Episode Number: 91
Episode Title: Hashtag Japan (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Renay: Hello friends! I’m Renay.
Ana: And I’m Ana.
Renay: And you’re listening to Fangirl Happy Hour: Question Tuesday Edition.
Renay: Today we’re gonna answer some questions from real space bees! Real fan bees.
Ana: I like both.
Ana: Space bee, fan bees, our beehive.
Renay: I’m pretty sure that Beyoncé’s fans are coming after us for that one.
Renay: Because that’s what they call themselves. The Beyhive.
Renay: Let’s not encroach on the Queen’s territory.
Ana: We bow to the real queen.
Renay: Jonah from the excellent podcast Cabbages and Kings asked us, “If you could go on an adventure, where would you go and for how long?” And I’m going to change this up a little bit to ask you, because you work too hard, that if you could take a break from life and go on an extended vacation or adventure in one country in the world, where would you go?
Ana: If I could have an extended vacation I would go to Canada. Yes, I would go to the west coast. I would go walk in the wilderness. I would go to Vancouver where my partner has been. He really loved it there. But every time we’ve we say “Let’s go to Canada” and it’s like we don’t have enough vacation days. We just need more days, one week doesn’t seem enough to just go on walks and doing awesome stuff. I would also love to go to Japan for the same reason. We haven’t been yet, because it’s so far away, it’s so expensive, and one week doesn’t seem enough. What about you?
Renay: You stole my answer, really. It was Japan. I would go and just collect my friend Rose. She knows some Japanese, and she knows so much about the culture, she’s so smart. I’d be like, “We’re going to Japan, you have no choice, you’re coming with me!” and I would take her with me because otherwise I would be fucking doomed.
Renay: I grew up watching anime. Now I’m into manga. And I read a lot of news about Japan and it just sounds like a super fascinating country, there’s a lot of history. I’m a big history nerd, just, imagining getting to go and like be one-on-one with that history. Like you said, one week isn’t long enough, so if you had like extended vacation time to just go and wander around Japan and learn about it, that would so great. Also the food. Apparently they have amazing Kit-Kats.
Ana: Oh yes, I know! Is it Alyssa from Galactic Suburbia who keeps trying all these different flavors of Kit-Kat? And I’m like, “This is not vegan but I would totally be into it.”
Renay: They’re not vegan, but you would still eat them?
Ana: I would try the green tea Kit-Kat.
Renay: I can’t even get you to try a bite of delicious properly southern-fried chicken.
Ana: Oh my god, ugh. No. Chicken’s gross, Renay.
Renay: [laughter] We ended up from adventure talk to once again, Ana, mourning my life choices when it comes to my chicken consumption. I would love for you to say that in front of my mother, just to see what would happen. Chicken is gross.
Ana: Oh my god. Oh my god. No. I would never.
Renay: Yeah, so Japan would be where I would go. And if I had a second choice, I would go to Hawai’i. Also full of great history. It’s super beautiful there and Kate Elliott’s there so I can just be like, “Hey! I’m here! Let’s hang out!” I would have her show me all about outrigger canoe paddling.
Ana: Speaking of, I’m in the middle of Buried Heart, the last book in her trilogy, and it’s breaking my heart.
Renay: Jonah, your question just went everywhere. You got places, you got Kit-Kats, you got Ana’s disgust over fried food.
Ana: And Kate Elliott.
Renay: And Kate Elliott. This was a rounded-out question, so good job. I’m curious as to where everybody else would go, though. Because that’s a really interesting question. We think about vacation as this really short time period, but if you had longer, where would you go? Because that would change the answer.
Renay: Space bees: let us know. If you could go on an extended vacation, where would you go?
Renay: Marie asked, “What is a book that you wish you had read/had been around when you were a teen?”
Ana: This is complicated. I think I would have liked to read the Dorothy L. Sayers books, with Peter and Harriet, cause I was really into mysteries. I started reading Agatha Christie when I was twelve and these ones are really different in the way that they portray romance. And I think they would have different for me. My original answer to this was actually His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. They were not available in Brazil and I think I would have liked them.
Renay: It’s been so long since I read those books I don’t even remember what happens in them really well.
Ana: Well, the new book’s coming out this year, so I actually plan on reading the original trilogy again. When would I have the time? I know.
Renay: [laughter] You’re gonna get a time turner to do that, gonna make that possible with some magic?
Renay: Are you gonna manage that one? That’s seems impossible. [laughter] You have eight jobs. You have eight jobs.
Ana: What about you? What is the book that you wish you had read?
Renay: I wish that I had had access to Kate Elliott’s work when I was a teenager. I wish that I had had access to Octavia Butler’s work when I was a teenager.
Ana: Good job! we somehow made it back to Kate Elliott again.
Renay: If we can’t mention Kate Elliott at least once we’re not doing our jobs.
It’s less about there being a specific book for me, and more about the fact that I wish I’d had more access to women writers, because they just weren’t around where I was. I had more luck a little bit, with Madeleine L’Engle because I read A Wrinkle in Time and The Wind in the Door when I was a teenager and fell in love with them. I just know that if I had had more access to other women writers like L’Engle it would would have just opened up the whole world for me. Instead of going into fiction to find women writers I went to fanfic to find women writers. Having those books available would have been like, life-changing. Especially Kate Elliott’s books. I look back to teenage me and be like, “You would be in heaven.” I tried a lot of epic fantasy back when I was a teenager, like Robert Jordan, and I would eventually fail out because the female characters were not well-treated or they were objectified or whatever else. It would have been brilliant to read more epic fantasy by women. Which I’m sure back then also had its own problems, but it would have been not male-gaze.
Renay: It’s a really hard question to answer.
Renay: Marie, you were trying to stump us, weren’t you? You thought, but we came through and mentioned Kate Elliott.
Ana: Marie! What about you?
Renay: Yeah, answer your own question. Send us an email.
Renay: Next up, from Lee. This is for Ana. “I’ll be moving to—”
Renay: “—Brazil for summer. You have any recommendations for works in English translation by Brazilian authors? My Portuguese isn’t good enough yet for non-translated works.”
Ana: This was a really difficult question for me to answer because I was not really fully aware of what has been translated into English from Portuguese, nor have I kept up with Brazilian literature in the past fourteen years. So I have nothing really new that I could recommend.I could only recommend because I found and I did a search, really seminal older works of Brazilian literature. Two of them are—that I would recommend—one would be the books by Jorge Amado, he’s from the north east of Brazil as well, he’s not from Recife but he’s from Bahia, and most of his work takes place in Bahia. One of them is called Captains of the Sands, which a really hard book to read about street children in Brazil, but it’s something that all of us have to read in school. The other one that I would recommend that’s not as, I wouldn’t say well-read, but it’s not literature that you read at school, at least it wasn’t when I was in school, it’s wasn’t at my school, but it’s a feminist writer Clarice Lispector and you can out and there are tons of her books on Amazon. I saw it today and maybe you can take a look at the blurbs to see which one you would fancy more. But I recommend her work. And those are the two that I could think.
Of course, there is like the very commercial Paulo Coelho, with The Alchemist, which was very famous at some point, and most of his books have been translated. It’s not for everybody because it’s more about the spiritual side. I really liked The Alchemist when I read it. And anything newer I don’t know, so for our Brazilian listeners: if you can recommend anything new that you know that has been translated into English let us know so I can tell Lee.
Renay: Help! Help!
Ana: And also I have never been to Recife. My step-grandfather was from there and I know that is a really cool place, and I hope you have a great time.
Renay: A while ago we got a prompt from somebody wanting us to do a series of bookish questions based on a series done at EW called Books of My Life. And now I forgot who it was. I’m so sorry. I don’t remember because I’m an asshole. I apologize. But I thought that could be my questions for you for a while. Where we could just share our answers about these questions.
Renay: And there’s like at least ten or fifteen questions so we’ll be covered for Question Tuesday for quite a while, and I won’t ask you any more about chocolate covered insects.
Renay: So the first question is, “A book that you read in secret as a kid.”
Ana: The first thing that came to mind was my mum’s collection of Harlequin romance novels that she used to get. In Brazil, those books are considered lower types of books so they are not even sold in bookstores. They are sold in newsstands and they are like very cheap paper and they are very cheap books, and they are short, kind of like the Harlequin romances are very short, but my mum used to get tons of those and of course hide them because I was a teenager. And sometimes when she would leave the house I would go and take a peek at them. I couldn’t understand what the big deal was, but yeah. Those are the books that I would read in secret.
Renay: I have a specific book for this question. So I was a kid, my mom had this copy of a book called Make Believe Children by Arlene DeMarco. I can’t find a blurb for this book, but there’s a like a little summary on the front of the cover that I finally found on Goodreads, and it says, “A shocking behind-the-scenes novel about Kim Hudson, the beautiful child actress who grew up to be Hollywood’s number one sex superstar.” And it’s about this little girl from childhood to adulthood, and how she gets into show business and like the very first part of the book is her, sitting on a dude executive’s lap, while he fondles her and jacks off. That’s how this books starts, with this little girl, and it goes through her whole life from that point on. Eleven year-old me should not have been reading this book.
Ana: Oh my god.
Renay: Should not have been reading this book. At all.
Ana: How did you find it?
Renay: It was just in my mom’s bookshelf. Why did my mom have this book, number one, this was—there is trash literature and then there’s trash literature.
Ana: [laughter] Oh my god.
Renay: I have no clue where it came from or why she had it, but she did! It came out in 1975. This book also contained orgies.
Ana: Oh my god.
Renay: The main characters, Kim Hudson, having a baby, but it was deformed.
Ana: Because of the caning…?
Renay: Maybe, I can’t remember. And then she sent the baby to a home. A lot of sexual abuse…
Ana: So what did your eleven year old mind make of it?
Renay: I was very confused. This is not the way that you wanna be introduced to BDSM, let me put it that way. This was not a good introduction. Very unhealthy. Because like in the book the caning is, okay I wanna say it was a consensual thing, like the person doing the caning was kind of, “ehhh” but the person who was having it done to them was like, “Yeah, thumbs way up!” so I don’t wanna get like emails going, “This is not BDSM, don’t, like, this is more complicated!” No guys, I promise, there was a little of like consent and discussion. I promise. It was just really complicated for an eleven year old to process.
I hope whoever asked us to do this survey of questions in the next few weeks was excited that was my first answer. And I definitely read this book like multiple times. I was obsessed with this book. The sex parts weren’t like titillating. It was just so grotesquely over the top that I just didn’—I was fascinated. When kids get upset or scared or whatever about something, they’re really good at self-censoring. Me, I don’t think I had that ability to self-censor back then, I was just like, “I don’t get this. I’m gonna read this multiple times to figure it out until I get it.”
Ana: [laughter] It wasjust for science and research, obviously.
Renay: I was a weird kid. Anyway, so that’s my answer. Make Believe Children. Arlene DeMarco. If somebody else has heard of this book or has read this book, please email us, so I know I wasn’t alone.
Renay: Thanks to Jonah, Marie and Lee for sending in questions.
Ana: Send us more! We love your questions.
Renay: Our show art is by Ira.
Ana: Our transcripts are made by Susan, who is superstar. You read them on fangirlhappyhour.com.
Renay: Our music Boxcat Games and Chuki Beats.
Ana: We are on twitter at @fangirlpodcast. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do write to us with your thoughts.
Renay: You can subscribe to our show wherever podcasts are acquired. If we’re coming to you via itunes, feel free to stop by and leave us five stars.
Ana: If you want your question featured on a future Question Tuesday, you can ping us on social media, or use the handy form on fangirlhappyhour.com.
Renay: Drink some water, don’t let your dishes pile up in the sink, and contact your reps.
Ana: Remember to go on long vacations if you can and don’t work eight hundred jobs like me.
Renay: Accurate. Thanks for listening to our show, space bees.
Ana: See you next episode!
Renay: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. What’s going on, what’s happening, okay, where did your window go? I can’t see you!
Ana: What do you mean?! I’m here!
Renay: I know you’re here. I lost my window. I couldn’t see your window.
Renay: [sigh] Am I recording? I think I am. I just wanna check. Yes.
Ana: Oh my god.
Renay: I checked! I check every time just to be safe!
Renay: I can’t pronounce that shit! I suck at vowels!
Renay: Remember, safe, sane, and consensual.
Ana: [laughter] Okay.