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The Most Unexpectedly Advanced Technology in Hokkaido

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment

I’ve just returned from my trip to Hokkaido, Japan, and I must remark that I had a great time. The scenery was beautiful (I have a new wallpaper for my cell phone), the food was terrific (I’m going to need to burn off a lot of calories), and the overall experience was great. This being said, I still regret a little incident in a shopping mall over the JR station in Sapporo: Two cute high school girls in front of us got onto an escalator and instantly realized they were traveling in the wrong direction. So, giggling, they held hands, scrambled back up the escalator, and skipped off.

And the only thing I could think of was: WHY DID I NOT HAVE MY CAMERA READY

…Ahem.

I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting very much technology-wise when I came to Hokkaido. This is by no means a put-down towards Hokkaido – again, I maintain this is a great part of Japan – but it’s just that when you are surrounded by kilometers and kilometers of farmland and mountains, and when there are several segments along the highway where you can’t get a mobile signal, then one also must acknowledge that one is in a very rural place that can be jokingly described as “in the middle of nowhere”. Still, Hokkaido was rather well developed, and I took a bit of effort to look for the latest in Japanese gizmo wizardry. And nowhere did I find a piece of technology so surprisingly advanced than in the corner of the restroom of my lodgings in Niseko.

Read more…

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Categories: Slice of Life, Yuri

Little Yuri Riding Hood

September 10, 2012 Leave a comment
Categories: Anime and Manga, Yuri

Ysionris’ Influence Map

August 4, 2012 Leave a comment

First off, an admission: I cheated. For-Orian’s “Influence Map” meme was largely meant for artists, and while I do make the occasional sketch (something I haven’t done in a very long while), I have largely repurposed this influence map to show my influences on storytelling and writing instead. Hopefully, I won’t be crucified for it.

Now, onto the show.

Ysionris' Influence Map Read more…

Sally Ride and Why I’m Okay With Her Not Coming Out

July 27, 2012 6 comments

Four days ago, the first American woman in space, Sally Ride, passed away due to pancreatic cancer.

I’ll openly admit that while I’m keen on the idea of space exploration and science beyond the confines of our planet, the natural sciences have never been my forte, and I have never exactly kept up with advances in space science and technologies (at least until a friend got me heavily invested in the SpaceX Falcon 9 C2+ mission), and until the headlines broke, I’ve never actually heard of Sally Ride. (In my defense, I did know Christa McAuliffe, but I suppose she has the advantage of having tragically been killed by a highly famous Challenger disaster.) Therefore, although the subtitle of this blog is probably a big hint that I was quite pleasantly surprised that Sally Ride’s obituary revealed that she was, in fact, lesbian, and had a long-term relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy. (Personally, I’m amused at the possibility that Sally Ride’s legacy will now be attacked by conservatives who seek to discredit everything she did because she was an “immoral sexual deviant”, a possibility which – despite my morbid sense of humor – I honestly hope will not happen.)

That said, as they did with CNN journalist Anderson Cooper when he came out that he way gay (despite the fact that he has actually always been openly gay, except people didn’t seem to have noticed the first time), some LGBT rights activists are criticizing Ride for not coming out soon enough with the fact that she was, in fact, lesbian. Andrew Sullivan was one of the most critical:

I’m not so understanding. We can judge this decision in the context of Ride’s life. Her achievements as a woman and as a scientist and as an astronaut and as a brilliant, principled investigator of NASA’s screw-ups will always stand, and vastly outshine any flaws. But the truth remains: she had a chance to expand people’s horizons and young lesbians’ hope and self-esteem, and she chose not to.

He was hardly alone. Tommi Avicolli Mecca was more understanding but also no less obvious:

I understand that some people prefer to be quiet about their private lives, but imagine all the good she could have done as a living role model rather than a dead one? Especially for all those girls struggling with their sexual identities in hostile environments (and there are a lot of them) throughout this still very homophobic country. She wanted to teach them science, but what about accepting themselves for who they are?

And J. Bryan Lowder chips in as well:

What might Ride’s visibility have meant to LGBT youth, to young lesbians, who are all too often crowded off of the media stage by gay men? Gay youths are in desperate need of mentors, and what makes Ride’s reticence all the more disappointing is how clearly gifted she was in that kind of role. […] As we remember Ride’s well-lived life and celebrate her contributions to exploration and science, we can also regret her silence on this issue. Call it a personal choice or call it a flaw, I’m sad that Ride felt the need, whatever her reasons, to withhold this part of herself.

It’s an understandable sentiment. Being a LGBT even today is like the European Extreme mode of life, and many feel that members of the LGBT community need whatever support they can get. A national heroine such as Ride could have boosted morale, gave plenty of individuals struggling with their sexuality hope, accelerated the normalization of the LGBT community.

But ultimately, however, I disagree with the rhetoric and the attitudes, and I believe people should lay off on Ride’s decision to keep her life private for four simple reasons. Read more…

Categories: Politics and Society, Yuri