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.
Walking in Ginza, I looked up and saw this BVD underwear ad. Wow, that guy looks like my favorite dim-witted but adorable Japanese talent, Wentz. Oh, that is Wentz!
I love how his pale thighs are adding to the vulgarization of this once sophisticated shopping district.
So are you preparing yourself for this cinematic soft candy? I think of the four ladies as my ara-fi (アラフィ, around 50 years old) senpai. I am of course curious about the ladies’ encounters with Arab men and camels. I love how it’s opening quickly in Tokyo. Photo taken in Ginza.
Yes, it seems summer will finally arrive. Sony is quick to introduce Japan’s World Cup players in Ginza. Who is that man? I am expecting a lot of new idols ^^
Leaving Ginza before noon on a Sunday, I came across this delightful couple. The gent was kindly guiding his “character” date across a small street. I wonder what they get up to off-hours?
A friend and I were walking in Ginza, and were startled to see what looked like a protest approaching us. Had we ever seen a group parading in the auto traffic lanes of a major street? What could they be advocating? Despite the police accompaniment, this turned out to be a faux march promoting sake. Kind of lame.
Japan always provokes odd questions. Is construction related cuteness superior to construction related bowing in apology? What do you think is more awesome?
Above is the lit-up sewage mascot announcing construction in Ginza, and seemingly suggesting that your waste will immediately contribute to the world, or at least Asia-Pacific.
Below is a sign apologizing that one of the two elevators is out of order. The outage probably lasted not much longer than it took to hang the sign on all ten floors. I love the apology for the even slightest inconvenience.
I don’t often post photos of food, but I liked the presentation of both these meals. And they are oddly different and alike. Above is sanma (さんま), a fish dish at Hinaya, our favorite izakaya in Nakano. Served whole, the fish was delicious with a simple lime and radish garnish. The fish is translated into English as “saury.”
At the bottom is a hamburger lunch at a Ginza restaurant that specializes in “Western-style” food, or youshoku (洋食). Youshoku are dishes that any post-war Japanese instantly associates with foreigners, yet they are so thoroughly Japan-icized so that they become simultaneously familiar and exotic to us foreigners.
Note that the hamburger is served without a bun, one perfect watercress garnishes the baked potato, the mustard has its own ceramic holder, and the whole meal is served on a cast iron pan. But the best part is the soy sauce in the white dish, which is meant to be combined with the grated radish and green onion as a dipping sauce.
I was also reminded of the difference between regular “rice”– called gohan (ご飯)– and “ra-i-su” (ライス). The same substance but the former is in a bowl, while the latter is flattened out on a plate, and considered more Western-style.
I love this “Thank you Mother” sign printed in yellow carnations above (real) grass in front of a Ginza store. Check out the detail below, where one flower has been turned into an Easter-like chick!
Looking like pork on a spit, this is actually one of Tokyo’s latest crazes, a “baum kuchen.” Usually people form long lines to buy these German cakes in Ginza, but today’s rain chased away the crowds.
Another Ginza mania I discovered in the underground passageways connecting three Ginza subway stations. The camera phone crowds have gathered together to capture the Disney QR codes. It’s like a religious group activity, no?