Kodama in Anime

Let’s dive into some figures of Japanese folklore and their representation in anime. Today I would like to focus on kodama, Japanese spirits that inhabit trees. Japanese dryads, if you will.

Up until a short time ago, the word kodama immediately made me think of the Ghibli rendering—glow-in-the-dark bobbleheads with wonky heads from Princess Mononoke.

Then I watched Hoozuki no Reitetsu and saw a totally different kodama.

Instead of tiny toy-like figures with asymmetrical faces, I was met with a child-sized spirit with an apron over a kimono and leaves sticking out everywhere. Now, they are both cute, but otherwise rather different. That made me think, what about other depictions of kodama in anime? Continue reading

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Spoon & Tamago

If you enjoy my architectural posts, I recommend you check out Spoon & Tamago.

Spoon & Tamago is a website about Japanese design of all sorts. And architecture falls under design as well. So under the explore tab on their blog you can find categories of various architectural projects.

Since the team all speak Japanese, they can write about Japanese architecture, that has not been mentioned in any English source so far. Unlike my posts that are, due to my poor language skills, born from English and Czech sources.

When the team celebrated their 10 year anniversary last year, they made a short video telling their story.

Their project resonates with me, not only because their work is so meticulously researched and well-written, but also because I strive to make my blog into something similar. Unfortunately I don’t speak Japanese (yet), so I can’t research as well as them, but I aim for a dash of dorry to become an excellent aggregation of posts on Japanese animation and architecture.

Mountain Day

Good morning of Mountain Day 2018!

I love browsing Japan’s Google doodles. Here are two that celebrate Mountain Day, a public holiday that falls on August 11th, which is today. (There is no doodle this year.)

In 2016, Japan established a yet another (16th) public holiday, Mountain Day. Japan is a mountainous country (about 70% of land is in the mountains) and therefore mountains are a very good example of the country’s beautiful nature. The holiday is supposed to relieve workers, which is a great idea in a country of notoriously long working hours, and encourage to spend time (and money) with their families.


Read much more in the very well-written 2016 BBC article: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37030868

My Little Sister Can Read Kanji: Dropped

Once upon a time, Sam Pinansky, having accumulated related experience in localizing anime, launched a project to bring light novels to Western audience. This project is called J-Novel Club. Basically what he did was realize there was a light-novel-shaped hole in the Western market and, backed by an army of excellent translators and editors, he asked the Japanese publishers for some licences.

J-Novel Club is basically a subscription service. At the cost of as little/much as $4.50 per month, you get to see chapters as they come out. Eventually they get replaced by new chapters and at the end of the volume an ebook gets published. You can read more about Sam and the project on their About page (linked above).

When I first discovered the site 1.5 years ago, there was a total of six titles, I think. I read a bit here and there, bought the subscription for a couple of months to try it out, and ultimately got tired of the buggy site. It’s that bad. Plus there were like two titles I was at least mildly interested in.

I came back a year later. Right now there are 40 titles, including Mari Okada’s From Truant to Anime Screenwriter, which I am very much interested in. But the site is still buggy and I don’t care for 38 out of the forty light novel series. Bottom line…

Yes, 38 out of forty, meaning there was another light novel that seemed interesting—My Little Sister Can Read Kanji. Continue reading

Why Anime?

Roughly 4.5 years ago I read a blog post by Guy over at Geekorner called Anime Isn’t Special – And Neither Are You For Watching It. There is quite a bit to swallow in the post, definitely food for thought, so I recommend you read it even if my editorial doesn’t excite you.

This is going to be a more personal and definitely subjective blog post. Guy posed a couple of interesting questions that I’d like to answer here rather than just under his post. Continue reading

Looking Back: 2017

The end of the year is near, I’m on a studying break for a bit and will only go into work for two more days this year. That is also an explanation for my recent absence — exam season and a retail job before Christmas. (For fellow students: I just finished 100 Days of Productivity, a tumblr challenge, where you study every day for 100 days.)

2018 will be the year of the dog.
by RiE

Anyway, Lauren over at her blog, Otaku Journalist, wrote up some questions to help bloggers with their yearly review. I won’t answer all of them (publicly), but I did want to touch upon the first one specifically.

What made up your body of work this year? Which parts are you most proud of?

If you’ve been around for a year (or longer), you might have noticed there have been two different blogging periods this year. Continue reading

Fujisan

I want to rectify a misconception about the highest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji.

fujisan

Written 富士山, the last character means mountain, which is read yama when stand-alone. When a part of a “word” though (the on-yomi), it is read san. So this san means mountain, it’s not an honorific as someone could have thought — Fuji-san!

Quote from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

You might understand why I’m quoting this tomorrow, when I publish a review of this one AMV…

You’re a projectionist and you’re tired and angry, but mostly you’re bored so you start by taking a single frame of pornography collected by some other projectionist that you find stashed away in the booth, and you splice this frame of a lunging red penis or a yawning wet vagina closeup into another feature movie.
This is one of those pet adventures, when the dog and cat are left behind by a traveling family and must find their way home. In reel three, just after the dog and cat, who have human voices and talk to each other, have eaten out of a garbage can, there’s the flash of an erection.
Tyler does this.
A single frame in a movie is on the screen for one-sixtieth of a second. Divide a second into sixty equal parts. That’s how long the erection is. Towering four stories tall over the popcorn auditorium, slippery red and terrible, and no one sees it.

from the third chapter of Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club is a renowned piece of literature for readers with a rather strong stomach. If you’re up to that, I highly recommend it. The movie isn’t half-bad either and is pretty loyal to the original. I mean it. Go read/watch it.

俳句 | Haiku

Whenever I encounter haiku in the Western world, the given definition is always along the lines of unrhymed three-line poem with seventeen syllables (written in a 5-7-5 syllable count), often about nature. Sometimes the theme is omitted. In reality there is much more than that to this traditional Japanese form of poetry. I’ll try to avoid boring you with its history and write mainly about the main principles one should follow when writing haiku.

Kobayashi Issa google doodle

Google doodle for the 250th birthday of Issa, one of the four haiku masters

Continue reading