Otaku strikes

One of the activities taking up my time in 2005 has been attending events at New York’s Japan Society. This season, they have a program entitled “Otaku strikes”, part of the “Cool Japan” series. The thrust of club’s presentation, is to present modern Japanese pop culture to the metropolitan audience, through film, lecture/disscussion, social events, and art.

I study Japanese in those spare hours that pop up. (Nowadays it’s more like watch a lot of Japanese television—no, no, not just if Megumi or one of the other name “talento” is on the show.) But I never got the motivation or good chance to go into Midtown. It just seems so far away.

This year, however, I got the commitment. Basically made a contribution–and so now I feel like I ought to go! This the kamikaze form of social commitment. In fact, I think it’s how a lot of out of shape people make it to the gym. You sign up, you are a member. And when you are sitting home on a Friday night, you think, “hey I better use some of those membership benefits or I’m really letting it go to waste, right??” It’s like you are strapped in, and there is really only one remaining course of action.

What I like about the Japan Society is that they apparently brought in some star-power talent to give the group a boost in New York Asian aficianado circles. A highly regarded nonprofit executive has taken the helm (Dr. Frank Ellsworth), and assisting him are a rising group of women professionals, including a U.S.-based modern Japanese art expert (Dr. Alexandra Munroe), and a sunny public relations executive, supercompetent and attractive, (Lori Hamamoto) who Knicks fans in the tri-state area would recognize as a familiar presence.

These people are putting together a revitalized club that makes it worthwhile for any Japanophile to buy the ticket and head to Midtown. My only hope is that the club start to leverage all the New Jersey-based Japan resources, and start to do more things with Rutgers. Perhaps finally getting our state community colleges on board with the importance of far East Asia to 21st century New Jersey.

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