Publication Blog

White Slashes, on a Blue Surface

Friday, June 5th, 2009

White slashes, found on a brilliant cobalt blue surface in Konodai, Chiba, Japan.

White Slash, Blue Surface

Axe Libre: Abstractions: Political Posters and Signs in Japan

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

 

 

I have been fortunate to have another portfolio published by the trend setting publication Axe Libre in Paris, France.  Please take a minute to browse their site and their portfolio section.

My portfolio can be viewed here.  Go to the right hand side and click on the Jacob Schere Portfolio.

 

an introduction to the images is below.

On the walls of Japan I have for years come across political posters from the Communists, Socialists, Democrats, and Religious Parties. All of them taped, or neatly pasted to the walls of homes, in neighborhoods though out the country. I found myself starting at these posters. Looking, deeply into them, seeing the dots, blots that build the image. We need to deconstruct and turn these political persuasions, into socially conscious works of art.

 

Affiches politiques et signes au Japon…

Apposées furtivement au ruban adhésif, ou collés méthodiquement le long des murs des maisons, dans le voisinage comme à l’extérieur, les affiches politiques fleurissent depuis des années le long des murs Japonais. 
Communistes, Socialistes, Démocrates ou autres parties religieux, depuis des années, je les observe, les scrute, me plonge profondément en elles jusqu’à n’y voire plus que des points, taches formant une nouvelle image. Je déconstruis pour transformer ces dogmes politiques, pour en faire un travail artistique, socialement conscients.

Axe Libre Portfolio

Axe Libre Portfolio Sign31

To view all the images in the Axe Libre portfolio please click here.

CD Cover: Full Moon March, John Harbison

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Boston Modern Orchestra Project Used my Monoprint 02 for the cover art work for their project. The design was done by John Kramer and Robb Ogle.  The music is very hiply sophisticated.  Check out their website www.bmopsound.org   

 

CD Cover Full Moon March

MONOPRINT02

The Original Image, Monoprint 02, 2009

um [laut] magazin: German Magazine Lost and Found Photo Essay

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Um [laut] magazin, a German arts magazine just released it latest issue 03 which includes a photographic essay on my ongoing project on lost and found objects in Japan.  The four page spread includes some images of my favorite statue. Who I often refer to as my Kasai Girl.

 

you can view the um [laut] website here

http://www.umlaut-magazin.de/

 

um [laut] 01

um [laut] 02

um [laut] 03

um [laut] 04

Interview in Kasai Newspaper Tokyo for Danchi Beautiful Show

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

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Posi+tve Magazine: Doors and Gates

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Recently released by Posi+tive magazine a new issue 03 featuring a set of images called Doors and Gates.

To check the website click here Posi+tive.

Here is the introduction to the images.

We use gates to control the flow of
humans. to lock people out.
to feel safe. same with door.
they are the entry way into other
worlds.  to go from the community
to the private.  when they are open
we are free to move.  when closed,
locked and chained, we protect our
secrets.  we wonder what lies beyond
the door. Example, there was a festi-
val near my home the other day.  Most
doors, and gates were wide open.
The community had chosen to let ev-
eryone flow in and out of their own
personal space.  It was beautiful.

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Underworld Magazine: Featuring Lucid Communication’s Jacob Schere

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

The ear to the streets Underworld Magazine was totally revamped there website and this includes a feature selection of images by Jacob Schere. Including his Lucid Communication Manifesto. Please take the time to browse though the Underworld website and give the wonderful Magazine an intensive going though.

http://underworldmagazines.com/featurestories2.html

Lucid Communication Manifesto:

These pictures represent the pursuit to bring together the spirt and practice in photography. The spirt brings guidance and a deeper understanding of the world. It’s mission is to bring the world closer together though the act of stimulating interaction between myself the photographer, the subject and then the viewer. In this the catalyst for the interaction in the camera created image. I strive to seek out the positive, I want to show the negative in such a light that humans will want to reverse and change it into a more spiritual, positive direction. This is the goal of Jacob Schere’s Lucid Communication’s Manifesto.

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Excerpt from Underworld Collection

Blackpool Magazine #10: Hifana Zen and the Art of Having a Good Time

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Blackpool Magazine Issue #10 and Jacob Schere bring you a direct no cut interview with the fantastic duo Hifana. There brand of live SP1200 beat mixing with analog sounds is all the rage in Tokyo and now France. The article and photos were taken the end of March as the cherry blossoms were peaking. The English text is below.

http://www.blackpoolmagazine.com

http://www.hifana.com

Both can also be found on myspace.

check them out.

BPhifana01BPhifana02BPhifana03BPhifana04

Hifana: Push Breakin’ Beats and the Zen of Having a Good Time

By: Jacob Schere text and photographs Illustration: YoMay
Interviewed on March 28th 2008

Hifana’s cozy home office is tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood off the Inokoshira Line somewhere between Shibuya and Kichijoji. The Cherry Blossoms are peaking, as I make my way over to the Hifana House, and spring fever is in the air. I first became aware of Hifana from a fresh video that was posted to me on Myspace. The energy that these two had on stage amazed me as they would pull out a bass guitar while thumping out beats on an MPC drum machine. That contrasts pleasantly with the low tempo vibe of the Hifana House. A base of operations for Hifana, Ground Riddim, Maharo, and VJ GEC. They just moved into the house the end of last year. On my tour though the wooden house, the tranquil living space is more of home than an office. In one of the upstairs design offices, Juicy’s older brother, Maharo is out cold in a little nook of a bed. Sketches abound on the table in front of the computer. Maharo’s the illustrating guru behind most of the fresh artwork produced for Hifana. Down in the sound proof studio basement pulses some fresh tracks being mixed by “The Genius” as the staff affectionately refers him to. The studio is dream of classic beat making equipment like the SP 1200 and scores of traditional percussion instruments. The whole house vibrates with fusion. It’s a place where West meets and melts into the East. Espresso is as at home as green tea. A traditional Shoji (screen) in the living room served up with Hip Hop flavor makeover of a map of Tokyo with the Hifana House as ground zero. The warm spring air and light flood into the kitchen where I sit down with Juicy (Jun Miyata) and Keizomachine (Keizo Fukuda) at a wooden country table. Keizomachine arrives first, offers me a cup of green tea, pulls up a chair, then pulls some tobacco from a pouch and rolls one up. Juicy arrives a few minutes later looking like ragamuffin, makes himself an espresso, and pulls up a chair next to Keizo. As we get down to our little chat, dub spills out of a speaker from another room. In the end, it’s all about fresh push breakn’ beats for the world streets and having a good time.

JDS: Jacob Schere

K: Keizomachine

J: Juicy

JDS: How did you two meet?
K: We all grew up in the same neighborhood, and Juicy’s older brother, who’s an illustrator, Maharo and were I working at the bar together so I met Juicy though him.
JDS: Can you talk about your influences art, music, and culture from when you were kids?
J: Ok, for example, I was really into skateboarding, and from there I got into the music in the skate videos. Oh yeah, I love Bob Marley too.
JDS: Everybody loves Bob Marley!
K: Yeah, everybody does. For me I was first into was techno Then I got into percussion and tribal music. I next stated to play percussion.
JDS: Were you influenced by any underground Japanese music?
K: Not so much really, but old traditional music from Okinawa.
J: Well, for me it is Showa Era music. 50’s and 60’s covers of America music in Japanese, it was what was everybody was listening to on the radio back then.
K: Yeah, that’s good stuff. Also, lots of traditional Japanese like Kogaku, and old music from really WAY back in the day.
JDS: What about from Japanese culture?

J: I’m pretty much crazy about some famous manga writers, like Katsuhiro Otomo.
K: It’s the architecture for me, like gardens, Shinto Shrines, and Buddhist Temples. Kind of a subconscious influence. And all the food is so tasty!
JDS: Who’s the Boke (funny man) and who’s the Tsukomi (straight man)? Seriously, Humor is a big part of what is Hifana. [Note: Boke and Tsukomi are part of the traditional Manzai or 2 person standup comedy. The boke is referred to as the funny man and the tsukomi as the straight man, who’s job it is to support the other comedy.]
K.J: (Bust out laughing)
J: Well, we both have the respsonsibilty to be able to support each other as the straight man.
K: Everyone in the crew is a Boke, so we’ve got to be there for each other and play the part of the tsukomi.
JDS: Why is humor an important part of Hifana?
K: It’s not really an important part of our show. I like humor and making people laugh. It’s about just having fun.
JDS: Do you want to make people laugh?
K: It’s having fun with many people, and laughing if part of having a good time, right? For example if we go to America to do a show, we probably wouldn’t do much humor. Humor doesn’t always translate across cultural boundaries.
JDS: What one cultural finds funny doesn’t always work in another.
J: Yeah, it’s pretty difficult, isn’t it?
JDS: Why does Hifan’s music fuse analog and digital, hi-tech and low-tech sounds?
Keizo has been playing with two sets wooden balls attached by a string on the table.
JDS: What are they?
J: (in English) They are African Shakers. (In Japanese) I really recommend these African shakers!
Keizo begins to bust out a little beat using the African shakers.
J: We really like variety and to mix things up. It doesn’t matter to us if it’s analog or digital. It’s just if we like it or not. Having fun with the sounds we create with.
K: It’s whatever sounds good and fun to our ears. That’s it! So we don’t get bored.
JDS: Many people, who come to Japan, only go to places in their guidebooks. Where would you recommend guests to visit in Japan? Where’s the cool place to go in Japan, or Tokyo?
J: Kyushu (Japan’s largest southern Island) for sure.
K: Northern Kyushu. It would never be mentioned in a guidebook.
J: We did some shows there and the food was delicious. There are lots of hot springs everywhere; good people and you can see raw nature too.
K: Osaka, tasty eats, lots of underground culture, cool areas to check out.
J: Also, Northern Japan. Lots of Onzen (Hot Springs).
K: There are hot springs all over Japan. Down in Kyushu you can even take a mud bath. Its great for the Beauties! It’s quite the experience the mud is so slimy. You are taking shower and shampooing your hair. You wonder what is that sticky stuff still on my head. Then you are like OH Yeah I went to the mud bath. That stuff never comes out, even after you shampoo. After you towel off your skin is SO smooth. (In English) It’s good for women’s skin! All the local old ladies down in Kyushu have super smooth skin. I always tell foreigners that come to Japan that you should hit like 2 Hot Springs a day and see some local Shinto Shrines.
J: There are even hot springs here in Tokyo, they are everywhere.
K: (turning to Juicy) Where should people check out in Tokyo?
J: You can pretty much have fun wherever you go in Tokyo.
K: It’s a lot like NYC, or any other big city in the world. It’s basically wherever you go will be fun and interesting.
JDS: Who would you like to collaborate with? Living or dead?
J: (Laughing), Jimi Hendrix, because it would be great to meet him, get him into the studio and record some of his guitar licks. (to Keizo) and you?
K: Sachmo, Louis Armstrong. To get him on a track would be the coolest, and it absolutely would bring our music to the next level.
JDS: What about living musicians?
J: The Japanese blues singer Kimura Atsuki.
JDS: What do you want people to experience at a live Hifana show?
K: First of all people should have a good time out in the club. It doesn’t matter if they think we are strange or cool people. What would be cool if they can take something with them out of the club having expierenced something new and different.
J: Have a good time, kick back take it easy. LOVE and PEACE.
JDS: What’s a Hifana recording session like?
J: Whenever its just the two of us it’s a bit simple and kicked back, but when we invite vocalist, mc’s or other guest musicians we want to have a good time with them.
JDS: Like a party?
K: Not all the time. We have all kinds of sessions. We sometimes have really serious people come in. Nowadays we don’t have to record with the guest in the studio. Thanks to the Internet, we can send data back and forth all over the world. Here at the house we collect a scratch from this DJ, or vocal from this person and we put it together here. Sometimes invite people over to our house and cook for them, exchange the data, and we can bring it home with us and work on it there.
JDS: How has the Internet and computers changed how you make music?
K: It has made it is SO much easier. Its brought making music up to the same level as if you car could fly. It has given us so much power.
J: The way we can make our work progress is really easier now.
K: We can email a track a, or a vocal from a foreign artist anywhere in the world. The computers have helped to eliminate all boundaries of what can be done.
JDS: Any message to the people of France and the world?
K: How do you say Yorushiku onegaishimasu in English?
JDS: Please do your best to support us.
J: Please enjoy our CD’s, DVD’s and the other creative works.
K: We will try our best so and we will keep getting better, so come out and support us. Futsutsukusamonodesuga, which is what a bride to be says on her wedding day to her to be husband, basically I’m still an inexperienced person, but I will try my best. (Everybody laughs)

Hifana’s debut release of CONNECT CD+DVD is coming June 9th to France.

Dahiem Magazine: Break

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Dahiem Magazine of Germany came out with a small interlude issue that featured a photograph from the theme of Break.

dahiem-break

http://www.daheim-magazin.de

Dahiem Magazine: Work Issue

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

The intellectual and provoking German publication Dahiem has just released there newest issue on the subject of Work for download. It is a collection of art, photography and essays all centered on the theme of modern life and the work we choose. It features a photography collection by myself titled “Tokyo Metropolis.”

Enjoy, Download and Spread the word.

http://www.daheim-magazin.de/

you need to click the ABO button, and then enter your email and the issue will be mailed to you. You can view the archive issues online.


dahiem01

dahiem02dahiem03dahiem04dahiem05





Una Al Dia: Book of Poetry

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Una Al Dia book of poetry by my good friend Fernando Prats has just been published. It is a collection of Spanish poetry on everyday life. It features a cover photography by myself. Help support the arts and pick up a copy at Lulu.com or you can also down load a free version.

down load a free PDF copy here or purchase a printed form.

to view Fernando’s website http://fernandoprats.com/
“Una al d?a es el resultado de un juego, o de una auto-imposici?n, la de escribir una impresi?n po?tica diaria durante cien d?as. Un juego de pocas reglas que pretend?a adem?s marcar el fin de una experiencia: pan y verdura, un blog in?til. No lo ha logrado, hay que decirlo. Blog y libro siguen libres.” (Pr?logo).

“Una al d?a is the result of a game, or a self-imposition, to write a poetic impression daily for a hundred days. A game of few rules aimed also mark the end of an experience: ‘bread and vegetables’, an useless blog. But that has not succeeded, it must be said. Blog and book remain free.” (Prologue).

ISBN: 978-1-84753-725-6

? 2006 – 2007 Fernando Prats

Cover-Photo: Jacob Schere

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Interview on: Artist Interviewing Artist

Friday, November 16th, 2007

On the new site Artist Interviewing Artist an interview with Jacob Schere was given, by Sacramento artist Tim Lane. You can gain a little insight into the work of m2c aka Jacob Schere. Please check out the other artist on the site too. It is in English and French.

A repost is compiled here courtesy of Tim Lane.

http://www.myspace.com/artistinterviewingartist

tim:what is your favorite camera to work with?

jacob schere:
I switch around all the time. but recently I like the
old 6×6 point and shoot format cameras. Like the Ilford
Sporti, and Baldexitte.

tim:what artists/photographers are you inspired by?

jacob schere:
Probably the biggest impact on me as a photographer
is Lee Freidlander. I’ve been a big fan of his ever
since someone showed me some of his work in university.
And as far as making a statement, Duchamp.

tim:tell us about your educational background. Do you have formal training in art? jacob schere:

I went to a university, and studies within their art
department. I enjoyed being able to dabble in the other
departments such as political science and history classes.

tim: When did you decide to pursue art?

jacob schere:
Can’t say exactly when, but its been a direction i’ve
been traveling since I was a young one.

tim: is there anything else you would like to tell us about your background in regards to how your art has evolved?

jacob schere:
I traveled a lot with my family when I was young, and it
was I that always had the camera, and took the family
pictures. That really got me wanting to travel and
take pictures.

tim:this part is for you to ask yourself a question or write
anything fun nonsense anything you want as long as you want

jacob schere:

I am always surprised when others like pictures of mine
that i dont like so much and vice versa. I can show
someone a piece im crazy about,but someone else is like
ummm ok, i like this ONE. and Im like WHAT????

is that good enough for ya?

tim:how does contemporary life impact your creative practice?

jacob schere:
I react to what I am surrounded by. The sights smells,
colors of everyday, seep in and come out in my works.

tim: What motivates you to create?

jacob schere:
I really wouldnt know what else to do.
If I dont do something creative, i feel empty
and useless.. I MUST CREATE

tim: why did you choose to work in the medium(s) that you use?

jacob schere:

I dont think I chose, photography, it CHOSE me.
as far as collage, and painting, its that dirtiness, and
the pulling all the scraps together and pull off
some raw emotion.

tim: what is your studio like? Can you go into detail about your studio routine? Do you work in silence– listen to music?

jacob schere:
I have 2 studios. My computer studio, is quite plain,
with a 20 inch monitor, and a big sliding door. My painting
studio, is in a basement, with NO natural light. so i put
up a couple of 1000 watt lights. Its an utter mess most
of the time. I like music. so i often play music in
my studio, it gives me energy to keep on going.

tim: Do you have any upcoming exhibits? Where readers can view your work? OR .COMS?

jacob schere:
No exhibits right now, some coming next year.
http://www.dontmagazine.com//5/tokyo-time-machine/

tim: favorite word?

jacob schere
I love the sound of the word incognito.

tim:least favorite words

jacob schere:
Greed, hate, selfishness

tim:favorite color/colors to work with?

jacob schere
I’m a complete sucker for blues and purples.

thank you jacob
clcik here for jacobs myspace page

french version

tim:what est votre appareil-photo pr???f???r??? ???? travailler avec le commutateur du schere i de :jacob autour de tout le temps mais r???cemment j’aime le vieux point 6×6 et tire les appareils-photo de format comme le sporti d’ilford, et le baldexitte. tim:what artists/photographers sont vous ont inspir??? probablement par le schere de :jacob le plus grand impact sur moi car un photographe est lie Freidlander. Ive ???t??? un grand ventilateur ???? lui depuis quelqu’un m’a montr??? une partie de son travail dans l’universit???. Et jusque faire un rapport, Duchamp. tim:tell nous au sujet de votre fond ???ducatif. Vous avez la formation formelle dans le schere de l’art :jacob que je suis all??? ???? une universit???, et les ???tudes dans leur d???partement d’art. J’ai eu plaisir ???? pouvoir mouiller dans les autres d???partements tels que les classes politiques de la science et d’histoire. tim : Quand avez-vous d???cid??? de poursuivre l’art ? parole de pente de schere de :jacob exactement quand, mais son ???t??? un ive de direction voyageant puisque j’???tais jeune. tim : y a-t-il toute autre chose que vous voudriez nous dire au sujet de votre fond dans le respect ???? la fa???on dont votre art a ???volu??? ? schere de :jacob j’ai voyag??? beaucoup avec ma famille quand j’???tais jeune, et c’???tait moi qui a toujours eu l’appareil-photo, et a pris les photos de famille. Que vraiment obtenu me voulant voyager et prendre des photos. la pi???ce de tim:this est pour que vous vous demandiez que une question ou ???crire ???? quelque chose le non-sens quelque chose d’amusement que vous voulez aussi longtemps que vous voulez le schere de :jacob Je suis toujours ???tonn??? quand d’autres aiment des images du mien que je n’aime pas tellement et vice versa. Je peux montrer ???? quelqu’un par morceau im fou environ, est-ce que mais quelqu’un d’autre est comme l’ok d’ummm, j’aime cet UN et Im comme CE QUI ? ? ? ? est-ce que c’est assez bon pour le ya ? tim:how la vie contemporaine effectue-t-elle votre pratique cr???atrice ? schere de :jacob que je r???agis ???? ce que je suis entour??? pr???s. Les odeurs de vues, couleurs de journalier, s’infiltrent dedans et viennent dehors dans mes travaux. tim : Ce qui vous motive pour cr???er le wouldnt du schere I de :jacob vraiment savez quoi encore pour faire. Si je ne fais pas quelque chose de cr???ateur, je me sens vide et inutile. Je DOIS CR?????ER tim : pourquoi avez-vous choisi de travailler dans le medium(s) que vous employez ? schere de :jacob que je ne pense pas que j’ai choisi, photographie, il M’AI CHOISI. jusque le collage, et peindre, sa cette salet???, et le rassemblement de toutes les chutes et retirent une certaine ???motion crue. tim : ???? quoi ressemble votre studio ? Pouvez-vous entrer dans le d???tail au sujet de votre routine de studio ? Vous travaillez dans le silence — ???coutez le schere de la musique :jacob que j’ai 2 studios. Mon studio d’ordinateur, est tout ???? fait plat, avec un moniteur de 20 pouces, et une grande porte coulissante. Mon studio de peinture, est dans un sous-sol, sans la lumi???re normale. ainsi j’ai mis vers le haut un couple des lumi???res de 1000 watts. Son un d???sordre total plus du temps. J’aime la musique. ainsi je joue souvent la musique dans mon studio, il me donne l’???nergie ???? la subsistance sur aller. tim : Avez-vous des objets expos???s prochains ? O??? les lecteurs peuvent regarder votre travail ? OU schere des COMS :jacob aucuns objets expos???s en ce moment, un certain prochain prochain tim de l’ann???e http://www.dontmagazine.com//5/tokyo-time-machine/ www.lucidcommunication.com : amour pr???f???r??? du schere i du mot :jacob le bruit du mot incognito. le favori de tim:least exprime l’avarice de schere de :jacob, haine, ???go???sme tim:favorite color/colors pour travailler avec le schere im de :jacob un surgeon complet pour des bleus et des purples.

DONT MAGAZNE: TOKYO TIME MACHINE

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

The totally hip multi media DONT MAGAZINE’s recent issue features a sound and image extravaganza called “Tokyo Time Machine.” A in depth look at decay of imagery in metropolitan Tokyo. An interview with Jacob Schere accompanies music and images. Be sure to explore, and click though all the images for a interection of sound and images.For a direct link to the article please click belowhttp://www.dontmagazine.com/#/5/tokyo-time-machine/please also browse thought the rest of the magazine by clicking belowhttp://www.dontmagazine.com/dont copyTokyo Time MachineFollowing on from New Yor Inflections, HINDSIGHT, issue 4, we go to Tokyo where Jacob Schere takes us on a journey though time. He writes, “Here in sleek and ultra modern Tokyo lay images left to peel slowly off the wall. These images are of recent ancient history. Flake by flake they peel from their cement base… like an archaeologist dusting off the centuries to discover a city in ruin, I have discovered these paintings on a wall, left to grunt against the elements.” Schere is a New Yorker living in Tokyo. He is from a city that’s built for speed but even he is taken aback by the pace of change in his adoptive home. These images of an arrested civilization located in a kaleidescope of tenses echo our condition. Their elegant erosion, nobility in neglect and haunting sense of devastation recall our wastefulness and our own inevitable decrepitude. A friend writes, “Yes I love them! Their colors as well as their fragility and how in every flake and peel a new history is added. The pollution where seagulls cannot dive and the sublime intimate connection of two people hidden in the mist. Music by Itai.Published in DONT MAGAZINE November 2007.

City Link Best of Miami: Brimstone127 Photograph

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Brimstone127 has done it again. He has been voted rapper of the year in South Florida by City Link Magazine. His smooth ryhmes and positve works in the community makes him an original Miami B Boy. Included is an original photograph by Jacob Schere.

citylink copy

City Link best of Miami Brimstone127

Brimstone127.com

This past year, we’ve seen a surfeit of excellent new local hip-hop acts (???Mayday!, anyone?) and newsworthy events from some of South Florida’s stalwarts (both Garcia and DJ Khaled dropped albums, for example). Nevertheless, we keep going back to Seth Schere, a.k.a. Brimstone127. When we booked the rapper and producer at last year’s City Link Music Fest, we had only a vague inkling of who he was. He had to follow a slow set at The Poor House by a crooning singer-songwriter that, while poignant, sucked the energy from the room. By the time Brimstone127 had finished performing, the crowd was on its feet, shouting, moving and electrified. And we damn straight knew his name.

Creature Magazine (UK): A Few of My Favorite Things: Fry, Tekiya, Games of Chance and the Japanese Summer Matsuri

Thursday, October 25th, 2007
In the recent edition of the UKmagazine Creature Magazine, an article titiled A Few of My Favorite Things: Fry, Tekiya, Games of Chance and the Japanese Summer Matsuri was published in the issue on summer festivals. Along with the article of the Japanese festivals there re articles and work by other great artist. Be sure to drop by and give them a shout out from Lucid Communication. http://creaturemag.com/ a direct link to the Creature Magazine Festival issue here!

Japanese Matsuri ( Festival )

A Few of My Favorite Things: Fry, Tekiya, Games of Chance and the Japanese Summer Matsuri

Weaving my way though the yukata clad crowd allowing the grilling aromas to fill my nostrils. The air was hot and sticky. Like it always is here on a sizzling August night in Tokyo. Lets back track for a minute so you can catch up with me. It’s summer here in Japan, and summer festivals are in full swing. Countless festivals take place across the country, ranging in size from tiny neighborhood get-togethers to ones that bring entire cities together. Typically they fall into one of 4 categories, fireworks, Bon Odori (folk dancing), centred around a religious Shrine or Temple, or one of the newer styles such as a Samba festival in the heart of Tokyo. Whether its attended by hundreds or hundreds of thousands the mood is pretty much the same.

Back to the steamy streets of my festival. Heat rises off the ground as sweat rolled down the back of my neck. The Bon Odori stage is 3 stories tall toped off with a series of Taiko drums, just like a cherry on a sundae erected out of steel pipes and huge red and white cloth. The different teams of dancers lead the crowds in a series of set moves. Like that of country line dancing except that the lines are circular, and instead of cowboy boots and jeans, most wear straw sandals and Yukatas. The folk music comes blasting out over a PA system and the Taiko drums add a thick layer of BOOM to the music. The crowds follow the team dancers and kick up dust in circles around the tower, but all this dancing and shuffling has left me hungry and craving something icy cold to take the sting of the hot night away.

 

 

This lead my stomach to my favourite part of the festival the street vendors. They whip all kinds of tasty little tit-bits on skewers and run sleazy games of chance for the young ones. The Japanese version of the carnies, Tekiya, run all the booths. They are related to the yakuza, and must pay some tribute to the local boss in order to ensure a hot spot to put up their booths or else be vanquished to the fringes of the festival. Heckling the cute girls in their matching Yukatas and bags, egging on the youth who try to catch goldfish with a paper net before it melts into nothing, these are the faces of the Tekiya. Some of their faces show years behind the sizzling grills, others youthful girls with dyed blonde hair serving up shaved ice with candy coloured syrup. The stalls light up the night sky. Hues of red, orange act like bug zappers, pulling in all the customers to their stalls. I can’t resist any longer and I happily wait in line to get a piece of FRY. Yeah that’s right, fry. It’s a simple concoction of flour, water, a little seasoning, flash fried and slopped with a sweat soy sauce. UMMMMM good. Its hot oily goodness slides down my throat and is good news to my growling stomach.

All these colours swirl in my eyes. The booth lights, glowing led necklaces, all blur into my mind’s eye. The charcoal grills roast up the night even more. Cotton Candy waifs pass me. A deep breath brings all the smells winding there way down to my stomach The long hot days, the longer steamy beer fuelled nights and tasty grilled bits in the bottom of my gut, these are a few of my favourite things.

Jacob Schere

 

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