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If you want a better book to read, but don't want Susan Napier writing the entire book, I'd recommend The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture : Gender, Shifting Boundaries and Global Cultures. Anime is covered, but so are the cultures of sumo, karaoke, J-League soccer, and sentai teams. Really opened my eyes up to the possibilities of cultural analysis.

From http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/columns/crash.php?id=209 :
"On my flight to Osaka, I sat down with Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo by Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama. The book is an indispensable guide to any anime fan visiting, or thinking of visiting Tokyo, and I’m glad I took the time to read it. Turns out, several other people on the tour brought the book along too."

So how's it feel to be the go-to guy for incoming dasai gaijin?

It pays the rent.

Corruption/Model(ru) lovers in America: I reach out with one hand, and keep one foot on the platform/Well I know what I want/If I know I could get it/I'd take what I want/Uh-huh, if it's there/Yeah, uh-huh, if it's there/Believe me/You gonna leave me when you hear the truth/Some things you do in the city: walk around in circles, meet Japanese girls/Well I know what I want/If I know I could get it/I'd take what I want/Uh-huh, if it's there/Yeah, uh-huh, if it's there/YEAH, uh-huh, if it's there/Yeah, uh-huh if it's there/YEAH, uh-huh, if it's there.
—Robbers on High Street, "Japanese Girls," New Line Records 2005


1.) The weather was beautiful even unto Monday and Adrian Ortiz asked me in the bright median between the Hilton and the Marriott to sign his copy of JAPAN EDGE. What followed next was entirely in character. I couldn't think of anything more clever with the pen than to echo a phrase Patrick sometimes uses, "we do it all for you." I mean, it's a good line, but couldn't I have just come up with my own? At least it wasn't literally what he had already signed in Adrian's book—it was something else; what, I don't remember. Mercifully, because I might have written it the next time. Meanwhile as I was tagging Shinjuku Station, a fine oil tilted forth from the cicerone salad I had in the other hand, soaking my flight bag, a Pan Am original. I swaddled it in hotel towels for the flight home. It will steam out; at least it didn't get on my Purple Label. In conclusion, I'm sorry, Adrian. This post really is done all for you! And so—

2.) The Hilton & Towers, despite its fine name is a bit of a box worthy of its great-granddaughter, but it has a very kind security and maid staff, roles which in the anime tradition are often combined. Having spent more than one night in, I grew up reading both the Gideon and Conrad Hilton's BE MY GUEST, which is found, or should be, next to the holy scriptures in the desk drawer of every room in the chain worldwide. It is important that people understand the old man left Paris's grandfather shit in his will—the money was supposed to go to the poor. But he convinced the courts the wish was obviously that of an unbalanced mind, and hence we have THE SIMPLE LIFE, not to mention STEAMBOY.

2a.) The first time I was ever in the Hilton & Towers I was thirteen years old and someone named Yoshiyuki Tomino was there announcing a sequel to GUNDAM, although the crowd at the World Science Fiction Convention seemed more taken by the lavish on-site promotion for THE STUFF. Smell is intimately keyed to memory; perhaps it was only a precaution for the event, but they definitely put more chlorine in the lobby fountains then.

3.) My room had a perfect view of the fireworks above the "park." I would like to go back to Disneyland, kick it on It's a Small World and the Teacups (Mad Hatter, but no one calls it that), but I would feel like such a chump paying $56 to make childhood memories animatronic again. Plus I heard they got rid of that ride where they shrunk you down to the size of an atom, although even as a kid I remember staring very suspiciously at the input tube, to see if the tiny figures in their chairs really resembled the riders I had watched go in. But the fireworks were impressive, like something out of, well, like something out of anime or science fiction or stuff like that—explosions in a single plane, bursts along X, Y, & Zee axes, swarms which slowed down and then sped up again. I shouted "Tamaya, Kagiya!" aloud, figuring it would hurt nothing but my soul, which is to say it hurt very little.

4.) Keeping in with Disney's much-publicized trend in recent years towards adult attractions, the room TV offered "Tight Young Twats" for $13.99, although it may be only be the moe talking ever since Mr. Eisner bought his tickets to Abura-ya. I don't see what the big deal is; it could even be argued this is a return to their early sophistication, when Frank Sinatra attended Disneyland's opening day with Sammy Davis, Jr. (Patrick brought the disc of the event once to the office, although the camera stayed well below the "Colored" sign over his lane at Autopia).

4a.) But on Channel 15 you could beat the devil for free to HARVEST TIME, hosted by Kenichi Nakagawa, who as a salaryman in 1976 found something very strange in Tokyo, God. It is a hard call. Confucian ethics and Buddhism are after all no more native to Japan than Christianity; the Rev. Nakagawa likes to point out that if things had gone a little different with Nobunaga, Japan today might be as Catholic as the Philippines. That might not actually have suited him—at one point he reminded his co-host that they were both Protestants, like a yankee unsure whether she's cos-playing Bridget or Sister Rosette. The co-host, the magnificently-named Ioanna Sillavan, did in fact appear Japanese—but, as Lupin once said after bumping into Hitler, "well, now…you never know these days." HARVEST TIME, which I don't believe is carried in the 23 wards (although you can pick it up on TV Saitama) was doing a special on the late Pontiff, and I was intrigued that it was Benejikuto-juu-rokusei-go, but Iohanne Paulo-nisei. The general format of the show is like THE 700 CLUB, two people in late middle-age sitting and saying that's right, with the occasional eyes closed and chair-arm prayer grip, but I dare say, being Japanese, it was all just in slightly better taste.

4b.) Nakazawa had the last laugh at the end of the show, when he addressed the viewer in English the envy of any anime dub, whilst simultaneously demanding 20 people to pledge $100 a month, "if these subtitles have helped your understanding of this service." Confused and faintly appalled, I switched to Channel 17, the Expo anime simulcast, where Batou stuck a gun in the Major's face, and said, in one maligned quote among many, come, Holy Spirit.

When I found Samurai from Outer Space in the GSU library, I was happy and excited. All I knew about the book was that it existed, but I was excited to at the prospect of learning more about he cartoons I so enjoyed. Then I read the book. Yeah. At the time, I felt rather feebly that at least this showed that anime was making inroads into American culture. Shortly, thereafter, I started going to Anime X meetings and got hooked into the fan oral tradition. So fuck books.

I don't whether I envy or pity fans who never went through the booster stage for anime. It seems so sweetly silly in retrospect to be so concerned about the success of corporate products. I think CB has been feel similar rueful nostalgia recently. He's told the story about the time he and Matt called an extremely uninterested FBI to report bootleggers to a couple of different people recently.

Maybe I'll retract my fuck books statement. I hear Confessions of a Video Vixen is a compelling read.

The real power of SAMURAI FROM OUTER SPACE is how it takes entertaining children's cartoons and sucks all the life out of them, leaving a dried, withered husk littered with historical references. Because you can't enjoy URUSEI YATSURA without a degree in Asian Studies, you know?

Another one of the book's charms is how it insists that Japanese culture and history ended somewhere around the Tokugawa era. At least Susan did her homework.

I promise to use my degree for the sake of good and not for the sake of evil.

Just be sure to distinguish the two writers, as Antonia Levi wrote SAMURAI, and Napier wrote the other one.

Here's another way to tell them apart: a giant Fu-Manchu style Gong goes off whenever you open Samurai From Outer Space. Also, it's written in the "Chop-Suey" font for maximum Orientalism.


My Mind Explodes...

Carl was at the Tomino panel at the '84 Worldcon with me, and I never knew it...

Did he see me buying way too much crap from Yuji at the Books Nippan table? Did he see me eye with undisguised lust the Big Scale Yamato toys, stacked *6 HIGH* at the Comics and Comix booth? Did he witness my embarassing fanboy action as I scrambled to buy a Dunbine BGM LP from Fred Patten so Tomino could sign it?

I must start a website someday..the world needs to see my picture of Tomino in kimono and Mickey ears at the guest party....

I really believe there was a golden age to be an anime fan in the US, and that time is long past...long past...

Fuck. They're making tiny Cosmodragoon toys.My GI Joes can Kung-Fu grip MASSIVE ANDROID KILLING FIREPOWER now... forget I said that, maybe this is the golden age...

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