Loser Dog Nation

(this article first appeared in the april 5, 2004 issue of newsweek international)

This may be the year of monkey, but Japanese will remember 2004 as the Year of Loser Dogs, thanks to an ongoing national debate.

It started with Junko Sakai's book, "Loser Dogs Barking," out since October. Single and childless women in their 30s or older are makeinu, the author declared. It doesn't matter how successful, beautiful or happy they might be. They're all "loser dogs."

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Lost in Lost in Translation

Japanese react to "Lost in Translation"

When it comes to Japan-themed American films, Japanese movie goers seem to lose objectivity. Some are just excited that such Hollywood royalty as Cruise, Tarantino and Coppola took a notice of our humble culture. Others turn into authenticity detectives, picking on naccuracies, offensive cliches and outdated stereotypes. I may be a bit of both but tend to evaluate them solely based on how uncomfortable they make me. They often do. I know; there's some insecurity about our appearance at play.

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