Hamasaki Ayumi fan car sparks doubt about gender identity and desire

hamasaki_ayumi_car_yoyogiparkI heard that singer Hamasaki Ayumi is a gay-rights supporter, so I don’t mean to be harsh on her. But this image, plastered on a car hood outside Yoyogi Park, alternately fascinates and haunts me. I am amazed that such a pornographic look can circulate in public with no friction. Is this a day look? Should children see this?

I understand that the male gaze prizes artifice over reality, and that simple drag tactics are very effective in attracting male attention (big hair, heavy make-up, scary long nails, and a blank look). I am not shocked that these images are popular, but I am surprised to see them in the daylight and on the street.

Stanford grad becomes Korean rapper undermined by jealous rellies?

Jealous and anonymous rumors circulated that Korean rapper Tablo faked his Stanford credentials, leading to much drama for this adorable singer. I love how this video merges rap with emo whining and boy band preening. There’s definitely a young gay undertone, and as one NPR commenter shrewdly observed, it’s amazing that the cars get so close and don’t dirty the outfits or make-up.

I guess that’s called “special effects.” Mostly, I’m surprised that there’s such sexy graduates of that geeky and fashion-challenged university.

Tokyo winter gardening

Tokyo winter gardening, Tsubaki

My first winter garden has been a surprise for me. Japanese love to talk about their wonderful four seasons. I expected that winter would mean no flowers and scarce greenery. That’s why I left the East Coast of the United States over twenty years ago.

Yet winter in Tokyo offers many opportunities for flowers– particularly annuals like pansies, decorative kale, geraniums. Even plants I expected to die back are sprouting new growth in mid-winter, like two small roses on my balcony. Most specatcular is the tsubaki (つばき), a winter camelia I bought around new year’s. Another variety is called sazanka (さざんか). There’s even an early plum tree blooming on the path we take to the JR station.

Across from the same plum tree, we saw a tiny, surprisingly round, green bird that is active in winter, the mejiro  (目白). It’s adorable.

uguisu (うぐいす)

And, finally, I am surprised to see so many plants common in Northern California growing in the Tokyo winter, including brugsmania (called Angel’s Trumpet in Japan) and “purple princess.” Very unexpected.