Sailor Fuku: The Long and Short of It

Despite or perhaps even because of its prevalence in anime, the traditional sailor-style school uniform, or sailor fuku, is one of the more misunderstood articles of clothing out there, particularly by those viewers who may watch anime only now and again or have little to no direct knowledge of Japanese daily life. I must admit, even as someone who consumed anime voraciously prior to my actual move to Japan, I was still surprised by some of the things I discovered firsthand, especially when it came to things like school-specific rules around sailor fuku and what students could/could not get away with. Continue reading “Sailor Fuku: The Long and Short of It”

Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2020

2020 sure has been a year, huh? Luckily, despite… well, you know, everything, there was some pretty good music to come out of this one, and I actually think I ended up listening to more of it than I have for several years now. As a result, I managed to pull a solid list together for this annual blog series, containing a couple of already-strong contenders as well as a couple of pleasant surprises. Continue reading “Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2020”

Re-Thinking ‘Otaku’

Given the name of this blog, it seems only fitting that I make a post dealing with the word ‘otaku’ – its linguistic roots, the connotations it carries, and why many people today (myself included) feel okay labeling themselves as such, regardless of how the term may have been used in the past. Continue reading “Re-Thinking ‘Otaku’”

Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2019

Although I’ve admittedly not listened to as much Japanese music this time around as I have in previous years (or at least, fewer full albums), I still enjoy hearing what’s out there and writing up these annual posts as a result. There’s just something fun about it for me, and taking a break from anime every once in a while to write about other aspects of Japanese pop culture is also something I can get behind. Continue reading “Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2019”

The Break Down: Kancho

Read enough manga, or watch enough anime or Japanese variety shows, and you’ll inevitably come across that particular phenomenon known as the ‘kancho’. An outdated slang term for ‘enema’ (and the bane of every kindergartner and elementary school teacher’s existence), kancho is a prank (or, depending on your point of view, a form of sexual harassment) that typically involves kids – especially young boys – forming an imaginary gun shape with their fingers and delivering a blow straight into the anus of their unsuspecting victim. Continue reading “The Break Down: Kancho”

Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2018

It’s been a fairly underwhelming year for Japanese music for me, at least as far as full studio albums are concerned. While plenty of my favourite artists released compilation or best of albums during 2018, far fewer released studio albums; as a result, I listened to only 11 of them total, while just 3 of these made the cut. As always, the following list is arranged in order of release date and comprises only full and original studio albums by a single artist or band – no cover, compilation, EP, or live albums have been included. Continue reading “Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2018”

A History of Hentai: The Super Abbreviated Version

manga magazine lemon people
Way back in February 2016, after wading through my computer for a good old fashioned spring clean, I ended up editing and posting some history material that never quite made it into my PhD – mostly due to length and relevance issues. Continuing my adventures of delving into the folder helpfully labelled ‘UNUSED WRITING’, here’s another piece that’s been repurposed for my blog after a period of deep hibernation. Enjoy!

Note: I have gone out of my way to exclude any visually explicit content in this article. However, the topic itself obviously may not be considered child-friendly, and possibly won’t be to everyone’s taste regardless. Please proceed with this understanding. Continue reading “A History of Hentai: The Super Abbreviated Version”

Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2017

This year’s list is a little lighter than in 2016, when I listened to 18 Japanese studio albums total (in comparison to 13 this time around). However, I think that’s more of a reflection on my own time constraints as opposed to any particular dip in the Japanese music industry, and I managed to find a handful of albums that really stood out to me regardless. As always, the following list, arranged in order of release date, is comprised solely of full and original studio albums by a single artist or band – no covers, compilations, collaborations, EPs, or live albums. Continue reading “Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2017”

Kawaii Minus Gender: Genderless Kei


It’s been a long time since I last posted anything on Japanese street fashion, and of all the fashion-focused articles I have posted here on Otaku Lounge, all but one of them have been concerned primarily with women. After all, the vast majority of Japanese street fashions and subcultures have traditionally been dominated by female-centric styles: lolita, gyaru, mori girl, and plenty of others. Genderless kei – whose male participants have been gaining the lion’s share of media and fan attention – is changing that landscape. Continue reading “Kawaii Minus Gender: Genderless Kei”

Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2016

It’s been a whirlwind year in the Japanese music industry. Influential singer/songwriter Utada Hikaru released her first album in eight years; Boom Boom Satellites released their final (gorgeous) record before the passing away of vocalist Kawashima Michiyuki; iconic boy band SMAP disbanded after a run of nearly three decades; and BABYMETAL took one step closer to world domination when they opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers on their UK tour. To nobody’s surprise, fan-favourite idol groups such as Arashi and AKB48 continued to top many of the charts, but they were far from the only fare on offer in 2016. Continue reading “Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2016”