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The Weekly Bulletin: Week 36

So it seems I missed last week’s posting of… well, everything. Being bogged down with assignments and then going on a trip for work that got extended isn’t conducive to getting things done outside of that sphere. Anyway! We got a bit of a cold spell here in Tokyo last week, and it seems like autumn has come early. While I’m not opposed to leaving the move-an-inch-and-sweat-a-liter season, it felt a bit abrupt. I suspect we haven’t seen the end of the sun scorching days this year quite yet.

 

Music/Fashion/Other

  • I’ve started following the Tokyo Times blog run by Lee Chapman, which features stunning photography and interesting commentary. My favorites this week are the absolutely terrifying scarecrows (they’re really scary in Japan!), Summer festival soaking (where pouring buckets of water over people is part of the festivities) and Japanese beach sunburn (because I’m laughing with the guy, not at him ^^;)
  • There is a temporary Funassyi Cafe over at Shibuya’s Parco Part 1 on now until the end of September. I’ve already made plans (since almost a month back) to go with a friend. If you don’t know Funassyi, here’s a brief on him: he started as the unofficial city mascot of Funabashi in Chiba and things kind of escalated from there. (The name Funassyi comes from combining the city he’s from, Funabashi, with nashi (Japanese pear) for which the city is famous for.) There are thousands of both official and unofficial city and prefecture mascots across Japan, as well as company and school ones. They’re known as yurukyara.) What makes him different from, say, Kumamon (Kumamoto’s official prefectural mascot), is that he talks, and dances and sings. Most mascots don’t talk or move much. Here’s what he’s like in action… This is a clip from one of his first ever TV performances:

You’re welcome. (I don’t think the presenters really knew what to do when confronted with his craziness. He’s certainly not your average morning show guest!)

Though Funassyi certainly has gained a lot of popularity with his wiggly dances and jumps, Kumamon is still king; or at least, he’s met one. The big black bear danced for Japan’s emperor some time back:

(And now I feel I’ll need a whole post on yurukyara to fully explain this phenomenon. Quite possibly because I know more about them than a normal person should. Consider it Post-It noted. ^^v)

  • Though summer festival season is over, that doesn’t mean the partying has come to an end. There are several matsuri coming up this fall all over the country, including one that I’ve always wanted to visit: Tochigi Kanuma Buttsuke Autumn Festival. It’s famed for having musical face offs between two or more mikoshi (portable shrines). It’s kind of hard to explain, but this video should give some insight:

This year it will be held October 11-12, but I most likely won’t be able to make it this time either. Which is a shame, but the reason I can’t go is because I’ll be hitting up music festival Asagiri Jam instead, which is staged just a couple of kilometers from Mt. Fuji, so no complaints there. ^^)b

  • Tofugu wrote a fantastic post on Japanese comedy legends Downtown, and their show Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!. I highly recommend checking the post out, because it not only does an in-depth explanation of the (very physical) comedy show, but also how it’s useful for studying Japanese. I really enjoyed the piece because it reminded me that good Japanese comedy is *great*. Lately a lot of the variety shows seem to take things too far and it feels more like bullying than slapstick humor. These older ones are fantastic though! One note: you are hereby warned that you may get caught adrift on the waves of YouTube while you’re there… I take no responsibility for anyone’s productivity being reduced to zero… ^^;
  • Back to the totally weird stuff! This gem was too good not to share. This new toy/device transforms an ordinary egg into… pudding! Kinda almost. First, you spin a raw egg in the contraption for about 2 minutes, then pop it into hot water and leave it there for 30 minutes. Done! Well kind of, I assume the result tastes rather eggy (what with the only ingredient being…egg) but if you pour on some caramel sauce you have a healthy(?) version of creme caramel, yay! But don’t take my word for it, listen to what these eggs have to say:

My Stuff

  • Not much what with a last day of work (Monday) and drama that ensued (Tuesday)… but I did run into this weirdo. Actually, I’ve seen him a lot. He hangs out at the CUNE shop in Shimokitazawa. But this was the first time he seemed to be making an escape for the door…

bird1

Until next time, have a good one! ^^)/



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