The Meaning of Japan

woops

is not like other people
All the beat Takeshi films are good, he had a good run. Sonatine my fav of his. That woman.


Anyone read that LRB article about the ghosts after the tsunami? I got it as a photocopy zine off a guy who told me it's the best thing he's ever read. It's not that, but it is good. Why are there no ghosts anymore?

idk if this is common knowledge but takeshi is a big celebrity in japan and does all sorts of tv shows, light entertainment etc as well as the hard boiled flicks. remember that channel 4 program takeshi's castle featuring people doing silly things in a silly setting? same takeshi
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martin

----
The big thing I remember was robots: by 2000, we'd have automated passenger flights, replicant maids bringing you tea and toast, and realistic sexbots, and Japan would be spearheading it all.

Anyone who grew up in the UK in the '80s would have caught clips of 'Endurance' on that Chris Tarrant' world TV show. I remember one where the contestants had to quickly down pints of water and then, when they were busting for a piss, had to get on donkeys and ride them up and down a field.

My parents really disliked the Japanese and thought they were disgusting sadists. I guess the WW2 propaganda was strong. There were quite a few Japanese families living in Burnt Oak and Edgware, and loads in Swiss Cottage.

Those blokes who are addicted to anime, and fantasise about squeaky-voiced catgirls who act like they're 11, are pretty sad. But my least favourite are the ones who go out to some island to teach English for a year, then come back full of samurai quotes and with the kanji for FREE (as in 'complimentary giveaway') tattooed on their foot, and can't shut up about 'Rashomon'.
 

woops

is not like other people
@luka will agree with me that there's a distinct type who goes native in japan, but in a particular way, wearing a grey suit with hair all spiked up
 

muser

Well-known member
I was in Tokyo for a year in total doing teaching, spread out over a few different trips but I never spiked my hair or got tattoos. It does attract weird people, which gets compounded by the social pressure to become at least a bit Japanese to survive long-term.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
My parents went to Japan last year and they absolutely loved it. A lot of their favourite films are Japanese and they're really into Hokusai/Hiroshige. I think they like the (apparent) serenity and conservatism of it more than the hyperspeed/tech side of it.
 

pattycakes_

Well-known member
That contrast that makes it the #1 must visit country for me. The old and the new running right next to each other
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Obviously there's a whole genre of documentaries which focus on this quality of the Japanese psyche/society. 90 year old sushi master strives for perfection.

In Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Jiro's sons follow in his footsteps, there doesn't seem to be much choice in the matter for them. And that gives me an ambivalent feeling - on the one hand, I yearn for that sort of certainty, to not have to worry about what to do with your life or if you've made the wrong choice, to have a path and a place set out for you - on the other, I'm repelled by the lack of freedom it implies. Jiro himself didn't come from a lineage of sushi chefs, his father died when he was very young and he got a job in a kitchen when he was a teenager.

But I think there is something in this ambivalence we feel towards our own 'freedom' vs. the discipline, dedication and social conservatism we see in Japan (or at least imagine is there).
 

woops

is not like other people
I was in Tokyo for a year in total doing teaching, spread out over a few different trips but I never spiked my hair or got tattoos. It does attract weird people, which gets compounded by the social pressure to become at least a bit Japanese to survive long-term.
exactly this. in fact that's why i never tried a year there myself.
 

woops

is not like other people
the thing is those japanese flats are designed to be that small. in london now there are "flats" like that fitted 3 to a garage. there's a funny vice series of articles where the guy reviews the worst london rentals on the market and makes a good case for london life being basically hell; he's a good writer
 

148 I.Q. Magical Thinker

Bamber Clatscoigne
@catalog That was a good article, thanks. I was shocked by the earthquake and tsunami, it was the biggest physical event in our lifetimes, and too often wonder about all those people who were swept away by that black oceanic indifference.
 
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