Roland Kelts, who is appearing on four panels during Otakon, will also be signing copies of his book, "Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.," throughout the weekend. One of Kelts' themes in this smart, zesty guide to the interface of Japanese and American pop is the twin-like connection of the cultures. His favorite metaphor is the Mobius strip, a twisting surface with one continuous side. In a 2007 epilogue Kelts asks readers to envision "the strip in motion -- whirling through the winds of the Pacific and DSL, cable, and satellite TV signals, crisscrossing the fifty states and beyond" to get "a clearer picture" of the phenomenon "tying the two countries ever closer together."
Kelts told me earlier this week that when he was growing up in New England in the 1970s and 1980s, “Japan was anything but cool. It was not cool to tell my friends that my mom was Japanese. Japan was this strange, distant, alien place, where they ate raw fish, which most Americans then found disgusting. The Japanese were supposed to be our evil competitors – they all were supposed to be conformists, wearing suits to work and doing jumping jacks to the company anthem. But in the 21st century Japan has become the arbiter of ‘cool’ around the globe, in fashion, design, style, cuisine, and certainly in this vein of bright, colorful and inventive popular culture.” [more @ Baltimore Sun here]