Jade’s Escape from Japan

escape-from-japan

Jade’s Escape from Japan

So I went to Japan 5 years ago to escape the American recession and lifestyle as well as my mother and live out my dream of working in Japan. Now that my 5 years are up and I’m back in the States, life should be better…But there are tons of things people didn’t warn me about when it came to re-adjusting to my home country.

The Constant Stomachaches. In Japan, I became a vegetarian (from July 2014), and since my husband returned to the U.S. first, I had adjusted my diet every month to a lifestyle teetering on veganism. I had eliminated most salts, refined sugars, and fats from my food by planning, measuring, and cooking every meal, and in 4 months, I lost around 24 pounds (12 kg). The return to America has cost me dearly: in a week, I gained 10 pounds (5 kg). Everything I eat–even without meat–makes my stomach flip upside down. And it doesn’t help that my husband isn’t considerate of my new eating lifestyle because he isn’t vegetarian.

The Wonderful “Gaijin-ism”. Where I lived in Japan, there were few gaijin, or foreigners. When I did see a foreigner, my first thought screamed, “Gaijin!” That’s how few and rare foreigners are in Japan save for the heavily-populated cities. Back in the U.S., I had to stop myself from being surprised by “foreigners”. Everyone, including myself, aren’t foreigners, so I’m in the middle of re-training my brain to think, “People!”

The Unemployed and Dependent Adult. I had a job and an apartment in Japan for 5 years. Now I’ve got job history and a former apartment that’s already passed to my successor, but no job or space of my own. I have to depend on my husband’s family before I can look to getting a place, and the job hunt for something I actually want–a position in the writing industry–still makes me ask for help from my in-laws. I’m suddenly a dependent, and it makes me feel small and unreliable. I thought being in Japan would make me more independent, but in returning to America, I find myself in a worse situation than before I left the country.

The Unhomely Home. There was no warning about coming home when you’re not really home. The U.S. doesn’t feel like home anymore to me. I look at the people and the stores and the houses, and I just think, “I want to go home.” My Okinawan apartment and the places I frequented there pops up in my head, and suddenly I’m finding home to be a far away place from my memories. Part of this foreign feeling comes from my immediate family leaving California for different states. I can’t see my mom or brothers, and it really makes me sad. With the ensuing stomachaches and loss of an old lifestyle, I just want something familiar, something normal, and that was my family. When I want to my mom’s soup because I have stomach pains or I want to laugh with my brothers, I can’t.

The Lost Relationship(s). What kills me is the one thing I’ve left behind: missing someone. I made many friends in Okinawa, and even though I’ve said in past posts that Japanese people are hard to accept foreigners, the friends I made accepted enough of me to let me into beautiful and loving relationships. I just knew that when I got on the plane, I’d never know if I’d see them again. Sure, there’s email, but it’s not the same as facing them at a table in Mr. Donuts or Spicy Kitchen and saying, “How’s it going?” Craving someone’s words or smiles or stories makes me feel as if I’ve lost something really precious in my life.

After 5 years, I’m saying bye to my apartment…hopefully (?_?)

The Cultural Cross-Pollination of Shōjo Manga

Jd Banks:

This speaks volumes!

Originally posted on Contemporary Japanese Literature:

Natasha Allegri Madoka PuppyCat

On January 18 of 2015, Ed Chavez, the Marketing Director at manga publisher Vertical, replied to a Twitter user’s question on ask.fm regarding whether manga is becoming a niche entertainment industry outside of Japan. Chavez’s response was a definite “maybe.” After stating that shōnen manga is selling just as well – if not better – than it always has, Chavez added the caveat that, “Unlike the 00’s, where a shojo boom introduced a whole new demographic to manga, there hasn’t been a culture shifting movement recently.” Johanna Draper Carlson, one of the most well-respected and prolific manga critics writing in English, responded to Chavez’s assessment on her blog Comics Worth Reading. She agreed with him, adding, “I find myself working harder to find series I want to follow. Many new releases seem to fall into pre-existing categories that have already demonstrated success: vampire romance, harem fantasy, adventure quests…

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Okinawa: A Journey of Discovery

Jd Banks:

Something about the place I’m living!

Originally posted on 上り口説 Nubui Kuduchi:

I was just poking around YouTube, and happened upon this series, “Okinawa: A Journey of Discovery.” It is, I think, produced in part by the Okinawa Prefectural Government, and it is indeed rather touristy and cheesy in some respects – the series follows a group of seven Westerners with no previous experience/knowledge in Japan at all (let alone Okinawa), learning about Okinawa largely from the perspective of simply being interested, open-minded, travelers on a cool vacation.

So, yeah, it sort of has a “reality TV” feel, of these seven young people just having an adventure, and facing various “challenges” on each episode. The series also reinforces the image of Okinawa as tourist destination, as vacation destination, and I suppose that’s the point… but, at least it’s not emphasizing the resorts and beaches, but rather, devotes episodes to music, dance, food, and so forth. I wish they had spent more time…

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Happy International Sushi Day!

Happy International Sushi Day!

Jd Banks:

Yay!

Originally posted on Japancentre blog:

As you might expect of us here at Japan Centre, we LOVE sushi, so naturally we love International Sushi Day. The umai team at Japan Centre work hard making fresh, delicious, original and colourful sushi every morning for the hungry people of London. Here’s a selection of our sushitastic Instagram snaps for you to feast upon with your eyes…

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Blogging Anniversary!

achievement_6years

Today marks the day my blog alias, Machine’s Life, started on WordPress–and WordPress was kind enough to remind me that such a name is dead.

But Jade’s Escape lives on, and when its anniversary comes around, I’ll make my own achievement for everyone. Maybe there’s another contest around the corner.

Along with this good news, I do have an announcement: I’m moving from Japan back to the U.S. in August, so I’ll be busy with preparations. Trust me, it’s no joke! When I get the chance, I’ll write what living in the Japan means to me and how visiting will benefit Japan fans every where.

In the meantime, please check out my newer posts for manga artists, “Manga Paper If You’re Outside Japan“, and some additions to my anime club website, Anime Ascendant. Love you guys!

Manga Paper If You’re Outside Japan

Manga Paper If You’re Outside Japan

When you first started drawing manga, did you grab a few sheets from the printer stack? I know I did. Tsk, and a tsk. We didn’t know better then, but now we do. The type of paper you use to create your manga and comics makes a difference in line quality, erasings, and marker bleeds. Manga paper is nothing more than comic book or manuscript paper that’s thicker and more absorbent than regular printer paper. They can be expensive, but here’s a list from online retailers who’ll give you a deal.

Brand / Paper Type # of Sheets DickBlick Jerry’s Artarama Blue Line Pro Comic Artist Supplies Akadot Deleter Japanimation
Manga Art Boardz (150×220 mm) 25 $10.00
Manga Art Boardz (150×220 mm) 100 $35.00
Manga Art Paper #90 (8 ¼ x 11 ¾ in) 25 $8.96
Manga Art Paper #80 (8 ¼ x 11 ¾ in) 25 $9.86
Manga Art Paper #90 (10 x 14 ¼ in) 25 $14.36
Manga Art Paper #80 (10 x 14 ¼ in) 25 $15.26
Canson Illustration/Comic Board (38 x 10 in) 3 $5.32
Canson Illustration/Comic Board (16 x 20 in) 5 $14.49
Canson Illustration/Comic Board (20 x 30 in) 5 $24.89
Canson Comic Book Art Boards (11 x 17 in) 24 $13.67
Canson Manga Art Boards (10 x 14 ¼ in) 15 $6.84
Deleter Comic Book Paper 110kg A4 (182x257mm) 40 $5.91 $8.89
Deleter Comic Book Paper 110kg B4 (220x310mm) 40 $8.86 $13.29
Deleter Comic Book Paper 135kg A4 (182x257mm) 40 $6.23 $9.39
Deleter Comic Book Paper 135kg B4 (220x310mm) 40 $9.52 $15.09
Canson Paper for A5 Book Comic Manuscript Paper 3 $5.50
Canson Paper for B5 Book Comic Manuscript Paper 3 $6.00

For the digital copy of this post, please click here: Where to Get Manga Paper.