Category Archives: Folk Lore

Two Thousand and Heleven

So, 2011.

Things That Are Good:

Janet’s Foss and Malham cove – went on the 2nd of January and intend to go again so that I can walk along the crazy paving bit without it being really dark and death inducing, and swim in the pool near Janet’s Foss (That sounds disgusting.)

Bruce Parry is doing a series about the Arctic! And riding Reindeer! And generally being great!

Things That Are Bad:

It’s cold and boring and there’s nothing to do in January.

Or Is There?

Was very tempted to go to the Straw Bear festival in Peterborough on the weekend of the 14th January;

In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a ‘Straw Bear’. A newspaper of 1882 reports that “… he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef” – Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival Website

The bears have a good old dance through the town accompanied by accordions and your usual folk malarkey, before being set fire to on Sunday afternoon – lovely

Also, it has been under some debate for the last half a year as to whether it is logistically possible to get to Up Hella Aa in the Shetland Isles, because it looks, frankly, insane. It seems to involve a great deal of people dressing up as vikings and burning stuff, and having researched further on YouTube, apparently also dancing stormtroopers. (Have a look for your self.)

Visit the website

Plans for this year include Ghyll Scrambling, making a herb garden, learning how to build stuff like furniture (and possibly some scaffolding in the livingroom) going to La Rosa Campsite, rock climbing, going to padstow for May Day celebrations, and designing some really stupid birthday cakes. OH, and this year I Will have a good halloween costume.

I am also registering as self employed and getting cracking at being a designer maker. Yesterday I got paid for painting a gallery; Bosh!

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Kyoto International Manga Museum

Back in England!

Today I am e-mailing the Kyoto International Manga Museum about an exhibition of Japanese Folklore I saw in August while we were there.

Japanese Folklore is heavily influenced by Shinto and Buddhism, as these are the two main religions in Japan. It features some of the most surreal characters and story lines I’ve ever come across, and I got particularly excited about some of the ‘Yōkai‘ or monster spirit characters, as they have the ability to shape-shift, have supernatural powers and tend to be pretty irritating – for example, there is one character who hides in trees above paths that travelers often tread,  transforms him self into a giant disembodied head, and falls out of the tree infront of said traveler to terrify him. There is another character who has a giant eye instead of a bottom, and uses this to terrify people in a similar fashion by pulling down his trousers when they least expect.

Often these characters are a mixture of human and animal, and some can originate from as exotic locations as ‘The Capital of The Moon’ so there’s no end of fun to be had reading  about them.

This is ‘Kappa’; a kind of humanoid child sized amphibious river spirit. Kappa inhabit ponds and rivers in Japan and like to fart loudly and look up lady’s Kimonos. Kind of looks very similar to ‘Ponyo’ from Miyazaki’s new film of the same name, but where as Kappa are quite happy just being Kappa, Ponyo is a goldfish who wants to be a human girl. (Sigh, awesome)

I was really impressed with the KIMM – not only does it have an absolutely phenomenal library of Manga new and old, it has a complete history of how it developed and a tonne of interactive  stuff like this:

You can also enjoy a beer outside on the astro turf – complete with fake dirt!

Want to go back to Japaaaan.

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Filed under Folk Lore, Friends, Illustration, Japan, Travel


Hello there. I’m in Vietnam, spending lots of my hard earned Dong.

I drew this in china but had to use it as an emergency tip money card for our ‘tour guide.’ Who knows what she will have thought of it… it is a drawing of ‘Pixiu’ the Horse Dragon; he is very lucky in China as he has a huge fat behind which means ‘nothing is getting out’ i.e, none of your money is going any where it shouldn’t.

I am currently drawing a lot around South East Asia and hope to do some more scribblings in Borneo in the new year…

Hopefully some of this should be shown in January in an exhibition starting the 25th of January. I hope! hope hope!

What else?

No, I don’t know either.

overandout xxx

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Filed under China, Folk Lore, Illustration, Travel, Vietnam