Why does this combination, of uniformed authority and short ladders, always slay me?
After the excitement of yesterday’s Royal Wedding– the dress, ahhhh!!– nothing is more appropriate than this lovely vacancy sign at a love hotel in Shibuya. Is the marital dog image the right one for lovers looking for “short term rests”? The random owls are a nice touch, plus the intriguing “in/full” that seems to stand in for vacancy/no vacancy.
Who can argue with the message, “Schoolgirls, Be Ambitious”? Shouldn’t girls dream of working in space? But there’s something unnerving about this image of junior high school girls in short uniform skirts floating about the space station rocking out with headphones. Does showing off their legs improve their performance, or are they providing creepy old men a view from below? Adding to the nonsense, this is an ad from a clothing company “East Boy” with a statue of liberty logo on girls’ socks.
One of the strangest features of nearly all Japanese middle class apartments are their doors– typically metal, short and oddly un-residential to my eyes. These doors define residential living here, along with hallways that are open to the elements, and endless rows of symmetrical fluorescent hall and stairwell lighting visible from the streets.
I was reminded of this when my American artist friend who lives in Beijing and is in Japan for a 2 month artist residency told me about her strange Yokohama apartment door. She didn’t realize how typical and pervasive this door is.
What do you think it looks like? Sometimes I feel like it’s a prison, a submarine, an industrial farm. More recently, these doors seem normal and unremarkable.