Monday, February 23, 2009

Religion this week

This week I have three Buddhism related entries. This kind of off sets the carnal entries for Valentine's Day.

Two of them are from Ghost Hunt the other from Pom Poko.

Marishiten (Buddhist deity) 摩利支天

nenbutsu odori (dancing nembutsu) 念仏踊

Ryôbu Shintô (Dual Shintô) 両部神道

During the past several weeks I've put plenty of time in adding to my notes. I keep an extensive set of notes which I use to create these entries and the more I add to the notes the easier it is to locate information I can use. Of course as I am integrating my notes I run into things that look interesting and end up doing entries on them. This works pretty well as often i am adding notes from recently released works, tho' I do play favorites on occasion for older titles.

As always I welcome, even encourage, your suggestions as to how I could improve the supplement. Please feel free to ask for specific entries when something catches your eye.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

This week I have three entries that could be intimate activities for many couples out there to do, if they are so inclined.

These are:

paizuri (tit job) パイズリ

tanima no shirayuri (white lily of the valley) 谷間の白百合

wakame zake (seaweed sake) わかめ酒

I have received some teasing for the large number of sex related entries over the past few years. In fact I had wanted to start including such entries from the beginning, over ten years ago, when I started what became The Anime Companion. However there was one barrier, the lack of reliable secondary sources in print on sex and the sex trade in Japan. So I waited and in 2006 was double rewarded by the publication of Joan Sinclair's book Pink Box: Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs and a friend locating a copy of Peter Constantine's book Japan's Sex Trade: A Journey Through Japan's Erotic Subcultures. The Constantine book has long been out of print and I had been looking for a copy since 1999.

So armed with these resources and a few others that have proven useful I began tracking down further references in anime and manga. I started emailing and talking to folks I knew who were consumers of erotic anime and manga asking for assistance.

I quickly learned something interesting, explicitly erotic works rarely mention the Japanese sex trade. Most references to the sex trade are found in manga that have it only as a small part of the story such as GTO Great Teacher Onizuka and IWGP, two titles I strongly recommend. While there is plenty of sex in erotic titles there is little I can put to use for this guide and this is reflected in the examples I use.

I do have to state one thing, around the time Joan Sinclair's book came out I decided to do a google search to find web sites on Japanese sexual terminology in the hopes that the site owners would refer to their sources. There was almost nothing, in fact one particularly whimpy site bragged about being the largest site for such information. The sad thing is it actually was the largest such web site at the time. However with my additions, and the fact that I cite my sources, folks are no longer limited to such small sites.

If you spot something in a manga or anime that has been released in the US and is not covered in the web supplement please let me know I would like to continue to improve the supplement. Of course suggestions are not limited to the sexual, other topics are most welcome.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Medicinal Japan

In writing this week's entries I started with the entry for the yagen, an object I had been seeing in anime and manga for years but had not found a good secondary source describing it.

Then I needed to include one for kusuri as yagen are used to make them, of course that meant I needed an entry for kampō since kusuri originated in kampō. This also explains why I have two entries under the letter "K" as I usually try to avoid doing so since it is easier to write entries under three different letters.

So here you are.

kampō (Chinese Medicine) 漢方

kusuri (drugs) 薬

yagen やげん or 薬研

I'll try to make my next posting on the 14 and have a Valentine's Day related set.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Your Internet is weak

I sometimes get folks asking me why I don't just use the Internet for information about Japan.

Problem is often what I find on the internet is inaccurate or very wrong. More than once I have found found web sites that base their "factual" information on works of fiction. Which brings up another problem, many sites do not cite their sources so you have no idea where they got their information. Frankly many simply just write off the cuff and leave it at that, relying on hearsay, poor memory or fantasy rather than trying to verify what they are saying.

This is not information I can use.

Now I do admit there are many good site out there and the Internet is a place to begin looking for information. Wikipedia for example, as weak as it still is, has tightened their standards for citing sources which has greatly improved their content which makes it a good quick reference.

But for me I'll check the Internet for clues as to what to search for in better sources.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Relations, supervisor and treasures

This week I have two new entries related to Ommyōdō and one on important symbols of Imperial power.

I also point out a translation error in episode 19 of Shonen Onmyouji.

Ommyō-gogyō-setsu 陰陽五行説

Ommyō-no kami 陰陽頭

Sanshu no shinki (3 sacred treasures, mirror sword jewel) 三種の神器

That's it for this week, it's getting close to dinner time, think I'll turn on the rice cooker and dig out some nattō, (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.92).