Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tokyo Graffiti 2

Last month I bought my second copy of Tokyo Graffiti, which I unfortunately left in Hiroshima and didn't receive until the Delightful Miss E decided to visit me last weekend. This copy of Tokyo Graffiti of course has some special features, though they are a little more heavy on the text than last month's and so not so easy to understand. Still, here goes.

The contents page features a hippopotamus.

The Tokyo fashion pages include a picture of a man dressed for all the world like Sherlock Holmes gone trout-fishing, and a bunch of very short women, some of them looking very much like they came straight from the '60s.

The main feature is about 20 pages of interviews with couples, entitled 'various lovers' and starting with a very old couple. It includes student parents, a couple who met through a marriage broker, a gay couple, a host and hostess (the hostess foreign, of course - or maybe she is a prostitute, I'm not sure), a couple who met over the internet, a tranny and her lesbian (?) lover and a threesome. Of course the threesome is two women and a foreign man. There was also a lesbian couple, and the series finished with another retired couple. Reading even one sentence of these interviews is too hard, so all I can tell is what is in the titles, and not much of that. Each article came with pictures and a brief description of how they met.

Every edition of Tokyo Graffiti comes with a section called 100 questions, in which 100 people answer the same question, and a tiny relevant picture of each person's answer is put on one page. In this months edition the question was 'what is your eye make up', and the answer a description with a picture of one eye. This is kind of cool, since Japanese eye make-up is generally quite elaborate and very pretty (in fact, my new maths friend Sir H - a man, definitely straight - came out with me to the Izakaya last night, and was wearing black eyeliner! But he is most assuredly not a goth!)

This month's pictorial question was 'what does Japan have to be most proud of in the world.' Each person asked had to write their answer on a whiteboard and be photographed holding it, so most I cannot read. One foreigner wrote 'mini-skirts', but generally the foreigners' responses were about how nice everyone is.

As it does every month, Tokyo Graffiti had an interview with a foreign anime fan (anime is the Japanese style of cartoon, for those ignorant of such things). Nerdy anime fans are called 'otaku' in Japan, and many foreigners who come here like to take part in the otaku culture, which is big and interesting. This month's interview included a picture of the Otaku in question dressed like the Full Metal Alchemist, which was kind of cool.

Finally, there was a page where various people were asked to sketch (in colour) their underwear. Every woman's sketch included a border of either hearts or stars, and some kind of heavily exclamation-marked, happy description of her panties. There really is something very strange in this country about underwear.

So there you have it my friends, another months' insight into the strange, happy-go-lucky ways of Japanese people as they live their ordinary lives, couple and wear their underthings. What more can one need to truly come to understand these short and cheerful people?


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