Tuesday, January 04, 2005

beware of the alien stalker

at precisely 4:30 pm, each afternoon, a musical melody sounds through the streets of tachikawa, tokyo. much like the tune an icecream van would belt out to alert kids it was time to whip out their pocket money.  for many months i thought that's exactly what is was and often wondered what a tokyo ice cream van would look like.  i visualised some hip harajuku punk serving elaborately decorated soft serve from a hot pink, bedazzled van. but something didn't add up when i continued to hear what i thought was an ice cream van cruising the streets at 4:30pm on frosty winter afternoons, thought it a little strange, didn't seem to make good business sense, but also figured...'this IS tokyo'.

i had questioned some friends about the melody but no one really seemed to know what i was talking about. when 4:30pm approached and i heard the ice cream van, i launched to my feet pointing out to the street "that noise, hear it? that's the noise i've been telling you about! what is it?" barely looking up from his magazine zume replied "all kids have to go home". still confused i again questioned "no, that sound, like a song, is it an ice cream truck?" this time looking at me like I was the weird one zume repeated "it's time for all kids to go home. when they hear that noise it means it's getting late and it's time to go homely safely. they have to be careful"

oh of course, silly me, why didn't i know that?? makes perfect sense, right? the musical melody wasn't a reminder to eat dessert, it was like a neighbourhood pied piper luring the children home safely.

which got me to thinking. recently i have noticed some rather odd signs posted in the neighbourhood. my japanese is far from perfect and the posters really could be about anything, but the the blue oval underneath the alien's outstretched arms reads su-to-ka, sound it out...its the japanese pronounciation of an english word..su-to-ka, su-to-ka...that's right STALKER. these signs, hung on every second pole, are obviously warning children and women to watch out for the alien-like stalker, that leaps out from behind poles wearing a strange devil/frog costume (possibly bought from Tokyu Hands).

alien frog stalker


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