You are viewing imomus

click opera - A hairline as beautiful as the snowline
February 2010
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
 
 
 
 
 
 
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


ReplyThread

(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


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

Here she is at my suprise birthday party last week!


ReplyThread Parent
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?


ReplyThread

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

Chaaampointo wa kiiiiiwaado desu!


ReplyThread Parent
subalpine
subalpine
subalpine
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
Re: "beauty point"

her charm point is the double fujibitai then, right?

まだ富士額がクッキリ。赤ちゃんの顔です。

www.flickr.com/photos/perkypat/93642535


ReplyThread Parent
subalpine
subalpine
subalpine
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
Re: "beauty point"

and for a really tough one...
what's the charm point here? the fujibitai or the koala nose??


ReplyThread Parent


subalpine
subalpine
subalpine
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
Re: I found this googling "チャームポイント"

i guess it's clear from that last photo that Chihuahua and Tiger wear their charm points around their necks (in the eyes of the Lord)!


ReplyThread Parent

(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.


ReplyThread

(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.


ReplyThread
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.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 09:42 am (UTC)
Re: perfection

> 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.

This is indeed a kind of "received wisdom" - but to me doesn't stand up to a second's examination.


ReplyThread Parent
ultrakurtzwelle
ultrakurtzwelle
radio valkyrie
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)

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


ReplyThread
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?


ReplyThread Parent
ultrakurtzwelle
ultrakurtzwelle
radio valkyrie
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)

I also like those. Mainly for the ridiculous outraged replies they usually coax out of some.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)

I think the post this most resembles is the seminal New eyebrows, Old Labour, tracing the influence of British politician Denis Healey on young Japanese models like Rina Ohta.


ReplyThread Parent
ultrakurtzwelle
ultrakurtzwelle
radio valkyrie
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)

Yes like that. It also reminded me of the old essays you used to post on your website before the livejournal exodus.


ReplyThread Parent
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.


ReplyThread
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.


ReplyThread

(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?


ReplyThread
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..?


ReplyThread
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?


ReplyThread
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:


ReplyThread

(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.


ReplyThread

(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?


ReplyThread

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

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


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
Re: world view ??

Correct. Can't think what the last "band" I listened to was. On my turntable right now is "Angola: Circumcision School and Masks", some tribal music.

Amend, please, to:

"Momus is yet another cranky, hipper-than-thou indie guy, open-mindedly listening to tribes instead of bands."


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 23rd, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)

Has a connection yet been made between the possible industry-enforced-anorexia causing Aoi Yu's thinning hairline to your own hairloss? Malnutrition usually goes undiagnosed due to the subtle interpley between caloric content and nutritional content in the body as recognized by the mind and it's many iterative recollections of having reached the moment of sateity. Don't taper off into oblivion in attempts to keep the figure fey! Seaweeds, nuts, whole oats, root-vegetables, copious servings of leaf-herbs, and chicken-liver (even just as broth) are perfectly affordable adjuncts to a deficient diet. Eat, eat! When the mind has substance to fuel it so too again will it produce it! (Love the article, but conflating physical manifestations of poor or failing health with beauty...can be deluding on several levels. Western culture is rife with such misunderstandings; no need to gild them.)


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Feb. 23rd, 2009 10:49 am (UTC)

I think your comment runs the risk of being seen as "false sympathy syndrome", or "victim misogyny". It goes like this:

1. Take a healthy, young, successive attractive woman.

2. Posit the idea that there is something medically wrong with her, behind the facade of this success, or even staring us right in the face -- in her hairline! Gloss individuality as "poor or failing health".

3. Suggest, at least by implication, that she be taken out of the context of her success and medicated. That she shouldn't just be seen as a victim, but treated as one. Work "no obvious problem" up into "problem that often goes undiagosed".

4. Blame female victimhood on society's stereotyping of women, without seeing that your interpretation of the situation is an even more toxic piece of stereotyping. "She's a woman, she's successful, but women are victims, where's the snag?"

5. Describe any celebration of this woman as the celebration of some kind of structural cultural sickness. Might the person celebrating her also be a victim of some sort?

Luckily, there is a cure for False Sympathy Syndrome. Eat, eat, eat! Seaweeds, nuts, whole oats, root-vegetables, copious servings of leaf-herbs, and chicken-liver (even just as broth) can nurture appreciation of a person, not just a perceived "problem".


ReplyThread Parent
obelia
obelia
Oliver Jellyfish Twist
Mon, Feb. 23rd, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)

aaaaah
aaah aaaaaah I've only watched one movie with Aoi Yu in it but she is indeed incredibly beautiful. She's like a luxurious marle grey cat - jumper turned into a person. So elegant, dainty and natural!
mmm


ReplyThread
lightelation
lightelation
lightelation
Tue, Feb. 24th, 2009 09:24 am (UTC)

I think the fuji peak also illustrates that super super thick black lustrous hair used to be the thing and now all the magazine models seem to have much finer hair. or at least those slightly more high fashion magazine with all hapa models. similar to the interesting soft forehead hairlines, I notice more and more that their eyebrows have naturally sparse hair. to achieve a less harsh look, some people with thick hair trim the crap out of their brows with those little eyebrow scissors, keeping the hairs really short. I thought it was especially noticeable (and over-groomed looking) on sort of '90s-early '00s celebs like Hirai Ken, Utada Hikaru, Nakashima Mika, etc. Excuse the random reply to an off the wall post!


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 25th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
what an entry

about hairline ;)
how are you??? i am back to virtual world.
edine


ReplyThread