Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wandering around as a zombie

After the Rootstock event and the after party were over, I went to our magic bar to see if they needed some help (normally I help out on Fridays, but I took a day off to do a magic show at Rootstock). Walking there in my zombie makeup, lots of people stared, pointed, or made noises in my direction. Outside the LAWSON convenience store, a woman said: "Ah, Jonas". It was the "mama" from Ropossa, who was completely unsurprised by me looking like a zombie. We talked for a few minutes outside the convenience store and then she went home.

Our magic bar turned out to be completely empty, so my boss there took some photos of me in our corridors. These corridors look like the could have been made to be used in a zombie movie...

These corridors are full of rust and it looks like real zombies could show up any time now.

I then dropped by our other magic bar, which was also closing at that time. They were not that surprised to see me, but some people in the elevator where. When I took the elevator down from the ninth floor, it stopped at the seventh, fifth, and third floor too. On the seventh, a young woman screamed, and ran away when the doors opened. She was there to see one of her guests off. He also looked a bit worried, so I politely asked in Japanese if he was going down. He said I should go first and he would take the next elevator. Despite the huge elevator having only me in it...

On the fifth floor, another young woman screamed and jumped away from the doors. She did ride the elevator in the end though, all the while laughing and complimenting me on how good my makeup was. On the third floor a drunk man entered and showed no signs at all of noticing anything strange with me.

A Facebook comment on this photo was: "Jonas is such a nice person"... I guess the face just says "nice".
I got off at the second floor and dropped by Bottom Cafe. Six people commented that it was no longer Halloween. I explained that this is not a Halloween costume, these are my work clothes. They were not convinced. Ten minutes later, a girl who was more or less in the middle of this group of people and who had been talking to the rest of us suddenly gave a small shout and apparently finally noticed that my face was a bit weird. An unexpectedly slow reaction.

Rootstock side action 2013

Me (right) and the guy who introduced me to the organizer of the event (left) and one of his friends (center)
Yesterday I did a magic show at the event "Rootstock side action". It was a lot of fun.

An acquaintance of mine had mentioned that there is a magician who did a very impressive zombie makeup for Halloween to the girl who organized Rootstock. She then contacted me and asked if I could do a magic show in my zombie makeup at the event. Of course I said yes!

After getting used to changing rooms that are like a small sports arena, yesterday's backstage area looked small. It was almost smaller than the apartment I live in...

The event had many other performances too. There were several DJs, and laser show, three different bands, a drag queen, and two different S&M bondage shows. The drag queen was very funny, but I missed the second performance since I was on after that and had to be on stand-by back stage. The bands were great too. I liked "The Liberals", and one of them liked me too I guess, and he gave me one of their badges to put on my jacket. "Bunched Jaguar" was also very very good. They spoke a lot to me at the party afterwards too.
Two of the S&M performers
Another S&M performer
The bondage shows were very beautiful too. One of them included the organizer, who I have now met five times or so but it was the first time I saw her perform. The performance was a form of story telling without speaking, but which included a lot of tying people up and pouring melted wax on them. The second bondage show was also nice, and they started out in very fine kimonos (but ended up strangling each other with ropes around their throats and not so much clothing).

There were also shops there selling fangs (polishing and gluing things into peoples mouth at the event), a tattoo shop tattooing people then and there, a shop selling snakes that had a large selection of snakes you could have crawling over you and which also had two birds of prey with them, a shop selling cool fetish clothes, a shop selling even cooler cyber punk fashion accessories, and probably some things I have forgotten. There was of course also alcohol, and food which was surprisingly good!

I snapped a photo of me and my two friends myself, which ended up being a surprisingly clear selfie (most of my selfies are blurry and most of whatever I wanted in the picture is out of frame etc.)
Two of my friends showed up to support me and to have fun. One is a colleague at the university, who had never seen any bondage shows or anything like it before. He liked the event, and became a big fan of the bands. He seemed to enjoy having snakes crawling over him too.

The other friend is a magician in our magic bar, who also had never seen any bondage shows. He did not like snakes at all, haha. But he got used to snakes enough as to be able to touch them a little bit at least.

You could get tied up in the bondage try-out corner if you wanted to.

Both of them seemed to enjoy the event, and I was very happy that they showed up. Most of my friends cannot get away from work on Friday evenings, since they work in bars and that time is the busiest time of the week. The three of us had fun with the performances, the snakes, and just people watching.

One of many slightly strange fashion statements
The event specified that if you showed up in costume, they would knock off 500 yen from the ticket price. Lots of people showed up in bondage gear, or in goth or punk clothes. There were a surprising number of people with faces painted similarly to mine. Lots of people also had fangs.

I was also quite popular in my zombie makeup, and lots of people asked to take photos with me. I took over 100 photos myself too.

Me, on stage at the "thank you everyone" when the event was finishing up.
After the event was finished, there was a party in a bar nearby. I spoke to the Bunched Jaguar guys for a while, and to some of The Liberals too. I also got to talk to some of the bondage performers, which was a lot of fun. They talked about how they deal with getting melted wax out of their mouths during performances (when you drip wax from burning candles, it splashes a lot and ends up in all kinds of places, apparently). They also told funny stories about finding wax in strange places with no idea how it could get there.

I was also hit upon by a girl who was not part of our party but who was very drunk and kept asking me if I was Marilyn Manson. She said she was a huge fan of Marilyn Manson and that she thought a white face with weird paint was very cool. She also liked eyes that were not brown and asked if I used colored contact lenses (which I do not, and I do not need colored lenses to make my eyes look non-brown, haha). She was kind of cute, but too drunk to keep up an interesting conversation, so we kept coming back to the fact that she was a huge fan of Marilyn Manson. I got called away to our group when the party organizer finally showed up and there were some "thank you"s, and when I was to get paid. The Marilyn Manson fan then left (or at least disappeared).

A Backyard Babies fan, a Marilyn Manson fan, and me with a "The Liberals" badge
She was there with a guy who was much less drunk, and who turned out to be a huge fan of Swedish punk rock, so we talked about Swedish bands for a while. He said he is such a great fan of the Backyard Babies that he considered moving to Sweden. He was excited when I mentioned that once when I was walking home from the dentist in Stockholm the Backyard Babies rode past me on tiny BMX bicycles.

At the after party, lots of my makeup had fallen off.

Snake Pictures

We liked the snakes, and the snake wrangler girl was cute and very nice to talk to too. Here are some snake photos.

Me with a python

My friend who is not so fond of snakes

My friend who has no problems with snakes

Me and an albino python

People Watching

Here are some shots of people in interesting costumes.

Gothic style
White face paint friends! This girl was very cute.
A samurai style guy, with a wakizashi sword, who spoke to us a lot.
Another white face! With fangs!

Shops etc.

This food was surprisingly enough super cheap and excellent.

The fang shop had one set of before and "aftre" pictures and ...

... and another set of "befor" and after pictures.

There was also a doll exhibit.

Several art exhibitions were spread out through the different rooms.

Cyber accessory shop staff had cool clothes, and super cool eye wear.

More cool eye wear and some strange gloves. And looking closely at the shopping bag things, the designs were fairly unconventional.

This guy could give you tattoos on site, and had lots of tattoos of his own.

A live bird!

Another bird!


The funny drag queen Dama

Me and drag queen Dama

The Liberals, good punk.
Bunched Jaguar, good rock. They had a huge fan following that had come just for their sake and stood at the front of the stage in mini-skirt Santa Clause costumes.
The Bunched Jaguars had some interesting shoes.
Laser show
Laser show, the origins.

Two days in a row at Ropossa

On Tuesday I tried to go to Ropossa to talk to some friends of mine, but since Ropossa is very popular it was full and I ended up eating somewhere else. On Wednesday I tried again, and it was fine. I got the only empty seat, more or less.

Lots of people kept telling me that my t-shirt "looks completely normal", and they were unhappy about that. I was wearing a shirt with kanji, cherry blossom embroidery, and a glow-in-the-dark earth, which according to some people does not qualify as "normal".

A man I had never met before came up to me and started speaking (drunken) English to me. He asked where I was from, what I do for a living etc. He was surprisingly good at English. He became more and more exciting with every question, though. It turns out his father has been to Sweden more than ten times, so hearing that I am from Sweden made him excited. Then it turned out that his father used to work at Hokkaido University, where I work, which made him even more excited. And it kept on like that.

The "mama" of Ropossa also became excited and said: "Jonas can actually speak English?! This is the first time I ever hear him say anything in English!" Which confused the Japanese man talking to me, but was generally thought to be quite funny.

On Thursday, a magician friend e-mailed me and said: "I am thinking of going to Ropossa today. Do you want to go together?" So I ended up at Ropossa again. This time, I made sure I wore a "weird" t-shirt, so as not to get lots of complaints again. I picked "ある意味神".

My friend arrived before me, since I could not get away from the university work until after eight, and when I arrived he had a metal pin stuck in his jeans button hole. It is a puzzle kind of thing, and when he left a few hours later he had still not figured out how to get it off, so he went to work with that thing dangling from his jeans.

Ropossa is always nice, and I ran into many nice customers both times, including magician Akkey who I have not seen in a while.

Not salad

This says "うす焼きサラダ (usuyaki sarada, "lightly grilled salad") but it does not look like salad to me.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

More snow

Walking home from dinner

A few weeks ago we got the first heavy snow. It melted after two or three days. Yesterday it was time for the next heavy snow. It snowed a bit during the night, but in the morning the sky was clear. Now it started snowing again, though. The temperatures are around plus 3 degrees Celsius, so most of the snow melts away quickly. This made my trousers very wet when I rode my bicycle to work this morning.

Near my house
After 20 minutes of snowfall
In the morning there was a break in the snowfall
University grounds

More Christmas lights in central Sapporo

I passed through central Sapporo by bicycle and snapped a few shots of some more Christmas lights. Now all the normal Christmas illuminations are in place.

H&M has come from Sweden to Sapporo

H&M is one of Sweden's most successful companies now. They sell clothes, and in Stockholm H&M stores are almost as common as convenience stores are here in Japan...

H&M arrived in Japan a few years ago and opened a store in Ginza, a very posh and expensive district in Tokyo. They later opened another store in Harajuku, where the young Japanese buy fashionable clothes in Tokyo. They had huge lines in front of the H&M store in Harajuku when I passed by a few months after it had opened. In Stockholm it would normally be weird to stand in line to get into H&M since there are so many stores and since it is considered mostly a "cheap, but nice" brand, rather than something exclusive you might be ready to stand in line for.

In Sapporo, H&M opened their first store last Saturday. That day it was completely packed, and there was a long line in front of the store, I am told. I dropped by yesterday to see what it looked like. Yesterday it was pretty empty, and it looked very much like any H&M store in Sweden. It had 4 floors of a building in our central shopping area. By Japanese fashion price standards, H&M is not cheap. Not very expensive either, but you can get better quality cheaper here in Japan (Japan is in general cheaper than Sweden, though, so this is not unexpected).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Zombie pictures of me, found on the Internet

At "alife"
I stumbled over some photos from Halloween by chance today, and inspired by the Googled for some other likely sources. It was nice to see some photos taken by someone with a good camera. Most people just used their smart phones.

Then I also stumbled over a photo of me from two years ago at the Sapporo Zombie Walk.

At "alife" again, but with too much camera flash
At the "FIFO" party
My first ever zombie make-up