I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc. And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.
While I was in Japan my brother let me read the two volumes of the Kameoke Diaries by Lars Martinson.
Although I would have enjoyed the diaries no matter where I'd read them it was particularly interesting reading them while I was also experiencing something at least somewhat akin to what Martinson was writing about.
Of course, unlike Martinson, I would only be spending 3 weeks in the country, rather than years, and only as a tourist rather than actually a part of any community. Still, as I read I started to see more around me, like trying to prove whether or not Japanese women, while showing a ton of leg, didn't reveal their shoulders or bare arms.
And, to some extent, I found it true, there were many women wearing short skirts or shorts and yet layers of long sleeved tops. However, I also saw more than a few women wearing sleeveless tops or other tops that revealed ample amounts of shoulder and arms.
Perhaps Japan is changing since 2012? I also watched some Japanese children's shows and found them while not exactly as disturbing as the show Martinson describes (which I'd love to see), was still a lot of fun to watch. So much fun for my brother, in fact, that I had to turn it off in order for him to concentrate on the task of getting ready to leave the hotel room.
Unlike Tonoharu, which is the only other work by Martinson I'd read, there was a greater sense of humor and good natured curmudgeonliness to this book. Where I am usually engrossed, yet also horrified by the desperate awkwardness of Daniel Wells in Tonoharu, I feel much more at peace reading about Martinson's personal thoughts and experiences, where although he also finds himself in awkward situations deals with them in more bearable ways and finding humor in his situations.
There was also a lot more connection going on between Martinson and his comrades and students, I enjoyed his stories about life teaching at so many different schools with so many different age ranges and although he admits that teaching isn't his favorite thing and is not his calling, one definitely got a sense of his good nature and appreciation for his young students.
Overall, a great read, especially if one is either visiting or thinking of visiting Japan.
Also, it's good to be back, I'll try to keep posting double reviews to catch up for the weeks I've missed!