As we continue our journey into 2018, we inevitably accumulate more articles and thinkpieces. Here are some of the ones I accumulated this week:

  • First up, a five-part essay on trends in Japanese pop culture at the start of the 2010s by W. David Marx of Néojaponisme. Marx argues that as the Japanese economy suffered in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, consumption of mainstream culture declined due to tightened budgets, but the consumption of counterculture didn’t decline as much, thereby increasing its prominence. Unfortunately, having been written several years ago, the essay is a little out of date now; many of the things Marx frames as counterculture have gone mainstream. The notion of video games being a shameful hobby has mostly evaporated, and Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike has openly promoted the anime industry.
  • Mattathias Schwartz of New York Magazine has longread on the devastation left behind by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The piece chronicles how ordinary citizens have banded together to provide the disaster relief that the American government has failed to provide. Much of the island remains without power. History will remember this as Trump’s Katrina.
  • Writing for The Cut, Moira Donegan reveals herself as the creator of the “Shitty Media Men” spreadsheet that circulated in media and journalism circles and shared stories about men in the industry who committed sexual misconduct. It’s a thoughtful piece that explains Donegan’s thinking in creating the spreadsheet; she was keenly aware of both the advantages and the potential pitfalls.
  • Finally, writing for Polygon, XCOM‘s creative director, Jake Solomon, writes about what playing Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (one of my favourite games of 2017) taught him about the tactics genre. Solomon was particularly impressed by how the game made movement both strategic and fun. (I was too!)

Enough for now. More thinkpieces will follow in the coming weeks.