Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Cupcakes

America should make Halloween as a paid holiday for everyone since this is one of the favorite holidays for most Americans (kids and adults) in the States.  When Halloween is around the corner, I know a lot of bakers are going to create some amazing cakes/cupcakes inspired by this holiday within this month.  I watched a lot of baking and cake decorating books, most of the cakes/cupcakes are inspired by the traditional Halloween images, such as black cat, spider/spider web, pumpkins, vampires...I wanted to do something a little bits untraditional for my Halloween cupcakes.

Few of the main characters from Gegege No Kitaro

I got inspiration from this Japanese manga.  Japanese manga (comic in English) and cartoons have impacted my artworks and my visions about art in many ways.  These cupcakes are inspired by one of my favorite Japanese anime, Gegege No Kitaro.  Not too many cartoons (for kids) would talk about ghosts or evil spirits, this one does.  And somehow this cartoon has managed to have great balance of the scary scene and still remain kids friendly.  I loved this show when I was a little kid.

I remember one year my parents took us to New Zealand to visit my dad's sister and her family during summer.  We stayed at my auntie's house for few weeks.  My parents left my sister and I at my auntie's house for few days because they wanted to have a little honeymoon themselves in Australia.  My sister and I, plus my two younger cousins were watching this show for few days during my parents' "honeymoon".  We even had a role play at my auntie's front yard.  Of course, we didn't see any ghost, but this few day role play memory and the 24-hour Gegege No Kitaro scene stay with me forever.  When I thought about this cartoon, I thought about the time my sister, I and my cousins in New Zealand; it was a great summer.

Kitarō is a yōkai boy born in a cemetery and, aside from his mostly decayed father, the last living member of the Ghost Tribe(幽霊族 yūrei zoku).
He is missing his left eye, but his hair usually covers the empty socket.
He fights for peace between humans and yōkai, which generally involves protecting the former from the wiles of the latter. 

Ittan Momen is a flying yōkai resembling a strip of white cloth. Kitarō and friends often ride on him when traveling. The original ittan-momen is a spirit from Kagoshima Prefecture myth which wraps itself around the faces of humans in an attempt to smother them.

Nezumi Otoko is a rodent-like yōkai-human halfbreed. He has been alive for three hundred and sixty years, and in that time has almost never taken a bath, rendering him filthy, foul-smelling, and covered in welts and sores. While he is usually Kitarō's friend, Nezumi Otoko will waste no time cooking up vile schemes or betraying his companions if he thinks there's money to be had or a powerful enemy to side with. 

Neko Musume, a normally quiet yōkai girl, who transforms into a frightening cat monster with fangs and feline eyes when she is angry or hungry for fish.
Predictably, she does not get along well with Nezumi Otoko.
She seems to harbor a slight crush on Kitarō, who sees her only as a friend. 
Medama-oyaji is Kitarō's father. Once a fully formed adult ghost, he perished of a disease, only to be reborn out of his decayed body as an anthropomorphic version of his own eyeball.
He looks small and fragile, but has a strong spirit and a great love for his son. He is also extremely knowledgeable about ghosts and monsters.
He enjoys staying clean, and is often seen bathing in a small bowl. He has a great love for sake.  (That's why I put him in a bowl).

Kitaro with his eyeball dad

If you have never watched this cartoon, you missed out.  It's such a great cartoon!
There is a Gegege No Kitaro Theme Park in Japan.  Here are some pictures from the Hong Kong  It gives me one more reason to visit Japan *again* (yes, if I went to Japan again, it will be my third visit to Japan.)

Medama-oyaji at the theme park

Neko Musume  transforms into a frightening cat monster with fangs and feline eyes.

Kitaro train at the theme park

Kitaro with his dad (hey, he really likes to take a warm bath in a bowl.)


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