You have found the first (and not the last) of my secret pages. Following the example of One Piece author Oda Eiichiro who is fond of hiding secrets in his manga, I've decided that this would be a fun diversion for visitors to my site. So keep looking for the secret sections!
An Explanation of the Introduction Image
This is either a work of art or something that might give serious critics a heart attack. Either way this is exactly the kind of image I was hoping to create for newcomers to the site. It represents Japan and the site itself in quite a few respects. This site is a gathering of all sorts of information on Japan, modern and historic. Note that the image contains Japanese 'traditional' processions and famous artwork but also features pop and rock stars. Many themes are jumbled together in a rather crowded fashion which is much like Japan. Eighty percent covered in mountains with limited living space, a 'culture' that borrows and modifies ideas from all over the world, that is both modern and historic Japan.
As this website is based on the Grand Line, a nautical region from the manga One Piece that contains "everything" one desires, I hope this image successfully conveys to the visitor that this website will have a little bit of everything concerning Japan. That is my mission with this speck of digital space so I hope you enjoy it! Now here are the stories behind the images in this logo. I have color-coded and numerically labeled the different parts of the picture so that you can locate the pieces with ease. I will list these by color groups.
Light Blue1: Female model Miho Tanaka dressed as punk vocalist manga character Nana Osaki from the manga NANA. Scanned from the Winter 2003 issue of manga OMO! an article titled "Lovely Girl X Punkish Girl". This article applied the fashions of the two main characters from NANA to the real world.
2: Female model Naoko Tokuzawa dressed as the happy and free-spirited Nana Komatsu from the manga NANA. Once again, from the same article mentioned above. I decided to put these two women here because once again they provide an example of the variety you will encounter here....and yes they are also easy on the eyes.
Green1: Sir Crocodile and Robin Nico, characters from the manga One Piece, scanned from the cover of OP Volume 21. This site's introductory theme was inspired by OP and since I do enjoy the series very much, I wanted to incorporate something from it in the logo. To be honest, from the moment I saw the covers of OP Volumes 21 and 22, I knew that I needed to use at least part of them for something special. The image of Sir Crocodile opposing Luffy on the image was my first solid idea and I worked from there up.
2: This is an image of a procession during Sendai City's Aoba Matsuri, a spring festival that takes place during the third weekend of May in Miyagi Prefecture's Sendai City.
3:Characters Luffy and Zoro from One Piece. This was scanned from the cover of OP Volume 22. These two particular covers were unique from the rest as they made one whole image when placed next to each other.
4: I scanned this from a set of post cards my host father in Kouchi prefecture gave to me. This is an image of downtown Kouchi City of Kouchi Prefecture during the evening. In the foreground you can make out a red bridge. This is Harimaya Bridge or Harimayabashi, which became renowned after it was mentioned in a story and subsequently a local song called "Yosakoi-bushi". The lyrics are as follows:Tosa no Kochi Harimayabashi de
Bosan kanzashi kau wo mita
Which means, "In Kouchi of Tosa at the Harimaya Bridge, I saw a priest buy a hairpin. Come in the night, come in the night." This is part of a much longer song that is played during Yosakoi Matsuri. I have actually "danced" (if you can call it that) to this song in front of a group of Rotarians during the Farewell Party in Kouchi during my first trip to Japan. I would provide a picture, but my video capture card has decided to stop working properly. The story on which the song is based details a failed love between a junior priest of a Chikurin Temple, (located in Godaisan of Kouchi) and then the forbidden love between the same woman and a temple priest. The song above is when the junior priest purchased a hairpin for the woman, evidently near that very spot. A detailed recount of the story may be read here if you would like to know the whole tale.
And here you thought it was just a random picture ^_^
Purple1: Commonly known in America only as "The Great Wave" the full title is Fugaku Sanjuurokukkei: Kanagawaoki Namiura which localized means "36 Views of Mount Fuji [Series]: In the Hollow of a Wave off the Coast at Kanagawa". This is the first of the famous 36-print set that showcases the mountain from thirty-six different locations. The woodblock artist Hokusai created the series from 1826-1833 and also coined the term "manga" which would eventually describe Japanese comics.
2: At the time of this site's creation, summer 2003, this man was the Prime Minister of Japan, Koizumi Junichiro. He is unique for being a little more "free" than Japan's past Prime Ministers in his hobbies. For example, he was openly a huge fan of the rock group X Japan.
3: This little piece of mountain top is from another one of Hokusai's "36 Views" series. This is number 2, commonly called "Red Fuji". Although you can't tell at ALL in this image, I blended both prints for the background and they looked pretty darn cool if I do say so myself. I used this particular print because I have a photo-stand with this image in my room that was purchased for me by my host mother from Matsuyama City, Ms. Shima.
Yellow1 & 2:These are both images of the same fellow, 'Daishi', lead singer of the visual kei group Psycho le Cemu. This group is famous for putting cosplayers from all around the world to shame by parading around in incredibly intricate costumes in videos and on stage when they perform. These particular images were from the cover of their Doppelganger release.
Red1:I lost my notes on this particular image which I picked up one evening on a whim. I do not know what festival this is from, but this gentleman is dressed in armor and equipped with a blade and musket for the purposes of a festival.
2: Ex-Morning Musume member Goto Maki. This was scanned from the cover of Morning Musume's 4th Album. Maki currently (August 2003) enjoys her career as a soloist and Gomattou member.
Blue1: This one I should hope everyone knows. It is the flag of Japan known commonly as the Hi no Maru.
2: The character Son Gokuu from the popular manga Dragon Ball. This image was scanned from the cover of the Dragon Ball Perfect Collection manga that began circulation on December 9th, 2002. Since Dragon Ball pulled me into studying Japan and remains to occupy a very special place in my heart, it is only fitting that I add it here as a part of myself.
3: These fellows are part of the comedy television program Warau Inu "Laughing Dog". Their skits and gags range from in-studio pranks to messing with the minds with Russian television reporters during the 2002 World Cup. One of their bits was performing as the fictional pop group Happatai which means "Green Leaves" and sang a song they called "YATTA!" It should come as no big surprise that since the song was catchy it spawned a real music video, single and DVD release. This completely faux group has even performed in America on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" show.
So there you go, now you know what its all about! Keep looking for more secrets!