@selenana Oh, I used to do the podcast! I miss Kong, he's like my Tokyo grandpa. I still catch up with him sometimes, though it's been a few months. A Tokyo meetup would be awesome, I would love to see who else is around.
Haha, that's funny. We definitely do know the same people. I'm still in Tokyo, tho I left Metropolis about 2 years ago and I'm doing translation/interpreting now. But I still know all the editorial staff there, and lots of people at the JT!
@selenana Starting to wonder if I may perhaps have met you IRL... I was at Metropolis for about 2.5 years during 2008-2011 period^^
@deepomega Not sure about VFX so much -- my experience is in the computer animation industry rather than VFX for live-action. But a lot of the issues, especially re: outsourcing, are the same. From what I understand the quality at a lot of the "cheap" studios is definitely lower, overall. So what a lot of the big studios are doing is creating their own sub-studios in Singapore, Thailand, etc. or also partnering with studios in those locations and subcontracting part of the work out to them, which allows the studio to lower their bid. But to make that work well, it requires really tight management/direction on the part of the studio to make sure that quality is upheld.
It's a pretty serious problem, actually. A lot of people have been mentioning unionizing, but given the international nature of the industry that wouldn't really be a practical solution to the larger issue. Especially when you have countries like Malaysia, where labor costs are already low, and on top of that the government grants huge subsidies that allow their studios to outbid those in the US. In terms of artists dealings with their employers - not getting paid, or not getting overtime-- then I think a union is definitely a solution. But in order to help the industry as a whole, it does need to start being treated like a service. No matter how good a movie does in the box-office, the VFX studios only see whatever flat-rate fee was agreed upon to begin with. Yet actors, producers, etc. get money from the gross profits of a film. Which is especially egregious when you consider that in so many films these days (like Life of Pi) the VFX, for better or worse, is as much a major "actor" as any of the human stars of the film.
I realize this is calculated in Western expat dollars, like @stuffisthings says, but shouldn't the cost of real-estate alone bump up New York's ranking? I live in Tokyo and it is expensive -- my apt right now is about 27 sq meters and I'm paying 87000 yen (about $930 with current exchange rate). Which is totally expensive, but it sounds maybe cheaper than New York? Tokyo is one of those places that's objectively expensive, but you can live really cheaply if you put in even a little bit of effort.
I used to play Monopoly with my cousins and aunt when I was a kid. My older cousin and I instituted a merger clause where once per game (assuming 4 players) you can combine forces with someone else. This forces the remaining players to partner as well, thus making it a 2-person game. Basically, my cousin and I used it to force my aunt to pair with the youngest cousin, who was quite young and therefore a terrible Monopoly player. So we would proceed to completely demolish them. It was quite fun.
On a side note -- I would say almost every week there's one day where I don't end up taking a shower, for one reason or another. (Lazy Sunday in so what's the point / Tuesday morning and I snooze my alarm for so long it cuts into my shower time / etc.) I always thought this was relatively normal, but maybe I've secretly been a dirty freak this whole time? ;-p
@selenana Yeah, they represent a lot of what is wrong with the current japanese pop music industry -- culturally, as well as musically.
Three words -- Hot. Water. Bottle. Tuck one of those babies in bed with you at night and I guarantee you will not be cold, no matter what the room temp is. Pro tip: put it under the covers an hour or so before you get in bed, to start heating up the sheets.