Friday, September 18, 2009

Weightless Japan Orbits the Earth

A Friday okurimono:

For a westerner, Japan might look familiar, since what is held up for us looks like a futuristic spectacle somehow grounded in a western imagination...

...There is no authenticity here
[Harajuku], no western “essence” or “reality”; instead, the virtual conquers the carnal body in a purified play of surface, image and the hyperreal. This is exotic... this sense Japan has always been “post-modern”...You need to read this part to figure out what he is talking about. Ten large bottles of shochu would help put you in the right frame of mind to do so.

Japan becomes weightless, shot into orbit outside the material of earth itself. Lens

The description of Japan somehow seems to be much more intriguing and exotic than the photos, "Okurimono," being introduced. (Also viewable in a high resolution slideshow here.) Except for the giant rabbit, which apparently is part of the hyperreal that is Japan (Tokyo?), the photos fail to communicate this outer-space Japan (Tokyo?).

I have been here too long and am too much of a teetotaler to realize that this place is so bizarre. Wonder why Miyuki Hatoyama had to take a UFO to Venus when she already lives in Japan?

Rules to live by: Once someone brings up Zen in describing Japan, it's time to politely leave before you get covered with male bovine droppings. Zen is brought up in the full article at Lens Culture.

Beat Takeshi once said that when he was interviewed by the foreign press about his movies, they would predictably try to connect the movie with Zen in some way. He would just play along and pretend---or make up---some Zen influence even though none existed. Of course, the proper Japan-explainer would likely point out that Takeshi was influenced by Zen whether he knew it or not.
Zen is key to Japan.


  1. One does need to escape Japan's extreme insularity for US insularity from time to time. What is the difference? Stupid Comedians Vs Stupid commentators like Glenn Beck(would be clown/comedian.
    In the article in Lens.Culture, I would replace some of the terms like "Japan's Culture seems to be grounded?" Grounded Vs. Weightlessness. Maybe there isn't a ground for it's culture. Patriarchy might fit. I like to say, "...(Japan's culture) is immune to culture and stuff..." (From Girl Anachronism by the Dresden Dolls)
    It is fair to say that "There is no threat of being eaten up by Western Culture". Slovaj Zizek recently pointed out that while he was attending conference in Tokyo that the Japanese were very prepared, That the Japanese are better at being American than are Americans. (A distinct impression made on me every time I go to Japan.)
    Of course this is just a projection on the part of the Japanese. And it doesn't matter to the Japanese because they are "Unique" and somehow superior to this sort of thing.
    They are an exporter of culture. (see New People in San Francisco). Or maybe count the Manga reading rooms. From this exportation they have gained some confidence
    The West has it's own version of weightlessness or immunity to gravity. Almost in a sort of Vampiric rebirth, the banks and speculators are still alive or maybe undead. They are back to suck us dry in what may be called Neo-Liberalism with an emerging Christian face.
    What fuels both Japan and the West is a Market System. For example, Women in the early part of last century were improperly dressed in pants. It wasn't some sort of cultural change caused by Feminism. Feminism was there but the provided what it needed. Marketing and advertising today dictates new trends, new markets. Harajuku is a market phenomenon. Kawaii-ness is a market phenomenon.
    A man thrusting his pelvis repeatedly might some time ago have lost his head, literally. Somewhere out of pixel land, comedians are 24/7.
    Comedians are the new high Priest of Ethics. They interpret the news and these interpretations are shaping the future. The US has Fox with Glenn Beck. Their function is to incite people to form very stupid opinions. Sort of maintain the air of hysteria.
    The term hyper-real is too difficult to pin down or maybe it is just too cool.
    Fantasy Island - Japan? "Pixelate my home, baby...This stuff is better than LSD".
    Japan is not the future of the world. The future of the World is how the Market will adjust itself to the new facts on the ground. Capitalism will fight by any means necessary to survive.

  2. Our Man votes for the 10 large bottles of shochu. Weightless, dunno, definitely legless though.