I’ve talked about it before, but one of the most disorienting things about Tokyo is when you move away from the major roads and into the side-streets. It’s also one of the neatest. In Tokyo (and much of Japan), addresses refer to the city block you’re in, not a road address you’re on, so you might be #24 in block #5 of the Chiyodo Ward, and you might be unit #708 of that address, and all that means is you’re in one of 24 non-sequential buildings somewhere in that block on the 7th floor (assuming they count the ground floor as the 1st). Basically, you need to know where you’re going, or call head to have someone from the place you’re going meet you at an easy-to-find intersection/landmark and walk you back to there (really).
Consequently, the roads within these blocks tend to be barely big enough for a Japanese Domestic-sized car (small) or a scooter, or someone walking around trying to avoid both of those things. It also means you get an intense and fantastic density of bars and restaurants, overlapping and right on top of each other, usually with a niche or theme to try and differentiate itself from its neighbours. So the top two pictures? Well, they’ve chosen the humble tanooki (large-testicled racoon) as their symbol… and really, it was hard to miss.
We were in the little area just outside of Nakano Broadway–the amazing nerd mall I wrote about in my first trip to Japan. We had finished shopping for the day around 5:30 or 6pm, and were walking back to the JR station when we decided to take a detour and see what this little area was all about. Because it was so early, most of the bars, restaurants, and izakaya (a combination of both) weren’t open yet. Above, the metal shutter-screen to the second floor bar “B-Prime Video Game Bar” was down, and their LED pixelboard was off. Next to it, a Moomin-themed establishment was also closed.
Here’s a closer look at the Moomin signage, if anyone wants to take a crack at translating I’d appreciate it…! :)
It’s not all Video Games and Comic Books though, sometimes you get an authentic nearly-30-year-old Honky-Tonk bar.
Anyway, this is just a sort of scratching-the-surface thing, and neat as they are I don’t think that this little collection is unique, in that these ‘rabbit-warrens’ of bars and restaurants were everywhere we visited in Tokyo, each one holding a hidden treasure or two. If I get to go back, I think I’m going to travel across Japan a little less and get to know some neighbourhoods a little more.
‘George Sprott,’ Aboriginal manga lead nominations for the 2010 Doug Wright Awards
6th annual awards to be handed out as part of Toronto Comics Arts Festival
March 12, 2010 Toronto—Running the gamut from the acclaimed to the unconventional, the 15 finalists for this year’s Doug Wright Awards were announced today in Toronto.
Hand-picked by an esteemed panel of comics experts, the 2010 finalists represent the finest, most thought-provoking work produced by Canada’s vibrant comics community.
The shortlist contains works that explore diverse subjects, from the legendary life of Kasper Hauser and the fictional life (and death) of a fading TV host, and spans a range of formats, from wordless lino-cuts graphic novels to “manga” inspired by Western Canadian Haida mythology.
The Doug Wright Awards finalists for Best Book are:
Back + Forth by Marta Chudolinska (The Porcupine’s Quill)
George Sprott: (1894-1975) by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)
Hot Potatoe by Marc Bell (Drawn and Quarterly)
Kaspar by Diane Obomsawin (Drawn and Quarterly)
Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Douglas and McIntyre)
The Doug Wright Awards finalists for Best Emerging Talent are:
Adam Bourret I’m Crazy
Michael DeForge Lose #1 (Koyama Press), Cold Heat Special #7 (Picturebox)
Pascal Girard Nicolas (Drawn and Quarterly)
John Martz It’s Snowing Outside. We Should Go For a Walk.
Sully The Hipless Boy (Conundrum Press)
The finalists for the 2010 Pigskin Peters Award (for unconventional, “nominally-narrative” comics) are:
Bébête Simon Bossé (L’Oie de Cravan)
Dirty Dishes by Amy Lockhart (Drawn and Quarterly)
Hot Potatoe by Marc Bell (Drawn and Quarterly)
Never Learn Anything From History by Kate Beaton
The Collected Doug Wright Volume One by Doug Wright (Drawn and Quarterly)
Founded in 2004 (in a dimly lit Toronto bar) to celebrate the finest in English-language comics and graphic novels, The Doug Wright Awards have since evolved into one of North America’s foremost comics awards and one of its most anticipated events.
Wright Awards finalists defy easy categorization, and include past and present masters of the form and off-the-beaten-path newcomers alike, all vying for one of the most unique and coveted trophies in comics.
This year’s nominees were chosen by a five-member panel who chose from works released in the 2009 calendar year. The panel included: comics historian and author Jeet Heer; filmmaker Jerry Ciccoritti; cartoonist Chester Brown; Walrus comics blogger Sean Rogers, and; writer and Sequential.ca publisher Bryan Munn.
The winners are chosen by a jury that includes cartoonists, writers, actors, directors, musicians and, on occasion, politicians.
A featured event of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF), the 2010 Doug Wright Awards ceremony will take place on Sat. May 8, at 7 pm at the Toronto Reference Library’s new Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, 789 Yonge Street.
For more information, please contact:
About The Doug Wright Awards
The Doug Wright Awards are a non-profit organization formed in 2004, and are named in honour of the late Canadian cartoonist Doug Wright. The annual awards recognize graphic novels, comics, mini-comics, and experimental comics-based works published in English (including first-translated editions). To be eligible, a work must be a first-edition, full-length or a collection, and created by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. www.wrightawards.ca
About the Toronto Public Library
The Toronto Public Library is the world’s busiest urban public library system. Every year, more than 17.5 million people visit our 99 branches and borrow more than 31 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit torontopubliclibrary.ca or call Answerline at 416-393-7131.
About the Toronto Comic Arts Festival
TCAF is a celebration of comics and graphic novels—and their creators—that takes place annually in Toronto, Canada. The next TCAF is Saturday May 8th and Sunday May 9th 2010, at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, and will feature Daniel Clowes (Eightball, Ghost World), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), Dash Shaw (Body World), James Sturm (Golem’s Mighty Swing, Market Day), and Jim Woodring (Frank) and more. For more information please visit http://www.torontocomics.com.
Since typing on an iPhone is so awful, I will simply say that it is ridiculous that the suprheroes are upset about Green Arrow killing supervillain Hitler. Superheroes have jumped the shark.