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Am I out of touch with Japan, or is Japan out of touch with me?

In speaking of Phonogram (which is excellent, self indulgent work, by the way), I mentioned how weird it was to realize 12 years had passed since I discovered Britpop, and to think on just how good and dead the scene was now. Whereas it had once been vibrant, canny, and full of promises, it seems mostly dated and silly in retrospect. I loved that stuff once, you know. Some of it still hits me.

Well, I had one of those moments this morning before heading off for work. Different material, though. For some reason, I was thinking about late '90s J-rock. It's been about five years since I was avidly following Japanese pop culture in the form of manga, anime, and music. Anyway, I decided to check up on a few bands I remembered from back then. Luna Sea, Siam Shade, the Yellow Monkey. Broken up, years ago. All gone. No more.

About the closest I've ever become to being part of a 'scene' was my time from '97 to '01 as an otaku, anime fanboy, or whatever you want to call it. Conventions, online forums, marathon showings, grabbing friends up to go see the odd movie in a cinema. And all the attendent music, drawings, and silly, silly Japlish. It's funny to think how completely out of sync I am with that stuff now.

What's going on in Japan? Hell if I know. All my favorite bands there are dead.

So what am I following now? Comics, but that's been a going concern off and on since I was four. And as far as feeling connected to something goes, God knows I don't relate to most comics fans, much as we may have in common. And none of them care about what I think about what's being published or whatever I'm drawing. I'm not a part of the comics scene, not in any significant way.

As with much in my life right now, I feel isolated, apart from anything in pop culture. Being above shitty pop is one thing, but not having anything there you can identify with and have identified with you isn't always comforting.

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And what have I been thinking or feeling in the interim, across the last couple years or so? Well, I'm glad you asked.

In part, this.