Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In need of a new facial expression

"The pose young girls seem to use in photos"
My birthday started on a high note (actually, the partying started about 15 minutes before it technically became my birthday) with cake and two of my friends. The rest of the day was less exciting, and I ended up staying at work until quite late, and got home at around ten in the evening. I was thinking of going out to eat, but since no one wanted to join me and I was a bit tired, I had a luxurious dinner consisting of one "CalorieMate", all alone. This makes it possibly even more lonely than last years birthday dinner, which I spent with a fake dove that I made myself, haha.

"'Trying to be sexy'-wink"
Anyway, when dressing up as a zombie for Halloween, lots of people want to take pictures of themselves together with me. When being a zombie, a good pose is never a problem. You can pretend to bite the other people, or you can look generally scary.

"Fake happiness"
"Awkwardly smiling"
With my latest face painting experiment, people also came up and wanted to take photos of themselves with me. I still have not figured out a good pose. A big problem is that I am not really sure what it was supposed to look like. It was kind of supposed to be a broken porcelain doll, but it does not look very much like that. The best photo from that day is when I am sitting in the subway, pretending not to notice the camera. My second favorite is me holding a fork.

I am thinking maybe the same style can be used for a clown/jester/harlequin instead. Then it would also be easier to figure out what clothes to wear (but not easier to get hold of such clothes, perhaps).

Having nothing to do on my birthday, I spent the few hours after work trying out facial expressions at home. Clowns should perhaps be smiling?

I also got hold of a wig. It is probably made for girls trying to look like blond girls (Japanese girls are generally not blond, and even if they bleach and color their hair, it never really becomes blond). My friend told me it makes me look like an 80-ies heavy metal band member if I put it on when not having painted my face. After painting my face, it kind of makes me look like Dee Snider.

Before going to bed, I also learned that if you glue fake eyelashes to your face, you should consider doing that before painting your face white. While the face paint washes of easily, mixing the paint with glue or putting glue on top of the paint actually makes it really REALLY hard to get off...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jonas in the paper version of a bridal magazine too

I previously noticed that there was a photo of me in the Internet version of a bridal magazine. Yesterday, when celebrating my birthday, my friend gave me a copy from the paper version of the same magazine, where there were more photos of me. Yay!

Birthday cake for Mr. Dove

Yesterday I was asked to come to one of our magic bars. There I met a magician friend, who was there with his girlfriend, and a magician colleague. They played some tricks on me with a Russian roulette party cracker that they had rigged to not be so much Russian roulette anymore, and they produced a cake.

Last year, the same colleague had intended to get a cake that said "Happy Birthday 洋茄子" because I usually say to Japanese people that my name is "Jonas [which people have a hard time understanding because it does not sound like a name to them], with the "you" [the start of Jonas sounds like Japanese "you" in Swedish] from 北洋銀行 ["Hokuyou Ginkou (North Pacific Bank), a weird thing to exemplify your name with] and the "nase" from the vegetable 茄子 ["nasu", eggplant, also weird]. It was too difficult to explain this over the phone to the cake company, though, so in the end it said ヨウナシ [用無し, "useless"] instead.

This year I was curious what the cake would say. It said 「鳩」[pigeon or dove in Japanese]. Jonas means dove as in the symbol of peace in Hebrew (it is a Hebrew name from the Bible), so when I have to write my name with Japanese letters, I usually write it as 鳩. I have not been called 鳩 in many years, except yesterday. At the Afro Play Halloween party I met a girl that I first met when everyone used to call me 鳩, so she still calls me that. (This, by the way, is also the reason why this blog has the name that it has.) This name too was somewhat surprising to the cake company, since no one would name their child "Pigeon" in Japan...

Even though they were about 13 minutes early (it was still slightly before midnight when the cake appeared), it was nice to have someone to celebrate my birthday with. The cake was nice too.

Today I also received two small pieces of candy from our secretary. One was shaped like a foot, and one was shaped like a Buddha.

My parents also sent me a present this year, a very nice book with photos of the area where our family's summer house is located. It also has lots of recipes for Swedish food. My brother and his wife also sent me a present: lots of licorice (which Japanese people hate, so you cannot really buy it here) and a science fiction book that seems very interesting. All in all, possibly the best birthday so far in Japan, haha.

A bat, not a flying squirrel

Yesterday when I was looking for some Halloween costume stuff I happened upon a bat costume. This is the same costume that one girl was wearing at the Cafe tout le Monde Halloween party that everyone kept calling a flying squirrel costume, and that I thought was more like a dragon than a bat.  But she was right, it is (intended to be) a bat costume.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weird ash trays with strange Swedish text

When I was out looking for Halloween stuff, I stumbled upon these portable ash-trays. Apart from having a very interesting locking/unlocking mechanism, they also have Swedish written on them. The Swedish does seem to be written by a non-native speaker, though... Two of them contain weird typos, and one of them sounds very unnatural though not actually wrong. They say:

"God gag. Trevligt att träffa dig." (should say: "God dag ...", "gag" is not a word in Swedish)

"Det vär lange sedan vi sågs senast." (should say: "Det var länge ...")

"Hur mår du? Jag mår bra, tack." (pretty much OK)

"Ska vi inte gå på bio? Jo, mycket gärna!" (I would never reply with "mycket gärna" to a question like that.)

Halloween at Afro Play

After having been photographed in the subway because I looked weird, I also went to Afro Play, a bar close to where I live. I know some of the people working there.

Someone I know!

When I got to the Halloween party it was already quite late, and since it was a Sunday not that many people where still partying. The people there were still having lots of fun, though.

Mario with a low resolution mustache!

I saw some nice costumes. I liked the Mario costume of a Japanese girl. She had a kind of fat suit (no Japanese girl is as fat as Mario) instead of looking like "sexy Mario" which was common on Saturday. She also had glasses and a mustache that were pixellated like low resolution graphics. I like that kind of attention to funny details.

An almost naked dancing guy, but his friend refused to soil my camera with the undressed parts, so I only have the mask, hat, and cape...
After putting on some clothes again.
I met some guys that talked to me about Sweden. One of them said that his name was Larsson (a common name in Sweden, but he meant it specifically as the soccer player Henrik Larsson) so I said my name was Ibrahimovich. That guy then undressed almost completely, and ran up on a (very) elevated stage and danced there for 10 minutes. One of the other guys bought me a drink (rum).

Free booze.
They later also asked (forced) me to play the game "otogi janken" with them. Janken is the Japanese rock-paper-scissors. Otogi means manliness. So this is "manly rock-paper-scissors". The goal is to try to win, and it is very manly to win because you have to do things you would not want to do unless you were very manly. Normally this means spending lots of money. This is common in funny TV-shows, where they gather male celebrities that have a "manly" image to defend, and then they go around to different places and do things like "who wants to pay for this meal for 20 at a super expensive restaurant?", and everyone has to say they want to pay. Since everyone wants to pay, they decide who gets to pay buy playing rock-paper-scissors. The winner then pays 500,000 yen or whatever the bill they rack up ends up being.

I am fairly sure I have met this girl before, in a different bar, but she did not recognize me. Then again, I did not wear make-up at that time.
In my case, I am apparently super manly because I defeated everyone in the first round of rock-paper-scissors. Usually you have to do several rounds before things are decided when you play Japanese rock-paper-scissors with many players, but I was so strong it ended immediately. I then had to drink a glass of some strong alcohol that no one told me what it was. I also had to pay for all the drinks of all the girls at the counter. Luckily, it was so late that most people had left and it was actually quite cheap for me.

A guy with lots of blood on him, like I had the day before.
A toilet with a lot of blood on it (not my fault, and probably not real blood).

Cafe tout le Monde Halloween party

Creepy cake
I went to "Cafe Tout le Monde" and their Halloween party, which is a very nice place. I know the people that run the place, and at the Halloween party there was one more person that I knew too.

A book in Swedish
A Swedish Dalahäst
The party was very nice. There was lots of very good food, the price was cheap, and there were funny games and funny people. There were also Swedish things placed around the room, a Mumin book in Swedish (and another one in Finish) and a Dalahäst.

There were games of charades, an impromptu salsa lesson, and other things. I was asked to do a short magic show, so I hammered a nail into my nose and determined which card had been selected by a girl dressed like Alice in Wonderland.

Random people from the streets
Other interesting things that happened included a group of weirdly dressed people suddenly coming into the cafe, taking out iPads and taking pictures together with some of us and then leaving. They were from a different Halloween party (of course).

The Momonga and Elmo
One girl was dressed in a Japanese "kigurumi" (roughly translates as "wearable stuffed animal", meaning a pajama like suit usually looking like Pikachu or some other animal or anime character). When asked what she was supposed to be, she claimed to be a bat. Everyone else kept calling her "momonga" (a flying squirrel). I think they were all wrong. She had a devil like tail, and as far as I know, neither bats nor flying squirrels have hooked tails like that. She looked more like the Night Fury in "How to train your dragon" to me, so I thought she was some Japanese cartoon monster like that.

MinnieGaGa, the Minnie Mouse and Lady GaGa crossover
After the party I left for the subway. I just missed my train, and since it was quite late I had to wait for a long time for the next train. So long that six other people from the party showed up, ready to take the same train. The reason they were so much later than me was that they had changed into normal clothes. They all thought I was a complete nut for going home without washing off the face paint.

They also said that "you meet a lot of strange [in a good way] people at Cafe tout le monde". There are lots of foreigners there, and that in itself is strange. But they said: "You meet a lot of weird people there, but you are number one" to me... I said that indeed many (of my few) friends tell me I am a weirdo. They said that they meant it more like "unique" than "barking mad", but I think they were mainly trying to be polite. And while they are not wrong (by the Japanese standard of what behavior is weird), I was a bit surprised that they thought so after just this party. I did not really do that much at the party, and I did not tell any of the stories of weird things I have done. Maybe it was the hammering a nail into my nose? Going to a Halloween party and looking weird is surely allowed, since it is a dress up party.

Chocolate Halloween Matryoshka
In the subway, some of the other people were going many stops in the same direction I went. Since they thought it was weird to ride the subway with a face like mine, they also took photos of me in the subway. And they were kind enough to explain to me that: "This girl that does not know us and that is laughing very much, she is laughing at you". Which I already knew, but still it was nice of them to explain such things.

Riding the subway, pretending not to notice people taking photos of me.

Not a zombie

Many of my friends, colleagues, vague acquaintances, and people who friended me on on Facebook keep complaining that dressing up as a zombie, while looking quite good, is already done and I should do something different. Some complain that their Facebook news feed consist almost solely of my zombie face, since they have no other friends that ever post anything and that they feel sick when they see that photo.

I wanted to try something new this year, but had no good ideas. I finally found some photos and video clips of people making their faces look like ceramic doll faces, with cracks. This looked good, but I feared that since I have no skills in the art department, it would not look that good when I did it.

Here is a link to a video where it looks good: broken doll make-up video.

I first tried it with my leftover white body paint, but the white paint kept flaking off when I added other colors. I gave up after 15 minutes or so and washed it off and tried a white grease paint crayon I had found in a 100 yen shop (a "dollar store"). This did not make the skin that white, but I figured it was close enough to be useful. Then I instead had problems with getting the black to stick. The black that looks really black did not stick on top of the grease paint, and using black grease paint just made everything grey.

Again, I washed all of it off (which was more difficult with the cheap grease paint). I tried the white body paint again, and using a paint brush to put on the other colors very lightly. It worked well enough, and since the party I planned to go to had by then almost started (and it was far away from where I live), I figured I would have to make do. The results look more like a clown, with weird black lines and spots on his face. Or her face? People kept telling me I looked like a girl.

I figured it was better than nothing and rushed to the subway. I rode five stops, including all the big stops in Sapporo, and got many weird looks. But since I am a foreigner, people often look at me anyway so I am used to it.

On my way home, some of the other people from the same party were going the same way. They all changed into "normal" clothes before leaving, and thought I was weird for riding the subway like that. They also took photos of me in the subway. And they were kind enough to explain to me that: "This girl that does not know us and that is laughing very much, she is laughing at you". Which I already knew, but still.

When I off the subway, I stopped by another Halloween party close to where I live too.

When I finally got home, I ended up riding the elevator together with a young Japanese woman. I asked her which floor she wanted, and she said that she lives in the apartment opposite mine. We have never met before, but I think she is not so much a stalker, she just figured that the blond person is probably the one living in the only apartment with Latin letters out of the 200 or so apartments in our building.

She also asked me: "So, you are from a place 'like that'?" (「そういう店ですか?」), with which I have no idea what she meant. I said that I had been to a Halloween party, and she said "Ah! I see." So apparently she had been thinking of something completely different.

Halloween party at alife 2013

alife has a small dance floor, which was very crowded.

In our magic bar, we are most busy from around 21 to about midnight. In Sapporo, the subway and buses stop shortly after midnight, so anyone looking to go home by public transportation and not partying until the morning (they start again at 06:00) leave at midnight. This meant I could skip work from about 23:45 and instead go to another Halloween party.

A corridor leading to the small (they also have two other dance floors, but they are more "tiny" than small) dance floor.
My friends had gone to the club "alife" (which is read as "ei life"), and a magician colleague said his wife would go there at around three in the morning too, and I have some other acquaintances that go there every year too. alife has the biggest Halloween party in Sapporo, I think. This year I am told over 1000 people attended. This means the place is way too crowded, and you cannot move. In some corridors, you were pushed around and just flowed with the stream while being in a lot of pain, which was unpleasant. They should let in less people, I think. Even if that had meant me waiting outside another half hour.

Waiting in the rain.
When standing in the rain outside, waiting to get in, I was asked to show some ID. People under 20, or whatever age limit they might have had, are not allowed in, apparently. Since I am 37, I was a bit surprised to be asked to show some ID, but since my face was covered in paint and blood, I guess it is best to make sure. I also met a guy I know, who keeps running into me when I look weird in strange locations.

Once inside, I was stuck behind a group of 10 or so girls dressed as "sexy policewomen zombies". They thought my face was amazing, and asked to take some photos with me, so we blocked the whole entrance for a few minutes... They were more sexy and cute than they were zombies, but they did all have scar tissue and blood on their cheeks.

My zombie friends, with their two devil friends.
After leaving the zombie police girl group, I immediately ran into my friends from the previous party. They were heading to a different part of the club since the dance floor was too crowded. I took a quick look around by myself to see if there were any other people there that I knew, and to see what other costumes people were wearing.
Avatar, with a full body blue suit, including a tail.
There were a lot of "sexy police" and very very many Snowwhites. There were also quite a few "sexy Mario". This was a bit surprising to me, since the Mario character is not something I would think of as "sexy". There were also many French maid costumes, and a lot of zombies.
This gorilla suit must have been unbelievably hot.
Some people had very impressive costumes. Many people also came up to me and asked if they could take a picture with me (which of course they could), so I guess there are many tens of photos of me floating around Twitter and Facebook that I will never see.

A Canadian with fake breasts.

When I later found my friends again, they had also found a Canadian guy now working for Apple in Tokyo. He had bought fake breasts in Akihabara that he said had a very realistic feel to them. Everyone was invited to touch them, and the girls kept touching his fake breasts for about 10 minutes or so. They were very impressed with how real they felt.

Not Swedish vodka.
This guy also thought everyone should do tequila shots, which they did when I was away. He thought I should by lots of tequila too, but I said that in Sweden we drink vodka. In the end, we ended up having vodka shots instead (though it was not Swedish vodka).

My blurry photo of another friend.
I spotted another friend far away, and went looking for her to say hello. I met her outside alife last Halloween too (when I was walking home from work). I found her and took a picture (which ended up very blurry) again, and we also later ran into each other at Bottom Cafe, where we both went after the alife party was over. Two years ago, she was dressed as a very impressive Hatsune Mike, and I was dressed in a blond wig and a fake "foreigner nose" to look like a foreigner. That was a good year.

Later, I ran into two girls who took one photo each together with me, and then gave me Halloween chocolate.

I also had a guy come up to me and give me a glowing bracelet. I put it inside my blood drenched shirt, and it looked a bit like the glowing thing Iron Man has.

I was also arrested and handcuffed by the zombie police. Who turned out to have misplaced her keys for the cuffs! But it turned out you could get out of the cuffs without keys.

There were apparently some scheduled events during the party. Like a costume competition with huge sums of money as prizes. I would have liked to enter, but had no idea there was a contest. My friends told me they had seen some "sexy male dancers" performing. The only thing I saw was a group of female dancers dancing on a small stage for a few songs. They looked like accident victims and nurses, and (probably) belonged to the "Party Dolls" group.

After I left, I got home at around 6 in the morning. Then it took about 40 minutes to get the paint and blood off. After checking e-mails, answering work related things, etc. it was around 7 when I finally got to bed. At 10:27, the fire alarm of our building told me that: "There is a fire. Calmly run for your life!" So I got up and tried to calmly run for my life, while grabbing some clothes and my passport etc. When I reached the sixth floor (I live on the ninth) some people were coming back up and they told me it was a false alarm. Which was good, but my sleep was completely ruined and I spent the rest of the day in a zombie like state.

Some zombies that wanted to take a photo with me.
I liked this "the Joker" guy.
This guy had a zipper on his face, similar to me one year ago.
The DJs where also in costume. I liked the Mario (not aiming for a "sexy Mario" but for an actual Mario Mario).