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Occidentalism, No Longer A One-Man Show

July 8th, 2006 . by Darin

Hello everyone, my name is Darin, and I’ll be helping Matt by posting here at Occidentalism from now on. I’m an American going to school in Japan studying graphic design at a moderately respected university with a very highly respected art college. I’m only closing out my first semester here, but I went to an international university for two years and hung-out on the beach in Okinawa for 7 or so months before coming here which puts me at a little over 3 years time total in Japan.

Friday (7/7) was Tanabata [wikipedia]

I was never really interested in politics when I was in America, but it was unavoidable at an international school comprised of students from all over Asia (and me the American) coming together to study languages, cultures and history. Since then I’ve been reading lots about [predominately] Japanese politics.

I got into blogging after I discovered that many foreign bloggers are much better at discussing Chinese/Japanese/Korean politics then the people from those nations themselves because there is no national pride involved in the issue for us foreigners causing us to get emotional; previously I had really only talked about the issues with Chinese/Japanese/Korean people and the discussions would almost always turn out with the boys screaming and threatening violence, and the girls crying. Blogging provided a nice sense of physical safety and the ability to talk about things at the same time.

Perhaps I was wrong because as I was in the process of moving from Okinawa back to the Tokyo area someone decided that they were going to delete my blog and mess with my accounts. Lesson learnt; leave all your wordpress passwords at the random password assigned so that you never use the same password twice. For a few months I just said, “forget it” and didn’t have anything to do with political blogging. But like an alcoholic who just can’t stop drinking, I’m back for my fix. I got my new political blog, Black Ship running again mid last month with a new philosophy: no more commentary, no one wants to hear what I have to say about things. I decided that there were already plenty of people out there with blogs, and I would be able to serve the community best just by translating things from Japanese to English that would otherwise be unavailable — basically I would just become a resource for others and if anyone saw something they liked, they could just go ahead and use it as a source.

Well it turns out Matt decided that he wanted to use it all, so he asked me to post here as well… and here I am. You guys will get all of my projects that are posted on my own blog and maybe even some good ol’ fashion commentary. So stay tuned, and let me know what you think.


5 Responses to “Occidentalism, No Longer A One-Man Show”

  1. comment number 1 by: T_K

    Hi Darin!

    I study graphic design, too. What’s it like to study the field in Japan?
    I’ve been thinking of going to Japan after I’m finished with my compulsory bachelor’s degree courses. At the moment, I’m thinking of Tamabi in Tokyo. If you have opinions about schools over there, it would be very nice to hear them.
    Looking forward to your posts!

  2. comment number 2 by: Darin

    Well, if you can get into Tamabi, it’s the best (art) school in the nation. Going to school for design in Japan is different then going in America in the aspect that in High School they don’t really use computers. So no one really knows anything about design, so they can’t test you on it. Instead what they do is test you on drawing. To get into Tamabi, you need to be able to draw incredibly well. I mean, amazingly well. To the point that if you can draw well enough to get into Tamabi, you’re wasting your time going to school and should just get a job as an illustrator right out of HS.

    I never even applied for Tamabi because frankly, they are stuck up. They’re good, and they know it. You can tell how good a school is by the pamphlets. If the pamphlets are really good/free, the school isn’t good. If the pamphlets are crap and they charge money for them, it’s a good school. Good schools don’t need to advertise to get the best students every year. I toured Tamabi (well, just wondered around the mountain it’s on all by myself because no one cares about you at Tamabi) and no one would even talk to me, the office people wouldn’t answer questions, basically the atmosphere was, “we’re tamabi, the best graphic design school in Japan, who are you?” And like I said, it was on a mountain that just appeared out of nowhere in the middle of nowhere which makes it bad to get to and from school as well as around the campus.

    Another school I toured was Tokyo Zoukei. They were great. They just moved their campus to a less crowded area a few years ago (maybe 10?) and it’s in a really nice area. The administration people were also great. I just showed up at random (a big no-no) and said I was interested in the school, so give me info. At first they were like, “well we don’t have the new pamphlets ready so…..” but after talking for a few min they decided they wanted to give me a tour. I think they assumed that I couldn’t speak Japanese and just wanted to get rid of me so they could get back to their work. Zoukei was a great school, but I never applied for it because all of a sudden they decided they wanted to make it really difficult for foreigners to apply by requiring all kinds of paperwork that simply didn’t exist in America. With the exception of 2 month short term exchange students, they’ve never had a full-time international student; and I think they wanted to keep it that way.

    Basically the ranking for art schools in Japan for graphic design is:

    1.) Tamabi
    2.) Musabi
    2.) Nichigei
    4.) Zoukei

    and also the Women’s Art College will fit in there somewhere two to form the ‘Best 5’ of art schools, but I don’t know exactly where Jyoshibi fits in because as a guy I can’t go so I didn’t look into it. I go to Nichigei. It has the best post-graduation employment rate out of all of the Art schools, even if it may not be the ‘best’.

  3. comment number 3 by: tomato


    I thought you were Japanese since you have been using Hiragana.

  4. comment number 4 by: toadface

    Welcome to Yakuza central !!

    Don’t get too many tatoos or the ink might get to your brain !!

  5. comment number 5 by: master beta

    Darin, you look like Matt Stone, the co-founder of South Park.