Sunday Photos Hibaku Maria

img_3464A fierce persecution of Christians in Japan began in the late 1500s and continued for several decades, ending in the virtual eradication of Christianity. But there were “hidden Christians” in Kyushu, concentrated especially in the area around Nagasaki and the setting for Martin Scorcese’s new movie Silence (based on the novel by Shusaku Endo). The “hidden Christian” practiced their faith in secret for generations. Even after Japan opened up to the world, the hidden Christians could not gain religious freedom until the late 1800s.

Urakami Cathedral was built in 1914 in the village of Urakami, next to the booming port and industrial center of Nagasaki. It was the testament of the “hidden Christians” of Urakami who could finally practice their faith openly. Formally it was called Immaculate Conception Cathedral (and still is). It was for a time the largest church in Asia. A wooden statue of Mary of the Immaculate Conception was set above the main altar.
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Urakami Cathedral was a few hundred yards from ground zero of the atomic bomb which was dropped on Nagasaki about three decades later. The burned and severed head of Mary of the Immaculate Conception was miraculously found in the rubble. It is now enshrined in the rebuilt Urakami Cathedral and known as “Hibaku Maria,” or “Bombed Mary.”

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Harajuku Iyahoi

I’m really behind in my Kyary kyoverage. How behind? So behind that this video was already approaching 3.5 million views before I even noticed it. Anyway, alright, what do you folks think of this one?


My take? Visually, this is Kyary at her very best and could only be the work of the visual genius Sebastian Masuda. It’s a psychedelic black-light pastiche of Alice in Wonderland, Dr. Zhivago, Russian folk dancing, Japanese summer festivals, Harajuku street culture, and . . . aw forget it. You figure it out. I believe the Tempura kids are doing some of the backdancing.

Musically, I say meh.  Yasutaka Nakata is a Brian Eno level techno genius but I’m afraid this time he’s kind of calling it in. Lyrics? Judge for yourself at Kpopviral.

Kyary’s in a tough spot now for self-definition. The whole “Let’s be wierdly, funkily, colorfully cute and different in my dadaist celebration of eternal immaturity” anthem has almost reached shark-jump criticality. But it is so integral to Kyary’s persona, where else does she have to go musically? Naw, I think Kyary has to keep riding this one to the end, then transition to producer/designer/tv commentator.

Let’s give Kyary credit for an amazingly original repertoire.

Finally, the Kyary Kyuteness Quotient (KKQ). Freezing the frame at 3:32, I’ll give Kyary a solid 8.7 on this one. The light blue dress, braids and ushanka hat definitely do it for me.

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Stone Jizo in the snow at Kongorinji temple, Shiga Prefecture. There are thousands of these, most of them lining the steps on both sides all the way up the side of the mountain to the temple building. Jizo is a guardian bodhisattva. The bibs and placement indicate they are probably set here for the souls of unborn children.

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View of the pagoda, Kongorinji temple.

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Kongorinji temple building, designated a National Treasure.

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Temple bell, Kongorinji.

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Taga-taisha shrine, Shiga Prefecture. The shrine (not the building itself) can be dated back about 1,500 years.

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Taga-taisha.

World of Fantasy & Capsule

From the same-titled album (2011).

The album was originally titled Killer Wave, which was changed after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Yasutaka Nakata is the technopop master bandleader/dj/songwriter/producer who produces Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and the lovely, leggy techno pop trio Perfume. He heads this band, Capsule, which is a duo with vocalist Toshiko Koshijima. They’ve been working together since 1997, when they were both 17.

I never thought I’d get into techno music at all, but Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has been a kind of gateway for me into the possibilities of the genre. If you like techno music, Blade Runner, and night driving you might groove on this ambience.

Bodacious Boldness Brimming at BoFN

In my monthly stints at The Blog of Funny Names, I think I’ve done just about everything to try to impress the big kids over there. Music. More music. Psychological attention tests. Anthropology. Purple prose. Public service spots. Poetry! Uh, movies? . . .

Yeah, I did just about everything. Everything except actually generate some traffic, that is. Views for my posts over there generally get a modest initial dribble, then invariably settle down into a long drought with sporadic drips.

But that’s about to change, my fine funny name friendz.

With today’s contribution you’re gonna finally see that I’m not just some weird, geeky type induhvidyool.

Oh, no. I’m a playa, see? I’m one bad-acid mojo mopho.

Oh, yeah. I’m gonna generate some hits. And I’m gonna get um right now. And then those views are gonna keep coming. And then more. And more. And one month later they’re still gonna be poppin’ up those little views per hour bars.

And you’re all gonna say, whoooooooaaaaaa! Who exactly is that wild, woozy wizard of words? And how on earth did he do that?

And then I’m gonna set my hat in place, straighten my lapels, adjust my sunglasses, take the toothpick out of my teeth and say, Heed me and behold, O ye collegiate colleagues of mine, for it is no mystery. I did it the only way I know how.

Kyary blogging!!!!