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- 21 08 2001 - 11:20 - katatonik

The unpainted, messy face of the East

a very long neck

“Here you find neither the beautiful scenes typical of Japan nor the simple and elegant kind of spaces that leave foreigners speechless. Rather I have included only those spots that would incur such epithets as “gaudy” and “frivolous,” and that would even be slighted by people living in the neighborhood. But present-day Japan has precisely this kind of unpainted, messy face. It is not beautiful, but has its own charms depending on how you look at it.”

Japanese photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki about his book roadside japan”, which shows, amongst other things, “Godzilla’s Egg”, “The Tomb of Christ”, “Puzzle Paradise”, the “Poison Gas Museum”, “Fruit Bus Stops”, “The German Memorial Hall”, “The Lifeform Museum”, “Gather-Your-Own-Egg Ranch”. These pictures of odd sites and utter plights had first been published in “SPA!”-magazine (a weekly), serialized under the title “chin nihon kikou” (“rare Japan travelogue”). Some of the English language captions and texts have the tendency to over-absurdize Japan, to unnecessarily duplicate visual absurdity with forced attempts at verbal humour. The Japanese text, as far as I understand it, remains remarkably calm and descriptive, and that’s exactly what you need when picturing the bizarre.
Monsieur Wallnöfer was so unbelievably nice to carry this rather heavy book in his travel luggage from Tokyo to Vienna, and, finally last week, to carry it further around in lovely Vienna so that it finally reached my arms’n eyes.
People, I tell you, you’re gonna see so many pictures from this book in this camp that you’ll start bribing me to stop. Hopefully.

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