Tag Archives: fandom

Share Your Geekiness

I am a geek. I’ll admit that quite honestly. Anyone who knows me knows that I like a few geeky things. Let’s take a look.

Star Trek

I am a big Star Trek fan, and have been since the late 80s. I’ve been to a few conventions, but never dressed up in costume for it. I bought a lot of books, including technical manuals and starship guides. I even have the Klingon Dictionary.

Dinosaurs

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved dinosaurs. Still do. They were more of a mystery back in the 80s, but so much more is known about them that we have come to accept that dinosaurs never disappeared. They’re still with us in the form of birds.

Weather

I keep track of the weather daily. I’m fascinated by the long-term trends, as well as the short-term fluctuations. I keep a record on another blog, 365 Rotations.

Space

Well, considering this was what I studied in university, I’m not so sure if I should include this as being a geek thing. But I love anything to do with space, space exploration, astronomy, and so on.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

This is more of a book thing, but I also love movies and TV series that are sci-fi or fantasy. Love Pern, Shannara, A Song of Ice and Fire, and more. But you should know this, considering what I usually talk about on this blog. I even got goosebumps when I watched the new Star Wars trailers.

Geography

I love maps and geography. I love city planning, how countries use the land, how the landscape shapes countries and towns, how relations with other countries affects the course of history, etc. It’s all very interesting to me.

Computer Games

Many of the games I enjoy are geeky by nature. SimCity 4, The Sims 2, Civilization series, and I am eagerly awaiting No Man’s Sky. I love RPGs and MMORPGs, but found I didn’t have the time required to dedicate to them.

Transformers

I watched the cartoons as a kid, loved the original movie, and then later bought the entire series on DVD as an adult. I will watch it again and again. The live action movies are a travesty, though. It just feels like the whole series was gutted.

There are so many more things I could go into. I have too many interests to ever get bored.

So, now it’s your turn. Share your geeky side in the comments below!

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Life in Japan: J-pop

Every country has its own brand of music.  Japan has several of its own, including enka, Visual Kei, and of course, Japanese pop (or J-pop). This week’s question comes from Joanne Corey.

Do you follow any J-pop groups? My ethnomusicologist daughter is writing a master’s thesis on the fandom of AKB-48, so I know that these groups not only perform at concerts and put out recordings, but also have television series, do modeling, make ads, etc.

I’m not a big follower of pretty much any music, I’m afraid. However, on the topic of AKB48, they’re on TV, on advertisements, and pretty much everywhere individually or in groups. Their system is a strange one. They are idols. They are manufactured idols. They’re not well-paid at all. They make minimum wage from what I’ve heard. It’s only after they become popular and go on their own that they start making money.  However, the music industry in Japan is unlike the one in North America. Singers are company employees and have a lot of rules they have to follow. In AKB, they have extremely strict rules. Break one, and they’re punished, and they have to apologise. And like I said, they’re manufactured idols. Think of AKB as a factory. They take raw materials (unknown girls) and shape them into pretty much identical people without much talent. Honestly, they don’t have very strong singing abilities, but they can learn to sing, dance, and act. They’re still not considered very good talents when they finish with AKB and move on to something else. They are idols, and idols don’t need to be talented. Just have good looks and charisma.

As for the fandom, well, they’re a bit strange. Most fans of AKB48 are middle-aged men, most likely single. And they dance.  Crazily.  You cannot unsee it, so I won’t put a video of it here, but if you really, really want to, go to YouTube and search for “wotagei” or just “wota.” These are grown men dancing to music sung by teenage girls. Wildly. Scary. *shudder*

Anyway, I hope that gives you an interesting look into one part of J-pop fandom. There are normal fans, of course, but for groups like AKB48, they breed the lonely, awkward middle-aged male fan.

Have a question about life in Japan? Go here and ask in the comments.