April 2010 Archives

Oddball Historical Note

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"Do you know the Japanese word for 'hair clippers'?" Tod asked me this morning as he stood looking at the Wahl box on the bathroom counter. I didn't know it.

They are called バリカン (barikan) after Barriquand et Marre, a French company that also made engines for the Wright Brothers and for early automobiles. They seem to have gone out of business a long time ago.

Clippers became popular in Japan at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration, when the Emperor decreed men must cut off their topknots and then started conscripting soldiers in 1873. Maruzen imported the first French "barikan" in 1874 and by 1888, Japan has its own clipper manufacturers in Osaka and Tokyo.

So now you know. And according to the box, Wahl is the world's #1 manufacturer of barikan.

alternate "greater than" symbols

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The other day on Facebook my sister wished for mathematical symbols to indicate "more beautiful than" and "more delicious than" so I made her some.

Tokyo represents on hooping.org



I'm not the first Tokyo hooper to be featured on hooping.org, but I am the latest. I join an illustrious club: Deanne, Masao and Kana, Ayumi, Soness, and J-ster among others have appeared on hooping.org in the past year.



The last Tokyo Morsbags
Me with the final 24 freshly sewn Morsbags.

Since June 2007, my friends and I made 406 bags from recycled and repurposed materials. Most of our sewing happened in the first 18 months and I've had a big box of fabric hanging around waiting to be used. Now it is done.

Tink in a Mood



Yesterday was a photoshoot with Deanne for Hooplovers new line of hula hoops. This is my alter ego, Tink, with her namesake hoop. She likes it, really. You will like the new hoops, too, when they go on sale soon.

You can see more photos from the shoot on Deanne's Flickr set. They aren't quite all so rebellious.

Birthday Love

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I am nearly speechless at the amount of love my friends have shown for me this week. I want to note it all so that I can look back and remember how loved-up I feel right now.

At 4th Sunday Spin on the 28th, lots of people braved the cold to hoop. Guy and his son, Tano-chan, baked me a cake. Two cakes, actually, made in their rice cooker. Added to the cream puffs I brought and all the snacks and drinks, we had quite a party as dozen of people came and hooped through the chilly afternoon.


Amanda made a video montage of my 43rd year. She cared enough to show me what I can't see for myself. I watched it and boggled. Was that really all in one year? Was this me? I'm pretty amazing. You can see it on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=410700771954

The night before my birthday, my Artist's Way group called. I had skipped the meeting in order to satisfy my superstitious need to clean the house before my birthday. They sang Happy Birthday (in harmony!) to me over the phone and promised to eat my cake. They had a bouquet and card for me, too. I was truly not expecting that. They remembered. They made a big effort for me. I was touched.

On my birthday proper, I started the day with freshly baked cake and presents from Mom, who'd sent a package of books, seeds and pink hair dye. At lunch, Sorcha met to give me the bouquet from the night before and treated me to Indian buffet.


Tod took me to dinner. He has a masterful way of finding just the right restaurant. This year it was Nagamine, a vegetable kaiseki place in Ginza. And he always gives me books for my birthday. Now i have a field guide to Japanese birds (this makes me very, very happy), an OSHO book, and a novel to enjoy.



Heather drew this mandala for me and brought me two mix CDs and treats from Utsunomiya. We hooped in Hibiya park and then dashed off to yet another party!


Tracey put on the most amazing event as a gift. "It involves dancing and food" was all I knew in advance. Her friend Petra re-created Trinidad and Tobago for us. First we watched Carnival parades while cooking a feast of Trinidadian dishes. Then fueled by rum punch and inspired by the gorgeous sexy dancers on the TV, we learned to wine and palance. "How many inches of pipe you want?" Trini music is sassy!


And then as a cap to the birthday week, I threw myself a party in four parts on 4/4. It is self-indulgent to throw your own party, but I had a plan. The "shi shi" party was a fancy dress-up party to banish any bad demons hanging around my double digit fours (four, shi, is a homonym for 'death' in Japanese). It also gave me an excuse to wear a beautiful dress into some unusual situations.

Starting at Koishikawa Korakuen, ten of us strolled the park carrying large bunches of helium balloons. There were many smiles and photos. Then we connected with another half dozen friends and headed over to a billiards bar in Suidobashi to shoot some pool and the breeze while we warmed up after our promenade.

By the time we reached our dinner destination, the party had swelled to 20. We enjoyed an excellent vegetarian Italian meal at Aoi Napoli complete with a sparkler-studded birthday cake. Most everyone went home after the meal, but Tracey, Ashley, Tod & I went on to part four - a bath at the neighborhood sento, where a woman bathing with us said she'd seen me with the balloons at the park earlier. Nice way to close out the day.

Thanks to everyone who wished me well, played with me, gave me a present, or thought about me on my birthday. It is such a pleasure to have you all in my life. I and fueled by your love and ready to have an amazing and excellent year.


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Enjoying sun and hoops on my birthday. Life is wonderful!

Children applauded me at the park today.

I went to Ueno to visit the elephants and then carved myself a corner of the playground and practiced with my minis. I am not very good with them yet, and learning is so much fun. I anticipated a happy hour of messing around. I was using the hoops Beth gave me so that was going to be extra special.

But even practice looks impressive when you've got pink hair and it wasn't long before I had an audience of about 10 elementary school kids on their holidays. Passersby paused to gawk, too, but the kids stuck around for a good 20 minutes laughing and clapping loud and long as I flailed through new tricks, improved old ones, dropped hoops, laughed at myself, and simply enjoyed playing.

Thanks for the birthday pressie, little ones.

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