more strangeness in the motherland

Posted on Nov. 5, 2010 by geoffropuff

every so often, i write these posts about strange things i find in japan.  this is one such post.  in september, mickie and i went to tokyo to meet with some family friends for lunch.  susumu, miyoko, takashi, and sae took us out to lunch at a restaurant a fair way from tokyo station.  on this walk, i came across a few things that i thought were strange or interesting.  the first thing was the “HUMAN OH YA!” crane.

human oh ya crane

maybe the first step toward "the singularity" is construction equipment giving us encouraging words.

while walking to the restaurant, we passed by the outside of the imperial palace.  if you remember from grant’s trip, i saw the imperial palace once before, but it was in the dark and in the rain.  again, i couldn’t get any good pictures of the palace but i was able to get a more interesting photo: the street surrounding the palace being closed to cars for bicyclists to use.  apparently, the streets close every sunday morning for serious and casual bicyclists to have a leisurely ride.

imperial palace bike route

the roads weren't this empty, most people were just too fast for me to get a non-blurry photo.

it’s really interesting to see such a major street closed off for the leisure of citizens.  doubt this would happen in downtown LA.

downtown la immigration protest march

what a nice day for a leisurely stroll and immigration protest march in los angeles.

while walking in the heart of los angeles, i’m used to seeing buildings, cars, and more buildings and cars.  near the imperial palace in tokyo, though, there was surprisingly a good amount of greenery.  trees, and a moat-like body of water where ducks swim, surround the palace.  other various paths and walking areas are also covered with green, and really give a different feel from the usual urbanry you’d expect in such a large city as tokyo.

tokyo greenery

i forget where this led, but i'm sure this little green amounts the total greenspace combined in downtown LA.

along the street, we also saw a piece of ‘modern’ art.  actually, i no NOTHING about art (EDIT: and apparently i “no” nothing about spelling/grammar either) so maybe this is really a piece of post-modern conceptual art.  ANYWAYS, it looked like a mouth.

tokyo art mouth

yes, a mouth.

mickie and i thought it was funny so she tried to make the mouth face.

mickie art mouth face


later, i began to realize that it kinda reminded me of the racist way in which japanese people portray black people.  i don’t know if that was the intention, and i sure hope it wasn’t, but it did evoke that reaction from me.

dbz popo racist

mr. popo from DBZ was illiterate, a gardener/caretaker, and happened to be black with big lips. typical japan.

the US translation changed mr. popo’s illiteracy problem but the look and occupation are still an issue.  it’s very similar to blackface the style of american racism from the early 1900s, except DBZ aired in the 1990s.

picaninny racist poster

looks VERY similar to mr. popo.

onto some more light-hearted things, i found ron burgundy selling stationary products..

pilot ron burgundy

by the beard of zeus, this pencil is amazing.

while shopping, i also found some plush keychains of the japan-only “cubic-mouth” characters.  these things are straight from the nightmares of little children.

mickey minnie cubic mouth

they look like demented clowns wearing disney clothes and mickey ears.

cubic mouth chip & dale

chip looks like he's on meth and dale looks like he's coming off a horse tranquilizer.

japan loves special edition anything and foods are no different.  as i’ve shown in the past, mcdonald’s has a new sandwich or mcflurry like every other week, but this extends beyond restaurants.  i saw, and tried, an orange juice cheese drink.

orange with rare cheese

let's just say that the orange and rare cheese would best be enjoyed separately.

and finally, the buses in japan often have a lot of mosquitos.  the cling to people waiting for the bus and are treated to a smorgasbord of human flesh.  one of these little bastards landed on my sleeve and was ready to bite me right through it.  luckily, i killed him.

mosquito blood bomb

unluckily, he had already bitten someone and became a blood bomb that blew up all over me.

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