Blog

Navigating

All exam book review posts are categorized under one of my three readings lists: Media Studies and Japan, Genre Fiction in Japan’s 20th Century, and Posthuman Embodiment and Affect (all of which are detailed in the About page).  Click one of those links to filter by category in order to get an overview of a field.  I’ve made a couple of posts related to a class I taught under the Teaching tag, and I’ll add to that as I teach (and think about teaching) more.  Finally, I have some more general “grad student life” posts that are Uncategorized.  They cover more of the practical nuts and bolts of doing exams, assembling a dissertation proposal, etc, and might be useful to folks going through those processes themselves.  Enjoy!

On Conferencing

I had an opportunity to present at a conference recently that was organized by my department.  The theme of the conference wasn’t especially close to my dissertation topic (we were talking about literary history in East Asia), but it was my first chance to present material from the dissertation chapter I’d been writing all year in Japan, and I had a fun time.

In talking with a few of my colleagues, however, I learned that I had presented at conferences many more times than most of the other grad students in my department.  They seemed to feel like it was a bad idea to do conferences too early in one’s graduate career, and while I can see where they were coming from, I disagree, and I’d like to spend a bit of time in this post talking about why.  Indeed, I think some of the best advice I got as a soon-to-be grad student was to try to present at a conference every year.  Read on to see why I think this has helped me more than most other habits I’ve maintained in grad school.  Continue reading “On Conferencing”

Teaching with the weirdness: Mothra Vs. Godzilla (1964)

 

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Honda, Ishiro dir.  Mosura tai Gojira (Mothra vs. Godzilla).  Toho Studios.  1964.  89 min.

A few months ago, a friend approached me about giving a guest lecture for his class on global SF.  He asked me to do a film screening and discussion as the class moved into finals crunch time.  I thought it would be fun, and set about looking for a suitable film to teach.  All of my usual suspects, however, were coming up just a bit too lengthy for the 90 minute class block.  Time for a challenge!  The film I eventually settled on was 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla, a semi-remake of 1961’s Mothra.  The class was about a month ago now, and I’ve had some time to ruminate on how things went, so I thought I’d write up a short post about the experience.  I want to talk a little bit about trying to use silly or strange materials in class, and getting students to engage seriously and critically with those texts.  Charge up that radiation breath, and let’s rampage through some model cities.   Continue reading “Teaching with the weirdness: Mothra Vs. Godzilla (1964)”

Yasuoka Yukiko and SF Parenthood (2/2)

So last time, I started talking about Yasuoka Yukiko, an author who appears repeatedly over the course of a year in Uchuujin and then vanishes as suddenly as she arrived.  I ended up writing waaaaaaay more about Yasuoka’s “Io” than I intended, so here we are at part 2 of my look at her stories, this time taking up “Mama.”  Yasuoka’s great love for Greek myth intertwined with knotty questions of parenthood continues unabated here, so let’s have a look at the childhood tragedy that is “Mama.”   Continue reading “Yasuoka Yukiko and SF Parenthood (2/2)”

Yasuoka Yukiko and SF Parenthood (1/2)

I want to talk a bit about an author whose name I’ve come across a few times in the pages of Uchuujin.  Her name is Yasuoka Yukiko, and I can find precisely no biographical details about her, so we’ll just have to stick to her works.  I’ve read two of those in the last week, and they’ve stuck with me, so I figure what better excuse to write an update to this wilting blog?  Two stories is a small sample size, but they share a number of common concerns: parenthood, Greek myth, interesting POV choices, and more.  What can her stories tell us about SF in the mid-60s?  Read on to find out!  Continue reading “Yasuoka Yukiko and SF Parenthood (1/2)”

Tobi – Jisei no yume

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Tobi, Hirotaka. Jisei no yume [Autogenic Dreaming]. Tokyo: Kawade Shobo Shinsha. 2016.
Link to Publisher’s website

This is a post I’ve been working on for a while, but held off on publishing because I was presenting some of this material at a recent conference (which was lots of fun!). As far as I can remember, I haven’t written about Tobi Hirotaka here before, despite absolutely loving the stories of his that I’ve read.  This began when I first read the eponymous short story of this collection, “Jisei no Yume” in Haikasoru’s collection The Future is Japanese (where it appears in English, translated by Jim Hubbert, as “Autogenic Dreaming: Interview with the Column of Clouds”).  That story, as well as the companion pieces Tobi wrote for it after it won the Nebula (Seiun) award in 2009, are collected with a few others in this collection, which I picked up at a talk event with Tobi back in July.  There’s a lot to talk about here, and I’m not really sure where to start, but let’s leap before we look and dive in!
Continue reading “Tobi – Jisei no yume”

Thought dump: Two stories by Bien Fuu

Bien, Fuu.  “The Rainy Season” (雨期).  Uchuujin 156-157 (July-August, 1971).

—–.  “The Jewels of the Virgin Mary” (聖母マリアの宝石たち).  Uchuujin 173 (December, 1973).

 

I’ve been struggling with what to say in this post for much of this week, but by god, we’re trying to set Good Habits, so I’m going to start writing anyway.  In my last post, I touched upon an author writing under the pen name Bien Fuu (or, to use the more standard Romanization of the inspiration, Bien Phu).  I was struck that this author, a former aristocrat writing for an SF fanzine, would choose as one of her pen names a reference to the last battle of the First Indochina War, which saw the French suffer a crushing defeat against the Viet Minh.  What sorts of notions of regional identity might be at work here, I wondered, and what sort of consciousness about postcolonial issues of race and ethnicity?  With those thoughts in the back of my mind, I dug into two short stories published by Bien.  Read on to find out together what I thought of them!

Continue reading “Thought dump: Two stories by Bien Fuu”

Research musings

Hi, internet!  It’s been a while.  I’ve been in Japan since March, doing archival work for the dissertation, which is sort of the work that has to come before I have anything interesting to say around these parts.  I’d apologize for the resulting silence, but hopefully it’s just indicative of me doing my work, so…. *shrug*.  In any case, in chatting about what I’ve found so far, I realized I actually had more thoughts on it than I realized, so I decided to throw those thoughts out somewhere beyond my own research notes.  Maybe there will be useful info in here for other folks approaching research, but I’m not sure.  Let’s find out together! Continue reading “Research musings”