Friday, August 25, 2006

Speed Reading

A bit ahead of schedule, went ahead and broke the fast. Not because of some overwhelming desire for nachos -- why, I think I've transcended nachos -- but because of some health concerns. The guidelines I was using for the liquid fast said that you shouldn't go beyond 36 hours for your first fast (I was already way past 36 hours when I read this) and that if you have an irregular heartbeat (I do), you should be careful.

What, doesn't everyone read the instructions after they've already been doing something for two days?

Lest everyone find their faith in humanity shaken, I'm holding on to the healthy eating for a few days -- sticking to fruits, vegetables, and the fasting juice. And I'll do it again -- I just sorta want to get my doctor's ok on the heartbeat thing.

Self-absorbed aside complete -- now:

#31: "Speed Tribes" by Karl Taro Greenfeld

First became aware of this when I was steered, for reasons I forget, to Greenfeld's 1993 article on Japan's otaku. "Speed Tribes" deals with some of the same territory (and has a chapter on the otaku) -- it's a series of short clips, glimpses of the seedier side of Japanese culture, soon after the bubble economy burst. Each vignette features a different person from "outside" normal Japanese life -- a porn star, a rock star, a drug dealer, a teenage hoodlum, an otaku, a leftist student, etc.

It's quite good. It went really fast, and felt more like a sampler -- I'm rather distressed that Greenfeld doesn't have more in book format. I know little of Japan behind the surface and the stereotypes; this book tends to indicate that when someone decides to drop out of high-pressure mainstream Japanese society, they do it in a big way. I'd be curious to see what Sid thinks of this, but he's in hiding.

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