Archive for greece

Greek Otaku Radio 1st Anniversary Party

Posted in Errata, Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by speedxgrapher

Here we are again and time for another post, this time an event announcement (wow, haven’t done one of these in forever). You know, with the advent of social media, smartphones and what-have-you, posting this sort of event on a blog seems kind of a moot point to me. However, all these events are usually posted in Greek, seeing as they take place in Greece and I thought that one such as this, the one year celebratory landmark of a Greek, online otaku radio station, deserved to have a mention in English.

Greek Otaku Radio 1st Anniversary Party.

Greek Otaku Radio 1st Anniversary Party.

So then, on February 15th, 2014, the event will take place in Ostria Café (corner of 65, Themostokleous St and 6, Oikonomou St., Exarcheia). It all kicks off at 17:00 and will probably go on into the wee hours after midnight (at least, I assume it will). There’s plenty to see and do, from contests, lotteries, to cosplays and boardgames, among other things. There will be Japanese music, both from the decks as well as live, Greek adaptations of anime openings by MusicPrincessGR and Nikubitsa (I’ve listened to one’s asaptation of the Sword Art Online Opening, “Crossing Field” and it was not half bad).

The guys and gals of Greek Otaku Radio went as far as to make a video announcement for this event, which you can enjoy below, along with a few lines fot he aforementioned anime adaptations:

I’m even considering swinging by to check out the action, although that largely depends on how busy I’ll be with work. In any event, Happy Birthday Greek Otaku Radio!

Cheerio,

Speedgrapher

Feel, Pray, Give [Support Japan Music Event] Final Update

Posted in Archive, Events with tags , , , , , , , on April 28, 2011 by speedxgrapher

Back again dear readers (wow, 3 posts in a week – that’ s scary; maybe we should do this charity thing more often, if for no other reason than forcing me to write here). This is indeed the final update on our (Bloody K., Kami, KrizD, Kyoshiro, N8 and yours truly) effort to provide some support for the people of Fukushima, struck by multiple calamities and still struggling with hardships and the danger of radioactivity.

It all started with an idea over coffee, the event took place on the 15th of April and just two short weeks later we were able to send our boxed prayers and support, with the help of everyone who chose to lend a hand in helping these people in need. Did we change the world? No. Did we turn the tide of this disaster? Surely not, but we did what we could , knowing that each person receiving help is one less person in dire need of it; and when every such gesture is added to the others, then perhaps change can be effected, hope restored, lives rebuilt. We are but a pebble and proud to count ourselves among every other pebble of support from around the world.

The clothes have shipped and are on their way to Fukushima as we speak.

It’ s been an interesting process, revealing how easily will turns into a way, as well as how unwillingness can be an insurmountable obstacle. If anything, it was a very edifying experience, illustrating not just the weight of words and images, but also the deeper meaning of one’ s presence or absence. Thank you all for your support – you know who you are.

Peace,

Speedgrapher

P.S. If you are interested in the full story, you can begin here, then read the two previous posts on this blog. Also, KrizD has posted more photos of the clothes’ shipping on his blog. All photos are courtesy of Kyoshiro.

Feel, Pray, Give [Support Japan Music Event] Update

Posted in Archive, Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2011 by speedxgrapher

Hello all. Just a quick update on the charity event. The clothes have been bought (for children aged 0-9) and we are now ready to send them out. Kyoshiro has contacted the relief group in charge of distributing them and will have them shipped on Tuesday. Below you will find our most recent contact with Hiromi Komatsu, as well as some pertinent information.

*   *   *

Hello, Ms Olga K.

I am Hiromi Komatsu who is in charge of a warehouse that goods to people in Iwaki should be in. First of all, I’d like to say that we really thank you for your kindness and concerns. Clothes for kids are acceptable. I’d like to ask you to do below if it’s possible.

(1) Boxes should be separate into three categories ; for babies, boys, girls.
(2) Lists of goods inside boxes in brief would be appreciated.
(3) Second hand clothes are also no problem only if they look fine.
(4) Please let us know how many boxes you will send before you ship them.

Our address is here.

to Komatsu
Iwaki branch of Nihon Univa Counter Crisis Team
c/o Kasano Insurance Company
Tabata 8, Kamiyada-cho, Jouban,
Iwaki-city, Fukushima 971-8131
Japan

or you can copy and paste below.

〒971-8131 福島県いわき市常磐上矢田町田端8
(株)カサノ特級保険内
日本ユニバ いわき支部 小松
Japan

We have a web site to show people our activities. Please check it out when you have spare time. It’s only in Japanese but there are many photos in there I hope that you could understand it.

We will definitely send your clothes to children in North-East Japan.

Thank you again, Ms Olga K., for your heart warming presents. 😀

*   *   *

Again, thank you all who attended or contributed to this effort and know that the people benefiting from it truly appreciate it.

Happy Easter Everyone,

Speedgrapher

Feel, Pray, Give [Support Japan Music Event] @ Da Sein (15/04/2011)

Posted in Archive, Events with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2011 by speedxgrapher

Been a while again… Lots of things going on and an absolutely bare minimum of time: MANGAIJIN ~memories~ came out via Blurb.com just in time for COMICDOM CON ATHENS 2011 (more on that in a future post), over the past two months I have written two new detective stories (“Culture Pop” and “The Gargoyle’s Song”), one set to come out in May and the other (probably) June, then there was COMICDOM CON, of course, as well as the lengthy reports that followed it.

That said, just a week after the convention, we got together with a couple of friends and hosted a charity music event for the victims of the recent earthquake, tsunami and danger of radioactive exposure from the reactor on Fukushima (where radiation levels have now reached those of the Chernobyl disaster, although the contamination is not as widespread).

The whole idea was first mentioned by Kyoshiro around a month ago and after a get-together, KrizD, N8, Bloody K. and myself were on board (as well as Kami, added later). Details on the event were posted on Facebook, a number of blogs, Anime.gr, communicated via posters, as well as a donation box, placed at the entrance of the Hellenic-American Union, over the three days of the comic book convention.

Although we encountered a number of problems at the beginning of the event, with a bit of obsessive compulsion, divine intervention and the presence of one Alexander Markezis, CFO of a corporation known only as “Tremere”, we were able to get the whole thing off the ground. I would like to take a moment and thank all of you who attended this very special event, thereby showing true affection for this country, whose culture we so cherish. Even at the outset, there were those who said that it was meaningless, that any amount we gathered would be insignificant in the face of the disaster, or by comparison to Japan’s economy. I said it then and I say it now: no amount of help is meaningless. No, it won’t save Japan, it won’t even be noticed by anyone other than those who receive the help, but, in this case they are all we care about, the only thing that matters. It is what we could do, so we did it. Pure and simple.

As we speak, the amount collected has been used to buy clothes for children in the struck areas, which will be then distributed via a local relief group in Fukushima. Again, thank you all for being there.

As for the event itself, our roster and succession at the decks was a bit wacky, with KrizD starting, followed by Kami, followed by myself and finally, our lovely freak, N8. We also had a small exhibition at Da Sein’s basement, comprised of photos from various areas struck by the three calamities, as well as art from all over the world, drawn in support of Japan. Furthermore, Kyoshiro selected some pieces from the blog Voices From Japan, which consist Tweets from and related to the situation in the country. I translated the texts into Greek and Kyoshiro was in charge of editing, printing and setting up our exhibits.

Although not at my best (far from it, in fact – three days of COMICDOM and the post-Con edit-binge stretched me to my absolute limit, which accounts for falling asleep at 19:00 this past Monday and waking at 06:30 on Tuesday), I did take some pictures at the event and so I shall cease my rant and leave you with these. Enjoy.

Yours in earnest,

Speedgrapher

P.S. You might notice I still use the nicknames from way back when. This probably won’t change, so learn to live with it.

Speedy-san, Speedy-san, Wherever Are You Now?

Posted in Errata with tags , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by speedxgrapher

Wow it’s been… what, six months now? I think that’s accurate, almost to the day (well, minus 2 days). In those 6 months I have not gone to any of the Asian-oriented parties  (and I say “Asian” since Korea seems to be the new craze), I have not taken any cosplay pictures and – evidently – I have not blogged anything over here. Last time I hailed you dear readers from the depths of my proverbial hole, it was about CHORISSU, the fanzine we put out with Umi & Sora during last year’s COMICDOM CON. It was an announcement of where it would be available post-Con, as well as a poll for the possibility of a next issue and its contents. Although feedback was positive, it was also very limited (only 26 people).

Let’s deviate a bit here and talk a bit more about CHORISSU: bottom line, it did not go well, despite what I was hoping for, given its run at the Con. We may have sold a couple hundred copies overall (I can’t be actually sure – I have lost track of the thing), but all the verbal feedback I got from comic shops, as well as some friends who have been in the fanzine scene far longer and far more regularly than I (not to mention some friends who work in graphic design), led me to one simple conclusion: we tanked it. There is no point in elaborating on the (varied) flaws and mistakes but suffice to say, the end result of the fanzine’s run got the team… disheartened – silently and discreetly perhaps (for the most part) but disheartened nonetheless. Although I did “lobby” for a second issue, which would incorporate some major changes and not repeat the majority of the mistakes, it never got off the e-talks and I sincerely doubt it will, anymore…

Now, given the facts described above, as well as Umi & Sora being on hold (for, as Kyoshiro had wisely predicted, real life will catch up sooner or later – two are outside the country on Erasmus programs, two are swamped with their studies and at least three with work), it should come as no surprise that I have been absent from this blog for so long. As for the so-called “J-scene”? Well, things are going as I feared they would – good cosplays are very few and far between (although Salonika seems to still resist – bless you Cassiel!), exhibitionism is now the main “theme” and worst of all (?), the new trend is Korean Pop (K-Pop) and soon, it seems, all-things-Korea (though I doubt it will last that long, since K-fans in Greece are a minority within the minority of J-fans) . I will be the first to say that most of J-Pop, especially the one I cannot associate with any anime, is more than a little annoying, but K-Pop is barely music at all and almost exclusively boy-band oriented. Sorry, no thanks – I couldn’t stand Backstreet Boys even as far back as junior high. Finally, all the varied teams that were popping left and right (which, in my opinion, were a good thing) have all but vanished. Over the last 7 months, the only event outside of Athens or Salonika proper was one organized in May, at Kerkyra’s Corfu – and then there was silence.

Where does that leave Otaku Lens then? Truth is, I am not sure. A couple of days ago I had a discussion with a friend over the net and she pointed out that Otaku Lens was not just about the parties, but also a number of other things related to modern Japanese culture. That much is true, I guess, with things filed under Oni Market and Nihon no Weirdness but one cannot deny that the main driving force was my love for what I hoped was growing in Greece and the documenting of it. Sadder still, over the past 6 months I have not found anything much to my liking in either the manga or anime departments…

Now, I imagine that the negativity fostered by what I see here in Greece affects my judgment, but there are some other factors to consider: for one, the translation industry of manga in English is waning, with ever fewer (and appallingly similar) things being solicited by American companies (just take a look at the DIAMOND PREVIEWS CATALOG and you’ll get the idea). I can’t find anything I have not already read in another title. As for anime, well, the disappointment is even worse: apart from re-issues of older series (we are talking torrent-wise here, which reflects the actual industry), I have found just two things which somewhat drew my interest, one being DANCE IN THE VAMPIRE BUND, which is nothing terribly special, just well-executed and AOI BUNGAKU, which takes classic Japanese literature (such as KOKORO) and re-interprets it in a more sinister light, which I have not yet watched. As for what is considered widely popular, it’s a complete nightmare: HIGH-SCHOOL OF THE DEAD. Boobs with a mind of their own, swords, guns and, well, zombies. I find zombie movies idiotic to begin with (except a few classics, such as ARMY OF DARKNESS and a funny one, SHAUN OF THE DEAD), zombie anime full of fan-service and devoid of scenario, don’t get me started…

So, again, I ask (probably just myself): where does that leave Otaku Lens? Still no idea but my intelligent friend (not to mention she is cute as a sugar-cane) has got me thinking and maybe the results of the process will be made available to you all. Only time will tell…

Until Yamato flies again,

Speedgrapher

Oni Market #25: When PVC Βoobs Became…

Posted in Oni Market with tags , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2010 by speedxgrapher

Art! Yup, that’s right: now every hentai figurine collector with the barest skill in miniature modeling can become a famous artist. Oh, no, wait: first they would have to forget any notion and the faintest idea of what these figurines are and get someone with mad PR skills to sell the farce to the collectively brain-dead. Hello again readers and though the reason for this post originates in the Greek “E” Magazine #997 (23/05/2010), we will actually be turning our attention waaay further west, to the U.S.A.

E Magazine #997 - Cover

Jessica Lichtenstein, interviewed for said “E” Magazine, has become the “art” crowd’s new beloved child by taking 25 hentai manga figurines and building a variety of small dioramas around each one. According to her (as well as many who reported on her work), this is an exhibition that connects toys and the act of playing, with female sexuality but above and beyond all, the shedding of taboos and a celebration of  female empowerment (whereby and if we take into account what her exhibits are, “empowerment” for her is obviously the liberty of being a slut or a sex toy, under a feminist label – unless having a female, doggy-posed figurine’s ass as a track for billiard balls means something else). This load of crap (rather conspicuously entitled “Undressed”) was actually given space at New York’ s Gallery Nine5 “and has enthused critics and public alike”.

Yup, "empowered, yes siree!

I cannot even begin to explain on how many levels this is wrong, from her supposedly referencing Murakami (whose work has actually absolutely nothing to do with her pile of dung, except for the common manga culture denominator – only he sculpts his figures and statues himself AND actually knows about the culture), to her not mentioning the figurines’ actual creators anywhere, to her claiming that she is “supplied with the figurines from Japanese vendors”, as if they were anything rare and not available at the nearest comic book or hobby store, to actually claiming (and somehow convincing a multitude of idiots) that posing an Ikki Tousen hentai figure on a miniature toilet somehow conveys a deep meaning.

Seriously, has art stagnated so much that people need to believe that kind of ludicrous analysis and PR trash to feel their horizons expanding? I though that post-modernism with its “conceptual” empty canvases or “black square on empty canvas – untitled” were as ridiculous as you can get. Evidently, I was wrong. Really, if you are so desperate for “new”,  either come up with something really new, or re-invent the old but under no circumstances should you try to pass off as revolutionary and groundbreaking something that can be debunked by the hundreds of thousands of otaku rooms and dioramas around the globe.

Urd from Ah! Maegami-sama.

What amazes me, is how people keep writing (in print or on the web) about “figurines resembling manga heroines” (like this moron here), or commenting on the sculpture and pose (like this retard over here): they ARE freaking manga and hentai heroines and Jessica Lichtenstein did not come up with any of them OR their poses!!! That clear enough? Do your research people.

What distresses me, is that a rather decent magazine like “E” would buy into this American hype and make a cover story out of it. Really, was that all you could find, all you could come up with…? The implications behind an answer (not forthcoming) fill me with dread.

Speedgrapher

P.S. If you want to see more, as well as some clever commentary, you can go here.

(Bent-out of) Shape of Things to Come

Posted in Errata, Events with tags , , , , , on May 16, 2010 by speedxgrapher

I think we are rapidly reaching, if we have not already reached, the lowest point concerning otaku culture in Greece (well, to be fair, in Athens). Now, before I explain how I have reached this seemingly dire-sounding conclusion, let’s rewind just a little: as you have obviously noticed, I don’t come to the parties anymore, not even occasionally (with the exception of Sakura Syndrome’s last, where I remained for all of half an hour – and then again only because I was in the neighborhood). Some of the reasons are already known and have been analyzed at some length (both here and inside CHORISSU). A couple of days back, I met some people who frequent the parties and one asked me why I never come by any more. My answer was that, besides all else, I am bored to death: the parties have reached a point where they are an endless repetition (the Harajuku Street Party being the only recent exception) of music, of things that happen, of highs and especially lows, with the whole affair having turned into a noisome, kindergarden cosplay catwalk. At least, until recently, there was the ingenuity, care and variation which characterized a great number of said cosplays.

Until recently…  Although I don’t show up, I keep myself informed and I browse through the pictures that people upload in a number of places on the internet.  Before moving on, let me state clearly that I will not name people, exceptions or whatnot: I don’t know if it’s the fault of the people taking the pictures or of the people featured within them, but there has been a steady decline in the visual value of the parties which, in my opinion, hit rock bottom at the J-Horror event. The (vast majority of) the cosplays I saw in the pictures were so badly made, so mismatched and ill-presented (simply, if harshly put, so ridiculous and ugly), that they do not even measure up to the very first cosplays at KABATZA. Note that, of course, this opinion is based on the pictures I saw, which made my eyes bleed (again, I have no way of knowing if this is the fault of the pictures themselves or their subjects).

Take a breath, let it sink in…

I realize you will probably hate me for this opinion, maybe even stop reading this blog altogether. Some who can keep a more cool head, may reason that perhaps this was the case in a single party or perhaps that I have not seen enough material. Could be: nothing’ s impossible – merely improbable. If you really believe so, retrace your steps in time with the photographic material that’s been posted all over the place (including here) and I am sure you will notice how the majority of cosplayers change for the worst, whereas a few exceptions not only give it their all, but raise to even greater levels. However, they really are isles in the ocean and I cannot help but believe that when they are fed up, they will just stop.

Now, you may ask, point out, accuse or whatever else fits as a reaction – certainly enraged and outraged – that “Who are you to talk? You never cosplay! Do you know how difficult… blah-blah-blah”. I never said (and in fact, neither did anyone else) that you MUST cosplay just for the fuck of it and “shame on you for not doing it right”. I don’t cosplay because I am not good at it and more importantly, I am not built for it. The anime / manga / game characters for which I could plausibly pass can be counted on one hand, if even that. You must simply realize that, sometimes, it’s OK not to cosplay, if you won’t (or can’t – no shame there either) put your mind and heart into it. It won’t be the end of the world… It’s certainly better that turning what used to be something creative and fun into a “pat-me-in-the-back” freakshow.

What I see, is something that I used to love, turned into a dying trend and if it doesn’t do itself a favor and die out, in its current form it’ s simply too ridiculous to be worth the effort. Therefore, I will not be posting any more party announcements (as I did not post the Akai Panda Anniversary), until I feel there’s something to it again. Of course, it’s entirely possible that there won’t be something to it again… Mind you, this is not some kind of threat, condition, whatever – I have been updating the blog only sporadically and really, it’s not like my decision will affect your lives in any significant way (if it does, however, I am honored that you think – or have thought until now – so highly of me). There’s still photographic material in my backlogs, as well as other Japan-related things that I intend to post, when I have the time. I am simply releasing myself form the self-imposed obligation to be consistently up to speed with the various J-parties and giving you some food for thought.

Whether you chew on it or not, is your decision.

Speedgrapher out.

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