O T A K U - Z O N E
Exciting Media Information
Welcome on the page for the "pathological-techno-fetishist-with-social-deficit"!
Perhaps not exactly Otaku as you know it - this page is not for 12 year olds, you should be 21 rather!
This page is based on the Idol (Idoru) cult. Most Idols are firmly rooted in traditional pop culture, CM - TV advertising and homu durama (sitcoms), others work in AV and related business. The Idol cult started in the early 80s when the popularity of music shows on japanese television was at its best. Later in the 80s the music shows lost popularity and were replaced by video
clips. Commercials, homu durama and video clips became the vehicles of glorification. Now the third generation of Idols appear in Cyberspace: Kyoko Date (DK96) was the first; nice looks, ideal measurements, and landed a chart hit! The virtual Idol will have a great future, sooner or later you can configure your personal Idol as you like her.
Bandai - of Tamagotchi fame - already had a go at this, watch out for more as digital media gets real powerful.
A good example for the advertising, singing and good-looking Idol of the 90s is Yuki Uchida. She became popular with cosmetics advertising, had a good time with a brand of computers (Yuki inside!), recorded CDs and stars in TV-drama. Her photobook 'Yukiss' was an instant bestseller. Speaking of books, glossy paper is available for a wide range of personal preferences. As I still haven't been to Japan yet, my review is limited to what I found overseas.
Yuki Uchida courtesy of Epson
A good starting point are Japanese Bookstores. I got magazines and photobooks during travel to the Hawaii Islands. Thousands of Japanese shopping trip ladies give you some ideas. The best bookstore on Oahu is Bun Bun Do, 655 Keeaumoku St (inside Sam Sung Plaza, mauka-side from Ala Moana), plenty of choice and the best prices on the islands.
You'll also find selected magazines at Honolulu's International Airport and the inevitable ABC stores (overpriced). You will also see an oddity of the Japanese press, news magazines Flash or Friday feature revealing pictures of actresses - imagine Time Magazine or Newsweek with centerfolds! Looking for strange, weired Manga? Try compilations like Young Jump or Weekly Young.
Japanese Bookstores in Europe & US
The first Japanese bookstore I went to was TAGAKI in Duesseldorf. In 1984 I was looking for japanese computer software and literature. Tagaki is at Immermannstrasse 31 not far from Hotel Nikko. They have a good selection of Computer magazines but if you're looking for pictures of females then I recommend the bookstore in Mitsukoshi's depato at the foot of Hotel Nikko. They have the usual Scholar, Dela Beppin, Suppin or Bejeans.
Similar quality magazines in Paris (1998) chez Librairie JUNKU between Opera and Louvre at 18, rue des Pyramides. A basement full of Manga, large selection of magazines and a good range of photobooks. 1997 I checked the JAPAN CENTER near Piccadilly Circus in London: a large selection but outrageous prices compared to continental Europe.
Stores on the East Coast of USA are very puritan and good magazines are not imported by the major Japanese bookstores between New York and Boston. If you're lucky you'll find a Scholar, WonderIsland or at best (sic!) The Best. A far cry from what Hawaii and the West Coast bookstores have on offer. If you want to see for yourself: Boston Area's SASUGA is at 7 Upland Road, Cambridge, MA near the Porter T-Station.
New York City's KINOKUNIYA right across the ice rink of the Rockefeller Center at 10 West 49th Street with a good selection of photobooks and just around the corner ASAHIYA Bookstore at 52 Vanderbilt Ave / 46th East. Kinokuniya has a huge selection of everything except titles from the Otaku Zone Magazine Review ;-).
Once in New York, go see Chinatown: newsstands and bookstores have HongKong magazines for US$ 6..11! If you're lucky, also cheap HK reprints of japanese photobooks, while not the same quality of paper and print as the originals.
Regarding the West Coast, in 1999 a reader of this page wrote: There are two jlist.com stores in the Bay area. One in Japantown in SF, inside the Kabuki shopping complex. A pretty good store. The other one is in Saratoga, just off HWY 280. Anyone in that area would be able to find the Yohan Center/ grocery store. Further south is a Japan Town in San Jose, at 6th St and Jackson. There are a few gift and pottery stores (the tea sets and bowls.. whole nine yards.. er.. meters) They have magazines, such as the Weekly Pureiboy or Friday.
Be careful when you buy shrink-wrapped magazines with women in swimwear on the cover when you do not read Katakana or Kanji characters. For example, nice looking EYE-COM magazine was for PanCon users and featured detailed pictures of computer hardware. Equally detailed pictures of the female part of mankind and reviews of AV 'action videos' can be found in the successors of legendary Beppin magazine: Deluxe Beppin carries the flag. Bejeans, Beppin School, and Suppin feature younger subjects, Dr Pikaso aims at more mature readers. Prices vary between 450 and 700 Yen, expect $US 8..15 or DM 20 / FF 80 / UK 15 in
Europe. Competing products from other publishers: The Best, The Hit, The Top, Urecco, to name just a few popular ones. Formats and contents vary. Tenmei was the odd one out - now available on CD ROM: only a handful of models without advertisments for phone services, image clubs and the inevitable surgical clinics. Magazines like Apple (not Mac-related) or Videoboy feature screenshots with exciting shooting report and AV actress interview.
Japanese media info
Precious photobooks cost between 2000 to 4000 Yen, overseas pricing in the bookstores is linear! But if you want an entire book of your favorite idol... or you go surf!on the Internet. Please have a look on the BK media Otaku Surf Advisory and find tools to
read Japanese, as well as links to mostly free sites. While in 1996 photos on the Internet were small (JPEG 50k), now I find pictures in very good quality, and I've had DSL to download 500k JPEGs in a snap.
Print media has not given up yet, Diva Publishing, for example, makes a series of DIN-A5 sized booklets (Y2000) which feature popular fantasies, my favorite was the 'cosupure' issue which mocks up old manga themes. And the ingenuity of japanese producers does not stop there...
Riona Hazuki photobook
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