Counter-ESPY is sending me back to Tokyo3 for a bit. Mission objectives: moderate a panel at Tokyo Anime Fair, sneak into ACE, film numerous bits for OTAKU-VERSE ZERO and the Live Show, reconnect to the overtones, and try to seek the fulfillment of my mortal dreams in space. Ping me if anything is going on as per usual.
So what else is going on? The great work now is now Crunchyroll News. We are literally doing millions of views a month now, so most of my ass-kicking energy is going there now. Trying to finish up my long-overdue second book for Ohta Shuppan. Writing some short fiction for the Valkilly website. Exploring expressions in new media on tumblr and facebook (I sort of fell out of love with Twitter a while back, sorry) and scanning the horizons for signs of human emotion. Will continue to post here if you still want to hang out.
Ok, looks like we’re due for another tour of duty. I’ll be in what’s-left-of-Tokyo from Nov. 15 to Dec. 12. Mission objective: complete filming for Season Three of OTAKU-VERSE ZERO. Side missions: secure the future, have fun, etc.
The "image concept" for this trip will be: "Travels through Unknown Space"
So what else is going on? Mostly doing my part in the streaming anime wars by working out of the Crunchyroll offices here in San Francisco. In addition to writing and editing the Crunchyroll News site, I’ll be behind the scenes and on camera for a new weekly streaming show there slated to begin in November. Otaku USA is doing well and we just shipped our latest to the printers. Also updating the Japanese Fashion Inferno blog several times a day...plus ComiPo! and several other IT things…the Area 51 video project is nearly done as well…and as I blabbed on Twitter, I’m also beginning work on a light novel for a Japanese publisher. I can’t say anything about titles or story details, but anyone who has read this blog for a long time may recognize a few characters and situations.
As for this ol' blog, I can't say that things have slowed down so much as they have $cattered and taken root in other place$. In any event, I have a couple of big music-themed posts coming down the pike for here soon, so please stand by FOR ACTION.
I met Tomohiro Machiyama (or simply “Tomo”, as we tend to call him) in 2000 in the USA. He moved here from Tokyo after making a big sensation in Japanese subcultural media.
Tomo is a movie critic and he established a magazine called “Eiga Hiho” (aka “Movie Treasures”) in 1995. Tomo was responsible for many notable events and happening while editing Eiga Hiho. Then most notorious was when he and his editors threw pies at the staff of
A rival magazine, “Kinema Junpo”, as a reply to their negative review of Eiga Hiho’s articles. This made people viewed Tomo as both a heroic and a problematic figure. To pay the price for his actions, he left his company and moved to the US with his family in 2000.
Eiga Hiho magazine was formed as a “movie magazine for men”. Tomo said of it’s creation, “At the time, movie magazines were for woman who liked Hollywood stars or magazine written by publisher employees who actually didn’t know anything about movies. This made me mad and I decided to make a magazine for guys like us (who like cult films, action movies, B-films, horror, and such).” Before the Internet age, people like Tomo were grouped in hardcore niche or subculture magazines or radio talk shows made for non mainstream Japanese people. Japanese subculture was hidden from the mass media.
For a long time, most “common people” consumed information via mass media such as TV, newspapers or major publisher’s magazines. And as you probably know, Japanese are known to be very “obedient” and “passive”.
Employees of Japanese major media companies are no exception. They are (or must be) loyal to the rules of the company and rules of the media industry. You cannot go against your boss, the sponsor, never against your masters -- even if you sense things are not right.
As a hard-core information junkie, I had been following these niche cultures and noticed lots of ideas and stories that were missing from the mainstream Japanese media. So, it became my hobby to dig into subculture to try and view an alternative side of Japan.
Otaku used to spend time and energy and even money to access hard-to-find music or movies. But after the Internet, such things are much more easier to discover. And those “niche” voices, which were once on the margins, are also no longer hard to find.
Recently, Tomo rose his voice again. This time, he encouraged his Twitter followers and blog readers to support one of his gang: Yoshiki Takahasi, who is Eiga Hiho’s art director, a scriptwriter, and a Japanese Satanist. Yoshiki had set up an charity fund for earthquake relief called “Devil Press Fund Raising”. Within 1 day, he reached his goal of 1,000,000 yen so he decided to extended it. People responded to Yoshiki’s message of, “I love splatter and disaster films and I am so satisfied to see them on screen. It is enough to see them only in the movies, not in the reality!”
On March 30th, Tomo replied to Yumi Toyozaki, a freelance writer and critic on Twitter who asked him to do a hanami (“cherry blossom viewing party”) in defiance of Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara – who discouraged people from celebrating cherry blossom season in the wake of the recent disaster. Tomo flew over from the USA and visited Japan within few days. He said, “I decided to do a Hanami on 4/3 in front of Tokyo City Hall in Shinjuku. It’s called “The gathering to protest flower viewing self-restraint promotion announcement by the Governor of Tokyo, and singing of RC SUCCESSION’s ‘Summertime Blues’”.
RC SUCCESSION was a Japanese very well known band, lead by Kiyoshiro Imawano. On August 6th, 1988 (the anniversary day of when the nuclear bomb was dropped in Japan), a cover album “Covers” that included versions of “Summertime Blues” and “Love Me Tender” with new anti-nuclear power plant lyrics was scheduled to be released. However, it was canceled by the band’s major record label because it included protest songs against the nuclear power industry. Instead, another smaller record label released it on the day of August 15th, the anniversary of the end of World War 2.
At that time, most of us (except his fans and some protesters) didn’t really care or know about Imawano’s protest songs. After the 1960s and 1970s, the heat from the student movement had cooled down, Japan lost it’s intention to check on authority or raise ideological voices. In some ways, there was no need to. Japan had been a happy, peaceful country for a long time for most people. Society and companies guaranteed your security as long as you obeyed and did not bother the people on top. Only few niche journalists dug up news concerning problems in Japanese society and made noise about it on a small scale.
But movie and music fans were attracted to (and more than a little envious of) the radical energy of the ‘60s and ‘70s, when young people had the passion to fight against the powers that be. RC SUCCESSION’s Imawano passed away in 2009, after battling with cancer. If he was alive, he would have become 60 years old on April 2nd of this year. Hearing Tomo’s call, many Eiga Hiho and subculture writers, musicians, and movie creators had gathered along with about 300 followers for the hanami party.
Tomo called for people to bring musical instruments. And Noriwo Yamakawa, aka Guitar Panda, who used to be a guitarist of Kiyoshiro Imawano’s solo band, replied to Tomo and came from Osaka just for this event.
I was watching the live show of this event on Ustream in the USA. At the peak time, a total of 3,000 people were also watching remotely.
Tomo asked everyone to bring own flashlights, drinks and snacks with trash bags. He called for a “good manner” gathering. Someone commented at the end of the party, every one cleared up the location and the scene was free of any troubles.
For Guitar Panda’s performance, at first they were using an amplifier with a mic stand. One security guard approached them and said not to use a mic.So, he ended up performing unplugged. It seemed not to interrupted the quality of the performance. Someone said that the security guard actually ended up dancing and clapping along with the songs.
I saw Tomo overjoyed by this outcome. So many people heard his call and gathered. They celebrated Imawano’s 60th birthday while his guitarist played protest songs in front of the Tokyo Governor’s Office surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms.
Since 3.11, I sense something began in Japan instead of ended.
I missed the earthquake in Japan by a little over a week. I’m in boring old San Francisco now, so I’m fine.
Extended family and friends in Japan are OK too. Pretty much everyone I know and work with over there is in Tokyo.
Still, stress / depression / general feelings of helplessness levels are high as those near and dear are now facing a battery of blackouts, aftershocks, and a developing nuclear crisis.
Jay and I monitored the situation in Japan over what was a very long weekend using Twitter, Ustream, NHK World, and other means of remote viewing. Jay also downloaded an phone app that sounds out the earthquake warning chimes in real time (For a while there, they were going off every 5 minutes…)
We gave some money to the Japan Society of New York, who assure us that 100% of our donation goes to relief, as opposed to other organizations that skim the top for “administration fees”. You might want to do the same.
The situation playing out now is eerily reminiscent of two Japanese disaster films: Japan Sinks (1973) and Deathquake (1980), both of which follow a pattern of quake ---> tsunami ---> nuclear power plant crisis.
Everyone is kind of showing their true colors now: Hiroko Tabuchi is proving to be a truly great world-class journalist, Marxy is cool and pragmatic, and Matt Alt has risen to the occiasion to become a major link between two cultures. Plus lots of other fans and organizations are DOING THE RIGHT THING and trying to help however they can. On the other hand, Shintaro Ishihara is being a dick, a few assholes are trying to leverage the crisis for publicity, and some bloodthirsty Americans are actually framing the tragedy as karmic payback for Pearl Harbor.
As for me, well, I wrote a quick (and in retrospect, a little too optimistic) update about the quake for Otaku USA magazine's website, and tried to confirm the safety of close friends, all the while trying to work on a business proposal. In no way does making it to Monday me feel any better about anything.
I’ve spent the last ten years regularly traveling back and forth between San Francisco and Tokyo. In some ways, it feels like I’m living two lives: one in which I don’t do much except procrastinate and work (SF) and one in which I’m running around in the streets absorbing and experiencing as much as I can because time is short (TKO).
I’ve been told repeatedly “I’m lucky” that I’m not in Tokyo now, trapped in the event horizon of a global crisis, bracing for whatever comes next to land directly on my head. It still feels like I’m being split right down the middle.
Still, this is bigger than where I'm at, or where I'm not...emotions and all that stuff that gets in the way. But there is a kind of solidarity I can share with friends and strangers.
It is the feeling is that nothing will ever be the same again.
As part of the new "every other month" plan. I'll be prancing around Tokyo soon to begin work on Season Two of my web show OTAKU-VERSE ZERO. Please contact me if you'd like to meet up or if anything BOLD is going on. In other words: 私は来月、東京に行くよ！２月８日から３月１日まで！よろしく。
Hey this is Patrick. It’s a new year, the bunny gals are out in force, so I figured now would be as good a time as any for a season recap as it relates to work and such.
The main thing on my plate right now is OTAKU-VERSE ZERO, the web show I’m co-hosting and going back and forth to Tokyo a lot nowadays to shoot. New episodes are going up weekly and our 6th should be up later today / tomorrow depending on where you’re at.
OTAKU USA magazine is still alive and well. We shipped our March / April issue to the printers just before the holidays. Expect a hot Evangelion 2.0 cover, and coverage inside, when it arrives at the store around late Feb.
The OTAKU USA website and Facebook page, curated by Joseph Luster, are rolling along merrily as well. The website is where you’ll find the bulk of my daily text-based blogging and writing, including “Tokyo Terminal Diary” entries and “2010 is 1980”. Most of my writing is being done now for OUSA website rather than here nowadays because, quite frankly, they’ll pay me for it. But this blog isn't going anywhere either...
My company jaPRESS is working on re-launching our web magazine japattack shortly under a new name. Jay is learning CS5 so expect it to be very smart phone and tablet friendly. The main dish will be a “Hot Tears of Shame” comic that I’m writing and that a rather remarkable fellow named Kashio Ara will be illustrating.
Assorted freelance stuff…
Vol. 5 of iPad / iPhone app Tokyo Kawaii Magazine is available now. I did the English language rewriting and editing.
My new column about Japanese film is running in iPhone and iPad app Terebi Bangumiran. The most recent entry is about Osaka Expo 70.
Ok, I'm going to be in Tokyo again from 11/24 - 12/16. The basic mission objective is to film additional episodes for the upcoming web show I'll be co-hosting (more details and full launch information soon). But I suspect there will also be much Space Battleship Yamato-themed craziness as well when the new live-action movie opens on 12/1. I'll be staying in Mitaka this time, so feel free to hit me up if anything is going on relating to "work" or "pleasure".
Also, I've added a Paypal donation button to this blog (see right). Kind of hobo-ish I know, but the yen-dollar exchange rate is a killer (enter: 100 yen hamburgers and happoshu). Either way, if you've enjoyed the writing, podcasts, and crazy pictures I've been posting here regularly since 2005, your support would sincerely be appreciated no matter how big or small.
- Going back to Tokyo later this month to begin work prancing around front of the camera for...well, I've been told to keep my mouth shut until further notice. But, yeah, it should be fun. Contact me if you're also in town, if something "wacky" is happening, or if you'd simply like to meet up.
- Selling stuff on eBay, like the soundtracks to HOUSE on CD and LP. I never thought it would come to this, but that yen-dollar exchange rate is a killer. Check out my auctions here. I'll probably let go with some anime books and doujinshi soon as well.
- I was a guest on the ANNCast podcast talking about stuff that really matters like Otaku USA and Harmageddon. Link here.
- Speaking of Otaku USA, I've been writing for the official website quite a bit lately, and will continue to do so. Right now, I'm working on a travel diary and another series called 2010 is 1980.
- The big enchilada right now is the TokyoScope Talk Deluxe: BAD GIRLS & WILD WOMEN! show at NEW PEOPLE in San Francisco on 9/13. Please come down if you are in the area! Shochu distiller Haamonii will be one of the sponsors of the V.I.P. pre-show party, and we'll have free food and drinks, so show up at 6pm for full effect. Link to advance tickets page here.
Yeah, that's right! Renowned journalist and troublemaker Tomo Machiyama (Eiga Hiho, Cruising the Anime City) has agreed to participate in the 4/9 TokyoScope Talk - Mecha Mania event at SF NEW PEOPLE. Prepare to be astonished as this survivor of an actual Showa-era childhood dishes the dirt on robot-themed anime and the creators thereof.
Also, NEW PEOPLE has sent out word of the event out via a press release. I'm updating it below to include mention of "The Mach".
Tokyo Scope Talk: The Wild and Crazy World of
Japanese Cult Films
Vol.2 MECHA MANIA: Four Decades of Slam-Bang
Sci-Fi Robot Anime, Friday, April 9th 7:00pm
Join Patrick Macias, Editor-in-Chief of OTAKU USA,
and Japanese author Tomo Machiyama as they host the second presentation in an ongoing
series about Japanese cinema. This time it’s all about ‘mecha’ (robots
and machines). Macias and Machiyama give insights into the long and
storied world of mecha anime from its inception in the 60’s with
Tetsujin 28, and on through the 80s with Gundam and the dawn of a new
generation of films such as Gurren Lagann. Tickets are $8:00. No further
discounts will apply.
THE MYSTIQUE OF JAPANESE
YAKUZA GANGSTER FILMS IS EXPLORED AT VIZ CINEMA IN TOKYOSCOPE: THE WILD AND CRAZY WORLD OF JAPANESE CULTFILMS
New Lecture Series
Launches In March With An Installment On Gangster Cinema; SEGA To Demo New
Yakuza 3 Video Game
San Francisco, CA, February 25, 2010 – The shadowy and often bloody celluloid
world of Japanese gangsters – hit men, loan
sharks, outlaws, gamblers and tattooed tough guys – or “yakuza” cinema, is
explored in detail in TokyoScope: The
Wild & Crazy World of Japanese Cult Films, a new lecture series launching at VIZ Cinema on Friday, March 5th.
TokyoScope, Vol.1 Yakuza
Night Fever begins at 6:00pm with a
reception and discussion to be hosted by Patrick Macias, Editor-in-Chief
of Otaku USA, a leading national magazine
on anime and Asian pop culture.
Also sponsored by SEGA® of
America, the evening will feature highlights ofYakuza 3, the eagerly anticipated new release
for the PlayStation 3 that debuts on March 9th. Preceding the
release, SEGA will demonstrate Yakuza 3
in a special sneak preview and give away the actual game (valued at $54.99) to
lucky 10 winners at the event. Tickets for the
event are $10.00.
hour-long lecture starts at 7:00pm and will trace the history of gangster
cinema in Japan, highlighted with clips from such genre masterpieces as Brutal Tales of Chivalry, Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Dead or Alive, and Like a Dragon. Macias will discuss the culture of the yakuza genre and
its action-packed, blood-soaked cinematography, along with themes of loyalty
and betrayal these films often explore.
SEGA’s Yakuza 3 is the next chapter in the
prestigious video game saga, offering an authentic, gritty and, often, violent
story set in modern day Japan. Following the events of the previous game,
Kazuma and Haruka (his adopted daughter) have left Kamurochoto to seek a new
life in Okinawa where they manage an orphanage for children. However, their
peaceful life is soon interrupted when a series of events unfold, pulling
Kazuma back into the shadowy past he thought he had left behind. Making its
first appearance exclusively on the PlayStation 3 platform, the rich story and
vibrant world of Yakuza 3 lets
players engage in intense brutal clashes on the streets of Okinawa, and the
pulsating and, often, dangerous city of Tokyo where only the strongest will
survive. Yakuza 3 will carry an ESRB
rating of ‘M’ For Mature Audiences.
VIZ Cinema is the nation’s first movie
theatre devoted exclusively to Japanese film and anime. The 143-seat subterranean theatre is located in the basement of the NEW
PEOPLE building and features plush seating, digital as well as 35mm projection,
and a THX®-certified sound system.
NEW PEOPLE offers the
latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan and is the creative vision of the J-Pop Center Project
and VIZ Pictures, a distributor and producer of Japanese live action film.
Located at 1746 Post Street, the 20,000 square foot structure features a
striking 3-floor transparent glass façade that frames a fun and exotic new
environment to engage the imagination into the 21st Century. A
dedicated web site is also now available at: www.NewPeopleWorld.com.
Just a head’s up about my event at San Francisco’s NEW PEOPLE on March/5…It’s going to be the first in a series of TOKYOSCOPE themed presentations. This one will be called YAKUZA NIGHT FEVER and it will be a launch party for Sega’s US release of YAKUZA 3 for the PlayStation 3. I will be discussing the violent and explosive history of Japanese gangster flicks, showing a ton of crazy clips (including an actual pinkie cutting ceremony!!!) in a THX certified theater, and Sega will be giving away lots 'o freebies, including multiple copies of YAKUZA 3 well before the street date. There's also going to be a small exhibition of some of my yakuza movie flotsam and jetsam (books, posters, VHS clam shells) a few days prior and after the event. A full press release from NEW PEOPLE is expected shortly, but the basics facts are already up on their website and “down dere”. Hope you can all make it!
Friday, 3/5 7:00pm
TokyoScope: The wild and crazy world of Japanese cult films Vol.1 YAKUZA NIGHT FEVER! Hosted by Patrick Macias Sponsored by SEGA of America, Inc.
**Reception party starts at 6:00pm
Come celebrate the launch of J-pop culture critic Patrick Macias’s film lecture series at VIZ Cinema! The event is followed by a game demo of Yakuza 3 to be released on Tue, March 9th, PLUS a raffle giveaway of Yakuza 3 sponsored by SEGA! Our good friend Patrick Macias, a.k.a editor in chief of OTAKU U.S.A, gives us deep insights on the wild and crazy world of Japanese cult films, this time through the history of YAKUZA (Japanese mob) movies!
Dude, I will totally be in Tokyo from Xmas day until at least 1/11. I'll be hiding out in a weekly mansion in Nishi Shinjuku this time, will see the Yamato and Ultraman movies and interviewing some fun folks along the way. Also hoping to destroy Ginza with a half-naked girl in my awkwardly proportioned T-rex arm (see above). As always, hit me up if something/anything is going on.
Perhaps I’m piling too many toppings on my pizza pie, but I’m crafting it to be a survey of various economic, sociological, and psychological interpretations of Japanese cartoons and comic books -- and their admirers -- that have arisen in the academy and elsewhere over the years.
While the attendance will be limited to CSUMB students, I’m told the event will be filmed and I’ll be capping the audio with my trusty ZOOM, so it’s bound to leak out one way or another.
The word is out about the grand opening of the Viz Pictures NEW PEOPLE building next week in San Francisco's Japantown. If you aren't up to date with the myriad of music, film, and fashion related events slated for Aug.15, ANN has a summery of the happenings here.
What's my part in NEW PEOPLE masterplan? For starters, I'll be moderating a panel discussion with artist Yoshitaka Amano at high noon on Sat/15 at the "summit stage." Having seen Angel's Egg and Vampire Hunter D about a billion times, as well as having gone through multiple copies of the Amano Tarot, it will be a massive thrill to just be there for the unveiling of the new DEVA LOKA USA art exhibit (above) at the new SUPERFROG gallery.
Also: I've been asked to produce / host a new podcast for the NEW PEOPLE website. I'm envisioning it as a mix of j-pop related conversation and Hot Tears of Shame-style coverage of ongoing events at the NEW PEOPLE building.
I've recorded the first episode already, and hope to get it up soon, but there's like a billion things to do (for all involved) before the grand opening next week.
Thanks in advance for your support of the NEW PEOPLE project!
Those ding-dong OTAKCERS boyz are at it again! Looks like Matt Alt and myself managed to sneak into a photo spread in the new issue of ORICON STYLE magazine. The hard-hitting "Ori Star" story is about the day in the life of otaku idol Shoko Nakagawa, complete with gruelling fashion shoots, hair and makeup sessions, itenerate blogging, and having to put up with fawning American fanboys.
If I look unbearably thrilled in that picture, it's because I'm trying to keep my brain from shooting out of my skull from the GIZA GIZA pain of a hangover-sleepless night combo. I guess that's just peanuts compared to what a real trooper like Shoko-tan has to put up with...No wonder the OTACKERS Oricon ranking is so low!