The Renaissance Man

I met my friends Devine and Rekka a few years ago in Tokyo, while they were based there — we first met after a few Twitter exchanges, that led to a “hey, let’s meet up for a beer.” For the past year, they’ve been living a nomadic life on a boat — you can follow all of their adventures through their Hundred Rabbits project/Patreon. Devine posted this great essay today, that I think does a fantastic job of describing what a nomadic life like theirs can be like, and why it may be worth making the plunge.

PauseDraw

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Even though I’m no longer in Tokyo running my PauseTalk events, it warms my heart to see that its offshoot, PauseDraw, is still going strong. Unlike PauseTalk where talking’s the thing, the sister series is all about getting a group of people together to draw, draw, and then draw some more. Originally started by Luis Mendo (with a first edition in Amsterdam), he was then joined by Adrian Hogan once the series moved to Tokyo (along with Luis), and they’ve been going non-stop ever since. You can stay updated on upcoming PauseDraw events through its Facebook page and Twitter account — the next one takes place Sunday, September 11, 2016 (each edition usually takes place on the first Sunday of the month).

Why I Don’t Tweet About Japan

I just posted something on SNOW Magazine about Momus‘ latest podcast, in which he talks about his new life in Osaka — he has recently relocated to the city. Momus used to do a lot of these talk-only podcasts, often recording them as he was walking around a city (Tokyo, New York, Berlin) describing the things he was experiencing. I really loved these “virtual tours,” and it even inspired me to do a few of my own.

Now in this new one — which he says “may” turn into a series, which I hope so — he mentions me, saying how he used to follow my blog back in the day, and he says how it’s interesting that when you look at pretty much all of the tweeting I do these days — which is admittedly a lot — that there is barely ever any mention of anything Japan-related. Now one thing that should be obvious is that I’ve moved all of my Japan-related art/design/culture content to SNOW Magazine, and the accompanying Twitter account, but there is something to what he says.

Momus states that it’s possible that after a foreigner has been here for long enough — I’ve been here for 10+ years — he starts losing interest in the things around him, and I can’t entirely disagree. I’m certainly no longer intrigued or surprised by the differences between Japan and other cultures. These have become routine for me. But I will admit that over the years my interests have evolved, and I’ve taken a bigger interest in things that lie outside of this country — you could probably count recent projects I’ve launched, like Codex and The Magaziner, as a reflection of this.

There was certainly a long period time where I was so obsessed and in love with all of the things I was seeing and experiencing in Japan that yes, it pretty much made up everything I was absorbing in terms of daily culture. But the past few years have seen me re-connecting with what’s happening in the rest of the world, and it has changed my perspective on things. Now, this is not to say that I don’t genuinely like what I cover on SNOW Magazine — I really do — but it’s also something I produce as a “project” now. As a whole, I’m just not as excited or intrigued by Japanese culture (meaning in art, design, culture, and more) as I used to be. Now whether this is due to me turning jaded or because of a general decline in what is being produced on the cultural landscape, that’s a topic for another post.

Does this mean I lose my Tokyo Boy crown?

Where to Find Me

Every month or so, Warren Ellis puts out a post on his site in which he explains where you can find him on the web and elsewhere — sort of a monthly updated FAQ on what he’s up to — and I figure I should do one as well, since I’m sure that someone who has just arrived to my site for the first time might have trouble understanding what exactly I’m up to these days.

First off, this week saw the launch of my latest project, The Magaziner, a new site that will cover the growing push of magazine into the digital world — something I’ve been covering here for a couple of months now, but realized it made more sense to create a proper space for it. It is also accompanied by a Twitter account, which I’m now using for my magazine-related tweets, and has a Facebook fan page too.

Last month I also launched a new weekly music podcast I call Codex. It’s usually me playing a selection of 10 tracks, but I’ll have the occasional themed shows (like the next one), guest episodes (soon), and I’m also going to start adding what I call the Codex Coda, short guest mixes. You can download all previous episodes here and subscribe to an RSS feed — it’s in the iTunes Store too.

Radio OK FRED is the long-running music podcast series I do with Editions OK FRED‘s Yoshi Tsujimura and Audrey Fondecave, and although it’s been on yet another extended break (apologies for that), it still pops up every once in a while, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to make 1 or 2 new episodes this month.

Then there’s PauseTalk, my monthly creative talk event that takes place at Cafe Pause here in Ikebukuro. We’re on a bit of a break this month and the next (due to the holiday slowdown), and so the next edition will take place February 7. If you’ve never been there, it’s a very casual salon-like atmosphere, where a bunch of “creatives” basically get together and discuss topics that affect us, share projects, ask for advice, etc.

SNOW Magazine is the natural extension that was launched at the start of the year for all of the Tokyo/Japan-related art/design/culture coverage I used to do on this blog for many, many years. Although most of the content is provided by me, it does include the occasional guest columns and feature. SNOW also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

That means that this place, JeanSnow.net, is again a hub for all of my activities, so don’t come looking for Japan-related news, really. I’m on Twitter as well — where some say I actually tweet too much — and of course Facebook.

On the book side of things, while I’ll remind you that my previous contributions — Arcade Mania and Tokyolife — make for great holiday gifts, next up will be the release early next year of the fifth editions of The Rough Guides to Tokyo and Japan.

And although it doesn’t get updated as much as I’d like, my little gaming corner — simply called GAME — still features a host of games that I like a lot. I’ll try and get back to adding a few each month.

The PLAY series, where I would spin virtual discs at Cafe Pause every once in a while, is also on hiatus, and I think it has pretty much been taken over by Codex. I actually want to occasionally record some live Codex shows from the cafe.

You can also still catch my monthly design column for The Japan Times, “On Design,” which is published on the last Thursday of every month. It focuses on product design, and each one usually has me recommending five new items. I also contributed two items to the Japan Timesholiday gift guide piece, which was published today.

And even though I don’t really contribute anything in the written sense, I would say that I’m a “spiritual” contributor to Néojaponisme, David Marx‘s web journal that covers social and cultural aspects of Japan, which explains my editor-at-large title. Although the site has slowed down a bit this year in terms of new content, expect a bunch of great year-end reflections to appear later this month.

I’m also a proud member of Luis Mendo’s Goodfellas Network, and more specifically part of the GOOD Inc. Japan team. If you’re looking for a terrific group of people to work on a magazine-related project (print or digital), then please get in touch.

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, I continue my work as Executive Director of PechaKucha, where my role is mostly behind-the-scenes, but I also provide a public face through the PechaKucha Daily blog, and on Twitter. Local PKN organizers from around the world are the people I mostly deal with, but do feel free to get in touch if you have any questions regarding all things PechaKucha, whether it’s about holding a one-off PK event, starting a regular PKN series in your city, or anything else you may have on your mind. Since the organization is run as a non-profit, sponsorship enquiries and collaborations are also VERY welcome!

So there you have it, and if all of this wasn’t enough, do feel free to email me with any question you may have.

Commenting, The Next Step

A while back I announced that I would be removing the commenting system on this site, instead inviting readers to contribute comments either through Twitter or Facebook. The result? I can’t say that the number of “replies” I get on Twitter has noticeably increased much, but since it’s not like this site was getting a huge amount of comments anyway, the biggest thing to come out of this is that at least I don’t have to deal with any spam or “requests for moderation.” In fact, since I don’t feel that SNOW Magazine gets a huge number of comments either, I think I’m going to switch and do the same thing there from September.

Let me also thank everyone who entered the Graniph contest this past month. I’m currently compiling all the entries/artist suggestions we received (from comments, yes, but also through email and Twitter), and winners will be contacted soon. Please note that a new contest will start in September.