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This is on Tumblr as well!

Although this will be copied and pasted into my lj account to. I just don't know where to rant anymore. Not that I want to rant. But I feel sad, so maybe talking about stuff will make me happier again. 

I'm not sure if this is the right setting though. Tumblr feels more like an image an gif place than anything else. I feel like I spend more time looking at other people's stuff than posting my own. And somehow, I'm okay with that. My friend suggested that I start a gif folder so that we can gif battle. But I think I might be more inclined to just look at other peoples stuff on here. 

Everyone is posting about the Avengers. And that my little pony series. And lots of other stuff that I haven't seen. I feel like it's hard to relate to. The Avengers hasn't come to Japan (and I don't know if it will). And while I could track down episodes of my little pony, I've never really felt the urge to see the show. But that's besides the point, what will I do when I go back to America? Will it just be a series of playing catch up to all the things my friends have watched and played? Not that I wouldn't want to check all those cool things out but, I just feel like it's harder to relate...

And why do people always leave the stickers on their baseball caps? I've never understood this. Isn't it like leaving the tags on clothes? 

Also, I sometimes feel like I'm just not smart. Do you ever have those days when you feel like you just don't understand anything? I had one of those moments in Japanese today. Then again, that's nothing new. But lately I've been trying to read things like businessweek and the economist at least every other day. So why does it feel like I'm still so out of the loop in my business classes? After my class today, I started thinking, what do I have a knowledge base in? What subject to I particularly know a lot about? Answer: nothing. It's not that I know nothing at all, but I don't have a specialty or area of expertise or even just lots of general knowledge about one subject. And I'm not very good at asking questions, either. And I think asking questions is important, but I feel like a idiot if I ask a stupid question. And I know I shouldn't because someone else probably had that question too. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr this is so ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Okay enough of this pity party. I'm going to watch Charmed (I started rewatching it because I needed an English speaking series I didn't have to pay attention too so I could studying my kanji) and play Okamiden (which just makes me want to play regular Okami now). l  


A change of pace?

Hello and good morning internet! 

So my attempt to create a change of pace sort of backfired. >.< I thought that since I hadn't been on LJ in a while, I would try switching over to Tumblr. My idea was that I would practice thinking analytically by looking at business articles related to things I like. I guess I was not aware that Tumblr isn't a good place for discussion, seeing as how it's a pain for commenting and doesn't let you link to Twitter or Facebook. That said, Stacie said that I should still keep my new Tumblr account.

It's really tempting to just let my LJ account die and start a new blog. But I also don't want to completely give up on LJ, if only for the fact that I still have friends who post here and the nostalgic factor that I started this in my Freshman year of college. But I think I really want a separate place that's completely focused on one thing. But, if I keep both my tumblr and LJ and I create something like a wordpress, that's a lot of juggling. Although I could just cut my FB time in half and use the time to work on blogs. XD 

Hm......maybe I will try it. After all, I could re-post my wordpress stuff on here and still use this account for random thoughts and stuff. 

Okay, it's settled then. Let's try creating a wordpress, but still keep LJ. lol I think I need one of those self help books, like "when to let go of your social media sites" or something. twotruthsandaweapon.com seems to have died already. As much as I liked the thought of being a webmaster for our cosplay site, I just don't have the focus to stay on and update. Plus, I think that the FB group that was created (originally I think it was just to find good meeting times to come together and watch Doctor Who, but as I was not there when it was created, I'm not entirely sure) has a much cooler name than the one I randomly made up. And it includes more people, which is awesome.

So, we will see how long I last before either completely going crazy or just stop updating a blog. My twitter account has been suffering greatly. But I partly blame that on the fact that I can't update from my phone, which was my main method for updating previously. Now that certainly is one thing I miss about America. 

My next  post will have links to my other blogs!

Random Musings

I feel like my ideas are like fireworks. Or sometimes just signal flares. 

They start out really strong and I put a lot of energy into them, and then they die. Sometimes I wish my ideas were more like candles, slower burning and longer lasting.

I was thinking about starting a tumblr account. But then I thought, I'm barely keeping my lj account alive, how in the world will I manage another account? And while I could just get rid of my lj account, I feel like since I've put a lot of time and energy into this account, it would be sad to get rid of it completely. And I also have friends who post on here. So I'm not sure what to do.

I wish I was more focused, or maybe more disciplined? Then, instead of just floating around from one thing to the next, I could pick one thing and see it all the way through. That must be why I don't feel like I specialize in anything. I think I'm okay at a lot of different things, but I don't believe I have one thing that I'm really good at. And maybe that's okay too. But in my business class, we talked about being able to 'cash out' our abilities (or talents). That basically means, make sure other people see the worth of your talents, because if they can't, then it's harder for them to understand why they would want to hire you.

I always wonder if my lack of commitment is a sign of laziness. Or fear. Or probably both? Yeah, it depends. Because I tend to be a perfectionist, if I can't get it immediately, then I don't want to do it at all. Which kind of sucks. Although, I don't think that's true of all things I do.

Man, I feel like I'm just posting depressing stuff. That's like, the opposite of what I want to be posting.

Self reflection is all well and good, but it only goes so far. Sure, I thought plenty of time about this (okay, a few times, but it's not like I'm going to get different results by constantly self reflecting and I think it would only depress me, which is not what I want either).

Really, I think I'll just do what I always do, tell myself to suck it up and just do what I want. Cause really, in the end, isn't better to just have fun? Obviously I want to do something positive, something that people will remember, but if it's not fun, if I don't like it enough to hold an interest in it, then what's the point really? 

That's not to say I can't focus if I have to. There's plenty of things that I don't want to do, but I know I should. Actually, I don't mind most of those things either. Everything is pretty awesome in it's own way, right? Even laundry.......no, I'm sorry but laundry just isn't one of them. No one, not even myself, can get me to like laundry.

So in the end, it's fine. It's fine for me to just do what makes me happy. If a project that I start doesn't hold my interest, I'll put it aside. I actually tend to pick things back up after a while anyways.

This, however, is not true of relationships! I really try my best to keep all my friends close, and let them know how much I care about them. Sometimes it's hard cause I get busy and distracted. Sometimes I wish there was more of me so that I could give all my friends the attention they deserve. But if there is ever a time when someone needs my help, I will always try my best.

Cause friendship is awesome.   

And so we go............

    It's bittersweet when I realize that I've come to the half-way mark in my study abroad experience. After living in Japan for six months, I'm happy to report that I love this place just as much as when I first got here. It's sad to think that I only have six (well, five and a half) months left, so I don't really think about it. But at the same time, it's exciting to see how far I've come and look forward to seeing everyone when I get back. 

When I think about it, I don't feel like I've changed all that much. I don't know if I was really expecting to change or grow or whatever while I was here. I haven't really gained any new 'insights' into myself (although I found out that I'm a failure at learning the art of teleportation). I can't tell if that's a good thing or bad thing, so I'm not really worried about it now.

Most of the abilities I've gained so far are food related. I'm excited and proud that I now can eat (and really do enjoy) nori, most types of raw fish (as long as I can get past their texture, which I sometimes still have a problem with), spicy foods, lobster, and tofu skin (but not the actual tofu, bleh). 

I'm also proud to say that I can now very easily navigate the train system here, even when I'm in an unfamiliar place. I feel like my sense of direction is better than it was. 

I've also gotten (somewhat) better at speaking Japanese. Although, it would pretty bad if I didn't get any better considering that I'm even taking language classes over here. I still feel like my language skills haven't improved that much, but I am comparing myself to a native speaker most of the time (instead of comparing me to myself before I got to Japan, like I should be doing).

I still get frustrated with myself for not doing better over here. Like, not putting myself out there more, not trying to speak more Japanese, not trying to do more in general. But despite these frustrations I still feel like I'm getting a lot out of my experience. I remember talking to one of my friends/ fellow Oregon AIESECer Nobu, who told me he does things at his own pace. There are a lot of phrases like that here. I always try and remember that my pace is mine and that I shouldn't worry that it doesn't match other peoples.

That reminds me of a song....


Tee hee....Bleach ending

On the downside, I've lost any ability I had to keep track of time period. Right now I'm currently a day behind. Maybe it's a good thing that I have 4 different calendars.....

I've also found that it's a really good thing that I live with roommates who distract me. When I started reading One Piece, it was Dec 31st and I think I finished all 656 chapters by the 23rd or so of January. And Katekyo Hitman Reborn was finished in two and a half weeks (granted it's only at 372 chapters). Because since I tend to let my current obsessions be all consuming to the point where I pull a traditional otaku move and spend all the time in my room reading (or watching) stuff, I'm thankful for my roommates who make sure that I don't melt my mind (as much as I normally would). I can only imagine what would have happened to me when I went through my Farscape-must-watch-entire-series-and-then-start-and-finish-Dollhouse phase without them.

I miss everyone so much and I can't wait to come home and see them. At the same time, I've met so many awesome friends here that I also really don't want to leave (and my host family).

So in the end, I'm back to where I started. Bittersweet feelings about reaching the halfway point of my adventure. My mid game boss (aka my finals) have been defeated (although they're still totaling my score >.<). And now I start a new series of quests over vacation. 

All I have to say is I feel so lucky about everything. Japan is awesome, America is awesome, my friends are (super special) awesome, my family (host family included) is amazingly awesome. 

Life is awesome.

And so we go.

One Piece is now entering it's 15th year, since it was first printed in Jump. For the final post in my Japanese Popular Culture project, I want to look at One Piece's influence outside of the series and speculate on what's to come.

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So, what will One Piece fans have to look forward to in the future? According to the One Piece Wikia, chapter 597 marks the end of the first half of the series.That means that there are over 500 more chapters of new adventures to go on and new characters to meet. And if One Piece's popularity continues on this trend, marketers will have no trouble finding people who want to buy their One Piece products. A new movie is slated for December of 2012 (I'm personally very sad I wont be in Japan to see it). A PlayStation 3 game is set for release this March. Although it's hard to say if this trend will continue through the end of the series, I believe that both Oda Eiichiro (One Piece's author) and the One Piece fandom will continue to support the series Well into the future.

What do you think of One Piece and it's products? Are there any other series that have gained this level of popularity, both with fans and with companies? Do you think all these products are necessary (do they contribute or detract from the series)?

Let me know what you think!

And thank you for reading! 

The Merchandise of One Piece continued.

Going off of the previous post, you can get a little glimpse of how much One Piece stuff exists out there. I have a few more pictures to show you, just to give you a greater sense of the shear number of One Piece products a fan could fill their life with.

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One Piece has a dedicated fan base that is willing to purchase over a million volumes of the manga in a few short days. Merchandiser's understand that there is a love for One Piece that goes beyond the books and anime, and they had subsequently tried to fulfill that need. Although I feel that some of these products are a little overkill (and I do consider myself a fan of One Piece), there is clearly a market for all of these products. Fans want to surround themselves with their favorite series. Companies know this and used it as a way to make money. Essentially, everyone gets what they want.

As I stated before, this really is only the tip of the ice burg. All of these picture (with the exception of the toilet paper, which I found but wasn't able to photograph) where taken by me in various locations in Tokyo.

For my final part, I'm going to take a look at One Piece's potential influence beyond their products and what we could be seeing in the future for the series.

Please look forward to it! 
Continuing with the idea of the economic power of fans, we at last arrive at the main theme of this project.

Weird One Piece goods. 

Allow me to clarify this a bit. When a story that is serialized in a manga anthology, such as Shonen Jump, becomes popular, the publishers will compile the series into a book format. The anime (animated show) usually follows shortly after that and along with the anime, character goods are also made. These are usually in the form of figurines, stuffed animals, cosplay items,phone charms, stationary (like folders, pens, pencils). These are the things that are normally available for a fan to purchase. However, One Piece goods do not end there. There are some products that just don't seem to make any sense within the context of the story (or outside of the story for that matter). I always have to wonder if they are just slapping a One Piece character on it just so that it can sell.

Here are some interesting products I found around Tokyo:

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For part 2 of my Japanese Pop Culture project, I will be delving into the world of the One Piece fandom.

One Piece has one of the biggest fan followings I have ever seen. The series is printed in Shonen Jump (a serial weekly or monthly manga anthology) in both Japan and American.  Although it's target audience is mostly teen to early twenties guys, One Piece has quite a large female following as well. Fans of any subject have their own way of showing their love of a series. I like to think of fans as having two ways to express their love a series. One way is through creativity. The other way is through economic power. Here are a few examples of how One Piece fans show their appreciation creatively:

1. Fan art work (courtesy of deviantart.com) :


I found an extensive collection of One Piece fan art in every style and with every character imaginable (including some mash-ups, like the Pirates of the Caribbean X One Piece picture). 

2. Cosplay: A combination of the words 'costume' and 'play', cosplay is part of a DIY culture (do it yourself) that is very apparent in anime fandoms. Although not all costumes are made by the wearers (there are many sites, official and unofficial, that sell these outfits), cosplayers make up a very large percentage of the community. Most cosplay is worn during special events, such as anime conventions.  Pictured below is a One Piece cosplay from Kumoricon. A special thanks to my friend Falcon for letting me use her picture (she is the one in red, dressed as Luffy from One Piece).  

Anime Music Video: Or AMVs for short. These take clips from an anime series (or multiple series) and syncs it to music. They can be humorous or serious. It's not only a way for fans to show their appreciation but also a way for them to interpret the series.

I cannot show every example of the creative aspect of fans, although there are many more. Fan fiction has writers creating their own stories using characters and settings from their show. Filks are fan written songs. Even though I have only showed a small sample of the work that is done by fans, I hope you can see all the time and effort that the fans of One Piece have put into their work. It shows how much fans love their series. 


   I would like to wrap up this post by introducing the economic aspect of fans. One Piece has amazingly dedicated fans. According to an Anime News Network article, One Piece volume 64 sold over two million copies in three days!! (ANN) "The volume set a record for the most copies in its first printing in Japan." Not only that, another article from ANN said that One Piece sold 38 million manga volumes in 2011, setting a record for the most volumes sold in a year. The popularity of the series is very clear.

So lots of people buy One Piece manga. Almost everyone in Japan has heard of One Piece, even if they've never seen the anime or read the manga. And when you have such a popular series (read: cash cow), why stop at the basics? In Japan, there are always multiple ways to consume a series.  

In my next post, we'll look at the more interest One Piece products that fans are consuming. 

Since coming to Japan, I have noticed two very obvious things.

1. One Piece is very, very popular.

2. One Piece is Everywhere.

For my project in my Japanese Pop Culture Globalization class, I have chosen to look at the One Piece phenomenon. Specifically, I will be looking at the One Piece fandom and One Piece products in their most extreme form. This topic was inspired by a blog that was introduced to me by my professor called Hello Kitty Hell, where the writer talks about the various products Sanrio produces with Hello Kitty on them. While my blog will not be quite as extensive, I will be looking at some of the more interesting things that bear the One Piece logo.

Before we begin, let's look at the series itself.

What is One Piece?

One Piece started as a manga (graphic novel) series in 1997. Written by Eiichiro Oda, it follows the story of a young boy named Monkey D. Luffy who sets off on an adventure to become the next pirate king. The previous holder of the title had claimed before his death (by public execution) that he hid all of his treasure, the One Piece, at the end of a perilous stretch of ocean known as "The Grand Line." This began the golden age of pirates. Luffy, along with his crew of pirates, journey to find the "One Piece."

Along with the manga series, which now boasts 64 volumes and 653 chapters, an anime series and several animated movies have been made. There are now 532 episodes of the animated series and 10 movies (all of which had theatrical releases in Japan). Apart from that, there have also been several character and color art books printed, over 20 video games spanning multiple consoles and character CDs.   

(From the One Piece Wikia

What is the *Fandom of One Piece like?

I will going into more detail of One Piece fans in the following post, but I would like to make a special mention to the contributors of the One Piece Wikia. This is one of the most dedicated and well done fan sites and wikias that I have ever seen. It is well organized and there is an extensive amount of information, not only about the series but also about the author.  

*A combination of 'fan' and 'kingdom' that is used to refer to the collective group of fans of a certain theme, genre, series, ect.

I hope that you are now a bit more familiar with the series that is One Piece. My next entry will cover the fans of One Piece. Please look forward to it!  

Tidings of Coffee and Joy!

Greetings LJ readers! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday! I know I did!!!

This winter break has been packed full of excitement so far, and it's not over yet. I get nervous when I remember that I actually homework to do over the break, and I'm really not sure when I'll get it done. Maybe the 31 of Dec? Or the 4th of Jan? Maybe I should just block out both of those days for doing homework, just in case.

The 24th was soooooooo much fun! I went to Odaiba with my friends (2 from my study abroad program and 2 of my Japanese friends) and we went shopping! We also rode a huge ferris wheel too. It was freezing outside that day, but still lots of fun. Then we went to Roppongi and Midtown to look at more Christmas lights (in Japan, it's called illumination). The original plan was to spend the rest of the night at a karaoke place,, but everyone was super tired and cold after the illumination that we called it a night around 11ish.

The 25th was spent doing nothing but watching movies and eating WAY too much chocolate. My host sister baked a big chicken for Christmas dinner and we had mashed potatoes too!! It was just awesome.

The 26th I met my friend and we went shopping in Shinjuku. I bought a present for the gift exchange that I was going to on the 27th. I really want to go clothes shopping, but I have other plans that also require money, so I probably want be buying any clothes for a while.

We ate at this amazing restaurant that looked like you were in Kyoto. Of course I ate way too much but it was so much fun.

The 27th was my friend Daichi's birthday and he was having an after Christmas Christmas party, complete with a gift exchange. You also had the option of staying the night if you wanted and my first thought was "slumber party? Hecks YEAH!!"  We stayed up really late watching Angels and Demons and playing life and card games. I had a great time.

Tomorrow I'm going to Comiket. I promise more updates then!

Good night! 

Time Warp

May 2012



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