Editor Note:It is Friday and that means it is time for the World Famous, soon to be Intergalactic Famous, News Sushi from our very own, Hamish Downie. Hamish brings us a decidedly different slant on Pop Culture as viewed through the lens of a non-native living in Japan.
Thank you Hamish, for your insights.
There’s something magical in the air… could it be… the weekend is coming?
This week’s serving of News Sushi is a substaintial one, I hope you’ve got your eating pants on!
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A couple of weeks ago I met Tagame-sensei at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo (I was invited by Christopher Butcher/ Beguiling crew as we did a TCAF exhibition @snjr_hakusen gallery a couple of years ago) . After the TCAF exhibition at Hakusen which included two Tagame originals I went on to interview @chip_kidd for the BHP blog. In the interview, among other things, we talked about his musical tastes, his work, his manga interests, and his impending Tagame release (My Brothers Husband) which went on to shatter sales expectations,bring critics praise, and bring Tagame-sensei a greater (and deserved) western readership. Tagame-sensei is the sweetest of communicators and made me feel special as I bumbled along my praise. Tagame-sensei is such a sweet and intelligent man. #blackhookpress #mybrotherhusband #chipkidd #gengorohtagame #manga #canadianembassy #tokyo #tcaf #thebeguiling
I’ve spoken about “My Brother’s Husband” before (when it was being turned into a live action TV movie), but I’d never read it until now. Well, that all changed when they dropped the price of the comic on amazon, so I bought the first volume, and after reading that, I bought the omnibus second volume (which collects volume 2-4 in the Japanese series).
It’s a great series, and a really important one at that. But, if you’ve read all the reviews, you’d know that. If you don’t know the series, the series follows the relationship between single father Yaichi, his daughter Kana, and Mike Flanagan, the Canadian husband of Yaichi’s estranged and recently deceased twin brother. It’s quite a heart-warming story, and my favourite moment is in the first volume where Mike explains that in a gay couple – there are two men – there is no “this is the wife” and “this is the husband” – they are both husbands. Not a hard concept for people in the LGBT community, but it’s one of the most asked questions to gays and lesbians in relationships – and one of the most frustrating to answer.
Gengoroh Tagame has kept everything very simple and very positive. This has made the story more digestible, but it’s also made the story less truthful. The story touches very briefly on the plight of gays in Japan, and how there are many who “choose” not to come out. But, when the story claims that there is no bullying in Japan for LGBT kids, this is just a bold faced lie. I try to be positive about Japan in this column, but this is one thing that I can’t put a friendly face on. Japan seems like a country that celebrates difference, but if you look at any comments section of an article that is suggesting that Japanese gays might like to get married, you’ll see what I mean when I say that certain differences are not celebrated. Like the Politician who recently came on TV to say that gays were “unproductive” because they don’t produce children.
But, to address this would mean that a mainstream Japanese audience would never read the manga. That’s why Mike is so unrealistic. He’s represented as the perfect, safe, happy foreigner. That said, those elements do get resolved in the end, so while it might seem like I didn’t like the story (there are elements that I didn’t like – especially the overacting), I love the message and I loved the story as a whole.
If you haven’t checked it out, please don’t hesitate to get your hands on it. It’s easy to live in Japan as a LGBT person, but that’s partly because the Japanese are very non-confrontational, so a lot of the bad stuff is kept out of view. And, “My Brother’s Husband” kind of keeps to that style, although it does provide glimpses into that hidden world.
Moving Coming Out story from Ali of “Movies over the Rainbow”
Before dashing away from negativity, there’s a great article on fellow LGBT site, “Movies over the rainbow” where Ali tells her beautiful coming out story:
— MOTR/Ali Naro (@alicat3955) February 4, 2019
Reflection of a man walking along a footbridge this morning. A footbridge with many memories. #feelgood #nostalgia #happytimes #blackandwhitephotography #photography #photographer pic.twitter.com/raq7jpBoul
— John Qjn (@johnqjn) February 2, 2019
Footbridge, east and west –
reflections on where we are –
distortions in water.
From Manga to Tumblr novels in installments… here’s a great story that I’d like to introduce to my readers by a wonderful writer here in Japan…
Here is part one:
read the rest here:
For more please follow:
Here’s is a good enough reason to live in Japan. You almost always get what it says on the box! Yes, it almost always comes back to food with me…
You might be interested to find out that there are more Michelin star Italian restaurants here in Japan than in Italy…
Everything I can’t eat… but wish I could.
Kara-age (fried chicken) pic.twitter.com/6tQtb6Ay5u
— BlackManJapan (@BlackManJapan1) February 1, 2019
Empire state building made out of chocolate complete with King Kong
I’m about to do another Travel Report for “J-Trip Japan”, so it’s time to get set ready….
Before I go… if you have a chance, visit the Epson lobby in Tokyo…
If you have the chance, visit the elevator hallway at Epson's office in Tokyo. That's something I never imagined saying, but wow. pic.twitter.com/QflMf7pgJH
— Bill Adler (@billadler) February 3, 2019
Thanks for spending another week with me!