I just got back from Japan. Well, I say “just.” It was long enough ago that I’ve unpacked, but recently enough that I’m still wallowing in jet lag and not wearing pants most days. Anyway, I’m tired. And it took me ages to decide on a topic for this, my first post-hiatus article.
it needed to be something about Japan, that much was clear. But what? I considered writing about Rabbit Island, but that’s better conveyed by pictures (so many, many adorable pictures) than words. I thought about describing the pop idol show I attended, but really, you can get the gist of it by putting on some AKB48 and hiring a criminally underwashed quasi-shut-in to thrash around your living room. Anything having to do with anime was out–I only let my weeaboo flag fly on Tumblr, where it earns me followers instead of the everlasting scorn I probably deserve.
Finally, I settled on doujinshi.
Years ago, doujin (Japanese fan comics) weren’t even on the radar here in the States. I should know–I spent hours online looking for a few scattered pages of “the one where the dog goes Super Saiyan” or “the one where Sailor Moon has a Pokemon.” Once located, these precious scraps were downloaded, saved to a floppy disc labelled “MOM DON’T TOUCH,” and stashed in a dresser drawer beneath my training bras and a copy of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. These precautions were probably unnecessary. I doubt my mom would have known what she was looking at, even if she had known how to use a floppy disc.
Now that nerd culture has become mainstream, many people are not only aware of Japan’s massive fan comic industry, but have read doujin themselves. For those of you who haven’t, or who are curious to see some of the books I picked up in Japan, I offer you the following. Continue reading