Saturday, November 18, 2006

A series of wierd and interesting things about Japan

I have of late discovered a variety of weird and interesting websites about matters Japanese, and feel I should share them with those of my readers who are interested in such matters. Those of you who read 'table of Malcontents' may have already discovered some of this, so feel free to take a blase, dismissive tone.

Kogal, Gangaru and Yamanba girls are all subsets of a fashion culture called "ga-ru" (girl) which consists of young, pretty girls who charge about the big cities wearing very little, and having too much tan. They are a fascinating subculture in and of themselves (especially if one is on the escalator beneath them), and their central shopping area, 109 Shibuya, has given rise to this website of information about them (a website which currently gives an interesting insight into Japanese Christmas). They have also appeared in a gothic online magazine, morbid outlook. The Delightful Miss E has recently described the Yamanba in a little more detail - an interesting anti-Goth indeed. Morbid outlook magazine also has an article on that most fascinating of fashion experiences, the Elegant Gothic Lolita, which is an offshoot of a style of rock/metal called Visual.

The Japanese are also a little into bug-fightin', which you can get on video if you are interested.

The Delightful Miss E once showed me a section of a newsagent where one can buy manga of children having sex with adults, and of children having sex with each other. This is perhaps disturbing, but it is also passing strange that young Japanese girls are fascinated by a style of 'boy-love' comic which involves gay sex between pretty men, often not entirely consensual. This style of comic, called yaoi, can be found described here (although this is about its American influence).

The table of malcontents blog recently introduced me to this bizarre 'comedy' from Japan, the Fuccons, about a family who move to Japan from America to live like Japanese people. It is done with immoveable dolls, and is just too weird to be cool. You can view a few clips on youTube, here. It is a trifle disturbing, though.

Mitsuoka motors sell a wide range of custom-made, old-style cars, including a replica london taxi style motor and a very cool bugsy-malone style gangster car. These cars come with all mod cons and very sumptuous looking interiors, and are actually quite reasonably priced (the gangster car, for example, is $60,000). They are part of a Japanese tradition of vintage-styled modern cars which includes the Pao, the S-cargo, and my favourite, the Figaro. The Figaro was made in limited numbers and proved so popular a lottery had to be held to determine who would get to buy one (in 1991!) Sadly, Eric Clapton drove one, which reduces its coolness just a bit. Still, it is pretty cool, and at least the Beatles didn't drive it!

Finally, there are a lot of links to amusing Japanese Things in the table of malcontents, which I strongly recommend to both of my readers. Enjoy it!


Anonymous Miss Violet said...

I've come across some Sherlock Holmes/Dr Watson (!) yaoi's. 'Twas quite some time afore I could look at Basil Rathbone in the same light...

1:41 PM  
Blogger Sir S said...

oh dear oh dear ... may I ask who did what to whom, with what and in which room?

4:18 PM  
Blogger St John Nottlesby said...

... in the conservatory, with the Colonel and the lead pipe, I rather fancy.


11:02 AM  

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