Friday, July 31, 2009

Belly button Festival

On July 29, 2009, the city of Furano, Hokkaido held it's "Heso Matsuri 臍祭り” (Belly button Festival). In the street parade, children and adults danced with a variety of amusing faces painted on their bellies. Dancers make their “heso” (belly button) into a face, using paint, special costumes, and props. Competition is intense as dancers compete for prizes and glory in various categories.

The Hokkaido Bellybutton Dance began about thirty-five years ago. It was decided that a town festival was needed, in order to unify and energize Furano's people, who are spread over a large area. Inspired by Furano's location in the very middle of Hokkaido, the festival organizers came up with the idea of a dance featuring the bellybutton. In the first official Heso Matsuri, only 11 people joined the dance. However last year, over 5,000 people participated in the two-day dance, with thousands more gathering to watch.

Freaking awesome. Next year, maybe?

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I can't wait to finish up my thesis although I am hella nervous about having to defend it on the phone. By the end of this process I think I'll have an abundance of post-its left. This is an inspiring post-it stop motion clip made by an art student. He got his inspiration from all the notes and deadlines he had to work with.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rice Field Art

Awesome shyt. F crop circles. This is how we do it in the east:

They use different types of rice for the color and effect. The results? Amazing.

Friday, July 17, 2009


With all this talk about the Happiness Realization Party running for elections here, I couldn't help but dig in further into the insane parts of Japanese politics. So because I don't have the right to vote although I pay my taxes and am a PR and all that BS crap, I will personally choose my own nominees for the most eccentric F-ed up people who are/were running as political candidates.

In no particular order:


Toyama Koichi (外山恒一). He is officially insane!!! He is a Japanese street musician, and a leftist political party. He is 39 years old this year and lives in Fukuoka. He actually got more than 15,000 votes! He wanted to be the governor of Tokyo in 2007. He was imprisoned for two years for political crimes.

In this video, he denounced Japan as being a horrible nation (最低な国)and doesn't offer anything. I loved it when he said, "Gentlemen!!! The only thing we can do now, is scrap and scrap..." and then he goes on to say, "Please give me a call. You can find my contact number on the posters." Finally, you gotta love the obscene gesture (middle finger) towards the camera at the end of the broadcast.

In this second video from 2008, he put on a monologue performance in which he claims the US as a global hegemony. He claims it is an injustice that although he is a rightful citizen of "America's 51st state", and was flabbergasted that he is not eligible to vote, nor to stand as a candidate in the last presidential election. I would have loved to see him go against Obama though.

Mitsuo Matayoshi (又吉光雄)aka Matayoshi Iesu (Matayoshi Jesus) named himself, "The only God Mitsuyo Matayoshi Jesus Christ (唯一神又吉光雄・イエス・キリスト)." He is the leader of the World Economic Community Party (世界経済共同体党). He developed his own concept of Christianity, which was influenced by Eschatology and established the party in 1997. He believes that he is God and Christ. His first step as the Savior is to be appointed leader of Japan upon which he will reform Japanese society. Following this, the United Nations should offer him the General Secretary post. He will then reign the entire world. During his activities for his eccentric political (religious?) campaigns, he urges his opponents to commit suicide by hara-kiri (disembowelment); yes, hara-kiri and NOT seppuku (more polite). He blasts his slogans in his own kabuki-inspired voice. Watch this video if you can understand Japanese and this one for kabuki-voice. He is apparently in the top ten most eccentric people you didn't know list.


Then of course, there is the Happiness Realization Party (幸福実現党). I won't talk about a particular leader in this party but rather just summarize the party itself. It is the political wing of the Happiness Science religious movement (Koufukunokagaku, 幸福の科学). The founder Ryuho Okawa claims that all major religions originated from the same heavenly source. Some of their interesting prophecies include:

* Within the next 100 years, the United Nations will collapse. There will be war in the Middle East and Japan will be the next religious center (just like Mecca and Jerusalem).

* Angel Gabriel will be reincarnated in Bangkok, Thailand in 2050.

* From 2100-2200, the US will sink because it has angered the gods. BUT, if enough people convert then, there will be no sinkage.

* From 2200-2300, people will only have to work a maximum of four hours a day because robots will run almost everything. Half of Russia, and East Asia will sink into the Ocean. More specifically, Russia will fall into the core of the earth so the earth will re-create the continent of Mu, which will be at the current location of Indonesia.

* In 2300-2400, the new continent of Atlantis will be re-created because the US would have sunk and Martin Luther King and Nichiren will be reincarnated.

* Jesus will be re-incarnated between 2400-2500. Aliens that visited earth in the 80s will return and they will have more than 10 races by then.

As for their political wing, their sales pitch is:

* they will eliminate all sales taxes, they will double Japan's population to 300 million by 2030, and welcome 100 million foreigners. They will protect Japan from North Korean missiles, they will ban cram/prep schools, they promise 6LDK condos for the majority of people in their 30s, they will make English a "semi-official" language in Japan, and they promise a world-wide bullet train service.

Here are two of their propaganda videos. The first one is where they try to create paranoia by making a video of North Korea launching their missiles at Japan and the second one compares the Liberal Democratic Party and Democratic Party of Japan with the Happiness Realization Party.

ps: For those of you reading this post on FaceBook, click on "view original post" at the bottom.

All right then, they must think that we're stupid enough to think that we believe they think like that, or do they really think like that? WTF? Take your pick! I can't believe people say there isn't hope for Japanese politics. I see a lot of potential.

*** EDIT ***

I have to add another one of my entertainment politics favorite. It's called 日本スマイル党 or, the Japan Smile Party. Mac Akasaka who calls himself Dr. Smile, represents the aforementioned party. He wants to end the Self Defense Force, cut suicide rates, cure depressed people, and introduce Smile Education in schools. Instead of making boring speeches, he does the Smile Dance when he campaigns through the streets of Tokyo.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Girls are perceived to be skanks.

So this poster can be found at some train station that I still have to be on the look out for. "So many girls... So many ways..." What does it really mean? Really? I'm secretly hoping that my sister's company is responsible for this advertising.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Marc Jacob Rules Again!

So here is the link to a hand-drawn QR code for Marc Jacobs. I like. I must try.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Speaking of Saline Implants...

Want bigger boobies but can't afford them? Here is a link set up by two cosmetically-conscious entrepreneurs of an online boob charity. It's called Here, people can create profiles, post pictures and videos of themselves, message & chat with friends, etc., and men/women from anywhere in the world can act as benefactors to these women who are looking for a way to fund their implants by donations made through PayPal. It's boob charity in exchange for online friendship. The catch however is that these "friends" are NOT to meet each other outside of the site.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Holy Sheit! Japanese Frankensteins!!!

This is called Body Inflation. People with heads that have been intentionally distorted, kids who have deliberately disfigured themselves by experimenting with saline inflations. Gross!
Apparently this isn’t new, but it’s growing in popularity. This particular phenomenon isn't exclusive to Japan but the nature of Japanese subculture and the propensity for its people to take things to extreme levels have helped body inflation gain popularity. I do wish some of my students would be that extreme so we'd have more to talk about.

This is how it works by:

Body mod pioneer Samppa Von Cyborg.

The professional body piercer will use a saline bag, tube and needle. It works in a similar way to a hospital drip, so the bag needs to be raised above the body part picked for puffing.
* Body inflators never make their own saline solution and steer clear of tap water, due to the risk of infection.
* The needle is placed under the skin but not in a vein – or the build-up of pressure could mean exploding blood vessels all over the show.
* While it’s not that dangerous, some people who’ve done it regularly have found their skin has permanently explanded.
* The most interesting place to inflate is the forehead, as the taut skin means the effects are extremely obvious.
* Inflatees can prod the inflated lumps to make them look more interesting.