Friday, November 29, 2013

I never thought I'd be saying this, but the first time I went to Japan I really fell in love with Men's Fudge.

I couldn't have been more surprised. I mean, I'm an old-fashioned guy. I have pretty ordinary likes, which is why I never thought I'd be the type to fixate on Men's Fudge. But when I saw it lying there on the counter of a Tokyo 7-Eleven it was like it beckoned to me. "Come on over!" it called. "Pick me up!"

So I picked it up. And I couldn't bring myself to put it down.

I'm not sure why I'm so entranced by Men's Fudge, but it's been a monkey on my back ever since. Every time I inspect it I find something interesting inside. Some juicy little nugget, or toothy tidbit. Frequently it's so packed full of tasty gems I just can't put it down. This more than carries me through those periods when it's tasteless or thin.

My friends, on the other hand, are mystified by the role Men's Fudge plays in my life. They sniff at it, coming up empty-handed. I know the day will come when I'll go off it too, but until then I'll paraphrase Samuel Johnson and say, "When a person is tired of Men's Fudge, they are tired of life."

So if you get a chance, pick up Men's Fudge. Maybe it won't make you move into the local 7-Eleven, but you just might find yourself waiting at the opening to grab that next issue.

The floor of the gallery will be covered with over a million dollars of shredded US currency. In tiny fragments barely recognizable as money, these bills will be crushed under your feet and muffle the sound echoing in the space. In a moment where skyrocketing auction prices distract the compassionate art viewer from looking at and engaging with art, this show puts the financial side of the art market like so much waste underfoot, instead of infecting the paintings themselves.
Which are $40,000 each.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My trip to Japan was on short notice, so I desperately scoured TripAdvisor for an inexpensive yet stylish hotel room. They rated Hotel Super Kyoto/Shijo Kawaramachi in the top 20% of Kyoto hotels, even awarding it their Certificate of Excellence, so I guessed the place would be unforgettable. I wasn't too far off.

Photos of Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi, Kyoto
This photo of Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

The first thing you see in the lobby is a variety of pillows on offer. No need to worry about sanitation: many Japanese wear face masks, so they won't breathe germs on all the pillows they squeeze. Like buckwheat pillows? Foam block pillows? Buckwheat and foam block pillows? Then one of those dark little cubbyholes has the perfect pillow for you.

Imagine my delight when I walked into my room. There's no pandering to luxury or comfort: this is a room made for the paranoid. The window is frosted so nobody can watch you, and it doesn't open so you can't accidentally fall out. Worried about losing something between the bed and the couch? Heck, you can barely slide a threadbare towel through there. And rest assured nobody's going to steal your clothes when you're staring at them from four feet away.

At night you rest in indescribable comfort. Okay, I'll give it a shot: "cement block covered with a layer of cardboard" comes pretty close. The budget blankets are a foot or two narrower than the bed so you won't wake up in the middle of the night wondering if somebody's run off with your knees.

Everything you need is within easy reach: a cheap clock, a couple of mugs, a laminated sheet describing the $10 charge for porn. I'm still not sure why, after just ten minutes in the room, I had the urge to carve a shiv out of a bar of soap. The Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi is absolutely nothing like a prison, because a prison has a workout room.

I'm still curious what the cardboard ad on the TV says, but I'm pretty sure the Japanese word for "LOSER" is in there. And yes, that's a happy face made out of my loose change. I always think the cleaning lady appreciates it more when you tip her with pennies made into an upbeat shape.

Photos of Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi, Kyoto
This photo of Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

At breakfast I finally stopped wondering if I'd been ripped off. The spread offered everything from toast to rolls to tiny pieces of bread. Looking for a napkin? Don't bother! The Japanese don't wipe their faces after shoveling down scrambled eggs and fried rice, though they need a fire hose to clean their asses after they poop.

Anyway, I just have one small suggestion for the Super Kyoto/Shijo Kawaramachi. You know how most hotels offer you a free disposable razor? This place should go the extra mile and give you an unlit stove and a noose.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I've been looking for mascara for macho men for nigh on twenty years, so when I spotted Tex Mex's Eyebrow Pencil for Men at a Japanese drug store I just couldn't pass it up. Clearly this ain't no sissy Maybelline: no, now I can tweeze and shape my unruly brows like they do on the Rio Grande.

Ordinarily I'm a little wary of foreign brands like Tex Mex, but if these are the same dudes who turned boring old chicken into fiery fajitas then I'm dying to see what they can do with my face.

Just remember: don't overpluck because that shit never grows back, pardner.

I think they're shipped in from California.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In Japan. Back at the end of the month.