I guess the Shinto gods need to visit the Tokyo streets as much as anyone does. Still, once you’ve lashed the shrine to enormous beams, it’s a lot to carry. It’s like Jesus and the cross, times 40. Being pants-less seems to add intimacy to the camaraderie of group effort.
Is this the dictionary definition of freedom? It seems to make people and gods happy.
A friend of mine regularly participates in these shrine carrying rituals, every season except winter. I tried it once, but now it’s best to claim old age prevents me from lifting. I do, still, like to watch.
Fall in Tokyo means lots of Shinto street festivals. Nothing is more fun to watch than omikoshi, which involves mostly men carrying a heavy shrine, chanting, and showing off their asses. It is spiritual, pagan, collective, and super perverse. I’ll post some more photos in the next days.
Sublime and random Tokyo gay stories in August:
1. A gay Italian visitor to Tokyo is *shocked* at the sight of Japanese men using paper fans to cool themselves on trains and sidewalks. “In Italy, only women and fags dare use a fan.” There is nothing more satisfying than observing an Italian man surprised by another nation’s male effeminacy.
2. My new super-gay hairdresser (rare in a country where most are straight) has recently told me about his working the festival circuit with his yakuza friends carrying a portable shrine shoulder to shoulder and dressed in fundoshi (ritual male thongs), his earlier stint at a Ginza hair salon when he cut the hair of minor royals, and advice about yankii and nudist beachs in Chiba.
A few years younger than this author, my new gay Japanese sensei is also a middle-aged competitive body builder, with distinct orange in his hair and skin tone. Did I mention that we met at Haguromo, the super-gay and sometimes yakuza-filled sento? How often can I get my short hair cut? He’s talented with hair and full of helpful stories and expressions.
3. I’ve heard that many Japanese prefer “small faces.” Just recently, a Japanese friend explained that Japanese distinguish between weak faces (うすい、薄い）and strong faces（こい、濃い). Previously I understand that these adjectives are applied to liquids like tea (literally, the concentration through quantity and steeping time) and even to food types (sort of like light and heavy).
Apparently with people, so-called weak faces have “fewer distinguishing features” or “fewer things sticking out.” Strong faces have deep set eyes, large noses, more prominent chins. This distinction is at once racial and yet pretends not to be. I have a hard time grokking this, but will be more open to hearing about these immutable differences.
The Rainbow Festival (レインボー祭り) will be held this Sunday, August 14, from 3.3o to 6 pm in Ni-chome. Last year was fun: lesbian omikoshi, men in fundoshi, and lots of yukata and daytime socializing. Tokyo’s gay district is almost always deserted during the day, so this is a special event. Who’s coming?
Thanks, WordPress and my readers!
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 230,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 10 days for that many people to see it.
In 2010, there were 273 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 717 posts. There were 341 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 17mb. That’s about 7 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was July 5th with 3 views. The most popular post that day was Hot or not: Kobayashi Takeru?.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were julieinjapan.com, greeneyedgeisha.blogspot.com, sticky.queerclick.com, blogger.com, and dontstoptiligetenough.blogspot.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for yakuza, anderson cooper boyfriend, yakuza tattoo, takeru kobayashi, and narimiya hiroki.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
Hot or not: Kobayashi Takeru? June 2009
Yakuza skin August 2009
Anderson Cooper’s boyfriend: a huge meat head? November 2009
Narimiya Hiroki August 2009
Fundoshi v Fujoshi April 2009
Summer is time for omatsuri, that curious blend of Shinto spirituality, yakuza food stalls, and major male thass. Generally Tokyo reserves the thass for ladies, but omatsuri is a special time for men to wear their festival coats with either fundoshi (a ritual jockstrap) or this tight white fabric that’s like a mini-skirt.
Needless to say, I find these male outfits bring me to a higher level of spirituality, compassion and awareness. As the weather warms up and the festivals spread throughout Tokyo, I am hoping to exceed last year‘s festival perving.
I love how nonchalant the men are despite revealing their thighs and the lower portions of their rears. The white, split-toe shoes and white socks only add to the “moe.”
Summer in Tokyo is hot and humid. Nothing like a street fair for unapologetic, nonchalant male nudity. This tubby guy’s butt cheeks obscured the fact he was wearing a fundoshi. I like how he parades around holding but never wearing his shorts. I was in heaven.
While other mens’ short jackets covered their junk, this guy made sure that nothing was hidden.
Although I was riveted by tubby cheeks, there were many distractions. Check out this bulge, accentuated by the traditional costume.
And finally this tall cop had me wishing for detention. What could have I done to get cuffed?
Another simple mistake in Japanese. Inquiring about the cultural activities of takenoko gathering, I innocently asked my in-laws, “Will there be any fujoshi?” Ooops. What I meant to ask was about fundoshi.
Above, a fujoshi, an anime and manga-addicted girl who enjoys boy-on-boy romance and sex stories known as BL (boys love). Below, fundoshi, a ritual loin cloth worn by men for some religious holidays.
Finally, one more fujoshi image, courtesy of recent commenter and blogger, imbeleth.