So, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m now living in Japan and starting a new job. Specifically, I’m now a Tokyo Correspondent for Anime News Network, covering events in the area as well as the odd film review. You may have seen my writing on the site!
As you can imagine, life has been pretty hectic these past few weeks, so I haven’t found any time for blogging or even translating. This is why I’ve started republishing some of my old columns from Crunchyroll to ensure that this blog does not completely die. I’m quite attached to frogkun dot com, and I want a place where I can talk about personal things. And boy have these past few weeks given me a lot to talk about.
I want to start with something I’ve been thinking about for a while.
Don’t ask me how I got this job because I have absolutely no clue. If someone were to ask me “how do you make a living out of anime writing?” I would not have much advice except for “post a lot on Twitter”, because that’s where 95% of my work connections come from. I think that this is an indicator of the new kind of job market we live in where online connections increasingly matter, because at home I was struggling to find work through the conventional channels. Had I not received this offer from ANN, I probably would have given up on the idea of finding a job fresh out of university and crawled back to my studies.
I struggle to gauge how qualified I am for this job. On one hand, I do have a lot of experience writing about anime, as well as passable Japanese language skills. I studied Japanese in university and wrote a thesis about fan translations. On the other hand, JET rejected me, so lol. My problem is that, beyond a handful of volunteer gigs and freelance work, I don’t have much formal work experience – certainly not anything I could put on a resume.
Career-wise, I’m basically starting from zero.
Honestly, I really did want a “normal” job if possible. As a millennial, I’m extremely jealous of people with a full-time job and a stable income. But the work at ANN is pretty good, all things said and done. Here, I’m a salaried worker on a freelance schedule. I have to be responsible for myself and the content I produce, but I can write in my pyjamas if I want to.
I’m still not sure how long I want to stay here. This might sound weird, but I’ve never had aspirations of living in Japan long-term – or rather, I have never seriously thought about it. I imagined that I would be living in Australia and doing translation work there.
For now, I plan to live in Japan and see where this job takes me. The most fun I’ve had has been through meeting new people. I’m way more sociable here than I ever was in Melbourne. Networking is a necessity for this job, but it’s also been a real pleasure, and I’ve received so much help from everyone I’ve met. I really appreciate it!
However, not all of the job is fun and games. The other day I had to do some interpreting for the first time in my life, and I did so completely unprepared beforehand. I’ve also had to learn new skills, like video making and photography, that I’ve never touched before. All of this while learning to live on my own in a foreign country.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming. The job itself isn’t that intensive, but the pressure I put on myself makes me feel stressed at times. I constantly wonder whether I’m deserving of the opportunities that I’ve been given, as anyone would. But I think of it as the kind of challenge that is geared for someone in their twenties. I’m young and new to the job; I’ve already made some mistakes, but I’m in a very flexible period of my life – what’s a little more change going to do?
Where this is all going to lead I have no idea, but I’ll do my best at this job. It’s been a privilege writing for ANN so far, and I hope that the readers there find my content interesting and informative. It also looks like I’ll be contributing to the Season Preview Guide next season, so please look out for me there!
In the meantime, here’s a list of pieces I’ve written over the past two months:
Anime News Network
How Oreimo Made Little Sisters a Big Deal (The article is a bit broader than the title makes out – it’s really a history of the “little sister” subgenre and how Oreimo and Eromanga Sensei fit into their cultural context)
Adventures in the Yuri!!! on Ice Café (Yes, this is a really dumb title, I put it there as a placeholder and it never got changed LOL)
Lu over the wall Review (In retrospection, I was a bit too harsh on this. I’d give the film at least a B.)
Fans Young & Old Come Out for Tokyo Toy Show 2017 (Plus an accompanying video)
Uncovering the Animation of The Eccentric Family in Nakano Broadway (Co-authored with Callum May)
Kemono Friends Breathes New Life into Japanese Zoos (Plus an accompanying video)
Final Fantasy’s 30th Anniversary Event Lives In The Present (The original title of this was going to be “Final Fantasy’s 30th Anniversary Event Forgets Its History” because this was one seriously underwhelming event)
The irregular at magic high school The Movie: The Girl Who Summons the Stars Review (I watched the whole anime and read volumes 8 and 9 just before watching this… good times………..)
Feast on Tokyo Ghoul Art at Shinjuku Station
Asagaya Anime Street, An Alternative to Akihabara?
In May, I wrote a feature about Tiv, the Korean-Born Manga Artist, for Anime Feminist. I’ve been a financial supporter of Anime Feminist since it was first launched, and I’m proud to finally have the chance to write for the site! I also assisted Dee with her very insightful article about the fanservice in WorldEnd last month. I read the light novel to confirm that no, the massage scene wasn’t sexual in the original novel. (However, I also found out that the novel has way too many exposition dumps, so even with the dumb fanservice the anime is better.)
I also wrote some reviews for English Light Novels about Strawberry Panic and Sword Art Online: Progressive. I wish I could have contributed to another editorial about Oregairu (as I did when the first volume came out), but unfortunately the second volume came out just as I had moved to Japan and was short on time. As a matter of fact, I still haven’t read the English version of the second Oregairu novel.
(Speaking of light novels, here’s a shoutout to Carriage, a blogger who is getting back into light novels. It’s always nice to hear when your own passions have rubbed off on somebody else!)
And finally, I’m still writing for Crunchyroll, although I took a three-week break as I was getting settled into Japan. My latest article is about WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?, a show I marathoned just as it was nearing its conclusion. I get the impression that its overly long title may have deterred people from picking it up, but I actually think that it’s a good, fitting title, so I wrote an article about it. Please give the show a chance!
Anyway, that’s all from me for now. Hopefully, I’ll find the time to update this blog again soon. Until then, see you later!
Congratulations on the new gig — best of luck!
I’m surprised to hear that JET didn’t accept your application based on your skillset; did you receive any justification for the rejection?
Nah, they typically don’t give any reasons besides “due to the overwhelming number of applicants”, which I perfectly understand.
Anyway, thanks for the well wishes! (And sorry for the late reply!)
Congratulations! That’s such a great opportunity–apart from all the daunting aspects (like independent living and having to read all of Irregular at Magic High School) it sounds like you’re in your element. Good luck!
Thanks a lot! I’ve received lots of help from friends and family, fortunately, so I haven’t really struggled in the month I’ve been here.
JET rejects a lot of people out of necessity, plenty of whom I know for a fact would do great as an ALT or CIR. There are just way too many applicants. But hey, it sounds like you might have found something that suits your specific wants and skills even better, so congratulations! :)
Thanks! It was a shame about JET, but I’m glad I found work in Japan without it.
Thank you very much for sharing your experiences. This was a very fun post to read! I’ve often daydreamed of being in similar situations to what you’re in, but I imagined having lots of experience under my belt before doing something so daunting! Best of luck to you in your endeavors.
Your post has given me some exciting inspiration, ideas, and motivation (alongside some new reading material).
Thanks! Good luck with your own endeavours!
I totally got rejected by JET too, in the first round even! And I totally get the “desire for a stable job”, that’s basically why I’m going back to grad school, I want that thing that boomers got!
I have heard with JET that any mention of CJVC gets you dropped like a stone.
Might be bull but makes sense, in a bureacrat way.
PS: OK! store sushi bento rocks!
Contemporary Japanese Visual Culture (a portmanteau derived via Genshiken). Basically : I LIEK MANGA + ANIME = NO JET 4 U
Anyway, that s the apocraphia, along with their habit of favoring euro-looking peeps.
Ah, so it was probably a mistake to mention my Crunchyroll and Anime News Network credentials in my application… :’)
You would think that PRO writing would be different but the ‘crats can do whatever they wish, or their arcane policy hints (there will never be anything direct in writing) suggest. I am over the age limit for the program but a few years back, I took great care to write a rec letter for an applicant who worked as a summer intern. Genius with tech, writing, social media, did good press interviews, honors uni degree, kept all mention of weeb stuff out of the rec, advised him to do same. NO GO, Although born and raised in Canada he was of Asian heritage. Japan and the JET program lost an “ambassador” — as they refer to JET alumni. He moved West, got a scholarship, completed an M.A.
From your experience, sounds like they lost another: your current position suggests the JPcrats might want to reconsider their criteria. (Japan, bureaucracy, change procedure; not holding breath) In the meantime, your current gig could be great raw material for a future post-grad degree. Post-grad is pro ball: if they don’t cover you – tutition, some stipend, the program is bullshit, next…
Thaanks for this blog post
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