Monday, March 26, 2012

Big Change for Cook Like a Uke -- Hot Actor Ukes!

I've been very pleased with the support I've received for Cook Like a Uke. One of the few criticisms – aside from the criticisms based on foreign Japan-o-files thinking that yaoi is something that the Japanese found offensive – is that there aren't actual Ukes cooking the food. I gave that some thought, and realized that this was a fair criticism. And there were things I could do about it. I am a filmmaker, after all. And I live in the land of hot actor boys. Thus, I've decided to use the itsy-bitsy marketing budget I have for the yaoi titles to do some shoots with actors cooking like a uke.And I had a logo done for some new aprons!

I had a casting call last week. It's the first one I've had in a number of years, and I worried that the low budget would limit the choices for the parts. I needed actors who were hot, had a presence on camera AND had credible cooking skills who were willing to work on such a modest budget. I was not very hopeful. Thus, I was very pleasantly surprised when I found four such actors to fill the roles of the various kinds of ukes. At lest, they looked good in their photos and had some very nice reels. But there is more to casting this sort of part than those basic requirements. I had to meet with them to see if they actually looked as good in person (I've been unpleasantly surprised during casting sessions when actors turned out to be a lot older than the photos and reels they post or they've had a few years of hard, hard living since their last head shot and reel was shot). Then, I had to find out if they were truly credible in the kitchen. There are many stories from beleaguered directors about actors who claim they can roller blade or ride a motorcycle only to end up in the hospital and markedly set back en entire film or TV shoot. I didn't want to have an actor or me in the ER from a knife wound, nor did I want my kitchen or me set on fire. The last thing I had could only gauge in a a face to face meeting is how comfortable the actors would be with the subject matter. That meant, explaining what yaoi is and why it has a rabid, mostly female audience. I basically gave them the history I wrote in a blog last November, Kitchen Supplies, Bromances and Other PicturePostcards. Just scroll down the middle of the blog for the Bromance part. Later, I sent links to episodes to Junjou Romantica and Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi that relate to cooking food.It was funny explaining all of this if the passers by were any indication. Ah well, it wasn't the weirdest casting meeting I've ever had.

The four actors chosen fit the requirements for the roles, and they embraced the spirit of the webseries. I have four different types of guys who will cover some of the various types of ukes, or, in some cases, the very serious, buttoned down Semes who are cooking for ukes. The plan is to make dishes from yaoi anime and manga (this includes a dish from Nabako Kamo's Again Tomorrow that I worked on with a team of localizers for the Digital Manga Guild). The first shoot is scheduled for April 2nd. I'll post behind the scenes photos of the shoot that day. The first video from that shoot are slated to be posted on April 6th. The actors who will appear during the run of the series are:

Ryohei Watanabe
Ryohei Watanabe, a Japanese actor/dancer/director who has been in the US for five years. He is an avid cook who has his own recipes for many of the dishes on the schedule. You can find out more about him at

Kyle  Valle
Kyle Valle, an actor who is also an avid anime fan and foodie who is a talented, self taught cook.

Donal Thoms-Cappello
Donal Thoms-Cappello, an actor/comedian who is a trained cook.

Edward Swimgler

Edward Swingler, an actor/dancer/cinematographer who loves to cook.

As you can see, they are very easy on the eyes. I can't wait to see what they will bring to this fun and irreverent little series.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Banned for Yaoi Content and Working as a Yaoi Editor

 A book I edited was banned this week. It was only banned for 24 hours, but it was banned in Boston and everywhere else services. It was a sudden kerfuffle with Digital Manga Publishing over explicit content that was quickly resolved after a whole lot of hell was raised from all quarters of the manga community. This comes on the heels of Paypal demanding that certain erotic content be pulled from This, too, was reversed when the policy ignited a firestorm of protest. I am not a fan of rape, incest or bestiality as content. However, the wording of the policy would have affected classic literature like Lolita or any shape shifting fantasy that involved werewolves. It was also loudly pointed out that Paypal had no problems accepting money from Craigslist and other sites that sell porn and facilitate prostitution. Likewise, Amazon is in a glass house where content is concerned selling everything to 'inflatable friends' to toys that even I've never heard of before. I'm not going to link them here. Just search the site for any sort of kink, and there is a book, DVD and/or product that caters to it. I always thought I'd be banned or stoned by Trek fans because of The Secret Logs of Mistress Janeway, not for a sweetly sexy and funny collection like Again Tomorrow [Now available on Amazon Kindle at;
On Barnes and Noble Nook at: and And On EManga at:]  that was legally published in another country and properly licensed here. I'm glad that the issue is resolved for DMP. I'm really glad that I didn't have to battle to keep my books widely distributed. It would be hard for Sylvia Beach to champion banned authors in an era where one or two companies control so much of either online payment processing or actual content distribution.
Manga Editing – What DO You Do?
The book banning brings up the question of what does this company do and what do I do for it. I know my gentle and curious readers. Digital Manga Publishing is a US distributor of manga, light novels and soon literature from Japan. The Digital Manga Guild is a group of translators, editors and typesetters who work in teams called localizer to convert Japanese title into English. My team consists of LW Hubbard, an ex-pat professional translator who lives in Japan, Hentai Tenshi, an independent music producer who lives in the LA area and little ol' me. Our team works under the name Haven's Blade. I thought that we would be working largely independently of each other save for proofing the final pages. It has been far more collaborative, and it calls on skills and knowledge that are far beyond the manga stories on the pages. There needs to be a broad knowledge of past and current Japanese culture and pop culture. We've had instances where we've had to figure out what to call a product mentioned that is a parody of a wildly popular snack food in Japan. In the last week, we've come across popular TV shows and a catching hit song that had to be factored into the translations. Then we had to figure out what would be a stateside equivalent for those things while not making them too American. The author or mangaka has to recognize the work. That was why I was listening to the RubberDucky Song earlier this week. What's been more challenging is making the dialogue sound natural and realistic when the characters are 20-something guys. Though the audience is certainly not 20-something guys, the characters have to sound as real as their Japanese counterparts. Since none of us are members of this demographic, that takes a bit of effort and all three of our brains. Among this weeks puzzlers was whether or not young punks would use the term German aphrodisiac and what could be used in its place. I couldn't find any reason for the substance coming from Germany, and I really looked hard.
The other thing we had to be really careful of was trying to be too current with the slang. The readership has a really wide range in age, and dialog that is too set in a particular time gets dated and looks sill in just a few years. The slang has to be something that has passed into the general lexicon of speech. My rule of thumb is whether or not the Hubs uses the slang. He is so square, he's a cube (that's his description of himself). If he uses it, the term has been around for some time and is likely to stay in use. Overall, the team is aiming at a loose, informal way for the characters to speak that reads as natural to anyone that may pick up the book. I'll talk about the joys of sound FX translation and proof reading on another day. This is just a taste to show that our work is challenging but above board despite the occasional banning. It's also cool to work with some really interesting people that I wouldn't have known otherwise. We all enjoy sharing creative energy and solving each new and often amusing puzzle.
If you haven't yet, consider buying some of my yaoi fiction before it faces threat again! :)
  Ensnared Volume One, the Paperback is now  on HERE
 Ensnared Volume Two is LIVE on Kindle HERE
The paperback is available HERE
Ebooks for all types of players available on Smashwords HERE  
Ensnared Volume One Kindle Ebook Available HERE 
Check out full chapter excerpts for Volume One and Volume Two under Hot Links in the Menu on the right side of this page!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cook Like a Uke -- A Seme Breakfast

Cook Like a Uke -- A Seme Breakfast is LIVE (click the title)!

A gentle reminder that his series is a PARODY. This episode was certainly a comedy of errors (technical problems abound). My sound mixing software seems to be possessed by an annoying demon. There are sound FX that I didn't record and some things I did record are missing. I fogot to put in my transition FX and I know there are some captions missing. But the sucker is up and still chocked full of really good info and techniques. 

As I said in the earlier blog, This video is based on a breakfast made by Misaki Takahashi from Junjou Romantica episode two. Misaki-kun is the epitome of the cooking uke. He always has the apron and cleaver ready to keep his Usami fed despite his crazy hours. This reminds me that I need to try some of Misaki's salmon recipes at some point. I did not do two dishes from the breakfast. I've never cooked with natto beans, so I didn't think a video shoot was a good time to start. Also, my own Seme (or actually, my husband who THINKS he's my Seme) doesn't do fish in the morning. I like to make meals that we'll actually east, so we aren't wasting food. So, I substituted those with pork sausage!

Here are the recipes and the links to more information and equipment from the video. As always, thank you for your support and patience.

Dashi Soup
4 cups of cold water
approx. 3x5 inches of Kombu Kelp
3 oz of Benito Flakes

Miso Soup
2 cups of Dashi Soup
1 tbs of white miso paste or any kind you like
cubed firm tofu
green onions

2 eggs
½ tsp soy sauce
1tsp mirin
salt to taste
oil for fray pan

RunnyRunny999's Typical Japanese Breakfast

Cooking Chosticks

  Ensnared Volume One, the Paperback is now  on HERE
 Ensnared Volume Two is LIVE on Kindle HERE
The paperback is available HERE
Ebooks for all types of players available on Smashwords HERE  
Ensnared Volume One Kindle Ebook Available HERE 
Check out full chapter excerpts for Volume One and Volume Two under Hot Links in the Menu on the right side of this page!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My First Yaoi Manga Title!

As reported in recent blogs, I've been working for the Digital Manga Guild. Well, here is the first tile I've edited. It's called Again Tomorrow. Here's the synopsis:

Shunya’s office is buzzing with wild rumors. Vice President Yuusei Saotome, son of the President and heir to the company, is missing! Most believe he ran off to escape an arranged marriage that would benefit his father’s company. Only Shunya knows that the VP has amnesia and is staying with him in his apartment. The Yuu that Shunya knows is not the coldly handsome VP who barely noticed his underlings. This Yuu is easygoing and likes to cook for Shunya. Yuu even seems to want Shunya in his arms as much as Shunya wants to be there. For a while, Shunya lives in a dream with Yuu. But doubts nag at his conscience. What if Yuu has another love who is searching for him? What will happen when his memory returns? Would Shunya be forgotten or hated by Yuu?

Translated by Vincent Ho; Edited by D.L. Warner; Lettered by Hentai Tenshi

You can buy it on Amazon Kindle at
On Barnes and Noble Nook at:
And On EManga at:

Read my spoiler free blog about it! Go to: