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I finally got around to reading the new volume of The Rose of Versailles (ベルサイユのバラ), which focuses on some side stories about the male characters: Andre Grandier, Florian Girodelle, Count Hans Axel Fersen, and Alain de Soisson.

Image via Amazon.co.jp

Image via Amazon.co.jp

I have mixed feelings about the volume. Parts of it were brilliant, but some of it felt a little forced. Mild spoilers for the volume, major spoilers for the original series.

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Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop at the Seattle Asian Art Museum is, to use an old slang term, frantic. My friend and museum companion hadn’t been through the permanent collection yet, and after an hour or so of contemplating mainly contemporary ink pieces, delicate snuff bottles, and lavishly detailed Persian paintings set in the elegant art deco building, we arrived at the eye-popping, jarringly neon moé world of Mr.’s neo-pop art.

MAKING THINGS RIGHT, 2006, MR., JAPANESE, B.1969, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 118 X 177 IN., © 2006 MR./KAIKAI KIKI CO., LTD., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, PHOTO COURTESY GALERIE PERROTIN.

MAKING THINGS RIGHT, 2006, MR., JAPANESE, B.1969, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 118 X 177 IN., © 2006 MR./KAIKAI KIKI CO., LTD., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, PHOTO COURTESY GALERIE PERROTIN. via Seattle Asian Art Museum

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the ways in which marginalized geeks (women/nonbinary people, queer individuals, people of color, people with disabilities, et al.) interact with fandom. In particular, I’ve been thinking about how creative expressions of love (such as fanworks and cosplay) for media are treated poorly by society in general as well as individuals in their lives. (Specifically, of how individual straight male geeks fear that others’–particularly their female partners’–interests in shipping, crossplay, etc., somehow invalidates their delicate grasp on cultural masculinity.)

At Geek Girl Con, I attended an amazing panel of “Geek Elders” who told us all about female Star Trek fandom and making Kirk/Spock ‘zines in the 1960s and 70s–how many of these women’s husbands felt their participation in fandom detracted from their care of the home and children. How one of their colleague’s husband’s tried to have her committed. 

What I’ve learned, not just from this panel, but from years of reading about our geek forbears, is that we’ve always been here. We’re not going anywhere. On that note, I present a gender reader of geekery, with a very special Christmas song at the end!

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Yes, this is an official BBC-sanctioned manga of A Study in Pink. 

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The manga is a fun way to get your Sherlock fix during the hiatus and brush up on your detective vocabulary in Japanese, but the real reason I want to recommend this is how the artist captured Benedict-Cumberbatch-as-Sherlock’s hilarious facial expressions. Oh, it’s Christmas, readers.

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We could do with a bit of humor around the holidays, yes? If you like fandom crack, Calorie Mate and FROGMAN collaborated on a Beru Bara parody anime, 「ベルサイユのマリモ」(“The Marimo of Versailles”).

Screenshot from YouTube of "Marimo Antoinette" arriving at court in a fish tank

Screenshot from YouTube of “Marimo Antoinette” arriving at court in a fish tank

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Dear readers, my apologies: November has been a lousy month for writing. A lot of personal issues are eating up all my time, and I hope to get to some of that backlog of posting in December. That said, I headed out for my annual momiji-gari (紅葉狩り, “fall foliage hunting”) at the Seattle Japanese Garden on Nov. 9 (2013 post here). Getting “out” into nature, even just to the Arboretum and the Japanese Garden, is something I didn’t get to do often enough last year. But a new year is coming, and I am resolving to make nature part of my self-care regime again, like it was in the first few years in Japan.

Seattle Japanese Garden 2014 | I'll Make It Myself! 2

 

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RocketNews24 has some questionable content, but the site has really dropped the ball with Amy Chavez’s “Women in Japan” series, first offering 5 “powerful reasons” to be a woman (?) in Japan–you know, if your only aspiration is to be a mother and you are in a heterogamous marriage to a man who earns enough and you have no fertility issues. Powerful! (Do read the comments.)

Amy Chavez of the herbivore-man-shaming “humor” column that graces The Japan Times has written another contribution that both ignores big-picture institutionalized sexism but also includes a number of “female friendly” items that are generally available to men and women (of a certain class) because why not have some fun with gender essentialism?

Criticizing this list and, thus both Chavez’s writing and Japan, is not to say that the US and other countries do not have institutionalized misogyny, fatphobia, etc. However, for this list of “uniquely” Japanese “perks” “for women” is so out of touch with reality that it boggles.

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