2006-10-31

Casper has got nothing on these guys.

Enough of the pictures for the time being, and here's some info on Japanese ghosts.

Obake, Bakemono (お化け・化け物) literally means, "transforming thing." "O" is an honorific prefix and "bake" is a noun form for the verb "bakeru 化ける (to change, to transform)." It can also be used more generally to refer to anything that is weird or grotesque.

Yuurei 幽霊 (apparition) According to Shinto beliefs, all people have a soul called "reikon 霊魂." When a person dies, the reikon leaves the body and joins the souls of its ancestors. However, when a person dies suddenly by murder, is slain in battle, commits suicide, or when he or she hasn't been given an appropriate funeral, the reikon may become a yuurei to seek revenge. Many yuurei are female ghosts who suffered badly in life from love, jealousy, sorrow, or regret. Male yuurei are less common.

Yuurei (like this one from "Ringu") usually appear in a white kimono (katabira かたびら), which people were buried in the old days, and have no legs. They also wear a white triangular piece of paper or cloth (hitaikakushi 額かくし) on their forehead. They usually appear between 2 and 3 a.m.

Youkai  妖怪 literally means, "bewitching apparition." They include monsters, goblins, and ghouls. They usually appear at dawn or dusk. Unlike yuurei, which are the souls of the dead and downright scary, youkai are comical, bizarre and mischievous in some way. Here are some youkai.

Oni 鬼, demons or ogres, are one of the most famous youkai. They are huge and have horns. The color of their body is red, blue, or black. They usually carry a big iron club (kanabou 金棒). They are best known for guarding the gate of Buddhist hell. They also often appear in folktales. (Momotaro ももたろ, Issun-boshi 一寸母子 etc.) They are dumb, cruel, and malicious.











On Setsubun (Feb. 3rd), there is a custom to drive away evil sprits. People scatter soybeans outside of doorways, shouting "鬼は外、福は内 Oni wa soto, Fuku wa uchi! (Demon out, Good luck in!)."

Here are some expressions including oni:
1. Oni ni kanabou 鬼に金棒 (Literally means, "Oni with an iron club")
To make one invincible.
2. Oni no inuma ni sentaku 鬼のいぬまに洗濯 (Literally means, "Do laundry while oni are away")
When the cat's away, the mice will play.

3. Oni no kubi o totta you 鬼の首を取ったよう (Literally means, "As in beheading oni")
To achieve a major success.
4. Oni no me nimo namida 鬼の目にも涙 (Literally means, "A tear even in an oni's eye")
Even the hardest heart will sometimes be moved to pity.
5. Kokoro o oni ni suru 心を鬼にする (Literally means, "To make one's heart an oni's")
Harden one's heart against pity.

Kappa 河童 are supernatural creatures which live both on land and in water. They are as tall as a four or five year old child. They have a beak-like snout, and fins on their hands and feet. They also have a shell on their back, and a water-filled dish on their head. As long as the dish is full of water, kappa keep their supernatural powers. Kappa are known for dragging people into the water and pulling out their livers through their anuses (OUCH!)


Although kappa harm people sometimes, there are also many tales where they have helped people. They are very curious. They often appear in cartoons because of their lovable images. Kappa love sumo wrestling and cucumbers. That is why cucumber sushi rolls are called "kappa maki". Kappa are excellent swimmers.

Rokurokubi ろくろ首
Female monsters with long, flexible necks. They look just like ordinary humans during the day, but at night, they extend their necks to frighten or spy on people. They sometimes turn their human faces into those of demons.


Yuki-Onna 雪女, A snow woman, appears in a white kimono on a stormy night. She causes travelers to become lost and freeze to death.





Hitotsume-Kozou 一つ目小僧
A one-eyed goblin, literally has a large eye in the center of its face. It looks like the shaved head of a priest. It does not play tricks, but just scares people.




There are hundreds more of these spooks, and I'll present them as I see fit.
The last of my pictures.

No commentary on these ones though. (Thank goodness.)
















A few more pics.

The owner dons his alter ego, Darth Vader.


Lucas's latest version uses a much lower budget.




The big Apple with a Tanuki in the background. A tanuki タヌキ is a sort of racoon/dog that has magical powers.



Akari is good at many things but darts is not one of her talents.
And the pictures continue...

An angel (天使 tenshi) and 2 devils (悪魔 akuma). (The angel is an ex-coworker from Soma, Shoko. Her two friends definitely fit their costumes.)

Adam is a screamer!


Ex-Echophonyk DJ Kyo as a punker and his latest blonde femme fatale.


It's Jasmine, (Aladdin is nowhere to be seen.)


The bartendress joins in the fun as a Chinese seductress.


Apple and his tag team partner, El Bigo Stinko.


A rainbow-haired clown (ピエロ piero The Japanese take the French word, Pierrot for clown.)
And the pictures begin...(order your prints now.)

"Whitula" vs "Redula" (please insert much better pun here.)


Ando meets oni 鬼 (demon)


Meeeow. DJ Dita


I don't know what this is, but it looks pretty freaky.


A reindeer (tonakai トナカイ), but she didn't have her red nose until several drinks later.


This is DJ Mixture. Take my word for it, he looks better with the mask on.


Ando as a very uninventive witch and Manny as a monkey (though I thought he was a pig.)
Captain Jack looking for some booty.



Let me explain MY costume. I have this puffy shirt that I bought about 15 years ago when a Tuxedo shop was going out of business and surprisingly, it still fits. Pantaloons are hard to come by these days, but my ex-boss once gave me this incredibly tacky outfit (worn primarily by the Yakuza wannabees of Japan) and one year, I dressed up as a "Bozosoku" or motorcycle thug. The red pants were perfect for buckaneering. The eyepatch has even more of a history. 25 years ago, before I was even out of high school, I directed a Christmas pageant with our church choir bellowing out Handel's Messiah and various parishioners portraying the characters from the Nativity scene. Joseph was played by none other than DJ Mokugohan's father and my mom was one of the Three Wise men. In true Hitchcockian fashion, I decided to make a cameo as a Shepherd paying his respects to the Christ child. I limped my way to the cradle wearing a lumberjack-jacket and that eyepatch. Upon seeing me, Joseph burst into laughter and to this day, all I have to do is cover one eye with my hand and Alex's dad will begin to giggle.




So with these three items in my repetoire, plus Caribbean Pirates being all the rage, an idea was formed. I went to a used computer shop and for about 400 yen, I created the outfit of a computer-pirate. I made a necklace and earring out of keyboard keys (*HACKER for the necklace and Alt/Ctrl/Del for the earring), made a belt out of an extension cord, strapped some other cords around my knees and made a cutlass out of another pc part. Oh yeah, I also wrapped a mouse + cord around my hand as a "hook". Put the eyepatch over a rather nerdy pair of glasses and Captain StarHacker was born. Everyone figured out I was a pirate, but only a few realised I was that sort of pirate.


Of course, a Halloween does not go by without Alex being a bit of a Devil and regaling me with a fat joke So this year, Captain Jack Sparrow became Captain Jack Spare-tire!

2006-10-30

Halloweenies...

Our event at the Farm was an unexpected success. We had 50-60 people, which for such a small venue off the beaten path, is quite an accomplishment. Thank you to all who showed and a special thanks to the Farmers who put up with us. It was nice to see so many people put forward an effort to dress up and those who didn't got caught up in the fun. The Farm staff got into the spirit, loaning out their expensive Star Wars Light Sabers for various lunatics to wave back and forth and I can only hope that the one that fell is not permanently damaged.

It was good to see DJ Saito back spinning at the turntable and I must say that Mokugohan's set was one of the best I've ever heard. He must save up all the good stuff for Halloween for he outdid any previous efforts. The other DJs too had their moments and I only wish that I were feeling better so that I could have tripped the light fantastic with the others who strutted their stuff.

Fortunately, I wasn't so sick that I couldn't kick some butt at Darts, including one of the Staff! Well, kudos to everyone who made Saturday night such a success!

Without further ado, here are some of the pics: most are self explanatory, so I won't go into details...
Dagnabbit...the photos aren't downloading properly, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow. It's bed time!

2006-10-28

SO What Else is New?

So Taguchi (田口 壮), born July 2, 1969 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan, is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals.

On October 13, 2006, Taguchi hit a go-ahead home run off Billy Wagner in the top of the 9th inning of Game 2 of the NLCS. The home run gave the Cardinals a 7-6 lead.

Today, in the World Series final, Molina and Taguchi singled with one out in the bottom half and Weaver bunted back to Verlander. He had an easy force at third, but sidearmed the ball and it bounced past Inge for an error that allowed Molina to score the tying run and left runners on second and third. Eckstein followed with a grounder to shortstop that drove in Taguchi for a 3-2 lead. (Can you tell that I copied this from the news??)

Kudos to the Cardinals on their first win since 1982!
We bought the Farm!

Tonight's the night for the big Echophonyk Halloween party at the FARM. It'll be a smaller more intimate event than what we're used to, NO big flashy Shaft digs for us this time, but rather this tiny Darts bar out in Odowara. It'll be a raucous, rocking time with the tunes out-blasting the sounds of Bullseyes being made.
Come on down, it's free to get in and you even get a complimentary drink if you wear a costume...you'll be making money if you go! There are prizes and goodie bags and music and costumes and...you name it, it'll happen!

>なに? エコフォニックのハロウイーンパーテイー
>いつ? 土曜日10月28日、9時-3時。
>どこ? FARM
> 青葉区、小田原、6丁目、3-1、631ビル、2F。)
>  宮町6丁目左折、セイユーのとなり、2F)
>電話番号: 022-265-6421
>いくら? 無料の、ドリンクは500¥!(仮装…フリーどりんく!!)

>ECHOPHONYK HALLOWEEN PARTY
>SATURDAY OCTOBER 28TH
>21.00-LATE
>@ THE FARM
>Aoba-Ku, Odowara
>6 Chome, 3-1, 631 bldg
>2nd floor
>Sendai
>Tel: 022-265-6421

>*FOR FURTHER INFO CHECK OUR WEBSITE*
echophonyk

Be there or be a quadrilateral!
Don't commit Matricide!



This costume, thanks to UFO Catcher again, was easy to make. I caught the robe and the sunglasses, all I had to do was buy some 100¥ guns and I was done. All in all, a very cheap costume that looked cool.
Unfortunately, I was saddled with the nickname "Fatrix" (in Japan, the MAYtrix is pronounced MAWtrix...mat rhymes with fat.)

2006-10-27

It's Halloweek!

I'm sorry to my loyal blogophiles if my postings have been somewhat sporadic of late, but I've been busy and sick. Busy preparing for Tomorrow's Echoween party at the farm and recently a brand new headcold.

Everyday at school, I've been giving my infamous Halloween lesson (so far 8/10 lessons) to all my students. Actually, this takes no preparation whatsoever. I just put on a different mask and have the students guess who I am dressed up as. I also have a dozen different UFO caught characters in different costumes..."Pink Panther dressed as Spiderman/ Batman/ Ultraman/ Kamen Rider; Tweety dressed as a witch or a cowboy"...you get the idea. I then have a print with several classic costumed characters and a word search and Voila, instant lesson. I also insist that they all vocate "Trick or Treat" and give each student a candy (or, at random, a cockroach-eliciting a squeal). (Of course with over 350 students at 10¥ a pop it gets pretty expensive.) Japan doesn't really get Halloween, outside of eating candy and any chance for them to have fun is out of the ordinary during school hours. I hope to show "Corpse Bride" after school next Tueday to finish off the season.

For your enjoyment, here are some of my past costumes from previous Echoweens, etc. I have some more to be scanned into my computer, but these are the few I have available.
A caveman from about 5 years ago, posing with a Swan. Easy to make, I just went to some used clothing stores and bought various exotic-animal spotted throw-rugs etc. and I had these huge bear-toed slippers. Caveman = 穴居人or kekkyo-jin.












Meet the Beetles! I wore a Beetle-headdress, and dangled 3 other beetles over my person and attached little "Beatles" wigs to each of them representing of course: Paul, George, John and Ringo. I even had a little cockroach to represent Yoko Ono. I loved this costume, but very few people figured it out (I even had the initials of the Fab Four written on the bugs!) Beetle = 甲虫・カブトムシ or kabuto-mushi and cockroach = ゴキブリ or gokiburi.

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