more educational than a boot to the head

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  • The new maiko Fumino smiling during her misedashi

    Geisha Names

    Step into the world of the geisha and learn how new maiko get their professional names.

    Read more →

  • Sick Systems

    How to Keep Someone With You Forever

    So you want to keep your lover or your employee close. Bound to you, even. How do you pin her to your side, irrevocably, permanently, and perfectly legally?

    You create a sick system. →

  • A Haitian woman

    Haitian Names

    Nadège. Jenniflore. Mardochée. Islande. Myrlande. Rose-Merline. There's an entire world of beautiful names you've never heard before.

    Read on →

  • Karauta, a courtesan of Chojiya House, in procession with her two child attendants.

    Japanese Courtesans

    Tayû. Oiran. Once upon a time, there were courtesans so magnificent that the geisha were only their hired help. They're long gone, but the traces of their world remain.

    Read on →

Bigger. Faster. Redolent of spices.

Welcome to the new and improved Issendai.com!

It's been a while since I overhauled the siteand what a long, strange trip it's been. I started this site 18 years ago, a bright twentysomething newly unleashed on the big city, blazing with passion for life, letters, and above all else, anime. My first page was You Know You Watch Too Much Anime When..., followed by a Shishiwakamaru shrine and If I Become an Anime Character..., then If I Become a Dragonball Character, then a page for my translations of obscure manga and a mini-site about Japanese particles, then a site about Japanese cooking.

What I'm saying is, I had a Theme.

Since then, I've done grad school (in forensic anthropology—field trips involved corpse recovery), spent years working my way up the ladder of educational publishing, moved on to advertising and then to tech writing. I discovered the Society for Creative Anachronism and the allure of Chinese architecture. I took up jewelrymaking until I was good enough to start selling, then got bored and moved on to calligraphy, to metalworking, to spinning. Obscure onomastics beckons me from time to time: geishas' names, Haitian names, any names that are beautiful and little-studied. Psychology, especially the psychology of narcissists. Broken social systems. 13th-century French clothing.

What I'm saying is, there's no Theme any more.

So it's been unsettling, rereading all these writings from my past self. The world has moved on, making the anime and games I wrote about outdated; and I've moved on, getting comfortably outdated, but about new and fresh middle-aged-geeky things. My old pages didn't feel like me any more. For a while I considered dumping them. In the end I sorted them into new categories—mostly Silliness—and left them for those who enjoy visiting my obsessed anime-fan twentysomething self.

For the rest of you, my academic-geek fortysomething self welcomes you. I hope you enjoy wandering through the maze of my interests.

Issendai
January 2014

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