Ueno’s Ojarus

Mike GristHeaven Artists, Japan 4 Comments

Ojarus are a couple of tea-cosy aficionados gone mad- either that or they’ve got some outlandish head-shapes. I caught up with them in Ueno just as they were finishing their bit of Heaven Artistry, and so I really don’t know what they did for their act. Perhaps poked people in the eye with their long blue head-hats? Tuned into to long-wave AM radio and danced along to Thrash Elvis out of Missouri (the home of Thrash Elvis, or so I’m told)?

Heaven Artists- FourLegsMAN

Mike GristHeaven Artists, Japan 6 Comments

FourLegsMAN is the creation of Heaven Artist Chikurino, a delightful fusion of creepy black-clad stalker, entrancing four-legged mime and hilariously shocking legs akimbo flasher. Like the Black Widow he draws in his prey with mesmerizing foot-work, four legs walking him smoothly on and off his box and round his den until all eyes are set on trying to determine- ‘how is he doing that, and which are his real legs?’ Then he ups skirts, the two fake legs hoist like a giant maw opening, and he charges down his unwitting prey- normally school-girls who dash away laughing hysterically.

Ueno’s Masahiro Tatematsu

Mike GristHeaven Artists, Japan 7 Comments

Masahiro Tatematsu is another heaven artist like Yukinko Akira, regularly putting out a unique and innovative street-entertainment product that had to pass multiple auditions to get through. He is a self-styled bicycle percussionist, playing  a motley assortment of xylophones, mini drums, cymbals, castanets, a Tanzanian thumb piano, tambourines and more, all of which fold up and fit into the panniers on his bike. While performing he syncs these instruments together with an erudite patter explaining the blues scale as he plays it, or the African scale, or what jazz syncopation is. Masahiro Tatematsu.

Yoyogi’s Yukinko Akira

Mike GristHeaven Artists, Japan 11 Comments

Yukinko Akira is a funky beats-master artist, skinny and frantic and one heck of a showman. He performs regularly at the fountains in Yoyogi Park, his own unique brand of frenetic dance moves, dance beat remixes, and exhilarating yawps and whoops, all the while constructing some dystopic work of art which he signs, rolls up into a poster case, and hands out for free to one lucky spectator at the end, with a wry smile and very polite manner. Then he pauses, re-frames, and rocks right out again. What a guy. Yukinko Akira puts a trance on you.