12/14/2020 Got the Canon P back. They're not sure. Not a terribly surprising outcome.
final interview date is set, the fourth for this company. good grief.
12/15/2020 ipri stopped taking orders for film development, that sucks.
essay, pension, atm, meds, long laundry list to go through but I'll nap instead
12/17/2020 Interview tomorrow. Dreading going to gran's because I know it'll be like 3 degrees inside the house. A re-release of the romance manga 僕は恥っこが好き by the original author, oddly. It was one of the first I archived alongside 屋上姫 in early 2017. 2 or 3-year gaps inbetween updates is something I'm used to now and I've taken a much more relaxed view on reading manga overall. No more obsessive searching through untranslated Chinese forums, if it comes my way I'll read it. As far as the manga goes it's...identical to the original?
12/18/2020 Finals done, interview over. I'd give myself a 75%. Now I can sloth into 2021. it's the season of kerosene heaters and tangerines adorning kotatsus.
Saw an unusual show on the box. It's a sort of 45 minute recruitment ad for the Japanese army. Nothing out of the ordinary in America, movies like Argo (2012) got production help from the CIA. In Japan it's taken on the plasticky domestic TV formula, a panel of actors and comedians reacting to an army show-and-tell. It's a surreal marriage with a Promised Neverland live-action ad at the very end. Media dispenser Hana Minami was one of the faces, pretending to go "wow I love the Trumpeter Type 89 NBC Detection vehicle :)" You have to squint your eyes to lines like "this 155mm howitzer is defending my country" when that country is as cushy as Japan. Netouyo are obsessed with China but what are they going to do? Invade a mountainous US-aligned island to destroy the world economy? Is North Korea going to glass Tokyo, losing the veneer of imperialist victimization and nuclear deterrence that the DPRK has been relying on for 70 years?
12/23/2020 Been watching good eats, best portioned out bit by bit. Bought 4 meters of vanilla fabricmmmmm
it's time for the barrage of waifu collages oh god oh fuck
12/25/2020 This site is currently at 223k views, a non-insignificant amount. It has finally come to a degree where there's too many numbers. Big numbers. Ballooning view counters are hard to visualize so you divorce it from any meaningful expressions of what it actually represents. And despite that I have a tendency to look outwards when deciding what to write on about. Broadly I doubt many people are interested in my ramblings about Japan. Fact-shitting about quirks of japan life is productive, reading someone's blurry opinions aren't. I could spin it off into another page for pale piles of testosterone looking for an "exotic" three-dimensional girlfriend but that means portioning off a large percentage of my daily thoughts. Spontaneous decisions are truest to what I wanted to originally do, and the nagging voices of "ooo, maybe that's too personal" or "i'd doubt anyone was wanting this" tests that conviction.
It's also hard to quantify what this site is. A few hobby pages sporatically updated with each film development package or new photobook purchase, some inane ramblings, and this journal. Who exactly do I write for? anyway, been cooking up a few ramblings here and there, none I'm fully committed to yet. They include fun topics like:
obligation or empathy-driven etiquette in japan
poverty and government assistance
age gaps at work - how it manifests into everyday interactions
presentation of one's self - outside face/inside face - both versions are me
possibility of returning to US
democratized speech over the internet as a smear campaign against mankind
moral convictions about peddling your old shit vs gaming/entertainment -inherently useless commodities
aging and progress
new years resolutions
fun stuff, none of which I will touch on now.
12/26/2020 Cases be risin'. _ came over, we cooked a great big dinner accompanied with some nigorizake. The gruel-like consistency wasn't for me although fumes alone could get me drunk. Fried some oysters and bell peppers, had fondue. A bag of garlic potato chips was victimized.
12/27/2020 Another shochu, the 里の曙 ゴールド got here. It's good. 紅さんご was a bit more overt in its vanilla and cask smell and a touch less sweet, bit darker in color. Both are great but 紅さんご still comes out on top. I love the logo and packaging though, it feels very deliberate and particular. Lounging around with the uncle, we spoke about politics at length. The luxury of "i'm not interested in politics", the stimulus disparity between US/jp, media's obliviousness regarding globalization, the monotony of jp news media/americans' different approaches in dom(racism) vs. int issues (globalization), jp news and print media on a leash through state funding, "the NHK is fundamentally rotten." Not a common conversation topic, said he can only bring it up around truly close friends.
Off to sushi, gran farting off like a zipper on the way back.
12/29/2020 Touches here and there to tidy up the site. I like my writing. Tarkox wipe, the first few weeks are the most fun to watch. Watched a German Chechen war documentary with English subs. Harrowing as always. It's interesting to note how different in tone the conflict is relative to the Balkan wars despite being filmed with roughly the same technology. In my head Chechnya remains grey and grotty with bombed-out khrushchyovka and naked trees devoid of any foliage. The Yugoslav wars are strangely upbeat in a surreal plasticine sort of way with nationalist accordion wartunes, big green rolling hills, and a touch of ethnic cleansing.
12/30/2020 Took down the vacant paper wasp nest out front, replaced the paper panels on the shōji. Kohaku this year had a disney medley, wonder how much it cost NHK. Lisa was fantastic. Every year families across Japan play a game of "are they lip syncing or not" with their TVs, for her it didn't really matter.
back to top ⤴
11/29/2020 Sold the light meter, bought a plant. fuck knows what it's called. Yokado in preparation of the holidays is really packing their shelves. Their shochu selection must've expanded by 30%, actually saw a bottle of Lento. Very curious about other Kagoshima black sugar shochus after liking the 紅さんご. Still eating healthy. I can shrug off potato chips' carnal glare.
Watching Tamayura. This is a mistake.
Starting to feel like this journal has lost its purpose. Maybe it's the lack of pictures this month. I am a child after all, blocks of text is quite boring. It's my habit of writing in bulletpoints. Job applications have really taken up my focus these past 2 months. Transitional periods are odd and even more so when you can't readily accept that you're under one. Anyway, this year's journal beats the shit out of my first 6 months I started. It's actually readable if a bit disjointed. Every so often I'll come across a wordpress blog and I'm shocked at how long some people can write without bloat. Everything flows well and everything. I like rambling a lot more than some linear essay that makes sense reading. Been sewing a little bit, not too many pictures taken around Yokohama. Guess other things have been on my mind, and that's enough. I felt quite divorced from everything traveling back and forth. I have been watching a bit more TV, been cooking like a farmhand with thiamine deficiency.
11/30/2020 Watched the Otakoi movie. Considering it had to live up to both the original and anime adaptation, this never could've gone well. But it's bad. If I love Italian food I wouldn't think the experience would be better rectally. The quirky show about hushed pleasures has inexplicably turned into a musical, like a pastel bollywood movie. Narumi is this stuttering sound device and Hirotaka is somehow even more deadpan, rendering his character less interesting than gravel. Wasn't the gimmick of the series functional human beings who were also anime otaku? Pair that with the general lack of background music and you have a hypothetical romcom that's more surreal than it has any right to be. And it's two hours long.
12/1/2020 jerma's dumptruck ass is canon
The Nikon F came in. Along with a tele the camera is almost 1.5kg, a lead brick hanging off your neck. The feel of the film advance is good but nothing special. The clip-on metered finder impedes the shutter speed dial from turning freely and is itself as heavy as some Zuiko primes. The shuttter release extension is a silly litte vestigial accessory, evidence that maybe some things weren't fully figured out. It's heavy, awkward, clunky. But humans aren't specsheet evaluation units, it's okay to irrationally enjoy something. And the Nikon F gets me sopping moist.
Watched the "Can we follow you home" 4 hour episode with _ lurking in the background. The man who dedicated his life to traditional japanese pottery is goals, I love his demeanor and outlook on life. The guy describing his late dad's demeanor as "childlike" really stuck with me. I also want a sunken hearth somewhere in my house.
Fried up some lotus root chips. They're fantastic. Like a fragrant, fibrous potato fry.
12/2/2020 oh my god i should go birding with the Nikon F, looking for living creatures with a manual focus 200mm lens and a 60's film camera on the concrete slab that is yokohama
12/4/2020 2 hour trip back to gran's. Third interview with _o went well. Head of the US department was an asian-american guy, said he liked Forza and Uncharted. Fell back in love with the OM-4T that I left at gram's. It's gorgeous.
12/5/2020 Freezing my ass off. Watched the 1974 Vietnam documentary Hearts and Minds. The editing is heavy-handed but the amount of color footage of the war and interviews with former veterans and policy figures is invaluable. It's not an easy watch.
Caught the NHK ETV special on TV, mom actually watched it with me. A very somber documentary about hikkikomori structured around very personal journal entries narrated by their authors. It outlined their worries, their family dealings, their approaches to an otherwise unsavory lifestyle. Beautifully shot as always, the contrast of footage between yellowed spinning microwaves and crumbling cut-price apartments with bamboo forests and coastlines was especially jarring. They all more or less had the sensation of being left behind in society, watching the same domestic landscapes for years on end. One of the authors compared their NEETdom to seasonally recurring taiga dramas; the same preditable plotlines, the same predictable outcomes. The latter half of 福島をずっと見ているＴＶ played after, a remarkable follow-up to the footage near the Tokyo Electric nuclear reactors. They managed to interview 7 or so current and former workers on the site. They spoke of chronic manpower shortages, lingering anxieties about exposure, of state compensation disappearing through the grapevine of subcontractors. Harrowing stuff.
12/7/2020 Back home. Found links to the two incredibly impactful TV shows from this week online. Closing vibes on Otakoi volume 9.
12/8/2020 Sushi is good. Liked the mackerel and あん肝 the best. Not feeling too productive.
Something remarkable is happening on jp twitter, people are comparing government-sponsored travel vouchers under rising coronavirus cases with the doublethink of WWII propoganda.
12/10/2020 finals pee pee poo poo
gay environmental activism
I don't need an F2
12/11/2020 cyberpunk looks rather bad
A conversation about productivity and procrastination. I've been told I think like a flowchart. Hopefully it doesn't manifest negatively in the future. Been dicking around with pants here and there, hemming rectangles as shawls but nothing major. Finally found some inspo that lit up an idea in my head. Screenwipe or any of Charlie Brooker's shows would never work in Japan. Other than any criticism being interpreted as heinous attacks in the sphere of politics, Japanese just isn't cut out for sarcasm that political satire requires. Japanese is more nuanced in emotional or contextual tone but is inherently more literal. I can't call parliament "a shuffling collection of cadavers" effectively in Japanese because it would sound like some straight-faced fact-shitting.
12/12/2020 Watching jerma play yakuza. Someone I follow is constantly horny for Majima. I get it now.
12/13/2020 Handed my Canon P to the camera shop for a repair estimate. If it's over $50 I'm running off. Old timer there knew of the Canon 7 but not the P. I don't need an F2. The only leg up it has on the F is an extra top shutter speed and a more human-shaped shutter relase location. I already have a "practical" SLR.
I think living with someone else has made me less neurotic, less introspective. Whether it's one contributor in a bundle of lifestyle changes that are to blame, I'm not completely sure yet. The daily staccato of somone's else's electric kettle and online meetings, their The Classroom cone of attention splashing across you, occasional longing glares of someone wanting to talk. All aspects of living I've come to terms with since moving into the dorms at uni. I find questioning my own actions and motiviations difficult when there's easy comparisons to make with someone else.
All in all, is it a change for the worse? These cyclical patterns across the years of varied neuroticism levels and underlying worries tells me that it's not something neccesarily inherent to me, but it's one dependent on my lifestyle. I took a strange sort of pride in my neuroticism and it would concurrently become a source of shame, that I was just willfully being blown around in life without any hard contemplation. Retrospectively it was a strange paradox, having no agency but bagging on myself for exhibiting no agency. Previously I had some fundamental anxieties about school or working or money or progress or emotional satiation. Situationally there's nothing hanging over me at the moment. All my responsiblities have been met and I'm just waiting. Another new feeling to pick apart.
I hate purchases that don't leave me with something tangible so my craving for that bottle of Amami black sugar shochu is new. Been thinking about it all week. Bought a new bottle, 喜界島. It smells like it's flowed between the valley of someone's crossed thighs prior to bottling. Makes you shudder a bit. Just means the 紅さんご was that good.
Reading a bit of David Foster Wallace, it's been a while since I've read fiction and I think that's the key to why I feel that my writing has stagnated. Non-fiction about door handles and such is very literal, not much latitude is allowed in expressing what are essentially bulletpoints. The croutons of humor that dots historical non-fiction revolves around the conspicuous garishness of it all, White Army troops holding Crimea with the power of inebriation, 17th century social workers calling Paris a "foul hole"
back to top ⤴
11/13/2020 It's been well over a year since I've got here and like most things, it's been a strange experience, one I have yet to completely pick apart. It's fair to say that half of my time here has and continues to be under quarantine so it's not a wildly surprising conclusion. Still, the whirling fantasies prior to getting on the plane have become somewhat opaque. I am at that point where it takes some effort to visualize what my life in San Diego was like. Even my downtrodden years in Irvine seem retrospectively kinda nice. When watching washed-up comedians taking buses around the Japanese countryside on TV, it transports me to that mindset I had when slumped over in a chair in a chilly San Diego apartment. It looks foreign, it looks like something that is bursting with potential, potential that is out of reach a few thousand miles west. But today I when I head to Ikebukuro or Shibuya I know what I'm getting, I take everything literally. I tell myself "surely there's nothing more interesting beyond what I can see right now."
All my hobbies that have blossomed in Japan, all the purchases made possible by living here, the potential in enjoying my daily repertoire have expanded substancially. And maybe that's the bit I'm dwelling on, the potential. I am again at a transitional period in my life. Standing still feels fine, if with the creeping sense of financial insecurity. I have regrets of what I didn't do in Uni, and I have fear of the full-time working lifestyle that's on the horizon. And like my aimless community college days I find myself chasing my own tail, lazy sources of gratification. I feel like I'm not effectively maximizing my time or presence in Japan, just like I was in the US. I need a set of hard, definitive fantasies to work towards. I am unable to fully ground my gratification in silly little insular hobbies and above all, I need human connections to keep me going.
11/15/2020 Petitioned to graduate. It's a big moment.
I suddenly remembered saber-scorpion.com, a Lego site with a guy's creations and comics from back in 2007 or so. The site is now a storefront, wiped clean of both. I remember copying his Halo Elite design. Apparently Kojima himself saw his MGS Lego MOCs. There was something awfully cute about sites like these and the Lego stopmotion videos on youtube. Poorly lit macro shots on dinner tables, bits of carpet and wall outlets in the background of amateur 240p videos. Takes me back to eating fundip at the back of the baseball field.
Canon came out last month with a $300 digital zoom monocular that can take pictures. It can switch between 100mm, 400m, and 800m digital crop in a strange electric toothbrush shape that reminds me of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. It's meant for sports spectators and birdwatching, where digital optics remain niche and expensive and conventional binoculars are slow to use. Camera zoom lenses over 200mm remain prohibitively large and there hasn't been a convenient consumer alternative thus far. Nikon currently offers an odd 125x zoom line and it's a genuinely alluring package for a camera so normal-sized. Canon's offering is novel because it's a monocular first, being small and pocketable. The camera bit isn't as impressive and produces worse photos than smartphone cameras under most conditions. Still, it's a tiny camera with 400mm uncropped zoom and I think it's a compelling package when considering it as a smartphone complement.
11/16/2020 Thinking of stripping everything back on this site. Listening to power metal, Unleash the Archers while I'm kicking in applications. It's been 2 months.
11/17/2020 Another Nikon lens sold in record time. The melon seeds I planted actually sprouted, they look a bit like cyclamen. Got the second interview from _o. As far as I can see there's 6 other applicants and they'll probably hire around 4. Decided not to pursue the NGO. Doesn't help that the annual salary is a solid $5k+ less than the other positions.
11/19/2020 Interview went well. Sometimes the terror of it all spills over into a zen-like resignation. Definitely helped that the interviewer was more human-like. I'm almost finished with the lengthy employment pipeline so family conversations have shifted to hypotheticals about working there. Every night I ferry one curry pan into my mouth. 80 yen.
11/21/2020 Mom's making jam and syrup from the Yuzu courtesy of a neighbor. There was a bee in the house. A yuzu bath at night.
11/22/2020 A trip to the Moomin park in Iruma. A nice break. It was a 3-hour hike across a trail leading to a small little collection of buildings. Lots of small families which was understandable but troubling. Scenery was nice, was able to take some good photos. Includes a bizarre sign warning of invisible people and a gathering of pensioners painting the landscape. Wish I had an extra roll with me. I don't think Iruma is quite up my alley. It's a touch more rural than I'm used to. Houses were lovely but I think it would be a bit inconvenient to live there without a car.
Black sugar shochu from Kagoshima prefecture called 紅さんご came in, smells fantasic. Along with the Miyagi Apple cider I have a collection of unconsicous water ready if I do/don't get this job.
11/25/2020 Dipping below 15. Been cooking vegetable stews. Got an interview request from __s. My money is still on _o awaiting the final interview with the CEO. Lending my OM-2n to the random person I sold film to. I'm not concerned with them running off with my camera, if anything I'm the strange one in this transaction. Hopefully they enjoy using it.
11/26/2020 Off goes my OM-2n. She gave me some expensive looking bread and a roll of Gold 200 in exchange, how nice. Third interview request with _o, this time in English. I just want this entire thing to be over. Watching Gintama while sewing, it's still brilliant in comedic timing. Finished the pants, my third pair so far, as well as an inner layer. Feeling creatively bankrupt.
A rerun of Aria was playing on MX. It was a nice episode. I had difficulty making it to episode 5 of the original if I'm honest. In contrast I love Tamayura with all my heart, it's a forgotten entry within Junichi Sato's resume but I feel the same irrational reverence for it that posters show towards Aria. If I had discovered it 2 years earlier I'd have repeated watchings locked away in order to preserve those troubled associations. There was a Tamayura BD ad that played advertising pre-orders for the price of a used sedan ($500). Late-night NHK show on Mafumafu. There's no oogling stink of voyeurism as a TV show covering internet culture. Charlie Brooker loves to frame English TV as always at odds with technology but I wonder if that's not the case here. The youtube landscape feels a lot smaller, a lot younger. If I'm honest I like the DIY mantras that niconico maintained a lot better until its decline around 2014. The fact that most Japanese TV stations don't maintain archives and gleefully delete footage that will never be aired again kills me a little. Piracy is good.
Been making takikomi rice with maetake, lotus root, and carrots. Tried making mushroom ketchup with maetake but it was missing something. Will probably use two different mushrooms next time.
11/28/2020 Bought a Black Nikon F with the 45mm for $70. I might put a roll through it before selling it off. I would keep an F2 but I'm not sure about what's coming my way. The 45mm is deliciously small but there's no F-mount body that can complement its size. The F is 800g without a lens for fucks sake. Factoring in Kodak's January price increase I'm thinking of stocking up on Ultramax at my local camera shop. Surprised to find they had Portra and Ektar in stock at typical Japanese prices. Colorplus and Ultramax were both 690 yen. Read an anthology by 三浦コズ with a very unChristian title. Girls love makes me whole. Also started Konpeito no Hanayome, a story about obsession and capitalist realism. I like how the main character is strange and unlikable.
Discovered 達ｘ達, a TV show that pits two industry veterans to interview each other. Ghibli director Toshio Suzuki and novelist Kaitaro Tsuno were on. The atmosphere is loose like a day-long shochu binge with 2 uncles. Suzuki describing his work as personal relationships (especially between Miyazaki and Takahata) is something. Ghibli only has around 150 employees, a stunningly low amount for a studio with such worldwide soft power notoriety. Made me realize I've been overthinking things. Even in something as distant to me as animation, making something compelling, something that resonates with you is what's important. The question is whether I'll land somewhere that permits that kind of thinking. He also said Miyazaki and Takahata's works were driven by the distant allure of Europe, with the messy post-war politics of Japan and the US on their minds. Totoro was originally set in 1955 Japan and investors were hesitant because they had lived through that period. Those feelings eventually transferred into the production of Grave of the Fireflies. The other thing is that both men were old as shit. I've readily discarded the promise that you're never too old to make it, but both of their careers shot upwards when they were well into their 30's. For me aging has always been a slow death. External from how well a particular year has gone for me I've never been able to definitely say I've grown as a person. Interests have expanded, skills have improved, but never "growth."
Watched the ETV special 転生する三島由紀夫, an hour-long documentary on Mishima Yukio's works and the context they were born out of. It's a stunningly shot show, velvety narrations and trees rustling filing in for the complete lack of background music. There were clips of a play based on Mishima's novels and it's just the worst. All the actors sounding like they're about to burst into tears describing Mishima's thematic stink, the fragility and transience of man, the beauty prior to destruction, all distilled down to two glistening student actors kissing through saran wrap. My opinion of Mishima has changed to one of pity in recent years. He seemed to carry the insecurities of the short, vulnerable, sickly child he once was, trying to grasp a hyper-masculine ethnonationalist ideal he could never reach himself or had relinquished the oppourtunity to do so in dodging the draft. He was obsessed with his image, of his sentimentality regarding a country that had brought its own destruction through imperial ambitions. Mishima got his perfect death and with it, the members of his right-wing paramilitary group were left with his own selfish ambitions. The documentary had an oddly reverent air regarding the Tatenokai, even managing to interview a few former members. What a shithole country Japan was, training civilian monarchist larpers at actual military bases. The message sent to Tatenokai members after Mishima's suicide sounded like a parent reprimanding their NEET offspring. "Get a job, get married.."
The third show, 福島をずっと見ているＴＶ, was a heartbreaking look into the nuclear power station in Fukushima prefecture filmed around 2014. It mainly followed the tide of issues the reactor management staff have to face. The workers' blurred faces dotting the footage, being silently ferried in Tokyo Electric buses like they're being sent off to war. Fatalism is a common theme in Japanese sociology and this show was no exception. Staff retention for such a specialized and precarious job is problematic, some workers haven't told their families they work near the reactor, leaks sprung from Thorium wastewater tanks as they were even filming, it was a torrent of successive (measured) misery. The little things stuck with me like how the photojournalist wrapped his camera in saran wrap and how workers sat on the floor to silently eat prepackaged meals while still dressed in their PPE. Atleast they have PPE and aren't homeless laborers picked off the street in Kamagasaki, quite the colorful past Tokyo Electric has.
The whiplash from these thoughtful perception-dialating shows to vapid late-night anime trash is really a slap in the face. I'm for sure going to wake up tomorrow reset as a normal human being, waiting again for that burst of something profound to bring me back to this feeling.
back to top ⤴
10/22/2020 Addicted to watch me eat and wrecklesseating. Watching Way of the Househusband, I think I'd enjoy the manga more. Hiroshi Tamaki has the kind of reptilian smile that renders women weak at the knees. He could spit in my face and I've love every second.
10/24/2020 Cooking is fun. Read lottery isekai vol8. Still fantastic. It goes quite hard on trade/industrialization, would be interesting to tackle poverty in what is essentially feudal society. Reading A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America. The author is a venture capitalist, title's a bit trashy, and I hesitate to call it "good sociology" or "good" but I don't regret reading it. I just can't shake my suspicions at some of the assertions he makes, especially without any references. He does bring some interesting insight, like how the supposedly anti-war 60's students were among the most hawkish survey respondents prior to the draft. He also asserts that while West-coast communes and collective farms have brought little institutional change post-Vietnam, right-wing libertarians on the same coin also distrustful of "the man" have found a place in the Republican party.
10/25/2020 Walked a ton, even by my standards and I came across this combloc-looking collection of concrete apartments. Some were in disrepair, some brand new, others had residents, just an arrangement you don't see often in Japan. There was a lovely central garden complete with stray cat. Later found out it was government housing.
10/27/2020 Exhausted all the neighborhoods in wandering distance. I think I'll
buy some fabric, go to the hospital, and head home. Watching farmed salmon and shrimp documentaries
10/28/2020 back home and as expected, it feels odd to be back. There's nothing more symbolic than coming home to a houseplant genocide. Applied to the NGO. Got rejected by _y. Strangely it's not panic that's setting in, more of an impending doom. But is it justified? Two of my buds are graduating late, a nephew took a full year off after graduation. My preconceived notions for the most part seem to be incorrect. Not landing a job in your Junior year of Uni isn't a deathwish in Japan. But here it is, this is the period of life I'm under right now, spitting out applications is antedecent to everything else.
10/29/2020 Hospital bill was only $20, death to America. A woman came running back with a forgotten rubber tourniqet still on her arm. The past two days have been frankly dreamlike in pacing, hours feel like minutes. Maybe it's the complete silence of the apartment.
Watching 人生の楽園, it's lovely. One had a hotel-worker turned baker in Ibaraki, extensively using local ingredients. There's this radiating sense of community that more plasticine Japanese shows lack. Also found the "Can I Follow you Home" episode with the drunk guitar-toting single dad joking that he wants to die. The newest episode is fantastic, Dagashi shop run by an old man. Used to run a resturaunt, does Sadō, runs the shop for the kids. Human interest at its best.
Sent off application for _o. Still no reply from NGO.
11/1/2020 Watching "Giles and Sue Live the Good Life" starring the same pair from the British historical food series "The Supersizers go..."
A new guestbook comment (ﾉ≧∀≦)ﾉ
11/3/2020 Thought I'd go buy some snacks and meat for dinner, the first time in...3 months? It's been a fairly boring experience overall. Garlic potato chips were gone :( New Super Bunnyhop video about George absolutely gushing over Star Wars VR. A touch of sewing.
Got an interview from _o. Back to Grandma's soon.
In a return to GAMER i got Rising Storm Vietnam and Halo ODST on steam. ODST is fun, playing the rookie segments in a pitch black room. For a completionist like me the honeycombed main map makes me improvise routes and such. The voice tapes are a nice touch, and I've always loved the New Mombasa setting. Consider it job training. Stumbled across this blog through sake reviews. The author is a 60-something Japanese O3 who goes sightseeing often. Food, flowers, sights, drinking.
11/7/2020 To grandma's, preparing for the interview. Boots got here.
A recent controversy has swept through the dredges of japanese twitter, fanned by "journalists" with time on their hands. It's small fish but relates back to a genuine issue that has plenty of less provocatory and convenient ways of covering it. Don't bully the guy who has been drawing legs for 10 years, there's much more unsavory things out there that don't get reported because they're that unsavory. Me and my roommate used to call _ "he who must not be named" and he has what, half a million twitter followers? Material that's available on shelves at physical stores? The only reprieve from repeated visions of knowing he exists is a lobotomy. (or her, then she would be the joan of arc for _.)
11/10/2020 Listening to podcasts with Charlie Brooker. Sold the nendoroid, thank god. Had the interview yesterday, I was actively forgetting what I said mid-sentence, like running on a burning bridge with bits falling behind you. Thought I did terribly relative to _i but I got a second interview. Strange. It is a company I'm rather interested in, there's no overriding sense of guilt as I lie my way through questions. The CEO was a grunt who worked his way up, employees are valued, percentage of women are high, pay is calculated to the cent. And I think my skillset genuinely meshes well with what they're trying to do. I also got the NPO interview and horrifyingly, interviews are in-person and in groups. I wonder if they'll pit us against each other in group discussions like some cartel abduction aftermath. I've also heard some recruiters would subject interviewees to waves of criticism Kaczynski-style in order to gauge how well they react under pressure. How psychotic.
The overall process has been a bit bewildering. Contrary to stereotypes the Japanese labor market has changed a bit owing to the demands of a shrinking pool to recruit from. Changing jobs and switching careers no longer carries the stigma of failure that it used to. Companies that do follow government guidelines sends everyone home instead of working overtime into the night. On the other hand the employment cycle is crushingly stratified. 3 or 4 successive interviews all in Japanese, specific answers to application questions each company is looking for. You have to figure out the degree in which you have to lie in order to fulfill the answers they're looking for. What did you put the most effort in during university? Why did you apply to our company? What is your favorite genre of movie? As a potential employee you have to make a judgement call whether the company you're applying to wants you to fits their particular ideological mold, or one that's a bit deviant. In the US there's a different set of employer demands. As most students never secure a position before graduating it's all about bulletpoints of prior experience. Despite the hellish landscape it's a rather transparent (if not wildly unrealistic) set of corporate desires. In Japan it's just an unrelenting, insular whirlwind of norms and etiquette that you have to furiously look up. Failure to secure a position within those few months prior to graduation automatically renders you second-rate.
Being not quite fluent has been a rather infantilizing experience, stumbling through questions without the convenient protections that a white american veneer would otherwise provide. There are zero benefits to presenting as a Japanese candidate if you can't fully internalize the baggage that it brings. It's all a bit baffling frankly, the disparity between howling corporate desires for capable billingual workers, yet the unrelenting employment cycle that drives most of them off, untouched for 40 years.
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10/3/2020 Heading to grandma's while I toil through interviews. Photobooks got here.
Thinking of making a Kapital Kamakura Anorak clone next. I'd rather not spend $1K for something that's made of nyco. Also got some thread for sashiko embroidering. Very satisfied with my last sewing project(brown2, I wear it out all the time. Might not sell the Canon P, just wish it wasn't a 3lb hunk of brass hanging off my neck. The OM-2 continues to impress me even as my camera collection balloons.
Saw a twitter post sacralizing post-war Japan. Which is just odd. It's a bit like fondly looking back on the destitution of post-war Britain. Food rationing for 9 more years, grotty black streets, clouds of smog culling pensioners, if you fantasize about all this you're probably Scottish. Here in Japan there was an elderly woman on TV hoarding rooms of futons as a consequence of her inability to afford any as a child. Looking through 50's photobooks it was common to see children without clothing or shoes standing on dirt roads, towering khaki servicemen scattering sticks of gum like they were street pigeons.
The Taisho era is fondly viewed in Japan's collective memory, well past the barbarity of Edo and moved forward by the constant promise of technological progress like the steam engine. The aesthetics of colorful kimonos paired with boots have lived on, untainted by the civil wars that preceded it and the fascism and colonialism that followed it. I personally envy my parents who lived through the Bubble era, a hedonistic economic upheaval where forecasters were fearing a Japan-led global economy.
Sark organized a fight club and got thai kicked in the head in front of his wife. Some shit and garbage weather lately,
Interview went well. Again it's not a company I'm particularly enthused about. TV, publishing, entertainment, there's a bunch on my mind. Got rejected by _a, waiting on _y.
10/10/2020 Sold the black OM-2n. 15 degrees, autumn is missing. Analysis of Russian performance in the second chechen war. Grandma's kitchen is really nice. I love the massive stainless sink drain that elegantly catches all the nasty bits, the pull-out fish grill, stove with automatic shutoff. Top of the line for 1991. The bottom-opening non-rotating microwave looks out of place.
seahorses look fucked if you think about it
10/12/2020 Bought the Inuko nendo
for essentially no money. Also got the Harajuku photobook for $7. I've come to terms with my purchases, I would've never had the opportunity to get my hands on any of this this stuff back in the US.
A youtuber i used to watch back in 2010 came back after a 2 year-hiatus. A lot has happened since them, cascading personal issues, a turn to minimalism and a new emphasis on financial security. He seemed to be trying to take things less seriously, rejecting the idyllic american life trajectory and the collection of stressors that comes with youtubing as a job. Good timing.
That feeling again. Been defaulting back to maladaptive patterns of behavior. Easy bits of dopamine here and there. Further evidence that this mindset that you discover while you're not feeling well carries over and embeds itself in the tail end of your emotional barometer. It comes with the realization that I've never really been able to build a better environment for myself. My personal myth is one of a tolerable existence, propped up by trinkets eye-catching enough to forget the monotony of it all. And like a skink tail, my interests keeping me afloat are the first to go. Even under "normal" stretches of life it's not terribly cathartic living under the confines of a bucket list.
I'm sure it's ok to be a young 20-something fresh out of college with uncertainties but I'm an adult, there's plenty of baggage at my feet. The unspoken pressures of societal expectations, the burgeoning financial cost of mindlessly existing. Staying here while rained in is a perfect demonstration for this, and is probably the best explanation to why these childhood scenes don't elicit reassurance anymore. I feel like this early twenties period can only be defined by retrospective regret over inaction or appreciation for taking risks. I don't know where my bulletpoints lie within this whole thing or even whether this is a life trajectory I want to throw my weight under. I don't know what I want.
10/13/2020 Great weather, off for a walk. Not much to photograph admittedly. Wanting a macro or telezoom lens for the kind of shots I'm getting. Photographed an orb weaver spider and got eaten by mosquitos while trying to find the minimum focus distance, As always I love Saitama Prefecture. I love how you can only hear sparrows and crickets, I love the suburb layouts that make no sense, the half-assed farms of greens, the mismatched flowers that line every dirt road.
The gorgeous indonesian shawl that's been hanging upstairs for 15 years is now mine. Doesn't look like Ikat or Batik, no idea what it is.
10/14/2020 Health scare, off to the hospital.
10/21/2020 I struggled through a personality exam in Japanese, impenetrable phrases impeding my progress along the way. One of the survey's curiosities was how strategic you were. Do you plan your actions or do you wing it? Can you create and follow a daily schedule? It got me thinking. In the stuff that matters i.e. life, school, jobs, it's been ragtag, mainly because of my inability to forsee what lies ahead. There's a few crossroads moments in the last 5 years that I think about, I'm still left wondering what my life would look like now if I had taken the alternate route, what I'd lose and gain from doing so, all within the limitations of lofty fantasy. Was I right to enroll in this Uni? Would I have embraced study abroad so thoroughly if I had? Would a different part-time job have enriched my time during college? Should I have pursued that connection a little more? Should I have said something different? There's few things you can predict in scenarios like this, and my early life was littered with decisions like this. Relinquish any notion with agency and see where it takes you, that's largely what's occupied my thinking.
But in the matters that I'm supposed to enjoy, blocks of time in my life that I have direct agency over, I've been a bit more organized. Hobby to-do lists, wishlists, show backlogs, it's been a continuous stream of desires. I look back occasionally on the notes I left during high school and it's always a strange sensation. The bulleted tasks are laughably small-scale, but I was at a point where tracking those sprinkings of desire was a pressing priority. "Organize files" and "watch X" kept me together for those years, within the confines of a grey suburban backdrop. Some bulletpoints were more distant fantasies pulling me along, stuff like "build a PC" or "__" And I still do this, drafting up shopping lists of impossibly expensive photobooks and rags of linen.
But life isn't a hobby, it's not meant to be structured like an idealistic checklist. And it's taken me 7 or so years to realize that within this flurry of an employment cycle. I don't have an idealized full-time job or lifestyle in mind, and that contradicts so harshly on a fundamental level with these 6000-character applications at probably what is the most important time in my life. I'm not even sure what kind of lifestyle I fantasized about when I still lived in that American suburbia bubble. I'm no longer sure where the memories and idealism of grandma's house belong to. And I'm not sure laundry lists are doing me any good either, hobbies are easily discarded when you're at a bad place. I have to change how I think about and approach daily life in both halves of life, two blocks that I've kept firmly partitioned since I became a sentient organism.
I'm not good at this whole "self awareness" thing
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9/7/2020 Made a wallet, a sort of zippered bi-fold.
An analysis of Chechens in ISIS Russia actively exporting islamists in anticipation of the Sochi Olympics
Modernism and Japanese culture Mishima was kinda crinj, right-wing emperor worship as a modern "invented tradition"
continuation of Alaska to Argentina bike vlog
The Ideology of Apocalypse Media portrayals of societal collapse are decidedly more cynical than reality
Addicted to the barstool pizza reviews
mom won a box of pears in a raffle. she travelled an hour to hand me pears. i ate 3 pears. Sold two Russian lenses to a Tokyo Uni student, more food money.
9/15/2020 Internet's dead again. Read a montonous spin-off of the slime isekai, it's about the fun antics of working in an office. Did Abe himself commission this? $10 paratrooper pants got here. Can't imagine fighting in these, or any wool pants for that matter. Probably weigh 15lbs after I got them soaking wet to get rid of the insecticide treatment. How are they? Not wide enough. We'll see.
9/16/2020 Watching 家ついて行っていいですか？ a sort of downtrodden Cribs. Human interest is front-and-center as the cameraman follow random people to their houses, to which the victims spill something about themselves. There's Ultraman fans making original monster costumes to uni students with ADHD living in trash-ridden hovels. It's cheaply made, lacking background music or more than one production staff but effectively distills people down to a few sympathetic details. It's a fantastic shot of empathy in a country where you pretend to ignore the thousands of nodding heads you walk by every day.
9/17/2020 Thinking about the X-Pro2.
I can still say I value, say, oxygen more than the camera. Beat up bodies are still around $600, which is a tough pill to swallow for a camera I may or my not throw around. My PC build was $400, by phone was $90 used. It may be a smarter purchase than a $1500 GPU to play babbygames but relativistic comparisons get you nowhere. Some people pay big bucks for a silicone sculpture that lays gelatin eggs inside of you. An A6000 is more alluring but only on a pragmatic level, the omission of the NEX-7's secondary command dial bothers me as a manual shooter and the camera doesn't arouse me like the others. Maybe when film dies a horrible death prices will have come down by then. I'll probably have a different set of priorities as society begins to collapse.
Been making caramel popcorn and fried tofu regularly. It's good. Also been into ramen lately. soup is just mentsuyu and Dutch fried onions, even mom gave me high marks when she was here. Yokado's thick noodles are great, 80 yen a bag. Also starting to default back to chocolate granola, this stuff is lethal. Salad hasn't gotten old yet but tofu has.
9/21/2020 More job apps, fixed my sleep schedule that class reg managed to destroy. Thinking about selling the Canon P. I feel no obligation or affection towards it. Added a few more pictures to OM-2n.html, my photos aren't that bad. I have a ton of Provia 100F in the fridge but I have no idea when it expires. My follow-up email about expiration dates got ignored by Fuji. Slide film is exciting. Houseplants are amazingly cheap in Japan, I see other people toiling away so they can spend $25 on some string of pearls. Got some rosemary and white longicalycinus for $4, I need more plants that will survive my neglect.
Way of the Househusband is getting a live-action, I'm actually kind of excited. Hiroshi Tamaki is ridiculously hot. Been cataloging videos, music, etc. that I've been into at different points in my life. really having trouble recalling what I was doing grades 1-8.
I think one of my persistent personal failings have been a lack of imagination or foresight, to imagine myself under a different set of lifestyle circumstances without scrapping my repertoire now. I have a tendency to rigidly adhere to some ideology in living, an unconscious framework for rationalizing actions within my day-to-day. This drastically changing is distressing as evident by the journal entries for when I came home from college. My thinking in regards to gratification and hobbies were completely shattered, I actually had some degree of agency. I'm not terribly good at changing gears and it makes sense that I'm unable to really imagine drastic lifestyle changes.
9/22/2020 There's nothing more horrible than corporate mantras. I already feel a part of myself die after having to lie on the line "why did you choose our company?" 22 times. I hate how american companies are vague about income, and the japanese with overtime and overseas transfers. I hate how humanitarian work consistently pays pennies.
an 8000 participant survey by the company that manufactures false orifices you baste your daddybatter into has revealed that the Japanese revere good food and laughing over intercourse. If you're a r*dditor or a convicted serial killer writing from prison you'd think otherwise.
9/23/2020 New finds:
Artistttt Contemplating buying one of their photobooks
JP blog going through his dad's old negatives A rare dump of pre-war photos
reinvigorated, sewing is fun. still need to finish the hem and sleeves.
9/24/2020 just dreamed i was being shitty to michael gove
9/26/2020 Another rainy day but it's not horrible. Actually reminds me of those rare grey mornings in irvine. Maybe it's the fog. I've found that it's hard to take the piss out of japanese TV as most of it is delightfully lo-fi. Presenters flubbing their lines live on air, bus passes and towels being offered as gifts, saccharine commercial BGMs that fail to shake off its 90's dust.
Updated the sidebar to remove dead pages and added new ones. kommandostore now sells $11k quad tube NODs now? How did they manage that?
9/27/2020 Sub 25 weather, I'm into it. Reading The Great Stink of Paris once again, almost 2 years since my pathology prof recommended it to the class. Moralizing about poverty, making social issues into individual shortcomings, horse corpse management, there's plenty of modern political intersections with 19th century public health. Brits get shat on all over this book with excerpts like:
Timeless, tradition-bound, stubbornly resistant to change, Bretons stood as a race apart within France, “holding on with a religious respect to their institutions, their mores, their dress, and their language, as they maintain in their [physical] traits the still recognizable characteristics of the race to which their ancestors belonged.” On the one hand, their attachment to an unchanging way of life preserved the Breton traditions, institutions, and love of the land; on the other hand, it also made 'the bad eternal and the better impossible.'
Resignation to this lot in life was so deeply ingrained in the Breton people that it caused the hygienists to wonder whether these peasants would even consent to trade their diet or belongings for better ones if given the choice. The Breton accepts his fate as final and absolute, observed Villermé and Benoiston, quoting another contemporary observer to the fact that 'he treats his poverty like a hereditary and incurable disease.'
Someone made a shockingly well done Houshou nendoroid, his hands must be as nimble and well-travelled as Terry Richardson's. Bought 2 new photobooks, one on the '69 Tokyo University riots. good god /ck/ turned into a shithole
9/29/2020 Classes start soon. Got some interviews lined up. I'm not particularly enthused with any of the companies I applied to but I'm excited about the people I'd be able to meet, the diversity in novel sensations and life experiences I'd be able to explore. Watching Professional, the NHK documentary series following people at their jobs. Their struggles, anxieties, everything is center frame. A stand-up comedian was one of the subjects this time around. He sprinkled in some brutally honest fatalism while in a coronavirus-spurred bind, stuff like "quitting is easy" and "no one would really notice if my job disappeared." Alongside his enduring passion for stand-up and entertaining audiences that come to the theatre it feels bit...selfless? I really hesitate to say stuff like this because inevitably imagery of Zeroes flying towards American carrier groups spring up on people whose notions of Japan don't extrpolate very far. But it makes me think whether it really is an informal social contract that compels people to work under this system. America is a hypercapitalist hellscape, companies would readily mailbomb each other if it was formally sanctioned as business strategy.
You have this incredibly convenient labor arrangement in Japan where society is fundmentally tailored to working-age men slaving away at offices for 14 hours a day. Women devolved back into housekeepers after the 80's careerwoman boom not because they enjoy being submissive "traditional" housewives, but because they'd be subjected to the same conditions their husbands are expected to. Feminism suffered a setback in a country with an equality index lower than Mexico's because both genders are having a shit time. So what is motivating people to follow this deterministic pipeline of school, work, and death? Despite what /pol/ says Japan isn't full of locusts, there has to be some underlying ideology that is alluring to normal people that render the side effects of karoshi and childlessness tolerable. And the documentry got me thinking, are business transactions really built on customer satisfaction as the bottom line, much like the social etiquette drilled into school children? Maybe the japanese don't think of companies as some sort of paternalistic institution or some inherited kamon. Are transactions and labor really built on social bonds?
kassemg and wongfu weekends alongside tested and jack saint, the 2011 special.
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original title: feminized カールおじさん
8/17/2020 Catching up on Chi no Wadachi, truly remarkable how anxiety-inducing reading through it is. Going through the pages is like trying to breath through a garden hose. Despite the drama hinging on characters it's hard to suspend your empathy for any of them. It might become like Lolita, in which the narrative plays with your emotions until you're retrospectively able to see how reprehensible the characters are. I do wonder how it'll get wrapped up nicely, seems like everything is cut-and-dry by chapter 80.
2bro is playing Tarkov again with the Japanese localization. They all supposedly work alongside recording, streaming, and editing. Don't know how they manage. Chat calling Otoja ケチ者 because he refuses to spend rubles is 10/10.
There's unironic naruto threads on /a/ now, it's hard to BELIEVE IT XD
8/18/2020 More news of Japanese people moving to the countryside in sheds, it's an accumulation of two years' worth of coverage.
It's sanguine in that such alternatives are warmly covered on the news now, undoubtedly spurred due to the amplified terror that normal Japanese labor arrangements brings under coronavirus. As the man said, only 1/4 of workers in Tokyo have the option to work from home. I'm cynical to whether this ordeal will bring any systematic change within society, and the fact that all 3 interviewed people were driven to retrogress into pre-industrial living because of toxic workplaces and a society that doesn't allow much latitude is a depressing thought. I've saved enough money for a plot of land and some building materials, this will be my safety net. And while it's convenient to have options other than suicide, wouldn't it be nice to live in a country where there's a middle ground between machiavellian indentured servitude and returning to monke? Volunteering is small fish, I've done enough. I can't imagine social work to be any better with Japan's legendary bureaucracy. But I'd like to do something, anything, so that more people can feel like they have a bit of latitude in their life trajectory.
8/22/2020 Just grabbed repro british paratrooper pants for a criminal $10. Hopefully the seller doesn't cancel my order. Still reading Vodka Politics, it's full of mind-boggling stories about destitution in the Soviet Union. Read Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, a deeply confused and fatalistic manga series. The two WIDE characters scrounge through an empty post-war world. Between the gorgeous backdrops the solemn isolation envelops everything, always asking the question "what does it mean to live?" Even the author's end of volume notes are brooding giving each volume an air of cogency. There's no neat answers or arguments to be made, many loose threads are left that way. While it may not be an exceptional series I doubt I'll ever see another one like it.
I want to make some sort of book. There's nothing romantic about a magnetic platter. I've been toying with a pressed flower book, but most shrink down into brown masses after a few weeks. Thought of a journal like _ who printed her late dad's online journals, but it's a lukewarm idea. Maybe something like Jung's Red Book.
I heard fireworks last night and it got me thinking what I'd grab first if this chimney of an apartment caught fire.
8/24/2020 The pants shipped. Got my hands on the OM-4, delicious. The OM-2/1.8 had fungus and a leaky power winder, another project camera. Otherwise it works fine.
Finishing Otome no Teikoku, it's a series you would conceal from your parents as it's got butts and things. The dialogue and how it's arranged is really fantastic. There's banter that flows well and a genuine back-and-forth between characters that's rare among others with 4-koma complexity. There was an article suggesting that anime is popular among those on the autistic spectrum due to the complete lack of subtlety in its presentation. Otome no Teikoku would not be popular among that crowd. Reading Svetlana Alexievich's Zinky Boys, a collection of first-hand testimonies about the Soviet-Afghan war.
the character design for uss hornet is uhhhhhhh I'll be in my bunk.
8/26/2020 Funny seeing milota twitter fawning over Cr*nsaw. I also didn't expect "US paramilitaries shoot protestors in conjunction with police" be a headline I'd ever have to read.
Dad's been sellng off stuff back in the US. There goes my childhood for a few dollars.
8/27/2020 2 cameras sold, bought a nendoroid. Back on my shit, the trademark anhedonia as I go through the motions. Mindlessly browsing, barely eating, sleeping too much. Realized that my wishlist page is largely obsolescent. Stuffing lists full of things I'd like to buy is a tactic to drum up interest, any interest, back in gradeschool. Planning out your material desires because they'll be readily discarded is retrospectively some odd shit.
I'm back to regularly browsing imageboards, it's been 5 years or so. It feels like revisiting your childhood spots and discovering all the landmarks you remembered so fondly have been bulldozed for a parking lot. Music is good, music makes me appreciate things. Reading is also fun, but I need some time to warm up to fiction. reading my previous journal entries from >year ago and I can safely say my life was objectively worse back then.
8/28/2020 Camera sold but in-person this time. The guy was a Chuo uni student with bleached hair just getting into film. How nice. It was a camera I was willing to give away to friends so I let it go cheap. yuno got here, have to re-apply the face stickers later. No regrets for $15. Cleaned up the 50mm f/1.8, fungus flew right off.
wow hylics 2 is out on steam
8/31/2020 Gallivanting around the blog Shoot Film, Ride Steel. Another film photography page, while going through it I saw a lot of unsavory intersections with how I tend to write. Namely the liberal use of platitudes or abstract conclusions left without context. Typing "I feel productive" is a bulletpoint, elaborating why is Writing. His blog entries are dotted with mental battles against materialism or creative stagnation, statements rendered flat without context. And that's how I write.
Marry Me is getting a live action adaptation, god have mercy
9/1/2020 new guestbook comment, time to toil with my code
I said I was just going through the motions but I think it's more satiation than boredom. Got some romeos that won't destroy my lower back and the OM-4ti is a dreamy camera. Still actively looking for furniture as well as some plants for the balcony so there's some space for dreaming. I am out of sewing ideas and haven't read much manga lately though.
9/3/2020 New MANime totebags.
Playing Hylics 2, reading Secrets, Sex, and Spectacle: The Rules of Scandal in Japan and the United States. Some more work on the cargos, successfully brought up the waistline. Feel like an anorak or coat-length kimono would get me on a new project.
9/4/2020 35degs. Watching Ster2.
Found an abandoned blog by a 49 year old woman. We a have absolutely no intersections but it's an interesting experience going through it. I love her writing, the otherwise negligble fixations and little retrospective croutons that she holds onto. The ruined D.C. asphalt after the Gulf War victory parade, the black lace discouraging flies from her grandmother's open casket, such a departure from my pages of fact-shitting. She's always looking to the past, the things she's left behind, the people who have left her behind. Except for her voicing affection for her husband. That's nice. She also spills vicious misandry across her pages, stuff like "Men eat food they purchase at gas stations."
I experienced a new sensation this year. I always welcome new experiences although my cushy lifestyles patterns often don't reflect that. I had my memory of my grandfather tainted. Family business is often drawn-out and dramatic, the formation of hushed rumors and sideways glances. I knew things were complicated on my dad's side, evident by the _ around his father's funeral gathering and my aunt outright insulting me the first time we met. I also knew my immediate family isn't as open with me as I thought. They waited until I was 18 to disclose a few things about our family history that I thought was impossibly benign.
Regardless I had a lot of reverence for him. Tinkerer, engineer, war survivor. He had a preference for Suntory whiskey and cameras, a few of which grandma neglected to throw away. Mom told me he was especially happy of having a grandson. I have siblings. Typical old man rationale. He had a stroke when I was in my single digits so that robbed me of any disjointed conversations in Japanese. I sacralized a man I never got to meet, only trailing behind his presence by going through his bronze drafting compasses and Showa-era steel files, imagining what his nimble hands did with them. But it's all over, I've learned some unsavory details about his personal life. Turns out his nimble hands were good at other things. Shame. Time to move on.
9/5/2020 Tried to read A History of Costume by Rachel H. Kemper, not the best book about clothing. Claims are ambiguous and uncited, there's a distinct stench of bad pop history that permeates the pages.
Eventually, the concept of fatherhood was grasped and, inspired by animistic magic, male sexual display achieved astonishing dimensions.
Not particularly convincing. It is from 1977 so the text retains the same paradox as mid-century clothing research, namely decrying colonial erasure of native clothing and calling those same people unhinged savages. The second chapter is unironically titled "Civilizing Costume"
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8/1/2020 New finds:
Critique of contemporary contextualizations of incels
Analysis of grey and black-market firearms in Venezuela
New Superbunnyhop video on Hunt:Showdown
New solo camp video
A course at an Italian university used my picture of the SE-700. Made coffee with an Aeropress, great success. Didn't result in bean juice like my french press. Smells like the tail end of a fireworks show. The nice coffee bean shop down the street had a new face working there. Some late reforms to my isekai manga page, massive updates to the rest. Found out how css works, only took me 2 years. Forget barring yourself from the internet 6 days out of the week, Hastiesthandiwork has disappeared altogether.
A new guestbook comment ｡^‿^｡
8/2/2020 Sun's out. Blocking all social media site elements related to follower numbers or points. If I wanted to see numbers go up I'd stare into a clock. I've also started to notice that my twitter feed is starting to resemble facebook despite only following mangaka. It's a home-grown stream of mobile game ads, athlete tweets, and Vtuber stream announcements. Still playing FE:Heroes, don't know why. It does its job as a free paper-thin mobile game that makes me want to play a proper FE. Above all I miss the excitement of hit rates.
More manga, Dungeon Meshi is fantastic, a sort of modern Toriko. Such great pacing and it's an engaging read to casually flip through. Finished Miageru to Kimi wa, more shoujo than shoujos.
The Azumanda Daioh anime is actually quite surreal, with odd pacing and the baffling OP/ED theme selections. Some shows are very explicit in their 4koma roots like Yuyushiki, but this one is just strange. The fishing anime is fine.
New hanten, fairly vanilla. Working on some drop-crotch cargos but the fly is still unfinished. Somewhat of a dry spell when it comes to sewing, not many new exciting ideas. Been thinking of doing a themed photobook, I need something to shake up how I take pictures, a different way of thinking that will dialate my definitions of "worthy of a photo."
8/11/2020 New finds:
Swedish clothing shop that offers open-source clothing patterns, the monolithic patterns are neat.
Archive of French dress sketches
Despairing over the fact that any character over 25 is never made into a nendoroid. Houshou, Katsuragi Misato, Hiratsuka Shizuka, Tobami Nami, the list goes on. An O3 was coughing on the train with a mask around his chin, might catch the rona because I decided to take the time to wash my hands at the station. It was a good run.
8/12/2020 Ridiculously good weather. Got some kebab today.
The Japanese internet landscape is strange. It feels less centralized with no reddit equivalents, and even 2ch is not as populated as the numerous english boards its spawned. There's still a heavy reliance on ancient sakura-hosted personal sites as well as the littany of blog services. Yet I've never felt a particular collective atmosphere in any of them, they all feel relatively insular, personal little things. There's thousands of terrible little congregation sites drawing threads off of 2ch talking about prostitution or vague ghost-written articles about X. It seems to me that twitter is still king, to the disadvantage to me as it's not a terribly legible site to navigate. The uniquely Japanese apprehension in reposting images without consent rules out tumblr as a viable platform.
I've done it, this neocities thing has made journal entries something other than rantings during emotional dry spells. Entries from just a couple years ago are almost illegible, just streams of discontent without any elaboration. I'm thankful.
8/13/2020 Spent an hour on god's domain watching Fragtime, a deliciously unsavory hour-long anime. It's significant in that none of the characters are likable into the tail end of the movie, which is quite the accomplishment. For once the brief synopsis lives up to expectations. Also watching Liz to Aoi Tori, absolutely gorgous and similarly gay but the voice acting doesn't quite hit its mark.
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Sold 2 more cameras, bought a Zabadak CD and for parts 35RC. Filter ring needs to be bent back and the rangefinder patch cleaned but it's in good condition. Until I get a 35RD this might be the camera with its viewfinder readouts. Canon P is still unusable until I can wrench the lens off.
thank god kissanime is dead
8/16/2020 half my body is kebab
Started reading Vodka Politics by Mark Lawrence Schrad, an eye-opening chronological overview of the enduring role alcohol plays in state control. Did you know wikipedia pages for monarchs are heavily sanitized? Did you know Peter the Great, heavily intoxicated, would execute prisoners during banquets much to the horror of foreign dignitaries? His mistress Elizaveta Vorontsova "swore like a trooper, squinted, stank and spat as she spoke." They were just like us common folk.
One of my new finds is a 14-year old Japanese blog still squirting out entries, complete with grotty early 2000's images of Japan, the images conjoured in my mind when I think of haruhi-era subcultures. A bizarre political rant from 2008 stood out, railing against proposals for children in Japanese/foreign national marriages be granted citizenship. As an anime otaku of course he's opposed to this, but a particular line stood out to me: that regardless of party allegiance, politicans in the Diet are there to "protect the Japanese." Odd choice of words there. it's not economic prosperity or social equality, but security that is his most pressing concern. And to him relaxing the impermeable border between "Japanese" and "non-Japanese" is a threat amidst a global recession.
The Japanese are coddled, and it's quite significant when coming over from pretty much any other part of the world. Poverty is low-ish, drug epidemics are non-existent, issues of industrial pollution ceased decades ago, violent crime is low, and the country is (on its surface) problem-free. Thanks to provisions in the constitution the closest the JSDF has gotten to war is lounging in air-conditioned bases in Iraq, never to leave like their Bundeswehr counterparts. Your average Russian consumes 18 liters of vodka a year, 67,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2018, 130 candidates and politicans in Mexico were murdered that same year, and Syria has grappled with international state-sponsored violence for the past 9 years. Yet Japan shrugs, the notion of a widespread social ill that doesn't involve work or aging seems impossibly foreign. As far as societal ills goes there's hikkis and overworking, both of which outside observers sort of scoff at as nebulous non-issues attributed solely to Japanese culture.
Yet the 40% of Japanese people not apathetic enough to abstain from voting live in this bubble of jingoistic paranoia, a perfect intersection with the permeating stink of exceptionalism that has cut across US politics for 70 years. For the anime-obsessed blogger, national power and strength are top priorities in a pacifist society that has yet to shake the spectres of its imperial past. All the while the economy has limped for 40 years, the same austerity-pushing political party has been in power for 65 years, and 40% of the labor pool consists of part-time workers and contractors. To me there's more pressing issues than big dick posturing.
The middle school-aged blog is a curious mish mash of entries, the most well-known being him handing out Lucky Star anime figures to North Korean children and Eromanga sensei t-shirts to the residents of Erromango. I wonder if all that international travel from Cuba to Mexico has dialated his worldview in the 12 years since that entry.
New Hidamari Sketch volume. It's nice.
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Continued rain. Not feeling so good. I feel like I've forgotten how to enjoy myself outside to be honest. There was a Nikon F70 at bookoff today. Felt incredible in the hands, really well made. Other stuff in the bin included EXE's, Nikkomat's, Kiss', the usual. Re-read my favorite bl manga, Kimi ha Natsu no Naka. Still fantastic, even if it's reliant on two common tropes. It's palpable to me because I find it too be not that gay, as opposed to the relentless fingers in bums normally splashed across the pages.
Muji opened up their applications again, getting ready to furiously fill in those questions. I was looking at a few sharehouses in case I do get the job and have to move. I'm not terribly sentimental about this place. Remembered that one of my dad's friends offered me a job if he opens up a resturaunt. Issue is he lived out near Chiba, which is easily 2 hours away by train. I had just moved, freed of $2500 and 15lbs of body weight, and the question took me completely off-guard. Still feel bad about the lukewarm answer I gave him. But I have options now, another clean slate.
Feeling lonely. I wrote out this pathetic inward-looking diatribe, sort of the polar opposite to blogs talking about how they hate women and how they're hopelessly addicted to hentai. I guess these feelings are part of the Japanese experience. Cooking is really fun though, made mixed rice with bamboo shoots, goya chanpuru with pork, vegetable broth ramen. Provided I have a handful of working brain matter to think of recipes I think i'm a competent cook.
Going through my manga. Dear god do I have too much, it's nearing 500GB. One wonders how much time and effort of someone else's life I'm discarding by choosing to drop a series. Read a particularly devastating suspense manga that I managed to write about here, another Chi No Wadachi moment. It's the kind of series that lingers with you, and specific scenes intrude back in your head like a menopausal woman's hot flashes.
Itsuka Moterukana emanates more crippling futility than Chechen war footage. It chronicles the adventures of a 40-something mangaka as he hauls his corpse across matchmaking advisors, dating courses, and dead-end relationships. It sort of whittles away at your own ego as you watch this poor man get battered by the system until only a set of statistics are left to judge. Reading this you start to feel paranoid about your own value as a carton of eggs or a spoonful of daddybatter. Meanwhile he shuffles himself to tanning salons, clothing shops, and ergonomics instructors in a desperate attempt to accrue cultural capital, to polish up his genetic code on display.
7/19/2020 a comprehensive article on Qanon. Reading through it is almost a resignation of sanity, people like this actually exist. As illustrated in coronavirus conspiracy theories the internet's offspring is somehow a condemnation of democratized speech, a hit piece against humanity.
I feel comfortable in this apartment, maybe not settled but this had become my "home." My lukewarm feelings probably stem from my lukewarm feelings on Kanagawa as a whole. But I've been looking inward, trying to quantify what exactly was my idealized image of living in Japan while in the US. As I see it, there's 3 big blocks. There's rustic countryside living where you live in great big keyless wooden houses. You gradually learn to tolerate insects and crushing isolation. I associate it with tatami mats, gravel driveways, and watchful judgement of pensioners still working the fields. It's quiet but inconvenient. There's also chummy suburban life, still sedate but a step up from having to drive to accomplish basic industralized life. I imagine midcentury cardboard houses, narrow Chibimaruko-chan neighborhoods, and lots of rust from derelict detective signs. This is where other grandma dwells. Finally, there's the center of Tokyo hovel. Microscopic apartments, droning subway noises, and grotty concrete everywhere. This is what tumblr blogs obsess over, a sort of monochrome cyberpunk.
And you know what suburbia is pretty damn great, especially when there's a river and some greenery nearby. But maybe I should've blasted away a few pennies living in the center of Japan while I'm still young, maybe Shibuya or Ikebukuro. It would be a dehumanizing experience, living among what seems like thousands of other shuffling corpses, but you must feel like you're living center-frame. Koenji was nothing special with your typical city layout. The thing about Japan is that rent isn't neccessarily always going to be high, there's substancial variance even within Tokyo. The issue is that down payments and moving fees will eviscerate your wallet, easily reaching $3500 depending on the apartment. I'd easily say that places worth living in the US have higher rent than a comparable place in Japan in regards to convenience.
7/23/2020 New finds:
Notions of masculinity and family structure among preppers
"There are not many occasions in our modern era for proving one’s mettle; our commerce-soaked interactions are scrubbed clean of bravery, valor, even expressions of basic ingenuity. Despite the constant blaring of panic coming from the media—EJ says apocalypse feels like it’s always 'one headline away'—most of us are hobbled by the cushy expanse of consumer circumstance."
On the Olympics' questionable brand image
"The phrase “All barriers of nationality and race have vanished” is a useful one if you plan on annexing some land, but this pan-humanist branding, so loved by Official Olympic Sponsor Coca-Cola, does little to reinforce the true Olympic ideal of clearly defined nationhood. (It is also doubly ironic when spoken in a film where Germany is still riven into East and West and South Africa is banned for preferring apartheid to the pole vault.)
Recontextualization of sex work through the online marketplace
"Both Davis and Mazzei rely on a suite of nonce-words––empowerment, agency, self-exploration, validation––that lend stature but not rigor to contemporary progressive discourses inside and outside the sexual domain....it is hard not to notice the distinctly disturbing nature of many cybersexual 'yums,' or to ignore the gray area between coercion and unencumbered choice that comes into play when sexual availability is placed on the auction block."
"In his book Nationalism Reframed, the sociologist Rogers Brubaker explains how a rising generation of Serbs, entering political life in the economic twilight of the 1980s, came to develop a kind of persecution complex, envisioning Yugoslavia as a frontier of secession-prone republics where their majority was dwindling."
Re-watching Wii no Ma while sewing, the now-defunct video channel on the nintendo console. Bursting with sentimentality, it's a portal to people's lives through their labor. Like a more personal How's it's Made. Just wonderful. The uploader has a macro fetish.
The most manga I've gone through in the last year. Tons of unexpected keepers too, from a romance manga about breadmaking to one about mermaids. Still procrastinating on reading the actually good ones.
More sewing, I count 6 projects that I'm in the middle of. Gusseted pockets are still hard. Fiddling with the C35 again, the third that has fallen into my hands. The first I dropped while at Uni and died, the second black one I sold, and this third one is a junker. Rangefinder is off, light meter is dead. Typical stuff but the rangefinder adjustment screw is giving me trouble and I no longer own a soldering iron. Sold another camera, a late 2000's zoom P&S. I make a pretty good Goya Chanpuru. Found that I'm steadily moving away from eating fish. Maybe I'm just shit at preparing it. Dad's having trouble making rent.
good god remember these shows
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