About Halloween

A quick update on what is going on with In Asian Spaces as we near 2019.

Hey Everyone!

So just a few things I wanted to talk about concerning the blog.

I wanted to post something for Halloween yesterday, particularly my own Japanese ghost story. While I was still at the cultural center, I encountered a lot of strange things – especially since I was frequently working early mornings or nights. The security guard and I used to trade our own stories.

One day, however, some really creepy things happened in the break room and the bathroom. It made me think back to all of those Japanese “bathroom” ghost stories I’d watched videos about on YouTube years ago. 赤マント, or Aka Mento levels of creepy.

It was very slow sometimes working there, so I had a habit of bringing notebooks and either studying Japanese or writing short stories. I thought I wrote down in detail what happened that day, because I remember texting my mom about the incident when it happened. Especially since besides myself, only maintenance was in the building and they were in the basement and I was alone on an upper floor of the building.

I hunted for two days looking for a particular notebook with the story. I have a really bad habit of buying a bunch of notebooks and using them for certain topics, or to just have one laying around in a random place whenever a spark of inspiration comes.

I did find one late yesterday evening, however, it was only half of the story. I really remember writing it down, so maybe next year I’ll post it in full.

Then I thought about doing a sort of countdown with past scary shows I’d watched. Psychological-thrillers and psychological-horror are particularly terrifying themes to me so I wanted to focus on being trapped in your own mind. I went back and forth with the idea, writing short reviews of some of my favorite series before deciding it didn’t sound good or felt half-assed, and abandoned it.

I am extremely picky about my writing and way too hard on myself. Actively trying to change that.

So I have a few little reviews that I most likely will push myself to sprinkle through the blog in due time.

I was working on the #YokaiSpiritSunday series, and one of the resources I was using (a medium blog post about Shinto regalia to cover the next yokai I had in mind) up and got deleted. I dabble in academic journals mainly for the series, but couldn’t find anything like that in English until that article. And they deleted it. As I gave them a clap for it.

I don’t know why, but I feel like I jinxed myself by showing appreciation before completing the article, which is usually what I have been doing. So I am still working on that, hoping to get one out this Sunday. I’m still also trying to figure out if I want to do it bi-monthly or at least three times a month. The research for the article is easy, I just seem to slog when it comes to editing. Also something I’m working on. But in general if I’m not completely happy with something, even with a self-imposed deadline, I really just will not do it/complete it/publish it until I’m happy with it. I had a really bad habit of doing that in film school by missing term paper deadlines and emailing the professor to literally type “I was not happy with my work and self-sabotaged. Can I have an extended deadline” and they usually obliged.

I’ve also been working on a book series, which I think I eluded to in earlier posts on this website. I’ve been writing content for when I launch the site, working on graphic novels and shorts trying to flesh things out more. There are two main stories in the series, and the rest is an offshoot. Similar to George R.R. Martin’s “1000 Worlds”, each story (for the most part) takes place in the universe on a different timeline. It’s a project I am super excited about, but I have (another) bad habit of doing all or nothing.

So I will either write a ton of content for In Asian Spaces, or spend a week or two writing and world building for the series and neglect this website. On Twitter today, I came across the #NaNoWriMo hashtag and decided “hell, why not” and threw my hat in. For those of you unfamiliar, basically it is a writing challenge to finish the first draft of a short novel (50,000 words) in the month of November. There is a huge community surrounding it and it feels good to be writing with everyone else, telling stories and sharing tips. It’s so much support and good creative energy.

I also feel like by entering, I’m one step closer to the goal of attending WorldCon 2019 in Ireland.

It will also help me kick start this backlog of short film screenplays, web-series ideas, graphic novel scripts, short story ideas and novel ideas I’ve been hoarding and inconsistently growing since college. In Asian Spaces was one of these ideas – a blog dedicated to anime, the culture surrounding it and its influences. So I am slowly, but surely getting to this mental list I’ve had for years now.

Luckily, I’ve been prepping content for this month and December to try to get ahead to work on my backburner projects, so this is where that comes in. I won’t be posting as much this November because of the reasons above, but I also don’t want to completely be a ghost. I have a few Kdrama reviews to upload this month from a backlog of binges in times prior. The Korean Culture tab has been kind of dry as well, so I feel the need to add in some reviews along with other one-off article ideas.

I also have a few manga reviews and then in December I’ll be reviewing all of the shows I mentioned on the blog (and a few I haven’t) that I vaguely promised reviews for “at a later time”.

So that’s the game plan for the remainder of 2018, along with guest posts and contributions to other websites. If anyone would like to collaborate on anything, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message on the contact page or email me at InAsianSpaces@gmail.com .

It’s been wonderful getting to know those in the aniblogger/jblogger community here on WordPress. Everyone is so talented and has such unique voices, I truly feel lucky to be a part of it. Thank you, Everyone, for being so kind and encouraging! It really does mean a lot to me (=

I’ll most likely be posting something later on today and was going to add this onto the post, but judging by the length I’m glad I decided to leave it separate. Here’s to a creative November, Everyone! (=

-In Asian Spaces

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How Our Environment Influences Us | Self Reflection Journal Entry

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

No, I have not become one of those hipsters that quote Rumi. But this is fitting to describe this passage of time I’m currently in. The ethos between self-reflection and meditation and the death of ego.

I’ve been in my head a lot lately.

There have been two reasons for this: a new diet, and an old home influencing me. I’ll explain – last summer I had access to farmers markets the entire season. Fresh, vibrant fruits and veggies I’d never seen before. I delighted in looking at the assorted goods each time the dully colored tents that attracted eclectic crowds of individuals came to the area. It lit up the grey and drab surroundings that sometimes the city can convey. I went vegan that summer. It was a struggle, then it was effortless. Now I know what you’re probably thinking – please stop rolling your eyes and don’t click that red x in the upper right corner. This is not a commercial supporting an eating ideology, I’m simply trying to make a point. This year without the privileges of the last, I’ve settled on a vegetarian diet that consists of intermittent fasting. It’s particularly difficult some days, but others I’ve never had so much energy. So much so that I actually stopped sleeping for a while. Like I’d literally be up all morning just reading and lost in my unconscious thoughts. Thinking and reflecting on things I hadn’t in years. It didn’t help that I started working out more and dabbling into meditative practices.  Which brings us to ye olde home.

I live in a very old home that thankfully has a beautiful yard that used to be all forest before I was born. Sometimes strange flowers pop up from time to time, sometimes wild roses and these past two years it’s been honeysuckles. Beautiful white flowers adorning yellow blossoms and great green vines. Each morning opening my window the scent mingles with pine trees and it’s been an absolutely stunning end of spring. The electrical wiring in my particular room is faulty – I live in the upstairs portion of the house.

Years ago one of the outlets in my room randomly stopped working and I thought nothing of it since I hardly used it. For weeks I’d heard sizzling and gingerly re-adjusted the power strip cord in the socket. Brought a new surge protector, a new adaptor, but alas it was finished. Then my antiquated console went as well. My modes of enjoying Netflix and YouTube were gone. Sure, I could come downstairs and hook my laptop up to an HDMI cord to the back of the TV but…it just seemed like a lot of effort for no reason.

So when it was time for Netflix to expire, I canceled the renewal for the next month.

I decided maybe the universe was telling me to take a step back, and I willingly unplugged and delve into this self-imposed isolation. So I thought, and I slept, and I wrote, and I started sleeping in silence.

Silence has always bothered me. I usually needed something, anything in the background. I’ve even awoken in the middle of the night once my TV turned itself off on a timer just to turn it back on to listen to anything. I started listening to music, lots of music. Dream Koala had always been one of my favorite artists, Biosphere, Nujabes…and lo-fi and jazzhop had captured my imagination. Then that became too much and I just slept in silence. Since then I’ve had this strange sense of clarity between the diet and hearing the birds outside my window each morning. Smelling the earth’s gifts beyond my doorstep. It did something to me and I finally made a lot of progress on other projects I work on that require mental juggling and the correct mood.  Graphic novels, short stories I’d like to compile into a book, the Solarpunk Afrofuturistic book series I’ve written mentally in my head but for some reason when I open up Word nothing comes out.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about older anime series I watched. Series I absolutely loved that are a bit taboo or far too…Blasé to speak on now that so much time has passed. But do you know what? I don’t give a damn and I’m going to re-watch them and talk about some of the ideas that have been setting up unauthorized office spaces in my head. I’m going way back, such as Yakitate!! Japan, Ghost Hunt, Samurai Champloo, Michiko e Hatchin

There are a few cultural topics relating to Japanese society that I’d like to cover as well, especially since summer is upon us. I’d also like to release some of the series that I’d worked on before I decided to mentally check out a few weeks ago. I seem to be coming back down to earth, and my collective consciousness is returning. A consciousness that allows me to actually focus on things I’ve written, proofread effectively and not absolutely hate every single thing I’ve written for no reason at all. Like writer’s block had a more aggressive, angry cousin coming in and telling you to just delete pages of content you’d prepared if you did decide to take a bit of a mental break. Anywho, it’s time for me to get back to work and get back to In Asian Spaces. Because it seems passions don’t go away, but rather enjoy to haunt you once you decide to turn your back on them.

Why would you turn your back on something you love? I don’t know. Fear and uncharted territory seem to make one do strange things. But we shouldn’t fear what we can accomplish in this lifetime, especially when we only have such a short window here in this moment. The seasons are changing and I will change right along with them. Until then…Check out our Instagram! I plan on posting more frequently, but don’t feel strange to drop by and share the love. I check out everyone who comes by, regardless of follower count or content.

Have you had any recent moments of clarity? What are your plans this summer? What do you long for? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more juicy content this upcoming season!

 (Also a Tokyo Ghoul:re review is coming soon…since the show should be ending this Tuesday and it’s been nothing short of a disjointed disappointment story wise for non-manga readers.)

Do We Take Anime Culture in America Seriously?

Do you actually take Anime Culture seriously? Anime Culture as in watching anime, reading manga, studying Japanese language, going to cons, buying figures, etc. Do you see it as something cool and foreign or as actual stories told by Japanese people using the medium of animation?

Just some background on why I am asking this. I’d been into anime since middle school, staying up late watching Adult Swim because I was bullied and could never sleep. I gradually started watching fansubs online when my mom brought us a computer. Switched from dubs to subs, I started buying books on Japanese culture and studying the language. A few years later I created a YouTube channel doing reviews of niche anime and manga, but it wasn’t popular. Due to the fact that the standard channels were talking about whose waifu is trash, fmk, who had the best teet-hair color combo. I refused to do that, plus in hindsight I didn’t promote the channel well enough. I was in film school at the time (I finished btw) but I would actually talk about character growth and development, plot events context in Japanese society and customs, etc. and it was dirt compared to people who squealed about mainstream show episodes by saying “the pacing was good, the animation was on point, the music – OMG – I was so hyped” to the crowd they catered to.

After college, I got a job at a Japanese cultural center for a year where I continued to take language lessons (I’m currently intermediate level and I will be trying for the JLPT N4 in December) and I had a good time there. I didn’t watch any shows, mainly because I didn’t have time but also because I felt like I was living in a Slice of Life. I knew a lot of customs (meishi koukan, correct amount of times to bow and the degree, how to accept or give items, how to be conscious of my body language i.e. not a lot of hand gestures, even nuances like how to refer to myself by pointing to my nose) and I knew literally all of that shit from watching anime and glazing older cultural books. My colleges were always impressed and I received a lot of respect. I had no problem surviving in the thick Japanese atmosphere where I heard Japanese spoken each day and dealt with businessmen and workers from well-known international brands. I had friendly convos with the older ladies in Japanese at local grocers by my job, could find my own non-English manga at book stores; I never felt out of place going to summer Matsuri or other ceremonial things. I didn’t feel like a total gaijin, even though we were still here in America.

When we had events for anime and those in the community showed up, they were looked down upon. It wasn’t fair, but it’s not a secret that Japanese don’t put a lot of stock into any sort of subcultures. The fans showed up in their Black Butler T-shirts and Shingeki no Kyoujin backpacks (which was fine) but didn’t even try talking to some of the Japanese people who were also there. There was such a clear divide between people with similar interests, where the Japanese were probably “too foreign” despite Americans consuming their media that does have a lot of traditional aspects in it. The Japanese were probably intimidated by the language barrier and thought it was a pain to try to speak to them.

Do you watch anime consciously knowing these stories are told by actual Japanese people, or do you just enjoy the aesthetic and don’t really care about the culture behind it? There are so many reasons why anime has educational value and why it is so popular. The bridge can definitely be crossed I think. I just don’t know if each side is ready.

“Stifle”

How do you tell someone about a ghost? The reincarnated soul would not even understand.

You are left haunted by the lingering memories. Alone. Stifled.

Stifle

make (someone) unable to breathe properly; suffocate.

restrain (a reaction) or stop oneself acting on (an emotion)

They say that writing coloured with emotion can be some of your greatest works; because they are your realities on the paper. Even so, sometimes it’s hard to come to the self-realization that you even have pent-up emotions. What if even now, you are stifling yourself. You are absolutely stifled. You do not want to be overtaken and swept up in lost emotions.

Stiff. Stifled. Shuffled. Shit-dismayed.

You want to talk to someone, but it is physically impossible. They are a ghost. Not that they are in the spirit world, but that they no longer exist in the form you once knew.

The magic, the energy, of encounters past haunt you in the most peculiar moments.

One moment you are drinking tea, the next moment you are reminded of the way their body smelled in a warm car on a cold, winter night. Both sheltered in a little alcove away from the rain. Safe, drinking warm tea and watching traffic pass by.

Why? Why then. You were just trying to enjoy a cup of tea. Why would that memory decide to resurface?

How do you tell someone about a ghost? The reincarnated soul would not even understand.

You are left haunted by the lingering memories. Alone. Stifled.

So maybe you should write about it?

However…

Do you even want to read what you’ve written? Do you want to lock it away in a mental vault instead?

Vaults get old; they rust.

They leak your treasures, one way or another.

So what to do, what to do.

Go to the sea, set it aside for me.

Find me a bottle, an old green glass bottle.

Send them away, raise them to the tide.

Look at your reflection in the side of the bottle.

See who you are now, let go who you were before.

If you can. If you can’t,

If you can’t;

 I know not what to tell you.

You’ll just be stifled.

As am I.

& What a lonely existence it shall be.

You came back at the worst possible time, I thought I was free.

Two Ghosts Haunting One Another.