Japan has strong traditions dating back many millennia and the people of Japan are known for their excellent craftsmanship and designing skills, many of whom still flourish today and are coveted because of their excellent quality.
Growing rice, a basic staple, was one such tradition and rice fields were found all over the country. But over time, rice fields became fewer in some areas as the pace of modern life intensified.
In 1993, the village of Inakadate, in Aomori Prefecture, were looking for ways to rejuvenate their village.
The realization that rice had been grown in the area for over 2,000 years led the people of the village to the decision to honor the age old tradition by starting a paddy field behind the town hall and use it as a canvas to create giant artworks, using a combination of heirloom and newer strains of seeds, all of which produce plants of various colors and hues.
Mount Iwak, a stratovolcano in the Aomori Prefecture, was their first creation. At the time, they may not have realized the scale of planning involved to create the art projects they had in mind, so they recreated the volcano for the first nine years.
Having honed their skills on the simple design of the mountain, they were ready to move on to more challenging projects.
Although the people of the village were initially divided on whether to create traditional or international art which would feature the likes of famous people, place or artwork amongst others, in the end, variety won the vote and a new tradition, known as Tanbo art, grew from the village rice paddies.
Inakadate turned into a tourist attraction with visitors arriving during July and August in anticipation of viewing the art of that season.
To improve viewing of the whole picture, best done from above, a 22m mock castle tower was built at the village office and another observation tower was built at the second Tanbo art location.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Napoleon Bonaparte, Marilyn Manroe, Gone with the Wind and Star Wars, as well as Japanese heroes, anime characters and scenes were just some of the iconic images grown at the village’s rice paddy art gallery.
Although Inakadate was the first, and only place to exhibit rice paddy artworks, like all good ideas, it has spread across Japan and to Korea and Taiwan with over a 100 places now offering Tanbo art galleries.
Nirvana Sued by Baby on ‘Nevermind’ Cover, Who Alleges He Was ‘Sexual Exploitation’ Victim
The man who was depicted naked underwater as an infant in Nirvana’s iconic 1991 album “Nevermind” has sued the band, alleging that he was a victim of child pornography.
The lawsuit is likely to be a longshot, considering that non-sexualized photographs of infants aren’t considered child pornography by law.
However, Elden – whose penis was exposed in the image – argues that the image is tantamount to sexual abuse and exploitation. His lawyer, Robert Y. Lewis, claims that the fact that he appears to be chasing the dollar makes him appear to be “like a sex worker.”
Elden now launched legal action against the band’s surviving members and the estate of late frontman Kurt Cobain, whose executor is Courtney Love.
The lawsuit states: “The permanent harm he has proximately suffered includes but is not limited to extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations, interference with his normal development and educational progress, lifelong loss of income earning capacity, loss of past and future wages, past and future expenses for medical and psychological treatment, loss of enjoyment of life, and other losses to be described and proven at trial of this matter.”
The lawsuit, whose documents were seen by TMZ and Pitchfork, further argues that Elden has suffered “lifelong damages” and that members of Nirvana “knowingly benefitted from their participation” in his “commercial sexual exploitation.”
Continuing, the suit argues that neither he nor his parents authorized “the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him.”
The child ended up on the album cover after photographer Kirk Weddle convinced his father to allow it. The photos were taken at an Olympic size pool at the Pasadena Aquatic Center in California in 1992.
The family was paid $250 for the image, Entertainment Weekly reported at the time.
Elden had seemingly lived much of his life proud of his association with the album and has since recreated the image as an adult and even gotten the logo for “Nevermind” tattooed on his chest.
Since then, however, he has vocally complained of his relationship to the album.
Speaking to GQ Australia in 2016, he said:
“Recently I’ve been thinking, ‘What if I wasn’t OK with my freaking penis being shown to everybody?’ I didn’t really have a choice.”
He also claims that women have dumped him after finding out that he wasn’t earning royalties from the hit album, whose tracks have spent an enormous amount of time at the top of sales charts.
However, in a 2015 interview he also claimed to have greatly benefited from the image.
“It is a weird thing to get my head around, being part of such a culturally iconic image,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.
“But it’s always been a positive thing and opened doors for me. I’m 23 now and an artist, and this story gave me an opportunity to work with Shepard Fairey for five years, which was an awesome experience,” he added, referring to the Obey designer. “He is a huge music connoisseur: when he heard I was the Nirvana baby, he thought that was really cool.”
Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm
If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.
What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.
Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.
But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.
The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.
“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.
“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”
Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.
“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.
Bill Cosby’s Release From Prison Prompts Strong Mixed Reactions from Hollywood
The shock overturning of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction elicited a range of mixed reactions on Wednesday, with some greeting the release of the 83-year-old comedian and others sharply denouncing it.
On Wednesday afternoon, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ordered Cosby to be freed from prison after overturning his 2018 conviction for aggravated indecent assault.
One of the first to greet the news was Phylicia Rashad, Cosby’s co-star on The Cosby Show who played Clair Huxtable, the wife of Cosby’s iconic character Cliff Huxtable. In a Twitter post that was sent out minutes after the initial report, Rashad was ecstatic.
“Finally!!!!” she tweeted. “A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”
Following a backlash from Twitter users, she later tweeted:
“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
Attorney Lisa Banks, who has represented a number of prominent clients in sexual harassment and abuse cases, offered her own take on the release in an interview.
“Certainly the optics of this are terrible,” Banks said. “But the message has to be very clear and simple — that this was a mistake by prosecutors, a very unusual one and a technicality that is unlikely to happen again.”
Talk show host and Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera blamed “mob” justice for Cosby’s conviction in his own Twitter post.
“Told you so on Bill Cosby,” Rivera wrote. “He was convicted by a court so tainted by public opinion and social pressure that it allowed obviously prejudicial evidence and improper witnesses. He may be a bad guy, but in this case, he was railroaded by the mob.”
However, a number of female celebrities expressed their disturbance and anger over the “sickening” release of Cosby.
“I know many young women and men who are so afraid to press charges against their rapist and Re traumatize themselves I am heartbroken today to hear of the news of Cosby’s release,” tweeted actress Rosanna Arquette. “This is sickening. My heart is with my sister survivors. We have work to do.”
While comedian Kathy Griffin said that the release sent the wrong signal to women suffering sexual abuse, asking: “WHEN will things get better for women and girls regarding sexual assault, sexism, misogyny, and ageism? What will it take? So discouraged.”
Rapper Ice T posted a photoshopped image of a yoked out Bill Cosby covered in tattoos and posing with the caption: “SMH…”
50 Cent threw caution and nuance to the wind in outright celebrating Cosby’s release, referring to the elderly actor’s critics as hoe’s in a since-deleted Instagram post of a Jell-O pudding pops ad with the caption: “My son Bill beat that case, These hoe’s be tripping. LOL check out FOR LIFE on IMDb Tv now!”
Meanwhile, Indiana hip hop artist Freddie Gibbs kept his message simple, noting that accused sex trafficker and R&B star R. Kelly would be “definitely calling Bill Cosby lawyers right now.”
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