August 2006

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the kyoto journal asked me to submit some work for their upcoming issue on gender in japan. i know some frequent contributors to the kyoto journal, from before i moved to canada. i submitted two drawings, one of which they’re planning to use for the table of contents page. also, one of my loudsilence photos may be used to illustrate a short story. i don’t usually draw from a theme. i just draw whatever comes to mind. so it was interesting to do a drawing with a particular theme in mind: gender in japan.

in my drawing, a boy is having breasts sewn over his eyes. he’s happy about it. he is being made more feminine. usually, that means taking something away (castration). but this is an addition, not a subtraction. i think femininity, including traditional parts like motherhood, is a positive thing. men and women are both better off if they can be feminine. not instead of other things, but in addition to them.

this drawing is not going to be used for the kyoto journal magazine, so i’m finally showing it on my blog. i’d been keeping it on hold. it’s one of my favorites. since doing this drawing, i did other drawings that also ended up following some sort of gender theme. “inside of me“, “20/20” and “my secret elephant” are some of the examples. they might be used by the kyoto journal as part of an online feature.

UPDATE: you can buy a print of this drawing from my SHOP.

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i understand…

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…that you’re a big fan of mine, but don’t get too extreme…
– ultraman

drawn on monday. i was invited to join the tokusatsu group on flickr but i don’t have any figurines, so…


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meta bombed

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kon’nichiwa to my new visitors. my blog got linked from metafilter last night, and a couple of thousand people have stopped by already. at first, the site crashed, because i’m not used to so much attention. it took awhile to get back up. paul has turned off the lightbox pop-up effect and the flickr gallery plugin, and now things are working better.

i love the way my drawings were described in the metafilter link: “she has a way of making flayed flesh disturbingly cute.” “disturbingly cute” is the best compliment i can ask for. one of my friends on flickr, motocchio-chan, described my drawings as “guro-kawaii” (grotesquely cute). that was a good one too.

i had a good laugh reading the thread on metafilter. some people wanted a “NSFW (not safe for work)” flag in the post title, because some of my drawings show nipples. i don’t have a job, so i have no idea what’s safe for work these days. obviously, some people have issues with some body parts like, THE NIPPLES.

i’ve had this sort of excitement before. once my submission got rejected by a local public gallery due to the possibility that parents might be offended if their children saw my drawings. i guess it’s always wise to predict what people might feel and take precautions in advance, right? anyway, that precious experience inspired me to slice off my offensive body parts and soak them in bleach (warning, might be NSFW because of nipples that aren’t attached to a body anymore). in the end, the metafilter post about me was tagged “mildly NSFW”. i’m almost disappointed — might as well be “strongly” not safe.

hmm, maybe this is also “mildly NSFW” for its hallucinating effect…

anyway, welcome to my mildly controversial website. the blog has my drawings, pages from my amigurumi storybook, and some of my experimental cooking. there are some longer posts where i’m trying to be funny — don’t worry if it doesn’t make any sense. since the gallery plugin isn’t working, my temporary “gallery” is my flickr photoset page. we’re working on setting up a shop, but it won’t be ready for another month or so. i’ll be selling smaller originals, prints, postcards, palapala (flip) books, and some of my useless toys. you can read about me on the “about the author” page.

enjoy your visit! irasshaimase!

UPDATE: this is my self portrait, age 17. it’s the new header image for this blog. and i’ve made prints of this drawing, available in my SHOP.

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i did a t-shirt design for a local radio station, CFCR, for their annual on-air fundraiser. from september 16th to 29th, anyone who makes a donation of $75 or more will get a t-shirt designed by me, along with other prizes including cd’s and gift certificates from local merchants. there’s also a fridge magnet with the same design which is available for a smaller donation. to support CFCR, you can call (306)664-6678 or visit them in saskatoon to make a donation.

the theme of this year’s fundraiser is “inside your head”. but for t-shirt, it’s “inside my head”. theo, the station program director, kindly asked me to design the t-shirt. i met theo at my phonographique show back in february, after i dropped off one of my postcards at CFCR to invite the cool people there to come to my show. as you can tell from my drawings, i like to draw the human body taken apart in some way. :) i had a good time coming up with ideas. it was my first time doing a t-shirt design like this (a vector drawing in photoshop), so i had to teach myself. i’m planning to do more t-shirt designs, now that i’ve joined threadless.

the t-shirt comes with a chocolate brown/white image on a baby-blue t-shirt. the magnet is the same image in black and white. i hope people like my design and make a donation to support their community radio station. i’ll be looking out for this t-shirt around saskatoon!

saskatoon community radio station
103 3rd avenue (lower level), saskatoon

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“i wanted to be a housewife…” — tomeko
“主婦になりたかってん、うち…” — 留子

this was done with a black paper♥mate ballpoint pen. it’s been awhile since i did a line drawing like this.

i also recorded myself drawing, while listening to daniel wang’s “let’s go to mars”. my fave. it’s part of a mix CD paul made me that i listen to all the time.

right at the end of the video, you can see the desk where i do most of my drawings. yoda and emo philips are watching me.

i uploaded my video to youtube. you can search my name there and find this video, plus the one i made for inseparable.

happy afternoon drawing :)

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dream trash 1

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freshly drawn yesterday.

“i wanted to be a flight attendant…” — sumiko

”スチワーデスになりたかってん、あたし” — スミ子

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song by misora hibari

the last big festival of the summer in japan is jizo-bon, obon for children. jizo are stone buddha statues that are said to protect children. they’re mostly very old, with the faces partly worn away. you can see them all over japan, often just sitting by the side of the road, in little altars. it’s said that in kyoto alone there are more than five thousand jizo statues. you don’t need to go to temples to see them, you see them everywhere. they’re part of our daily life.

during jizo-bon, jizo statues are washed and decorated with red bibs and red hats. we serve meals to thank them for protecting children. jizo-bon is traditionally held for two days (aug 23- 24). everyone gathers in a community hall to prepare for it. i would get to wear my yukata (summer kimono). kids receive a lantern with their name on and also halloween-style snack packs. there are games and entertainment and “bon-odori” dancing.

bon-odori is a group dance. everyone does the same dance, moving in a circle around a float where taiko (japanese drum) is played. we don’t take any formal lessons but everybody knows the dance — you learn by watching the person in front of you. i like this type of group dancing. everybody moves the same way and goes around and around and around.


the singer, misora hibari was the most famous and most important singer in japan. she started performing as a singer at the age of 7. she became very popular around the end of the war, when japan was still in the middle of reconstruction. her pure voice gave hope to many japanese. she was the queen of enka. she became very ill when she was 50. despite the overwhelming pain, she returned to the stage (tokyo dome) two years later and sang 39 songs. it was aired live on tv. i ran home from school to watch her. she was very strong. her voice was beautiful. her strong love to sing permeated through the screen. she never showed any sign of pain on her face. she assured the audience there was no need to worry. but it was obvious that she was still very ill. at the same time, she was so alive. she died the next year.

my mom has a misora hibari collection, which includes all her songs on 3 CDs. i borrowed them one time and kept them for so long that my mom had to call and ask me to return them :D i love misora hibari’s style very much, especially her oldest songs. my mom happily wonders why i like enka so much, since many young people don’t listen to enka. well, i don’t know. i just like enka. so does paul.

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everything everything everything everything everything

this fan video is done by the same guy who did the massive attack video mentioned below. while the massive attack one is painful to watch, this underworld + koyaanisqatsi one is absolutely fascinating and mesmerizing. it builds to peak at 6:30. i love it.

underworld + koyaanisqatsi

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that day

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it could have been me, could have been you.

freshly drawn yesterday. this image came to my mind when i was watching this on youtube.

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my art project


the reception for my regina show was saturday night. thanks to everyone who came down to see my drawings. this was my first time doing a show away from where i live, so i wasn’t sure anyone would show up. but there were more people there than i expected.

the art project gallery was opened a few years ago by regina artist rob bos (that’s him on the left with glasses). it’s been home to all sorts of interesting art projects over the years. rob was playing a video slideshow of the previous shows on a tv. i noticed some familiar faces from saskatoon, like jon vaughn and carrie gates. very cool. unfortunately, the gallery will be closing at the end of september, after the “rooms for change” group show.

the photo above was taken around midnight, as i was starting to take down my drawings (it was a closing reception). i brought my portfolio in and people started looking through it to see the drawings i didn’t put up in this show.

later that night, paul and i stopped by the freehouse at the cathedral village in regina to see brendan schick‘s drawings. he does very detailed pencil drawings. i liked them all. i knew where to find his work because i met him at the reception and we had an interesting talk.

the reception was fun but a bit tiring. i have a hard time talking about art. i just love drawing.

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