Partly because my best friend Ken Shiotani is one, I seem to be drawn to a fat man. Although when I first met him when I was 18, he was rather like a slim bear. Then the rapid growth started, to my utter amazement.
Once I was traveling in the rural areas. I stayed at an Onsen (hotspring) ryokan (Japanese style Inn). There was a fat man figure in the bath. It was actually a deity, but my memories are rather faint there. In any case, the fat man figure stayed with me to this day. The symbol of reassurance, good things in life, and perhaps a little bit of indulgence. Just the right amount.
When I "interview" Misako, Ken Shiotani's wife, she invariably tells me that Shiotani's protruded belly is an attraction, rather than an obstacle, in her loving of her husband. Misako actually loves to pat on the belly. She cannot get enough of it. It is actually like touching the immortal "Totoro" in Hayao Miyazaki's film. Patting on the belly is an action repeated many times by the onlookers to the Sumo wrestlers. Perhaps here you can find one of the reasons for the popularity of Sumo wrestlers.
A heavenly cushion in the flesh.
So here's to the fat ones. I dedicate some photos I took while on the road. I don't recall where they were taken. I must have drawn to the atmosphere of reassurance and indulgence. We all need a little bit of them in today's health over-conscious world.
The fat man figure.
The fat one, Ken Shiotani, in the front.
The slim one, Takashi Ikegami, in the back.
Both are my soul mates, fat or slim.
Shiotani's belly, taken on 10th June 2009.