Hi everyone, blogging from Bogota, Columbia right now. We just got here a few hours ago, but it´s fairly late at night and everything´s closed.
I know everyone´s first reaction is going to be: WHY ARE YOU IN COLUMBIA?! You´re going to get yourself killed! Actually, a lot of the nasty drug business moved up to Mexico recently so Columbia is relatively safe. Also, my mother is a tour operator and I´ve been traveling with her since I was 2 years-old. We´re here for business the first few days and then a group of clients will be meeting us.
Enough about Columbia and why I´m here. I want to talk about manga as a truly worldwide phenomenon. I haven´t been to every single country and I know for a fact that a lot of countries probably don´t have anything close to a comic book publishing industry, let alone a manga publishing industry. Some countries just leach off the industries in more prosperous neighboring countries. BUT I have been to a lot of places and found manga in some of the most random ones.
Unsurprisingly, China has manhua, but they also publish manga from Japan. I´ve got quite a number of magazines and tankoubon in Chinese. I´ve also got a few from Taiwan that my mother picked up for me. She actually had a comic book store employee help her pick out age appropriate manga for me, so I got a lot josei titles!!
Probably a lesser known fact is that Argentina has a thriving manga and anime culture. I found manga like Card Captor Sakura and Fushigi Yuugi sold at newsstands. I visited about 7 years ago, a few years after they´d had a very bad economic depression. The country as a whole was starting to recover and otaku culture was taking off, but neighboring Uruguay was utterly desolate. So desolate that horse-carts were being driven around in the capital city of Montevideo. But we stumbled into a mall and I found a comic book shop that had some copies of D.N. Angel as well as a few other manga! It was such a strange contrast.
When I lived in Cuba for a summer when I was 14, I went to an arts market and found some comic books on the subject of Cuban hero Jose Martin. A local noticed my interest in comic books and stopped me outside the market, even though it was probably slightly dangerous for him to interact with two Americans. It turned out he LOVED manga. He showed me some pages he´d drawn in a very 80´s cyberpunk style and I gave him a couple of copies of Angel Sanctuary in Japanese. I´m sure he still has those manga because I´m sure Cuba still has a bunch of restrictions on what gets published in Cuba. I was super happy to give them to him and he was positively estatic to get them.
When you think about it, it´s truly amazing. Manga really is worldwide.
Unfortunately, it´s time for me to put this blog back on another hiatus. I`ll make a report if I find any manga here, but we´ll be pretty busy once the group gets here.
I´m really sorry guys! I miss blogging, this is just a busy time for me! See you soon! Hopefully