Yesterday was the 3 month anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. No better time than now to look closely again at one of my favorite Japanese male fashions: gatenki (ガテんキ). As J-son noticed immediately on his first visit, gatenki combine making-stuff masculinity with super baggy pants that are vaguely Yoji Yamamoto in styling.
On weekdays I escape the tedium of rote learning for a balcony break overlooking a construction site for a 20-some story office building. It’s fun to watch the cranes, steel, and heavy equipment, but even more sublime when my break time coincides with theirs.
I feel safer and intrigued by daily sightings of these ninja-like male fashion icons.
Amidst the fear over quakes, water safety, and radioactive fallout, I do not mean to come off as a paranoid conspiracy theorist, or even an antiquated “mother earth” feminist. Still, it is impossible to ignore, in all the dioramas, illustrations, and video footage all the penis-shaped technologies at the heart of Japan’s natural and man-made disaster.
Most obviously, the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are all boxes (or were boxes, until the explosions) that cleverly conceal what appears to be a giant dildo of radioactive nuclear fuel rods, with torus doughnuts of water at the base and a steel containment vessel pointing this unholy mess of danger and energy sky-ward.
Japan’s protector/daddy/occupier the US military flew its Global Hawk man-less planes to take detailed images of the disaster. These are the drones that support the video distance warfare that delivers bombs throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya. It’s good that these planes have some non-military uses, although I nearly spit out my drinking water when I saw on television these giant black penises flying through the air.
The storyline seems to be that we are dependent on reckless technology that happens to look like enormous penises. And that we can only contain the damage they cause by employing their similarly shaped flying cousins. We are then treated to a parade of government officials, energy company spokespeople, and nuclear epxerts– all of whom seem to be male– who promise vaguely that everything is mostly under control.
What is your favorite penis-shaped disaster technology?
I have not posted for a week to pay respect to the thousands of dead and displaced by the unimaginable earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Frankly I wondered whether this blog’s frivolity and frequent lack of taste is appropriate during this stressful period of intense sadness and nuclear meltdown panic.
From today I will resume this blog to show that we are still alive, creative and observant here in Tokyo. I was inspired by my blogging sensei Bangin, who insists he will continue to try to make others happy through his blog. Even in the worst of times, there is plenty of moe to share, plenty of male fashion to ponder, and plenty of hope that Japan will rebuild.