Sunday, March 20, 2011

I wasn't there: An invisible dot, on an invisible dot thinks about the Sendai Earthquake.


Recent events in Japan can remind us that anime, manga, and everything else that goes with it still operate within the realm of the business that is human frivolity. Entertainment and escapism are "shadows and dust," when compared to the natural forces and events in this world that we humans have only recently been able to erect but a paper thin barrier between. An inescapable event like an earthquake, or a man-made disaster such as war (as equally destructive but tainted in the bitter tasting bile of the knowledge of wars being both avoidable and deliberate), serves to show us that what we have, our fandom, is in fact nothing more than a brief disruption in the natural order of things.

The notion of an individual in a completely separate socio-culture state/entity, earning relatively little money, accessing the digitized animation created by a media entertainment market literally half a planet away with a translation rubric in place at will, and can engage that activity on such a regular basis that it has become an indispensable cornerstone in the social fandom activities that youth engages is as astounding in innovation as it is newness. How many reasons can human history give us, for such a thing not to work? How many obstacles of nature, humanity, technology, and knowledge must there be, vanquished or still awaiting us, that tell us by all possible notions that this exercise should not be possible? Yet an otaku kid in Tulsa watching an episode of Panty & Stocking online at 1am, isn't an an exercise in achievement, rather it's nothing more than the activities of another potential convention attendee for A-Kon. Potentially brought to an end by a "geology."

I have a way of missing such events. I was in Osaka on 9/11, when papers from the fallen towers became lodged in-between the bars on my bedroom window. I was equally as far from my Tokyo apartment on the 12th floor of the New Hiem Sakamachi apartment building for this recent event. I am unfortunate to be so lucky. Much as the sheltered child will never get injured or sick, yet hardship is developed from looking through these protective barriers of distance and seeing others, who are active in the outside world during extraordinary events, so too have I been both spared and denied. Shared experience creates intangible knowledge from experience for a single person, but is also shared between those who experience it together, becoming an understanding of congruence of thought shared by everyone in that "place." Becoming a singularity of time and events firmly and tacitly knowable by everyone who shared that "place" and equally unknowable by those who did not.

This singular event and the millions of tangential experiences and "places" it will create will have reverberations felt in all things, including that stylized media entertainment we follow and which serves as a platform of cultural symbio-development. What that impact cause to will manifest has yet to be seen, but it will be a fundamental as it will be varied. It will come from that "place," different, yet understood without words by those who have been there. This potential gulf created by that manifestation is no barrier, but simply the product of articulating that tacit intangibility of known experience, into an explicit medium of words, speech, art, animation, or performance. As our pure thoughts remain prisoners of our mind's interior, it falls to us to make explicit mediums of communication with which we hope to facilitate the same thoughts in the inaccessible interior minds of others. Such has been the driving force behind much of human creativity, and those of us who were not there to share that "place," will certainly find value in the artistic expressions of those who were.

I wasn't there. I was watching Oedo Rocket off of the internet in Upstate New York at 1am. An invisible dot, on an invisible dot.

Shinjuku, Tokyo 2010.


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