Categories
Found Happened

Tokyo 2010: Odd Remainders

There’s this expectation most Americans have that there are many strange things that you will encounter in Japan. This is not untrue. An abridged list of these things, some of which have been mentioned previously in passing:

Snuggle Bear UFO Catcher

UFO Catchers filled with Snuggle Bear dolls.

Chelsea Hotel?

The Chelsea Hotel, in Shibuya.

Bloodtype Bath

Bloodtype Bath, previously mentioned, currently available at RanKing RanQueen in Shibuya.

hiphopsicles

Hiphopsicles, which “makes eight funky-fresh ice cubes”. Available at KIDDYLAND.

Tamagotchi Doughnuts

The Tamagotchi Store, which appeared to be selling Tamagotchi Doughnuts, in Harajuku.

Poetic Nail Clippers

A giant pair of nail clippers in our hotel room, with text that reads:

I want to sing with
a romantic scene.
It perfectly fits
my private time.

The Greatest Sign, Possibly Ever

A fountain, labeled as having “Naturally Pure Hudson River Water”, at Tokyo DisneySea.

Obligatory Japanese Toilet Picture

And yes, our hotel room did feature a Toto Washlet toilet, in its own room separate from the bath and shower. With “front and rear cleansing options” and a heated seat, it makes American toilets pale in comparison. I wish we could get one in our apartment.

Categories
Puzzled Over

The Jumpty Dance

What do you get when you cross the [freeform acrobatics of parkour](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour), the [self-proclaimed rebellion of skateboarding](http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=skateboarding+is+not+a+crime), and the [suspension of self-respect](https://vjarmy.com/junkbin/KyleSnyder-LookToTheSky.mpg) of most DDR freestyle routines?

You get jumping, or “jumpstyle”. And friends, it is not a crime.

I was inflicted with this plight [by Chelsea Peretti](http://chelseaperetti.blogspot.com/2007/04/heres-how-me-and-my-bf-spend-our-sunday.html). Not the plight of doing it, but the plight of not being able to look away from these magnificent videos.

One or two videos of this and you will have the same question I did. What is that catchy mix of gabba and hard house? It should be no surprise that it is yet another subdivision of electronic music, dubbed “jumpstyle” (ah ha!) or simply “jump”.

In [a hotly contested Wikipedia entry](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumpstyle), the dance associated with Jumpstyle is called *Skiën*:

>Skiën means kicking one’s feet forward and backward on the bass-line, while the torso goes the opposite way (right foot forward, torso back), once in a while lifting one foot significantly higher than usual to indicate a break in the beat.

Skien is not to be confused with skanking, because skanking is done to ska and reggae, and this is done to electronic music. Don’t worry. It’s a common mistake.

This is not just a few kids screwing around. Oh no. This is a bone-fide **craze**.

* There are [community sites](http://www.jinac.com/).
* There are CDs. Jumping Is Not A Crime Vol. 1 hit the top 10 in both Belgium and the Netherlands. (Suspiciously, while jumping is not a crime, [downloading it is a crime.](http://www.jinac.nl/forum/index.php?showtopic=25))
* There are [record labels](http://www.hardjump.com/site.php).
* There are [jump battles](http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=241547616360431501&hl=en). Battles, people.
* There are parties, both [in clubs](http://www.jump-reactor.com/) and [in homes](http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1345324110325040967&hl=en).

This craze needs to come to NYC. Why? Because here, social dancing IS a crime.

Might as well jump, kids.

Categories
Puzzled Over

Lynchian

“An academic definition of Lynchian might be that the term “refers to a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter.” But like postmodern or pornographic, Lynchian is one of those Potter Stewart-type words that’s definable only ostensively – i.e., we know it when we see it. Ted Bundy wasn’t particularly Lynchian, but good old Jeffrey Dahmer, with his victim’s various anatomies neatly separated and stored in his fridge alongside his chocolate milk and Shedd Spread, was thoroughgoingly Lynchian. A recent homicide in Boston, where the deacon of a South Shore church gave chase to a vehicle that had cut him off, forced the car off the road, and shot the driver with a high-powered crossbow, was borderline-Lynchian.

A domestic-type homicide, on the other hand, could fall on various points along the continuum of Lynchianism. Some guy killing his wife in and of itself doesn’t have much of a Lynchian tang to it, though if it turns out the guy killed his wife over something like a persistent failure to refill the ice-cube tray after taking the last ice cube or an obdurate refusal to buy the particular brand of peanut butter the guy was devoted to, the homicide could be described as having Lynchian elements. And if the guy, sitting over the mutilated corpse of his wife (whose retrograde ’50s bouffant is, however, weirdly unmussed) with the first cops on the scene as they all wait for the boys from Homicide and the M.E.’s office, begins defending his actions by giving an involved analysis of the comparative merits of Jif and Skippy, and if the beat cops, however repelled by the carnage on the floor, have to admit that the guy’s got a point, that if you’ve developed a sophisticated peanut-butter palate and that palate prefers Jif there’s simply no way Skippy’s going to be anything like an acceptable facsimile, and that a wife who fails repeatedly to grasp the importance of Jif is making some very significant and troubling statements about her empathy for and commitment to the sacrament of marriage as a bond between two bodies, minds, spirits, and palates…you get the idea.”

(from David Foster Wallace’s fantastic 1997 compilation A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again)

I discovered something strange today, and it’s made me curious.