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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gadget Ok! was more than Okay

Above is a picture of Frederik L. Schodt, who was the first speaker of the evening at Gadget Ok! that was held at UCLA. Gadget Ok! in my own words was a lecture series on how Japan enjoys technology like robots differently than the rest of the world. How they can see technology being used for less than serious purposes, but more for atheistically pleasing ones self. You could think of it as making devices or using technology for fun. I had a chance to talk with Frederik L. Schodt before the lecture. Frederik L. Schodt is a Japanese to English translator and helped bring some of the first anime and manga to the U.S. . He also wrote the forward in the
The Otaku Encyclopedia whose author I interviewed.

I had a chance to talk with Frederik before the show and was impressed by his love of Japanese culture and how friendly and easily to get along with he was. I thought I could come up with some questions, but I feel as though I should have been more prepared to talk with him. I can see why he was chosen as first speaker though. He gave a great lecture on how robots are so well liked and common place in Japanese culture thanks to the cartoon Astroboy about a robot who looks like a small boy who helps people. That's a bit of a small explanation as Astroboy went on insane Japanese anime stories.He discussed many other exciting facts about how robots are designed in America compared to Japan.

After his lecture was a Q and A and everyone asked questions except someone who pissed me off, one old Jewish man. Who didn't ask a question, but tried to fit in the story of the Golem. Frederik had discussed in his lecture how the Japanese had percieved robots before there actual creation in manga and anime. The Jewish man was explaing how the Golem was akin to that. Problem was it wasn't a freaking question. Frederik had to just stand in front of everyone with their heads turned to the back. That guy was a asshole who wanted to try and show off what he knew. I'm Jewish, I wanted to raise my hand next and say I'm sorry about that just try and remember a Mel Brooks movie in place of your memory of that guy. Also some idiot went up and tried to discuss something called FLOSS. I have no idea what point he was trying to convey or why he came up at all.

Next the President of Maywa Denki, Nobumichi Tosa came up and how off some Japanese electronic toys. Maywa Denki makes fun nonsense toys and items. Their new product the Otamatone was demonstrated. It's a musical instrument in the shape of a musical note. You can by it at Giant Robot

There was a small exhibition before and after the event showing of some strange nonsense toys and items from Japan including these flying panties. Yes, FLYING PANTIES

Lastly I noted a peculiar lecture titled Bling, Booty & Bullets was happening next door. Only in LA.