turning a leaf in the stream of consciousness, :words:

As of this Monday it’s back to school days for me, and not the kind that end in humorous animated decapitations; summer vacation is over and honestly won’t be missed too much. It may be a sign that I’ve been living in Japan too long, but I found myself unable to cope with all the free time I had between the frenzied activity of the events of the past two weekends; in hindsight it seems one of the factors fueling my ability to churn out consistent updates over the past several months has been the weekly routine grounded on the bedrock of my day job.

I do feel like all this unconscionable slacking over the past couple of weeks has had the positive effect of restoring a bit of sanity and perspective on this end of things, allowing me to collect myself and press forward to deeper depths of maniacal deprivation in the quest to see just how far a gaijin dog can penetrate into the occult realm of the otaku.

This fall term marks the beginning of my third year living and working in Japan, and what a long, strange trip it has been. I’ve come from being perpetually surprised by the new contents of Akihabara on my occasional trips there in the early months, to now, when I can practically write Toranoana‘s catalogue in advance of what have become monthly or even bi-monthly pilgrimages to the otaku mecca.

In my reflections of the past days I’ve come to think that this transformation has its dark side; gone is the sense of wonder, excitement and anticipation of discovery associated with those early visits; indeed with foreknowledge of what will be on the shelves and the ability to order most items online or from the hobby shop down the street, in many ways the material aspect of Akihabara has diminished for me.

With that said, the human draw is as strong as ever; the affirmation gained when immersed in a sea of like-minded fanatics, though strangers to the last man, is irreplaceable. A trip to Akihabara is a reminder of what this is all about – that somewhere out there is a fraternity of brother otaku and sister fujoshi living and working towards the same delusions of cultural fantasy. No man is an island alone unto his 2D girl-loving self, and without the occasional shot in the arm of social contact it can be hard to press on.

But press on we will, in firm disregard of the saner voices urging fiscal moderation and contribution to the sustainable propagation of the species. We hold these truths to be self evident: that in a postmodern, hyperindustrialized, and increasingly irrelevant society, heaven is what you make it. That happiness is a warm gun, and that in the end, the love you take from a chunk of plastic in the shape of an anime girl is equal to the love you make.

As I was standing in line to board the train this morning I looked over and saw a gosurori girl waiting to board at the next car over. She was wearing black boots, black stockings and a black skirt frilled with lace, a deep red, high-necked blouse with white pinstripes and black laces tied up the back corset-style, had her hair in a pageboy cut and was, simply put, stunning. Gothic lolita can certainly be done wrong, but when it’s done right there’s not much that beats it to show off a girl’s figure.

Why is this? Is it the quote from Fumoffu that came to me unbidden on the train, that gosurori fashion evokes the image of a “1/1 scale, perfect grade meat doll”? I’m not that far gone yet, I think. Rather, it’s the same as the draw from the right kind of cosplay – the appeal of a person driven to externalize their admiration of a character or lifestyle to the extent that they’ll put themselves on display. While undoubtedly also a shamless attention-whoring tactic, it’s girls like this (and my beloved Choco-chan) who keep a very faint hope alive in my mind that I’ll eventually reproduce.

Which, for the purposes of this site and its immediate future, is neither here nor there. I just hope a few folks will keep on reading as I struggle to fill out the backlog of news and reviews that’s been gathering dust for the past month; along with the completion of the Comiket guide I’d like to whip out a comparison review pitting this summer’s eroge blockbusters (Jingai Makyou and Shichinin no Online Gamers) against each other, and I need to take a look at the otaku quiz that came with the recent Elfics release among other things. My attempts at cultivating a community of some sort on the forums seem to have stalled, with the blame entirely on my head; I’ll try to do something about that in the coming days as well.

Here at HD, the beat goes on. The coming of autumn sees a new chapter unfold: will peace come to the galaxy at last? Will next year bring the long-awaited Summer of Love? Stay tuned; I know I’ll be.