Alien Cool

by wjw on July 7, 2010

I think it was Joe Haldeman who said about creating aliens for science fiction: “If they’re not at least as weird as the Japanese, the author has failed.”

Well, the Japanese have got even weirder. demonstrated this with a list of 6 Japanese Subcultures That are Insane (Even for Japan).

Check out the Mountain Hags, the Male Host gigolos, the Yankiis, and the Visual Kei. Plus the truckers who customize their rigs with radical light racks and cool tubes, or whatever those objects are called.

Can I just state for the record that we could really use some of these subcultures over here?

Though we see all kinds of cosplay going on at, say, Dragoncon, we don’t see nearly enough of this stuff on subways, in churches, and in supermarkets (or on semitrucks). Our subcultures are showing their age. Goth is old hat, steampunk is looking a little creaky, and punk is something your grandfather did. We need something that truckers can do besides sexual harassment and having inane conversations on CB radio (assuming they do that anymore.) We need people dressed as anime characters playing frisbee in our parks, or hanging out in Irish pubs.

Some of these styles are more than a decade old in Japan, which means they’re about ripe for export.

The Mountain Hags can stay over there, as far as I’m concerned.

dubjay July 7, 2010 at 8:27 pm

A deeply hip introduction to lolita and yanki subcultures can be found in the splendid film Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma Story).

Funny and energetic, and a Japanese take on Japan's own subcultures, without the condescending tone we might find in the West.

But would you really want a best friend who head-butts you?

Ralf the Dog July 8, 2010 at 12:42 am

In the US, the dekotora would spend all of their time hitting on the gyaru

After spending a few weeks in NYC, I was rather disappointed to see how much New York City and Oklahoma City were the same. NYC had 24/7 vegetable stands, better food and the people in NYC were much nicer than those who live in OKC. The buildings in NYC were on a slightly bigger scale. Other than that, the cities were quite similar (On this last Sunday they set off quite a few fireworks. I wonder how often that happens. It was quite pretty if rather loud.)

NYC needs to get a bit weirder if it wants to keep ahead of Oklahoma. The one surprised was the number of jobs I was offered when not looking for work. Now I need to find out what to do with my dog and cat when flying back and forth every month or two.

Note: Mr. Williams, you were correct. I do need to spend more time traveling.

Urban July 8, 2010 at 4:33 am

Harajuku is fun (I'll soon go there again), but most of the ones who are there to hang out and display their style revert to "standard" before leaving.

Photos from my last visit:
It can be noted that "display and be photographed" is an important part. Similar styles here in Sweden would just be something you wear most days.

They say that when you've lived in Japan for five years, then you think you understand them. When you've lived there ten years, you realise you don't understand them at all.

But when it comes to strange countries, Solomon Islands beat Japan (which is almost like home in comparision) by a large margin, see:

Anonymous July 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm

South Asia may be the original home of the decorated truck. Pakistani and North Indian trucks may be less hi-tech, but they do have murals, calligraphy, fretwork, and *fringe*.

If I had lots of money, I'd give my decrepit car the Pakistani truck treatment.

EFKelley July 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Wandering into any bar here in Texas will find you face to face with Yankii. Although, they're likely to take offense to being called anything resembling Yankee.

Michael Grosberg July 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm

The subculture I'm waiting for?
Urban surgery.

halojones-fan July 13, 2010 at 5:47 am

I like how they go through an entire section about ganguro without once mentioning the fact that it's blackface. With intent and awareness, no less; this isn't just some amusing cultural misappropriation gaffe, they're specifically aping, as it were, black people (or at least the stereotypical media-defined image of black people that they get over there.)

dubjay July 14, 2010 at 5:28 am

Wow, I didn't know that ganguro were supposed to be black.

That's . . . really bizarre. And probably offensive,but mainly just bizarre.

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