The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Japan still matters

I thought this TechCrunch post by Marc Benioff, though booster-ish, was really interesting and revelatory. I’d like to read a companion piece that goes beyond technology to talk about Japanese consumption of U.S. media and culture—and of course, the reverse.

I feel like Japan used to have complete hegemony in video game design and production, and that’s not the case anymore; but is that actually correct?

I feel like the Japanese aesthetic (and perhaps Japanese production) still reigns supreme in TV cartoons; how about that?

Finally, I feel like I have the makings of a total Japanophile, except that the (nerdy, blog-writing, San Francisco-living) Japanophile is such a cliched character that I’ve totally resisted it. I mean, as a confirmed lover of megalopolises, how is it that I’ve not yet been to Tokyo? It’s the Japanophile thing. It seems too obvious.

Maybe I ought to give in. (I certainly own enough manga to justify it.)


You haven’t been to Tokyo? Really?

The funny thing is that a trip to Tokyo will make you a Japanophile, but not in the way that you imagine. Instead of going tech / futuristic design crazy, you will lose yourself in a bookstore looking at graphic design mags that have that global minimalistic look. You will feast not only on ramen, but you’ll love French pastries, as interpreted by the Japanese, and clothing-wise, you might be drawn to the abundance of carefully curated classics from different sub-cultures (a store devoted to the 1960s English Road biker look? A line of Columbia outdoor wear only sold in Japan, with a slimmer cut, and richer fabric?) Everything familiar, through a bizarro lens, but a good bizarro. This is the stuff that’s imported to America in only small batches.

Whoah I am sold. SO sold.

Go for the manga — stay for the international modernism!

Frank says…

EC’s account makes me want to go as well.

Robin, did you catch wind of this time-lapse video of Japan? It should intensify your desire to visit 70-fold.

I should add that this Flickr account, which I’ve followed for years, functions as, like, the Personalized Japanese Tourism Board for me. I want to live in that world.

natem says…

I’ve lived in Tokyo the last 4 years. Now and then, the wonder appears to wear off. But then I go back home to California to visit and can’t stop wondering why no one is trying at all. If I didn’t have the cutest nephew yet created, I’d only ever go back for the cheap shopping.

ec is right that it’s all international all the time, but it’s also all Japan all the time.

Today I ran around the imperial palace twice, did some work at home, went to the bank, then picked up an insanely good designer green tea mousse (Henri Charpentier) before heading back home to argue with the editor. Later, it’s off to Akiba to help a friend with her English, then Tokyo proper to meet up with a friend who grabbed me some tea in Taipei yesterday. To tell the truth though, it was sort of a slow day. /brag

BTW, if you own a single manga, you’re already pretty far into the nippophile camp compared to the average American.

My trip to Tokyo was one of the best of my life, it convinced me to move to Asia (a goal I achieved 3 years later).

In addition to the modernism, the food is REALLY good. The best in Asia.

Saheli says…

I was really surprised to read you’d never been there, since one of the funnier adventures of my tiny trip was abetted by you, and, yes, it seems like your kinda place. Urban Density! Art! Media! Futurist vs. Historian! Themed Restaurants!

That said, I resist nation-analysis like Benioff’s or even EC’s; I just don’t like the idea of summing up a country or saying it matters or does not matter. But there is something powerful about visiting a country that is so completely secure in its status as a modern, developed country and yet so not built on a European foundation, and so variable and idiosyncratic about accepting Anglo-European conventions; so willing to modify them and make them its own. ( I’m guessing Korea has a similar feel but with some complications.)

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