2019 Manga Reading & Collecting Project

In my goals I mentioned one of the ways I was going to construct my TBR over the year – and part of that was to include at least 1 book mentioned in the “1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die” book, edited by Paul Gravett.

1001 comicsNow, this book encompasses a lot more comics than it does manga, but it goes much further than your standard list of “comics to read” list by including over 150 books by Japanese authors (not all manga). Most of which are or have been available in English.

At the base level of my goals, the plan for this year is to read at least one book mentioned in it every month. But more than that, I want to be actively collecting and reading what I can until I reach the end of my project, even beyond 2019.

To pick what I will read over the year, I am using a TBR jar. Hopefully this will help me focus on the titles specifically for this project. I’m not only reading manga from this book, but it is certainly going to be front and center.

Picking what I buy will be a bit more difficult. I’ve already placed a rather embarrassing order through a number of online second hand vendors… partly because I knew my budget for this year was going to be quite a bit tighter. Going forward into 2019, I’m going to have to be more strategic in how and when I pick up the remaining titles. But, at least at this point I have a large collection to work from!

I do have a longish video up on YouTube about this project where I list:

  • All of the books I own completely, and have read
  • All of the books I own completely, and have started reading
  • All of the series I don’t own completely, but can begin reading some of
  • And, All of the series I don’t own completely, but can’t read any until I buy more

For some reason that just worked to divide the titles up that way! I didn’t include a list of titles that exist in English, but I have not collected yet.

If you want a complete list of the titles, I’d recommend picking the book up for yourself, or checking out Paul Gravett’s website: (http://www.paulgravett.com/1001_comics/index/). He provides a list, but you only get the text descriptions in the book.

I’m looking forward to a very good year of reading!

 

I Was On The Radio! (talking about manga)

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!

radio

 

MY COLLECTING HISTORY + tips on growing a massive collection

I’ve often had the question on my YouTube channel of “how many manga do you own” and “how did you collect so many”. Here is a little history of how I’ve collected such a huge collection of manga, with tips on how you could do the same… (Think before you decide to collect a huge collection. A huge collection is fun, but isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be!)

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ONE: Start Early, and Be Consistent.

I started collecting manga in 2003, and in 15 years, have amassed a collection of over 5000+ volumes. That means that I’ve collected nearly a volume of manga every day! Every. Single. Day. That’s a ton of manga! I’ve had a few ups and downs in collecting, but manga has been something that I’ve regularly invested in. I couldn’t have done this in a few purchases, it’s taken a LONG time to get here, and consistent shopping is really the only reason my collection is now bursting at the seams.

TWO: Collect With a Friend.

I’ve been collecting with my sister since day 1. This was one of the major things that we bonded over when I moved away after university (and she still lived at home). So technically, of the 5000+ volumes of manga in the collection, half of them are actually hers. She has slightly different tastes than me, so we have been good at keeping to collecting our own series. Because it’s two people collecting together, we’ve been able to collect so many more than if we were doing it alone.

THREE: Don’t Have Discriminating Tastes.

It’s basic math. If you subtract from your collection it will take you longer to accumulate more manga. We don’t subtract from our collection. This isn’t the recommended way to collect, but it’s the way that we do it. Even if we don’t like it, we keep it in the collection. It’s a major reason why the collection has gotten so massive!

FOUR: Don’t Read Scans.

You shouldn’t read them anyways, because they are BAD for the industry. But, when we started collecting, scans weren’t a thing. I didn’t have a chance in the early days to be tempted by scans. And if scans aren’t an option, the only way to read manga is to either buy it or borrow it. If you want to grow your collection, you need to buy the books you’re reading! I did later discover scans (in recent years, even) which I was a bit naive about how detrimental they were… but while I was reading them, I didn’t have a desire to buy them… my collection barely grew at all during the 2-3 years that I was reading scans. Now that I’m back to avoiding scans, my collection has been growing by leaps-and-bounds.

FIVE: Get a Job.

The more expendable income you have, the more you can buy manga. I discovered manga as an adult, and I’ve always made manga a priority in my budget. In the early days I was more foolish with my money, and I did take on debt thanks to my interest in manga, but now with a very manga-specific budget I’m able to collect nearly as much as I want without going further into debt! Manga is NOT worth going into debt over!!

SIX: Reorganize Your Financial Priorities.

If you can’t afford the manga you want, maybe you’re spending too much in other areas. I’ve made tough choices, and gotten rid of expensive hobbies (like giving up paid-for TV services, and collecting 80s toys) completely because I wanted more money to dedicate to manga.

SEVEN: Buy Used.

It’s one of the main ways I’ve been able to add so many manga, so quickly. Used is a great way to find good titles, for a good deal. I’ll often pick up titles for more than 50% off the cover price. But, I do caution you that if you’re not careful, you could actually end up spending more on used than new. I have a motto to NEVER pay more than cover price. Sometimes it means waiting a decade for a volume I really want, but I’ve found some amazing deals on titles I REALLY wanted this way! It pays to be patient!

What Kind of Collector Are You?

I’ve been doing a bit of reading of academic journals lately. Partly because I’ve been working on a handful of scripted videos for my YouTube channel… and partly because I like reading academic journals.

But, in doing so, I’m coming across topics I want to talk about that don’t fit into the other things I’m doing. I think, I am going to start talking about them here.

So, today I am going to ask you, “What kind of collector are you?”

I was reading this article:

Belk, Russell W., et al. “Collectors and Collecting.” Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 15, no. 1, Jan. 1988, pp. 548-553.

There is quite a robust discussion of collecting behavior in it – which touch on some of the topics that I’m looking at adding to some videos. I won’t go into everything this article talks about, but the main point that I found interesting was how collectors were categorized.

Type A Collector: Continue reading