The Royal County Arbiter

29 April 2005

Salted Boy & Daikon Bird

San-X, Sanrio's new character division, seems to positively relish giving the world food with a face. That'll show them vegetarians.

Which is your favourite Omusubiya-san?


Blogger Pope Benedict XVI:

Cute picture.

4:59 am  
Blogger ben:

I like Maltesers. Will you give them a face too? They're my favourite dinner behind salads.

8:42 pm  
Anonymous Rick Porter:

Shisobou (Labiate Leaf) is my favourite. The striations on his face, (not sure what the botanical term is) make him look scarred and street wise. There is an occidental take on the same theme in the form of a book called "How are you peeling?" - It's pretty funny.

6:18 pm  
Blogger Tim Lazyhour:

Thanks for the tip-off! Here are a few pics from the book:

It's sort of disgusting.

12:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

what about the viral 'rude vegetables' email of a while ago?

caution, triple x action

3:05 pm  
Blogger Noo:

Damn. My favourites are salted boy and daikon bird, as well. I look like I'm copying. Am not.

4:25 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home

25 April 2005

Warship Island and ruined Japan

Photographer Shibakoen Koutarou is a fearless explorer of Japanese ruins. When Japan's economic bubble burst, a large number of buildings, leisure parks and amenities – built during the boom years – were forced into closure. Many were not demolished, but simply deserted. People walked away from fully operational amusement parks, resorts and schools, never to return. Ruins Deflation Spiral (or Haikyo Defure Supairaru) charts Shibakoen’s explorations of what Japan has abandoned.

Most fascinating is the case of Hashima.

The island of Hashima – also known as "Warship Island" because of the striking resemblance – lies off the coast of Nagasaki prefecture. In its day, the island was home to over 5,300 residents, employees of Mitsubishi Mining and their families. Mining stopped in 1974, and the island was abruptly abandoned. Houses, apartments, shops, restaurants, and schools were all left behind, along with the mines and factories.

Shibakoen is not alone in his interest in Hashima:

A former resident of the island is campaigning for it to be designated a World Heritage site. His homepage features photos of the island in former times.

Blogger Kurt Easterwood presents a thought-provoking article about Hashima and its history: Gunkanshima and ruined lives.

Brian Burke-Gaffney’s Hashima: The Ghost Island is a detailed essay on the story of the island.

Access to the island is strictly limited, so don't expect to be able to hop over and snoop around next time you're in Nagasaki. However, as Shibakoen proves, other ruins abound if you look hard enough.


Anonymous routard:

I have a comment :)

Blueprint magazine ran a feature on abandoned places and this is where I came to hear of Warship Island amongst others. However my mind jumped to an album by Japanese fella 'Joseph Nothing' who drew his inspiration from an abandoned theme park and I just thought I’d mention it.

How many albums about places can you come up with?

3:48 pm  
Anonymous routard:

the answer is of course, two.

'We make money not art' recently ran a feature abandoned theme parks, did you see it?

I'm a bit annoyed that I've just come back from Berlin and read there was one I could have been exploring.

I like the rusted and flaking white glossed rollercoaster rails, they look like a snake devoured by piranhas. I don't know if your school used to show you nature films but that's one of the few childhood memories I have, a snake's skeleton drifting through the murky Amazonian waters to its final resting place in the silt.

4:52 am  
Blogger Tim Lazyhour:

Does "State Songs" by John Linnell count?

5:47 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home

20 April 2005

Oranges are not the only etc.

We met at my local shopping supermarket; he was on the side of a box of citrus fruits and I was pushing a small trolley.

It must get lonely on your abandoned island with your avian delusions, making a cape to simulate wings and strapping a huge beak structure to your face. You have these nutty hallucinations sometimes. The craziest things. Like giant oranges. So big you can stand on them. They’re the fruit of this island, your island, and you must protect them from the evil men who come in boats once a week. They want your oranges.

You run on the beach, in your Converse high-tops, cape-wings flapping, squawking at the men. Monsters! Fiends! It's no wonder they speed away in their boat and just fling your provisions onto the rocks. They have tried to help you before but now they are just afraid. You shake your fist/wing at the receding lines of surf and lug the parcels back to your lighthouse home in the fading light. You don’t feel lonely on your island though, as long as you have your oranges.

The serious business of collecting fruit box and crate packaging has been around since the 1970s and it is heartening to see such wonderful examples of bold graphic design being preserved. And, indeed, to see it still in our shops and markets. Long live glorious ephemera!

The following pages show some beautiful collections. However, I cannot guarantee that there will be fanciful ridiculous made-up back-stories attached. - browse their excellent catalogue
A small collection of gambling-themed labels
The Ephemera Society [UK] [USA]
Note: The above links do not necessarily represent an RCA endorsement of the services or items offered therein. Who knows what kind of racket they may be running? They just want your giant oranges!


Post a Comment

<< Home

15 April 2005

A word about our sponsor

Welcome to the Royal County Arbiter's maiden entry. What better way to begin than by introducing you to our God?

"Let's worshipping me to the seventh sky go go go get super-crush!"

It's always difficult deciding to whom you'll pledge your worship and devotion - and people do squabble so - but we here at the RCA have a simple governing factor: Shiny goldenness of second owl-like face.

When we saw this large fellow towering above the treetops in Osaka's ExpoLand, we knew we'd found our man. Sometimes called the "Tower of the Sun", he was designed by Japanese artist Taro Okamoto for Japan's Expo '70, a trailblazing peek at what the future might hold in store for us all. A multitude of countries and peoples were represented, and this colossus watched over them all. He still stands today, proudly presiding over a tacky funfair and a flea-market hotspot. I bought a second hand Yoshitomo Nara t-shirt there for 500 yen (about $5, Merika-Jin), and an acoustic guitar for only 300 yen more. Our God was smiling on me that day. Well, sort of half-smiling, in his typical Jim O'Rourke way.

Why not find out more about the wonders of Expo '70, where people from across the globe queued for hours to see a piece of rock from the moon, and wore hilarious old-fashioned '70s clothes, the non-modern idiots?

Expo '70 as captured on a Minolta 16mm camera.
A cavalcade of interesting facts.
Official Japanese Expo Park site.
*It doesn't really say this.


Blogger ben:


4:33 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home