Random Anniversary 6: My Brain


These random anniversaries have a way of slapping me in the face with the extremely twisty road that is my life, and this anniversary is perhaps slappier than most. Over the course of this particular journal–a smart spring-green affair that was a gift from one of my favourite people–I went from running through the streets of London to buying extremely mislabelled “vegan” food in the night markets of Taipei to a narrow escape from a burgeoning plague in Tokyo to an actual pandemic in Toronto, where I have now been locked up in my apartment for the last three months using my sewing skills to craft masks for all my friends and family, only scurrying out for groceries and beer. It is honestly overwhelming to step back and take a real look at how life used to be and how it is now, especially because my science brain is only too well aware that the normalcy of the Before Times is probably never coming back.

And that’s a good thing in a lot of ways! The plague is certainly laying bare all the ways capitalism has failed us, and so many people suddenly have nothing to do but reassess the way we live in this world and discover the need to burn it all to the ground and rebuild a society that supports all of us, especially the most vulnerable among us, instead of a bunch of venture capitalists and tech bros and the general class of rich white people. Plus, we’re all expert handwashers now! And we have a new fashion possibility in the face mask. Continue reading “Random Anniversary 6: My Brain”

One Room Angel: Harada

OneRoom_haradaI’m not much of a list follower. When it comes to things like “100 albums you have to listen to before you die” or “the top ten science fiction books of all time”, I mean. Lists that are me writing down the many and varied tasks I need to accomplish in a day, week, month are extremely popular chez moi, and I likely could not function at all without them. I have a terrible memory, so the list is my way of externalizing the things I need to remember and keeping them in a place I can see them so I actually get the things done. But it’s also a sort of way of making an appointment with myself. If it’s on the list, it has to get done, so I also include items like “read” or “make jam” or “work on animation” and somehow create the time I need to do things to keep myself from becoming a translation robot. And yes, the list also frequently includes “write up book”, but I don’t get to check that item off as much as I’d like to, especially during travelling times, which is where I am now as I prepare to head back to freezing cold Canada next week, an impossibility as I type this and look out my window at the plum trees blooming in the parking lot below. Spring is almost here! And yet like a fool, I am leaving it to go back to winter.

Anyway! Lists where other people tell me what to do are not something I have ever been interested in. I will be the one to decide what albums I listen to, thank you very much. But still, I can’t help but follow with one eye at least the Kono BL ga Yabai! rankings every year. Maybe because the combination of the words “BL” and “yabai” never fail to pique my curiosity. But it’s definitely partly because if nothing else, the ranking introduces me to some books I might never have paid attention to otherwise, like the sweetly sexy Amish love story Rumspringa no Jokei. And this year, it taught me that there is a “gentle” Harada story. In fact, if the cover copy is to be believed, it is the gentlest Harada story in the history of Harada. As someone who has been damaged by such painful Harada classics as Niichan and Color Recipe, I desperately wanted a book that combined Harada’s crisp lines and cute guys with a plot that wouldn’t send me straight to a therapist when I was done reading it. Continue reading “One Room Angel: Harada”

Random Anniversary 4: My Brain


Almost two years to the day since my brain last celebrated the end of a journal, a sign that me and my brain need to work on spending more time with our journal and less time on Twitter. But the gratification from Twitter is instant, while the journal is more of a slow burn, and present me always needs cookies right now, all too often to the detriment of future me.

What happened in these two years documented in a little purple notebook that I got in Singapore? Who knows?? The notebook in question is tucked away in my Toronto apartment, while my brain and I are here in Tokyo. Recent happenings that are most certainly included in the journal include interpreting at TIFF in September and for author Hideo Furukawa last month (reasons why posting here has been especially light), but further back than that, and my poor memory grows hazy. I was in Japan a lot last year? Maybe? I lectured a bunch of hapless university students in America about gender in translation? I had some birthdays and my body continued its relentless march towards our inevitable decline? Continue reading “Random Anniversary 4: My Brain”

Color Recipe: Harada

Color Recipe_HaradaCelebrate, my fellow fujos! Today is that magical day of days! The day when we are free to openly ogle and revel in the beauty that is the love of boys! If you are not a fujo, then maybe just come back during my brain’s regular(-ish. Sorry for the light posting as of late!) Friday battles. Or stick around and see everything you’ve been missing with boy lover Harada! Be warned, however, that in the spirit of the holiday, things get a little unsafe for the work environment below. 

I’ve long been attracted to Harada’s style, in which half the characters look vaguely like pixies, thanks to upturned eyes, pointed noses, and sharp chins. And her (their? Do we know?) work has been everywhere I look for the last little while; she’s clearly the next rising star of the BL world, soon to crossover into the mainstream where her talent for drawing dudes sexing each other up will be grossly underused. But for one reason or another, I never bothered to actually pick up any of her books. (Both reason and another are probably I already have a mountain of books waiting to be read.) Which is an important note to would-be authors: sometimes, people will love your stuff, but they just don’t get the chance to read it. That is a sad thing, but it’s not a reflection on you or your talent. Continue reading “Color Recipe: Harada”