a little east of reality

Sunday, December 30, 2007

a little engrish

This shirt makes perfect sense if you understand the way Japanese pronounce English. I'm sure the rest of you can work it out.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

a sight worth seeing

Some people really want to be the centre of attention, and there aren't many better ways to achieve that than having live goldfish, in bowls, for earrings. A weird hat and fake set of boobs also help.

If this guy's goal was to have a crowd of strangers stare at him like he was a little insane, well, mission accomplished. When I took these photos there were about fifty people looking amused and dumbfounded.

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and more harajuku

Some cos(tume) players imitate characters from their favourite anime (animated series or movies), while others portray members of bands they like - most often bands where the visual is considered as important as (and in the case of crap bands, more important than) the audio.

The girl in blue/black below isn't cosplaying (as far as I know). I just liked her look.

This guy was my favourite person on the bridge. He was standing alone for a while and there was something about him that drew me in. I'm struggling to explain it properly, but it was as if he was poised and self-contained, yet reaching out at the same time without speaking or moving. He was kind enough to pose for me. I regret not asking to take another photo later when he smiled at a compliment, because his face became more beautiful, like a room suddenly filled with light.

I saw two kinds of people that day: one kind that look like they are playing dress-up, and the other kind who look like they dressed to express outwardly some part of themselves they don't usually reveal. This guy had the air of someone who was expressing through clothes and makeup something that another person might express through poetry or art. I'm not sure all of this isn't evident in the photos, but it's how I remember him.

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fashion in japan

Here's a bit of a selection of the clothes I saw everywhere on young people in Osaka and Tokyo. The shirt with the butterfly below is style of shirt I saw a lot. Apart from butterflies I've also seen guns, guitars and skulls. Click any of the pictures for a closer look.

The picture I wanted but didn't get was of a particular outfit a lot of women were wearing, consisting of very short shorts (or plaid knickerbockers) worn with dark winter tights and ankle boots. I was a little disturbed by the 80s flashback it gave me. I've been searching the web for a good image to no avail, though the shorts below are the most common type I saw, over thick black tights. I've realised from searching around that Japan is not the only place women are wearing shorts over tights lately. I haven't seen it in Australia, but then it is the middle of summer here, so wearing tights for any reason would be crazy.

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I'm going to add a few more posts of photos and videos from the Japan trip.
The bridge at Harakuku wasn't as crowded as I'd imagined it would be. At times I think I could have counted more tourists with cameras than subjects for shooting. (Actually at times watching the photo-taking dynamic was as interesting as looking at the fashion and cosplay.) This is a cross-section of the people on the bridge. Blogger limits the number of pics in a post to five, so I'll add a few more in the next post.
It's a shame the girl on the left below was not in the mood for posing that day. She looked perfect, like a delicate porcelain doll.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

christmas lunch

...originally planned for 3pm (I'm guessing because having it at lunchtime would have meant waking up early to start cooking) was held at 6pm instead due to the small matter of the turkey not being put into the oven. Minor glitch...could happen to anyone. ^_^

It was well worth the wait though ~ everything was done just right. It was all pretty traditional: turkey with yummy stuffing, ham, roasted vegetables, gravy, cauliflower with cheese sauce, etc, and bowls of cherries and cashews, lollies and chocolate. I love cherries! They just look and taste festive. It's the best thing about having Christmas in summer. Speaking of which, the weather was kind to us. Usually Christmas Day is a scorcher, but it was overcast today and quite cool.

There were presents. I got a pair of slippers that massage your feet, a necklace, a handbag that's a little bit out there but okay, and most surprisingly a palm pilot. My friends also thought it would be hilarious good fun to give me one of these calendars. Twelve months worth of Mormon ex-missionaries in beefcake frat boy poses ~ good for a laugh, but seriously not likely to make it onto one of my walls anytime soon. The worst (and funniest) part of it was that there were actual missionaries in the room spending Christmas Day with us. So embarrassing. *^_^*

Keyboard Kid got one of those video games where you dance on a mat and a RoboRaptor. I told him to bring both over to my place ASAP!! Drummer Boy got an awesome amplifier and consequently spent half the evening playing rock riffs on his electric guitar. Gangsta Girl was most happy to get a mobile phone to replace the one she recently dropped into the toilet accidentally. I think she was having severe withdrawals symptoms. They all also got fun presents like little lava lamps and a game where you have to retrieve pirate treasure from a skull full of green goo. It was a fun day ~ relaxing, a lot of laughs, and no drama. Even the turkey timing mishap was just brushed aside and everyone passed the extra time with a few games of Uno and no complaints.

I called my folks and my sister, and spoke briefly to my aunt in Denmark. Tomorrow I'm going to try to ring some American friends (you know who you are). But don't worry, if I catch you in the middle of Christmas celebrations I'll just say 'Merry Christmas' and leave you be. Eventually my late Christmas cards will reach you, too.

The one thing I really missed this year was Christmas carols. Somehow carols were missing from every celebration I went to and I forgot to check out when our local Carols By Candlelight was happening. It was actually pretty disappointing because that is one of my favourite things about Christmas. When I was about fourteen I spent a few Christmas Eves with a friend's family who were of German origin. Christmas Eve is a bigger deal than Christmas Day in Germany and they went all out. We trimmed the tree that night, drank eggnog and ate German gingerbread (made each year with German Christmas carols playing as they baked...no lie). We read the Christmas story, stopping every so often to sing an appropriate Christmas carol for whatever part of the story we had reached. It sounds a bit Norman Rockwell, but actually it was beautiful and I loved spending that time with them. Anyway I love carols and so I'm listening to them now as Christmas Day comes to a close.

And to anyone who reads this blog, thanks for connecting with me across this year. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with people you care about. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas I just hope the day itself is a good one in some magical way.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

christmas traditions

...were completely ignored this Christmas Eve.

I'm into the whole quiet night in, reading the Christmas story (Luke 2), singing Christmas carols, and watching the old version of Miracle on 34th Street. This year, however, I took my friends' kids to see Enchanted, had dinner with them at Hungry Jacks (Americans read: Burger King), and then went home to see Christmas in with a few episodes of That 70s Show (which I'm still doing). But it's not like I didn't do anything Christmas-related...I did visit four different supermarkets trying to find the apple cider their mother just told me today she wants me to bring to Christmas lunch. I never get to bring food, as I don't cook to her Christmas standard. Though in truth they do make an amazing Christmas feast. Who am I to mar it with substandard gravy?

Man, I love That 70s Show. I've watched four seasons of it in about five days. As is my habit when I watch several episodes of anything in a short space of time, last night I dreamed my own crazy episode of the show. Something to do with sneaking someone out of hospital...can't remember it all now. I'd feel a lot better about my crush on Hyde if he wasn't supposed to be 18 in the show. That's just wrong. As are his sideburns.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

dis nt b nglsh

Am I some kind of phone/net speak Luddite that this:
hey ppls dis b my new number! sori 4changing al da time but u knw how it is! Luv N
makes me want to delete the number from my phone?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

been surfing the net too long now?

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Monday, December 10, 2007

wedding first dance

Most awesome Youtube video since this guy. Enjoy!

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

pure sound osaka

This video is for Roofshadow and Industrial Athena. Remember what a jumbled obstacle course Pure Sound in America-mura used to be? Have a look at it now!

How did they achieve this miracle, you ask? They moved all the indies music downstairs into the music store, which is now at least half indies.

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a heroic battle against...um, peace and harmony

Cup noodle freedom!

An advert in a Tokyo station (might have been Shinjuku, not sure. Not that it really matters).

I haven't quite worked out if they are fighting for the freedom to have cup noodles, or if cup noodles are the fuel they need to fight the good fight.

A few days later, their mission had begun and they were gone. Let's pray they can save us. Raise your fist in the air and let your voice ring out!


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Saturday, December 08, 2007

the skirt that saved japan

Not a snap from my holiday, but an advert for a skirt that transforms into a vending machine costume to fool stalkers and other miscreants who might be following a Japanese woman home.
I'd love to see a video of the transformation from skirt to this. It would have to be a quick change to fool some follower who's only a block behind you. The pictures (below) don't make it look easy. I want to see how they get from the second stage to the third.

Of course the only reason this could work is because in urban Japan a row of vending machines like this one can be found every few blocks. Apparently it takes the same amount of electricity to run one in summer as the electricity use of an average Japanese household. Yes, in the home of the Kyoto Accord. Scary.

But I digress. If you would like the protection of the transforming skirt (or just think it would make a good Halloween costume) it won't be cheap. This Aya Tsukioka designer skirt sells for around $800.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

ninja goodness


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long time coming

From Celebrity Fix:
In the biggest non-shocker since the enormous Christina Aguilera confirmed her pregnancy - Hollywood legend Jodie Foster has come out of the closet!

The star has been criticized for not opening up about her long-term lesbian relationship, despite being photographed countless times with partner and co-mother of their children Cydney Bernard. Jodie instead preferred to keep her private life just that - private.

But at the 'Power 100' event in the US on Tuesday, Jodie was presented with a leadership award by the Hollywood Reporter and chose to publicly thank Cydney for her support.

As part of her acceptance speech, Jodie thanked “my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss.”

Nobody should feel obligated to talk their private life out in public, but I'd glad that it indicates she's comfortable with her own reality. I was thinking recently about sexual orientation and how it sometimes prompts people to live double lives. I've been reading about Kenny Everett, who was married for more than a decade before he even acknowledged that he fancied guys. Even after coming out he suffered bouts of depression related to his inability to accept his homosexuality.

Beyond the idea of coming out, I think we all struggle sometimes with accepting ourselves and being unafraid to reveal our real selves to the rest of the world. It reminds me of a passage in The Golden Compass where Lyra is bemoaning the fact that her daemon (soul) will not always be able to take different shapes. (As people in her world become adults their daemon settles into a form and keeps it permanently.) But Lee Scoresby explains to her that the advantage of having your daemon take its final form is that you really learn what kind of person you are. He then tells her about a sailor he knew who was unhappy his whole life because his daemon took the form of a dolphin (meaning basically that he could no longer go ashore) and he could never accept that this was who he was.

Strange really, that one of the hardest things in life can be being yourself. In theory nothing should be easier, but in practice...

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

adventures in frustration

Big storm last Friday. I got home that night around midnight to find the computer fine, but the router/modem completely fried, and having taken the ethernet port out with it. The 320GB external drive I bought a about two weeks ago was also toasted to golden brown uselessness. Sigh. My powerboard claims to have a surge protector, but I'm sure you can understand my skepticism.

Saturday I bought a Belkin model, only to find that they have a protocol problem with exactly one internet provider in Australia: TPG. Guess who I'm with... TPG also has issues with NetGear. These are, naturally, the two most popular brands, sold everywhere. Somewhere around Wednesday I found a computer store that sold NetComm and finally our net is up and running again with newly bought surge protection in place.

To use my dad's favourite reward when I was a kid...a golden nothing to the first person who can guess what the computer guy found in between two little panel things in the computer when he was putting in the new ethernet card!!

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