Well, greetings, fellow Amerikajin! I’m glad to be back from Glorious Nihon in God Bless America, and am pretty much over the jet lag. You will be disappointed that I bought very little while I was over there, only a figure of Kaburagi Koutetsu, the first title character of Tiger & Bunny, and the latest two volumes of the manga of Ookiku Furikabutte. The former because I already had a figure of Barnaby Brooks, “Wild Tiger’s” partner in not-crime; and the latter because I am carefully buying up every volume of the Oofuri manga each time a new one comes out. It will take me at least five or six lifetimes to read it all, given my snail’s pace at reading Japanese, but I feel I’m doing my part to increase the chances of us ever getting a third season of the Oofuri anime, however remote those chances are.
In any case, much as I enjoy Japan and feel to some extent comfortable over there (I can especially recommend anything involving trains and/or tonkatsu, in no particular order), I find after about two weeks I’m ready to come home. In fact I find this to be the case for travelling in general: I can’t wait to go, and I can’t wait to get back. Sensei Ask You: Do you like to travel? Do you prefer leaving or coming back? Or are both alike something you look forward to?
This time, Tyler asks via Facebook: Have you ever been in a spot where you felt like you were drifting along in life with no wind in your metaphorical sails? If so, how did you cope with or overcome this? I am 100% certain that I have had times like that in my life, Tyler-kun, since I’m sure everyone does. Currently I am lucky (or unlucky?) enough to have so many hobbies that it seems there’s always something to do. I tend (perhaps incorrectly) to associate times like that with being in school, when it can indeed be difficult to get the sense of the long game. It seems easy to think, Why am I doing this? Why bother learning all these things that I’m not going to have to know later on? It’s very understandable to think that way. But I’m convinced that this is one of the main killers of progress for my students. What I always tell them is that there are things later on that you will have to know, that you won’t be able to master at an adequate level if you can’t or won’t master the material currently before you at an adequate level. My hope is that this gives you at least a shred of something to hang on to.
Finally, Myles Netherton asks from Instagram: Sensei, how stoked are you for Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix? ありがとうございます！ Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but since I neither use Netflix nor am an Evangelion fan, I probably am not the one to ask. I have seen Evangelion and at least two of its “endings,” but while I acknowledge that it’s an important show in terms of the history of anime, it left me mostly cold. I find myself wondering what’s really going on when a certain large portion of the Evangelion fanbase was downright furious at not only the original ending, but also all subsequent versions of the ending. I wasn’t one of the furious ones, but that’s probably because, as usual, I wasn’t paying attention. That being said, I have to applaud the creators’ persistence in either getting it right finally, or milking Evangelion for all it’s worth, or perhaps both.
And until next time, I hope you all keep cool. Unless you’re walking around upside-down on the other hemisphere, in which case I hope you keep warm, and don’t get too dizzy.
Featured art by 啊嘞怀表怎么停了 (reprinted w/permission)