Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Yuri Revolution

So, after lazing away the past seven days, it was now time to go to work. This was the real reason we came to Tokyo, we just built a vacation around it. ;)
Anyway, we started the morning a little earlier, and we decided to dress up a little, just because. And everybody had the same idea, it seemed, we were a relatively good looking bunch. We met in the lobby, where my job was carry Erica's large suitcase full of stuff for the event.
On to the Yurakucho line to Kojimachi and the A/Z cafe. Kojimachi felt like a quiet suburb, except for the really tall buildings. The A/Z cafe was situated off the main drag, and it was this tiny little place. It was strange that something significant was about to happen here.
Anyway, we show up and start to get to work to transform this little cafe into something more suitable for Yuri anime fans and afficionados. My next job was to stuff the programs with flyers, and when that was done, the Japanese staff was really taking care for the rest, so I ended up just standing around the rest of the time, trying not to be in the way.
12:30 the doors open and our first visitors start to arrive, and they're mostly Japanese, obviously, and women. At 1pm, Rica and Erica open the event with statements and we're underway, and I'm lost almost immediately when Koudan show begins. A koudan is a traditional style of Japanese performance, by one person. The stories are usually traditional folk tales, but in this case the story is adaptation of Cutey Honey. I wish I knew more Japanese so I could have understood what was being said, as it seemed to be really funny. Which would be pretty much be my experience the entire event. Fortunately, Trevor and Ivy, worked really hard to translate everything that was being said, with assistance from Matt Thorn, the pre-eminent shoujo manga scholar.
I don't have my program in front of me, so I don't remember everybody who was there, but there was Tadeno Eriko, the mangaka we hosted at Yuricon 2003, Mori Natsuko, author of sci-fi novels, Moguchi Akiko, a Yaoi scholar, and a few others, like the editor of the defunct Anise magazine, whose name escapes me at the moment. The big name was Ito Bungaku, who originally coined the term yurizoku (lily tribe), he is 73, and is kinda of like the godfather of Yuri, I guess.
The event itself was more like a seminar than a fan gathering, but it was successfull nonetheless.
The main gist of the event, what all the guests were really excited about, was reclaiming the term Yuri from porn. Which made Ito-san very happy, since it was his original intention when he coined the term. It remains to be seen what the upshot from this will be, but everyone who attended came away with hope and good feelings for the future, and that's certainly a good start.
We were done by 9pm, and the plan was to do karaoke afterward with any staff, guests and attendees that wanted to come. Donna wasn't feeling well and went back to the room. So, we went to Pasela in Ikebukuro and had a large room to ourselves. I guess I should have probably taken pictures of the room, so Rachel and Tom can see how the Japanese do it, but it's not something I really wanted a visual record of. For those of you curious, I sang White Room, Enter Sandman, and When Doves Cry. Afterwards it was clear why Shawn is the Lead Singer of the band.
One thing I noticed is that none of the people I was hanging out with were real partiers or drinkers. I got lots of zOMG stares, just because I was able to drink a pitcher of beer by myself. Which is no big deal, really. Besides I paid $37 to get into the karaoke place, so I was going to get my money's worth. And I'm certainly now not the kind of drinker I used to be.
Anyway, Erica, Bruce and I hung til about 3am and then decided we'd better crash if we wanted to do anything on Sunday.
My pictures from the event here.


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