Rest in power, Chadwick. You’ll always be our Black Panther.
The dress that the woman is wearing is a real dress from officially licensed DC brand, Hero Within. Get it at https://herowithinstore.com/collections/marvel/products/black-panther-dress.
Rest in power, Chadwick. You’ll always be our Black Panther.
The dress that the woman is wearing is a real dress from officially licensed DC brand, Hero Within. Get it at https://herowithinstore.com/collections/marvel/products/black-panther-dress.
Adorned by Chi Manga Review – Finally, a Nigerian Manga!
Yes, this is my first video review, and it’s for a Nigerian manga called Adorned by Chi.
I love coming across cool manga with black main characters, and this one, Adorned by Chi, is set in Nigeria. When shy Adaeze and her friends are attacked by apocalyptic monsters called Mmanwu at their college, they soon learn that they have god-like powers. They must use their new powers to keep the Mmanwu at bay while living their regular school lives.
Yes, it’s cutesy and Japanese-ish, but what it has is a lot of Nigerian spunk. The art style and story-telling are like manga. The characters are toned by computer, the panels are different on each page, and the personalities are definitely part of manga tropes. If there was a black version of Sailor Moon, this would be it–minus the age gap with Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon.
If you’d like to get a copy of Adorned by Chi, use the discount code, JADESCHI, for 10% off your order!
VIZ Media reaches the next stage in the development of its VIZ Originals imprint. Aspiring artists and writers are invited to apply for portfolio reviews taking place at some of North America’s biggest pop culture shows. The VIZ Originals imprint will develop innovative, English-language creator-owned graphic novel content for a global market, and is committed […]
via VIZ Originals to Host Portfolio Reviews at Leading 2019 Pop Culture Conventions — Lesley’s Anime and Manga Corner
The Black Nerds Expo on Thursday, February 28 from 10:00AM to 2:00PM at MiraCosta College (1 Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056) is a space for attendees to explore and celebrate black comics, books, art, video games, and pop culture. This event is open to everyone! Register at http://blacknerdsexpo.eventbrite.com for free!
Here is what the expo will offer:
-Meet people in the art, video game, and comic book industries
-Make new, local friends who like black pop culture
-Participate in opportunity drawings for active attendees
-Take Instagram-worthy photos at the photo booth
-Day-of point card to collect comics-related stickers and prizes
-Learn about upcoming projects and releases information in anime, manga, video games, media, and pop culture
How much is it to attend the Black Nerds Expo?
It’s free! Just make sure to either pre-register or register on-site for entry.
Why is there a need for a black nerds event?
Could you name at least three black superheroes outside of Black Panther, Storm from the X-men, or Luke Cage? Could you name at least three black authors without searching on Google? Could you name at least one black artist outside of comics? Events such as the Black Nerds Expo is to make aware the existence of black pop culture that isn’t usually shown or celebrated in mainstream media.
If I’m a vendor, artist, or would like to table for the Black Nerds Expo, how can I make that happen?
Please email email@example.com or complete an exhibitor application at https://goo.gl/forms/75SkViyzNwPSFptU2 to register a representative to participate in the Black Nerds Expo. There is limited space, so please contact Jd Banks as soon as possible.
How much is it to reserve a table?
It’s free! We don’t want tabling or exhibiting fees to be a barrier for exhibiting. Please contact Jd Banks at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible since space is limited.
If I can’t be there personally but I or my business would like to contribute, how do I do that?
Send any promotional materials (i.e. flyers, postcards, business cards, posters) to the following address by Thursday, February 14, 2019 to give them time to arrive:
ATTN: Jd Banks, Student Equity (MC: #10C)
1 Barnard Drive
Oceanside, CA 92056
Is it possible to sponsor something for this event?
Sure! We would like to do an opportunity drawing for attendees, so any swag items such as T-shirts, hats, buttons, wrist bands, DVDs, posters, cups, or figurines relating to black pop culture would be appreciated. In return, the Black Nerds Expo will cross-promote your brand on social media and other marketing materials. Please email Jd Banks at email@example.com for information.
Are you providing any stipends or paying any fees for vendors, artists, or representatives to participate in the Black Nerds Expo?
No. Participants will only be provided a table, refreshments, and day-of logistical support.
What sort of things would be great to bring as a vendor, artist, or representative to the Black Nerds Expo?
If you are a comics vendor, comics and graphic novels concentrating on black superheroes such as Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Black Lightning, Green Lantern, March, Miles Morales Spider-Man, Ironheart, Batwing, Cyborg, Mister Terrific, Vixen, Nubia, Rocket, XS, Tattooed Man, Afro Samurai, and more would be great. Find a list of black superheroes at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_black_superheroes. Books from Toni Morrison, Ben Okri, Karyn Parsons, John Lewis, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Obama and other black authors would also be great. Artwork can be fan-created artwork of current black superheroes and/or original artwork with black and African-American attendees in mind.
Black Nerds Expo Supporters
I went to San Diego Comic Con this year after a 5-year hiatus (thanks, Japan) to find that the Comic Con I one loved has been hijacked by security–RFID security tags! You swipe them at the entrance and you swipe them when you exit.
At least the energy of good ol’ geeks and nerds and everyone in between was still there. It just came with a lot of people. I couldn’t create a mental escape path without running into a billion folks and encountering some B.O. I thought I had gotten used to from years of convention hopping.
As much as Comic Con has a great freebie table, the star freebies were for attendees who made it to the registration entrance. After swiping past the security panels, attendees were given large plastic backpacks with choices between Pokemon, Gotham, Supergirl, and Comic Con themes. I chose Gotham, not because I was wearing my Batman shirt from Japan and not because I liked-loathed the first episode of Gotham, but because it was black and went with anything. Judge me if you like. I’m a black lover.
While I was in the Sails Pavilion, I roamed the autographs section where actors from different TV shows, movies, and animated series met and greeted fans. I saw an Aliens poster and stopped to find Ricco Ross, or Private Ricco Frost, hanging out at his table with cool scenes from Aliens. I talked to him some time, got his autograph, and went back down to the main floor to finish looking for David Mack, the artist and writer behind Kabuki and several Daredevil comics. I found Mr. Mack after a beautiful woman in white took me to a table with 2 handsome brothers promoting their comic, Okemus, and their company, RAE Comics. From the past 7 Comic Cons I’ve attended, this was the first one where I saw many black comic creators as well as black companies with good promotion.
On Sunday and the last day of Comic Con, I bought a few shirts and immediately donned a pink JigglyPuff shirt from the Mighty Fine brand since all the Pikachu shirts were gone (darn you, Pokemon Go!). It wasn’t as crowded as Saturday, mainly because most celebrities attended Friday’s and Saturday’s panels and promotional events. Sunday has always been the best day for Comic Con goers to buy their most-wanted merchandise at low prices. “Help us get rid of this extra inventory!” is the call of the last convention day. And if you’re a good haggler, this was the best time to haggle. I found manga priced down from $12 to $8 and Superman and Batman shirts discounted to $5. David Mack gave me a deal on two of his Kabuki volumes ($25 for two hardcovers signed), and I bought a hardback volume of The Goon. Promoters and creators were more visible between the aisles as they handed out the last of their free comics, wristbands, book samples, and stickers.
I returned to the Sails Pavilion to find Ricco Ross again. We ended up chatting for about an hour about random stuff, some fans stopping in between our conversation, and he gave me some advice on life. I’m not into celebrities and movie stars, but I think Ricco Ross is one stand-up, down-to-earth guy. I’ll be looking for more of his roles on the silver screen.
By 2:00 and after some impulsive buys, I left Comic Con to find some Pokemon outside the convention center. In the past Comic Cons, I had always felt like I had accomplished a big feat even when I had little money and couldn’t buy and go wherever I wanted. I survived the San Diego Comic Con! I would think as I rode the trolley to my car. Now that I have the time and money, I just don’t have the energy to be excited for hours on end. Thankfully, meeting fans and creators, exchanging cards with small press and independent publishers, and conversing with a talented actor made up for my low energy. Next year, I’ll be sure to prepare my heart–and maybe find a sturdier bag–so I can keep up with all that is the San Diego Comic Con.
Other great companies and businesses at Comic Con I visited (and usually bought buttons):
How to Make Backgrounds for Manga
Just as in writing, backgrounds are important for every manga. It anchors the characters and settings in a specific time and space. Without them, readers have only dialogue to follow the story.
Drawing from scratch
Creating a background from scratch may be time consuming, but it is one of the most fulfilling parts of drawing. Once you’re done, you sigh and yell, “I did it!” The best way to create a background from scratch is to take a picture of the locations or buildings you want to use and draw it from that picture.
The reason why I don’t prefer drawing at the location is because many factors change as you’re looking between your drawing and the actual place. The sun and clouds move, shifting the shadows around, and people hover over your shoulder with indignant questions, peeling your gaze from your focal point. A picture will stay whatever you want that picture to be.
Turning out a picture
With a picture of a location, you can also create unique backgrounds. Ai Yazawa turns images into shadows with almost pixelated points.
You can also turn pictures Into vectors in Adobe Illustrator or Manga Pro. To vectorize an image in Illustrator, select to “Trace”.
Using stock pictures
If drawing or vectorizing pictures are too much, you can buy Deleter background booklets or get free stock manga backgrounds on DeviantArt or Pinterest.
Deleter and Manga University both have books with backgrounds you can print onto adhesive sheets and apply like screentones or digitally place them in your manga using layers. They’re good for hard-to-find pictures such as Japanese classrooms, common streets, and convenience stores. The books aren’t free. They price anywhere from $2.50 to $12.00 online.
Here are a few generous artists:
TakataRikuzen’s Free Manga Backgrounds
If you want to be a well-rounded artist, my advice is to learn how to do perspective drawings. Even if you plan on becoming a traditional artist (drawing, painting, sculpting), learning perspective will only be a tool.
2015 Resolutions from a Japan Fan
Last year, I made some typical resolutions–losing weight, saving money, reading 50 books, and completing 33 art projects–and I met some of them. I lost 15 pounds after July’s knee injury (no exercise, too) and read 55 books in 2014. I unfortunately didn’t finish 33 art projects nor save money, so I felt a little disappointed in myself. Still, I’ve battled the horse through injuries, failures, and burn-outs, and I’ve found one thing to be tried and true: I’m going to do accomplish many goals before I leave Japan this year.
Read more manga. I really want to read old manga. I feel like old manga had more meaning. If you look at my reading list for last year, I started reading older or re-released manga including Barefoot Gen, 47 Rounin, Doraemon, Sazae-san, Children of the Sea, Gundam Wing, and Evangelion. The reason why I’m looking at older manga and classics is because the newer stuff isn’t cutting it. I also read Assassination Classroom, Crimson Empire, Devils and Realist, Sankarea, Ultimo, and Zero’s Familiar Chevalier. This latter group just rubs me the wrong way. Every plot device in manga is glaringly obvious, so much so, I just dropped them off my reading lists–or ranted about them on the Anime3000 and Manga Corner podcasts. If you have any good recommendations for me with atypical plots and characters, please contact me right away.
Do more art projects. So I didn’t do 33 art projects last year, but I’m set on doing it this year. I’ve set a goal for myself on Anime3000’s Manga Corner: to do a motion comic per podcast. I can do it. I just need to buckle down…and get a Mac. (￣◇￣;)
Wean myself off the internet. Yes, yes, it’s a weird resolution, but I sit in front of a computer maybe 8 to 10 hours a day. That’s too many hours sitting down.
Post more manga artist stuff. If you’re an aspiring manga or comic book artist, I’ve got the section for you. Last year, I posted “Online Communities for Aspiring Manga Creators“, “Manga Pens for Manga Artists Outside of Japan“, “Deals and Savings for Manga Artists“, and “Manga, Comic Book, and Graphic Novel Courses for Aspiring Creators“. Got something you’re always looking for as a manga artist? Let me know in the comments section, and I’ll compile a list of resources for you and other artists.
I hope I can accomplish this stuff in a year. I’ll be leaving Japan, my second home, in July or August after 5 years, and I’ll have to adjust to American culture again. ＼(^▽^＠)ノ
I entered a giveaway on one of my favorite blogs, Tokyo5, and won two specialty origami paper sets from Tuttle!
I’m so happy to have these! I studied both Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige in college, and I fell in love with ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints. Who are Hokusai and Hiroshige? They are ukiyo-e artists who changed both the techniques and styles of ukiyo-e into what we know it today. Hokusai created unique compositions in 36 Views of Mount Fuji (find the repetition of three in The Great Wave off Kanagawa), and Hiroshige developed color gradients in ukiyo-e like Plum Tree at Kameido.
In my Japanese Art History class, I had to copy a master’s art piece, and I chose Hiroshige’s Plum Tree at Kameido. See my try!
Every summer, the art teacher in my school does bingata lessons. I did this last year and the year before.
First, a water-soluble resin is put through a stencil with wire and dried. Afterwards, you can paint directly on the dried parts. The painting process is similar to making woodblock prints (ukiyoe). You first apply the base layer, which is usually a light color. In all of my paintings, I use really light colors that contain yellow (unless I plan on painting blue or purple over them). It’s really important to know what the final picture will look like so that you can plan the base accordingly. If not, it’s easy to drawn out the base color with indecisive colors. After the base colors are applied, you dry the dye with a hair dryer and go on to the next part of the painting.
The second part of the painting process is putting the final shades and tones. I use a small soft brush and a regular brush (one in each hand) and blend the colors. Because I started out with bigger brushes, the phoenix in this image came out funny. It’s my own lesson to choose my brushes carefully from now on. Once all the colors have been applied, you dry the dye until the resin flattens. Place your finished painting into water for a few hours, or if you want the resin to come off more easily, put it in water for a couple of days. Finally, you wash the resin off without rubbing the fabric together, and let the fabric dry.
This one wasn’t my favorite bingata because I only had an hour to make it where I previously took two or three hours to make.
What do you think about it?
My last project for Japanese art history was to practice the funpon, or copying the master, technique. We had to find one artwork from all that we had studied and reproduce it using any medium. Of course, I chose Utagawa Hiroshige’s Plum Orchard at Kameido Shrine (1857) from 100 Famous Views of Edo. It took me 6 days to make it because I could only work on it between classes and work.
I started with the background before painting the rest of the image so that the oil paint would set by the time I started the foreground images.
When it came to the little people in the background, I used several twigs to get the details. At the time, I didn’t have money to get really small brushes.
Vincent van Gogh also painted this ukiyo-e (on the right), renamed Flowering Plum Tree (1887), in oil paint.
Hiroshige’s ukiyo-e (on the left) was considered a higher level than other ukiyo-e artists in his time. While other artists were using a traditional method of simple block coloring, Hiroshige used gradients in his work as you can see in the trees’ realistic shading and the background. If you’d like to know more about Utagawa Hiroshige, you can check out my Art Project Presentation.
If you’re a fan of ukiyo-e, you can participate in Tokyo Five‘s Book review & giveaway 3: Ukiyo-e; The Art of the Japanese Print. One lucky winner will get a free copy of this book!
Japanese manga artists have it good. They can walk to the nearest bookstore and buy any line of pens all suited for creating manga. Artists outside of Japan, however, have a challenge in getting manga-purposed supplies, especially cheap inking pens.
Right now, pens by Too are cornering the inked market. They make Copic-brand supplies, from nibs to colored liners. In Japan, a set of 9 regular Copic multiliner pens are around 1795 yen or $18 while Western online shops sell them for more than $20. Copic drawing pens with nibs and Copic Ciao color brush pens are 250 yen or $2.50 each, half the cost of what Western stores sell.
So where do you get these pens and how much do they cost? Here’s a list of online stores selling pens for manga artists and ship internationally. (Prices may vary.)
|Brand / Pen Type||# of Pens||DickBlick||JetPens||Jerry’s Artarama||Chicago Airbrush Supply||Blue Line Pro||Comic Artist Supplies||Akadot|
|Copic Multiliner Fine Nib Pens||1||$4.60||$2.99|
|Copic Multiliner Fine Nib Pens||4||$8.69|
|Copic Multiliner Fine Nib Pens||7||$16.75||$20.93|
|Copic Multiliner Assorted||9||$19.95||$26.91|
|Copic Multiliner SP||1||$7.96||$8.95||$7.55|
|Copic Multiliner SP Set||5||$44.75|
|Copic Multiliner SP Set||10||$89.50|
|Sakura Manga Sensei Series||1||$1.99||$2.00|
|Sakura Manga Sensei Series||6||$11.99|
|Sakura Manga Sensei Series||9||$11.62|
|Sakura Pigma Micropen||3||$6.72||$5.28|
|Sakura Pigma Micropen Set||6||$13.04||$10.56|
|Sakura Pigma Manga Comic Pro Set||6||$7.97||$18.00|
|Sakura Pigma All-Black Collection Cube||16||$39.99|
|Kuretake Manga Penholder||1|
|Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Pen||1||$2.15|
|Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Set||3|
|Deleter Neopiko Line 2 Pen||1||$3.99||$5.40|
|Tria Triple Nib Marker||1||$2.49||$5.99|
|Faber-Castell Extra Superfine Pitt Pen||1||$2.06||$2.10|
|Faber-Castell Pen Set||8||$13.97|
|Faber-Castell Extra Superfine Pitt Pen Set||10||$26.68|
|Prismacolor Illustration Markers||4||$7.32|
|Prismacolor Premier Fine Line Marker Sets||5||$9.93|
|Prismacolor Premier Fine Line Marker Sets||8||$15.87|
|Acruit Technical Drawing Pen||1||$1.00|
|Acruit Technical Drawing Pen Set||9||$8.99|
|Acruit Technical Drawing Pen Set||12||$9.99|
|Isoman Technoart Pen Nib||1||$1.99|
|Marvy Uchida LePen||12||$15.48|
|Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph Points||1||$16.35|
|Pentel Sign Pen||1||$1.23|
|E + M Artists Nib Holder||1||$9.50|
|Tachikawa School-G Nib Pen||1||$6.75||$5.80 – $6.58|
|Zebra Comic Pen Nib Holder||1||$3.30|
|STABILO Fineliner Pen||1||$.75|
|STABILO Sensor Pen||1||$1.49|
*All prices are not guaranteed, so please check with their websites.
This online anime store has two pen lines, the Deleter Neopiko Line 2 Pens ($47.19 for 10) and the Tachikawa New Nib School-G Pens ($10.39 for 1). They also have international shipping.
This online manga university also sells manga tools, including Tachikawa All-in-One Manga Pen ($9.99 for 1) and the Ultimate Manga Pen Set ($24.99 for Tachikawa and Nikko nibs and nib holders). To calculate your country’s postage, enter your location after adding the item(s) to your cart.
For UK artists, there are 2 shops that will ship to you at a cheap rate.
This is the UK-based shop of the brand, Kuretake. Their most-popular pens are the Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Pens ($1.94 for 1 or $4.36 for 3). The Kuretake Shop only ships to the UK and Europe.
What better way to find Japanese pens and pen holders than by going to a calligraphy specialty store. This shop has everything calligraphy related, including art pens. They carry Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Pens (£1.55 for 1, £4.75 for 3), Kuretake Manga Pen Holders (£5.05 for 1), and Kurecolor Fine and Brush for Manga (£2.45 for 1), including the VAT at 20 percent. Scribblers has international shipping.
For even cheaper supplies, don’t forget to sign up for the shops’ club cards or mailing lists.
Dick Blick offers a 10 percent discount if you have a Dick Blick Preferred Card.
Jerry’s Artarama has various discounts when you’ve signed up for their Online Email Club.
Blue Line Pro has a yearly membership for their Club Blue Artist Discount Club that drops prices by 15 percent. This membership isn’t free—it costs $14.99 per year.
Akadot’s Retail Membership is $15 per year to get a 5 percent discount on your purchases. After $1000 of purchases, they’ll give you a $20 gift card.
When I first started drawing manga, I used to buy the Sakura Pigma and Pigma Micron pens at Michael’s (they sell them at full retail price). I didn’t have a car or much money. It was when I started going to conventions that I saw there were many different pens out there, and I quickly realized that pens from Sakura Pigma and Faber-Castell were stealing my money. Both brands don’t give you enough ink (that’s why they’re so lightweight), the nibs break or split in half after a few uses, and the line quality is really bad. Right now, I’m using Copic, Tachikawa, and Mitsubishi pens. They give me a good amount of ink and the nib replacements are cheap and easy to find. They do cost more than Sakura Pigma and Faber-Castell pens, but they’re also higher quality.
Professional Artist Veronica Fish’s Reviews
Review of Marvy Uchida’s LePen Series
Review of Pentel, Zebra Comic, Tachikawa School-G, Deleter #5, and Lowe Cornell Pens and Brushes:
Review of Pentel Brush Pens: http://veronicahebs.blogspot.jp/2010/01/japanese-brush-pens-review.html
If you’d like a printable version of this post to compare prices, you can download Manga Pens for Microsoft Word.
UPDATED (6/29/2015): Nibs are an alternative to using liners and pens. For a guide on nibs and nib holders, check out JetPens’ Guide to Nibs and Nib Holders.
Happy International Left-handers’ Day!
Did you know I’m left-handed? My father, my grandfather, my aunt, and my husband are also left-handed. Imagine all the smear stains we’ve gotten on our cuffs, how many artful turns of a paper we did to avoid ruined sleeves, how many decisions we’d have to make–throw left or right?–in our entire lives. No matter how many left-handers there are in my family, there aren’t many in the world (only 10 percent!). Left-handers are just as rare in Japan as in the States, but unlike their American counterparts, they don’t have as much trouble dealing with a right-side world.
In Japan, left-handedness isn’t seen as a conspiracy to make do with the Devil as it is in Western and Catholic countries. Sure, there was a time when Japanese viewed southpaws as impractical because of traditional calligraphy writing. Even though Japanese people still write from left to right when they make banners, the taboo of being left-handed, or giccho, is considered old news.
In recent times, Japanese students use regular notebooks or genkou youshi (原稿用紙), a Japanese manuscript paper for writing essays. This kind of paper has little boxes, each box for one character, and they’re read from right to left. Because traditional Japanese is read from the top downwards, essays are written the same way, top to down. It makes it easier for us lefties to write an essay in Japan, even if they’re apology or detention essays (you’ll see it in manga, anime, or in the discipline office in Japanese schools).
Of course, left-handers in Japan still face problems in the right-hander world. In contrast to manuscript paper, writing calligraphy on horizontal banners is oriented for right-handers. I wonder if famous calligraphers like Michiko Imai, Shinjo Ito, or Shingai Tanaka ever had trouble writing Japanese characters.
Looking for your real Leftorium? Here are some shops that can help you with your left-handed needs on this fine International Left-handers Day:
1. Lefty’s – https://www.leftyslefthanded.com/ (Special discounts on International Left-handers’ Day)
2. Anything Left-Handed – http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/
3. RU-Lefthanded – http://ru-lefthanded.co.uk/ocart/
4. Left-hand N.Z. – http://www.lefthandnz.com/
This will definitely go with the Manga Corner’s summer podcast about obon and Children of the Sea.
I finally got my copy of The Princess of Tennis from Jamie Lynn Lano!
There aren’t many stories (if any) about Western manga assistants working in Japan. Jamie Lynn Lano tells all in this book and on her blog, Jamieism.com. You can buy The Princess of Tennis: The true story of working as a mangaka’s assistant in Japanon Amazon.
Also, you can help Jamie get to San Diego Comic Con through http://www.gofundme.com/9v7x64.
I’m at Super Saiyin status! Yup, I’ve reached 4 complete years of living and blogging in Japan!
I know, I know. Some Americans have reached city-stomping, moon-transforming monkey status in their tenth, twentieth, or even thirtieth years in Japan. Good for them! For me, it’s an awesome thing: I’m still living my dream! And I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Anime and manga does and doesn’t equal culture.
Just as any media doesn’t fully capture a single culture, it also says a lot about that culture. The Japanese population is mostly Japanese. From the time Japanese people are born until they die, there are certain things that’re taught to them. Did you know that Japanese students take Ethics and Morals in junior high school? And did you know Japanese students are punished more for not following the rules than their grades? No, maybe not. In reality, Japanese people aren’t allowed to stand out. Japan is a collective society, and in a country the size of California housing millions, the population can’t afford to be individualistic. But in anime and manga, you’ll see students who are totally different because of their natural talents or super abilities. In a way, these media are reflections of a country where the hammer strikes down the standing nail.
Design and marketing is on a whole different level in Japan.
Wherever you walk in Japan, you’re bound to find billboards upon billboards, posters behind posters, signs above signs of ads, ads, ads. Even if you can’t read them, these ads are successful at embedding colorful and creative images into your brain. Everything has a mascot (ever hear of Hello Kitty, Kumamon, Pikachu, or Luffy?). When I think of American ads, they don’t compare. Then again, the States has it good with creating recognizable brands. Hmm, maybe I’m wrong… Still, Japanese advertising makes me laugh!
Quality of (Insert a Noun) is cities above the American sense of quality
I’m absolutely in love with Japan’s sense of quality. It shows in mundane things: merchandise at thrift stores are clean and cared for; lunches are freshly prepared by mothers and lunchbox pros same day; fast food actually matches the pictures. So, yeah, quality of life is awesome in Japan. There’s the national healthcare that every working person can receive (OMG, Japan is Socialistic ::gasp::), and the older you are, the cheaper your optional car insurance becomes. Don’t get me wrong, I do miss the States, but some things–the crappy secondhand buys, the fat-salt-sugar-saturated processed food, and the bombardment of unhealthy lifestyles–aren’t living up to my quality of life anymore.
I miss the straightforwardness of the West
Japan is the land of beating around the bush. You can’t say anything directly because it’s seen as unfriendly. Instead of saying, “Why aren’t you wearing an undershirt?” you have to opt for a round-about way of saying things. “Aren’t you cold?” The real meaning: you’re not dressed properly for work! Then again, no one will tell you at the very beginning how to dress for work in Japan like in the States. “Do I have to wear suits? What color? How long?” You have to become a really great observer in Japan and answer the questions yourself. In a way, I find it refreshing. As Haruki Murakami wrote in 1Q84, “If you can’t understand it without an explanation, you can’t understand it with an explanation.”
American Prince of Tennis Manga Assistant to go to San Diego Comic Con???
You can help make this headline come true without the question marks!
One of my manga friends, an American manga assistant to the popular Prince of Tennis, needs your help! She’s trying to get to the annual San Diego Comic Con, the biggest pop culture convention in the continental U.S. In order to get there, she needs to find some funds.
This is what she wrote on her website and Facebook:
“I was invited to speak at San Diego Comic Con in July!!
The thing is that I need your help. I can only spare the time to come for the one day that I’m invited to speak, what with all of the chaos going on in my life, but I’ll fight hell or high water to be able to share my experiences with everyone. I just need some help paying for it. You know that I come from a poor family, and working for a mangaka didn’t pay all that well, nor does book writing (I wish that it did!).
But I don’t want the money to stand in my way. Instead of a corporation paying my way, I’m hoping that the fans will. That everyone who has heard my stories will chip in just a little bit.
I need your help, let’s help each other, ne?
Donate anything, even your pocket change! It’s a good opportunity for Americans to learn how to break into the manga in Japan Land!
School festivals are central to all manga and anime centering around Japanese schools as well as Japanese society.
Everyone participates in the school festivals, even the foreign English teachers like myself. Last year, I was faced with the school festival, and though I wanted to do something as typical as a cafe, rules kept the maid outfits at bay. “There are only two places where food can be made, and they’ve already been claimed,” a teacher told me with a sympathetic smile. “You’ll have to come up with some other idea for the English Club.”
Great. I guess my anime dreams of doing a maid cafe couldn’t come true. Ideas, I thought, I need ideas. Of course, my students couldn’t come up with anything. You’ll find that unless you offer Japanese kids ideas, you won’t come up with anything concrete.
For those of you in the same situation, here’s a list of ideas you can do with a small club (3 to 5 members) or more.
1. Cake Walk (Musical Chairs + Raffle): Use Daiso vinyl tape and make footprints or circles on the floor into one big circle. Put numbers in each circle. Participants will stand on the circles, and when the music starts, they will walk to each circle. When the music stops, a number will be called. The participant on the called number will win a cake or a prize. For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cakewalk_(carnival_game)
2. Costume Booth (Halloween + Photography): Get a lot of costumes and props. Designate someone who will print pictures and put them in cellophane holders. Participants will pick what costumes they want and the theme of their photograph.
3. Skit: Pick a Western-origin or English-language skit such as Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, or Harry Potter. Adjust the script, pick the actors, and perform the skit on stage.
4. Names in Cursive: For more artistic people, participants will get their names written in pretty cursive. If you’re into graffiti, do names in graffiti.
5. Dance: Do a traditional dance from a different country (i.e. Philippine’s tinikling or binasuan or Mexico’s folklorico).
6. Western bazaar: Get lots of new knickknacks (stickers, posters, bilingual books, toys, stuffed animals, bracelets, snacks, etc.). Set up a booth or room with the items all tagged with prices. Get a register or cash box and put someone responsible for it.
7. English wanage (Ring Toss): Make rings and stands out of cardboard and tape. (I would use Daiso colored tape to make the rings and stands more interesting, seeing that cardboard is pretty ugly.) Use vinyl tape as a distance marker. Give participants the rings and prizes after they’ve gotten the rings on the stands successfully. For an English-involved ring toss, put pictures on the stands. Show the participants an English word. They will throw the ring onto the matching picture of the English word.
8. Basket Toss: Make balls out of tape and set up cardboard boxes. For an English-involved basket toss, put pictures on the boxes. Tell the participant an English word, and they will throw the ball into the matching picture. You can also do this with teachers’ pictures and tell the participants a teacher’s profile (where they’re from, the subject they teach, the homeroom they’re in charge of).
9. Western Cafe: Pick any theme for your cafe (find ideas at CelebrationsatHomeBlog.com). Get refreshments (cupcakes, brownies, muffins, breads), drinks, utensils, table clothes, napkins, and props that fit the theme. Set up nice tables and have the club members be waiters (make shifts!). Customers will come and order food and drinks from an all-English menu. The waiters will take the orders in English as best as they can. For the non-food option, still set up the cafe the same way but make a separate table with different candies, knickknacks, and lots of gift wrapping materials (ribbons, wrapping paper, tape, scissors, cellophane bags, hole punches, and stickers). Customers will look at a menu of themes and make a gift for their friends, parents, or lovers. The waiters will only clean up after the customers and offer suggestions to them.
10. Movie: Make a movie with the club before the school festival (summer vacation is the best time to do this if your festival is later on in the year). Sit down with the club, write the script, schedule times to film, practice all the scenes, film, edit, and add Japanese subtitles.
11. English Scavenger Hunt: Give attendees a scavenger hunt paper with tasks such as “Find three married teachers” (３人の結婚したの教師を探してください). If they complete the task, they get a stamp on their paper. They can show their stamps at one location (if you have no room, use a kiosk or table-top cart) and get prizes. If you’re looking for examples of this kind of activity, it has been done at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Okinawa for their annual festivals (おきなわ国際協力・交流フェスティバル[English][Japanese] ).
If you’re having trouble coming up with school festival ideas for your English club or the English Speaking Society, just think of a fundraiser or carnival event and try that.
In honor of Jade’s Escape’s most popular post, “Screentones for Manga Artists Outside of Japan”, I held a giveaway to win free screentones straight from Japan.
The winner of this contest is… SYS, an Indonesian manga artist of Sang Sayur (The Edibles). She not only claims several packs of screentones but an Attack on Titan puccho, or soft chew, candy (only in Japan) and a few other treats that’re only in Japan.
Want to win stuff straight from Japan? Look for the next contest announcement in Jade’s Escape’s posts!
Every month, there’s always new chocolate appearing on my desk. Gotta love Japan, Land of the Omiyage!
FEBRUARY – A librarian I talk to every week gave me this cat chocolate as a トモチョコ (tomochoko), or friend’s chocolate, which is becoming more common between women on Valentine’s Day. In Japan, Valentine’s Day is a day where girls give boys chocolate and sweets. No, it’s not a day to subject Japanese women to being, well, subjected. On March 14, boys “return” the chocolate and sweets that was given to them by the girls. As Japanese girls become women, they still do this tradition, but I’ve noticed how every year, the women get more disgruntled with giving ギリチョコ (girichoko), or obligation chocolates. I suppose this friend’s chocolate is a way of saying, “Valentine’s Day isn’t just for guys.”
MARCH – This one came from my student who went to Tokyo as part of her school trip. Every year, Japanese students (usually second years or eleventh graders) visit different parts of Japan. I understand going to different parts of the country, but its really hard for poor students. They usually pay anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 to make this week-long trip. My student went to the Skytree, the new tower in Tokyo (not to be confused with Tokyo Tower).
APRIL – This $5 chocolate is one I bought for myself at Lawson’s (one of many convenience store chains in Japan). It features characters from my favorite recent anime, Attack on Titan (新劇の狂人, Shingeki no Kyoujin).