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.
I just finished reading Lala Pipo by Okuda Hideo in English translation. Above is Chip Kidd’s cover for Vertical publishers. It’s always bittersweet to finish reading a really engaging novel.
Lala Pipo focuses on six inter-connected characters in Tokyo– all unlikable losers who are purchasers, voyeurs, sellers, authors, enablers and underground stars in the sex trade.
The first character is a peeping-tom freelance writer, the others a cabaret scout, a lonely housewife, a karaoke box attendent, an older porn author, and a fat woman who picks up ugly men at the library. The stories revolve around loneliness, despair, poverty, resentment, incest, arson, school-girl prostitution, boredom, humiliation and abuse. It sounds heavy, but it’s a total page-turner!
The husband saw at Kinokuniya that this book will soon become a movie in Japan. I can’t imagine this novel selling well or being made into a movie in the United States.
Has anyone else read Lala Pipo? Is anyone else planning to see the movie? And now that I’ve finished this novel, can anyone suggest another?!