university

He’s Korean, isn’t he?

Visiting Tokyo’s most famous Jesuit university, my friend and I immediately noticed this guy, and we both assumed he must be Korean. Why are we so quick to assume that very good-looking, masculine guys are Korean? He probably is!

Classy girlish looks at Jesuit school’s fall festival

Compared to the blonde yankii undressed on the pavement, these autumn looks at Tokyo’s finest Jesuit university are both girlish and classy. Drop pants, check. Luxury label, check. Overcoat with baseball cap, check. Tongue out of mouth, check. Expensive and complicated lady’s hair, check, check, check.

It’s not OK to wear slippers outdoors

OK. I said it. I try to be open-minded about fashion, but sometimes I just have to say “no!”

Walking towards an appointment at a university in Yotsuya, I noticed that this young guy was wearing a new fashion: an informal shirt with a plaid tie. The new part was that the tie material exactly matched a small detail at the bottom of the shirt’s seam. Way to retail matching parts and look put together even if the shirt is not conventionally associated with ties.

What deeply offended me is that this young guy was wearing slippers. Yuck! Walking through Tokyo in bedroom slippers is unsanitary, unpolished, and unacceptable. These soft slippers are bad, but not as bad as the other university I often visit where students (and some faculty) wear those horrid plastic slippers that are best relegated to “bathroom slipper status.” I think those wearing them consider them comfortable, but I just see them as the nastiest excuse for footwear on earth. I’d rather go barefoot!

I hope that this public fashion photo satisfies some of the readers who offered such lovely congratulations recently. I am sorry if not all street fashion is Tokyo Moe approved. Just noted and dispersed.

Student ceramic show

I did not have a chance to post these photos earlier. Late last month, we had the annual student ceramic show. My second one! I was so surprised to see almost all of what I exhibited: two lattice-shaped bizen vases, six mugs, and a few other bizen vases which I made in May during the studio trip.

In addition to my super loyal customer and Japanese aunt, my university friend bought one piece, as did the wife of a famous antique dealer and several people I do not know. In addition, I am now working on orders for more mugs.

More photos after the jump.

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Queer-Straight Divide

Out the door

As many of my readers know, I am maintaining two blogs: this one about personal interests (ranging oddly from flowers to pottery to male hair and female geeks), and another about a public policy research project sponsored by a prominent foundation and corporation. I have purposely not linked the two blogs, so as to provide more freedom for me to write candidly about my thoughts and interests in this blog.

Prior to moving to Tokyo, I have always been out. Youthful activism and a hostile academic environment shaped my professional career in unexpected ways. It is ironic that the elite academic department that blacklisted me is one that claims a dedication to cultural relativism and openness. I have no regrets, and have been able to reclaim and re-purpose my academic training into a career first in industry and now in public policy.

Creating a new life in Tokyo presents new challenges to a queer identity. With no threat of anti-gay violence in Japan, the flip side is a complete expectation of heterosexuality. And, for the first time, perhaps because of middle age, a new environment, a desire to “be harmonious,” and the sheer quantity of new people I meet every week, I feel an unfamiliar hesitation to challenge conceptions when I am asking new contacts for help and orientation.

This has led to some awkward situations for me. Continue reading long post