The Royal County Arbiter

28 March 2006

The World of Mimiyo Tomozawa

There doesn't seem to be any really good online English resource for excellent Japanese artist Mimiyo Tomozawa. She isn't even on Wikipedia, for Christ's sake! So:


Mimiyo is probably best-known for her artwork on two Jim O'Rourke album sleeves (Eureka and Insignificance, both released on Drag City):

Mimiyo Tomozawa's artwork for Jim O'Rourke's albums Insignificance and Eureka

As you can see, there is a theme running through her work. Put simply: Round-headed people who often look unhappy. In that sense, she's like a Japanese Charles Schultz. Several books of Mimiyo's comics and graphic art have been published in Japan, and her work is a regular feature of underground comics and magazines there. Several years ago, a ten-page Mimiyo strip, Through The Looking Chest, appeared in Tokion magazine's 'Happy Issue 3'. It was presented in Japanese and English. This is the only Mimiyo comic to have ever been officially available in English, though a slim French children's book called Viens chez moi describes what a house will be like in the future. In French.

This dreadful lack of English Mimiyo content has prompted me to translate a two-page manga from her book Kinoko Ryokou (Mushroom Travel). Here it is! Just for fun! With acknowledgement that all copyright lies with Mimiyo and her publisher! Click the links to see each page.

The Royal County Arbiter presents a translation of Mimiyo Tomozawa manga Shimeru

PART 2: THE MUSIC OF MIMIYO TOMOZAWA (cribbed from here)

In 1990, Mimiyo Tomozawa and Missa Fukuma formed a 'Spacy Folk' group called RISU ('squirrel' in Japanese). They had one release only - an "Official Recording Cassette Tape" - which the pair decided to reissue in 2000 on CD after exchanging some emails on the subject. Re-titled "The Best Of RISU - Past Future Folk Songs" and expanded to include tracks not on the original cassette, the CD was remastered by Mayo Takise, one of Yann Tomita's right-hand men. On its release, Miss Fukuma had the following to say: "The sound of RISU was 10 years early. It's 2000 that we all understand the most evil devil and the most gentle god are the same one. It's strange feeling like the light of stars finally come to the earth now."

Here it is at Amazon Japan (Japanese language link). If you think your local super-hep record store might be game, the CD was released on EMPEROR RECORDS, catalogue number ER-2003, on 2000.7.7.

For immediate thrills, you can download an mp3 by Mimiyo here, available for free as part of a 10-track experimental EP entitled "Minute Women," also featuring excellent French group Dragibus.


1) Mimiyo is married to a French musician, and they've had a child together.
2) Mimiyo and Jim O’Rourke like to sing karaoke together when they're both in Japan.

This is all the gossip I've found so far, and it concludes my brief tour around the World of Mimiyo Tomozawa.


Epileptic page containing lots of Mimiyo art, and great music by Dragibus.
Information about 2005's Stranger Town exhibition, featuring Mimiyo and Daniel Johnston.
A New York Times article on Stranger Town.
'Snap Shots' Photo exhibition at the Neon Gallery Brösart from 2002, featuring Mimiyo and O'Rourke.
Some photos of Mimiyo (in black with white polka-dots) at an exhibition closing party in Love Lab, Tokyo.
The goods of Mimiyo Tomozawa (some t-shirts and books, page in Japanese)


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27 March 2006

Dido Building Carthage, or An Unfinished Letter

I found this card today, addressed to an Officer Cadet at Sandhurst, down in the dusty recesses of a library bookshelf:

Dido Buiding Carthage, or The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire by Turner - National Gallery, London

September 12th 2005

Dear Jeremy,
I have just finished having my bath and speaking with you on the telephone. It occurred to me that the letter I had written you and was intending to send tomorrow was simply not appropriate for your first letter. I believed that your emotions were probably running high, being it your week, and therefore I decided to write in somewhat of a detached manner. Rather than follow my instincts, I wrote about... Scottish national identity and the British public's love of the secular magic of monarchy!

We have only known each other a few weeks and there is so much for us to learn about each other. I will start, I think, by providing (not particularly interesting) facts about myself:

The remaining half of the card has been left tantalisingly blank. Why did this person stop writing at this point? What interrupted her (or him)? Did they use the unfinished letter as a bookmark then carelessly forget about it? I guess we'll never know.

This is why I love ephemera so much - that voyeuristic peek into other people's everyday lives, the open-ended mystery of these fragments, the imagined human dramas. The nosy, speculating, storytelling part of my brain explodes when I come across precious scraps like today's card.

I hope that I can sate your burning curiosities by providing some (not particularly interesting) facts about myself:

  • I have two brothers.
  • I don't like it in winter when I enter a room and my glasses fog up.
  • I have a scar on my knee from a childhood fall.
Over to you, dog.


Blogger Brit:

Wow, that's really cool. Such an old-fashioned letter to be dated 2005. I wonder if they were romantically involved.

10:52 pm  
Anonymous Robert:

- I have a single brother.
- I think toy cars are disgusting. I hate to look at them and absolutely cannot touch them.
- One of my father's brothers died in a gliding accident before I was born and nobody ever mentions him.

9:53 am  
Anonymous routard:

I thought I was being clever thinking it was an Emily Allchurch recreation of a classic (Turner in this case) but old squinty eyes has got it wrong and it's the original ;)

- I've had a beard for nearly half my life.
- I once snogged Tracy Shaw from Coronation Street before she was famous.

7:25 pm  
Blogger Myrtle Peacock:

Other things I've found in the library while on shelf-tidying and shelving duties include: a cheque for £30.00 from 2003; a manga-style drawing of three people inside this book; and a packet of Indian chewing tobacco.

8:30 pm  
Anonymous N:

I wish i had your job.

10:49 pm  
Blogger Namera Rahman:

Microsoft points and Xbox Live

8:56 am  
Blogger Namera Rahman:

Red Lobster vs Olive Garden

8:57 am  
Blogger Namera Rahman:

Starbucks Gift Card

8:58 am  

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25 March 2006

The Sickness

A few years ago, in the UK Japan Society newsletter, I found the best reason for cancelling an event that I've ever seen.

I'd love to get that rubber stamp.

Though this lecture was cancelled, and was due to take place two years ago anyway, you haven't missed your chance to see some beautiful examples of Buddhist sculpture at this Buddhist Art Photo Library.

They're a little bit dull, but here's a link to the UK Japan Society.
This link is much better.


Blogger ben:

I dig you guys. I hope you will one day dig me too. Up. Did you get my letter yet? As the motto goes "My Other Car's Got A Lecturer In It". I dont use that one so much. Yeah.

12:33 pm  

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22 March 2006

Why not just shoot yourself in the fucking head?

The Believer magazine, March 2006

I was reading The Believer today in the bookshop while bunking off work and found a brilliant interview with Harold Ramis, of Ghostbusting fame. This bit I copied into my notebook:

Ramis: I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “When I go to the movies, I don’t want to think.”
Believer: Does that offend you as a filmmaker?
Ramis: It offends me as a human being. Why wouldn’t you want to think? What does that mean? Why not just shoot yourself in the fucking head?
Read the full text here, those generous so-and-sos.


Blogger pinklefish:

I've heard people say that too, about TV and books as well. I think what they are really saying is that they don't want to be challenged. They don't want their own comfortable set of prejudices to be tinkered with. They certainly don't want to be forced to question any of their beliefs. Some types of growth are painful, whether they be intellectual or emotional. They take work. People are lazy buggers.

Thing is though, if they just made the effort now and then, they'd find they quite like being challenged. They might have to discard their egos and be more flexible with their values and opinions, but nobody ever said an opinion had to be a static thing anyway.

Nice post.

12:56 am  
Anonymous routard:

Thanks for the article :)

12:05 pm  
Anonymous routard:

I saw this magazine in Borders today. £8!! Lordy blinking flip, too much.

4:52 pm  

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09 March 2006

Now You Know

UK shipping forecast map


Blogger han:

yes! bring on the shipping forecast!

11:16 pm  
Blogger pinklefish:

I've made a companion posting to this on my blogling:
The General Synopsis

11:54 pm  
Anonymous Jon:

Even though the need for these scarcely affects my life, I find the act of listening to the shipping forecast intensely pleasurable.

12:46 am  

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