Saturday, May 31, 2008

 

Plastic Pies

I think I took these in the train station at Nagoya. I didn't end up eating any real pies, but the plastic display was superb.



Thursday, May 29, 2008

 

Stealing Lives

Twenty year later, my mother, my sister and I sat in my sister's girlhood bedroom, talking about a novel I had written. "I don't care," Franchelle was saying. "She'd better never put me in a novel again. I don't like being frozen in print for the rest of my life, forever wearing those silly panties and short skirts; and I'm not big like that, she's made me into some sort of amazon-freak."

"Darling," our mother said, "the sister in The Odd Woman wasn't you. Gail just took parts of you, the parts she needed. Writers work that way."

"Well, I wouldn't know. I'm a lawyer and they don't work that way. Besides, it hurts."

Tears filled her eyes and she ran from the room.

"It's unfair," I said, "She's being unfair by not trying to understand."

"It's difficult when you haven't written," agreed my mother. "Now I understood why you had to make Kitty a more passive mother than I am, also a little stupid; that was necessary to your overall plan . . ."

"Passive! Stupid! Kitty? Kitty was a beautiful character. I worked hard on Kitty."

"She was a lovely character," my mother said. "I thought she was awfully well done. But what I mean is, I knew she wasn't supposed to be me."

"But she was!"

"Well, there was something left out, then."


Gail Godwin, The Writer on Her Work.

 

Joan Didion Says

Speaking of The Writer on Her Work, I found a letter inside my copy of the book. Obviously it belonged to the previous owner. It is dated 12/16/88 and reads:
"Dear R---

Well, I've thought about writing a couple times to let you know that I still feel a kind of relief and satisfaction that I felt after talking to you on the phone, that I received your postcard and was pleased to copy a paragraph out of an essay by Susan Griffith (okay, so I lost my parallelism in just the 3rd phrase--sue me)."

Oh, you writers and your weird flirting. Anyway . . .
"It's a pleasure to write to someone who may pay attention to writing. I don't often get a chance to worry about construction. Construction. A good word to refer to writing--solid."

Gold, man!
"Anyway, I was also trying to think of something I might send you for the holidays. Having finished the Griffith essay and having checked its front of its back . . ."

Hunh? I think he meant "front to back."
". . . to see that by some coincidence I did not write my name and # in the front immediately, this book seems an appropriate gift.

Perhaps you can view J as some thoughts from some of your colleagues.

Happy Holidays.

Love Steve"

At this point there is a peace sign combined with a smiley face.
"PS--Think back to last Halloween and to my wall at 2110 and see if you can guess which paragraph I was going to copy. If you can't get it, no biggy. Just say so and I'll let you know.

PSS--Alice is indeed, once again, I think, brilliant.

131 bathetic (bathos?)"


The front of the book also has an inscription by Steve. He writes:
"R--I'm sure there'll be room in the 2nd volume (if only you could write "I")
xo
Love, Steve"


Well, what the hell was Steve talking about? I think I know. Here's an excerpt from Joan Didion's essay in The Writer on Her Work.

In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It's an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its aggressiveness all you want with veils of subordinate clauses and qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions--with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating--but there's no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer's sensibility on the reader's most private space.

From The Writer on Her Work.

Well, I don't know. I would agree that having a vision at all is a messianic thing, and wanting to bring that vision to life requires enormous ego. But how hostile is it really when people have the choice to listen to you or not? And can you really get at any kind of truth if you are concerned, while working, of the need to impose your will on others?

Most of the time I feel that writing is this tremendous struggle to accurately get down some observation or feeling of my own--writing feels more like self-flagellation or an act requiring enormous discipline and focus than it does an imposition on others. I rarely see writing as an act of bullying other people. If writing is bullying, then just being alive and being different from everyone else is bullying, I think.

Then again, I'm a year away from having a book in hand, and I might well change my mind and understand this quote much differently by then. Either way, I found it intriguing and it will probably stick in my brain for a while.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

 

Boys Versus Girls

"The novels that I get most lost in, can't put down, tend the last few years to be by women: Godwin, Drabble, Lurie, Gould. I admire Spark, Adler, Lessing, and Didion more, for experimentation, form, the shape of their ideas, but I can be more easily distracted from them. The novels that sorta awe more and dazzle me, and which I would like to emulate although I sometimes find them heavy to get through, tend to be by men: Barth, Bartheleme, Pynchon, Robbins, and McGuage. I am more in tune with the women's work, but I would like to stretch in the other direction. Don't think this is a simple sexist remnant. (I remember similarly wanting to read Trollope but be Conrad.) What I dislike about the women's work I like is that within and between and among the understanding, compassion, psychology, forgiveness, is an underlying trivial complaint; a bitch against life. What I love about the men's work is its celebration: love of the Baby Ruth wrapper in the gutter, a celebration of American roadside rubbish. And yet this luv luv luv does seem to me: easy. Super-facial (sic)."


Janet Burroway, from The Writer on Her Work.

 

Goodnight Bush

Ah, it's an incestuous world.



Good friend Erich has a new book out with his collaborator, Gan. Behold, "Goodnight Bush" in which three lines of coke, next to Bush's bed, gradually disappear. Gan and Erich are very, very funny and smart. I'm waiting for my copy, which will hopefully arrive any day now. You can get yours here or here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

 

Columbia Abuses Photoshop








From Bwog:
Bwog operative and newly-minted alum Zach van Schouwen noticed something a bit uncanny when visiting the College's homepage. The following photo, aside from giving the false impression that the 9 train is still running, which it is not, pictures the subway entrance as a grandiose marble affair, which it is not. (See below for visual confirmation and here for a larger shot.) ZvS also found insurmountable evidence something that might lead us to believe in the subway's Photoshoppage in the form of what appears to be a 1 and 9 symbol that float in midair behind the entrance, as well as JPG jaggies around the white-on-black text. We just hope the class of 2012 isn't too heartbroken when they find out what the subway entrance really looks like. The blood is on your hands, Columbia College.

Monday, May 26, 2008

 

Seven Luck Gods



This is the view from the breakfast room of the Tokyo Metropolitan Marunouchi. You can see the old Meiji period red brick Tokyo station building off to the right (currently undergoing renovation), plenty of tall buildings and lots of rail tracks used by the bullet train.



The room also has these odd pillar-like things, with little illuminated statues. When I looked closely at one, I realized that it was an abstract sculpture of Hotei, one of the 7 luck gods of Japan. I then went on a hunt to photograph them all and the very nice maitre d' opened up a banquet room so I could snap the last one of the pantheon.



The 7 luck gods usually look something like this. But the artist who put together these pieces for the hotel was after a completely different aesthetic.



Here's the aforementioned Hotei, god of abundance and wealth.



Ebisu, god of merchants, shares his name with a beer and a fashion label.



Fukurokuju is the god of happiness, wealth and longevity.



Jurojin governs wisdom.



Daikokuten is the god of commerce and trade.



Bishamonten is the warrior god who protects the north; he's also the god of warriors. I like him.



Benzaiten is the only goddess of the group and she supports all the arts and beauty. Obviously I like her too.

 

Mothers Who Write

From Nina Schuyler (italics are mine):

Writer's Block Remedy: "One terrific benefit of having a child is that you don't suffer from writer's block. Writer's block is a phenomenon for those with ample time and a proclivity for channeling the voice of their high school teacher who said they’d never ever be a writer."

This reminded me of my second grade teacher, who told me that I'd never learn the English language because I had one foreign parent (oops) and the college professor who told me to give up writing and to discontinue graduate school because my future lay in teaching high school.

 

Home



It's Memorial Day, and everyone I know is declaring that "we should be outdoors." I suppose this is true. It's not yet too hot and I don't have to worry about getting sick from humidity, but it's hard for me to think of something like Central Park as "being outdoors."



If I'm going to be outdoors, this is where I want to be: home.

I really thought I was going to end up writing books like John Steinbeck--my connection to this part of the world is so fierce. But it turns out I have a completely different set of stories to tell. This happens to all of us who end up having stories to tell--you always end up finding your own.

 

For My Writer Friends

I decided it was time to keep a journal again--much too much floating around in my head to function otherwise. The last entry I have is from October, 2005. I thought those of you working on your manuscripts would be amused to see what I had written:

. . . I think I may have the next 10K words down soon. I hope so. Writing is hard. It's also strange to think about how much time I've devoted to writing and how things do and don't pay off and I do and don't feel as though I've made any progress. The same ability to be afraid or insecure is still with me. I wonder what will happen if I fail. I see the benefits of just buckling down and focussing, but this is scary when I can't see into the future . . .

And this was about a month after I signed with my first agent. So, please take heart and keep fighting.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

 

Sacred Sparrows



I heard a charming story about a family of swallows living in this sweets (youkan) shop in Futaminoura, Japan.



The shop was built in the Taisho period, and specializes in sweets flavored slightly with salt from the ocean. That's a real piece of gold.



Inside the shop, up high against the ceiling, is this little Shinto shrine. You can just make out a sheet of paper sticking out from the bottom shelf. It's hard to tell from this photo, but the paper is covered with bird droppings. That's because, at the very top, is a bird's nest.



The store proprietor told me that the swallow population has plummeted in the area because crows will not stop attacking them. This resourceful swallow couple decided that the safest place to start a family was inside the shop. And what's safer than a shrine?

I asked the shop proprietor if she closes the store doors. She says that she does, promptly at 7PM every night, by which point the swallows have come home for the day. She says they remain inside, quietly, until 5:30 in the morning when she gets up extra early to open the door



The inside of the shop is decorated with antiques and has a lovely, old-Japan atmosphere.



Here's one not-very-good photo from Futaminoura, which is famous for these two rocks. Twice a year, the sun sets in between the stones. I have to be honest--the actual rocks were not that impressive to me. I seem to remember seeing something similar as a child, except those rocks were much bigger. Then again, maybe I was just smaller and I am remembering the same place. Who knows.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

 

Nederland

The New York Times says, of Ned:
Ned McGowan, a composer and flutist, proved there's still plenty of life in old-fashioned virtuosity with ''Bantammer Swing,'' a playful, athletic concerto for his unwieldy contrabass flute.

I'll miss Binnenbantammer Strasse, or at least writing it out on envelopes every year at Christmas. Fortunately, the Dutch excel at other long words.

 

In and Out

"I imagined a room at the heart of a house, and life in its variety flowing in and out. Later still I came to see that I continued to value separation and privacy: the true writer either retreats and pays the price of isolation from the human stream or opens the door and pays the price of exposure to too many diverse currents. Now I've come to believe that there is no central act; instead there is a central struggle, ongoing, which is to retain control over the door--then shut it when necessary, open it at other times--and to retain the freedom to give up that control, and experiment with the room as porous."

By Janet Sternburg, from The Writer on Her Work, Volume One.

Friday, May 23, 2008

 

Wedding Objects

I'd forgotten that I had a few photos of objects from the wedding that I wanted to share.



Every table in the house had these sweets on the table, so a person sitting down for a rest would have something to eat.



Sake cups used in the ceremony.



The altar.



The sake dispenser.

 

HIjiki on a Hill



On a drive south of Toba, we stopped to take in the view from a promontory. There, we found a group of people carefully using part of a parking lot to dry hijiki seaweed.



They offered to give us some, but since we were traveling, it really didn't make any sense to accept any to cook. I guess once upon a time, seaweed would have been dried up on a hillside--a parking lot makes perfect sense in the modern world.


 

Supplementary Dog



"Going of a supplementary dog is possible."

 

Bamboo Shoot Market



Regular readers know that bamboo shoots are important to me, and play a small part in my novel. How excited was I then, to be in Japan during bamboo shoot season and to find this market in Kyoto.



My mother stuck her hand out for this photo, so you would have a sense of just how big a shoot can get. Poor pandas, missing out on these treats.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

 

A Favorite Charlottte Bronte Quote

"I had been toiling for nearly an hour. I sat sinking from irritation and weariness into a kind of lethargy. The thought came over me: am I to spend all the best part of my life in this wretched bondage, forcibly suppressing my rage at the idleness, the apathy and the hyperbolic and most asinine stupidity of these fat-headed oafs and on compulsion assuming an air of kindness, patience and assiduity? Must I from day to day sit chained to this chair prisoned within these four bare walls, while the glorious summer suns are burning in heaven and the year is revolving in its richest glow and declaring at the close of every summer day the time I am losing will never come again? Just then a dolt came up with a lesson. I thought I should have vomited."

That pretty much sums up my years in corporate America.

 

More Literary Linkage

Sorry, all I seem to be doing today is linking to things other people said. But the following amused me too much not to repost.

When asked if he rereads his work (as in . . . editing), James Frey says:
I think if you read what you write you just want to change it. You get stuck in this trap where you never move forward. I try to make things what I want them to be the first time through.

Um, hello? It's called work? The "physical immobility" thing that Salinger was griping about? It's called editing? It's hard to respect someone who doesn't work.

You can read comments and analysis of this admission here, and my annoyance over the Frey debacle . . . I mean, the first Frey debacle . . . here.

 

Min Jin Lee on Writing

Among the books I've enjoyed the most this year is Min Jin Lee's "Free Food for Millionaires" which, friends and family, I encourage you to read (as in, you have to buy it because buying books is how we will keep the damned industry from falling apart before, oh, next fall). It's a very good book, set in the world of Korean immigrants in New York and filled with love and longing for money and other people. Except, it isn't really one of those books. Min Jin Lee is a super driven, inner-tormented smarty.

I was curious to learn more about this writer, who I assumed would be somewhat guarded. In an interview with the Asian American Writer's Association, she says:
GT: You want to succeed.
MJL: I'd like to do it for the home team. I do want to succeed. I've failed for such a long time: twelve years of not having a book. I've watched a lot of people younger than me publish.

And earlier:
As an Asian American and a Korean person, you're not supposed to talk about yourself and brag about your accomplishments. All those things you have to turn over, because you're there to hawk your book. I felt a lot of pressure, I didn't want to let my family down, let my publisher down.


Then she has a more outspoken moment.
I'm glad my book is coming out in my late 30s. The older I get, the more I see how everybody suffers. Nobody is protected. Everybody is vulnerable. You start to think the world isn't so simple. If you're going to make anything worth reading, it should have that level of complexity and sympathy.

Finally:
I will say the past twelve years, the humility that I have comes from having failed consistently. I realized that writing is nothing short of a compulsion. If you stick with it, if you're really serious, you realize that rejections are a real part of the job.

Even if it hurts to wait or be rejected, and you still feel the compulsion to tell your story, I really encourage you to persist. Even if it's humiliating. I would never tell you it's not humiliating.

Well yes of course it's humiliating. The interesting thing is to try to forge some kind of dignity out of the humiliation--which she has. Most complexity comes from the overlap of two things which, at first glance, seem totally incongruous. Is anything interesting really ever easy?

 

A Dream

I used to have vivid dreams as a teenager and my father, ever the Jungian, liked to talk to me about the most upsetting ones and help me understand that they were about "transformation." I was a little bit proud of my dreams as an adolescent, though I never kept a dream diary the way that some people do.

I once asked him, "Do you still have vivid dreams?"

And he said, "No. Once I became an adult, they became must less intense."

Be that as it may, I had a strange dream on Sunday night. I dreamt that I was home in California, asleep in my childhood bed. I woke up and saw a shadow through the curtains, and when I looked outside, I saw a lion in the garden. I immediately alerted my parents, and recalled the cat into the house and shut all the doors and windows. We called for help, then waited as the lion prowled around and around the house.

I found my mother in the garage, sorting some boxes.

"What are you doing out here with the garage door open?" I said. "The lion is still outside."

"I couldn't wait any longer," she said. "I have work to do."

"But it's not safe. Where is the lion?"

"Over there," she pointed, and just then the lion attacked me from behind and knocked me over. I felt his claws in my left shoulder and thought to myself that I was going to die.

I remembered that when you are attacked by a lion, you must pretend to play dead. So I lay there, pretending to be dead, while the lion threw me around the concrete floor of the garage. Eventually I told myself that I was asleep and that I could wake up and I did.

My left shoulder hurt all day Monday.

One friend says: "You are worried about your parents."

Another friend says: "You are stressed about the future."

Another says: "You are worried about your home in California."

I'm thinking maybe it's just a dream.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

 

Oiran and I



The samurai who took this photo of us unfortunately shook a little. We were all standing in the grounds of Edo Wonderland, and were lucky enough to come upon the oiran and her crew.



The oiran was very pretty.

 

Hot Gour-Ben



In a Kyoto hotel, pretty obviously built in the 80s, I found a vending machine filled with food boxes.



"Hot Gour-Ben" is epoch making dishes for gourmets. It gets warm in about 8 minutes by a chemical reaction between lime and water. All you have to do is pull a string and eat it.

(I'm pretty sure that Gour-Ben is a combination of gourmet and bento.)

 

Afghound Hat



Like I said, pets are becoming accessories.

Monday, May 19, 2008

 

Scotland Bound, Castle Shopping

As if I haven't traveled enough, we are now planning a trip to Scotland. Constant travel is a reality of international families. And since my mother may well be coming with us, we are thinking of finding a castle in which to stay for a few nights. Of course, if we do this, we have to stay in the Highlands. (Drummond castle, by the way, does not seem to be available for overnights).

Among the contenders:



Bunchrew House Hotel:

Set within 20 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens and woodland on the shores of the Beauly Firth near Inverness, Bunchrew House is a 17th century Scottish mansion steeped in tradition and history (part of the House dates back to 1505), offering quality accommodation, award-winning cuisine and a highland welcome second to none.




Glengorm Castle

Situated on the Northern tip of the Isle of Mull near Tobermory, Glengorm Castle overlooks the Atlantic and has views over 60 miles to the Outer Hebrides and Islands of Uist, Rhum and Canna. The Castle was built in 1860 and sits at the headland of Glengorm's vast area of coastline, forestry, lochs and hills. Glengorm truly stands apart from the surrounding Western Isles, already known for its dramatic scenery, due to its tranquillity and sheer natural beauty.




Minard Castle

Stay in style at Minard Castle beside Loch Fyne. Our Scottish castle is a historic house dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

 

Salinger, Excerise, Writing

I'm only halfway through Joyce Maynard's memoir, At Home in the World, but already find it contains a few gems in regards to writing. Among my favorite quotes, Salinger has this to say when young Maynard tells him that playing music looks like more fun than writing. (Note: the italics are mine).
"Fun!" he explodes. "Not much fun in writing, I'll grant you that. No notes on a page for us to fall back on. No amazing, orgasmic rhythms to make the audience melt. No heroism that anyone is likely to detect. Not one goddamn thing to do with the body, except to try wherever possible to ignore one's own cursed immobility. God, the unnaturalness of writing. And unlike performing music, it never gets any easier, no matter how much you do it. Every damned time we sit down to work, it's that same blank page again. A person could have a better time at a Doug McLure retrospective."

(Don't worry; I had to look up Doug McClure too).

I think he exaggerates, but I did take his point about the immobility of writing. I had a conversation with a friend this evening about the whole notion of exercise and writing. I don't know many writers who love exercise, Haruki Murakami notwithstanding. But it is true that when we write, we completely ignore our bodies. When I forget to exercise--when I fall in love with my computer/manuscript/story--too much, I find that I don't want to even leave the apartment. I just want to stay put until I'm done. And yet, this isn't healthy.

"Exercise," said my friend, "teaches you that you can overcome things." I think that this is true. Knowing that you can overcome things is essential in writing, where, at times, things seem insurmountable (the fraking chapter, the fraking voice, the characters, the structure, blah, blah, blah). We spoke further of the need to teach children to love exercise.

The truth is, I hated sports as a child--team sports in particular. I was always deathly afraid my parents would get inspired by our neighbors and send me to Little League. I underestimated my folks. Dance class tricks me into exercising. I can go to class 5 times a week and find myself fit! Hooray! And I didn't even know I was doing anything but enjoying a piece of fluffy music and being with friends. And yet, I agree, if you don't exercise when you are a writer, the brain doesn't work as well.

I'm glad to be back in class.

One more thing; it's ludicrous to think that JD Salinger is anything but a hero to so many writers and readers. He should know this himself, whether he likes it or not. The protestations are disingenuous.

 

Koicha for Ellis

My trip to Kyoto included a visit to beloved tea house Ippodo. There I was encouraged to try a bowl of koicha, which literally means thick tea. Koicha is made from the first harvest of green leaves, and was therefore just in season when I arrived. Usucha (thin tea) is made from subsequent harvests, and has a sharper flavor which requires more water. I should also point out that koicha is much more expensive.



I didn't realize when I ordered the koicha (or rather, when it was ordered for me), that I would have to prepare it myself. Since I am often a rather self-conscious person, it was embarrassing to try to knead the water into the green tea powder while everyone watched. But I did my best.



Eventually, a sales person helped me and I drank the paste you see here. It was incredibly good, and I'm sure loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C and all those nice things. It also woke me up out of my travel-weary state.



After I'd drunk a certain amount, I was told to put more water in my bowl, and enjoy the tea a second time. This time the consistency was more in keeping with usucha. I came home with a little packet of both kinds of tea. Now I just have to practice whipping up the powder.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

 

Kimono Dress



Years three, five and seven for children in Japan are marked by a special rite of passage, called Shichi Go San, in which boys and girls dress up in kimonos, visit a shrine to receive blessings and pose for photos.

Like wedding dresses, the kimonos and costumes for Shichi Go San are mostly rented. I fell in love with this little outfit, reserved for Shichi Go San, and which I saw in the window of a shop. I wasn't supposed to take photos, but it turned out that the proprietor had taken English classes with my fearsome grandfather back in the day, and soon we were drinking tea and I was snapping pictures.

This little outfit is called a "kimono dress," and has been a trend for the past few years. It is literally a kimono-meeting-a-dress. The waistband on the skirt is made from elastic, while the top is like a regular old kimono.

I inquired as to the price, because I know a little girl turning three this year, who likes pretty dresses. I drank some more tea while the store proprietors tried to find the answer to my unusual request. Regretfully, they told me, the kimono dress would cost nearly $600 if I wanted to take it home, and of course I passed. I'm assuming the little girl's parents will understand.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

 

Writing Love, Revisited

I posted of my interest in how writers actively write love, or the process of falling in love, while avoiding obvious Hollywood cliches. I'm generally not a fan of needing to experience something before you write it; I believe in the power of the imagination and in empathy. So I'm always curious to see what people say about this interesting, and under-considered subject.

In an interview with the Japan Times, actress Julie Delpy reveals some of her attitudes toward romance. She is in Japan for the screening of her film "Two Days in Paris," which I saw last year and enjoyed enormously.
"Well, I think it's always one who's suffering," says Delpy, her brow creasing in a way that suggests this is a bit more than speculation. "I don't think it's both, because there's always one that loves more than the other. I've never seen a relationship where people love each other equally. And sometimes it fluctuates. Love is so difficult, always this back and forth. Sometimes you'll be madly in love with someone, and you ask 'is it real?' and they're like, 'naah, we're just friends,' and you'll be dying inside. I've had many experiences like this."

If this is true--that love is always an imbalance--then a writer can always try to find the dynamism in a relationship to bring it to life. I wonder if it is always the case, that one person will always love more than another. I'm trying to think of examples in fiction. I'm pretty sure that we stay interested in Scarlett and Rhett because he loves her more than she loves him . . . until it's too late. Jane spends an awful lot of time in love with Rochester, whom she believes doesn't love her. The book ends when the emotions are resolved. Romeo and Juliet--pretty equal equation--both die. Cathy and Heathcliff are pretty well balanced, though that doesn't end so well either. I'll keep thinking.

On a side note, I like how Julie ends her interview.
"I know so many guys who end up bored with life, and now they call me back all like 'why didn't I stay with you?' And I'll say 'it's good you didn't stay with me because you're a f**king bore!' (Laughs.) I tell them to go f**k themselves, because these men are idiots and they deserve to be miserable with their f**king manicurists."


Life is so not fair sometimes.

Friday, May 16, 2008

 

Goo Goo Girl



Former OL turned hot Japanese comedienne Edo Harumi shows off her skills in this re-imagining of My Sharona.

Edo Harumi's trademark gesture is to stick out her thumb and to say "goo" (good). She finds English words ending (endingoo) in "ing" and turns the final "g" into a "goo." Part of her shtick seems to be making fun of the English that has crept into the Japanese language, even as she takes on the persona of a teacher providing "lessons" and intones old-fashioned, stagey vocal inflections. Even if you don't understand Japanese, you'll get the gist of her routine, and certainly her facial expressions are as extreme and funny as any old ukiyoe print of some comic actor.



Edo Harumi shows up about 20 seconds into this video, with lessons on how a girl can appeal to men (how to be a girl a guy will keep wanting to sit next to while drivingoo). In sum, this should give you some sense as to why Edo Harumi is currently one of Japan's hottest entertainers.

 

No, No, No



"It is prohibited to conduct any group demonstration, to carry flags, placards or wear group participation arm bands. It is also prohibited to assemble, hold group meetings, sitdowns, force interview, or use violence on visitors. In addition, the authorization of the management is necessary for the distribution of leaflets or notes, indoor and outdoor photography, peddling, street and stall vending, and all public activities.

Shin-Marunouchi Building"

I wonder if this includes my photo?

 

Two Beauty Secrets




A longtime Japundit reader alerted me to an important beauty treatment now available at New York's Shizuka salon, a place I went to once in search of a Japanese-style manicure.
a high-end Japanese spa in midtown, has just introduced a new “Geisha Facial,” which promises to cleanse, brighten, and exfoliate a patron’s face—thanks to a secret ingredient: bird poop. For centuries in Japan, both Kabuki actors and geishas used uguisu no fun, or nightingale droppings, to clean off their thick white makeup and soothe their faces; apparently, guanine, found in the droppings, helped their complexions.

Hopefully the bird droppings are not collected from the upper reaches of Hokkaido.



Vanity, after all, can make you sick.

Spam emailers have discovered that eating seaweed can miraculously rid women between the ages of 25 and 54 of the roll of fat around their middlesection.



Just take a couple of sea-weed tablets every day, and perhaps you too will see your weight plummet, so you too can join the ranks of women who enjoy the lowest rate of obesity in the world!

Personally, I'll stick to weekly misoshiru and some nice sunomono with wakame.

Uguisu photo via.

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