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A hairline as beautiful as the snowline - click opera
February 2010
 
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Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 12:00 am
A hairline as beautiful as the snowline

This is perhaps the most important blog entry you will read all year. With today's entry, things really come to a head. No, it's not about fictitious capital and its role in the current financial meltdown. It's bigger than that. It's about Aoi Yu's hairline.



Aoi Yu -- and I might as well admit she's my favourite celebrity right now -- has an irregular hairline. I consider it a "beauty point", and today I want to investigate the Japanese terminology for hairline shapes. In English, of course, we have terms like "widow's peak" -- Stephin Merritt made me sing about one in the poignant As You Turn To Go.

I turned, of course, to Hisae to ask what Aoi Yu's beautifully broken hairline might be called, and the first word she came up with was fujibitai: Fuji forehead (from Fuji and hitai, forehead).

I was immediately delighted, imagining that the hairline was being compared with the irregular, ever-changing snowline around the summit of Mount Fuji. So poetic! But it turned out that fujibitai, although it does refer to Mount Fuji, is more about finding an upside-down picture of the volcano in the kind of hairstyle I'd describe as a "Dracula peak" -- the kind seen in these pictures, the first of which shows Hara Setsuko, a favourite actress of Ozu:



Geishas are supposed to have a fujibitai, and a wig is often worn to provide the pointy peak. When you get married in traditional Japanese style you're also supposed to wear a fujibitai wig, and there are web pages that tell you exactly how far the peak should ride above your eyebrows.



But we were barking up the wrong volcano. Aoi Yu's hair is not peaked but downy, and the word in Japanese for that is ubuge. The best place to see her ubuge hair in motion is the series Osen, where Yu plays the quirky manageress of a slow food restaurant, wearing traditional clothes and pinned hairstyles all the way through.

Watching Osen, I found myself as fascinated by Yu's hair as the plot. I was tempted to freeze the frame and make a diagram of the three distinct types of hairline Yu has. See if you can spot them in this photo:



The three zones I see there:

1. Widely-spaced normal head hair, set quite far back on the skull, creating that distinctive bulge on Yu's forehead.

2. A downy zone of baby hair, again adding a babyish quality. Technically, I think this is called lanugo hair, and forms part of the pelage.

3. Stray strands of 1, hanging down loose over the forehead, but widely-spaced enough to leave, around them, some of the baby lanugo visible. These strands add a lot of charm, and might be more visible at the end of the day, when a formal, flat hairstyle is starting to come undone, or when the wind is blowing.

Here are some people with bun-pinned, downy hair who aren't Aoi Yu (the one on the right is a friend, Berlin-based musician Midori Hirano):



There are some photos of Aoi Yu in which this beauty point -- her downy or ubuge hair -- falls just on the wrong side of the line, and she looks a bit gappy or even receding:



But 90% of the time her dynamic and irregular hairline is an imperfection that improves on perfection, the kind of quirky and humanising "beauty point" that sets Aoi Yu apart from thousands of other beautiful women and makes her completely irresistible. Who cares if the whole banking system falls into the sea, as long as there are still women in the world with hairlines as beautiful as the snowline on Mount Fuji?

32CommentReplyShare

squirtlle
squirtlle
Jessica
Sat, Feb. 21st, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)

i love this


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Feb. 21st, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC)

Wonderful post, thanks. Made my evening.

Also: You're friends with Midori Hirano? I slowly get the feeling my entire music library/taste revolves around you in some way.

-r


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Feb. 21st, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)

Here she is at my suprise birthday party last week!


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psychronic
grand trunk
Sat, Feb. 21st, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)

Ah I thought I recognised her--she's Alice from Hana and Alice! I love that film, my girlfriend watches it like 3 times a day. Is she a big time celebrity now?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 01:46 am (UTC)
Re: "beauty point"

Chaaampointo wa kiiiiiwaado desu!


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 01:37 am (UTC)

I never knew there was a word to describe my hairline (the unfortunate fujibitai kind). My favourite Aoi Yu look is in Dandelion.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)
perfection

indeed momus imperfection makes perfection.im thinking specifically about jane birkin,her hair lines pretty regular but those teeth...they i reckon are the reason she is without doubt the most beautiful women who ever lived.chloe sveigny and her nose also...
that song as you turn to go is haunting.whats the instrumentation it really lends itself to the melancholic atmosphere.
by the way ahy scotish dates looming it would be great to see the joemus album performed in full(with germilin) then the whole of ping pong...what a evening that woulkd be.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
Re: perfection

It's a zither, I think, and it's played by Brian Dewan, who's a talented artist in his own right.

I'm talking to Martin MacDonald about playing a show in Glasgow sometime later in the year -- watch this space, etc. Germlin will be based in Berlin from next month, though, so it's just as expensive to fly him into Glasgow as it is me.


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Re: perfection - (Anonymous) Expand
ultrakurtzwelle
ultrakurtzwelle
radio valkyrie
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)

These are the kind of momus posts that i like the best.


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trickseybird
trickseybird
Bruce Springsteen, you're not the boss of me
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)

You're not as partial to the ones about crying girls getting laeped in porn?


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fishwithissues
fishwithissues
jordan fish
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)

this entry could have used two to three more graphs. an overhead view of mount fuji is not a map, either.


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arboretums
arboretums
annyong!
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 08:27 am (UTC)

I used to fall asleep to Hyacinths and Thistles for a good part of a year in my teenagehood. As that was the first song on the album, naturally it ended up being the only one I would really make it through.
I started reading Click Opera about one year ago, never really making the connection that it was you doing the vocals, until about two months ago, causing a great amount of excitement and subsequent pointing out to my roommate how small the internet is.
Thank you for finally bringing it up so I can tell you this mundane story.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 10:14 am (UTC)

How is your hairline these days, Momus? Still receding or have you stopped it in its tracks?


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subalpine
subalpine
subalpine
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 10:46 am (UTC)

the first two photos, esp., are so nice together - now i want fujibitai to mean what you originally imagined!

and the title reminds me of one of my favorite lines from Shigematsu's Zen Forest translations:
...eyebrows, like snowed-over banks


but now where can we find photos of the famed quatre cents coups-bitai..?


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 11:11 am (UTC)

Well, if yours is going I guess you appreciate those of others more, amirite?


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)

Also, as usual, glam_lolz was way, WAY ahead of you:


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)

Given your musical and intellectual affinity with Eno/Bowie, it's rather surprising that you neither have an interest in black women or a monthly subscription to Bottoms.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
world view ??

"Momus seems to be yet another cranky, hipper-than-thou indie guy, close-mindedly isolating himself into only listening to bands that aren't popular.
Posted by: haha at February 15, 2008 6:26 PM | Reply"
i found this on the stereogum or something web site.iam curious if there is any truth to this at all.....thats all?


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
Re: world view ??

not truth to it, as Momus doesn't listen to any "bands."


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