As Hakuho wins another tournament, this one the new year’s first in Tokyo. Thanks to the husband for the link.
Calling all big men’s hair fans, and those hoping for some more cash in the new year. Tonight and tomorrow are the second installment of the lucky rake festival, Tori no Ichi. There are other spots to celebrate good fortune, but none better than Hanazono shrine in Shinjuku.
I think it’s now cold enough to dust off my men’s wig. See you there!
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.
Have a fantastic new year!
(Thanks Vivian for taking the photo).
Known in the US as *the* new year’s song, in Japan this song gets played whenever any place of business is closing for the day: sento, supermarket, public garden, really anywhere!
Here’s Mariah Carey’s new version.
And the classic Disco version from Salsoul Orchestra (via JoeMyGod).
Awww, isn’t that romantic? Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the NY Times reports that young Chinese ladies are renting “boyfriends” to bring home for lunar new year. What greater expression of filial love than parading a fake boyfriend. And some boys apparently can’t resist free train tickets, meals and cigarettes. Nice!
On January 2 and December 23, the Imperial Palace opens its moated gates to the public, who are given plastic flags that are later recycled. A mix of monarchists and the just curious are herded in front of the largest ceremonial hall to witness the emperor give a five minute speech where he solemnly informs us that he is praying for our health and for peace.
What of course no one tells you is that this is the ultimate police fetish event of the year! So many types to choose from: Palace guards, regular police, policemen on step stools (a personal fetish of mine), police in boats, black trench police in front of numerous buses, even some uniformed horse rider. Here’s some of my best shots.
Many, many more police images after the jump. Mark your calendar for the next display of police authority!
On New Year’s day, beginning just after midnight, many Japanese visit shrines, provide a small contribution, pray for less than 30 seconds, and buy a fortune. My friend took me to Adachi in northern Tokyo to a famous shrine the evening of January 1. You can see above that if you don’t like the fortune you receive, you can fold it up and tie it on a special stand that contains all the bad and just mediocre fortunes.
I left my fortune. And, under the guise of being a foreigner observing local customs, I couldn’t help but take this image of a Tokyo yankii leaving his fortune at the shrine. His mane of distressed hair, the fake fur sweatshirt color, the glitter, lack of warm clothes on a cold evening, and exposed backside somehow all added up to a good omen for the new year and new decade.
Oh, and inside my fortune, I found a (fake) gold plated trinket. Mine is considered especially lucky, a rake that symbolizes I will be “raking in” the money this year. I hope so!
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.
Continue seeing and reading more after the jump.