Can there ever truly be too much male vanity?
Lee Tadanari (李 忠成) is super-famous now in Japan, as one of the top scorers in Japan’s recent Asia Cup soccer tournament championship. I first noticed him on TV last nite in the return-home footage on the news. Despite the flight from wherever, Lee-san’s orange hair stood proudly high as his country (and a few foreign perverts) welcomed his return.
Apparently, Lee is 4th generation “zainichi,” or Korean-Japanese. I love his extreme vanity, and daring with hair color on and off the playing field.
Alas, dear readers, this is my final Seijin no Hi photo. Perhaps the culmination of all the other photos. For reasons not made clear to this foreigner, the joyous 20 year olds are posing with one of them in the air with his legs spread wide. A particularly fetching boy seems to be reaching his hand towards legs-spread-wide’s groin.
I can only imagine how much more fun happened after they got drunker. There’s something practically Muslim about how almost all Japanese socializing is same sex. I love it!
Soon there was a horde of hot young 20 year olds combining traditional dress with big fried hair and excess testosterone. It didn’t take long for them to start falling all over each other, lit cigarettes in hand. I hope that they needed to pose for me, as much as I enjoyed their antics. I especially like how you can see inside the fallen boy’s skirt, I mean, “hakama” (袴).
This photo series is indebted to the chubby guy with the pink kimono who noticed my not subtle lurking and photographing. He called his friends for a huge yankii group pose on this important day that celebrates youths’ new ability to drink, smoke, get married, and other fun stuff.
Check out Danny Choo’s website for professional photos and more attention on the ladies. I focused strictly on the urban yankii male. It’s easy to be sex-specific in Japan because so many adults and teens socialize almost entirely with members of the same sex.
My first observation is that only the most bad-ass men are wearing kimonos, hakama, and haori. Many of their peers are wearing cheap suits, and spending all their vanity on their glorious hair: dyed, permed, back-combed, gelled, sprayed, and sculpted. Basically a junior salaryman look with extra attention on hair and eyebrows.
The next posts will focus more on rough-housing, misplaced energy, and male intimacy.
I apologize to my readers for so many sad and fugly pots. It’s time to turn your attention back to the Japanese islands, and images of hope, freedom and male vanity. On Monday’s Coming of Age (成人の日, Seijin no hi) holiday, I hit the Nakano yankii jackpot.
The location is the plaza and musical clock in front of Nakano Sun Plaza, the same site where this blog’s header image was taken three years ago. Despite the dwilndling numbers of young Japanese, these boys were very excited to pose and rough-house for the “gaijin.” I was quickly joined in the photo pool by three hot yankii 20 year old girls.
I’ll post more images over the next few days . .
Japanese love rainbows! I made this rice bowl for the husband’s sister, and gave it the rainbow treatment because I heard she likes them.
Except perhaps for small town Christian children in the lost part of Amerika, every Amerikan associates rainbows with gays. Not in Japan. Just like men’s plucked eybrows, back-combed hair, outre fashion, and overall vanity, rainbows are not marked as other, different, or marginal.
Why do Japanese love rainbows?
Here’s the backside of the rice bowl.
This is one of my first pottery wheel ceramics. The only reason it looks mostly symmetrical is that my teacher/father-in-law helped me a lot!
My resolution for the start of the new decade is to improve my Japanese. The husband suggested keeping a daily diary in a notebook, that bound thing full of paper. Which he will correct later. So we went to Family Mart and bought an adorable 100 yen Muji notebook.
Here’s my first sentence, timed for tomorrow night’s bounenkai with Green Eyed Geisha:
(As preparation for the long anticipated trip to the heart of male vanity, I have been watching Suddenly Last Summer on Youtube. GEG, out of kimono, will be my Liz Taylor. I hope that our elaborately coiffed hosts do not consume me like the cannibals who “devoured” Liz’s cousin. Liz is not only gorgeous, but this role foreshadows her real life career as beard to Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson, and Malcolm Forbes. Katherine Hepburn plays the perfectly in denial mother, and Liz truly “chews the drapes.”)
Men torturing their hair is one of the sights that always brightens my day in Tokyo. This hair was particularly huge in Shibuya. I caught images of the side and back.
Some people have told me that Japanese men who do this to their hair think they look like “lions.” Have you heard other funny explanations for this explosion of male vanity? What do they say these styles look like? And what do you think they look like?
It is amazing that every Tokyo Metro and JR station has these free-standing mirrors. It is not uncommon to see men spend five minutes or more publicly adjusting their hair. Primping, fluffing, biggen’ing, slicking, and moving strands from one side to the other. I love how natural, unselfconscious and public all this male vanity is.
As my blog theme attests, there is a fine and delicious line between male vanity and delinquency. Male vanity is one of Tokyo’s most remarkable and unremarked features! In the photo above, it seems the four mirrors are there to accommodate rush hour grooming!