[Introductory Note: this essay was written back in the spring of 2012 for a small Japanese studies seminar on popular culture at the University of Oregon (with a few minor corrections). Re-reading this now after such a long time reminds me of how much I have learned and grown over the years and I thought I would share this with everyone. While I may not be majoring in Japanese studies anymore, at least Japanese culture has had enough influence on my life for me to be able to love, study, and criticize it all at the same time.]
World War II can be considered one of the most influential moments in Japan’s history. Ever since Japan surrendered and a new constitution was written, with Article 9 saying that the country will been stripped of any formal military power to promote peace, the Japanese government vowed that “never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war” (“Constitution”). This ideal has quickly permeated much of Japan’s culture and radically changed how the world views Japan today. Both Godzilla and Hello Kitty were created from this apocalypse not to symbolize revenge against their conquerors, but to symbolize world peace through Japan’s own victimization.
For the past few years, when anyone asks me, “what do you want to do after you graduate from college?” I am often left thinking for too long, unsure of what I really want to say. My reactionary answer should be a clear, concise goal and a plan to achieve that goal, but instead, all I could say is, “I have no clue.” Actually, I did have some choices for career goals in mind at the time, but far too quickly, they add up and change as I pick up new activities and interests. As my time in college has progressed, the pressures of a capitalistic society has slowly deteriorated the amount of motivation I had to graduate or simply to study for my classes, as I could not find my passion early enough in my life to not deal with the many consequences of “changing your mind.” I feel like a “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of person (in academics, rhythm gaming, and so on), an emotionless robot lacking the guidance and knowledge necessary to prepare for my future.
“The Liberal Otaku.”
Well, this is awkward. Has it really been over a year since my last post? I really do apologize for this unintentionally long hiatus, although this past year has been a chaotic one for me. Since I have transferred colleges and (in a nutshell) redefined who I am and want to be, it would make sense for me to restart this blog under a new name as well. My next actual post will be a long essay/rant that has been in my “Drafts” folder for far too long and will hopefully explain why I have been so busy for the past year or so. Afterwards, I hope to share some other thoughts I have gained from my second semester in Singapore and more (if time even permits me to do so).
I am going to leave this post with that before I spend too much time writing and delaying this post even further.
So as I am studying abroad in Singapore, I had the unexpected privilege of attending the Anime Festival Asia convention this year. I say “unexpected” because I have never been to any anime conventions before and the thought of going to one never really crossed my mind. I could never attend any conventions back in the United States because they are all so far away from where I live that I almost practically gave up. Even then, I was only interested in attending one out of the three days the convention was open. I was never the kind of otaku that buys an excessive amount of pointless merchandise just because some random anime looks cool on the surface and am still not today; even the cost of just attending some conventions can be a financial obstacle at times. In this post, I will be recounting my day at the convention and concert on Friday, 8 November, 2013, and giving my impressions on the events that day.
Remember when I said in my previous post on the topic that I would still recommend going to arcades in Singapore as a “Japan away from Japan”? Well, I actually want to take that entire last paragraph back (except for the part where I said that I would rather live in Japan than in Singapore for the reasons I described). Certainly, there are many aspects of Japanese culture that can be found in Singapore, but there are many things that are lacking due to Singapore being a diverse society. For now, I would like to go more in-depth this time on rhythm games, the type of games in which I specialize in and play the most, particularly the series of BEMANI games developed by Konami. As I am in Singapore, though, there is a lot of variety when it comes to the different types of rhythm games by many developers that can be found, although I have many criticisms of all of these games, but that’s something I talk about for another time. This diversity, however, comes at the expense of continued support for each individual game, and Singapore currently seems to be unable to sustain both the quantity and quality of arcade games that the fans demand.