The Tokyo Nail Expo has come to an end for this year, but here’s my favorite part to share with you: the Nail Art Contest. This year’s theme was “Tokyo Character(s).” It’s not clear what type of “character” that means, but hey, the art is amazing as always. The theme was pretty vague, as it generally is, so there’s a lot of room for interpretation.
Just to be clear for readers who may be joining us, this is not my work.
Here’s some of the entries, in no particular order, along with some commentary.
Akihabara, featured on these nails, used to be *the* geek hangout in Tokyo. No matter how creepy the individual, Akihabara was a judgement-free zone where all things dweeby were cherished. That all changed a couple years back when a guy armed with a knife stabbed pedestrians on the street. Now it’s more sanitized, though there are still warnings on the escalators to “be careful of upskirt photos!” The girlish figure is a maid from one of the local “maid cafe” places, where the female employees tell dweeby guys how wonderful they are and call them “master,” while dressed up in maid outfits. All for a hefty price, of course. It’s more about flattering the emasculated male than anything overtly sexual, but I still find it a bit creepy. (Hahahaha, guess who majored in sociology? Lecture over. More nail pics!)
A more traditional entry, featuring floral patterns reminiscent of old kimono fabric. Sorry for the reflection in the photos- the displays made photography difficult.
Cats, bows, pandas, roses, puzzle pieces, a high heel and the Tokyo Sky Tree, a new (and I think unfortunately, rather ugly) Tokyo landmark, though I’m not sure where the giant toadstools fit in. Very eclectic- these nails have it all!
Another entry featuring the Tokyo Sky Tree and…a bus tour. The blue flag on the Sky Tree tower says “Tokyo Bus Tours.” Also featured are some landmarks: Asahi Building, a building on Odaiba Island whose name I can’t remember, old Tokyo Station, Sensoji Temple, Tokyo Tower and Shibuya 109. Apparently these nails travel by bus, but I’d recommend the subway any day.
??? I think the building on the left is a historic Tokyo department store (someone please correct me if I’m wrong) and the old Tokyo Station, plus Tokyo Tower. I have no clue what the cats mean, though at least they seem to be practicing self-acceptance. I’d love to hear the artist tell the story behind these!
Nails featuring a ‘maneki nekko,’ or lucky cat, a red sea bream fish, plus some cherry blossoms and a map of Tokyo subway lines. Nice balance and attention to details.
And just for your viewing pleasure, some sumo-butt. Quite well-rendered and their ‘mawashi’ (their sumo g-string undies) have real dangly bits on them, just like in real life. But I don’t think I’d want to stare at a large man’s rear end crack on my nails all day. But that’s just me.
Also, just a little friendly reminder. Nail art contests are generally held to show off painting and design skills, using nails as an art medium. Unfortunately, I often get a lot of negative comments when I post contest pictures. I’m moderating comments and blocking unpleasant comments about how gross these nails are, how only disgusting people have nails like this, etc. Love it or hate it, it’s still art!