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Nearly six months have passed since I took the trip I’m still writing about here, and since I have another couple of trips coming up soon, I think it makes sense to go ahead and finish talking about Tokyo! My upcoming stay in the UK will last almost a month, so I’ll try and be more proactive about updating DURING my trip as opposed to writing about it afterwards.

My second full day in Tokyo was spent mostly in the neighborhood of Nakano. To get there, I took the Oedo train line, which was smaller and more local-oriented than the Yamanote line I’d travelled on previously, which only stops in some of the most tourist and/or business oriented destinations. One notable difference was that many advertisement posters on the Yamanote line trains were at least partially in English, while on the Oedo line they were entirely in Japanese. Many of the passengers were clearly commuting to work or school. There were considerably less shopping bags to clog up the aisles. The trains were also less crowded. Despite feeling a bit more “alien” in this environment, I enjoyed the more laid-back atmosphere and felt a bit more like I was catching a glimpse of the “real” Tokyo and people that lived there, rather than the glossy facade the busiest parts of the city shows to those who are just passing through.

One of the few non-shopping-related social interactions I had in Japan occurred on that train ride. I was seated, and there was a vacant space  next to me. A group of three young schoolgirls came onto the train, in uniform and loaded down with backpacks and books. They were probably about ten or eleven. One of them flopped down in the seat next to me, but the other two remained standing – there wasn’t anyplace in the car that all three of them would fit into. My stop was coming up soon, so I decided to get up and offer my seat (by way of standing up and gesturing towards it.) They started to protest, but I’d read in my guidebook that most Japanese will always refuse favours or gifts at least once to be polite, and that you’d have to insist. So I then gestured again and said “Dozo.” (“Please.”) All three girls thanked me and flopped into the seats in unison, giggling. I had noticed some middle-aged passengers eyeing me curiously when I first stood up, but when I smiled at the kids they smiled as well, in that indulgent sort of way that older people often smile at youth. It was nice.

Nakano was a busy neighbourhood, with lots of people milling around and multitudes of small shops, with employees busy handing out sales flyers at street crossings. It’s situated west of Shinjuku, but it’s much less flashy – most of the buildings aren’t skyscrapers, and many are rather shabby with age, though clean. I was headed to a shopping arcade called Nakano Broadway, home to the main branch of Mandarake, a chain of shops selling used manga, anime, game and related merchandise. I particularly wanted to visit this branch because it was the one that included a department dedicated entirely to used ball-jointed dolls, which I collect. In fact, I’d chosen the dates for my trip to coincide with Dolls Party 26, a semi-annual event organized by the most well-known manufacturer of BJDs, Volks. Thousands of people show up to buy limited edition new release dolls and clothes, and hundreds of vendors sell clothing and accessories for the dolls. Japanese collectors take their dolls really, really seriously. I had decided against buying any of the new release dolls – I have one Volks limited edition obtained on the secondhand market, and he’s the most valuable doll I have. I didn’t want to spend so much on another, and decided to focus on bargain-hunting instead. I was successful – I found a Volks doll in excellent condition for less than half of the original price. He was a 1/3 scale doll, about 2 feet tall, so that meant I walked around the shops for another couple of hours carrying this bag:

The television could have fit in there.

Dolls weren’t the only thing I was interested in that day, though – I also picked up some books and magazines, and to my surprise I even found clothes I could wear. I hadn’t really planned on looking for clothing in Japan since their women’s sizing in particular is notoriously small. But I’d forgotten about accessories like cute school uniform neckties (one size fits all!) and while I was checking those out I noticed some v-neck sweaters on clearance for around $10. The store specialized in school uniforms, something I always figured would be provided by the schools and not to the public. Maybe it was a surplus outlet, or perhaps schools only dictate the style of uniform and students are able to pick from various brands that have similar styles, I don’t know. But I looked through the stack of sweaters and noticed that one marked “L” actually looked large enough for me. It must be a high school boy’s size large. I’m the average height of a Japanese male (5’8″, FYI), so that worked out. With the girl’s bow-style necktie I picked out and a white shirt, it makes me look somewhat like a flight attendant, but that’s okay. My sense of style has always been a little odd. When I was about six, I used to dream of wearing a three-piece suit and carrying a briefcase, perhaps in some subconscious rebellion against my mother’s insistence upon my dressing and acting “like a lady.”

Speaking of three-piece suits and briefcases – on my way back to the hotel, it was evidently around the time salarymen leave work. 80% or more of the men on the trains were in business attire, almost invariably black or dark grey suits. Even their ties are usually quite sober, plain or simply striped. Sure, I saw the occasional guy with spiky rock-star hair, pierced ears and platform shoes, but they were definitely in the minority.

On my third day, I went in search of book stores – specifically the amusingly named Book•Off.  Friends of mine who had recently visited Japan had raved about the deals they found there on art books, games and anime. They sell all of those things secondhand, as well as music CDs. Unlike similar stores in the US, most items are in near-mint condition, with the original packaging. My friends had visited several cities on their trip and found a Book•Off at most of their stops. I just looked for the one closest to my hotel, and found one in the vicinity of Shinjuku station. Finding it was rather difficult, because there was construction going on and my highly specific directions were thrown off since pedestrian street traffic needed to be re-routed. The shop was also smaller than I expected, not highly visible from the street. I picked up a few things there, then walked back to a large shopping center connected to the station, where I’d seen a sign for Books Kinokuniya, probably the best-known Japanese bookstore chain (There’s even one in NYC.) I went through a basement level of a large department store to get there, which was overwhelming and impressive. Most department store basements in Tokyo are dedicated to food, both prepared and fresh. Much of it is beautifully packaged. The crowds were a little too much for me, so I didn’t browse much, just walked through. The bookstore was massive, with eight levels connected by narrow escalators and a single elevator. The space itself was not very large on each level, but the shelves were very close together, high and packed full. The variety of magazines devoted to anime, manga and gaming were staggering. I found TWO monthly magazines devoted entirely to the highly specific genre of otome games (dating sims for girls in which the female player character interacts with a cast of very pretty young men.) Most of the magazines come in sealed bags with bonus items – anything from figures to clear file folders to posters.

It’s a suitcase full of bishonen – what else would I bring home?

The next day I attended the aforementioned Dolls Party at a place called Tokyo Big Sight, a large convention center. The event took up two entire exhibition halls. Thousands of people with dolls. I went late in the day, not wanting to join in the mad rush for limited items. I just wandered around the vendor booths, buying various items – handmade glass eyes, outfits, a tiny stethoscope, a little sword. Most of the time I was restricted to bowing and saying “arigatou gozaimasu” (“thank you”) a lot, but one seller spoke a little English and I was able to ask her a question – was that outfit ON one of her dolls for sale or just for display? (Similar ones were clearly packaged and marked for sale, but the particular one I liked appeared to be the only one made with the fabric pattern I liked.) She ensured me it was for sale, and began stripping the doll down. I jokingly acted embarrassed for him and said “Gomenasai!” (“I’m sorry!”) and everyone at the table had a good laugh. It was a fun event, and though Volks holds similar gatherings in New York once a year they’re much, much smaller. It was definitely the sort of thing that makes you think, “Only in Japan.”

The next day was my last full day in Japan, and I decided I wanted to go back to Akihabara again. I picked up a PC game a friend had given me money for, and picked out a couple of discounted ones for myself (I may be able to find English translations/walkthroughs for them until my Japanese improves.) I also made it a point to eat in restaurants instead of just grabbing things at convenience stores that day. For lunch I stopped in the Daiichi Seimei business complex across the street from my hotel – a huge skyscraper full of business people during the day and largely empty at night, although there was a 7/11 and a post office on the basement floor, along with some restaurants. I’d noticed an Italian restaurant on a previous walk-through and decided to try it. I had some very good pasta with a tomato sauce and a dollop of creamy cheese which I mixed in. It was an inexpensive, casual place but the food was very tasty. In the evening, after returning from Akihabara, I chose a Tonkatsu place in the same building. Tonkatsu is a boneless pork fillet, breaded and deep-fried, served with a savory-sweet sauce and, in this case, with a mound of raw shredded cabbage topped with citrusy ponzu dressing. It was delicious. I was also served a bowl of miso soup and a small pot of green tea. I don’t normally care much for miso soup at home, but whether it was the fatigue and chilliness of the winter day or superior ingredients, I enjoyed that bowl greatly. When I’d drunk up most of it, I noticed tiny snail shells in the bottom of the bowl! I wasn’t expecting that. I don’t THINK I was meant to extract the snails from their shells (they were really small, about a centimeter in diameter) so I just left them there.

I also filled up on drinks from the convenience store that night, because Japanese soft drinks are amazing.

I also stocked up on Meltykiss, which is the most wonderful chocolate in the world.

I was reluctant to leave the next day, having finally gotten used to the train system and all the walking, but I couldn’t ignore my plane ticket. I also couldn’t let myself spend much more money. So it was time to go home.

In contrast to the plane ride TO Japan, on the plane ride back I didn’t get up to go to the restroom a single time. That probably wasn’t healthy. There were a lot more entertainment choices, including many Japanese films with the option of English subtitles. First I watched ‘My S.O. Has Depression,’ (S.O. stands for “significant other”) which was a charming, sometimes quite funny look at how depression can affect a relationship. The protagonist, a manga artist (whose autobiographical comic was the inspiration for the film) is often disappointed, confused or even infuriated by her boyfriend’s ups and downs, at the same time struggling to keep motivated in her own career. The portrayal of depression was more subtle and nuanced than what’s frequently seen in western films, and the young couple’s eventual acceptance of the situation and resolve to make the best of it was truly touching. The next movie I chose was called “In His Chart” and was about a young doctor who chooses to stay and help patients in his own small rural community, even though he’s been offered a position with a large teaching hospital where he could work on perfecting techniques that might eventually lead to saving more lives than he could ever hope to touch as a small-time rural physician. I really enjoyed both films and found myself sniffling a bit during both of them, which was mildly embarrassing, but I don’t think anyone noticed.

Landing in Chicago was a bit of a culture shock, even though I’d only been away a week. Suddenly, people were loud and assertive and often downright rude. Instead of patiently and quietly waiting in line, they huffed and theatrically checked their watches as if that would make the document-checking go faster. I found myself bowing and starting to say “sumimasen” to someone who almost ran into me as I exited a restroom. I was grateful when my final flight was over and I could get into my car, away from noisy, mundane conversations in a language I could unfortunately understand perfectly.

Hello again! I’ve been pretty slow with updating this series of posts, especially considering the trip itself took place several months ago. This time I’ll have less words and more pictures. Now, I don’t have much in the way of pictures since I didn’t take my camera out of the hotel room. I had a variety of reasons for this.

First and foremost is the fact that I was traveling alone, and carrying a large DSLR camera around just screams “tourist.” My primary mission was to experience the city firsthand, and I find that having a camera in my face can get in the way of just interacting with the environment. Secondly, Tokyo is CROWDED. It’s pretty difficult to stand around and take pictures without either getting in someone’s way or looking creepy in some out-of-the-way spot. Thirdly, my toddler-level Japanese skills do not give me the ability to explain myself if someone were to object to my taking pictures. It’s considered polite to ask the shop owner if you can take photos, and I’m socially awkward enough in my own language, thanks. It’d have been different if I went anywhere rural with lots of scenery to document. That’s not to say I didn’t see lots of amazing and photo-worthy sights in the city, just that photography wasn’t my main objective and I didn’t particularly want to be that obnoxious foreigner in everyone’s way.

On my first full day in Tokyo, I woke up at about six AM, having slept a surprisingly normal eight hours. In the morning, at least, I wasn’t feeling the effects of travel very much. After a couple of hours waking up, getting ready and preparing my directions carefully, I was on the hotel shuttle bus back to Shinjuku station. The hotel provided this for free, though I later found that I could simply walk to the station underground, often in less time than the shuttle took. On the shuttle bus that first day, I observed how obvious the difference was between the Japanese travelers and the tourists from other countries. The difference was primarily one of volume, and by being alone I could pride myself on being the quietest and most unobtrusive foreigner on the bus. There was one Japanese man who looked somewhat embarrassed by his noisy American and European business partners…he smiled faintly and nodded a lot as they spoke, but I like to think I detected a significant level of “I am not amused” under his placid exterior. For the rest of the trip, I noticed that if you hear any loud speech on a moving vehicle in Tokyo, it’s likely to be an English-speaking one. Speaking on cell phones in public is frowned upon, and it makes a huge difference. I found public transport in Tokyo much more relaxing than in US cities, even though it was more crowded, simply because of the quiet.

The stations, however, can be overwhelming. Shinjuku station in particular is massive – it’s actually the busiest train station in the world. It took me a while to figure out where I needed to go once I obtained a Suica card, which is a prepaid smart card you can get from a vending machine. Once you’ve used all the money you originally put on the card, you can use the same machines to add more to it. Suica cards are even accepted at many convenience stores as currency – I used up my remaining balance at the airport when I left. Thankfully, large maps of the station are easy to find on the walls, and as long as you know what station you wish to leave from it’s simple enough to ask an attendant to be pointed in the right direction.

Akihabara, sometimes called ‘Electric Town,’ is pretty well known as the center of all that is geeky in Japan – if you like comics (manga), anime, games, music, and all the devices for watching your anime/playing your games/listening to your music it just might be the closest thing you’ve seen to paradise. A bright, shiny, flashy and noisy paradise that burrows its way into your bank account and threatens to leave it bereft of any hope for the future, but paradise nonetheless. I spent several hours there until jet lag caught up with me and I realized that the floor I was walking on, while plastered with decals of busty anime girls, was not actually tilted precariously to one side. I was just so tired my depth perception was off kilter. So I got on the train back to Shinjuku, grateful for a seat, hugging bags of goodies…and knowing I wasn’t done with Akihabara just yet.

Now, pictures!


Some of the aforementioned Akihabara goodies. The capsule toys (called ‘gachapon,’ which is the Japanese onomatopeia for the noise they make – ‘gacha’ for turning the crank, ‘pon!’ for when it drops down) were purchased from machines, and the boxed toys are sold in anime and comic stores and are often ‘blind boxes,’ meaning that the toy is from a series of several possible options and there’s no telling which one you’ll get. I don’t often care to buy blind-box items at anime conventions here in the US because the import prices are very high, often anywhere from $8 to $20 per figure when in Japan they’re more likely to be between 200 and 800 yen (about $2.50 – $10.) For a few hundred yen I was willing to take more gambles. Plus there were so many more series to choose from – you’re just not going to find cute figures of characters from a girls’ otome (dating sim) game in the US very often. Since I was visiting just before Christmas, gachapon toys were a fun thing to fling at friends for gifts, too.

Oh, no. Toothpick may hurt your finger.
I guess it’s good to know that ridiculous levels of safety labeling are a worldwide thing.
Also, Mr. Donut straw. Eating at Mr. Donut probably didn’t help with the fatigue I felt in Akihabara that day, but it was delicious. Also slightly disturbing, in that I heard a Justin Bieber Christmas song in there. HE’S EVERYWHERE.

This was the toilet in my hotel room. Yes, Japanese toilets are amazing in many ways, not the least of which is that they have little pictures of butts on them. The ones at the airport were even more mind-boggling (scents! sounds to cover up any sounds you might make!) but I did not take a photo of them.

I clean up after myself even in hotels, but I don’t typically line things up quite this precisely after getting ready in the morning. That’s right, room service did that. Incredible.

A lovely view of Shinjuku from my 18th-floor room.

Proof that I was indeed there! Wearing a hotel yukata and holding a very large shoehorn which I found amusing for some reason. (“Some reason” = probably the jet lag.)

Thanks for reading – more silliness to come, eventually!

Welcome! (いらっしぁいませ !)

Last time I blogged I spoke in general about my trip to Tokyo in December, and now it’s time (well past time, really – I should pick up the pace!) to share a bit more detail about it. I’ll start with how I got there for day one – I didn’t leave my hotel on that first night once I got to it, because the process of reaching it was arduous enough.

I used Priceline to book my flight (Thanks, Shatner!) and flew out of Atlanta, Georgia’s Hartsfield International Airport. It’s the world’s busiest airport – not really as a destination, but as a hub for transfers between flights. It’s really a city unto itself, complete with its own subway-style train system, but I’ve flown out of it often enough to be quite familiar with it now. I was very determined not to miss my flight, so I decided to beat rush hour traffic by heading there around 4 AM. I ended up lounging at the gate for over two hours before takeoff, but it beats being late.

I only checked one suitcase for my flight – and it had another, smaller suitcase inside it and not much else. All of my essentials were in my carry-on bag and my pocketbook, just in case the others didn’t make it. Obviously, I intended to leave Tokyo with much more than I brought into it. It’s also just easier to keep things light when you’re alone, of course. Trying to drag three heavy suitcases through a crowded airport is not exactly a good time.

My first flight was only from Atlanta to Chicago O’Hare airport, and was pretty unremarkable. The flight from Chicago to Tokyo was much more interesting, in many ways. First off, the plane was enormous. It was an American Airlines Boeing 777. (My grandfather was an aerospace engineer, so I pay attention to these things. Also, I just really like planes.)

The seating things for first class looked like some sort of high tech space pods. I was definitely not in one of those. I was not in business class either. You see what that leaves.

Economy class was still much nicer than any flight I’ve been on before – more leg room than I was used to, a fairly roomy seat, plenty of in-flight options for entertainment, and 3 FULL MEALS. I think before this I’d had one full meal on a flight, ever, and that was from Chattanooga, Tennessee to San Francisco. Yes, thirteen hours is a lengthy flight, but I did not expect that much food. It was decent stuff, too, though I’d find it was not as good as what I had on the flight back. The differences were between the services provided by Japan Airlines in cooperation with American Airlines, versus the return flight being staffed fully by Japan Airlines on one of their own planes.

American Airlines might give you some sushi, but trust Japan to give you surprisingly tasty octopus rice.

I’d attempted to aggressively hydrate myself in Chicago, since medicine I take makes me especially prone to becoming sick from dehydration, and I had no idea what a 13 hour flight might do in that regard. I remained surprisingly well hydrated. Too well hydrated. So I must apologize to the poor young Asian man who had to let me out to go to the bathroom about eleventy billion times. (Okay, maybe it was 3 or 4, but I certainly FELT like I was getting up way too much.) He only got up once, as I recall. He was also about half my size but ate twice as much food. (I couldn’t finish the meals.) I can only conclude that he gets a lot of exercise. I mean, in addition to constantly standing up to let chubby American girls past.

There were quite a few choices for movies to watch, mostly Hollywood fare, though. Since I was heading to a large city in Asia where people routinely walk around wearing face masks, I somehow figured ‘Contagion’ was a fine choice of film. What can I say, I like to be prepared for worst case scenarios. My doctor had already advised me not to touch any dead birds in Tokyo, as if that were a common activity of mine. I did touch some cooked chicken, because I laugh in the face of danger – or maybe because it wasn’t lying on the street looking diseased, like virus-stricken dead birds do (apparently.)

"I'm not scared of you, killer viruses of the apocalypse!"

I didn’t sleep very much on the flight. I was too excited, plus all that food kept coming around. I studied my hiragana instead. When we landed, it was afternoon in Tokyo. I collected my luggage and began the process of going through customs, which was surprisingly painless. I sometimes had to be pointed towards a table with a form to fill out, but it went pretty quickly. Within an hour I was on a limousine bus to my hotel.

I'm not entirely sure where the "limousine" part comes in, but they were friendly enough.

I’d recommend the Friendly Airport Limousine service to anyone staying in central Tokyo but flying into Narita. Narita is actually about an hour’s drive from Shinjuku, for example. You can take a train, but there are not any reserved spots for luggage on the trains. There’s a place to put bags above passenger’s heads, but if the train is crowded (and they often are) you do not want to be dragging large heavy bags around in it. The cost of taking the Friendly Airport Limousine is around $40 (one way) but you’re guaranteed a seat, and your baggage rides in a nice big cargo area. After the long flight, it was nice to be able to sit down in a comfortable chair (better than airplane seats) and look out at the city as night was falling. I noticed that at night, the road system seems to have a blue-green glow to it – evidently the headlamps of the cars and the fluorescent lighting used on the roads has a different tint than what we’re used to in the US. It seemed quite beautiful to me that evening, almost tranquil in contrast to the garish lights and signs on the buildings. The roads we traveled along included lots of tunnels and bridges – in places traffic is stacked on top of traffic, but it moves along surprisingly efficiently for the most part.

I say "surprisingly" since we're talking about a place where the roads can look like THIS.

I arrived at my lovely hotel around 6 PM, Tokyo time, and checked in. I stayed on the 18th floor. A bellhop (who spoke decent English – it was an international-business-oriented hotel) showed me to my room, and pointed out where various things were located. I’m not used to that, but from what I’ve heard it’s fairly standard in Tokyo or in luxury hotels in general. Yes, I somehow managed to get a room at the Tokyo Hilton for about 1/4 of the usual going rate, when I bundled that in with my flight. I would have never thought of the Hilton, but Priceline had a lot of other hotels I’d never heard of, some of which had lower “star” ratings…and they were more expensive than the Hilton. Evidently it was undergoing renovation, but I wouldn’t have known. I’ve never had such a level of hotel service in my LIFE…yet some people on the Priceline hotel reviews apparently didn’t think it was up to par.

There's just no pleasing some people.

I can’t even remember if I ate anything before falling asleep – I probably just had some juice from the little “pharmacy” downstairs (It was sort of a gift shop/mini grocery, and the prices were very reasonable. I could get the same drink for 100 yen (around $1) there that would have cost 500 yen in the minibar. Yet this shop was in the hotel. Conclusion: People can be REALLY lazy.

I had a 100 yen juice box every day I was there. I loved these juice boxes. They had the juices of something like 26 different vegetables and 14 fruits in them. My favorite one tasted primarily like grapes.

The one on the far left. It definitely did not TASTE like some strange giant purple turnip-y...thing.

That pretty much sums up the travel day – next time I’ll talk more about my hotel room, and use my own pictures. None of the photos used in this entry are mine, but I’ve linked to the pages they came from. Thanks for reading, and I hope some of this info can be useful!

Good day! (こんにちは!)

Now that I’ve had some time to recover from lingering jet lag and to get my housework under control, I’d like to spend a few posts talking about my trip to Tokyo last month! It was over all too quickly, but wonderful, and given the opportunity I’d love to return. I had a terrific time and had more than enough fun things to do within the city alone, but I’d love to go back sometime during a warmer season and see more of the country. The farthest from central Tokyo I ever actually got was Narita airport itself, which is an hour and a half’s ride from where I stayed, in Shinjuku ward – primarily known as the “Skyscraper District” where many businesses and the metropolitan government have their offices. It’s only one of 23 ‘special wards,’ or neighborhoods, in Tokyo itself, but it’s got twice the population of the city I live in plus some.

In the US we have what’s called “urban sprawl” – city centers or “downtowns” are often quite small compared to the overall population that surrounds them in various suburban areas. In my city in particular, the “business district” is often rather empty-looking after many workers go home for the day. Shinjuku certainly didn’t have that sort of thing going on – there are always plenty of people, whether at work or shopping or at home, and there’s no room for “urban sprawl.” Things go vertically. Tall skyscrapers, yes, but also multiple levels of businesses, shopping arcades and transport systems under the ground. That’s not to say that you can’t get around Tokyo without going under the ground – it’s possible – but not easy, and probably not much fun. So it’s not really a city I’d recommend for anyone with an absolute phobia of tunnels…unless you’re ready to face that fear and get over it!

And that brings me to the point of this introductory post – after this, they’ll be day by day recollections of what I did in Tokyo while I was there. The point is, if you really want to travel to Japan – or anywhere, really – but think it’s out of reach: face that fear and get over it. I’m not saying you should sell everything you own to get airfare, or start begging other people for money, or anything unrealistic or irresponsible. Just don’t give up! Do what you can to reach that goal if it’s what you really want, and when you finally get the means and a chance, take it. Now, I know traveling alone is not for everyone, and some consider it risky – but I had wanted to make the trip for years, things in my life happened that made it possible, and I did it by myself. Even if it seems impossible, you never know what turns life may take. No guarantees, but if you do it, alone or with someone you care about, I think you’ll be pretty glad you did. No regrets here.

So, What’s Up?

Sorry to anyone who’s come across this site and wondered why there isn’t much content lately. There’s been a lot going on in my personal life that I needn’t go into, but for those who just want a short summary of what I’m doing art-wise:

– I’m still working on the story that I once intended to make into a webcomic, but have decided that it would be better told as a novel. However, I do plan to make illustrations part of it, along with other fun visual aspects like maps and “copies” of handwritten communications by the characters. This is something that may take quite a long time, but I believe it’ll be better for it. It’s set in the late 19th century, so I’m doing a lot of research to make the details as accurate as possible – the characters and plot lines are totally fictional, but real locations and history from around the world will be involved.

– I’ve got a part-time editing gig as part of a localizing team for Digital Manga Publishing’s e-book imprint, Digital Manga Guild.

– In May 2012 I will be attending a first year convention, Ultima Con 2012 with my friend Regina, the supremely kick-ass proprietor of some of Etsy’s coolest shops: Little Cookie & Soapopotamus, among others. I plan to introduce a small, cute-yet-historically-accurate line of Victorian-era props for ball-jointed dolls – toiletries, medicinal items, bottles of booze, little books and maybe more (?) with hand designed labels, branding and packaging. I’ll also be offering handmade jewelry for actual humans, which is rather ironic as I hardly ever wear the stuff myself.

As always, more information to come as it becomes available, and thanks for reading!

-K.

Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to the newly registered SolitaryAgent.com!

I’ll be slowly adding previously created content to the site, including illustrations, photographs, examples of graphic design work and more. In addition I plan to blog about my work, hobbies, and other interests. So, what sort of things will that include? Well, it’s hard to be comprehensive, but here’s a short list:

º Visual art, from manga and anime influenced illustration to black and white traditional photography and many places in between. I also love to collect, customise and photograph modern Asian ball-jointed dolls.

º Music – almost all kinds! I love both listening to music and performing (currently as a choral singer.)

º Fiction – whether that be reading it, writing it or shopping for it.

º Travel – current plans include a trip to Tokyo, Japan and nearby areas in December of this year, and a road trip to Texas and Louisiana in summer 2012.

Thanks for checking out my site, and I hope you come back and enjoy what you see in the future!

– Agent K