Copyright 2013 by G. E. Gallas
For many years, I have been fascinated by modern Japan — everything from the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) to current day. One of my favorite periods is a rather short one known as Taishō (1912 – 1926). What strikes me most about Taishō is the amazing blend of Japanese and Western aesthetics.
I think my interest in Taishō really began when I read Yukio Mishima’s novel Spring Snow (Haru no Yuki). This novel is actually a period piece — published in 1969, but set around 1912 – 1914. Mishima gives a detailed look at the Japanese class system of the period through a romantic tragedy (although I’m not sure Mishima saw this story as such).
My interest in Taishō developed further through a series of college courses on modern Japanese literature. I even did a project involving costume designs for a Taishō-set short story, involving research on fashion of the period from Kimonos and beyond.
I also find advertisements from this period interesting. Actually, the Shiseido ads from the 1900s through the 1930s are really remarkable! You can find out more about these ads on MIT’s Visualizing Cultures website.
Anyway, I just wanted to share a number of my favorite images:
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the following images!!
Copyright 2012 by G. E. Gallas
This is an idea I had a while back for a comedic blog about my Bubbie and her antics. If you all enjoy this, perhaps I’ll write a few more, such as how Bubbie voted entirely Democratic except for Mitt Romney because she thinks he’s handsome or how Bubbie now has a crush on Jake Gyllenhaal because he’s a “nice Jewish boy.”
Much Ado About Bubbie
Bubbie (noun): A term of endearment for a Jewish Grandmother.
Example: My Bubbie doesn’t keep kosher outside of the house.
Bubbie’s Mad About Hamm
My Bubbie Isabelle has a crush on Jon Hamm.
Just like the rest of the family, Bubbie tunes into Mad Men every Sunday night to watch the admen of 1960s Madison Avenue drink, smoke, whore, and gossip – not to mention dish out sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic dialogue by the second, all of which (with the exception of the anti-Semitic variety) go unprotested by my Bubbie, a true product of the time.
To me, the series is a literary masterpiece on film regardless of how small the screen. To Bubbie, it’s just another one of her “weekly stories,” on par with General Hospital and The Young and the Restless.
Jon Hamm plays the brooding protagonist slash advertising genius, Donald Draper, on the show. Ever since reading in The Kansas City Star that the handsome actor is a St. Louis native, Bubbie – who’s lived in Missouri for over seventy years – has harbored a vicarious pride for Mr. Hamm. Much to my family’s embarrassment, this is not Bubbie’s first crush on a man that is at least a decade younger than my dad.
One time on vacation, while my family was checking into the Waldorf Astoria for a night, Bubbie was mesmerized by the dazzling charm and good looks of an Israeli desk clerk.
What a five-foot tall, eighty-something-year-old – complete with her teased-and-set helmet hair, her rhinestoned schoolteacher sweaters, and her constrictive girdle that makes her waddle – would want with a thirty-something-year-old desk clerk was not exactly a welcomed thought in my thirteen-year-old brain.
…a thought that was only exacerbated by the phrase Bubbie used to convey her attraction to the young man:
“He can put his shoes under my bed any day!”
Bubbie employs the same phrase in regards to Jon Hamm.
Whenever I phone Bubbie, my curiosity always gets the better of me. I can’t help but ask her what she thought of the most recent episode of Mad Men. And just like that, she goes off on her classic rant.
Firstly, Bubbie is angry at the show for not portraying the 60s how she remembers it, what with the show’s excessive drinking, smoking, and sex in the office. “When I worked in an office, they didn’t do that kind of stuff!”
Furthermore, Bubbie not only treats Jon Hamm as if he truly exists during the 1960s, but as if Jon Hamm is accountable for his character Don Draper’s actions. Whenever Don Draper does something that Bubbie doesn’t approve of (for instance, whenever Don has sex with a woman he’s not married to – an incident that occurs almost every episode and with what seems like a different woman every time), Bubbie is not only upset with but in disbelief that Jon Hamm would do such a thing, as if she’s oblivious to the profession of acting.
That’s when Bubbie whips out yet another one of her famous phrases, this time to express her disappointment with Jon Hamm’s behavior:
“Why, it’s disgusting!”
Copyright 2012 by G. E. Gallas