Meditations and Musings on Real Housewives of Orange County

-To feel envy is human, to savour schadenfreude is devilish-

I have a love-hate relationship with Reality TV. There’s a wonderful voyeurism to watching women throw insults at each other, fight over brand names and lament over lost Chardonnay. There’s a fantastic schadenfreude to falls from grace, financial failures and questions of faith, marriage and children. Because I’ve been binge-watching Real Housewives of Orange County: here are a few meditations on the nature of this particular Reality TV show.

  • The idea that a difficult time demands unconditional support even in the face of absolute lies and slander is one I am very familiar with and I dislike greatly.
  • Blaming Satan for everything bad is a very uncomfortable situation.
  • A woman apparently is not a woman unless she’s airbrush flawless and wearing heels.
  • Friendship doesn’t mean totalitarian support: it means asking the tough questions.
    • And yes, that does mean sometimes hating the person you’re currently dating.
  • A lot can go wrong in a 3-part reunion show.
  • Is Andy Cohen okay? He looks really really tired.
  • No one needs to use the phrase “OG” again.
    • That is not needed. Please stop.
  • The amount of money these women spend is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen.
  • Not all children toilet paper houses.
    • I did not.
  • STEP-PARENTHOOD IS VERY DAMN VALID AND SHAME ON YOU WOMEN FOR NOT ACKNOWLEDGING HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO BE A STEPMOTHER.
    • End of rant.
  • Girl Code does state that you cannot be friends with a current SO’s Ex.
    • But there are special circumstances.
  • Losing a mother suddenly is heart-wrenching and painful. I have been there and throughout this season for that to be a common theme was immensely personal and a bit of an emotional subject.
  • Research will set you free.
  • You cannot purchase your children’s love in general.
  • You cannot purchase your children’s love in hopes of them accepting your terrible boyfriend in particular. 
  • Tornado shelters are claustrophobic: there’s a reason for that, they save lives.
  • There’s nothing to do in Oklahoma.
    • People from Oklahoma, please feel free to correct me.
  • ALWAYS TELL YOUR HUSBAND WHAT YOU SPEND MONEY ON.
  • Also, for the record, spending 50K on a necklace somewhat hurts my spirit.
  • High schoolers should have some accountability for the vast amounts of money and cars and Chanel bags they get.
  • Tahiti is absolutely gorgeous.
    • Let’s go to damn Tahiti. I’ve been to Hawaii. Need more French Polynesia.
  • That being said, the death of a parent and watching this on TV and all of these women circling the wagons around their friend was incredibly inspiring and did remind me of my own friends who were there for me after my mother passed away suddenly.
  • Game night sounds terrible, like it just seems like an open breeding ground for drama and wine-throwing.
  • It’s important to know what to say on-camera and off-camera.
  • Leeches do not help your skin. They make you bleed. You bleed a lot.
  • Champagne is fantastic.
  • For the love of God, if you have a party feed your guests.
  • Naked sushi is somewhat refined.
    • Do not though ask the model to get a job and education while she is naked and serving sushi.
      • She is probably very okay with her choice and makes more money than I do.
  • Homeopathic medicine still is sketch as hell to me: just saying.
  • Ageism is real.
  • Don’t judge a young lady for being young.
  • Judgy eyes are real!
  • Good bone structure is brilliant.
  • Charity galas are apparently amazing and I’d love to be invited to one.
  • So much can be said via text.
  • SPEAKER PHONE ALL THE TIME.
  • I adore the power of the hyphen in a name.
  • Changing your name is hard, Tamra. I support you.
  • Loans between family are not a good idea.
  • Working with family is also not a good idea.
  • Heather Dubrow is my spirit animal and I want to be her when I grow up.
  • Boldness does come at a cost.
  • Context is very important.
    • Things taken in and out of context have ruined many relationships.
  • Politeness can be good.
  • Never underestimate the power of a good party.
  • This show is brought to you by: Grey Goose and Soda with lots of limes.
  • Phone calls can apparently save lives.
  • Do not judge a young married woman. Newlyweds have a lot going on. Calm down, Vicki.
  • Vicki, it is NOT your show.
  • Tamra: PASTOR, not PASTEUR or PASTURE.
  • And Tamra and Vicki: It’s a medium, not a median.
  • Fireball is not a shot of vodka with salt and lime.
  • Who needs 14 bathrooms, Heather? 14 bathrooms? Really, woman?
  • But I think the most amazing marriage is between Heather and Terry.

The penultimate point of this list was one thing: we love watching terrible things happen to people we feel like deserve it. I watched an entire season of this show but it ended with me yelling at a close friend saying “I figured out why I watch this show. It’s a safe way to work through issues that I have had with people.” Watching Real Housewives of Orange County was a voyeuristic way to cope and deal with issues that I had: fight with friends, bad significant others,  losing a mother, disagreements on dogma: it was all a safe way to work through those things. It was a Greek Tragedy: it was a safe, outsider’s view into something terrible but easy to relate to and very likely to happen to someone at some point in your life but played out with flowery language, hyper-violence or melodrama. It’s a blonde, glitzy and very much dumbed down version of Anna Karenina. It’s a morality play. So I applaud you, ladies. I tip my glass of champagne to you.

Tony Stark. Table for 1.

 

“If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company.”

So the title does feel quite a bit like another blog post I worked on. But that was more of a discussion on being a somewhat mostly orphan. This post is about dining alone. I’m a mostly solitary kind of girl. Since moving to San Antonio I’ve kept a few close friends but many are busy and I spend a lot of time in splendid isolation. I eat lunch often times alone. I spend a lot of time in my apartment alone. When I spend time out of the house it’s often by myself. But I don’t say all of these things as a bleeding heart. I’m an introvert, I like my own company. And honestly I’m usually talking to someone while I’m out and about or at home but that person usually just isn’t directly in front of me.

I want to talk about why we are so averse to seeing someone alone.

The first response is usually to pity the poor thing. Oh how tragic, this poor tiny woman sitting at alone at a busy bistro. My response to that is I’m fine. I’m usually fine. I’m either listening to an audiobook, a podcast or reading. The second response is often a morbid curiosity. Why is she sitting alone? Is she okay? Did she get dumped? Was she left at the altar pregnant and without a dime? No no no no no and no. Just sitting alone at Starbucks. That happens. It’s not 1920. Women are allowed to sit alone.

While this seems like the rantings of a very angry tiny woman over a likely imagined threat it wasn’t until recently that I started feeling guilty for sitting alone. Normally, I never let it bother me. I sit alone, it happens sometimes. But it was at lunch recently that I felt the judgemental eyes of the masses upon me in between sips of a soda and bites of a salad made of not the finest greens. I was listening to the Welcome to Night Vale novel and enjoying the story but when people would walk by they almost expected me to be sitting with someone else and when that simply wasn’t the case they looked nearly disappointed. They were almost disappointed that a woman sat alone. And in their disappointment, it seems as those they removed my agency: sitting alone was my choice.

This isn’t high school. I’m not the frumpy comic nerd who eats alone in the library and even when that was me during high school that was my choice: I was anime club president, I spent lots of time in the library donating and organizing the books and manga.

And here’s where I’ll make a distinction: introverts do get lonely. I do sometimes wish I had a partner to eat with. But most of the times I am seen out and about I’m usually okay. What matters is the issue of agency.  And let’s be honest: between my cellphone and friends all over the country and the world I am almost never alone. Just because someone isn’t sitting across from me doesn’t mean that I’m not having a rousing conversation about gender, depiction and diversity in various pop culture artifacts.

If it’s my desire to sit alone and read manga then that’s perfectly acceptable. If I chose to sit and have tea and sake with a friend then also perfectly acceptable. I’ve written about this actually more than once and introversion isn’t a fault: just a trait.

Now if you’ll excuse me…Carlos was telling Cecil how much he loved him and I really really want to figure out what’s up with these flamingos and King City.

 

To Court the Cultural Muse

 

No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive

I’m a cosplayer by trade. I often adapt and acquire clothes I wouldn’t normally wear from people that I am clearly not and masquerade in their skin for a brief time before I remove it and return to my own skin. Cosplay is in its purest form theater, pageantry and magic. It’s also in a weird way cultural appropriation. I’ve been on a recent kick about worrying over my status of stealing a culture that isn’t mine and I’ve been working through it and we’ll get to that but for now, humor me.

Cosplay as cultural appropriation? C’mon.

If you see a person with a Native American headdress at Coachella, do you not roll your eyes and groan? Find someone running around dressed like “A Celtic Priestess” at a Ren Faire? You probably don’t have many good things to say about them. Chubby black girl running around in a yukata?

Wait, what?

When I go back over my cosplay history I’ve been a shrine maiden, a Buddhist monk and a priest, I’ve been a schoolgirl from at least 2 or 3 different schools and I have put on plenty of other various cultural costumes and pieces from kimonos to yukatas and had to wrap an obi around my waist so tight I could die. There’s been plenty of talk of cultural costumes as cultural appropriation: it pops up around Halloween when plenty of kids run around dressed as “geisha” in a way too sexy for their age costume in a way not appropriate for various reasons costumes.

By now you probably think I’m rambling: I clearly had no issue wearing these outfits in high school so why the damn fuss? I dislike and resist wearing them now. I won’t put on another shrine maiden costume. I won’t wear another kimono casually. I just think it’s disrespectful and that’s my opinion. I won’t judge anyone else. I just personally think that I am old enough to no longer wear cultural artifacts that are not mine in that way.

Another place this topic on inquiry comes up for me is tartans. Now, I am passionate about plaids: I’m a former Catholic schoolgirl after all. I adore the Royal Stewart the most but I know my fair share of popular tartans and color schemes. Is it right for me to knowingly wear a tartan of a clan I do not belong to? Well, that may be a bit excessive: just because I can place a tartan doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible to me but it does mean I won’t be LARPing as William Wallace any time soon. These are of serious cultural significance and to diminish their honor and cultural importance would be disrespectful. But that basically won’t ever stop me from wearing plaid because I feel like it.  

 

Let’s talk about military uniforms: a beloved favorite and a common cosplay item. Fullmetal Alchemist, Attack on Titan and many others feature an alternate universe’s uniform so no harm no foul. What about Axis Powers: Hetalia? If you dress up at Germany or Prussia or even Japan: whose costumes are all based off of national, imperial or historical military uniforms is that appropriation? Probably: hence why I won’t cosplay as any of them and for others reasons you can find out about here and the more important aspect of cosplaying especially Germany, Prussia or Japan is that you’re wearing a uniform based on something worn during the 1930s and 1940s and that is a time period that still echoes painfully through the ages.

I think I’ve already spent way more time talking about something I barely like other people mentioning and this is a good time to point out that my opinions are my own and you are more than welcome to disagree with me: hell, I disagree with me sometimes. I’ll leave you with something my friend said to me: she’s a historian and when I showed her my “cultural appropriation sins” she said something very profound: as long as your work comes from a place of respect, it’s okay. As long as it’s done with respect. That won’t stop me from appreciating great cosplay when it see it. Styling cosplay whenever I can and having a great time in costume: just not dressed as a shrine maiden anytime soon.

 

 

The Lessons from A-Kon 2016

-So if I'm Fuudo, then that means Carlos is Infiltration and Ricky is Xian.-

I have returned from A-Kon and it was the most bittersweet time at a convention that I can think of in recent memory. Here are a few musings during my time paneling, cosplaying and being with friends: both old and new and some people that I much rather just avoid.

  • There is nothing like eating white cake and watching Django Unchained.
  • Paneling is still honestly the most rewarding and fantastic thing I have done in my young life.
    • Having fans and people listening is absolutely amazing and I hope to keep doing it for as long as I am able.
  • Swimming is a fantastic way to unwind.
  • Hot tubs are in fact magical.
  • Mackerel is really really delicious.
    • Let’s just say that this weekend I sorta just turned into Haruka Nanase.
  • Having a bedroom to yourself as a lady, cosplayer and introvert is a fantastic luxury.
  • Always save your presentation on your desktop and flash drive.
  • Bonding over webcomics and music is absolutely amazing.
  • Patience is a virtue: my friends have a lot of nonsense to put up with being my friend so I did have to learn to support my friends despite not being as invested in the activity as they were.
  • Cosplay dogs are the best.
    • It’s even better when you see the same cosplay dog two years in a row.
  • Jurassic World is a hot pile of NOPE.
  • Teen Titans vs. Justice League can not be saved by Sailor Moon transformation sequences.
    • And despite Damien Wayne being an insufferable brat, he has every right to feel that way. You do you, Damien.
  • As a former Sebastian, getting a hug from Ciel is actually kinda cosplayer cool.
  • Teaching Drag lingo to someone is an arduous task.
  • A girl in a Trump hat may call you a social justice warrior: she may just be right and that isn’t a bad thing.
  • Friendships aren’t about understanding everything: it’s about support.
  • I absolutely do not understand Gundam model building but I will gladly accept the hobby being explained to me.
  • Meeting other panelists is amazing.
  • Street Fighter is pretty awesome and Karin is the best.
  • Convention tournaments are amazingly fun.
  • Free breakfast is fine but paying for a Dutch Baby was worth the money.
  • Backstreet Boys are best heard at 1 AM.
  • Being recognized as a panelist and a pretty low-rent one is kinda a terrifying feeling.
    • Like I am legit not famous so for people to say “Hey, I remember you from last year.” out of like THOUSANDS of people they saw LAST YEAR is insane to me.
  • I have apparently a very intense angry face that can strike fear into the hearts of men from several feet away.
    • This face was apparently more angry than the AoT potato proposal anger face.
      • You are welcome to ask about that reference later
  • Blackberry ginger ale should not taste like grape but for some reason it does.
  • Shopping at  Tom Thumb at midnight is pretty fun but the rabbi there shopping for last minute items will judge you terribly on your choices to frolic through the aisles looking for s’mores-making materials.
  • Tastemade Japan has clearly gone too far by hollowing out a bread loaf, filling it with meat sauce, broccoli and potato then cracking an egg over it and covering the bread’s edges in mayonnaise.
    • You must be stopped, Tastemade Japan. You have gone mad with power.
  • Do not try to ride the hotel elephants.
  • Dim Sum is best when with a group and when you try new things.
    • But also eat lots of the things you love.
      • Also do not touch my pineapple buns.
  • Drama may happen but what matters is how you respond to drama.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand your ground: if someone makes you feel terrible, you do NOT have to put up with that noise.
  • Having a CVS within walking distance to the hotel is fantastic.
  • You can in fact make a cake with just two ingredients.
  • Do not do your makeup in the dark.
  • I look forward to the day that I stop being my screen or badge name to many and start being “Amanda”.
  • Fuudo apparently looks a lot like Japan from Hetalia.
  • Conventions absolutely can take you out of anime and fandoms in general.
    • Conventions are intense and they remind all of us that our fandoms are FULL of people we don’t exactly like getting to know or see.
      • To that point, it did remind me that there’s A LOT I still have to learn about modern fandoms and fan culture.
  • Team Razer forever, though.
    • And to that point despite me being a HUGE advocate of E-sports I for the life of me do not understand watching people play a game that you yourself own.
      • Zero judgement, I just don’t get it.

I said earlier that this convention was bittersweet. I had some of my biggest panel turns out and some very light drama but it was drama that I think I learned from the most. I learned so much about myself and patience and understanding things that just aren’t my thing. I had to learn that friends will make choices you don’t get. That support means support no matter what. Hype is what you make of it. And it’s always rough leaving a friend behind. I won’t forget this one. I won’t forget the applause in my panels. The costumes I saw. The costumes I wore. The bus trip there and the bus trip back. Being angry at paying for getting my car back but being so happy to unpack my loot, stash my costumes and just get ready for the next one: there’s always a next one. The show must go on and I’m always excited to be on stage and then get off the stage again. Paneling is amazing: the thrill is fantastic but learning and being around others is even better. I’m happy to be back and I’m looking forward to my next convention…but for now I need some hot tea and a nap.

 

Sunshine Questions

The fantastically talented BRIDGETT MORIGNA tagged me to answer these questions. So here we go. I hope I do them justice.

Do you speak any foreign languages?

  • Actually, yes! I’m conversational in French and Japanese and my German’s a little spotty. Oh and I took Latin for like 10 years.

You can live anywhere in the world, but you have to live there the rest of your life, where would you decide to stay?

  • SALZBURG. Dammit, Salzburg. Take me back, Austria. That or Vienna. The theme is I’d absolutely go back to Austria.

What is the last book you read?

  • The Georgian Star: How William and Caroline Herschel Revolutionized Our Understanding of the Cosmos

What is the last thing you wrote?

  • I’ve been working on a ton of blog posts and I’m really trying to get back into poetry.

Do you have a favorite Pokemon?

  • Drifloon. Drifloon forever.

425Drifloon

Do you have a favorite anime?

  • Oh boy. That’s a rough question for an otaku like me. The anime that I can always go back to is FullMetal Alchemist or Cowboy Bebop. Those two are pretty strong favorites. Other honorable mentions include: Axis Powers: Hetalia and InuYasha.

Can you describe your perfect writing environment?

  • It really depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I  love sitting out in the park with a journal pretending to be Emerson. Other times I love the quiet cacophony of a coffee shop. My apartment is lousy to write in but I tend to get distracted really easily by anime or music that I like too much. So it really just depends on how I’m feeling and just how much urgency there is to finish the piece.

What do you do to de-stress?

  • That’s another one of it just depends on how I feel. I’ll play fighting games, duel in TCGs or just take a walk. I’ll also listen to music or dance like no one’s watching. I’ll sew if I need to calm down sometimes or craft. If I’m working on cosplay, it’s a good time to paint an accessory or sculpt.

What do you think will be the next big book fad?

  • I’m really passionate about normalization. I’m a little tired of LGBT characters and characters of color almost needing their own special section. A character can be black, gay or really anything and it just be a thing. Their entire narrative shouldn’t have to be written just solely on the fact that they are gay, cis, gender queer or anything. So let’s start to see some more YA novels that are more diverse without forcing it down people’s throats.

What sort of books would you like to see published more often?

  • I really love obscura. I love picking up a book on a wide variety or very specific topics. I finished another one about the pagan roots of Christianity. So I’d like to see more books like that. I am a nerd. A huge trivia nerd. More books to feed that part of me, that’s what I’d like.

This was kinda fun. I tag Kristine and here are the questions you should answer:

  1. Coffee or tea?
  2. Which Neko Atsume Cat if your favorite?
  3. What are you currently reading?
  4. Where do you like to write?
  5. What’s your favorite food?
  6. If there was one place you could travel to, where would you go?
  7. If you could visit any planet without having to worry about the laws of space, time or physics: which one would you visit?
  8. What’s your favorite book genre?
  9. What writing fad are you hoping to see die sooner rather than later?
  10. What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?

Mediations on the Nature of Grief on the 5th Anniversary of My Mother’s Passing

“There is no place for grief in a house which serves the Muse.” ― Sappho

June 7, 2010 was a normal day. And even the years before on that day were normal: some even joyous. I graduated from High School on June 7, 2008.

My aunt got married on June 7, 2001. But June 7, 2011 was not a normal day. It was by no means a normal day.

June 7, 2011 my mother died.

 

On that day I lost the one remaining of my parents and became the very last of my already terribly small nuclear family.

I’ve talked a lot about how struggling to cope with these days and anniversaries a lot over several blog posts: here and here. But I’m here to mention something bigger.

Today: June 8, 2016 for the first time in nearly 5 years it was just a normal day. I got up. Got dressed for work. Drove to work. Talked with friends. Was excited to post something about A-Kon (which got shelved until tomorrow.). I had gotten a message from my Godmother last night and I simply shook it off. She sent prayers and it wasn’t for any lack of gratitude that I shook it off: it was for am immense desire to return to being normal. I wanted today to be any other day and I thought it was going to be. In fact, for a brief moment I almost forgot. I even flubbed the dates. She had in fact passed yesterday the 7th but I had switched the dates from the day she died to the day I had posted about it after midnight that evening: the 8th. It was actually Facebook that reminded me that 5 years ago today I lost my Mother. (Thanks, Facebook.)

I felt absolutely normal up until that point and for the first time in a while I was reminded of that feeling that today was in fact not a normal day and despite my efforts to make it a normal day for many of my friends and family members it can never return to that normalcy that I desperately crave. And I say “normal” over fine and happy because I do not wish to worry those closest to me. I am not sad. I am not broken. I am actually quite content and calm enough to crank out a blog post, obviously.

So today: after 5 years of being officially an orphan I’d like to say a few things.

I do miss my parents immensely. I do love my parents. But I have no choice but to move on. I have to keep going. My sadness and my grief do not negate the right that I have to a life. And my parents would not ever want me to waste a single moment of my very finite breath on grieving them incessantly. So if I come off as callous or cold; if I seem detached from the date. If I seem unaware of its significance: do not assume my normalcy is out of rudeness. It is in fact the highest honor I can pay to my fallen parents. I will move on. I will keep going. I will live.

You have to keep moving forward.

A Culture of Her Own

“Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.”

I’m not Japanese. Despite my efforts and severe cultural abandonment, I am a not a Japanese national. The Nihon my heart sings for would see me as a dirty gaijin. My bowing, my use of suffixes all of them are from a culture that simply isn’t my own. My squealing over manga, the slips of Japanese that dot my English speech: all of those are from a land that would see me as a foreigner.

So why am I doing this? Why bring this up? Haven’t I served my 40 cultural lashes for being an abandoned American? I recently got to attend the Asian New Year Festival here in San Antonio run by the various Asian-American societies and The Institute of Texan Cultures. I had found the event as Japanese Culture Club president and took my group there as a means to show them how various Asian cultures celebrated New Years. I’ve attended this event for years now and I’ve seen a clear distinct change: recently there have been more and more cosplayers there.

Normally I am thrilled to see fellow cosplayers but it struck me as somewhat rude. This is a New Years festival and anime is not the only thing Japan has given us. The steady number of anime and manga vendors has increased at the festival and while a few have always been fine in my opinion to me this event is sacred: it is culture not fandom. It hit me especially hard because the day of this year’s festival I actually changed clothes: I was going to wear a shirt from a beloved anime and I decided to stick to simply red for good luck. I dressed up in the way I would if I were going to church and seeing cosplayers there offended me. This isn’t their culture. This isn’t my culture. Why am I up in arms? No one else seemed so ruffled by the matter. And isn’t it more than offensive that I as a gaijin was more protected of the Japanese flag than any of the Japanese natives who were more than content with the cosplay and anime fans flocking around buying onigiri in their very own otaku poorly spoken Japanese and broken Engrish.

I let the festival go: it was just a festival but thought about it again with the presence of two Asian markets here. We have one that’s a more traditional establishment: while the occasional otaku or lover of Asian culture will saunter in for the most part it’s filled with restaurant professionals or Asian-Americans looking to find the food and flavors of their homeland. The other is Minnano: a Japanese grocery store run by a lovely Japanese-American family and is very authentic. Almost every time I have been there it is usually shopped by some Asian-Americans looking for the flavors of home but it mostly overrun by otakus like me. I shuffle through, the occasional sumimasen leaves my lips and the bowing that has made its way into my life as I try to find the best instant miso ramen and the finest UCC canned coffee.  I felt like an outsider despite my pronunciation being more than fine. The owners have never questioned why as a tiny chocolate Westerner was there and spoke more Japanese than even they did at times. But for whatever reason I was less judgemental of the other otakus there looking for Ramune because to me when you lead with Japanese Grocery Store: you embrace that you are opening the door for otakus like me. While the other Asian market is not marketed to otakus like me and despite our appearance most treat it like any other grocery store but with a way better instant noodles selection and a great amassment of sake.

I bring this up because there’s a new wave of otaku out there very different than my own. I was part of the anime generation that advocated “otaku citizenship.” As the first and second wave of anime fans many of us (I included) used anime and manga to abandon our American culture. I found strength in Japanese morals, power in calligraphy and solidarity in ideals of honor, personal responsibility and care for the family: they were very much like the ideals I was raised with as a Southern woman. Anime became our citizenship test, manga our passport books. Bowing, suffixes and casual Japanese became part of my life and many other anime fans I knew. The newest wave of anime fans…not so much. That’s more than fine and the new wave of fans have their own special quirks and that’s perfectly alright. They see anime as more of a thing of its own and not so much a means to Nihon.

Because I gave up my “Americanness” to be effectively in spirit Japanese I feel even more at odds with the fact that in all actuality: this isn’t my native culture. Cultural appropriation is a hot topic and I think it’s entirely overblown and often misused but there is something to be said about a small black young woman who speaks more Japanese than American slang and knows more about some manga than some Japanese students. But there’s also something to be said about seeing only anime and manga as culture. Anime and manga are just parts of the entire Japanese mythos.

There is history: good and bad and having to take the bad makes sometimes mythologizing Japan very uncomfortable. There were absolutely negative aspects of Japanese culture and there are still huge issues of sexism, racism and inequality. That honor, power and strength applied only to men of a certain type and absolutely wouldn’t apply to me not just as a black woman but as a woman. There was a war: a terrible war, awful things happened. There were war crimes. There is poverty, government issues, a real yakuza that needn’t be romanticized as anti-heroes.

It’s unfair and ridiculous to take and piece Japan together from manga stills and drama CDs. Japan is not just wallpapers taken from paused stills from InuYasha set to a Yoko Kanno soundtrack while Mai Yamane sings in between samisen chords. Japan is a real place, with real concerns, with real history that didn’t just start with Astro Boy.

It’s important to keep this in mind when we look for a culture outside of our own. Thanks for listening to this tiny rant from an equally tiny otaku.