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Hibari-sensei's Classroom is a blog created to educate you about the Japanese culture.  It reflects the views of only one individual and not any associated organizations that may have been mentioned.  Photos of my students are intentionally blurry as to protect their privacy.  Permission has been granted by cosplayers, and credit is given to anything that doesn't belong to me.  If you have any issues, let me know.

If you're new here or would like to browse the archives, I've created an index. They're not linked, but you should be able to find them through the tags.
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No more updates on LJ

I have decided that I will not longer be cross-posting my entries here. Even though the process is mostly just cut and paste, the time that I do spend reformatting some of the posts can be used for other purposes. This past year has brought me new writing opportunities, and I'm starting to feel like I have too many blogs to keep track of. I'll continue commenting on my friends' entries, but if you would like to continue to follow Hibari-sensei's Classroom, please visit and comment at hibarisensei.wordpress.com .

You can also find me on the following Japan-related sites. The titles pretty much indicate the type of content that will be posted:

The easiest thing to do may be to keep up with me on facebook or Twitter. I post links to my writing of all genres and topics so I hope to see you around!

Profile: Erochica Bamboo

In the past year, I've developed a love for burlesque. I enjoy watching it, learning it, and even writing about it (check out my posts at DFW Dieselpunks After Dark if you're curious and okay with NSFW images). Recently I bought The Burlesque Handbook by Jo Weldon, and upon seeing the a quote from Japanese dancer Erochica Bamboo, I knew it was time to do a new profile.

Erochica Bamboo
Photo by Will Rob. From erochicahot.

Name: Erochica Bamboo (エロチカバンブー)
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Notable achievements: Miss Exotic World 2003, star of Camp Burlesque, founder of Tokyo Tease! and Tokyo Burlesque Academy
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erochica-Bamboo/51182482140

Erochica was an art student when a promoter convinced her to dance at his cabaret. She traveled on her own to participate in the Miss Exotic World Pageant in Helendale, California (location of the Exotic World Museum) and wound up winning. The Japanese neo-burlesque scene wasn't very big so after she returned from an extended stay in the U.S. in 2008, she founded Tokyo Tease! Far East Exotica Burlesque Show. It was a hit, and she was asked to do workshops. Two years later, Erochica started Tokyo Burlesque Academy. Now she resides in Berlin, Germany and performs all over Europe. She cites "[s]cenes from books, pictures, the town, nature; music; the artist inside" (The Burlesque Handbook) as her inspirations.

Sources: (may contain NSFW images)
"Erochica Bamboo: Tokyo Tease" - TimeOut Tokyo
"Japanese Burlesque Starlette Erochica Bamboo tells it all" by Mia Morris - indieberlin
"Miss Exotic World: Dixie's Chicks" by Paul Cullum - LA Weekly


New writing gig with Jrock247 and NekoPOP

The closing of Purple SKY was sad, but as one door shut, another opened. I have become a writer for JRock247 and NekoPOP. Now that doesn't mean I will stop writing about music here, but the reviews, interviews, and live reports will go up on those sites. Please check them out. You can also follow our updates on various social media websites.




The Fuss Over Bagel Heads

Ever since the Taboo episode featuring saline forehead injections aired, the media has been making a fuss over the "bagel heads" of Japan. Even my parents and their friends were talking about it! What do you think of bagel heads and the hype around them?

My own thoughtsCollapse )

Happy (belated) Cosplay Appreciation Day!

I found out about Cosplay Appreciation Day late yesterday so I didn't get around to posting on here.  I have much appreciation to show the entire cosplay community, but special props goes to everyone who has participated in my Beneath the Layers interview series: my thanks on Tumblr.

I've noticed that more people are speaking out against the issues within the community and at the conventions.  For a while I was wondering if there really is a need to continue with my interviews.  However, a lot of people remain in the dark about the things that go on at conventions an the things that people get away with.  Plus, everyone's experiences with harassment, bullying, and discrimination are unique.  Therefore, I'm going to continue my series in 2013.

Coincidentally, my Featured Cosplayer page on DFW Cosplay Gallifrey also went up: click on my name to read more.

2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit

The photos have been sorted through, uploaded, and watermarked, which means I can finally make this long overdue post. Before I do, I must announce to those who haven't heard that Purple SKY will no longer be updated. I'm currently looking for writing opportunities, and that may affect the content of this blog in the future. I'll keep everyone posted. Now onto our regular schedule programming.

From August 28 to September 3, North Texas hosted a delegation of over 150 Japanese visitors for the 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit. I've already written about the inspiration behind the Summit, the friendship between John Manjiro Nakahama and Captain William H. Whitfield. The John Manjiro Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange and the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth worked together with fifteen cities to give the visitors an unforgettable experience.

I wasn't able to participate in the first day's activities due to work, but the Summit got off to a great start with Japan-America Friendship Night at the Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays game. Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, along with the rest of the team and gloops International, Inc., helped sponsor the Ishinomaki Little Senior team. They were one of the three youth groups from Tohoku visiting through the TOMODACHI Initiative. I've never really been a fan of baseball, but I definitely support the Rangers for their kindness.

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I was going to write up my Grassroots Summit post, but earlier this week, some exciting news came in the form of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Sir John B. Gurdon and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka received this year's prize for their discovery of a specialized cell's ability to be reprogrammed into an immature state that allows it to develop into different tissues. This concept, known as pluripotency, is a major component in stem cell research.

Sir Gurdon is a developmental biologist at Cambridge (where he has an institute named after him). When he was at Oxford in 1962, he replaced the nucleus of a frog egg cell with one from a tadpole's intestinal cell. The egg developed into a cloned tadpole. Even though the intestinal cell was mature (meaning that it developed specialized functions), the D.N.A. in the nucleus still contained information needed for an egg to develop into a tadpole. Prior to his discovery, biologists believed that mature cells could not go back to their pluripotent state and become other types of cells.

Forty years later, Dr. Yamanaka of Kyoto University took Sir Gurdon's research a step further by studying genes that kept a cell in the immature pluripotent state. He introduced these genes into mature tissue cells, and he found that a combination of four of them reversed the cells' state. His lab created what is known as induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells could be the alternative to stem cells from embryos for research and therapeutic purposes.

Dr. Yamanaka has won many awards including for his research, including the 2010 Balzan Prize and the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize. Time Magazine also deemed him a "Person Who Mattered" in its 2007 Person of the Year issue. He is the director of the Center for iPS Research and Application at Kyoto University and runs marathons in his spare time.

Congratulations to both Sir Gurdon and Dr. Yamanaka! For more info on their contributions, check out the official press release.


Araaa, where did September go? It was a crazy month with the Japan-America Grassroots Summit, starting a new job, and some other events that kept me away from blogging. Not to mention I had hundreds of Summit photos to edit before I could make a post. In the middle of my editing, I realized that the majority of my readers probably don't know the inspiration for the Summit exchange program. It's a really interesting story that gets overlooked in the history books.

In 1841, the John Howland, a whaling ship led by Captain William H. Whitfield, rescued, five members of a Japanese fishing vessel marooned on an island in the Philippine Sea. One of the castaways was fourteen-year-old Manjiro. As the other men learned about whaling, Captain Whitfield taught Manjiro about American customs, such as maintaining eye contact, and ideals, such as equality. Manjiro's shipmates chose to disembark on the nation of Hawaii while Manjiro went with the rest of the crew to Fairhaven, Massachusetts, making him the first Japanese person to set foot on American soil.
img04_2, From the John Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE) website (From CIE website)

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Miss Rikei Contest

Lately, I've come across multiple articles on the lack of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.  A 2010 study by the Academy of American University Women found that only 20% of U.S. STEM bachelor degree earners are female.  In Japan, the rikei joshi (science girl) is even rarer.  To acknowledge these women and perhaps get more girls interested in math and science, CURIE has decided to hold a nerdy beauty pageant, the Miss Rikei Contest. 

I'm not exactly sure how these girls will be judged (aside from appearance and poise) since they have different majors.  While I don't care for my day job to be glammed up, I do appreciate the attempt to break stereotypes with actual scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.  Check out the six Miss Rikei contestants here.

Who would you root for?

My totally biased pickCollapse )