05 May 2012

The Story of "Busu Kawaii" Wasao and Kikuya-san the Ika-Yaki Lady

As we bicycled through Akita and Aomori, Jerome and I saw some mangy looking dogs tied up by the roadside, who barked as we passed by.

And of course, one of our most memorable brief interactions was with the ika-grilling lady, waiting patiently for customers at her grill as she has probably done for at least the past 50 years, and will do as long as she is able to stand up.  This rest stop was somewhere on the coast of Aomori between Senjojiki and Mutsu-Akaishi, just west of Ajigasawa.

The ika griller brought to mind a story that captivated Japanese dog lovers recently -- the story of Wasao, the 'ugly cute' dog and his master, Kikuya-san, an ika-grilling lady of Ajigasawa ... who became famous after being discovered by a Japanese blogger.  I was glad to hear that their current fame and relative prosperity are due to a blog entry that went "viral".

Their story is told here (Japanese only):

... or you can look for the 2011 major motion picture "Wasao-The Movie", starring Yakushimaru Hiroko as the ika-griller.  It is the kind of sentimental tale that Japanese love and that brings tears to the eyes.  Unfortunately, it was released soon after the March 11, 2011 disasters, when Japan was in no mood to go out to movie theaters.

It is easy to understand the connection between man's best friend, the dog, and the motion picture industry -- the attraction is obvious.  Sounder, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Benji, White Fang, Old Yeller, Air Bud and countless other dogs have graced the big screen.

But I think there also may be a connection between the lowly Ika -- a/k/a cuttlefish or squid -- and motion pictures.  Where did the Sci Fi special effects gurus get their model for the monsters in the movie Alien?

Dried squid:

"Squid" on face -- from the motion picture "Alien".

No comments: