J-Horror and Japanese Folklore: The Image of the Onryo [OWLS Blog Tour August 2020: Folklore]

This month’s OWLS topic was inspired by the name of Taylor Swift’s new album, Folklore. Yet rather than using her conceptual definition of what “folklore” means, we are going to use its original meaning: we are going to explore the traditions and cultures of a specific group and community within pop cultural texts.

Whether you’ve watched a Japanese horror movie (also known as J-Horror) or not, I’m pretty sure you know of or have heard of the characters of Sadako and Kayako from Ringu (The Ring) and Ju-On (The Grudge) respectively. In Japanese folklore, both Sadako and Kayako would be considered Onryo (think of the classic ghostly figure of a Japanese woman with long, black hair and a white dress, like the featured image of Sadako). In Japanese folklore, Onryo are vengeful spirits who were wronged in their lives (mostly by men) and come back to exact vengeance on those that wronged them or who unfortunately come into contact with them. As we’ll see later, both Sadako and Kayako were wronged in their respective lives and came back as Onryo and despite exacting revenge on the men that killed them, their curse lives on to haunt those that come into contact with them.

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Trying to Maintain Balance in Japan

When I initially wrote this in 2019, I was back home visiting my family and friends so I took time to just sit back and reflect on my life in Japan so far. I forgot that I had this in my drafts for almost a year and given the current COVID situation that we currently live in, I thought I’d revisit and finish this post.

Regardless, It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that the Japanese lifestyle is completely different to the life I once had back home, but over time I managed to settle in to my new environment. However, even for someone familiar with Japanese society, it can eventually become quite taxing to the mind and body.

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Akira: A Dystopian Vision of the 21st Century [OWLS Blog Tour 2020: Visions]

Happy New Year! Since it is a new year, it’s a new you! This month we will be talking about various pop culture mediums that focus on envisioning “the future.” What type of future do we want for ourselves, our communities, and the world? Also, we will be sharing our goals and plans for the new year. Once again, happy new year!

Long time, no see, folks and welcome to my first post of 2020! I am terribly sorry for going radio silent over the past few months as I have been extremely busy with work and other things in Japan (more on that later). One of my wishes and plans for this year is to start writing more again on this blog.

Many of you, I’m pretty sure, have watched or, at least, heard about Akira, often regarded as a seminal and influential anime film for both anime fans and creatives alike (it’s also regarded as one of the films that gave anime its broad appeal to the West). I have watched this film many times and every time I watch it I learn something new that I didn’t catch the previous time. With that in mind, it’s interesting, yet scary, to notice just how much Akira predicted how the world was going to go in the 21st century (heck, it even predicted that the 2020 Olympics were going to be held in Tokyo) and this is a film that was made more than 30 years ago.

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Love & Japan Part 3: Distance

Welcome to another edition of Love & Japan. Compared to the previous two editions, however, this one is going to be bit more reflective and serious as this is a topic I am sure most of us have experienced at some point in our lives: distance. While this one doesn’t pertain to love specifically, this post relates to those of us who have someone close or dear to us, but cannot see as much as we like due to distance or other circumstances.

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How I Accepted Myself as an Otaku Through Lucky Star [OWLS Blog Tour August 2019: Believe]

Kyoto Animation. We all have that one anime we enjoyed from Kyoto Animation. Whether it is pain or joy, Kyoto Animation has brought to life stories that can touch our emotions. For the month of August, we will be honoring Kyoto Animation and all it has done for art, storytelling, and popular culture by discussing some of our favorite Kyoto Animation series. We will discuss what we love about these series and what they taught us. 


The fire that happened at the studio is indeed a tragedy. We pray for the lives that were lost in this tragedy and the families that are suffering at this time. Fires may be dangerous, but there are flames that burn within us that spark passion, hope, and belief in ourselves.

Lucky Star has a very special place in my heart. Not only is it one of the first anime that I watched from KyoAni (apart from Haruhi), it is also the show that helped me accept myself as an Otaku and in this OWLS tour I want to talk about the effect Lucky Star has had on my anime journey. For those of you who have never watched or heard about Lucky Star, basically it is a slice-of-life anime about four high school girls: Konata, an otaku, Kagami and Tsukasa, who are twins, and Miyuki, a well-mannered and responsible girl. The show explores the daily lives of these girls and the various oddities they experience along the way.

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The Naked Director: Breaking Bad Meets JAV

NOTE! The post contains minor spoilers and content of an explicit nature

Rarely do I write about television shows on my blog, but I couldn’t help but write about my thoughts on The Naked Director, a new show from Netflix. Apart from its title, what mainly caught my attention was its subject matter: porn. Those of you who have watched a Japanese drama series before would probably know that this sort of show wouldn’t air on Japanese TV so Netflix definitely felt like the best choice, especially when you consider some of the high-profile actors in it, such as Ryo Ishibashi (Audition, The Grudge), Koyuki (The Last Samurai) and Takayuki Yamada (13 Assassins, Densha Otoko).

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Reflecting on the Kyoto Animation Incident From Japan

By now almost all of us have heard about the tragic news regarding Kyoto Animation (KyoAni). Not only did the news tragically affect anime fans around the world, it also affected Japan in general as it is now being regarded as the most violent event to occur in Japan following World War II. Now while most of you may know that I’m currently doing my Masters studies in Kyoto, what you may not know is that my dormitory is actually located two train stations away from where it happened (I was in class during this time). When I realised this, the weight of the tragedy affected me greatly. Naturally, my friends and family back home were worried about me when the news broke out so I reassured them that I was OK.

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Love & Japan Part 2: I Went on a Date

Who would’ve thought that more than a week later I would write a Part 2 of this post (I did promise I would do it in my previous post, didn’t I). So remember I talked to you about the drama club and how joining them had a positive effect on me and my confidence? Well, turns out it would also lead me to going on a date with one of the members. Now I’ll be honest about two things here: 1) I didn’t expect to have feelings for her and 2) I didn’t “technically” ask her out myself.

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