Another unforgettable figure from the 80's is the Iron Lady herself, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher rebuilt the struggling British economy and cured what was known as the 'British Disease' through painful reforms.
During this time, London and Frankfurt were both struggling to become the financial center of Europe. Due to America's support, capital began flowing to the City, and London soon beat out Germany to become the biggest financial hub in Europe. This piece, titled 'Golden Age' (1120 mm by 1620 mm), is inspired by my memories of this period.
I uploaded another video (digital kamishibai) to accompany this piece. Please sit back, relax, and enjoy Haydn's music, perhaps with a cup of afternoon tea.
June 4th is around the corner again.
In 1989, Japan was basking in an economic bubble. Meanwhile, the rest of the world was going through turbulent times. In June, the Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred, and in November, the Berlin Wall was finally demolished. The stark contrast between the bloody events in Beijing and the smiling faces of those in Berlin is still etched in my mind.
The base for this piece is a photo of Tiananmen Square from Wikipedia, which I enlarged and printed onto a large canvas (1,185 mm by 2,370 mm). The only part I changed was the portrait (135 mm by 105 mm). Chairman Mao Zedong has been replaced with an image of the bold and rebellious artist Ai Weiwei, wearing a Mao-like wig. During the process, I struggled to bring out the slick texture of the latex wig.
I found this cap online on an American site and promptly ordered it. The words are obviously inspired by Donald Trump's infamous phrase, 'MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN', which in turn came from Ronald Reagan's campaign motto.
この、MAKE OUR WORLD GREAT AGAINシリーズには、日本だけでなくいくつかの国のバージョンがありました。ただし、気をつけなければいけないのは、このキャップを買うと同時に良くわからない宗教団体に寄付したことになること。洒落で買ったにしてはけっこうなリスクでした。
The site that sold the caps had versions with various different countries. However, one thing to take note of is that if you buy the cap, you're also (unwittingly in my case) donating to a mysterious religious organization. In hindsight, my lighthearted decision to buy the cap may have been a bit risky.
レーガン氏が活躍した1980年代は、'Japan as Number One : Lessons for America' なんて本をアメリカ人が書くほど日本経済が元気だった時代。それが、'Japan bashing'は今はもう遠い昔、'Japan passing' はおろか、'Japan nothing'とまで言われる始末。年はとりたくないものです（＞o＜)。
During the Reagan era in the 80's, Japan was experiencing an economic boom that resulted in American books like 'Japan as Number One: Lessons for America.' These days, we've moved beyond phrases like 'Japan bashing' and 'Japan passing' - today's Japan is being called 'Japan nothing.' Growing old is tough.
On another note, I've also recently uploaded some 80's Japan-US relations themed videos (Digital Kamishibai) I created to go along with the post. Rockefeller Center appears as a sign of the times (It was bought by Mistubishi Jisho during the peak of the Japanese bubble in 1989). Also, take note of the different, older Japanese 10,000 yen bill. Please enjoy the mood of 80's!
Recently, I came into the possession of some salt-marinated Hawaiian octopus via New York. I had spent some time trying to figure out what I wanted to use it for when I happened to remember a story from years ago. A friend from Washington, D.C. had mentioned how disappointed he was when he visited Okinawa and ordered a local dish called taco rice (tacos-flavored ground beef served on a bed of rice with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa), only to find out that there was no actual octopus (tako in Japanese) in the dish. Inspired by the story, I decided to make 'tako' rice with octopus.
I started by stir-frying garlic in olive oil and adding thinly sliced octopus. I then threw in some left over rice. When all the ingredients were combined and thoroughly mixed, I added chopped tomatoes. After flavoring the dish with Nampla (fish sauce) and black pepper, I finished off the dish with some chopped coriander. I thought about adding butter, but eventually decided against it, which was a good idea - the olive oil and Nampla gave the rice a nice, light texture. I think smoked octopus would work as well.
Update : Apparently there is a place that sells Tako meshi with octopus in Hamahiga Island on the eastern coast of Okinawa.
I'm not a huge fan of parodies that attack or make fun of the original source. Thus, I generally avoid creating works that parody individual persons. I like parody designs that are cheerful, positive, and make people laugh a little more.
The source of inspiration for this work was a well-known college in the United States, Ohio State University. When I first heard the name, I thought that 'Ohio' sounded exactly like 'Ohayo', the Japanese word for 'good morning'. That inspired me to create this punny parody t-shirt via Uniqlo Customize.
I hope that the t-shirt showcases both my respect towards the university and an irreverent sense of humor.
History has been made.
Congratulations to Shinji Okazaki on his team's big win!
Upon hearing the exciting news, I couldn't resist designing a celebratory T-shirt.
The focal point of this shirt consists of two words, 'King Power'.
There's a bone-tingling twist to this story: Leicester City's unbelievable win may well have been the result of divine intervention. In 2012, the remains of King Richard III were discovered at a humble Leicester City parking lot. On the 26th of March, 2015, the remains were laid to rest at last at the Leicester City Cathedral. Rumor has it that Leicester's amazing run may have been assisted by the late king's ghostly support.
In another twist, Leicester City's sponsor is said to be the owner of King Power, a chain of Thai duty-free shops.
Seems like the power of kings can't be underestimated!