Lately I’ve been more of a consumer rather than a producer — partly due to taking the summer off to hang with my little dude — and it’s been…well, awesome. No, really. I’m so excited. Not only to have the time to do some reading & watching & playing but because of what I’m reading and watching & playing.
Japanese manga. Anime. Korean & Chinese dramas. Mainstream movies and TV shows featuring Asian characters (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Kim’s Convenience, and Crazy Rich Asians). Japanese & Korean otome games (kinda like visual novel choose-your-own-adventure romance things developed for women and invented by women).
I may have gone off the deep end a little based on my bookshelves and the apps installed on my phone but seriously, guys, I’m in love. I’ve tried explaining it to my husband, but he’s kinda your standard white dude and he’s never lacked for media that portrayed people that were like him. He gets it, but he doesn’t at the same time. When I was growing up, I had the Fifth Chinese Daughter and anything by Pearl S. Buck. That was pretty much it. I can still remember watching The Joy Luck Club (1993) when it came out. It was like a lightbulb. Those Aunties were MY Aunties.
And now…now there’s so much! Okay, statistically it’s a drop in the bucket but it feels like so much. I came late to anime/manga (just the last few years) and I have so much catching up to do. K-dramas I just discovered this year. Thank you, O gods of the Internet and streaming services like Viki and Crunchyroll.
Because even though I’m a too-short American-born half-Chinese very random gadabout, I’m finding something in each of these things that I didn’t even know I was missing in my life. My people, as silly as that sounds. I feel like I’m making up for lost time. Teenage me would be in such a tizzy. I know it’s a buzz word but representation does matter. Diversity does matter. And creators are just as excited about this stuff as consumers. I know I am.
I may not be Korean, but the mom in Kim’s Convenience is totally my mom, down to her facial expressions and her penny-pinching ways. I’m not Japanese, but my son and I are both finding that shōjo manga exactly hits our shared sense of humour (okay, he also really loves One Punch Man which is definitely shonen manga but Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is our uncontested favourite). I may not be part of the (primarily) young target audience, but I’m finding camaraderie in the otome sub-reddit and have far too firm opinions on who in Mystic Messenger makes the best husbando (Zen. Totally Zen. He is best boy.).
I’m happy to be even a small part of this. My third book Cat Girl’s Day Off, if you haven’t read it yet, features a half-Chinese protagonist and is arguably the most “me” out of all the books I’ve written. Stay tuned soon for some news on that one…
Anyway, I’ve been terrible about blogging for a while (here, at least) and I’m pledging to be better about that. I’m going to be talking about some of the stuff I’ve been reading, amazing books from some of my friends, and whatever other random thing I’m obsessing about. Feel free to contact me with questions. Ask Me Anything. I’ll answer.