“Won’t you make a baby with me,” asks barely legal (if that) pop star

Having a virtual baby with a teen idol is truly one of the grossest intersections of Japanese technology and the managers of its adolescent entertainment stars. (Official site).

For those not in the know, AKB 48 is a girl band of forty-eight barely legal (or net yet legal) ladies who are hyper-sexualized. Because they are *the* mainstream entertainment in Japan, many Japanese are shocked to hear a foreigner describe their act as kiddie porn, distasteful, and an embarrassment to their country.

But this new web service fleeces their fans with a new level of shameless fantasy. For 1,480 yen per month (nearly $20), fans can upload their photo and create a virtual baby with one of the girl stars. Promotion for the new service includes the star’s assertion that she’s not really revealing her breast, and also a “birth announcement” that she’s had a baby with the none too attractive current Prime Minsiter (just imagine any of the last dozen PMs if you’re unfamiliar with the current temporary office holder).

Inviting fans to impregnate their idols, and to watch their babies grow up online is possibly the grossest thing I’ve ever heard. Oh, Japan, wake up from your media induced slumber and have some dignity! OK?

Bunny is crying because she’s pregnant with a baby bicycle!

This sign at the JR Nakano station really had me wondering what has happened to my beloved ward. This station, far more than the Seibu Shinjuku or Marunouchi lines, is the heartbeat that animates our local lives.

Poor Bunny is at once crying and carrying a big stick, while this bicycle is stuck in her transparent womb.

If Bunny can be violated, what could happen to us mere mortals? Should I be concerned about my safety, too?

From baby to elder Pipo kun, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Mascot

I was surprised to discover recently that Pipo kun, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police mascot, comes in many generations. Normally he’s the youthful character with open mouth and clothed only in a belt and shoulder strap (center image). But as I discovered on a rare visit to Roppongi in the evening hours, he can also be seen as a baby with a bottle, a girl, a housewife, a salaryman, grandma and grandpa with a cane. I am not sure how much protection all these characters offer, but I guess they are cute.

Hot young daddy

I am sure I have mentioned this more than most readers care to know. But I have a major fetish for hot young dads in Tokyo. The babies and toddlers show they are nurturing, and the dads seem to be getting younger and younger. Plus fatherhood doesn’t slow down these men’s fashion.

The husband asked, I don’t know why, is that a woman? Of course, not! This is Japan! But I do wonder if he didn’t steal the baby mama’s shades.

Countryside fashion blows my mind

Yes, this is a blog about Nakano and Tokyo, and mostly I am observing fashion in the city. A recent weekend trip to a famous country town, however, was eye-opening.

I am fascinating both by these traditional outfits and the extreme yankii fashions that rival anything I have seen in Shibuya. The Japanese countryside is a rich source of inspiration.

This is the first in a series of posts. Stay tuned for more.

Levi Johnston in Playgirl

X-Alaska governor and x-VP candidate Sarah Palin’s former future son-in-law cashes in and irritates his baby’s grandmother.

My favorite reaction is Dan Savage’s excellent unsolicited advice:

And, psst, Levi? If you did that Playgirl shoot only to drive your former future mother-in-law crazy—and if that was your plan, kiddo, it worked—imagine how much crazier she’ll get if you do a little gay-for-pay porn. Just sayin’.

Fall chill

Fall chill

It’s been cold this week as fall deepens. We’ve turned on our new gas heater, made plans to put up curtains to better insulate the apartment, and bundle up when going outside. It’s hat, gloves and scarf weather.

This being Tokyo, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to wear my favorite passive-aggressive “health” product, the face mask. It can be seen as a sign of courtesy since you don’t want others to catch your cold or flu. It can also be a way to ward off others’ contagions. Wearing it requires some adjustment, especially on a bike, when the mask tends to fog up your glasses.

The other strange cold weather accessory is the kairo (カイロ), an often disposable heat pack you put in your coat. My baby friend Akachan at the ceramics studio has a cute woven cozy, shaped like a turtle, for his plastic warmer. I will have to try this out soon.

Kairo カイ

Haru: Show opened on Friday

Friday was the opening day for Shu and his parents’ small gallery show. Claire came with her kids Morrison and Elie, as did our unconventional monk friend Hiromi. Others included his parents’ ceramics students, my mother-in-law’s tea ceremony teacher, a new customer, and good friend Mayuko with her husband Kota and adorable 3 month old Yujin (named after rock and roll pioneer Eugene Vincent). I was surprised and thrilled to see my good friend Takahiro, whom I met years ago in Beijing. He’s now launching his own contemporary Asian art organization Far East Contemporaries. Shu and his parents’ show lasts for ten days, so please come by if you are in Tokyo!

Claire, Morrison, Eli, Hiromi & SHu