At the farewell dinner for me and some other colleagues who were shortly to be leaving Tokyo, our boss suddenly took out a plastic bag and rustled around inside it for a bit, before proferring it to us. “Take one,” he said, without further explanation. I reached inside and extracted a piece of origami.
A piece of origami that has suffered some tragic flattening during its homeward transport, so please use your visualisation skills.
It was a frog made by his elementary school-aged son. “Kaeru,” our boss finally said, which means both “frog” and “return”. In other words, it was a pun-ish paper amulet wishing us all a safe trip home.
Given that I’d been doing a lot of giving and receiving of presents and omiage during the last week, it struck me as odd that a little piece of folded paper could mean a lot more to me than some of the more extravagant going-away presents I’d accepted.
Anyway, I kept the frog with me on my long-haul flight home, and now it’s perepetually perched on my desk. I think I mostly took away from my 10 months in Japan things more intangible than physical, but as objects go, this is one of my favourites.
(And look, I’ll admit it, my Ghibli nekobus plushie is pretty awesome too).
I’ve come to realise that reading manga only gives you a very limited — and sometimes even misleading — window into Japanese culture. Continue reading
So it turns out I’m not the only one who thinks phallic vegetables are a great stand in for that particular part of the male anatomy. Continue reading
Once you get into a set pattern of eating-commuting-sleeping, it can be hard to remember that a world exists outside your workplace, let alone the stations along your trainline. That being said, over the weekend some co-workers and I dragged ourselves out to Jimbôchô, Tokyo’s well-known secondhand bookstore district. Continue reading
(Before we begin, I want to apologise to my followers who received a notification about this post yesterday before it was actually ready to be posted >< My bad, and thanks for your patience! -Ramona)
Somehow it’s already the end of April, and it feels like all I’ve done this month is get back into the swing of things in Tokyo while simultaneously trying to stopper my ears so my exhausted, semi-melted brain doesn’t leak out. Oh, and a couple other things:
1) Right up until last night, online rumours and the lack of Yamane Ayano’s mention on Libre’s website in the blurb for this month’s edition of Be Boy Gold magazine (below) had me convinced that we weren’t getting Chapter 9 of the Finder series’ latest arc, Pray in the Abyss, this month after all.
“Nooooooooo” – collective fannish moan
This month I was lucky enough to have the time and money to re-visit one of my favourite places in Asia, Taiwan. (The fact that the manga there is plentiful and cheap is purely coincidental, you understand). In between eating myself towards walrus-like routundness and brushing up on my Mandarin, I also haunted my usual BL stores in order to update my guide to local shops that stock yaoi. And, to the surprise of no one, pick up some new volumes along the way. Continue reading
So it took an embarrassingly long time for me to realise that all the people carrying around bags with the bookstore chain Junkudo’s logo on them in my neighbourhood meant it was likely that a branch of that bookstore was nearby. Some judicious Googling eventually turned up its location — a local department store, naturally. I finally had time yesterday to check it out, and was pleased to see that although this branch of Junkudo wasn’t as big as the one I visited in Naha last year, it still had a separate, large room dedicated to manga.
The BL section was not too shabby, but spread out across a number of non-contiguous shelves. And on one of them was a selection of new release BL manga and yaoi novels, including the much-anticipated (by me) tankoubon for 10 Dance and…the new Japanese translation of one of my favourite m/m novels, Fair Game!
I’d already read an Amazon.jp review that criticised the Japanese translation’s quality, and also remarked upon its expense (up to twice as expensive as domestic yaoi novels). Still, it’s an exciting development to see original English-language m/m stories being localised for the Japanese market.
(And then a Junkudo staff member very politely told me off for taking photos, and I scuttled away in shame without buying anything. Story of my life lately).
->Back to Tokyo BL Diary Index
January 14 was both Japan’s Coming of Age Day (成人の日) and the day I opened my curtain in the morning to discover the driveway of my apartment complex covered in a thick blanket of some mysterious white substance — it actually took my Antipodean brain a few clicks to realise it was snow. Continue reading
Like the rest of the world, Japan hasn’t been immune to Harry Potter fever. Continue reading
One of the things I love most about Japan is that practically everyone is a reader. On trains, waiting at bus stops, eating in restaurants — someone nearby will almost certainly be reading a book. But something tourists are quick to notice is that you often can’t tell what people are reading. Continue reading