Monday, January 31, 2011

Low pressure selling

This week I have an entry I have wanted to add for some time.

karisuma tenin (charisma clerk) カリスマ店員

However it took years for a print source to describe the phenomenon. I tend to be pretty strict when it comes to relying on web sources. Finally when the book Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential by Brian Ashcraft and Ueda Shoko came out I had my source.

Charisma clerks are a highly interseting subject that just escaped the attention of the English language media.

In fact before the book came out the only reliable source I found was the "Petit Celebrities" tutorial on the MEKAS website. If you are interested in Japanese fashion in any way check out MEKAS, The site is no longer active (since March 2009) due to the economy but it is still up and has some of the best information you will find on Japanese fashion in English.

Fashion scholar W. David Marx handled much of the work on the site and the quality is top notch. He continues to write for several periodicals and maintains a blog, Néojaponisme, that has truly interesting stuff you probably won't find anywhere else. He also occasionally writes for CNNGo.

Monday, January 24, 2011

More Kannon

I finally found a title with the 11 headed Kannon in it. A statue is clearly visible in the sequence in the ruined temple in Sword of the Stranger. If you have not seen Sword of the Stranger I highly recommend it as one of the best recent titles available.

This weeks entry is:

Jūichimen Kannon Bosatsu (Eleven Faced Kannon) 十一面観音菩薩

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fishy no Eggy

This week I have a couple of food entries.

karasumi (botargo) 鱲子 or 唐墨

kazunoko (herring roe) 数の子 or 鯑

Working on this one made me want to go out and get some to have with some sake or beer.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Video Ai

This week I add two entries to the Anime Companion Supplement in the entertainment category, with an adult entertainment slant.

This week we have:

AV (Adult Video)

Iijima Ai 飯島 愛

Monday, January 3, 2011

Confucian studies

This week I have an entry for the supplement for an institution that played a major role in education in Japanese history.

If you have ever visited Tokyo and crossed the bridge on the Kandagawa that leads from Jimbōchō to Kanda Myojin you may have noticed a series of traditional buildings to the east of the bridge on the north bank of the river.

This is commonly referred to as Yushima Seidō, more properly it was called the Shōheikō 昌平黌.

I hope to visit the buildings on my next trip to Tokyo, the last time I was in the area it was early evening and they were closed for the day. I have heard that on Sundays you can have greater access to parts of the grounds normally not open to the public.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Currently watching

Just finished watching Samurai Vendetta. A great film from 1959 staring two greats of modern Japanese acting: Raizo Ichikawa and Shintaro Katsu.

This film belongs to the large number of films that take the Chushingura story as it's background. I believe this is the third such film AnimEigo has released in the US. Unlike most chanbara (sword fight) films this one has actual samurai as main characters. This means many elements of samurai custom play an important, if uncomfortable, role in the story.

At first I thought I was watching something I had seen before, the duel sequence in the beginning threw me off. I now realize I have seen the same sequence at the beginning of another film I own. This is due to the duel story being based on actual events.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Currently reading:

For fiction I'm re-reading The Tale of the Heike in the Kitagawa/Tsuchida translation from University of Tokyo Press. Great stuff, it has been years since I last read it and I'm picking up on all sorts of historical, cultural and religious (especially Buddhist) elements I missed in earlier readings.

For non-fiction I just started Louis Perez's Daily Life in Early Modern Japan, so far a great book on 18th century commoner life. There is much here I have not found a good source for in the past so I expect I'll be mining it for my The Anime Companion Supplement web pages.