So, my sister and I have been fans of anime and manga for over 20 years now. And because of our loooong history being fans, we’ve had strange opportunities to “nerd-out” in public!
Our first chance was when we visited Japan in 2009. We went on a tour for fans, and our tour was subsequently interviewed by a local English-language newspaper. We were sadly misquoted in the piece, but it was still pretty exciting at the time to see the online engagement by Japanese fans with our words. Particularly my sisters’s (at the time) obsession with MatsuJun.
A few years later, we were asked to be interviewed by a photographer for a local magazine. She had been commissioned to do a photo essay about collector’s in the city. My name was passed along by a colleague who is very involved in the local art-scene. So a few weeks later, we were interviewed, and a large portrait of ourselves in front of our collection appeared in this magazine. I heard that this year the magazine has now ceased. But still, it was a cool (albeit an embarrassing) experience.
Because of that photo essay we’ve been contacted a few times for different opportunities, all of which were turned down. But, the latest phone call was from a local radio show “CBC : The Homestretch” requesting an interview. This was for a program series they were doing about ‘passionate hobbyists’, so they have a wider berth than just “collectors”.
We agreed to the interview. A few weeks later we had a knock on the door, and our interviewer came in with her microphone on and ready. And a few more weeks after a surprisingly awkward and unprepared interview, that left us both feeling emotionally anxious, we were on the radio.
Because the interview was quite awkward (on our end), I was especially nervous to listen to the program. I couldn’t do it live. I waited a day and listened to the broadcast online. It’s not bad. But there are some things about it that aren’t awesome which I need to address, before I share it with you…
- The in Japanese introduction is unfortunate (I’m not sure I’m confident this was written by a Japanese speaker). Do you really say, “aishimasu” toward inanimate objects? I would say “manga ga suki desu”. Not “watashi wa manga o aishimasu”. So that sounded weird to me… and the off-the-cuff remark “That’s Japanese for, ‘I love manga,’ or close enough”. Ummm…. No. There’s no “close enough” about it. Granted, he probably didn’t know what he was saying and was actually just remarking on his pronunciation. But, still… it comes off as an excuse for not doing your homework. Almost as bad as saying, “Ai rabu manga” in a Japanese accent and calling it “close enough” …urk.
- The Japanese koto/shamisen playing over our discussion of why we like manga was sooooooooo wrong! Why! Why did that have to play? Yes, we were talking about how much we like Japan, but we aren’t Japanese. It came off (to me) as orientalism. Which I… no…just no!
- The way the interview was cut is very good. Some of the worst parts of the interview that I was dreading to hear were removed. But, some context may have inadvertently been removed as well, which makes me sound like I approve of reading scans. I state that we started buying manga because the only way to read manga at the time was to buy it. But, that was more a comment on (at the time) small library collections, and just the lack of availability of titles in regular book stores… not scans. So, no, I still do not approve of scanslations or scans reading. Please don’t take that message away from this.
Okay, so now that I’ve prepared you for the worst… it’s actually really not that bad. I may be reading more into it than I should (because that’s what I do). And, I certainly don’t think any mistake made was malicious in any way.
Plus, I had fun doing it. It was a good experience. And, I’d probably do it again.
So, here we are! Click the radio to listen, if you’re interested!