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.
Murder Princess. Main character is voiced by Paku Romi-san.