Posts Tagged ‘children’

Today’s J-blip: nezo art

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

It is said that the only thing worth stealing is a kiss from a sleeping baby. We completely agree, especially when they are the stars of nezo art (which literally translates as “sleeping position art”).

A recent slumber-time tableau by Mami Koide

The art wasn’t exactly made in Japan. The true pioneer in this genre is Finnish former designer Adele Enersen, who rose to Internet fame with her blog Mila’s Daydreams. She photographed her daughter  sleeping in various artsy dreamscapes realized with props and costumes. She eventually spun that popularity into a photo book, titled “When My Baby Dreams” and published in January 2012.

While Mami Koide has clearly been inspired by Enerson, the 41-year-old illustrator diverges from the master by giving her dream tableaux a slightly more DIY vibe. In fact, in her self-imposed rules, Koide says creators of nezo art should strive to use everyday objects found around the house as their props. It’s all a matter of taste, but we prefer the more amateurish, homey nezo creations.

Koide is not alone in Japan. NAVER Matome has compiled an array of photos contributed by individuals who have chosen to put their little ones on the slumber stage. You can also check the Twitter hashtag #NezoArt for more. And if that isn’t enough, there’s Koide’s recently publish photo book, “Nezo Art Book.”

Housewives go DIY in attack on insects

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Lemongrass essential oil is used in homemade insect repellent

One of the major irritations of a Japanese summer, besides the current humid heat, is getting eaten alive by the tiny armies of mosquitoes, indoors or out. While most people resort to spraying on DEET, a growing number of mothers concerned about the effects of this potent chemical on their children’s delicate skin are now making their own aroma mushiyoke (aroma insect repellent) out of essential oils.

The trend, according to Tokyo Walker, has been spreading by word of mouth among mothers who are looking for natural alternatives. The magazine interviewed a housewife who began making her own insect repellent after becoming a mother two years ago. She favors a refreshing lemongrass spray that can be not only applied to the skin, but also sprayed onto cloth in her baby stroller to keep insects at bay.

Aromatherapy has been popular for a few years in Japan, so the essential oils used to make these sprays are readily available in the shops. To make a lemongrass spray you need extract of lemongrass oil, ethanol and water. Three to five drops of the essential oil should be mixed with 5 ml of ethanol and 45 ml of water. The whole thing is then shaken vigorously and put into a plastic spray bottle (easily bought in ¥100 stores). Unlike commercial citric sprays, the lemongrass is not overwhelmingly pungent, so the mixture can be sprayed on screen doors or curtains to keep out insects without overwhelming the room with the smell. Geranium and lavender essential oils can also be used for a similar effect.

In addition to being kind to the skin, these sprays also give off a pleasant scent. According to Get News, aromatic candles that repel insects are also trending. Especially popular are citronella candles that keep insects out with a natural refreshing citric scent that doesn’t carry any chemical taint.

The mosquito coil is a Japanese invention that has been a staple of outdoor gatherings for over 100 years. However, there are health concerns connected with inhaling the pungent smoke they give off, so scented candles could be an attractive alternative. Given the prevalence of the LOHAS mindset among eco-conscious housewives, it’s no wonder that natural insect repellents are being embraced.

Photo courtesy of WikiCommons

Pulsations (05.25.12)

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

  • What Do Japanese Children Want to Be When they Grow Up? (Survey) (from Skeptikai): You know, kids, working as an animated character is not all it’s cracked up to be — long hours, bad pay, plus the jump from being a human to the 2D world really takes its toll on your body. Better have something to fall back on, like professor or astronaut.
  • Whale-safe beer (from LLP): The anti-globalists were right all along: Commercial society has now reached a point where all products look alike. That is the only explanation we can think of for the fact that beer companies are competing on which beer contains the least amount of whale.
  • Nintendo characters as Ukiyo-e prints (from Geekologie): Someday, maybe archaeologists will find these prints and use them as proof that aliens visited Japan in the 17th century. This is how deranged historical theories are created, people!
  • The 2012 annular eclipse seen from Tokyo (from Hikosaemon): Yeah, this blog round-up wouldn’t be complete without the event that for once had the entire east coast of Japan on their feet at 7 in the morning. Hikosaemon gets the Japan Pulse Photo of the Week Award (disclaimer: not an actual thing) for the shot of a helicopter passing in front of his lens just at the moment of total eclipse.

A new generation of cosplayers

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Transform your baby into a superhero

Transform your baby into a superhero

Bandai have just announced the release of a new range of cosplay baby romper suits featuring characters from tokusatsu and anime series such as Kamen Rider, Doraemon, Ultraman and Dragon Ball. The rompers come hot on the heels of a similar range of hoods and bibs released last summer and are extremely affordable at only ¥1,575 each. The characters chosen are designed to appeal to an older generation who remember these classic series with fondness and want to transform their tots into Super Sentai.

Given the popularity of cosplay in Japan, it’s not surprising that parents would want their kids to get in on the action. Take these Naruto babies and Death Note toddlers, for example. As well as anime, video game characters costumes are also a source of inspiration. Foreign fans of Japanese video games have handmade some awesome baby costumes such as this knitted Katamari Damacy suit or this Link baby costume for lovers of Zelda.

Naturally, many parents turn to the classics – Disney costumes and cute bear hoods – when dressing up their tikes, but what about those looking for slightly hipper threads?  Hip hop gear is definitely on trend at Baboo Wear’s online shop, where parents can stock up on kid-size baseball caps and New Skool romper suits with a motif that makes your kid look like it owns a fat pair of headphones.

The Bandai romper suits hit the stores later this month. Baby henshin!

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