Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Twilight Connection and Noriko's Hamamatsu Rumor...

Yesterday, events reinforced for me the inescapability of Twilight mania. I'd been able to ignore the warning signs-- students shyly asking me from time-to-time about vampires and American high schools and movies with vampires in American high schools-- but yesterday brought another revelation. Soon I must deal with this glittery media-born monster, and hopefully on my own terms. Because one of my Bentenjima students has ordered the Twilight movie on DVD from Amazon. Not only is her daughter suddenly way into Twilight but... wait for it...

She actually knows the people who live in Bella's house in Forks, Washington.

Actually, I'm not sure which house it is. There seems to be more than one, but I don't know enough about Twilight the book series or Twilight the movie to know exactly which house my student was talking about. But whichever house or location it is, this student did one or more homestays in that general vicinity years ago and got to know quite a few people in Washington state and the Vancouver area of British Columbia. Once her daughter got bitten by the Twilight bug... or vampire... she did a little research and viola! She's actually been to these locations. Perhaps she even stayed at Bella's house. I'll have to ask her again in a couple of weeks when I see her again just to confirm it.

It's like my own interest in visiting places mentioned in Murakami Haruki and Banana Yoshimoto novels, or eating a Jackson Burger just like Hachi does in the Nana manga, or in finding the exact spot Noriko and Shuya ran away to in Shibuya at the end of Battle Royale. It's exciting to have a direct, personal connection to some fiction universe you enjoy, to have an opportunity to slip onto the screen or between the pages or into a comic book panel and walk around, and so I feel compelled by personal experience to support fannish inclinations.

To a point.

The student told me her daughter, who has long been interested in retracing her mother's homestay footsteps in America, wants to visit the high school in Forks. I told her to tell the girl there are no young, gorgeous vampires in American high schools. She laughed and nodded; they're used to my asinine sense of humor in Bentenjima. I then added, "I can also promise her there are no old, ugly vampires in American high schools, either." And my student laughed harder.

Also, this week I learned there's possibly a Hamamatsu connection to the Sakai Noriko drug scandal. Apparently-- and keep in mind this is merely rumor and so probably isn't true in the least-- Noriko occasionally did some of her "experimentation" at a bar here in Hamamatsu. Most of the people who told me this did so sort of comically, as if they weren't completely convinced of it. And it reminds me about a year or so ago when people told me repeatedly a famous singer-actor was living in an apartment in Bentenjima for the summer, yet no one had actually seen him for themselves. So to say I'm dubious about this new rumor is an understatement. True or not, now Hamamatsu is famous not only for unagi, but also for the ease with which one might buy drugs here.

Nice to be known, huh?

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