Japan

Adjusting the head towel

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I’ve already embraced the head towel as a summer necessity. But I wonder if the now popular, above-the-calf bracelet is a bit contrived. Am I slow to adapt?

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What kind of national pride is this?

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It’s Golden Week in Japan, and you see the flag displayed on the streets more than usual. Yesterday was Constitution Memorial Day, commemorating the adoption of the constitution imposed by the US occupation after World War II. Mostly I think Japanese aren’t thinking anything about the meaning of the holiday or of national identity.

Except for this senior citizen on Omotesando, the Sunday of the Rainbow Parade last week. Maybe a reader knows which national sports uniform he’s wearing? The giraffe like flag pole and the hard hat make his national pride compete with any teenage look. For the record, I don’t think he had any idea that it was Rainbow Parade day.

Lastly, I wonder what the school children think when they see senior citizens walking by in outrageous costume? Does it secretly give them hope that one day they, too, will allow their self-expression to blossom?

 

“In this season of deep snow, I want to ask people to take great care not to have any accidents in removing snow from roofs.” -from the Emperor of Japan

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His Majesty the Emperor’s New Year Thoughts for 2014

A third winter since the Great East Japan Earthquake has come around. At the dawn of the new year, my heart once again goes out to the afflicted people, those who cannot return to the places they used to live because of radioactive contamination and those who have to spend the cold harsh winter in temporary housing.

Last year, too, many people were confronted with various difficulties and I am sure they faced many hardships. In this new year, it is my hope that the people of Japan not forget the plight of those who are facing hardships and try to share even a little of their burden, and help and comfort one another at all times. I also hope that they will work together with the people of the world in pursuit of peace and do their utmost to build a better tomorrow.

In this season of deep snow, I want to ask people to take great care not to have any accidents in removing snow from roofs.

It is my hope that the new year will bring happiness to the people of Japan and the people around the world.

(via Mainichi newspaper)

A Tokyo reporter for a major US newspaper wonders whether the snow on the roofs advice is actually a metaphor.

Would you pay this woman to “learn to love”?!?

Sex counsellor Ai Aoyama with a client and her dog

The esteemed Guardian newspaper colorfully describes a lack of sexual desire and practice among young Japanese. Apparently, it’s “too troublesome” to deal with sex or marriage. What I found most unbelievable is the report that this red gloved woman, with the improbable name of Ai Aoyama, earns a living providing sex counseling to the unwilling.

Nothing more exquisite than chilling your balls in gutter ice, with an audience

ice_frozen_balls_folsomstreetfairThe Folsom Street Fair, in its 30th incarnation, restored my faith in people. I readily admit to having a minimal spiritual life, and this is a major element. I love to see so much deviance, including fetishes you’ve never heard of.

Have you even seen someone freezing his balls? I love expression on this youth’s face. Of course, there was a wide circle of spontaneous supporters. Thanks, Matt, for lovely photo!

This is perhaps the first time I attended this enormous street fair (NSFW photos here) without smelling barf, or maybe living in Japan desensitized me to that bodily fluid in public.

I’m hoping that the small film developer in the Japanese countryside has already seen everything.

 

Super hot Iranian wrestler was sports hero of the 20th century in his land

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Did I mention that Gholamreza Takhti was also very hot?

This photo surfaced recently in the wake of the International Olympics announcement that wrestling would no longer be an official Olympic sport after 2016. Much to the dismay of Turkey, Iran, and Japan. And my  husband.

Sun never sets on sacred Japan

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Is this my future? At least us oldies and wierdos visiting the Emperor for his new year’s declaration don’t need to be bothered by “normal” families and young people.

Alas, this is the end of the Imperial Palace visit series when my ostensible purpose was to listen to the Emperor’s address and admire the princesses. Mostly, I watched the police and felt communion with the assorted freaks and foreigners in attendance.

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US-Asian casino daddy squabbles, on location in Macau

First there was the suing, alleging, and counter-suing between Las Vegas’ tycoon Steve Wynn and Japanese pachinko billionaire Okada Kazuo. Now Newt Gingrich’s #1 casino patron ($10 million in donations) Shel Adelson is feuding with former Taiwanese partners. Somehow the money all leads to Macau. Lost in the news is what an epic comb-over Shel sports.