The Pink Tentacle blog, which I’ve mentioned before here, has become one of my favourite providers of internet-based ‘Huh-Would you look at that-How weirdly interesting’ moments. So today is Pink Tentacle Day in these parts.
It provides a reliable stream of interesting snippets in support of its mission to sample the unique charms of Japanese culture, particularly as it relates to technology, sf, fantasy and so on. Like lots of people, I’m fascinated by Japan despite never having been there: it’s got an intrinsic interest and appeal as a highly distinctive culture that had economic and historical foundations deep enough to armour it, at least somewhat, against the homogenising spread of US and Euro cultural hegemony over the last fifty years. The world needs diversity, and Japan definitely provides a bit of that.
I’m similarly fascinated, these days, by the rise of places like China and India, and – setting aside all the complicated economic, political and environmental issues that rise presents – the slow but steady spread of awareness of their culturally distinctive products and habits. It seems at least possible that twenty or thirty years from now these Asian giants will be setting the cultural agenda – particularly the pop culture and genre agenda – on a global scale to a far greater extent than they are now. They’re the future – not all of it, of course, but a big part of it.
What I’d really like is to find blogs that do for China and India what Pink Tentacle does so well for Japan, but I’ve not managed it so far. Until I do, a sampling of Pink Tentacle’s recent, typically varied, output:
Kijimuna – Okinawan tree sprites, part of a series of folklore-based paintings by Matthew Meyer
The things anime and manga fans do to their cars. Apparently these eye-popping vehicles are called itasha, and personally I think a few of these rumbling around Edinburgh would be a great addition to the streetscape.
And finally, How To Drill a Hole in Someone’s Head, from a late 18th century Japanese medical treatise. The full array of historical medical illustrations is very definitely not for the squeamish (you have been warned).