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15 December 2006 @ 21:29
 
What's with this new layout? I don't like it all that much, but I suppose I'll get used to it.

Feeling a bit down today. I had a short, early shift today, so I went to Lalaport after work to do some Christmas shopping and I think I've done almost all of it. For the people back home I simply have to get something that screams 'I'm in Japan, I am!' and for the people living here I have to get something as Western as possible. Funny how that works. In the end, I got my parent a 1000 piece jigsaw of Kyouto in Autumn. They MAY be coming in Autumn next year.

Christmas in Japan is SO depressing though -- it feels as if the Disney Corporation is rewriting our memories. Japanese people, as a general rule, don't have the cultural knowledge of Christmas to provide a wide range of images and symbols. Companies see Mickey Mouse's image and copy the ideas, but they still have only the range of symbols provided by Disney. So Mickey dresses up as Santa and we have the image of Santa everywhere; Mickey appears on Christmas tree decorations and we have the repeated image of Christmas trees. But very few people could summon up additional imagery in the same way Westerners could -- the holly and the ivy, robins, kings, shepherds, farm animals, warm fires... The repetition of symbols and imagery is driving me crazy! It's like no one knows anything beyond what Mickey does at Christmas!

(Interestingly, a few years ago they did some research on commercials and a significant number of people had absorbed the Werther's Originals adverts into their memories and honestly believed that their grandfathers had given them Werther's when they were younger. Scary, but this is no different. Tokyo Disney are rewriting our ideas of Christmas.)

...I did find some mulled wine mix though. It was kind of funny, because I was in a food import store and tried to think about what it might be called. I tried 'MAARUDOWAIN' and 'MAARUWAIN', then gave up and described it. The assistant immediately recognised it -- 'HOTTOWAIN' ("hot wine"). I figured it had to be some kind of Japanese English.

On Wednesday I went to Ueno, which is just a bus ride from my apartment. I think it might even be walking distance if I got a better pair of trainers. I had some wonderful creation sushi (not traditional), which involved anago tenpura nigiri with a strip of nori around it. I also had omelette tempura, plus my usual tekkamaki. After that, I went to the Dali exhibition, which I'd already heard was overcrowded. I went in, even though there was a ten minute wait.

I'm not really sure what to make of it. It's very poorly curated and my opinion of Dali might even have gone down (He was one of my favourites). It showed only a few of his slightly well-known works and nothing truly outstanding. To me, Dali was at his best when he was borderline obscene and ridiculous. The show completely side-stepped his obsession with his mother and only briefly touched on his Christ complex (they mentioned the bread motif). One of the highlights was seeing Anthropomorphic Bread with a Japanese couple standing behind me.

HER: It's not... bread.
HIM: It doesn't look much like bread.
HER: Is it bread?
HIM: I... don't think so.
HER: Yeah, it's different.

It also concentrated on his earlier works, which were interesting in that neither the ideas nor the skill were fully there yet. But this exhibition needed to celebrate the artist, throw a bit of his controversy out there and introduce his extraordinary character rather than explore his developing talent.

I'm going to a Christmas party at my Japanese school next Saturday and I agreed to sing a song at some kind of talent contest they have running. Winner gets two free lessons! So I was trying to think of something and decided on the OP to the Rose of Versailles. Plus points are that it's in Japanese, I can sing it reasonably well, it's not rude and it's well-known. Minus points are that it's not Christmassy and that I have no idea of the words (because I don't need to at karaoke!).

Pez is coming on Wednesday! Very excited! Just need to shake off the negativity right now.




From Moonphase:

Murder Princess. Main character is voiced by Paku Romi-san.
 
 
 
Fluffymaru: Pretear_Snow Whitefluffymaru on 15th December 2006 21:06 (UTC)

And where the Hell did the idea for Christmas cake come? I sure as hell never had a cake on Christmas...

Re: Dali- did you ever get to see his museum in St. Pete? We took a field trip there once, and I was floored. I never realized how MASSIVE a couple of his pieces were until I saw them...
Williamgenkischuldich on 20th December 2006 05:36 (UTC)
Uh... we do in Britain! And pudding! But it's definitely not strawberry as seems to be the case in Japan.

I didn't, no. But I did see the one in Spain. For me, it's a little closer... :)
Fluffymaru: Chicken and Duckfluffymaru on 21st December 2006 08:12 (UTC)

Really? Wow, I had never even heard of it until I was an anime fan, and we used to study Christmas traditions from the UK and Germany and such. Weird. I guess it just never caught on in the States...

I mean, we have Christmas themed cakes, but it's not a tradition to have one of Christmas Day, you know?

Randomly, I didn't know you were from Britain. Man, I'd be Side-B cosplaying the HELL out of London...'cause I'm geek like that. >.>
Unseelie: kernel Panicunsee1ie on 15th December 2006 22:23 (UTC)
brief and ever so off the topic; i hate false history, too. the werthers commercials!!!! AUGH! ;_;
here in the states, west coast, a new chain moved into the "big retail warehouse" competition with a load of "It isn't holiday-X if I haven't been to Tuesdays!" And "Traditionally Tuesdays!" {i think Tuesdays was the name, or St.. St.. something. i've forgotten, mentally blocked it in self defense} i was bouncing off the walls here when those damn commercials would run, wild-eyed grabbing anyone nearby "YOU've never been to that shop before in your life, have you?"
it's like "Holiday Beach" or whatever it was in "Dark City"!

...i'm sorry. erm.. anyway? happy holiday madness! ;_;

...... would you like to receive a really obnoxiously touristy postcard from San Francisco? i can also supply some utterly absurd sunshine state Southern California tourist schwag, if that will amuse your letter carrier and yourself?
Williamgenkischuldich on 20th December 2006 05:37 (UTC)
Never saw Dark City. ^^ But yeah, there are always adverts that annoy me. Christmas is just driving me crazy now, that's all!

I'd love a postcard right now, although I'll have to fish out my address now or something...