Summer has many fleshy fashion features: plunging male decolletage, exposed thighs, flimsy materials. Yet nothing is more alluring than men in yukata and wood geta sandals. I like how this guy pairs a somber yukata with bright blue hair. Alas, this week is probably the last week for yukata, as officially it is now fall in Japan. (Source)
The Rainbow Festival in Shinjuku Nichome today was short (2.5 hours), fewer than 5,000 people in world’s largest city, but there were some special moments. The portable shrine was fronted by women, but seeing the guys in fundoshi “bringing up the rear” was delightful.
I will go on a limb and say that I think it’s all about the immaculate white booties. They provide the purity that allows and nay encourages full ass exposure in a ritual that celebrates unseen gods in local wood structures, as well as farming cycles.
Is having a bubble butt a requirement for participation in carrying the shrine? The husband notices that the guy second from the right above is using belting or other under-technology to accentuate his ample assets. Would you call this a reverse push-up bra?
There were some yukatas to be seen, some androgynous yankii food sales nymphs, and a few lovely drag queens. But nothing comes close to the combo of white booties, uniform jackets, head towels, and exposed rumps.
Disgraced and barely repentant kabuki actor Ebizo still has some promotional activities. I found him in Ni-chome selling bottled tea at a vending machine. I love how Japanese consumer products still use famous actors and celebrities in Japanese costume in wood houses or by bamboo forests. Very nostalgic and sexy!
Is this wooden object a stick or a pole? In any case, it is an essential element of Tokyo policing. I love seeing the local cop at the kabin standing guard with the wooden stick, or the more formal occasions in front of a government office.
The tool is at once simple and, most likely, ineffective against any real emergency. Yet its presence is somehow soothing to the police and the public.
Yesterday I returned from a four day Golden Week ceramic trip to Numazu in Shizuoka, near Mount Fuji and the Izu Peninsula. The in-law ceramics senseis organized this annual trip to use a wood-fired oven to make special bizen pottery.
For three days and nights, we heated a wood kiln until it reached 1200 degrees celsius, taking turns feeding it. It will take another three or four days for the kiln to cool down, so a return trip is necessary to take out the pottery.
Here are some photos that depict some of the process. Below are the 18 or 20 pieces I made: mostly flower vases with lattice tops, ten small round plates, and four rectangular plates.
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.
Sunday we spent the day at the in-laws performing a year-end mochi-making party. After soaking the rice grains overnite, they are drained, and then taken into the back yard.
Using a huge wooden mallet, someone pounds the grains in a bowl made from a single piece of tree trunk. One person pounds, while the other brave person turns the dough. Eventually, it becomes sticky.
Mochi is fairly tasteless. At the party it was served many ways– with anko (sweet beans), with grated daikon, with sesame paste, with walnut paste, and kinako (dry soy powder). My favorite is grilled (see above), soaked in soy sauce, and placed between some nori seaweed.
You have to see the movie to really understand how domestic and primitive mochi-making is.
I am blogging while sitting on my comfy new bean bag (thanks, Muji). Outside the living room window is the beginning of our balcony garden, five plants, including the pink rose house-warming present from wonderful ceramics studio student Ni.
Beyond the flowers are the peachy-pink grill of the balcony, and then the urban jungle of mountains (eleven story neighboring buildings) and deep valleys of two to four buildings extending to other residential and commercial high rise centers. You can see in the photo that we just added a wood boardwalk to the balcony floor.
I am learning the names of my plants in Japanese. From left to right:
1. ばら （桃色）： Rose (pink)
2. クロホシクサ （白色）： Eriocaulon parvum (white)
3. リンド （青い）：Gentiana scabra (blue)
4. ヒューケラマーマレード ：Heuchera marmalade
5. マーガリット （黄色）： Daisy (yellow)