I hate 2003 movie Lost In Translation and you should too



So, for a while now I’ve been making scattered posts about how much I hate this movie, and when asked why I replied: well, it’s fuckin racist (and misogynistic as well we’ll talk about it).

Dropping my trademark lowercase typing for a more legible text here but we’re in for a wild ride. I’ve also been asked: how is the movie racist? Could you elaborate? So here’s the essay.

How is Lost In Translation racist?

I’m sticking to some sort of (shudders) academic but also handy and organised plan here to explain the whys and hows and what makes this movie that a lot of teens and older teens, and olderer not-teens consider deep, relatable, original, good, gorgeous, whatever, a 100 minute constantly and unapologetically racist piece of trash of a movie.

I think we’ve all figured out even by reading the synopsis to whom the aforementioned racism is directed to: it’s us, the Japanese. And yeah for once I’m gonna take the liberty to speak for all of us because let’s be real, this movie is outrageous.

3 Important Points as to How Lost In Translation is racist:

  1. THE WHITE CHARACTERS: the characters themselves are typically “white in a ‘foreign’ country”: entitled, ignorant, racist. I am gonna talk about our two main characters, Charlotte (portrayed by our beloved confirmed zionist Scarlett Johansson) and Bob (portrayed by our favourite wife-beating, multiple time cheating asshole Bill Murray) but also the secondary characters such as Charlotte’s boyfriend or that other girl whose name I totally forget.
  2. THE MOVIE ITSELF AND ITS RUNNING JOKES: something I hadn’t noticed until I rewatched the movie a few days ago for the sake of making this post, there are many, many awfully racist running jokes throughout the movie. It actually angered me a lot. Here I will talk about how the movie itself, how some visual elements and how the plot unravels reveals a lot of racism and misogyny.
  3. THE JAPANESE CHARACTERS: now this is where it gets tricky. truth is, no importance is accorded to any Japanese person in this movie, despite being set in Japan. Fishy huh? This point is kinda tied with the second one but I think I can elaborate on the absence of a Japanese POV, and how this extends to other movies where the setting and its inhabitants serve as a prop to the white story the white movie wants to tell.

Continuing under the cut:

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Hitting insta-reblog on this without even touching the Read More. My God, what a crap movie.

I had a boyfriend who insisted on watching this together when he heard that I hadn’t seen the movie because he loved it. The relationship was officially over shortly after the end of the movie.

I love my parents

I decided to wear a pair of black and white patterned lightweight, flowy pants this morning. Perfect pants for a nice summer day. Showed off my outfit to my mom, who promptly told me I look good in them but described my pants as “old lady pants.”

I sputtered and scowled for ten minutes, changed, threw the pants at her, and told her she could keep them. She smiled, “Yes!” and dashed off to put them on.

She came back, proudly wearing them, grinning from ear to ear. My dad took one look at her and goes, “Those don’t work on you. The pattern makes your legs look really short.”

She gaped at him for a moment, then told me as she turned away to go change, “You can have these back.”

My dad turned to me. “You’re welcome.”


The other stupid thing about that size 000 article is that the real issue, and an important one, is the size inflation/skew of the modern clothing industry.  

23” waists are not new or interesting; you will find a shitload of vintage clothes in that size because people used to be both skeletally smaller and have less body fat than modern Americans do, and I have plenty of vintage pieces in 24” waists that were considered (and are marked) a size 8-16.  I have several Japanese and Korean items clearly labeled “large” or “extra large” that are snug on me.  This is where the popular myth of “Marilyn Monroe was a size 16” comes from: although Monroe struggled with eating disorders her entire life and yoyoed in size considerably, she was never the modern equivalent of a 16.  She was a small woman, generally, and plenty of photos of her from all stages of her career show visible ribs and collarbones.  Other photos show her softer and heavier and just as lovely, but even at 5’3” and looking nearly zaftig, a size 16 dress in the 1960s was 34-28-37”.  That’s the equivalent of a size 8 today. [source]

My point is, slowly inflating the actual measurements of a “size 0” to something that used to be a size 2 or 4 is how you sell more clothes.  The positioning of capitalism to clothing is that we buy clothes to self-medicate, and we feel better walking out of a dressing room a size 0 than we do a size 8.  This is shitty, but it’s what capitalism wants, and it’s why the concept of “dress size” in women’s clothing is essentially useless.  Why aren’t women’s pants sized waist measurement/leg measurement?  Why can’t I buy a 34/36 and walk out the store? This is why.  Because keeping us guessing, is keeping us spending.

I can’t even shop in the “women’s clothing” sections anymore because sometime in the late 90s when average body sizes in America were really ramping up, everyone below a certain size bracket in female clothing was moved into “Juniors”, or more optimistically, “Petites”.  What was considered “Plus” was labeled “Women’s”, and “Plus” was bracketed up to larger sizes still.  So according to official sizing in MANY midlevel outlets (think Walmart, not Nordstrom—sizing is directly attached to class marketing, big surprise there), I’m not technically a woman because I’m not big enough.  It’s interesting how this ties into the common refrain from people trying to be body positive but not quite getting it, that “real women have curves”.  Real women do have curves!  Other, equally real women have angles, or poisonous spikes, or in my case, a brightly colored neck frill that helps me attract mates and frighten rivals.  As an addendum to that class thing I mentioned earlier, the more expensive a brand is, the smaller the clothes tend to be, which puts me in the weird (and familiar, to tons of women all over the body shape 3DLUT) position of being sized out of most affordable brands.

I haven’t looked into it but my guess is that size 0 in 1995 when everyone was first freaking out about it is now size 000.  And everyone buying plain ol’ 0s now is getting what used to be 2s and 4s.

Welcome to white patriarchal capitalism, everyone! Enjoy your “inexplicable” eating disorders.

I’ve got women’s clothing that ranges from size 0-12, bought over the last two decades.  (Yes, I keep clothes that long.  Plus, I yoink some of my mom’s clothes.)  I’ve recently started buying clothes from the girls’ department because I can now fit into girls’ sizes 12-16.  Thankfully, sewing patterns seem to have stayed constant in size, I think because they’re based on measurements, and I’ve been a size 12/14 on sewing patterns over the last 15 years.

I side-eye when people try to tell me that vanity sizing doesn’t exist, because my personal experience tells me that it does exist.  Take buying jeans, for example.  Prior to puberty, when I was 5’8 and 98 pounds, I wore size 8L jeans no belt.  Now, as an adult at two inches taller and twenty pounds heavier, I buy size 2L jeans.  I have a couple size 4s, but one pair (they’re different brands) requires me to wear a belt or I’m showing an uncomfortable amount of underwear.

I’m now bigger than I was twenty years ago, but my pants size are smaller.  So yeah, I think sizing of clothing is fucked up.


I should probably stop rewatching the Avengers over and over. But I love it so much.  :)

This time, I caught another reference to Coulson’s love life.  As Coulson and Potts are leaving Stark to go through the files, the conversation goes like this:

Pepper: I want to hear about the cellist.  Is that still a thing?

Phil: She moved back to Portland.

Pepper: What? Boo!

I just love, love, LOVE that Marvel Cinematic Universe team put that much thought into Coulson’s backstory.

Wow, Marvel Cinematic ‘Verse keeps impressing me

Marvel keeps impressing me with just how thought out they’ve been with the scripts for the movies and for AoS.  

I was watching The Avengers again after a conversation with a friend, half-paying attention, and it’s the scene after Fury talks to Loki, where Cap, Banner, Thor, and Black Widow are talking, and Stark and Coulson join them.  I had to re-watch it just to confirm, but as Stark and Coulson join the rest of the team, Stark says to Coulson:  ”I’m just saying, pick a weekend. I’ll fly you to Portland.  Keep love alive.”

So even way back when during The Avengers, Marvel had already figured out Coulson’s entire backstory (or at least a decent chunk of it) to drop in a line to hint about the woman that Coulson loves. 

That’s just awesome.

How did this happen?


As I just mentioned on Facebook (hello otakudon), I’m still trying to figure out how in the hell I got into the MCU.

And I’m still trying to figure out WHY I got into the MCU on top of it.

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I may still love my DC favorites (Batman, Birds of Prey, DCAnimatedU), but I have joined the Marvel fandom.  And I know how it happened - DC made me angry over and over again.

Len and I may have joked about her being the Marvel fangirl and me being the DC fangirl, but we borrowed each others books.  It really wasn’t until the Marvel movie ‘verse came out, though, that I really got onboard with Marvel fandom.  Plus, this was around the same time that DC kept doing one stupid thing after another that pissed me off.  I still haven’t gotten into anything with the new 52.  I don’t think I’ve picked up a new DC comic in about 3-4 years.

So, yes, now I play the Marvel video games, borrow every Marvel comic I can from library (no money to actually buy comics at this time - too poor an intern), and watch the movies.

Dear Non-Asian People: Yes, fetishizing Asian people is racist.


Apparently, this is still being debated. But let me outline it for you again:

1.  There’s a history of making “Asians” (as in, “people with dark hair, almond shaped eyes, whose ethnic background comes from one bigass continent) into one homogenous group. This is super racist, because, let’s be real here: despite what you learned in 7th grade geography, Asia is a big ass and diverse CONTINENT. NOT. A. COUNTRY.

2. In fact, if we want to be technical here, “Asia” includes parts of Russia and Turkey. Two countries which are definitely not grouped with the traditional “Asian” category. Why? Because they don’t look like a stereotypical Asian. And also, South east Asians (i.e.: Indians and other desi people) are considered Asian as well. Only, they’re distinguished and not what people automatically think of when they say “Asian.”  Sort of like how Eastern Europeans are considered Europeans but also somehow not. 

3. And while we’re on the topic, what are you fetishizing here? Because, as an Asian woman, I’ve heard really fucking racist/stereotyping “compliments” around three things: 

  • my eyes
  • my skin
  • my hair

And to be frank, saying “Oh hey, I love your eyes. They are so exotic” is no better (and actually, arguably, historically and politically more offensive) than a cis-gendered dude saying “Oh hey, I love your tits. They’re so womanly.” Because, bitch, who are you to define what “womanly” means? 

4. So then there’s also the ideology surrounding Asians and Asian fetishes.  For women, it’s all about “Oh, how submissive and light skinned and exotic, like having my own geisha kung fu princess jasmine harem girl all in one!”  Which is absolutely fucking ridiculous because it is like saying, “Oh yay, I get my own spicy señorita french kissing german milkmaid swedish model all in one!” Bitch. We. Be. Different. 

5. And also, let’s be real here: If your “fascination with Asian culture” basically means “I watch a lot of anime and masturbate to hentai and wish I I had a cute schoolgirl/effeminate school boy of my own to tie up,” you don’t have a fascination with Asian culture. I mean, for one, there IS NO homogenous Asian culture. For two, even if there was, there is no way that fucking Sailor Moon would be a cultural relic of said ethnic group. I am sorry, it is hilarious, but there is no way you can tell me that it’s somehow a gateway into the mysterious and exotic world of the Orient. 

6. That last sentence was sarcasm, by the way. Never ever use any of the adjectives I just listed above unless you want to get bitchslapped. No, not roundhouse kicked. We Asians reserve that shit for bigger issues.

7.  And Asian culture isn’t just sushi or kung pao chicken or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Like I said, saying “Asian Culture” is like saying “European culture.” What the fuck does that even mean?  Then again, maybe this is a bad analogy for Americans. I’m pretty sure that we’ve been conditioned to believe that every single European ever will speak fluent English in a French or British accent. Always. 

8.  That being said: fetishization is objectification.  It’s putting an ENTIRE ETHNIC GROUP (which, by the way, shouldn’t even be grouped together in the first place because IT REPRESENTS A HUGE ASS CONTINENT OF DIVERSE PEOPLE WITH DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS) into one tiny little box and saying, “I like you because of my preconceived notions about what your culture and appearance should be.  I find it sexually exciting that you have a list of characteristics which are not only inaccurate, but also steeped in racism and oppression.”  

…So, long story short: Even if you think you’re flattering me, if you have an Asian fetish, YOU. ARE. BEING. RACIST.

If you are not part of said ethnic group: there is no such thing as a positive racial stereotype.  

(via thisisnotjapan)