Delightfully Desecrating Public Spaces

dog in Ebisu.


The Mean Streets or Streets With Meaning.



thgr_nopain. 06jul21.

Are you working too hard? What is life all about? This composition posits: "Too Much Pain, Too Much Gain" on a metal garage door in Ebisu (Tokyo). Add the dollar signs, but why not include the Yen sign? R.I.P.-will you if all you did was work for money? Dochi in Japanese asks "Which one will it be?" An counter to the "No pain, No gain" truism.

Tokyo used to be "graffiti free" and blank walls remained just that. Some disparage the graffiti that has blossomed since the late '90s but...I think these are unique windows into the modern Japanese mindset. A peculiarily Japanese sense of design and sense of self in society comes through. Sometimes a light hearted spirit is in the message. Is this another case of English used as Japanese?

thgr_dressup. 06jul21.

"Dress Up Car Club, Happy Mania" found in Nakayama (Kanazawa-ken) on an overpass of a bike path along the river. I didn't know that mania was happy, did you? Yes, you should dress up if you are in a car club.

thgr_wall. 06jul21.

A wallfull of Hon Atsugi scrawl. Very. Dobg? Knack. Sruk? Gang names? Favorite bands? Random? (keitai)

thgr_locals. 06feb.

"LOCALS ONLY." Posted in English. Did Japanese surfers and beach lovers spray paint this to keep the four or five non-Japanese on the island off the beach? The local highway department was busy dismantling this section of highway wall when I last drove by it on my way to Nushima. Along the coastal road of southern Awaji-island. And, what is "local" anyway? If you live on a small island, isn't everyone local by default? Or, is "local" families who have lived on the island for the past 10,000 years?

thgr_larip. .

"I LA. RIP." newly spray painted in a pedestrian underpass to the Enoshima beach, to the disgruntlement of quite a few Japanese passersby. Was I startled! Did an American let this one loose? If so, I can understand. If a Japanese chose to share this sentiment, what does it mean?

Kamakura Graffiti


By the sea, a humble underpass to the beach in Kamakura favored by wet-suited jet skiers, wind surfers and surfer dudes, this series of extroverted graffiti begs the question: Why is faux-Spanish script popular in Japan?

thgr_basic. Kamakura, January 1st, 2007. Basic.

The message is "Basic." And, my question is, "Why is so much of Japan's graffiti in English?"

thgr_can. Kamakura, January 1st, 2007.

OK, what IS this? Someone went to a lot of trouble to produce a flaming trash can, or crushed ship buoy, or very stylish spray can with a Popeye snarl. Which brings up the question, "Why is such a large percentage of graffiti indeciferable?" This brings graffiti into the realm of a true foreign language, with a message for those in the know, and entertaining visual static for the rest of us. Mysterious, isn't it?

thgr_supersound. Kamakura, January 1st, 2007.

"Super Sound." What sound is that? Why was this so important to someone? Well, that wraps up the Kamakura beach graffiti show. Let's go enjoy the beach and search for tiny sea shells.