October 5th, 2010

Photography: Sakura

The Japan 30-day Meme: Day 11

No links again for today. All I have to report is that there is the Japan Writers' Conference on Sunday/Monday and I'm tempted to go. The only session I'm really interested in is the one on Sunday afternoon about first pages, when it's the Thanksgiving meal though. Adding to that, there are no major names apart from Debito. And he's not famous for his writing. ;)

You never know where you might make contacts, but the English language publishing industry isn't found in Japan. It just isn't. Judging by the Book Fair earlier this year, it's difficult to make a case for the Japanese language publishing industry being here either.

...I don't know.

Design Festa and the Tokyo International Film Festival are coming up soon too. I want to see The Singing Hitman.

Day 11 - What did you find most overrated and underrated about Japan?

May 2009, I was standing outside Tokyo Dome, waiting to enter for an X Japan concert. Someone (I think it was hideincarnate) produced a packet of pocky and offered it around.

For a moment, I was living the dream. At least, a dream for otaku around 1997-2002. Pocky and X Japan, all in one go.

Having said that, pocky is overrated and I've only seen one person in Japan buy or eat it. The fact I noted them with even more diligence than I would a sighting of a fellow foreigner is telling.

Denny's is underrated. All my US friends tell me that Denny's in America is a very different restaurant. You can't eat udon or katsudon there for a start. In Japan, it's the perfect place for entertaining relatives and friends from overseas, particularly when you have a mix of people, some of whom want to dive into a kaitenzushi and some of whom want to deny raw fish is even a option.

Karaoke is also underrated. I mean, we have it in the UK too. Japanese karaoke is different though. You have a room all to yourself, two microphones, two telephone directories of song listings and a touchscreen (or keypad in older places). The walls are covered in lighting or UV-sensitive murals. The film "Lost In Translation" depicted it pretty well as far as I can recall (I wouldn't want to see it again), with the fatal mistake that no one cares about other people's drunken nights out. I have great memories of my first karaoke session in Japan and also the last one, just a couple of weeks ago. We finished it off with "On My Way".

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