Before I begin, I’d like to take a moment to express my deep sympathy for those whose lives were disrupted by the Kyushu earthquakes. I actually haven’t followed the news about this too closely, because I find it extra upsetting to look at photos depicting a place I’ve physically been to in ruins. I can only hope that the residents of Kumamoto find safety and that the death toll does not rise any further.
There was also a devastating earthquake in Ecuador recently which has killed at least 233 people at the time of this writing. My heart goes out to everyone whose lives were stricken by tragedy today.
On that somber note, I’d like to mention that it’s my birthday today, so happy birthday to me.
Anyway, what have I been up to lately? I haven’t been watching too much anime lately, but I have finally gotten around to watching Concrete Revolutio lately and it has some neat highlights. I will have more to say about it when I finish it. (I’ve seen nine episodes so far.)
I’ve also been reading a bunch of light novels lately, as my recent posts on Full Metal Panic and Haruhi Suzumiya may indicate. I’m also finished reading the first volume of Saiunkoku Monogatari in Japanese. The plot is rather thin, and the first two-thirds of the book are dedicated almost entirely to character-building scenes, but it’s still a nice read. My only problem with it is that I have trouble keeping track of all the names.
In more personal news, I’m submitting my honours thesis at the end of next month, so I’ve been working on that a lot lately. Some people have expressed interest in reading the thesis, but since I can’t publish it, I can only let others read it through email. If you’d like to read the thesis, please let me know and I’ll send you an email when I’ve finished the draft. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, my thesis is about the politics of fan translation, a topic which I believe is of general interest to anime fans.
Speaking of translation, my translation commission service is still up and running for those interested. I’ve translated some interesting things through these commissions, including the Kill la Kill drama CDs and (I kid you not) an erotic Zelda fanfiction. Yes, I would translate porn for money. Feel free to send me your commissions, all you perverts reading my blog.
Finally, I want to mention that I recently started writing fiction again. For years, I’ve found myself drawn to the lives of ethnic Koreans in Japan, and now I feel compelled to write a story about the Korean diaspora. Blog readers may have noticed that a lot of my recent posts have been concerned with nationalism and cultural identity, and these are very much themes that my fiction is obsessed with as well. My hope is that by writing about something so seemingly detached from my own experiences, I can come to understand my own identity. It’s not enough for me to write essays about it, so I turned to fiction to express this ambivalent, delicate feeling within me (bimyou na kanji).
I’m not sure how many people would be interested in reading fiction about such an obscure topic (it’s not even anime, man!) but I felt a very strong need to tell that story and I would like to share it on my blog one day.
In any case, I do plan to continue using this blog as a means of exploring the cultural politics in anime for the foreseeable future. I learn so many new things about this medium/subculture every day and it’s incredibly invigorating. I’d like each post of mine to teach my readers something new, to give others a taste of the sheer level of depth and interconnections in the anime world.
So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to lately!
Happy birthday! And good luck with the thesis.
As for the “This might not interest people, but I wanted to share it,” well, this is what personal blogs are for, after all. Whenever I cover books or video games, those posts do really badly on my blog. But if I don’t talk about what I care about on my own blog, where would I do that?
I just put out my content, and people read what they care about.
Well, you can always make a separate blog for different topics, but yeah, that’s a pain.
Does the blogger exist to fill the blog with content, or does the blog exist to contain the blogger’s content? :)
What came first – the chicken or the egg?
Good luck with your thesis, Froggy. And Happy Birthday! Hope its been a good day.
Like Guy says it is your personal blog, and I’m also sure there are plenty that would love to read what fiction you’ve written.
Thanks Russell, I did have a very good day today :)
The zainichi fiction sounds fascinating, particularly given the context of your own situation. I’d certainly like to read it.
Thanks! I’m glad you find the zainichi theme interesting. I constantly ask myself, “What right does someone who’s not Japanese, Korean or a zainichi have to write about this topic?” But maybe because I’m an outsider I can bring out something universal about zainichi experiences. At least, that’s what I hope!
Hey, Happy Birthday!
Regarding the thesis, do you mean that you can’t publish it here before exposing it at the uni, or you can’t show it at all? ‘Cause I’m intrigued in reading it since it sounds really interesting (and I’m sure you’re gonna do a great work ;p).
Anyway, best wishes again,I hope you’ll finish your studies with a smile on your face :)
I can’t publish the thesis until it’s been graded. As for whether I’ll post it online afterwards… well, I’m not sure yet. I do have the option of getting my thesis published in book form, but I’d still like to make my writing accessible to an online audience if I can. I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out what I can do.
Thanks for the well wishes, in any case!
Happy birthday man, and like the dudes above I might want to check out your thesis too when you get around to finishing it. Good luck with your studies man!
Thanks! I’ll be sure to let you know when I’m done!
Happy birthday, yah! And good luck with the thesis.
Thanks! I’ll do my best with the thesis.
Happy Birthday! And good luck with the thesis. It’s been what two years since you announced it? Oh well, finish strong!
Yup! Technically, I worked on the thesis over the course of a year, but I’ve been hyped about it for a long time. Hopefully, all my ideas will come together in a satisfying way.
Have a ribbiting birthday, Frog-kun! This is my first comment here, but your thesis sounds fascinating and I’d love to read it at some point. (^^)
Welcome to the blog, Sheba! Hope you enjoy your stay here! Also, thanks for the expression of interest. I’ll be sure to let you know when I finish my thesis!
I’m watching Concreto Revolutio and I very enjoy it. Many people are telling it is a mess, but now I think I get why it was made in this way. Jiro, or others are not main characters, but just the most prominent. (Superhuman) society is the main character in this story, I’m not sure how to say this in English, but literally translating from my native language I would call it “collective protagonist”. So this anime is something like composite novel I guess?
Anyway I’m looking forward to your article.
Yeah, I really like how in Concrete Revolutio, everyone is the main character of their own story. It doesn’t feel like the story is biased towards the perspective of one particular person, so the theme of “subjective justice” comes across quite even-handedly.
Personally, I’m interested in unpacking the Japanese history references in the anime. Lots of little things that went over my head upon first viewing.
It is a whole mine of references I guess, unfortunately I have no knowledge to recognize most of them. It looks like official site have such notes, but untranslated: http://concreterevolutio.com/special/?page=column
If you’re interested in national identity, Zanichi Korean, etc. Why not start at Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku, and Shinkoku-cho? These are the areas that foreigners tend to live when they first immigrate into Japan. The concentration of different classes, cultures, languages, etc. is very interesting.
But I recommend you get familiar with the Chicago school of sociology.
Thanks for the recommendation and advice!
Happy belated birthday man :) Sorry for the late reply, lol. I saw your tweet where you said you’re pretty much done with the thesis, and I’m interested to give it a read too if you’re done :p
Also, I need to find some super lewd doujins for you to translate…
As long as it’s not futanari…
A bit late here too, but Happy Birthday!
And all the best in this final stretch of your thesis! I would indeed like to read it when you are done (how in the world have you managed to find the time to blog and translate so much whilst you’ve had that on your plate!?).
Also, out of curiousity, how did you first come across Zainichi Koreans?
Well, I’ve been working on the thesis for about a year, so it wasn’t actually THAT much work to do… also I pretty much stopped watching anime entirely.
I first came across zainichi in my undergraduate studies. I think it was in a unit about social institutions in Asia or something like that. I was interested enough in the subject to write an essay about it at the time, and afterwards I kept reading about zainichi here and there. I have a lot of interest in ethnic and sexual minorities in general, so zainichi were never outside my main interests.
Hm…maybe writing a thesis in a semester back in the day has really skewered my impression of the experience!
Oh, that makes sense. Come to think of it, I learned about them in class too, AFTER I returned from Japan. Although I lived in a region where there probably weren’t that many Zainichi, it still feels like they’re just not talked about…
[…] I mentioned in an earlier post, I can email the draft to anyone interested. Just let me know via the comments or Twitter. All […]