Month: December 2009

Random men in Shibuya

In keeping with the moe theme of this blog, I would like to end this year with a completely shamelessly, inappropriate and vulgar medley of random Shibuya men. With 10 minutes to spare for a business meeting at Hachiko, I turned my new Canon S90 on the crowd.

The photo above is perhaps the best: the central subject fetishized, the public zipping by, and one woman in the background smiling knowingly towards the lens.

If you asked me what is my favorite Japanese uniform, I would say the mask: ubiquitous, a sign of danger inbound or outbound, of dubious functionality, and quintessentially Japanese. Above this boy rocks his mask with ipod, shaggy orange perm, and the skinny pants tucked inside some girlish boots. I am slayed.

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More moe: a salaryman waiting

Enough arts & crafts. I am certain that most of my readers are more interested in moe. No?

I was waiting patiently at the lobby of a large multinational, and couldn’t help notice this young salaryman also waiting. He stood in the center of the lobby, holding the visitor badges for his guests, rocking on one foot.

There was something sublime about this mix of attention and boredom, formality and fashion, hard surfaces and human activity, security and hospitality. I should have taken a short movie ;-(

Ceramic explosion

Yikes! I was drawing the third line on the first of three mugs, when suddenly the mug exploded in my hands! I had made the shape, shaved off the excess clay, carved my name on the bottom, and painted three layers of green glaze. Fortunately, the other two mugs cooperated with my decorative efforts.

I have orders for a total of six mugs, due sometime next month.

Student ceramic show

I did not have a chance to post these photos earlier. Late last month, we had the annual student ceramic show. My second one! I was so surprised to see almost all of what I exhibited: two lattice-shaped bizen vases, six mugs, and a few other bizen vases which I made in May during the studio trip.

In addition to my super loyal customer and Japanese aunt, my university friend bought one piece, as did the wife of a famous antique dealer and several people I do not know. In addition, I am now working on orders for more mugs.

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Male maid cafes

The Japan Times features a wonderful Christmas Eve story about the growing popularity of male maid cafes. What I love is that this trend of men assuming the maid costume is presented as having nothing to do with sexuality or gender identity.

1. Men like dressing as women, and it’s becoming more acceptable.

Behind this nascent trend, observers say, is that more men are beginning to enjoy dressing as a woman from a fashion viewpoint, and society is becoming more tolerant of the practice.

2. There are not enough women workers.

It started when one of the regular waitresses quit.

3. Male customers feel more comfortable being served by men.

“Men who are not used to being served by women can feel relaxed and talk to the ‘maids’ easily because they are male,” said Chaan Sarin, who heads the cafe’s waitstaff.

4. For the maids, cross-dressing provides stress-relief from work. It’s only temporary, the girlfriend does not know, and this personal therapy will be ended with marriage.

“I become a totally different person to release my stress from work. I have the feelings of a man and I will quit once I get married,” he said.

5. Manga makes them do it.

More male fans are also dressing like their favorite female characters in “anime’ animation and computer games.

6. Publishing houses are helping men look better in drag.

Cashing in on this trend, Osaka-based Yu-time Publishing released the book “Otokonoko no Tameno Henshin Gaido” (“Guide for Boys to Transform Themselves”) in October 2008.

7. Tolerance is related to looking pretty, and new media sources allow men to be prettier women today.

“People began to accept men dressed as women, saying it is OK as long as they are beautiful. At the same time, as there is more information nowadays on how to dress like women, men have gotten dramatically better at it.”

Japan has the most awesome combination of extreme kinkiness and feigned innocence.

Project Host

My gorgeous blogger friend Green Eyed Geisha made my dreams come true with our private bonenkai, year forgetting party, which we celebrated at Top Dandy, a male host club in Kabukicho. See this Tokyo host website for a list of all 70 clubs!

I love the contrast between the simple sign out front, indicating the club’s location on the fifth floor of an ordinary building, and the elaborate photo styling of their website.

Once inside, we were met by a handsome tall guy who was very charming, and along with a portly short older guy led us into the chandelier-bedecked club. There must have been twenty chandeliers, including ceiling, wall, and at least one inside of a plexiglass drinks table. Plus many many mirrors.

Later, GEG told me that she hadn’t found our first greeter handsome, because his hair was too natural. I found him suave and charming, and loved that he had self-taught himself English. He also boasted that he had taken a 3 month trip to 20 countries, of which he most liked Turkey and South Africa.

GEG introduced me as her cousin, which seemed much kinder than uncle and explained that I was there to soothe her “first time” anxiety. She, of course, has been to several others before. But as first time customers at Top Dandy, we were entitled to a 5,000 yen (US$ 55) all you-can-drink, stay-as-long-you-want encounter with an endless parade of back-combed, floss haired boys.

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