towel

Actually Jesus

actually_hunky_jesus

Nice stigmata on his hands and blood on his chest. Actually Jesus had the look and a hippie vision that we can all find the Jesus within. Nice. Plus extra points for beard and long hair. Not so sure about the towel.

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Ramen is always a holiday

I don’t usually post food photos here, but I have to make an exception for ramen. There is something so porky and so satisfying about this common food.

There must be hundreds of ramen shops in Nakano, each with its own version. My current favorite is “Yokohama” style, on south side of the JR station, and features yankii-ish young cooks who are always wear towels on their sweaty heads.

Ramen is a health food and spirit recharger. It’s like chicken soup for Japanese, only tastier. This post is timed for someone else’s religious holiday: see what you’re missing!

Festive yankii relief

After two consecutive political images– not sure which is uglier, politicians buttholes or faces– I thought this blog needed some festive yankiis to balance out the male beauty spectrum.

These guys were selling drinks and street food at the Nichome Rainbow Festival two weeks ago. I love how they combine androgyny (hair clip, check!), damaged hair, towel as scarf, and a touch of punk (lip piercing, check!).

Now we’ve all seen the future of Japan, and can rest more easily!

Tokyo Pride Parade: Saturday, August 14 at 10.30 am

Saturday, August 14 is the Tokyo Pride Parade. It starts at 10.30 am. There’s lots of info in Japanese, and some basic info in English. It’s shocking to read that they expect 5,000 participants in this megalopolis of 13 million (or 30 or 51 million, depending how you count the greater Tokyo region).

Are any of my readers planning to attend?

Bring sun block, water, and a hand towel. It’s going to be hot!

Asashoryu triumphs!

Asashoryu triumphs!

I think I fell in love with Asashoryu today. This Mongolian sumo bad boy defeated my previous favorite, sweet Mongolian Hakuho. I even bought a Hakuho towel for my nephew in spring. But now I have fallen for Asashoryu, who is criticized for failing to practice all the time, and for slapping himself silly before matches. His stubble and fat face are somehow enchanting!

Asashoryu v Aminishiki

And last year he upset the Japan Sumo Association by calling for a 10% salary raise, the first since 2001, to cover the rising cost of food staples such as “bread, rice, cooking oil, mayonnaise and beer”.

Who is your favorite sumo wrestler?

Skilled laborers singing karaoke together

Skilled laborers singing karaoke together banner

You don’t need to be Donald Richie— noted American film critic, high culture interlocutor, and lover of Tokyo construction workers– to swoon over this neighborhood banner celebrating the association of skilled laborers. In Japanese, they are called gatenkei no hito (ガテン系のひと).

What says solidarity more than singing karaoke in hard hats and head towels? The husband reminds me that skilled workers, like yakuza, have a reputation for chosen male families and gay sex.

I <3 (heart) Nakano

Nakano Broadway Coffee

It’s great that Japan celebrates the first day of spring as a national holiday. I celebrated with a trip to Nakano Broadway and Sun Mall for a coffee and some ramen. My favorite coffee shop in Broadway serves an amazing cup of cold-dripped coffee (水出し) served with the cutest mini-carafe of sweetner and tiny tin of cream. For serving the most amazing coffee, with no pretension, I salute you sisters!

Equally exciting, I visited the new Sun Mall ramen shop in a cool, metal-clad building. The shop is paneled in wood, and serves delicious pork-broth Kyushu ramen. Best of all, all six male staff wear white towels on their heads, each tied differently. Friendly and tasty! I’ll be back.

Nakano Sun Mall, new ramen shop