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« Mixed Signals Poster | Main

NihonTown Large Poster


enfu print # 38:

Large Glossy Poster

edition size: open edition

dims: 8.5"x39" no white border

Cost: $20 + ( S/H)

Lowered price, was $30.

You spoke, I listened.  This poster is in high demand, but people asked for a larger, glossy, poster.  This poster is a larger version than the other Nihontown poster print but has no white border.  So if you'd like to frame this I'd recommend getting the slightly smaller white border version here:

Below is the companion key for this print.

1) “Super Ultra”: An earlier Enfu piece combining Superman and Ultraman. Japanese super heroes for the most part are slender compared to Americans’ buff ones.

2) “Nobi-Brown”: Nobita from the manga Doraemon and Charlie Brown from Peanuts both are the butt of many a joke, and often times portray what many of feel like on our worst days.

3) Spam Musubi: could be the essence of hybrid culinary culture, and very tasty.

4) Teru Teru Bozu: Japanese kids hang these tissue dolls to ward off the bad rainy weather. Its seen almost as a craft time activity, but from another point of view it simply looks like a bunch of kids displaying ghosts hanging themselves.

5) Gum from the video game “Jet Grind Radio” is just sexy and hip. Her race, as in many Japanese games is fairly ambiguous considering the other blue haired characters in the game.

6) “QP”: or Kewpies, which are based off Cupids are just cute little angelic figures scattered throughout. Both eastern and western angels fly, but western angels fly with wings and eastern ones fly with flying scarves (hagoromo).

7) “Riben Guizi”: A Japanese director Minoru Matsui made a film tackling the disturbing and often taboo issue of The Rape of Nanking. It is comprised of 14 veterans of the incident. It would be nice to see a documentary like this displayed in Japan in such a manner as other blockbusters to encourage the nation to deal with its war guilt. It’s always easier for the victims to speak out, and not the oppressors. As seen by Japan’s eagerness to mention the Atomic Bomb and not Nanking, China’s eagerness to point out Nanking and gloss over Tibet, and the USA…well the list is too long.

8 ) Big Trucks: An icon of America. Also often linked to manliness, to the extreme which fake balls are hanging from the back. “Bigger is better” is definitely manifested in the American auto.

9) Giant Robot: An Asian pop culture magazine. Empowering. What if it had a branch in Tokyo?

10) Maneki Neko-The beckoning cat often seen in restaurants, a charm which beckons customers and money to the owner. There is also a saying “Neko ni Koban”(Gold to cats), which is equivalent to the Biblical “Pearls to swine” parable.

11) “Tako Truck”: An earlier Enfu piece combining Taco trucks (Roach Coaches) with a Takoyaki yatai, (food cart serving Octopus dumplings).

12) Kobo: Tokyo Branch, and a big part of Seattle’s Japan Town scene.

13) Super Mario Brothers’ mushroom as a keychain toy teaches kids to eat funny colored mushrooms to get bigger.

14) “Ase-Cola”: A different version of an earlier Enfu piece where I combine Coca Cola with Pocari Sweat. “Ase” meaning sweat in Japanese should make the Japanese cringe in the same way any native English speaker would when hearing the word ‘sweat’ describe a refreshing drink.

15) Hoimi Slime-An enemy character in the Dragon Quest video game. Its known for its healing powers, so next time you see something that looks like jellyfish swim towards it to heal.

16) “Mr. Kreme”: Combining the ever popular Mr. Donuts with Krispy Kremes Donuts.

17) “Enfoodle”: An earlier Enfu piece combining Campbell’s soup with Cup o Noodles.

18) There is a company in Japan called Dick. It’s essentially a short term loan company similar to Money Tree in the US. I wouldn’t trust borrowing money from a company that doesn’t do a simple name check for their identity. Often times their billboards plaster cute teller girls with the name Dick right next to it. Fail.

19) “Ganso Oyabun-Chafé”: There is a coffee drink named “Boss” with a gentleman sporting a pipe. Ganso Oyabun roughly translates to ‘the original Gangsta’, which is why Vito Corleone from “The Godfather” is the icon. Ocha combined with Coffee is Chafé. See also #76.

20) The monkey icon is often used as an icon for Enfu because Enfu’s kanji characters means “Monkey and Wind”.

21) “Takadanobaba” is a transport hub to three popular train lines: Shinjuku Line, JR Yamanote Line, and the Tozai line. Baba is also a term for grandmother, which conjured up in my mind a grandmother every time I heard that station called out on the speaker. See also #26.

22) Otokichi was one of the earliest Japanese to land on the US mainland, albeit involuntarily. In 1834 he drifted for 14 months across the Pacific Ocean and landed at Cape Alava which is the westernmost point of Washington’s Olympic Penninsula. His life story is quite amazing.

23) An homage to German street artist Flying Fortress, but adorned as a Kamikaze pilot instead of an ambiguous European helmet wearing bear.

24) Koalas from the candy “Koara no March”.

25) Random street name picked simply because its romaji is very long.

26) “Kamishakuji”: see also #21. JiJi or Jii can be a term for Grandfather. So this station goes well with Takadanobaba. I imagine Baba and Jii being an old friendly train station couple.

27) Nihonmachishoutengai: Japan Town Market Place. Something like this would not exist in Japan, but only outside it. It’s a reminder of the many Japanese emigrants (Nikkeis) who try to build a world outside Japan to live in. Also something like this would be more of a reality if it was not for forced internment during WW2, so a thriving Japan Town anywhere is really something that could’ve happened.

28) Stereotypical Japanese small car. Tall, thin, small wheels, so it’s ironic that its carrying a spare bigger than itself.

29) “Kokamune” Combination of a Ramune soda drink bottle and a Coca Cola bottle.

30) Shuuchan is a great Ramen shop in Torrance, California.

31) See also #77. American fast food = hotdog/hamburger. Japanese fast food: Kaitensushi/Ramen.

32) Sanrio’s Hello Kitty and Dick Bruna’s Miffy combined. East and West iconic bunnies powered up.

33) Overweight male in Japan = sumo wrestler. Overweight male in US = normal body type.

34) Japanese Salarymen. Nothing really to see here other than conformity manifest on the streets.

35) Kanto Karaage Chicken. Colonel Sanders really looks similar to Mito Koumon, a popular TV icon.

36) Toki Doki-Nothing wrong with a non Japanese Italian artist mimicking and profiting off of his interpretation of ‘Japanese’ culture. The Japanese have been doing the same with Super Mario Brothers for decades.

37) Tricia Takanawa-Family Guy pokes fun of the over represented Asian female reporter in the US culture. Asian female = most pleasant and nonthreatening vehicle in which news can be delivered. In my opinion anyone married to one can argue against that point.

38) Stop sign Yakuza hand. The hand in that sign belonged to a Yakuza gang member who lost a finger.

39) Uwajimaya: The local Japanese grocery in the Seattle and Portland areas. My lifeline.

40) Chibimaruko: Japanese girls portrayed by Japanese girls. See also #37

41) The Glico yogurt drink delivery girls on bikes. Nothing hybrid here, just something not normally seen in the US.

42) Little Tokyo in Kanji.

43) The entrance to Brasil’s Japan Town is marked with a red gate (Torii) on Rua Galvão Bueno road.

44) If you read this in Japanese it phonetically sounds like “No Motorcycle”.

45) Astro Boy and Mickey Mouse both used to have two appendages on their heads that didn’t move when their heads moved back in the day.

46) What would be the opposite of the trend of sticking chopsticks in your hair bundle.

47) Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant was based off of Andre the Giant. The Japanese version of Andre is Giant Baba, who also suffered from Gigantism. The kanji characters read Oubei Baba, where Oubei means Western, and sounds like Obey.

48) The kanji for Enfu is adorned here.

49) Mish: Combination of Meat and Fish. T-bone steak and salmon steak. Also contrasting two cultures which heavily promote these industries.

50) Hummer: Deceptacon. It’s a military vehicle remade for normal commuting. Consumes gas like nothing else, spitting out money from its exhaust.

51) Budweiser and Yebisu.

52) Prius: Autobot, fighting the Hummer by spitting out leaves.

53) Fortune Cookie: It’s common knowledge that it didn’t originate in China. Where it did originate from is in contention. However after some research the jury is still out. The theories in contention are:-A) Thought to be inspired by an ancient Chinese legend of Chinese soldiers disguised as monks in the 14th century communicated by stuffing messages into mooncakes.-B)Japanese(Makoto Hagiwara) and Chinese (David Jung) immigrants have dual claims to inventing fortune cookies around 1914, 1918.-C) Illustrations in Japan dating 1878 show bakers grilling wafer senbeis with a sign above him reading “tsujiura senbei” (fortune crackers). Also authors living between 1790-1843 in works of fiction depicts a woman trying to placate two other women with tsujiura senbei that contain fortunes.Toughts on these theories:At best its claiming to have ‘inspired’ the fortune cookie base off of a ‘legend’. And mooncakes are not like cookies, more like cakes. The only thing similar is messages stuffed in food.These Asian Americans were pioneers in their own right I’m sure, but I’m not convinced.This so far is the most evidence I’ve been able to find with limited research which I find plausible. Fortunes in temples are common, senbei cookies/crackers are also common, actual cookies tastking very similar and having identical shapes in Kyoto is convincing, and having them show up in literature and fiction is convincing.

54) also see #6

55) Saville Road is where tailored suits were made in England. Sebiro is the Japanese word for Suit.

56) Tokyo Plastic Kokeshi doll.

57) NHK’s Domo kun mascot.

58) Qoo drink mascot.

59) Normal sign cautioning for pedestrians, but with more kids.

60) Omotesando sounds like a Japanese word for an open sandwhich.

61) The sign shapes for stop and yield are exactly the same.

62) Blue C Sushi logo.

63) “Yuubin Box”: an earlier Enfu piece combining both post office boxes.

64) Doraemon combined with Garfield the Cat.

65) Tokyo Dance Trooper.

66) Pony Express & Sagawa Kyuubin, both couriers using as logos historic courier methods.

67) Noodle from Gorillaz.

68) Snack Honey is a local Karaoke pub close to where my wife grew up.

69) 6th and Main was the economic hub of the thriving Seattle Japan Town scene.

70) The historic NP Hotel in Seattle Japan Town.

71) The historic Panama Hotel in Seattle Japan Town.

72) 7-11s advertising tobacco and alcohol.

73) Homage to the recently closed Takohachi in Seattle’s Japan Town, but using the octopus logo of a Takohachi in Japan.

74) “Senzaru” is Bathing Ape in Japanese.

75) Yaya girl of 88 tees.

76) Bossbucks Chafé. See also #19.

77) Good ol American fast food staple.

78) Common sign found near trains to warn people not to jump in to get dropped belongings but to wait for station attendant to pick it up for you. It’s common for the Japanese to commit suicide by jumping in front of trains, so this sign was meant as a PSA against potential jumpers.

79) Ouendan, Japanese cheer boys. Seen as a very masculine and cool thing to do, compared to cheerleaders in the US are seen to be very feminine and sexy. Almost exact opposites.

80) The tendency for the US to cover cars with bumper stickers proclaiming which candidate they are for, and what they believe in. The two bumper stickers in kanji read “Nikkei Damashi” (Nikkei spirit), and Obama (which is an actual name of a city in Japan) 08. Bumper stickers commonly seen in Japan only show status of the driver; the beginners driver mark and the senior driver mark.

81) The symbol for onsen, a hot spring.

82) Iconic Japanese green public telephones next to public blue US telephones.

83) If Thomas the tank engine existed in Japan there certainly would be one on the Yamanote Line.

84) Tarako: Cod roe made into a cute kewpie character by the marketing department.

85) Fog and smog.

86) Hot/Cold vending machines which serve piping hot coffee drinks in cans alongside ice cold drinks.

87) Orange street mirrors such as these are seen on many street poles with tight corners.

88) Shimenawa are braided straw ropes used in Shinto religion to ward against evil spirits and indicate a sacred or pure space.

89) Waimo-kun, Japanese pop band Ulfuls character logo.

90) Artists’ signature symbol, can read as a ‘K’ or Katakana ‘Ke’.

91) Nature vs Man is a common theme throughout many Ghibli movies.

92) Prevalence of tentacles shows the grip seafood has on Japanese culture.

93) Fugu- seafood everywhere.

94) Kodama spirit from the Ghibli movie Princess Mononoke.

95) Semi, Cicada chirping and shells means summer in Japan.