So my new book just came out and was published by the Hong Kong publisher Roundtable Synergy Books. The book is in both English and Chinese (left page vs. right page) and was translated entirely by Yang Jing. It is a book of travels to four different cities in “East Asia” (the big land mass covering Japan, China, HK, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore…. and what not), where I search for animation fans who dress up as “characters”, and adult fans of Japanese or Korean dolls.
It became a first-person travelogue essay with many photos, interspersed with interviews with Cosplayers and queer or queer-ish personalities. I say queer-ish because people develop deep attractions for animation and games culture through funky alter egos, yet they often have very “normal” aspirations in their actual lives. Especially so since it is not easy to be alt, kinky, or extravagant in the East Asian region.
It was a real pleasure to work together with Gary Wong, Miu Chan and Peter Kong of Roundtable Synergy books, who are at the young and visionary vanguard of Hong Kong critical writing and independent political thought. Peter Kong also did a marvelous design job and came up with the idea of the costumed girl with (my) wandering doll. It is always a strange and special feeling when the book is out. I like its experimental nature and aesthetic pretensions. It shows who I am trying to be–as indicated by Prof. Eric Ma and Prof. Travis Kong–“palpable,” “infectuous,””on the edge of academia’ and yes “queer.” The queer-ish mosquito that zaps by and stings into unsuspecting flesh.