I used to think blogs were merely excuses for bored kids/students/anyone to ejaculate their intellectual jizz into cyberspace to be read, or more likely not read, by thousands. However, over the past months , I have come to approach blogging as a modern way to develop an idea, find a niche audience for that idea, and draw from that audience; not necessarily to preach to millions, but to make a valid contribution to a smaller audience that is genuinely interested in a specific topic; an audience who may also nurse your idea, feed it, and help it grow. Combining this newfound awareness of blogging’s potential with my decade-long interest in anime, I have established this blog: an academic look at technology’s place in anime and Japanese culture.
I have always found approaching Japanese culture and anime analysis from a Western perspective a wondrously frustrating task; an excursion of paradoxical sentiments. On the one hand, I am fascinated by the blatant differences between our cultures – the foreigness of it, the exotica, the orientalism, I guess. But on the other hand, trying to gain an insight into this culture from a Western perspective, trying to shelf Western dispositions in trying to understand and interpret the giant robots, the animism, the spirituality – the bizarre coexistence of science and religion! – is enough to drive the more curious viewer insane. But there is something about the inaccessibility I enjoy: the mystery of it all, the uniqueness. There is something personal, revelatory even, about the Western interpretation of the East, of anime, that I have come to appreciate. Like getting lost in a big city, you may not end up where you want to be, but you have had an adventure nonetheless; your own little discovery – insight – that is not necessarily correct, but not wrong either. You become the slow younger sibling to the athletic, straight-A big brother: you can’t compete with his obvious prowess, but every now and then you impress the family with your own idiosyncrasies and charms.
While it is the intention of this blog to have a strong focus on technology’s place and role in Japanese culture and anime, it will also inevitably harbour my naïve Western insights. So while you could say we are partaking in a heuristic search for truth, the truth will, at times, be a personal one.
All aboard the (techno-)orient!