Xanga Beginnings


y first introduction to Xanga was through a student of mine, Mr_Mephisto. She was going to Japan and told me to check on her Xanga from time to time, so I did. Wanting to leave a comment, I realized I had to join Xanga myself to do so. So I joined that fateful day of June 15, 2003, and the rest is, well, you know…

Early Onigiriman
Cro-Magnon period

I didn’t want to use my real name–like most of us–so I needed a screen name. At work, since around 1997, I created and maintained most of our departmental website, and as a result, virtually everything on the site was about my colleagues; there was precious little about myself–you know how modest I can be. So I wanted to create a character to represent me, a way to deflect attention to myself through a different character. I remembered one caracature I had invented in 1998–let’s call him Early O-man. He was crude–as you can see in this early original–with crooked glasses and fat lips. I would write this on papers and quizzes and books and videos to show I had been there. But it was for private use. To represent myself on a pubic Internet site, I had to redesign him for a more sophisticated look. Below is the final version I came up with on Microsoft Paint.

Dubbing him Onigiriman–no hyphen, one word–he became a familiar image in our J program, making appearances on our newsletter and other places. I remember one student telling me that he thought it was so cool, that I should make sure to copyright it. Hahahaha. I could only laugh. Anyway, with a fixed image in place, I had to figure out what my online persona would be. This, of course, is not too different from an “on air” persona, so I thought it should be larger than life–not necessarily huge, but just a little larger. But I still had to be me–Japanese American, male, on the wrong side of middle-age. So I thought I would indulge myself a bit by showing the parts of me that I usually keep a tight rein on: sports lover, sarcastic, opinionated, aware of my race, my society and my place in it. Not that I ordinarily try to hide these aspects of myself, but I usually control them within social circles as not everyone shares my ideas. Anyway, I began my life as a Xagan with the following entry on June 15:

This is my first attempt at a Blog. I’m not sure what I would write on such a public journal, but I thought I would provide personal thoughts on my life and the world around me. I might even use it as a sounding board to talk about my research; y’know, a way to talk to myself, to see how my current thoughts look like in text form.

In a way, this is like the Pillow Book 枕の草子 by Sei Shonagon 清小納言. She wrote her thoughts on poetry, on lifestyle, on likes and dislikes, on gossip around the the imperial palace; and her writing was available to many to read.

I don’t know if I can do this regularly, but I will try to keep it updated.

Well, I never thought I would be here this long and that I would meet so many new people. Many have befriended me–in a virtual kind of way–and I have had a great time with those who accept me for what I am, and laugh with me in the process as I joke, flirt, and make sarcastic remarks, often making a fool of myself in the process–who can forget the burning, jalepeno wee-wee incident! Hahahahah.

In any event, June 15, 2004, will mark my one-year anniversary on the planet Xanga To commemorate this rather modest occasion, I would like to invite you to ask me any question about my favorite subject: me. Is there anything you’d like to know about the O-man? How old was I when I lost my virginity? (16) What party am I? (Registered independent.) What my undergraduate major was? (Japanese) Who I think is sexy? (Jolene Blalock!) Wow, what other questions could there be? Anyway, ask what you wish, if you wish. I will answer them–within reason–as I countdown to June 15.

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