I will never get tired of talking about the super-famous manga artist Umezu Kazuo, and his famous house. Seriously, when he built a red-and-white striped house in Kichijoji a few years ago, there was a huge stir. Helicopters flew over, reporting on the construction, and how the neighbors were upset to see “such an eyesore.”
I don’t know. I think it looks cool, don’t you?
Here is his english homepage: http://umezz.com/en/index.htm
He is most well-known overseas for The Drifting Classroom, I think, but in Japan he is really, really famous! Especially for his work called “Makoto-chan,” about a mischevious little boy. The boy always wore a striped shirt and made a rude hand gesture. That’s what his house, which is not his real home, is based around. The house is immaculate, but his real home, an apartment in the area, is a pig sty. It used to be his manga studio as well. I visited that too, but I didn’t take any pictures! I wish that I had! (I have a DVD of the time that I was there, I will try to dig it out!)
Here is Umezu-sensei himself:
You can kind of tell by looking at the picture, but Umezu-sensei is a crackpot! He is in his mid-70s, but full of energy! He likes all kinds of weird things and runs around quoting sound effects…
Which is just the kind of old man that I like!! 😀
Also, I’ve never seen this talked about in English, but Umezu-sensei isn’t married. He isn’t in any relationship. Both when I asked him, and when he’s been on tv other times, when asked whether he’s had any lovers before, he just shrugs and looks away, or refuses to answer.
There are all sorts of rumors that he is gay, or that he is maybe even asexual. He could be a 70-year old virgin, even! When he was younger, he was certainly very busy, publishing several different weekly manga at the same time!
Not that it matters, but it is curious. 🙂 I didn’t see any evidence that someone (his gay lover, maybe?) was staying at his personal apartment, but I never did look in his bedroom. 🙂
On to the house! You’ll see, it’s full of weird things! The kid with his mouth open is his famous Makoto-chan. 🙂
And this is the foyer of his house, in which there is a trick mirror and all sorts of interesting things! I would LOVE to go back there! I’ve been there twice, once for my tv show and once for the paper. 🙂 Now that I am more comfortable in my skin, though, I would love to go back!!
Umezu-senseiiiiiiiiiiiiii, invite me back agaiiiiiiin!!! 😀 😀 😀
In case you wondered, yes he does always wear a striped shirt. This is his closet:
And everything is red and awesome!
There is also a gorgeous stained-glass mural in the lobby. 🙂
He drew a picture of me the second time that I came. I have it hanging on my wall, in a place of honor. Who wouldn’t?? It’s a very rare gift indeed, one that I will treasure forever!!
If you’re in Japan and want to see the Umezu-house for yourself, it is really easy to find from Kichijoji station!
Just follow the map to the purple dot! Google street view cleverly hides the house, but if you’re there in person you can’t miss it! 😉 It is not open to the general public, but it’s pretty from the outside too, and as long as you’re not causing a commotion, I don’t see any problem with quietly visiting! *^^*
Have you been there?