Kobe Jojo tour Part1

I traveled to Kobe at the end of last November. I have been to Kobe several times because my home is in Mie prefecture near by. Also my friend lives in Kobe so I often visit her there.   This time was little bit different. I traveled with my otaku friend who lives in Kyushu. We had two goals on our trip. One was to visit a Jojo themed bar in Kobe. The other was to attend a Jojo fan event in Osaka. My otaku friend is also a Jojo fan and we had promised that we would visit Kobe someday. Also I heard that a Jojo event would be held in Osaka during our Kobe trip, so we took decisive action and planned our trip accordingly.  (It was a very short trip. We had only two days because we drew up the schedule according to the event date. At first I planned to take a trip another day when we could take three consecutive holidays. When I heard about the event, I asked her what kind of itenerary she prefers. This was the first time for her to travel to Kobe. I wondered if she would want to have more time for sight seeing than for fan event. She answered; “Hey! Both you and I are otaku. So you must already know the answer. What would an otaku choose between a fan event and a sight seeing?  It’s a silly question!) This was a trip of Jojo otaku, by Jojo otaku, for Jojo otaku. We titled our trip “Two days in Kobe and Osaka; We reject our humanity Jojo!” tour. (This phrase is from “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.” They are the words of Dio, the last enemy. He cried this out and became a vampire.)

At this point, I have an announcement to make. During this trip all of our conversations could only be understood by Jojo fans. Lots of these Jojo fan phrases will appear in this diary. I will annotate as best I can but you still probably won’t understand.

(This picture and translation is from this website    http://www.mangareader.net/ A lot of manga translated in English are uploaded on this website.) By the way, I wonder if it’s also OK to translate this phrase of Dio to “I quite being a human.”  I don’t have enough skill in English translation to criticize someone else’s translation, but as a Jojo fan, I felt that the above translation is too perfect and too correct. One of the attractive points of Jojo is the characteristic phrases. This phrase of Dio is such a phrase. In this scene, he says these words just like “I quit this job(or something).” Of course, it’s an unordinary way to use this phrase even in Japanese, but this “extraordinariness” is exactly characteristic of “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” and I prefer to keep the bizarreness of his wording even in the English translation. If this translation is OK, the title of our trip should be “Two days in Kobe and Osaka; We quit being human Jojo!” tour.

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An essay about the work of Hirohiko Araki and his fans.

The poster for “The Hiraizumi Declaration on the Tohoku Restoration” became a popular point of mention on the internet. Hirohiko Araki drew the illustration for the poster.

Iwate Prefecture announced “The Hiraizumi Declaration on the Tohoku Restoration” on July 3rd. Iwate Prefecture in the Tohoku (northeast) region of Japan, there was a large amount of damage from the March 11th Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Hiraizumi, a city in Iwate Prefecture, has had several cultural heritage sites inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in June. This declaration was announced to not only commemorate these sites, it was also to inspire a sence of resolve and revival from the disaster. Then, Iwate officials requested Hirohiko Araki to draw an illustration for the occasion.

I heard that the governor of Iwate is a big fan of Hirohiko Araki’s work, “Jojo’s Bizare Adventure” and he requested work from Araki. Although Araki is not from Iwate, he is from Miyagi prefecture, where they also suffered serious damage from the earthquake and tsunami.

It’s not the first time that Araki was commissioned by an unexpected party. In 2007, one of Araki’s illustration decorated the cover of an American science journal “Cell.” “Cell” is one of the most authoritative journals in the world on biology. It is said that “It is highly likely you will win the Noble prize if your thesis appears in this journal three times.” This journal is especially serious among science journals, and the cover is usually a microphotograph of a cell etc. It is a rare and unprecedented case that an illustration by a manga author appears on the cover of such a journal. Why did such a thing happen? There is an article about this incident on this fan site. http://kajipon.sakura.ne.jp/art/jojo-cell.html 「祝!米科学誌『Cell』表紙を荒木先生が飾る!」 (Congratulations! Mr. Araki graces the cover of the science journal “Cell” !)

In fact, the top thesis of this journal was written by a Japanese research team. And the team leader, Professor Sutou and the other members on the research team were big fans of Jojo. So they asked Araki to draw the cover.

According to Yahoo news, they discovered a certain protein cell that concerns nerve transfer. It is expected that this discovery will lead to the elucidation of the cure for a cranial nerve disease (It’s probably too difficult for me to explain and translate properly.) This protein cell was named “Scrapper.” Araki’s illustration character-izes this “Scrapper” and expresses the work of the cell.

I think that this news tells of the peculiarity of his work in “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” and the fans of the manga. “Jojo’s…”  was not always the No. 1 manga in the Weekly Shonen Jump. There were more popular manga like “Dragon Ball” or “One Piece” in the Weekly Shonen Jump and these manga has much bigger audience and their appeal spans all age groups. “Jojo’s…” is not a commonly likable manga compared to them. However, this manga has deep and dedicated fans. It’s the reason why the manga has been the second longest manga series in the Weekly Shonen Jump. Often people become fans of Jojo in their teens, and they remain fans of Jojo even when they became adult. Then, some of them commission Araki’s work for various situation. I wrote about how Araki participated in the “Bande Dessinee Project,” Musee du Louvre in France before. At that time, I heard that the reason why Araki invited to join project was because the curator of an art museum in Japan, who was a project adviser, was a Jojo fan. Of course, that shouldn’t be the only reason. He can always be relied on to produce high quality work, so they felt comfortable commissioning Araki for such an important project


diary/June 2nd Gardening

The roses on my veranda are blooming. I bought many roses since I began to be engrossed in flower arrangement. I have nine pots of roses now. They started blooming this week.  This picture is of a white rose that I bought at a flower shop in Yokohama. I don’t know the name of this. The shop assistant didn’t know also. Although I thought that it might be a “Creamy Eden,” it might be wrong.

This is a climbing rose named “Pierre de Ronsard,” that I bought via Amazon. It was very beautiful, but it wasn’t so cute after it bloomed too much. So I cut the flowers when the bud was opening and put them in a wine glass. I will make them an arrangement after I enjoy them in my room for a while.

This is a floribanda rose named “Gold Bunny.” They have a very sweet smell. This one only has a short stem, so I put it in a shot glass.  When they are togethering in small a space, it’ like a flower shop. I feel pleased with myself.