Long before I blogged about anime, I wrote fan fiction. All of it is awful. The stories that made an attempt at romance are especially bad. My buildup and character development was solid; however, upon reaching the point where the two characters would actually be together, or admit their love for one another, I wouldn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to write romance competently, never mind any sort of sexual interaction. I still don’t.
Upon visiting a high school friend in Boston this past May, he asked me if I still wrote any sort of fiction, fan or otherwise. I disappointed him by saying no, and attributed my lack of production to numerous things – this blog being one of them – including my romance struggles mentioned above. As the former top writer of erotica for his university magazine, sex scenes are old hat for him at this point. He is still currently writing, and attempting to be published.
I asked him what his secret was. His response?
“Writing about sex somehow also has to be funny, but not too funny. Because sex is fucking awkward.”
“‘Love isn’t that tepid and lukewarm thing people like to talk about, I don’t think. It’s a tough, severe, scary and cruel monster. So is ‘capitalism.’ But being scared of them, like a kid who can’t swim is scared of a swimming pool, is lame. If you just fearlessly dive in, strangely enough you can swim all right!”
-Kyoko Okazki, in the afterword of Pink
With this thought in mind, Yumi, our protagonist of Kyoko Okazaki’s Pink, has never had trouble diving in. She doesn’t just swim “all right,” but navigates the tricky Tokyo currents with impeccable form and style.
“What I drew was not eroticism. It was all about Japan’s culture of shame. The characters want to show what they’ve got, but they’re too embarrassed to do so. It’s all about the tug of war between men and women. I wanted that embarrassment to be the eroticism of the stories.”
I was never the first to do anything of my group of high school friends. As we all slowly trickled into adulthood at different speeds, it was the responsibility of whichever person who experienced something first to report back to the rest of us, usually at our cafeteria lunch table.
Therefore, when my friend Jackie became the first of us to have sex, we eagerly awaited her report. Naturally, she struggled with placing an intangible feeling within the limited realm of the English vocabulary. In the end, she described it as something awkward, followed by “the stars exploded.” These exact words stuck with me far beyond what I presume Jackie intended. We drifted apart once we both began attending university, not for any reason other than the standard one of moving in different directions. However, when my time did eventually come, I immediately thought of Jackie’s words after the fact and laughed.
The yuri manga Octave, by Haru Akiyama, presents a similar situation to my personal experience through the character of Yukino Miyashita who, in attempting to understand her own sexuality and what sex means to her, thinks back on her friend Mika’s succinct description of sex as, “WAAHH~”