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Fantasia Film Festival 2007
The Fantasia Film Festival wrapped up yesterday. I must admit I got a huge kick out of watching some random interviews with directors, etc (available on the Fantasia Film website and on youtube) and seeing my illo, gigantic and hanging floating above them in the main street. The video I have included here is with the director of Tekkon Kinkreet, something I previously blogged about here and lamented at it most likely not being shown here in Melbourne… well it is! Check out the MIFF site for deets.
Poo! It’s funny, no?
It appears nothing could be so simultaneously repulsive and intriguing at the same time.
I began this investigation into poop when reading my recently acquired manga ‘Dr. Slump’ volume 3. In it Arare-chan is seen happily playing with poo. Little did I realize how deep a fascination with poo there is in the minds of Japanese people, and lets face it, the rest of the world… here are just some of my finds and memories of poo in Japan and beyond.
Poo in Japan is often represented as a cute swirl resembling soft ice cream (maki guso; meaning “curlicue poo”). “Unchi” or “unko” is the Japanese word for poo and one of the explanations for the enormous amount of trinkets resembling poo at Shrines is that the Japanese word “un,” is both an onomatopoeic rendition of loud guttural exertion and a homonym for “luck.” Even to the point that when someone steps in dog poo there is a saying “un ga tsuku,” or “luck has stuck to you.”
I remember one of my first days in Junior High School in Japan a girl ran up to me shouting “Hello, do you like poo?… I do!” My look of disgust scared her away and it was not until later when I spied her ‘Winnie the Pooh” trinkets all over her bag that I realized there had been a slight error in our communications.
You may or may not remember this book published some years back and soon became the best selling english translated book from Japan.
Recently a new book was released, called “Hajimete no Toire” (My First Toilet). I snapped this young girl perusing it at a stand in Village Vanguard on my trip to Japan this year. Her mother came up beside her and said “Ah, I knew I’d find you here, why do you find poo so interesting?” to which she answered “I don’t know, I just do”.
In fact the whole stand was full of ‘poo goods’ next a book entitled “UNKO” (POO) there was a shiny Golden Poo, apparently a golden poo is for those who thinks theirs doesn’t stink. Nevertheless it makes for an interesting ashtray and great conversation piece.
There is also a computer game.and a cartoon for toilet training that needs to be seen to be believed, previously shown by my buddy Sigsy.
Apparently there was even a store selling poo shaped chocolates for Valentines Day called Unchikun, cause we all know nothing else says ‘I love you’ more than a selection of carefully chosen and wrapped poo-shaped chocolates from your lover.
I myself have a poo story from Japan, something I will never forget (much to my disappointment).
During the winter of 2005/2006 I was sent to a Junior High School very far away, which meant a train ride, a monorail ride and a bus ride very early in the morning. This day I was on the final leg, the bus ride, chatting to an ex-student of mine, when I noticed her focus shift to view something behind me and a very strange look come over her face (a kind of mixture of surprise and disgust). I turned around and was confronted by a women smack bang in the middle of the bus, pants down, back to me… defecating. Yes, defecating. Several school girls at the back of the bus started some high pitched screaming and this alerted the driver, who pulled over. I remember his face in the rear view mirror, bug eyed and unbelieving. He shouted to her to stop and get off, it was then that I noticed (yes I had turned back to look once more) that she had pooped on some newspapers she had placed neatly on the floor below, indicating to me this was a premeditated act or something she may do regularly. The bus driver opened the doors at which point she calmly picked up the paper with poo atop and placed it on the side of the road. She then continued her journey on the bus with us. I suspect the bus driver actually wanted her to get off as well but who’s going to argue with someone willing to defecate in public? It was stinky, I was queasy, I never took the 7.13 am again.
However, poo fascination is certainly not confined to Japan, I recently found this addictive flash game from korea. Using what appears to be the Japanese kancho move to defeat someone pooping through their pants, huh?
Go on play the game, you know you want to!!
“Why did I write a post about poo” I hear you ask “I don’t know, I just did”.
And there ends my poop blog.
Just spent the last 5 days in The Emerald City, the winter is alot more bearable there than the chilly landing encountered here in Melbourne tonight. Went for some business and also caught up with old friends.
Sydney seems so much more Australian to me (whatever the hell that means?), the flora and fauna tend to be more on the exotic side. I heard Kookaburra’s in the park across the road and saw alot more leaves on trees in winter. Saw quite a few abodes adorned with the Australian flag as well.
Heading up George Street to Chinatown one day found me neck deep in Emo’s (trust me to go out during School Holidays) was a tad scary, a sea of red and black stripes, pasty faces and eyeliner, I felt like I was on the set of a Tim Burton film.
I managed to find Kinokuniya bookstore on the weekend and was in heaven! Japanese books and mags for as far as the eye can see… kid in a candy store = me. I managed to find Dr. Slump manga in English, craft mags, and my favourite find… Umezu’s “Orochi Blood”. Apart from some wandering around The Rocks and a lazy day in the winter sun on Sunday that was about as far as I got sightseeing, the rest of the time was spent catching up with friends, one of whom runs an organic produce store/cafe, and sketching as much as my little hand could sketch.
Have uploaded more on my Flickr page too!
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
My 8 random things:
1. I name my freckles/moles/beauty spots. I have fair skin and seem to have inherited some random chocolate coloured moles from my grandma. I remember being fascinated by them when she held me close when I was little. I recently noticed a new one close to my bellybutton and I named her Samantha, don’t ask me why. There is one on my back that transformed into a butterfly once so her name is Chou chou.
2. I love Arare chan from the Dr. Slump manga/anime series. I first saw it at about age 8 when my friend, Cheryl, had videos sent to her by her relatives in Hong Kong. It’s quirky humour made me laugh then and it still does now.
3. I think alot, dissect everything, have an internal monologue that often escapes and has me talking to myself out loud (usually in Japanese), often it’s about random stuff but sometimes about mind bending stuff like “If the light from those stars is millions of years old what does it really look like now?”, “Where does the wind come from?” and “What did I do before the internet to find answers to my random thoughts?”.
4. I believe in ghosts, not floating sheets, just spirits. I don’t believe in heaven and hell however.
5. My favourite pair of underpants at the moment are the Spiderman ones I bought in Japan. They fit real snug and are Y-fronts, which is purely aesthetic considering I don’t have a penis or unless I purchased one of these.
6. From the age of nine to about nineteen I tried to avoid smiling as I broke my front tooth in a bike accident and had a horrible yellow replacement. I have come to realize this had a fundamental affect on how I saw the world and how people saw me. I even told my Ballet teacher that I would not smile in the rehearsal but promised I would smile on stage….!?! When I look back at photos to be honest you can’t really tell.
I broke my $2000 crown last Christmas eve on a Gingerbread cookie I had baked a tad too long. Then I stuck it back on with superglue… will it never end!
7. My first crush on a ‘celebrity’ was at the age of 10, it was on Nik Kershaw. …how embarrassment!
8. I always carry a shit load of stuff with me wherever I go, I am constantly being asked why, it has taken me some time to work out but have come to the realization that when I leave I pack like I may never come back. I also hate to be bored more than anything else in the world so make sure I have at least a book, sketchbook, pencils, erasers, reference material, ipod, notebook, passport……etc. So all of you out there who keep commenting “Why do you have so much stuff?” there is your answer.
Apparently there are alot of people getting married on this day, it being the 7th of the 7th month, 2007. Why? I was unaware that luck had anything to do with marriage…? It seems to have alot more to do with caring for another person, working hard at not getting bored with each other, being considerate, thoughtful, compromising, stuff like that but then that’s just me I guess.
On a less sarcastic note.. today is Tanabata! Yay! I love this festival,it means the days are going to start to get really warm (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) and you work a lot less… it’s also wonderfully sad and romantic… ahhhh. And if you haven’t already seen it above is my illustration based on the story.
There is alot of cool stuff on offer in the way of animation at the moment, one of them being Tekkon Kinkreet. Once more I discovered these guys while working on the Fantasia Film Festival but was reminded about it when my the dude living my dream in Tokyo blogged about the release of the DVD in Japan just the other day.
Tekkon Kinkreet (see trailer here) is based on the original artwork and story by Taiyo Matsumoto in a manga released in 1993.
“When I saw [the manga] about 12 years ago, I just thought ‘this is it!’. A kid standing on a telephone pole and looking down at the whole city in the wind like that… there was nothing else like it. Even now, animation is basically for kids and families, but I always wanted to make an animation adults can enjoy, and Tekkon Kinkreet had that feeling to attract adults.” Eiko Tanaka, Studio 4°C.
Once again I have no idea when/if this awesome animation will be shown here in Melboure (as it looks like definitely one for the big screen) but I will try very hard at finding out!
Enjoy it Orihime and Hikoboshi ’cause it’ll be long time between drinks from tomorrow!
Recently I was shopping in Minatour in the city for my younger brothers Birthday, when I spied a copy of ‘Maggie the Mechanic’ which is a collection of the first five years worth of “Locas” stories, more commonly known as ‘Love and Rockets’. These comics created by the Hernandez brothers, Gilbert and Jaime, came out in the early 80′s, perfectly timed with my puberty (blues) and were a definite influence on my drawing style, not only that, but the main protagonists ‘Maggie’ and ‘Hopey’ were people I wanted to know. Maggie, a Pro-solar mechanic, is seen zipping to work on a ‘Vespa-like’ scooter (which of course has no wheels but hovers) on the very first page, while Hopey is in a not so successful punk band and is a lesbian who sometimes sleeps with guys. The images in those pages were steampunk before I even knew what steampunk was.
My last three years in Japan, being surrounded by Manga, I think made me lose touch a little with my Western comic obsessions as a teen, it was good to be immersed amongst the super heroes again and once more stand amongst the long haired, long dark coated, Doc Martin crowd, if only for an hour. I have to thank Noodleboy for first introducing me to the ‘Love and Rockets’ series and the awesome work of ‘Mobieus’ but then what else are older siblings for if not to lead you on a path to dark, underground worlds and/or excessive drinking and smoking.
I had a crush on Rand Race along with Maggie and even took one of the comics in to my hairdresser where I patiently sat in my short tartan skirt, black t-shirt, leggings and Doc Martins while watching my long locks float to the floor with each snip… sayonara innocent childhood…konnichiwa angst teenager.
So, of course, I forked out the dough for the book and have been pouring over it and reminiscing ever since. I used to think how way it was, strange characters who seemed to be aliens in various scenes, dinosaurs, robots and wrestling chics and chics with antenna’s, all that stuff that comic geeks live for. I also realize now my love of dark lines, blocky colour and interesting perspective is not just from my years studying Ukiyo-e, I have to admit that in my formative years American pop culture was a formidable force in shaping my style.
So, I would like to dedicate this post to the Hernandez Bros. and to Maggie and Hopey for allowing me to pass from child to adult with more than Dolly to lead my way… bless their little sexually confused, Doc Martin wearing souls.
Thanks Jeebuz for peeps like Keri Smith.
Through some utterly random surfing I found her site and (kaching) JACKPOT!… for artists and freelancers anywhere. You don’t just have to be a visual artist to get this one, musicians, photographers … anybody really. Keri has some great advice and ideas on her site and some awesome looking books which are now on my wishlist at Amazon…. (hint hint).
Now I’m off to draw in my journal.