eau de parfum PERFECT JAPANESE WOMAN
- a perfume art for filling imaginations for a perfect Japanese woman -
perfume artwork, installation (2008)
This artwork consists of 4 fragrances. Like in a perfume shop, you are free to spray them on the paper strips, smell them, and even to wear them. After spraying, please allow 20 seconds until alcohol vaporizes completely, then enjoy the smell.
Each smell symbolizes how Japanese society expect women to be. All the essences are manually extracted from the natural (raw) materials with distillation method or alcohol extraction method by the artist.
No. 1 Nukamiso
- the scent of motherhood -
There is an expression about housewives in Japanese: "A woman that stinks like Nukamiso". It's an expression for the women who are so much stuck in the family life that they are not attractive as women anymore.
Nukamiso is salted rice-bran paste for making pickles. Every family used to have a bucket that looks like a sauerkraut barrel. The Nukamiso paste needs daily maintenance. Therefore the hands of the housewives used to stink pretty sour like Nukamiso . Mentioning such a smell was used as a metaphor for insulting housewives.
But that is slowly becoming the past. Nowadays, Nukazuke became something to buy at the supermarket, so no woman knows anymore how to make Nukazuke at home. In the near future women that stink like Nukamiso would not be seen with the traditional sense, but would be recognized as super feminine and sexy women! Don't be too late. When you serve Nukazuke to your husband, make sure that you spray this perfume on your hands, so that he thinks that you've made it yourself. This is the eternal scent for motherhood.
(It's a pickling paste made with rice bran. It smells like 'zaurkraut'. I used alcohol to extract the smell.)
No. 2 Tatami
- the scent of freshness as new tatami
A Japanese proverb says: "Wives and tatami's are better when they are new."
Tatami is the traditional Japanese carpet and floor woven from rush. The traditional house is made with tatami and shoji (rice paper doors and windows). New tatami is always preferred because it's clean and also giving the fresh and comforting smell of rush. However the smell disappears as time goes by. That has become a metaphor for a wife.
You would question: is it only a wife that is better when it's fresh? How about a husband then? Let's leave that question aside for a moment. If you want to feel fresher and younger as a woman, this perfume is ideal for you. It's the perfume for any generations.
* Most of the Japanese women give up their jobs and become pure housewives when they get married or when they get children.
(Japanese people make hard carpet with weaving this grass. The whole floor of Japanese house is made with this mat, so it's an important substance of Japanese house-smell. I used alcohol to extract the smell.)
No. 3 Miso Soup
- the scent of a woman in the kitchen -
A happy morning is to wake up with the sound of the kitchen and the smell of miso soup – that's the traditional image of a family. Japanese people eat a warm meal in the morning. Perhaps it has already become the past.
If you want to wake up your family with such an elegance, this perfume can help you. This Miso Soup Perfume can be used as a room spray. The family will wake up with the happiness resulting from the smell of Miso Soup.
This perfume is also useful for fooling the nose of your husband, in case you want to pretend that you've been working all day in the kitchen.
(It's a national soup made with miso, a fermented soy bean paste. I made the soup in the flask and extracted the smell with water distillation method.)
No. 4 Soap
- the scent of pureness and cleanness -
One of the most important morning rituals for Japanese high school girls is to wash their hair just to scent the hair with the smell of shampoo. If you don't have time to take a shower in the morning, you can scent your hair and your body with this perfume: the smell of the soap.
Japanese men prefer women that represent pureness and cleanness. Don't worry if you aren't. This perfume will also emphasize the attractive contrast in yourself.
* Japanese people like the smell of soap very much. Women often purchase perfumes that smell like a soap.
(I scraped a soap and extracted the smell with water distillation method.)
Gallery Roodkapje, Rotterdam (PREMIER), 09.2008.
Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, 17-25.10.2009.
World Technology Network Award, New York, 07.2009.
Artists Summit Kyoto, Japan, 12.2009.
How to Become a "Perfect Japanese Woman"
This work is based on the manual I wrote in 2002 for my friend Homeira, who was a refugee from Afghanistan. We were in the same Dutch language school meant for immigrants and refugees. She was an activist and asked me to write an article for a feminism magazine she was editing. This is the text I wrote for her.
-MANUAL- HOW TO BECOME A "PERFECT" JAPANESE WOMAN
[1. GENERAL MANNER]
1.1. Smile all the time.
1.2. Smile cute.
1.3. Don't show your emotions too much.
1.4. Don't be opinionated too much. Behave as an innocent being. Follow men always faithfully.
1.5. Don't show your cleverness too much, but it is important to be clever not to make any mistake on following things which are written here.
1.6. Care and stay attentive to people around you all the time.
1.7. Be nice and generous to the people around you all the time.
1.8. Create the nice and soft atmosphere while talking, discussing, speaking.
1.9. Speak Japanese Language in woman's style. (There is quite a big difference between man's Japanese and woman's Japanese.)
1.10. Don't talk loud. Speak softly.
1.11. Don't smoke.
1.12. Don't wind.
1.13. Don't belch.
1.14. Don't pick your nose.
1.15. Don't yawn without putting your hand over your mouth.
1.16. Don't laugh too loud, but laugh softly. If you want to laugh loud, then put your hand over your mouth.
1.17. Don't appeal your sexuality too much but stay sexy: Don't wear too tight trousers, because men could see through the line of your panty. Don't wear the white shirts with dark-colourd brassiere, because men could see through your bra, which is considered too sexy.
1.18. Don't make-up in the public space. Go to a toilet when you do it.
1.19. Show your weakness. Don't try to carry a heavy suitcase by yourself,
try to ask men to help you. That will make your impression cute.
1.20. Sit in woman's style. Bend your knees, and don't open your legs.
1.21. When you stairs up, be careful not to let anybody see your panty.
1.22. Don't walk bandy-legged.
[2. BODY CARE AND FASHION]
2.1. Shave your legs.
2.2. Shave under your arms.
2.3. Shave your chin.
2.4. Keep your skin as smooth as possible.
2.5. Keep your skin as white as possible. Don't let it sun tanned.
2.6. Wash your face every morning and evening. After washing the face, put the cosmetic water (called "keshousui") and then milky cream (called "nyuueki"), and on the top, put UV-cut foundation. Pack your face once in a while.
2.7. A liver spot on your skin is evil.
2.8. Put make-up on always.
2.9. Make up your hairs too.
2.10. Keep your sole soft and clean.
2.11. Wear skirts.
2.12. Use the feminine color like pink efficiently in your fashion.
[3. SANITARY CARE]
3.1. Carry tissues or a handkerchief all the time with you. Be ready to use it when it is needed.
3.2. Take a bath everyday and keep yourself clean.
3.3. The impression of 'clean' is important.
3.4. Don't let any man suspect when you have a period. Off course don't even tell him that you have a period.
4.1. Don't let anybody suspect that you are going to the toilet. It will damage men's fantasy for women: "oh my god... how could such a lovely beautiful lady pee and poop...!" , for example.
4.2. If you have to excuse yourself, say "Excuse me, but I go to pick up some flowers."
4.3. Don't let anybody hear the sound when you pee/poop. Flush before you start things so that the water sound erases the sound you make. A lot often each room has a speaker which makes an fake water sound, so use this one to be ecological friendly.
[5. AT THE OFFICE]
5.1. Make a tea or a coffee for men always. You offer before being asked.
5.2. Don't say your opinion.
5.3. Don't show your ability of work too much; always respect a man;Remember that you are a woman and stay smile, patient, passive, then you will never get fired from companies.
6.1. If you've bought some toilet papers, then you should put them in a bag, not to make it too obvious that you carry toilet papers with you. Be aware that holding toilet papers is not for perfect Japanese woman.
6.2. If you buy some napkins or tampons at the convenience store like Seven Eleven, and if a man is working at the checking counter, be aware that he would be shamed to touch them. Better to avoid it, and look for another convenient store. But if it is urgent, get something else as well, for example,
drinks. He would be educated to wrap napkins/tampons separately in a non-transparent paper bag.
[7. AT HOME]
7.1. Cook always. Women have to cook. Don't even ask men to cook. Follow the cooking book not to make any mistakes.
7.2. Do the houseworks proper. Be ready before your husband comes back home.
7.3. When your husband comes back home, ask first "Would you like to eat now or take a bath first?"
7.4. Perform an ideal housewife for your husband. Marriage for men is often all about this fantasy.
8.1. Stay passive like a beautiful doll.
8.2. Don't finish the whole dish. Always leave some food on the plate. That will make an impression as a modest girl.
8.3. Be careful about alcohol. Wait for men to suggest you to drink. You may accompany them with drinking, but not too much. Stay sober. Any mistake should not happen.
8.4. Fill men's glass always. It is especially important if you are at the company dinner. Don't ever make their glasses empty. Pour before they finish the glasses. When you pour beer from a bottle, right hand should be on the label of the bottle, and the left hand should hold the top part of the bottle.
8.5. Care and maintain your make-up all the time.
9.1. Don't seduce men. Women are to be seduced. Don't say no when men ask for it.
9.2. Stay passive. Men insert. Don't request too much. Behave like you are feeling good.
9.3. Behave yourself like you are unexperienced and ashamed as if you are virgin. Men have a big fantasy for virgins.
9.4. Make a sexy voice.
(ver.2 June 19, 2002 Maki Ueda)