

*********By Makoto Shirai, secretary, Japan-Insights Research Institute (Non-profit organization in Tokyo)

Miyazawa Kenji’s footsteps in Iwate prefecture.

Dear Friends,
Let me introduce an essay from Japan-Insights archives.
Have you visited to northern Japan?
The second one is on Miyazawa Kenji’s footsteps in Iwate prefecture.
https://topics.japan-insights.jp/Public/pdf/japan-insights_jp/topics/JIN_BeingModern.pdf
Please share this expert’s experience!
Japan-Insights is a nonprofit open database.
#japan #japaneseculture #Iwate


Oct 20

Illuminating Japanese Studies: Lecture Series with Former Japan Foundation Fellows—Afterlife: Translation, “The Memory Police,” and Global Japanese Fiction

The Japan Foundation, New York is launching an online lecture series “Illuminating Japanese Studies: Lecture Series with Former JF Fellows.”

First up is Afterlife: Translation, Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police, and Global Japanese Fiction, with Dr. Stephen Snyder, translator of the recently published, International Booker Prize-nominated, “The Memory Police.” He will discuss the reception of the novel in the English-speaking world, 20 years after the initial publication. The lecture will be on Wed Oct 28 at 6 pm ET and followed by a live Q&A.

The event is free, but please register at the following Eventbrite: https://afterlife-translation-memory-police.eventbrite.com


Oct 19

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: Kat Lovegrove, Ishikawa-ken (2004-2007)

************
JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

Kat Lovegrove, Ishikawa-ken (2004-2007)

Accomplishment:
Entrepreneur, on the metaphysical side

More Information:
Kat created Ravyn Grove Elemental LLC to craft intention specific tools such as candles, soaps, perfumes, and more people can use in their lives to help them direct and focus their energy on a specific purpose. Kat does it all – from production, design, and marketing; loving the grand adventure that is the creative process. She is also a massage therapist, with a focus on Bowenwork and Pranic Healing.

Public Information:
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/katlovegrove/
Website: www.RavynGroveElemental.com


Oct 14

Japan Foundation New York Online Pop-Culture Event Session 2

The Japan Foundation, New York launched a monthly online series delving into Japanese pop culture from academic and professional perspectives!

For our second session, we will analyze two of the most iconic animes: Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion, both of which have been producing new works since their release 25 years ago.

These works are two massive monuments in the anime canon, both emerging as cyberpunk epics in the mid-1990s, each addressing issues of identity and the potential for technological interventions. However, they both manage to do so in different ways and with differently composed subjects. This discussion will address both the interesting similarities, but more compellingly, the particular differences with which Oshii and Anno understood this cyberpunk discourse. Two experts—Dr. Susan Napier and Dr. Stevie Suan—will help us to unravel these complex and fascinating anime works!

The event will be Free, but registration will be required for the event link.

Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/through-a-glass-darkly-identity-crises-in-ghost-in-the-shell-evangelion-registration-123088824989
Facebook Post: https://www.facebook.com/events/343477666720772/
Twitter Post: https://twitter.com/JF_NewYork/status/1314409962068733953


Oct 13

Japan-Insights—Enchanted Landscapes of Japanese Prehistory: Jamon Sites in Northern Tohoku and Along the Shinano River

*********By Makoto Shirai, secretary, Japan-Insights Research Institute (Non-profit organization in Tokyo)

Reconstructed six-pillared structure and a large pit dwelling, Sannai Maruyama site
©APTINET Aomori Prefecture

Dear Friends,
Let me introduce an essay from Japan-Insights archives.
The first one is on the ancient history and archeology of Aomori and Niigata prefectures.
https://topics.japan-insights.jp/Public/pdf/japan-insights_jp/topics/JIN_PrehistoryLandscapes.pdf
Please share this expert’s experience!
Japan-Insights is a nonprofit open database.
#Japan #Japaneseculture #arceology #Aomori #Niigata


Oct 12

JQ Magazine: Book Review — ‘Pure Invention’

How did Japanese pop culture become such a dominant force across the globe? Matt Alt answers that question and more in Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World. (Crown)

By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagataken, 2008-10; Kochi-ken, 2018-2020) for JQ magazine. A former head of JETAA Philadelphia’s SubChapter, Rashaad is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University with a masters degree in responsible tourism management. For more on his life abroad and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.

Nintendo, karaoke, Miyazaki, manga, Pokémon. Those names resonate with so many people all over the world as Japanese pop culture, which has become a significant tool in promoting the country. After all, many people feel like they know Japan through what they’ve seen on TV, in the movies, etc. They can also enrich and add joy to our lives.

But how did Japanese pop culture become such a dominant force across the globe? Tokyo-based writer, translator and reporter Matt Alt answers that question and more in Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World by illuminating brands and names that have seemingly made Japan an epicenter of coolness.

Of course, seemingly everything in Japan has a long history, so why would various forms of pop culture be any different? Unsurprisingly, chapter one of Pure Invention is devoted to the very first manufactured item to emerge from the ashes of World War II, which was a toy jeep. It’s fascinating to read about the backstory of the toy’s creator (Matsuzo Kosuge) and creation, as “jeep” was one of the first English words that Japanese kids mastered in the postwar years. Despite this influence, it is the story of a product that, in Alt’s words, was largely forgotten. 

Read More
Oct 12

JQ Magazine: Book Review — ‘Healing Labor’

Healing Labor reveals that there’s more than meets the eye for those who have spent a night out in a seedy Japanese neighborhood.” (Stanford University Press)

By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagataken, 2008-10; Kochi-ken, 2018-2020) for JQ magazine. A former head of JETAA Philadelphia’s SubChapter, Rashaad is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University with a masters degree in responsible tourism management. For more on his life abroad and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.

Modern Japan is a huge market for sex.

That statement probably isn’t surprising to those who have spent a night out in certain parts of Tokyo. But this is a reality for people who devote a lot of time to sex work.

Gabriele Koch tackles that statement and more in her examination of Japanese sex workers in Healing Labor: Japanese Sex Work in the Gendered Economy. Koch, an assistant professor of anthropology at Yale-NUS College, conducted 21 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Tokyo from 2008 to 2013 (she also gathered information from additional trips to the metropolis in 2016 and 2017). During her fieldwork, the author explored sites connected to the sex industry as well as diverse groups of people involved in it. Koch would seemingly have had plenty of opportunities to do so: according to research she cited in the book, roughly 22,000 legal sex industry businesses are in operation in Japan.  

The information in Healing Labor (a term used to illustrate the view many sex workers have of the reparative aspects of their care since it’s ostensibly vital to any success in the male-gendered economy) is largely qualitative, so Koch doesn’t heavily rely on statistics. But she does use numbers to illustrate the risks for sex workers at Tokyo deriheru (an escort business in which a sex worker is sent to a hotel, rental room or private residence): mainly, in that instance, the relatively low condom use by male patrons.

Read More
Oct 12

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: John McGee, Nagano and Kyoto (2004-2005, 2018-2019)

************
JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

John McGee, Nagano and Kyoto (2004-2005, 2018-2019)

Accomplishment:
Environmental Team connects you to nature through guided adventures, workshops, and speaking engagements.

More Information:
John is one of the rare two-time JET participants. In the gap, he created and managed Tampa Natsumatsuri and won the Foreign Minister’s Accomodation from Japan. Now he has started Environmental Team. His 20 year (and growing) career in Environmental Science and his intercultural experience allow him to draw from both cultures’ wildreness traditions and offer truly unique experiences in the US and Japan.

Public Information:
Email: Info@eteamsvc.com
Website: EteamSVC.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/eteamoutdoors
Instagram: Instagram.com/eteamsvc


Oct 5

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: Austin Gilkeson, Nagasaki-ken (2004-2006)

************
JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

Austin Gilkeson, Nagasaki-ken (2004-2006)

Accomplishment:
A writer of humorous, personal, and critical essays published in “Foreign Policy,” “Tin House,” “McSweeney’s,” “Catapult,” “The Toast,” and other venues.

More Information:
After two years as an ALT on the island of Tsushima, Austin returned to Chicago and began working as the JET Program & MEXT Scholarships Coordinator at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago. In his free time, he writes essays and articles, most of which are either about, or in some way inspired by, his time as a JET. He currently lives with his wife and son just outside Chicago. Recently, he wrote about the video game “Ghost of Tsushima” and how it differs from the real island for “Foreign Policy” magazine (https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/08/20/the-half-real-world-of-ghost-of-tsushima/), and his chapter “On Tsushima” appears in Camphor Press’ anthology “Inaka: Portraits of Life in Rural Japan” (https://camphorpress.com/books/inaka-portraits-life-rural-japan/).

Public Information:
Website: https://austinhgilkeson.wordpress.com/publications/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/osutein


Oct 2

By Jack McDonough, 2021 prospective JET

Isla and Tsukasa

While checking JETwit recently, I noticed a post announcing a virtual roundtable asking: “why do we study anime and manga?” I was taken aback at first. I asked myself: “do people study anime and manga academically?” During my time in undergrad, I never heard of anyone studying anything other than the classics and a few select animated works: Maus by Art Spiegelman and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi come to mind. My interest was piqued. I decided to sign up for the event; it started a mental journey.

The event was hosted by the Japan Foundation. The panelists were Dr. Christopher Bolton, Dr. Wendy Goldberg, Dr. N.C. Christopher Couch, and Dr. Frenchy Lunning. All of the panelists started the discussion by establishing their love of anime and manga while also speaking about their experiences either teaching or working in the industry. The experts explained that they arrived at manga and anime after exploring things like science fiction and American comics. The panel then considered the main question: “why study anime and manga?” This question necessitated a larger discussion on studying pop culture and mass media and the panelists found that the content of pop culture is a reflection of society at large: mass media has messages and the consumers of media are receiving those messages. Dr. Goldberg brought up the fact that the U.S. Army uses video games to recruit young people and Dr. Couch added that art is always created in social and economic conditions that are relevant to both the artist and viewer. After hearing the experts talk about how media is never simply media, I started to ask myself, “why do I enjoy certain anime and manga, and what are those things saying to me and about me?” Those questions are truly difficult to answer and yet fascinating to think about. Come with me on my mental journey, exploring an anime I recently watched and enjoyed.

Plastic Memories by Noataka Hayashi and Yoshiyuki Fujiwara is an anime that came out in 2015.  The plot put simply, with spoilers: boy meets girl, girl is an android, girl has an expiration date, tragic love ensues.  Set in the future, the protagonist Tsukasa joins Terminal Service One, which collects androids, called “giftias,” at the end of their lifespans. Tsukasa’s partner is the giftia Isla, who is nearing her expiration date . Plastic Memories lets you know upfront that there is no way to avoid the expiration of a giftia, all the while making you root for Tsukasa and Isla’s union. The power of the story is that you watch in both elation at the romance between the duo while dreading the fact that Isla’s time is only days, then hours, then minutes, then seconds away from being up.

So what is this story saying about the love between the two characters? Their love was worth it, even if it was only days long. What does my enjoyment of this anime say about me, and everyone else who shares that enjoyment? Even though I knew Tsukasa and Isla’s relationship was doomed, I believed that they should love each other and face the consequences rather than stay shut off from each other. I think this belief translates to real-world situations: it is better to try and experience than to play it safe. We all ascribe to this belief, in one form or another; otherwise, no one would get married or start a business, etc.

Alfred Tennyson wrote, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” and while that sounds cliche, the creators of Plastic Memories took that idea and created an anime based on it. When I finished Plastic Memories, I couldn’t articulate why it was so powerful and why it resonated with me so much. I knew the outcome and yet I watched it anyway. I knew that Tsukasa was destined for heartbreak and Isla was going to die; yet I cheered on as they decided to be together, if only for a moment. Would I have ever thought this deeply about Plastic Memories without watching the aforementioned panel? Probably not, but going forward I will try to probe my mind immediately after consuming future anime and manga. I hope you do too; it’s much more fun that way.

For those that missed it, here is the link to the panel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBO1BHyjyQ0


Page Rank