OMG WHAT DID I DO!?
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A few years ago, one the most exciting places to buy movies in New York City was the JAS Mart on St. Mark’s. A subterranean Japanese market beneath the far end of the East Village’s most embarrassing street, the store had a mediocre DVD selection and prices that were hardly any better. But it’s a hard to compete with a place where you could buy the complete works of Hayao Miyazaki alongside a jug of Pocari Sweat and a shrink-wrapped squid.
The taxonomy of JAS Mart’s DVDs was difficult to pin down. Packed in flimsy cases that boasted reliably coherent translations of the film descriptions, the discs seemed less like cut-rate studio exports or top-notch bootlegs than a strange hybrid of the two that shouldn’t be questioned. While all of these commercially unclassifiable releases were region-free, only about half included English subtitles, and the teletext options seemed to have been doled out at random. (Air Doll: yes! 20th Century Boys: nope!) The DVDs, whatever their legitimacy, were clearly intended for the same Japanese viewers who relied on JAS Mart to help sustain a cultural connection with their home country. The errant non-Japanese cinephile who happened to wander in and buy one might leave with the lingering sense that they’d stolen something. Fittingly, the holy grail of JAS Mart’s library was a film that doubles as a feature-length manifestation of what it felt like to shop there.
From a distance, the cover photo of four people sharing a bottle of red wine at a picnic suggests a DVD of Alexander Payne’s Sideways. That impression is seemingly confirmed by a glance at the title, Saidoweizu, which—because of how Japanese accommodates words borrowed from other languages—literally translates as “Something called Sideways.” Only once you hold the box in front of your face does it become clear that everyone on the cover has been translated as well.
John Scalzi gets it.
Enough already, dudebros. Give it a fucking rest. We get it: you think vaginas are scary. PLEASE MOVE ALONG INTO THE DUSTBIN OF EMBARRASSING HISTORY WHERE YOU BELONG.
THESE ARE ALL AMAZING!
I rarely use this to just blog. I’m going to just blog now, so you can all just ignore this if it’s not to your liking.
Warning. Contents under pressure.