I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey to give you an update on my Wakizashi’s Teahouse YouTube Channel. On Christmas Eve last year, I reached the fabled 1K subscribers after working on my channel for 18 months. I’d already passed the second requirement of “4000 public watch hours” that you need in order to be considered for the “YouTube Partner Program.” My channel was “checked” by (possibly) a human being and I got monetized a few days later. Great! I could sit back, relax and watch the money pour in. That’s how it works, right?
That means anyone out there with even a slight interest in comic books or Japanhas to read at least one issue of USAGI YOJIMBO by Stan Sakai this year. I’m sorry but no exceptions allowed!
I know I’ve written about this long-running comic series before, but I wish it got more recognition and press. Writer and artist Stan Sakai has been chronicling the adventures of his “Rabbit Bodyguard” since 1984. So it’ll be Usagi’s 40th anniversary next year. That is very impressive, especially for a creator-owned independent comic book. SPAWN has been getting all the press recently but Usagi Yojimbo has been going for longer than Todd McFarlane’s Hellspawn. Spawn does have more issues though, because its run has never been interrupted, unlike Usagi Yojimbo.
After a long run with comics publisher Dark Horse, Usagi moved to IDW in 2019. But Stan Sakai was rumoured to be unhappy with IDW’s approach to the character. In September 2022, it was announced that Usagi would be returning to Dark Horse Comics. There haven’t been any new Usagi issues published since September, but the word is that Sakai will be collaborating with some “new talent” and they will continue publication of the ongoing Chibi Usagi, Space Usagi, and the Color Classics series. I look forward to any future issues of the main Usagi Yojimbo series.
I devoted a lot more of my free time to growing my YouTube Channel in 2022, which led to more comic books read but less “proper” books completed. Despite this change in hobby priorities, I still published 48 posts in 2022. Of those posts, only 14 were book reviews, 9 were comic book reviews, and 8 were Movie or TV reviews. In total, 31 reviews compared to 34 the year before.
After a quick check on the Wakizashi’s Teahouse YouTube Channel, I see that I made 104 comic book review videos in 2022. Imagine if I’d also posted short written reviews of those comics on WordPress. Definitely something to consider for this year.
In 2022, the Blog got 13,014 views, up 27% on last year. “Visitors” were up 28% compared to 2021. But “Likes” and “Comments” were both down. Most of my traffic came from the United States, followed by the U.K., Australia, Canada, and Germany.
This is a quick post to share a couple of very short videos of my family’s Japanese New Year. The first video shows “Daifuku” or “Anko Mochi” being made. The second video is a brief clip of “Sukiyaki” being cooked by my father in-law. It’s been a bit hectic here with all the preparations, cleaning, cooking, etc. I will be writing a Year’s Retrospective post in the coming days. Let me wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023. Thank you for all your support this year. よいお年を！(Yoi o toshi o!)
Thanks so much for reading! You really are Amazing!
In Japan, most people change their car tires in winter. They call them “studless” tires or “snow” tires. A lot of husbands take on this challenge themselves, probably “encouraged” by their wives. Other saner people drive to the local “gasoline stand-o” and pay a professional to do it. I’m one of the “encouraged” people and take on the job of replacing 8 tires twice a year. It’s one of those jobs that you keep wanting to put off until the weather is just right, you know, forever next weekend.
This year, the first snow to fall in the city came before I’d changed my tires. So I had to drive to work this morning in the snow with my regular tires still on. My wife was panicking a bit, giving me a shovel as well as the number for a taxi in case I got stuck. I was all bravado, “it’ll be fine!” But secretly hoping everything would be okay. I set off 30 minutes earlier than usual and guess what? Everything was fine! I took it easy and drove safely and arrived at work unscathed. To be honest, I didn’t feel any difference between the fabled studless tires and the regular ones. Hang on a minute. Is it really a clever con by tire companies and gas stations?…. “NO!” everyone in Japan screams. You gotta trust the science, right?..
Anyway, I’ll stop boring you with my tire-d story and share these pictures with you. It wasn’t a BIG snowfall. That usually hits around New Year. But this was the scene this morning around one of the public schools I work at.
I went to my first comic convention in Tokyo last weekend where I was working for an artist friend called The Jinja Ninja. It was a very busy Saturday and Sunday and my friend had a successful convention. He received an impressive number of commissions and was delighted with the whole experience. He also worked his ass off. I assissted as best as I could and tried to take some photos and videos of the Con. Unfortunately I didn’t take enough.I wish I’d taken more.
Here is a short video I took at the Comic Con. You will get a brief glimpse at some of the very impressive cosplay, as well as a few of the artists including Peach Momoko, Geof Darrow, Ed Pikor, Alex Sinclair, and The Jinja Ninja. I hope you enjoy it.
I took the video on my Sony Xperia smartphone so the quality isn’t the best.
Have you watched any of the YouTube Channel Red Letter Media‘s film or TV reviews? They became famous for their 2009 70-minute video review of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It was released in seven 10-minute parts and Part 1 is still their most-viewed video with over 10 million views. The video review is presented by the character Mr. Plinkett and the criticism is satirical and humorous. It upset a lot of Star Wars Prequel fans because of its tone and approach.
Last weekend I did a Livestream talking about Red Letter Media’s Obi-Wan Kenobi TV Show Review. Their mostly positive reaction and comments about the show were quite surprising, as I’d expected them to rip it apart. Mike and Rich were mainly positive about it with Jay being the most critical. I wasn’t sure if they were being serious or not. They offered comments like “I feel guilty for enjoying it,” “It’s super okay,” and “It looks cheap and the writing isn’t great yet I’m having fun watching it.” Maybe they were going for the “so bad it’s good” approach? Or perhaps they just wanted to get a quick review recorded and uploaded? It’s possible their recent experiences watching the PICARD show have broken them, as they are much more into Star Trek than Star Wars. Their Picard reviews are very funny, by the way. I recommend them if you need a good laugh.
Good Morning from Japan. This is just a quick post to ask all you fine people have you recently been attacked by the sex-spam-bots from Hell? I just checked my spam comments–something I do once a week–and discovered 40 of those annoyingly LONG spam comments that seem to go on forever. I usually just get 3 or 4. WordPress should be able to do something about this. What do you think?
My first trip in 2 years, it felt so refreshing to travel again. 🙂 You can see Osaka Castle in the distance. The cherry blossoms are blooming at their peak here. It’s been 20 years but they still blow my mind. After walking round the castle grounds, we ate some delicious Korean food in the city. Then we took a train to Kyoto for shopping and dinner in a craft beer bar. It’s wonderful to meet up with my daughter! ❤️
Thanks for reading!
Wakizashi- *Hey Mister Blue Sky, why did you have to hide away for so long?*
I don’t know if you’ve heard but Amazon has just launched its ComiXology Update 4.0 with emphasis on the ZERO! This has made a lot of readers and customers very unhappy, including me. I was so annoyed that I did a livestream on this topic last night. It’s a topic which is very close to my heart, as you will probably know if you’ve been reading my reviews for a while.
To cut a long story short, Amazon have made the digital comic book reading experience much much worse. They’ve also managed to make it very user-unfriendly. What the @*?<> is going on? Now you can only read comics on the Kindle Reader, which was not designed with comic books in mind. It’s for prose books, of course. Imagine taking all the pleasure out of reading a particular format. You’d think Amazon would be looking to attract more users and sales. I don’t see that happening now.
Two of my favourite parts of the ComiXology desktop app have been removed: the “Guided View” feature and the “Browse Pages” feature. The Guided View was one of the best things about the original app. It took you through the comic panel by panel, zooming in where appropriate and delivering a very satisfying comic book reading experience. The Browse Pages feature let you easily jump ahead (or back) to a specific page. Not anymore.
I go into more detail in the video and show examples of the old reader and the new one. I’d love to know what you think.
Thanks for reading!
-Wakizashi, *realizing I sound like a middle-aged man moaning about comics. What was the name of that character from The Simpsons? Comic book guy?*