Friday, February 12, 2010

Japanzine and Related Links

When it comes to entertainment news in Japan in English, there's not a lot to pick from. Naturally there are the newspapers - Japan Times, Yomiuri and Asahi - and naturally the arts and entertainment coverage is on a couple generic spots from the point of view of the lowest common denominator. Watered down reviews intended to not offend anyone. Then there's the "edgy" free ad rags that exist to promote stuff primarily based on advertising (in particular, restaurant reviews are really good even for the crappy places, as long as they buy space in the magazine). The problem is that big cities in Japan need their own magazines simply because of the volume of activities taking place daily. So, even though Nagoya and Tokyo are just a couple hours apart by bullet train, you won't see west coast stories showing up in the east coast mag. On the other hand, occasionally the west coast mag, Japanzine, makes its way to the Tokyo Kinokuniya bookstore. The two mags I've seen so far, both of which are never all that great, are the Metropolis (Tokyo) and Japanzine (Osaka/Nagoya). (I guess that here, "edgy" is another word for "sloppy writing".)

The reason for mentioning this is that, occasionally, Japanzine will run a list of recommended websites that are related to Japan in some way. The February issue had mentions of Japanese learning resources, music news, manga reviews, and so on. The top 10 Japan-related sites didn't include ThreeStepsOverJapan, which is why I'm so bitter. The links I consider worth mentioned are:

Anime, Manga and Games:
Midnight Eye
Anime News Network
Gaijin Gamer
Famitsu (Japanese only)

Tokyo Gig Guide

Akihabara News
Japan Trends

Now, on a completely unrelated note, the Big Issue magazine had a mention of some anime-related music coming out at Exit Tunes. You can listen to samples of the music, even if you don't want to go full out and buy them.

Finally, there's a Japanese newspaper that runs in New York, and there are occasionally copies available for free at the Tokyo Kinokuniya. There's one strip by Mitsuyo Okada and Makiko Shimamoto that runs in each issue, "Okusama wa New Yorker" (Wife is a New Yorker), which is designed to teach English to Japanese speakers. It's a fictional "slice of life" strip about a Japanese housewife that runs into a bunch of cultural differences in her new home town of New York. The art's pretty good, and the Japanese is simple enough for most beginners to follow. There are two collected volumes out from Kenkyusha publishing. You can see one volume here. And another 5 volumes from Gentosha. (1 volume here.) You can find a write-up on the writer and artist at Japan Times.

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