Wednesday, February 16 2005
It is perhaps the biggest story of ReDotPop 2004: baseball came to Sendai, bringing with it a dramatic strike between management and the players that struck at the very core of Japanese identity. The strike itself was so typically Japanese: the players continued to play weekday games -- so as not to inconvenience the fans too greatly -- and only suspended play on the weekends; and the fans became deeply embroiled in the matter. Holden wraps up his reflection on life in Japan, 2004, with this quintessential example of what it means to be Japanese in these times.
Is it imitation? Is it flattery? Is it postmodern homage when a band's name is a play on another's that has gone, most famously, before?
Wednesday, February 9 2005
Breebaart provides a walking tour of a special place in Dublin. In its brief 250 metres, Moore Street inadvertently draws the best portrait of modern and diverse Dublin that can be drawn; it mixes the banal and plain elements of small business with the unexpected contiguity of being surrounded by gaping commercial wealth.
Neighborly relations, intimacies among relations, relating, long-distance... a look at life in Japan, 2004, continues with stories of a resiliant abductee, a consummate baseball player, players in the film industry, and of course, members (of varying merit) in the Royal Family.
Wednesday, February 2 2005
Black History Month is subject to a lot of commercial hype, trotted out once a year, as it is. February alone cannot contain such history. But 2005's Black History Month is a good opportunity to look at the history lessons brought to us in just the past year.
New Years' celebrations in Japan can get pretty roudy, as anyone who has suffered asphyxiation by rice cake would tell you - if they were alive to tell. Like New Years' celebrations the world over, the occasion calls for reflection on the year just passed. Holden looks back on 2004 in ReDotPop land with tongue-in-cheek. This is the first of three installments.
Wednesday, January 26 2005
The people -- and the dogs -- of Romania now reside in a less threatening, more humane country.
In a land of plenty, the commodity of respect -- the sense of being socially recognized -- continues to be rationed, rendered scarce.
Wednesday, January 19 2005
The UK never really had that rather endearing US tradition surrounding yearbooks, proms and 'Class of' reunions. UK state schools did not encourage the alumni culture that the American educational system so enthusiastically sustains. Friends Reunited may be changing that.
Tuesday, January 18 2005
Prudish by American standards, we are slightly wayward by Iranian ones; nationalistic according to Americans, we are politically aloof according to Iranian elders; culturally proud by Iranian measures, we are often considered snobbish by American interpretations.
Wednesday, January 12 2005
After the 2004 US Presidential election, part of me still waited for the Diebold voting scandals to unfold, irrationally hoping that Bush's victory was simply a dirty backroom handshake hammered out during an Illuminati luncheon at Cracker Barrel.
Two women, an Egyptian and a Westerner, share a seat on a train between Alexandria and Cairo. On their journey, they are accompanied by a train of thought wherein the identity of the people of Egypt and its colonizers is as in flux as their historically relative and imagination-filled memories.
Despite the abundance of Mexican restaurants all over the globe, they are rarely placed in the same category as fine French or Japanese establishments. Burritos, tacos, fajitas, guacamole, quesadillas, salsa, tortilla chips and so forth have become so ubiquitous that what passes for Mexican food outside of Mexico is a poor approximation of what the country's diverse regions actually have to offer.
Wednesday, January 5 2005
These days, it's possible to have a porn website on the computer screen and an MTV video on the telly, and lose one's ability to distinguish one from the other.
Shopping within three European countries on a 'universal' credit card can prove to be most taxing to one's historical, not to mention monetary, tolerance. Damn the Irish, the French, and not least, the British!
Portable entertainment and communication technology has obliterated the distinction between public and private spaces, and the inconsiderateness that accompanies these devices is fast becoming the public status quo, which drives more people to tune out, hastening the spiral toward complete incivility.
Wednesday, December 29 2004
In John Peel I know that I (and many others) found a voice that championed the cultural margins and artistic mavericks; this voice, in turn, fostered a receptive sensibility with which to open-mindedly and open-heartedly appreciate marginal artists.
Poole writes of the last Southern 500, Republicans in blue collars, and why it's still the economy, stupid.
Wednesday, December 22 2004
Up in the Pop Culture Attic, where all those wonderful things that get trampled by the new and exciting eventually end up, radio DJs worthy of their stuff pull out and dust off some '50s R&B for the holiday season and for the joie de vivre this music brings.
Wednesday, December 15 2004
Muslim women, the very subject of the film that resulted in van Gogh's murder, may ultimately be the force that invoke proactive change within Islam.