Chances are you have a image in your head when you hear the words "Japanese art". You probably imagine a Ukiyoe print of Mount Fuji or perhaps a Sumi painting. You almost certainly are not reminded of the covers over sewer holes. Yet, that's exactly where you'll find a unique form of Japanese arts.
As viewers of Samurai Champloo know, there is a long tradition of Japanese influence on Western art. Of course, if you did indeed learn this tidbit from watching anime, it is clear proof that someone forgot to pay attention during art history class. Then again, if you're watching anime, you're following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Vincent Van Gogh.
If it seems like we're a little anime-obsessed this week, well, it's because we are. Two new (to us) series have captured our imagination, and it seems the news is feeding our obsessions by running lots of stories on the topic. Like the behind-the-scenes look at the anime industry that recently appeared in Business Week.
A few years ago, you could safely confess your adoration for anime in a crowd of hipsters and only get a few knowing nods. Nowadays, everyone knows about Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network. You can discuss Cowboy Bebop over after-dinner drinks. What's up with that?
We're going to be honest: we were surprised by the quality of rock 'n roll bars we found in Japan. Maybe it's because we're jaded or maybe it's because we expected strangeness, but we spent a lot of time saying, "Hey, this place has cool music." Do not laugh at our wide-eyed wonder -- have you checked out the jukeboxes in Los Angeles clubs lately? Not good stuff at all.