Hello Bloggers! My name is Chani and I am the “C” of “CNS Speak”. Sooooooo, I’ve never blogged before but hopefully I can start off with a bang. NeeNee, also known as Leighton Nickols, the “N” of “CNS Speak” has requested that I post an original poem I composed last night completely randomly. Five of us were hanging out together and we each picked one word. The words were:
Clearly some of us were more creative than others :-P, however my assignment should I choose to accept it, was to compose a poem using all five of those words. Now fiction writing is more my forte than poetry, and I am not ashamed to admit it, so I didn’t take too much time in writing this poem. Note that my observations of a lot of art (not all of it, just a large amount) have made me notice (unfortunately) that apparently the more angsty and emo your art, the better it is (anime as well, but I’ll get to that later). So I pulled that in a little bit, kind of as a joke, but also kind of expressing my frustration. However, nothing really deep went into this poem. I wrote it in like literally two minutes anyhow so don’t think too much about it and just enjoy! 😛
Picture cocaine – filling me with angst
What image conjures
Through the darkness
Through the wind and rain I see pictures of life
And phagus means eat
Knowing words and their roots and meanings
And yet wishing for art
But not angst
Do not make me emo
I love life
Will I find
Something like cocaine
To keep me away from angst
And towards the light?
But not drugs
For better or worse
Yeah, sooooo…. very random! But what do you expect in two minutes? lol. Anyway now I want to rant about the terms “angsty” and “emo”. It seems that these days things are considered “cool” if they are angsty or emo. ESPECIALLY anime. I was talking to a guy at work over the summer and somehow the subject turned to anime and why he doesn’t like it and I do. Now, I took some offense to him saying that I “like anime”. And why is this? Well, I guess if you want to be technical I do like anime. What I have a PROBLEM with is people who say they “like anime” just because it’s anime. Like anything: crime shows, sitcoms, dramas, movies, cartoons, whatever, there are many varieties of anime. I used to, when I was younger, and before I went to Japan (going to Japan, as you will see later, is a big factor in all of this), like pretty much every anime out there, partly because there wasn’t much available in the US at the time. Anime fans these days are spoiled, I tell you! But now I realize that some anime are just dumb. Some shows are better than others, like anything. Yes, I like the animation style, but some drawings are better than others, and I also like Disney animation, Pixar computer-animated stuff, you name it. Really to classify all anime as the same is terribly annoying. So I tell my co-worker, no I do not “like anime just because it’s anime”. I like certain shows because they are interesting, and have good plots and characters. So I object to people telling me that I just “like anime”. I prefer more detail than that in my explanation. In addition, I went on to tell him that most of the more modern anime (Bleach, Naruto, Full Metal Alchemist, Death Note) I’m not into. I like older stuff (Sailor Moon, Rayearth, Cardcaptor Sakura, Urusei Yatsura, Evangelion, Escaflowne, Ranma 1/2, to name a few). Partly because at this point in my life I don’t have the money to get into any long, new shows (I like buying the DVDs), but also because too much of the current popular anime is angsty and emo. This led us to discuss Death Note in particular. Now, granted, please take my comments about Death Note with a grain of salt and don’t get offended. I have not actually watched or read Death Note, I’m just making observations based on what I’ve heard and read about it. And I don’t know for sure how much of that is accurate, but the impression I get is that it’s VERY angsty and emo and people like it just for that reason. Now I ask, what’s so good about being depressed? I mean, I understand that for a story to be interesting there has to be conflict, people can’t be happy all the time, and that’s fine, but really to just have characters be angsty and emo because it’s “cool”, I mean , come on! At any rate, another thing that annoys me about death note is that the main character’s name is Light and his archenemy (I think, from what I read) is named L. Now what the heck is up with this!? First off, the word “light” starts with an “L” and it’s almost like it’s just Light’s initials. Thats’ weird! I mean when I first read stuff online about the show I didn’t even know the difference between Light and L, and assumed they might be the same person. Which leads me to my next rant. The name “Light”. Who the hell in Japan names their kid “Light?” It’s an English name (I wouldn’t even call it a name really, either, as I doubt any native english speaking person would name their kid “Light” either). Japanese people don’t name English names! At least it would be ridiculously uncommon I would assume. Ok they used the name for symbolism purposes. I get that, but it would make more sense to call him “Hikaru”, a male (or female) Japanese name meaning “Light”. But Light? Really? Come on!
My next rant is about shounen-ai/yaoi. Now please don’t read this as discriminatory. It is just the opposite. I have no problem with homosexuals. Some Japanese people, however, do. Girls in America gush and go on and on about the pretty boys, their “bishounen lovers” in shounen-ai/yaoi. I have even known people so obsessed with it that they insist on making shounen-ai pairs out of every male they like in every anime they see, even if there is NO REASONABLE BASIS for said characters to get together. It…drives…me… CRAZY! Now again I say don’t assume I am discriminating because I happen to be a fan of some shounen-ai couples. Touya and Yukito from Cardcaptor Sakura are adorable. What I have a problem with is the insane fandom surrounding it and the complete lack of said fangirls to look deeper and realize that this depiction is actually BAD for real gay males in Japan. Remember anime-fans, Japan is a REAL country filled with REAL people! Real as in reality, life, not seen through a screen, and definitely not animated. I took a gender relations class when I spent my one-semester study abroad in Japan in 2006. It was one of the most interesting and insightful classes I have ever taken. And I learned so much. In Japan, there is still a real struggle for homosexual people to obtain their rights. I was so busy in Japan I did not get the opportunity to attend one of their actual rainbow parades but I wish I had been able to. We were, however, shown footage in class of some of these parades, and saw interviews with the real people participating in them. And we learned that the popular culture depictions of homosexuals, especially males, is considered offensive and degrading to some of the real homosexuals in the country. Homosexual males are not taken seriously. Their image is either of a silly crossdresser, or the stereotypical “shounen-ai” anime character. But they are REAL HUMAN BEINGS with jobs and with lives. Gay businessmen have an especially hard time, as other men have problems working with them. These are real people fighting for respect as human beings in a society that is still learning how to accept those that are different. I’m not saying you women out there can’t be shounen-ai fans, but next time you want to go “squeeee!” about some bishounen-couple getting it on, I ask you to stop and think for a moment about the real people in a real society who want respect and understanding that their lifestyle choice when it comes to romantic relations has no bearing on their ability to work or think or be real successful contributors to society. Please think of these people. Think of reality. Respect others.
Finally I leave you with these thoughts. Anime is great. Anime is fun. Japan is a real country with real people. My thoughts when I were in Japan were that some things were better than in America, some things were not. In fact, it was about even, in my personal opinion. Both of our countries, like all countries on this Earth, have good and bad points, and the best way for any of our countries to improve is to learn from each other, communicate, and try to understand each other. The way homosexuals, women, day-to-day life, is depicted in anime is not always the way it is in the real country of Japan. Look around you. See people next to you in reality and realize that people just like that live in Japan too. Enjoy anime, but take it with a grain of salt. Remember that learning about another country is not only through pop-culture, but through history, cultural understanding, and communication.
Hopefully I haven’t bogged you readers down too much with this, but I’ve had these thoughts for a long time after coming back from Japan and am really relieved to get them off of my chest!
By the way, if you get an opportunity to visit Japan, GO! It’s great! And eat Takoyaki! I love it! 🙂
Till next time!