Month: October 2014

Pigeon’s Halloween Costume: Sack Masks Are Always Scary (with instructions)

I have to wear a Halloween costume for work. I usually tend towards the cuter side of the spectrum (animals, a maid costume, etc.), but after seeing my scarier co-workers make children cry, I decided that I wanted a taste of that power. So this year, I’m going scary.

And what’s scarier than somebody with a sack on their head?

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NOTHING, that’s what.

Here’s how I did it.

You’ll need:

– a pillowcase

– a marker

– scissors

– make-up (or paint, needle and thread, etc….depending on what you want to make)

– hairspray

– a wig (or a hat, accessories, a costume, etc….depending on what you want to be)

1. First, think of what kind of mask you’d like to make. I thought it’d be scariest to have a messed-up face and be normal from the neck down, so I decided to make a crazy lady face and then make sure to wear skirts with it (to show my legs and emphasize the inhumanity of my face). So that’s my thing this year. But the sky’s the limit with pillowcase masks!

2. Put the pillowcase on your head.

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Oops, I didn’t mean to buy one with ruffles…but oh well, it was only 500 yen.

3. Use the marker to mark where your eyes are. WARNING: I got marker on my eyelids when I did this.

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If you’re copying my design, go ahead and draw some nostrils over your nostrils, too. (Don’t cut the nostrils out in the next step though!!)

4. Take off the pillowcase and use the eye dots as a guide to find where you need to cut the eyes out.

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5. Cut the eyes out.

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Next, we’re going to decorate. From here the instructions are specific to my mask:

6. Put the mask back on and apply some lipstick, using your own lips as a guide. Duckface like crazy while you’re doing this!

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7. Take the mask back off. Using the eyeholes, nostrils, and lips as a guide, apply a full face of makeup. Don’t worry about being too precise; the more unhinged your face looks, the better. Protip: This is a great opportunity to use old makeup that you probably should throw away.

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8. Spray hairspray all over the mask to set the makeup. Hang it up to dry for a bit.

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9. Voila!

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Oh…but those ruffles though…

10. Accessorize!

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This wig, by the way, cost 300 yen. 300 yen wig + 500 yen pillowcase = 800 yen costume. What a bargain!

And that’s it! Have fun making your own scary pillowcase mask! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!

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Happy Halloween!

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When It Comes to Characters, Squishy and Limbless is Best

I really love the Tryworks character Kapibara-san (カピバラさん/Mr. (?) Capybara). Here are just a few of the Kapibara-san items I own:

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Isn’t it adorable? Real capybaras are adorable too, in a similar kind of way; they both seem hopeless and helpless, yet carefree.

I also like another character by Sanrio called Kutsushita Nyanko (靴下にゃんこ/Socks Kitty).

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There are several factors that draw me to these characters.

1) Like I said above, there’s the helpless-yet-carefree angle, presented in both the situations the characters are shown in, and also in things like small, almost useless limbs (no fingers or toes).

2) There’s also the big eyes and small-to-nonexistent mouth, the combination of which encourages empathy towards the character, while presenting them as non-threatening (no teeth, probably can’t talk much either [non-judgmental]). This combination can be seen in many of Japan’s most popular characters, including Hello Kitty (ハローキティ) and Rilakkuma (リラックマ/Relaxed Bear).

3) Finally, there’s a very important soft-and-squishy aspect to these characters, which manifests itself both in the literal merchandise being stuffed animal-heavy, and the character design just looking smushable.

Now, let’s compare these characters to Mickey Mouse.

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1) Long limbs; big feet in big, clunky shoes; almost-fully formed hands with opposable thumbs. He’s definitely not helpless. He could probably kick your butt.

2) His eyes are biggish but his mouth is even bigger.

3) He doesn’t look squishy at all; if anything, he looks more wiry and muscular.

Mickey Mouse is super popular in Japan too, along with the Japanese characters I mentioned above. However, I, personally, am not into him. In fact, by my standards of cuteness listed above, the only Disney character I find cute is mayyyyyybe Winnie the Pooh.

But!

I recently downloaded the app Tsum Tsum (pronounced “tsumu tsumu,” from 積む積む, “stack stack”), a Disney-sponsored game connected to the Line app. While the game itself is a lowest-common-denominator version of the match-3 formula, the opening animation almost brought me to tears the first time I saw it:

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No mouths! No legs! No fingers! Undeniably squishy! Is this really Disney?

You can even buy stuffed Tsum Tsum in the Disney Store!

I’m taking the existence of Tsum Tsum as proof that the world is waking up to the appeal of the soft, weak, cute character.

How about you? Do you dig?