TokyoDV.com. It's just an amazing network. I'm not sure they know what a blog is, but it's definitely a blog. I guess you'd call it a collaborative video blog by a group of Tokyo videographers. It reminds me a little bit of Me-TV.org in format, but it's stark, elegantly simple and there is very little description. The videos are left to stand on their own and they do. They are non-linear works of art and mini-documentaries. Little stories unto themselves which are amazingly informational, insightful and appealing. Many don't even contain much voice over or conversation, mostly it seems unnecessary, but those that have speech have english subtitles and are easy to follow. It's not often one gets such a great and direct look into another culture. Here I am half a world away and yet I immediately can connect, identify and understand what is going on culturally. Sure there is a lot that I'm missing, but this is an excellent display of the power of new media to be very human, globally connected. We see real street life, real people, we here there words, there interests, their fashion and body language. These things speak far more succinctly and directly that mere words alone.
I believe we'll see a lot more homespun media networks like this in the near future. I'd love to see more collaborative video blogs like this in America, but I think this new form of media network needs a better economic model before it can be sustaining. Tokyo DV is already having a few bandwidth issues from what I can see. It looks like they depend mostly on donations.
They are an amazing insight into the Tokyo subculture and I'm guessing they're going to get swamped with traffic once the likes of boingboing.net get a hold of their url. I should state that the boingboing crew have an obsession with the Japanese cosplay culture, hental arts and other oddities of the Japanese sexual culture. It's a vibrant and modern culture. It's more traditional and at the same time more modern and commercial. These trends are obvious as you will see.
As much as I have tried above, the best way to summarize this up is just my notes, so enjoy...
Some apparent TokyoDV themes
(the majority of these links are QuickTime videos between 3 and 6mb)
- gadgets & connectivity - obvious in all videos is the obsession over cellular gadgets, tokyo is a very connected society
- brand culture very commercial, brand oriented culture - This is definitely the most interesting video I've seen. Women willing to pose naked with the brand goods of their obsession for publicized photos merely for the right to keep the brand goods.
- fashion - vibrant and varied fashion culture, traditional to modern, street fashion
- the SARS epidemic is obviously still an influential factor as you can still see the occasional mask
- sex vibrant sexual culture and rituals - hetal arts, fertility rituals,
- dance: Cosplay dance raves - JapAfriZilian Dancing - an influence of African culture into Japanese culture. I'm just taking an educated guess, but I believe JapAfriZilian is a slang term unique to this very localized dance culture in Japan. In comparison we would call the general influence of African culture in the US, Africanization. One obvious example are Adam Curry's beloved drum cadence sequences played at nearly every football game at every school in the US from high-school to college. These ritual drum beats we love so much have an obvious African influence. I believe wikipedia's entry for Africanization is a little narrow.
- film: the site seems to have at least one very good documentary film maker contributing: Dragons Come Home Trailer
- architecture and accomidations: apartments - interior design - office space