I’m not quite sure who Hanakengo are and what they do, except that they’re two Japanese girls, they were at Design Festa last month, and are now in Montreal and were recently featured on the cover of THE MONTREAL MIRROR, one of the city’s weekly guides.

They’re white, sparkly and have zip-up genitals, they dress-up like teletubby-boogieman aliens dipped in drag queen, and frolick about like cheerleaders on LSD. So what is Hanakengo? Who knows, and, really, who cares? I almost peed my pants laughing. And through it all, Hana and Kengo manage to work out a pretty tight little dance routine. It’s a healthy lift to any mood and surely one of the weirder ways of familiarizing yourself with Japanese culture. Plus, it’s only 20 minutes long, so you can’t go wrong. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to this insanely hilarious show. (MIRROR)

This Week in Magazines


  • Just in time for summer, BRUTUS (596) presents its guide to “Ice Cream & Summer Treats.” You get plenty of lists featuring all the best Japanese entries in various sweets categories (fruit-based, popsicles, traditional tastes, etc.) as well as special rankings and polls. It’s quite exhaustive, and they even include a list of Muji’s 12 top-selling sweets, topped by their version of the baum.
  • The latest issue of PEN (178) sure made me want to travel with their “Best of Favorite Hotels” feature. The awkward sounding title refers to the fact that all included hotels are picks from various celebrities (mostly creators). There’s also a survey of luxury watches, if that sort of thing interests you.
  • AERA DESIGN has launched a second issue, this time featuring “Great Masters Who Designed in Japan.” It’s a rather nice guide to some of the great Japanese creators in various fields (architecture, graphics, interior design, etc.), and acts as a terrific reference tool with plenty of examples given for each designer. Worth picking up by anyone with an interest in Japanese design.
  • I have mentioned LIFE WITH CAMERA (KAMERA BIYORI) in the past, but it’s not a magazine I regularly go through. I was leafing through last month’s issue (Vol. 6) recently while having lunch at Cafe Add+Ress in Ikebukuro, and again, I’ll say that it’s a nice little photography magazine. That issue covered travel photography, and I like the way they approach the topic, which has more to do with what to do with your pictures after the trip, rather than focusing on the actual shoot, with all sorts of craft ideas on creating nice journals and the like.

No More Neon?

My wife has been wanting a Neon pretty much ever since I got mine, and every time she’s asked around when at stores they’ve always come up with the same reply: currently sold out, or available only to new subscribers (but the former much more frequently than the latter). As her old phone is in pretty bad shape (no cover on the back), she ended up calling AU to find out about Neon availability, and the response was that the Neon is no longer in production. Huh? Is this official? Was the Neon always planned as a limited-time-only product? Doesn’t seem to make much sense, especially considering how popular it’s been, with stores not being able to keep them in stock (or limiting sales to new subscribers). Definitely makes me feel lucky that I was able to get my hands on one.

Cow Books Image in Time


I finally got a hold of this week’s issue of TIME, that has the piece I wrote on Cow Books (“Brain Fodder“), and was surprised to see they ended up printing photos I had sent them. When I saw the piece online it didn’t include any images, so I just figured they had run the piece without any. The cow was cut out from another picture I had sent them. I’m including a scan of the page it appears on.

Oh! Mikey Night

20060623ohmikeynightPatrick brings news of an “Oh! Mikey Night” (well, series of nights, as it’s happening throughout July) where they will be screening some of the more adult-oriented episodes of the cult series. More info on Patrick’s Agenda.

Speaking of OH! MIKEY, I saw bits from the new American adaptation, and I can tell you that the dub just doesn’t do the show justice. Even if you can’t understand Japanese, you need to see it in Japanese with English subs, as the voices in the American version are just wrong.

Bandai Museum to Move


Remember the Bandai Museum I visited recently (see Flick photoset here)? Seems like it’s about to move into a new facility.

Gunota reports Bandai Museum has announced it will close its Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture on August 31st. Bandai will open a brand new cultural facility, “Toytown Bandai Museum”, next year at Mibu, Tochigi Prefecture. Meanwhile, part of the Gundam Museum exhibit will relocate to Bandai Hobby Center in Shizuoka. (AICN)

David Choe Jail Art


A couple of years ago, American comic artist David Choe was jailed in Tokyo for punching an undercover cop, and here is a gallery of the art he created while in solitary confinement, using whatever material he could get his hands on.