February 2011 Archives

Queer Japan syllabus

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A student asked me for books about sexuality in Japan so I began to think what a preliminary reading list might look like. Here goes. The first half is from my review essay "Chrysanthemum and the Queer":
  • EMERGING LESBIAN VOICES FROM JAPAN. Chalmers, Sharon. New York: Routledge Curzon, 2002.
  • COMING OUT IN JAPAN: THE STORY OF SATURO AND RYUTA. Ito, Satoru, and Ryuta Yanase. Melbourne and Portland, OR: Trans Pacific Press, 2001.
  • LOVE UPON THE CHOPPING BOARD. Izumo, Marou, and Claire Maree. North Melbourne, Victoria: Spinifex, 2000.
  • MALE COLORS: THE CONSTRUCTION OF HOMOSEXUALITY IN TOKUGAWA JAPAN (1603-1868). Leupp, Gary P. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995.
  • CARTOGRAPHIES OF DESIRE: MALE-MALE SEXUALITY IN JAPANESE DISCOURSE 1600-1950. Pflugfelder, Gregory M. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999.
  • TAKARAZUKA: SEXUAL POLITICS AND POPULAR CULTURE IN MODERN JAPAN. Robertson, Jennifer Ellen. Berkeley, CA: Uni- versity of California Press, 1998, ISBN 0520211510, 1998.
  • 0QUEER JAPAN: PERSONAL STORIES OF JAPANESE LESBIANS, GAYS,TRANSSEXUALS,ANDBISEXUALS.Summerhawk,Barbara, Cheiron McMahill, and Darren McDonald, eds. Norwich, Vt.: New Victoria Publishers, 1998.
  • GREAT MIRRORS SHATTERED: HOMOSEXUALITY, ORI- ENTALISM, AND JAPAN. Treat, John Whittier. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
and some new volumes:
  • Bad Girls of Japan, edited by Laura Miller and Jan Bardsley. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005.
  • Queer Voices from Japan: First Person Narratives from Japan's Sexual Minorities Edited by Mark McLelland, Katsuhiko Suganuma, and James Welker 2007.
  • Queer Japanese Gender and Sexual Identities through Linguistic Practices Hideko Abe 2010.

My students in my Queer Ethnographies course are wild:

So I'm in my hotel in Tokyo, trying in vain to get my Kindle3 to connect to my shared Internet Sharing connection with my Mac so that I can get it to sync and download all my blogs for on-board reading. My hotel only offers a hardwired ethernet connection, so I have to provide my own wireless.

Argh! My Kindle just doesn't connect with my Mac. My iPhone 3 connects just fine.

Some browsing around reveals that there is apparently a bug in the Apple Internet Sharing feature -- some people think it has to do with the DHCP provisioning. In any case, it makes the Kindle and other non-Apple devices have problems connecting. Let's leave aside the fact that Apple only has WEP encryption in Internet Sharing. Lame.

To fix it, you have to connect your Kindle manually. It's best to copy the settings from a device that *can* connect such as your iPhone, but if not, here are generic settings:

DHCP:   <- change the last digit from what your iPhone displays, '100' is usually safe

Thanks, internet magicians!

Am I the last person in the world to realize that DxOMarks has been benchmarking camera sensors for a while?

DxOMarks GH2

Click for the full report.

Now this is measuring just the optical performance of the imaging sensor -- which at this point is not everything. You have to consider the entire camera package and whether it does what you want it to do. For me, the video capabilities of the GH2 outweighed the poorer performance of its imaging sensor.

EOSHD has a stellar comparison review of the Canon EOS 60D and the Panasonic Lumix GH2: http://www.eoshd.com/content/460-Canon-60D-versus-Panasonic-GH2-Full-Review-Part-1

... Then the surprise hits you just how far ahead in technological and image quality terms the GH2 is. Virtually the only thing better on the 60D for video is the high resolution LCD with fantastic colour reproduction....


NikonRumors.com has an interesting post where they suggest that the D7000 licensing agreement says that the AVC codec used in video-recording can only be used for "personal and non-commercial use." Tons of discussion on the post by contributors.

Nikon avc patent licence

I am not a lawyer but it seems that the "personal and non-commercial use" applies only to the second part of the restrictive clause ("decoding") and not to the first part ("encoding"). But if you use the camera to play back part of a clip that you recorded as a professional (i.e., during a for-profit film shoot), then you're in violation of the decoding restriction on playing for-profit material, even if the for-profit encoding was kosher. Right?

Can other people check the fine print / licensing agreements of their digicams or DSLRs to see if there are similar restrictions? What do you think of such end-runs around free use of our equipment?

One of my students told me about Jes Sachse:

and check out her collaboration with photographer Holly Noris in "American Able" - a spoof of American Apparel: http://hollynorris.ca/americanable#h39067524

Darn you Jason Romero.....

Previously, I was content in separating my photography and filmmaking equipment into separate cognitive and physical categories. Still cameras took great photos, but they weren't fit for video work. Video camera took great video, but couldn't take exhibition quality photos. But then Jason had to destabilize that by posing a question about the latest generation of digital cameras.

PanasonicDMC GH2H After much soul searching and time on DPReview and other sites, I've come to the conclusion that there is a 95% solution. It isn't perfect but it's pretty darn close: the Panasonic DMC-GH2H.

It's a micro-four-thirds (MFT) DEVIL (digital electronic viewfinder, interchangeable lens) camera that happens to shoot fantastic 1080p video. I already own a MFT camera, the Panasonic DMC-G10 which I'm fairly pleased with -- especially because I can use all of my classic lenses on it with inexpensive adapters.

But what convinced me that the DMC-GH2 was the 95% holy grail was:

  • External microphone in (albeit 2.5mm) with recording level bars and manual audio level controls. No live monitoring via headphones, though.
  • 1080 / 24p recording. AVCHD at 24 Mbps (which is decent, same as HDV) onto SDHC/SDXC cards.
  • No cap on video clip length, unlike the Canon EOS series. While a 10 minute maximum on video clips is fine for documentary / live action work, it doesn't work for ethnographic video where sometimes you want to document an entire ritual without pause, especially if you a filmmaker+anthropologist at the same time and can't operate the camera when taking notes.
  • Flip out LCD monitor with touch screen. This allows touch-to-focus control and obviates much of my concerns about the SLR form-factor for extended video shooting.
  • Seeing the test video clips (below). Wow.

Here are some clips on Youtube shot with the DMC-GH2. Click on the thumbnails to go to the full-size shots, and watch them in HD. Beautiful.

I have a little Neat Receipts Travel Scanner that I originally bought for my Windows netbook when I'm travelling. It's so cute I wish I could use it on my Mac ... and not under VMWare or BootCamp.


Neat Receipts would sell me their bloatware for the Mac for $80. I looked for a cheaper option... My favorite, VueScan, unfortunately doesn't work with it.

Then, I saw a forum post that said that the Neat Receipts was actually a rebadged PlusTek M12 scanner. I went to their website and downloaded their M12 installer for the Mac (PlustekM12Series.dmg BETA dated 7/2010), clicked on the installer and ... the installer crashed with a Rosetta error, of all things.

On a hunch, I opened up the installation package (right click on it and select "Show Package Contents") and found inside it two other sub-installation packages (opticslimM12Digiscan.pkg and opticslimM12Support.pkg).


I installed those two installes one-by-one and rebooted, and presto, my Neat Receipts scanner works just fine as a PDF or JPG/PNG/TIF scanner under Mac OSX natively using the DigiScan application. Yippeee!


Well, this picture of an exploded Pentax Spotmatic F is not quite the opposite, but you know what I mean (blowing up the camera instead of objects in front of the camera).

There's something about looking at this image that makes me feel both exhilarated and terrified at the same time. Exhilarated by the thought of all these pieces having been constructed, assembled, and working together to produce an image. And terrified by the incredible complexity of something that seems so simple, which is the closest I've come to a personal understanding of Kant's sublime. I can't imagine how it would feel if I had any intimate knowledge of this camera, rather than just a vague sense of its importance.

Pentax Exploded for Photoethnography blog.jpg

P.S. Here is a video of the scene I'm referring to in case you haven't seen it before or would like to see it again.

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