After reading the article, I would be tempted to add a bit more about the showbiz equation of things... if I could be bothered. Girl groups and boy groups, OMG... no dating clauses, shave your head in contrition for having a boyfriend. As reported:
Last September, a 17-year-old member of an all-female “idol” band was ordered to pay 650,000 yen (£3,800) to her agency after it was revealed she had a boyfriend – a violation of the no-dating clause in her contract. To add to her troubles, her relationship caused the breakup of her six-member band.
“As long as she was a female idol,” the judge, Akitomo Kojima said, “a ban on dating was necessary to obtain support from male fans”.
The big question is of course how so much music and pop culture with so much vapidity can be so amply rewarded. Following the rules is apparently of much greater importance than originality. Flute solos be damned. For this reason, I'm pretty sure my book about Japan will not be read in Japan until it a) is a MEGA-hit in the Western world or b) I am dead and buried.
Despite this, I persist in considering Ari Park a love song of sorts to Japan. If nothing else, it is a tribute to the unique experiences I had as an eikaiwa sensei over a four year period.
If this sounds to you like foreplay for the actual releasing of the book, why (flutter of virginal, no bf-clause eyelashes that carefully accentuate post-double eyelid surgery, blue contact lens "smell the fart" gaze, long legs disappearing into plaid mini-skirt) YES it is.
Below: Scenes from a one-night layover in Tokyo, en route from San Francisco to Manila. Nonconformity in apparent conformity: the questing eye sees all kinds of micro-signals, from breaking in the ivy to a Geisha breaking bad.