A Conversation with Sheridan Prasso, the author of "The Asian Mystique" - Part II


This is the second of a two-part interview with Prasso, the author of "The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient". The first installment of the interview is below.

On "Memoirs of a Geisha" and Hollywood stereotyping of Asian women (a.k.a. an Asian/whore ratio on prime time TV)

What did the book, "Memoirs of a Geisha," do? I mean, just about every American read it.

Many, many people read it. The book reinforced the stereotypes, the number one stereotype for Japanese women, which is, an undying love for a man, this kind of perpetual devotion. When in fact, as any Japanese woman would know, it's not like that, at all.

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A Conversation with Sheridan Prasso, the author of "The Asian Mystique" - Part I


Prasso, a former news correspondent and editor in Asia, is currently travelling in our region to promote "The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient". The book covers lots of stuff my sisters and friends and I discuss all the time. I got to talk to the author in a posh Tokyo restaurant.

This is the first of a two-part interview.

On "Asian fetish" and fantasies of a back-scrubbing Japanese girl

As a Japanese woman who's never scrubbed anybody's back, I want to know: What's with the fascination with back scrubbing? It pops up a lot in the book.

I think it's a symbol of a fantasy of what Asian women should be - for Western men. There is the idea of grasses are always greener, you know, if you don't get what you are looking for on your own yard, you'll find it elsewhere. So the image is symbolic of a fantasy that perpetuates in the Western culture.

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Geisha trouble?

Now this is interesting.... Blogger Jeffrey Wells writes on "Hollywood Elsewhere" on some trouble concerning Memoirs of a Geisha. (I found this thanks to angry asian man. Excerpts:

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Geisha trailer is here

One of my favorite blogs, www.angryasianman.com, informed me of the Yahoo! site where anybody can watch the trailer for Memoirs of a Geisha.

I'm no expert on the prewar geisha world, but even I can say that just a look at the kimono... or the way these Chinese action stars wear them... would be enough to send my mother into a screaming rage.

Like a Child with Sense: Wakamaru the Robot Debuts


(this article first appeared in the september 19, 2005 issue of newsweek international)

Are you lonely? do you have trouble getting up on time? If you live in Japan, help is on the way. Starting this week, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will begin taking orders for Wakamaru, the world's first communicative home-use robot. Those willing to shell out $14,300 will get a one-meter-tall bright yellow companion who will follow them around, keep them on schedule, chatter idly and even worry if they get stuck in traffic.

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He's not going to the Giants

See him smiling? Right, Senichi Hoshino isn't taking the job from the Giants. Yes! Actually, I keep forgetting, but he's still affiliated with the Tigers, who are a different story completely. So he told reporters today that he's staying in some kind of job -- called Senior Director -- at the Tigers. This doesn't bother me one bit. Thank you!

Say It Ain't So, Hoshino -- Say No to the Giants!

Seriously, people. What's this nonsense in the tabloids? I've pretended not to hear it as long as I could. But really, what's with this talk of Senichi Hoshino, the celebrated Chunichi Dragons pitcher and manager, considering an offer to become the Yomiuri Giants manager? I mean, the Yomiuri Giants, his career-long nemesis?

In this world of uncertainty, you're lucky if you have just one thing you want to hold on to, something that keeps you going despite any hardship you might encounter. Something that you can always count on, when you may no longer trust your colleagues, your once-supposedly-lifetime-employers, your best friends, or even your own family.

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