Become a Fashion Designer With Dress Up Games

In general, girls love fashion more than boys. Some of them want to become fashion designers when they grow up. There are even some that are too young to know what a fashion designer is, but they love dressing up with mom’s clothes and combining them in several ways in order to come up with the prettiest outfit for their tea party with their stuffed animals. There is a tool that’s very easy and cheap to get access to for those girls who want to hone their skills.

Fashion on Internet

Thanks to the world wide reach of the Internet, now girls can get access to tons of styles, clothing and accessories from all over the world, even from cultures that are very different from theirs.

What is needed?

There are only two things you need, a computer and Internet access. If your reading this article, chances are you have them already. If you have a child in your house, I’m almost sure you have them already.

Dressing Up a Virtual Doll

There are literally thousands of dress up games at the reach of a few clicks. With only the imagination as a limit, programmers and designers have created dress up games that feature almost every celebrity and character that there is, and even groups of girls. From the Powerpuff girls to the Bratz dolls, and from the RBD pop girls to the cast of High School Musical, girls can play fashion designer with their favorite character, singer, actress or celebrity. There are, of course, generic nameless dolls dress up games, which are more suited for fashion only gaming.

Gameplay

Dress up games are very similar to old fashioned paper dolls, except with a far wider range of clothing. Girls select from a range of different pieces of clothing and accessories for a virtual doll to wear. Girls have fun by making the doll look pretty, stylish, elegant, cute, funny or whatever other idea they might come up with.

One of the most interest aspects of playing dress up games created from places all over the world is that girls are exposed to styles from different cultures. They will be dressing their dolls with Japanese kimonos, Indian Saris, Mexican sombreros, French bonnets, etc. You can even mix several elements from all over the world in order to make the perfect international look.

Building Up a Portfolio

It’s a good idea to save your or your girl’s creations on your computer for later reference. There are several advantages, for example, re-creating a look or style in real life, or printing it in order to decorate a room. You can also use one that you really liked or enjoyed as a screen background on your computer. Over time, a portfolio will let you show others your work, or give you a base to develop styles of your own. Of course, you can also post a printed version of your girl’s work on the fridge, or another special place, to show her how proud you are of her creativity.

Hannibal Missouri – A Ghost Town?

It’s not a ghost town yet but it’s getting there. I spent a day in Hannibal, Missouri. I’m a high school English teacher and just couldn’t pass up the chance to visit the home of the American author, Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Mid-July I expected the streets of Hannibal to be teeming with sightseers anxious to catch a glimpse of the spot on the Mississippi River where Twain’s hero Huck Finn set sail on his raft . I thought folks would be lined up in droves to tour the Clemens homestead and visit the caves where Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn had so many adventures. But on a steamy summer afternoon I browsed in solitary pleasure through shops replete with Twain novels, biographies and souvenirs. A Japanese tourist and a father and son from England were the only other people visiting Becky Thatcher’s cottage with me. A boy and girl dressed up like Tom Sawyer and his girlfriend Becky looked bored as they waited for tourists to show up and pay $7 to have their picture taken with the famous literary couple. Horse drawn carriages toured the city carting only a few passengers each. I attended an excellent one-man show put on by actor Richard Garey. Standing on a stage crammed with Twain memorabilia, Garey did a lively and educational re-creation of one of Twain’s lectures and story telling presentations. Mark Twain traveled across the United States entertaining crowds of people in the late 1800’s Unfortunately only eight of us were in attendance at the show Garey staged in Hannibal on a July night.

Don’t get me wrong. Hannibal, Missouri is charming. It’s just that the whole place appears to be a little ‘down on its luck.’ We stopped at two bed and breakfast establishments that looked lovely and appealing in the brochures we’d picked up. The doors were locked, the paint peeling and the yards overgrown. The high school English teacher who supplemented his income by running the book store at the Mark Twain museum had plenty of time to ‘talk shop’ with me since I was his only customer. We wanted to try a local Hannibal restaurant for supper, but by seven o’clock many were closed, and others I have to admit looked just a little on the seedy side. We finally settled on Lula Belles, a former bordello turned now into a respectable eatery. It was founded by an enterprising madam from Chicago at the turn of the century. The food was hardly gourmet, but the portions were plentiful and the service friendly. You couldn’t help remembering however that it used to be a centre for gambling and prostitution and was frequently raided by the police. Did the ‘ladies of the evening’ who made their living there a hundred years ago still haunt the place one wondered?

Literary tourism appears to be flourishing. People are flocking to the sites mentioned in the popular book the Da Vinci Code. The Prince Edward Island tourist industry thrives on the Anne of Green Gables books authored by Lucy Maud Montgomery. So what’s the problem in Hannibal, Missouri, the setting for Twain’s novels? I checked some traveler review web sites which mentioned several reasons for Hannibal’s decline including lack of advertising, limited hours of operation and an almost cynical attitude amongst residents about their famous home town author.

I enjoyed Hannibal, Missouri and was glad I had visited. Hopefully the town will be able to make the necessary changes to attract more tourists. Otherwise it might become a place inhabited only by the ghosts of Mark Twain and the interesting cast of characters he created in his memorable novels.

10 Striking Japanese Erotic Shunga Prints Portraying ‘Barbaric’ Strangers

Few Japanese of the 18th and 19th Century travelled abroad and fewer returned, so that a rendez-vous with strangers was only possible in their own homeland. Nagasaki had a rather international atmosphere, with its section of Chinese and a limited group of Europeans and their enslaved Indonesian servants. Shunga (erotic print) fans were interested in these residents, and all are portrayed (though in unequal frequency) in images and stories. The following ten are colourful and striking examples (in no particular order):

10) Chõkyõsai Eiri ( act. 1789~1801 )

This Eiri design from his Models of Calligraphy (c.1801) was inspired by Utamaro’s masterpiece (see No.2) Utamakura (Poem of the Pillow) and features a Dutchman (most probably a Dutch Captain) having intercourse with a Japanese courtesan. These prostitutes were known as Oranda-yuki (‘those going to the Dutch’), as opposed to the Kara-yuki (‘those going to the Chinese’) and the Nihon-yuki (‘those going to the Japanese’).

Incense burns on a table next to them. Some Japanese believed that this was necessary because of the funny smell these red-haired barbarians produced but in reality these incense burners were cleverly sold by the Yotsumeya, a shop specializing in sex paraphernalia, as an enhancer of the sexual appetite. Striking in this design are the Western influences emulating the tone effect of Western copperplate engraving.

9) Yanagawa Shigenobu ( 1787~1832 )

In this distinguishing surimono (commissioned) print (c.1830) Shigenobu depicts his protagonists, a Western couple, as god-like figures (the woman is stunningly beautiful) set in a heavenly setting. Underneath the genitals of the woman vaginal fluids are collected on a plate. The inevitable incense burner on a small table in the background.

8) Keisai Eisen ( 1790~1848 )

This design from Keisai Eisen’s series ‘ Midare Gami (Hair in Disarray / Tangled Hair)’, c. 1817, depicts a Dutchman coupling with his wife and is one of the early applications of the tone effects of Western copperplate engraving in shunga. Also striking is the rich color gradation of the female’s clothing.

7) Kitagawa Utamaro ( 1753~1806 )

A very early rendering by Utamaro (c.1790s) of a Westerner making love to a Japanese courtesan. A comic detail is the motif on the Dutchman’s green suit which also appears on his phallus while the pubic hair resembles the hair on his head. Just like in Eiri’s design (see No.1!) the hands of this European stranger have long cat-like fingernails.

6) Katsushika Hokusai ( 1760~1849 )

From Hokusai’s famous Young Pine Saplings -series (c.1814) the depiction of a Chinese couple collecting vaginal liquids with a ladle. The man is wearing a ring around his penis called namako no wa. The belief that the Western strangers, Chinese as well as Europeans, were very enthusiastic on gathering vaginal liquids for medicinal or other uses, was very popular in Edo (nowadays Tokyo) Japan.

5) Yanagawa Shigenobu ( 1787~1832 )

This composition of a Western couple from the‘ Willow Storm’ -series, late 1820s is unique within shunga, not only for the subject-matter but also for the attempts at shading, most likely in imitation of Western copperplate etching. It is interesting to speculate about which Western examples circulating in Japan at the time would have provided the inspiration for this print. Perhaps they were prints based on the drawings in or later eighteenth century imitations of Il Modo by Giulio Romano (1499-1546).

4) Yanagawa Shigenobu ( 1787~1832 )

This truly astonishing shunga is archetypal of the print designs in Shigenobu’s album Willow Storm. It represents an event already known in the work of Katsushika Hokusai (see No.6!) – the acquiring of vaginal liquids. The tiny feet of the woman and the curled plait on top of the man’s head emphasize their Chinese origin.

3) Utagawa Kuniyoshi ( 1797~1861 )

A small koban (small-sized) print from the Utagawa school (possibly Utagawa Kuniyoshi) published c.1861. The square cartouche in the upper right displays the English flag of Saint George, gehind whoch is a puff of steam, presumably from a steam engine. The three fully clad foreign girls accost a Japanese man, and the text, printed in negative (white on grey), in the bottom left corner reads, ‘Isn’t it too much, can’t I have a break?’ (Lane and hayashi 1995-98/2000: supplemental vol.1,132). Although this print concerns a shunga design it’s not explicit in its portrayal; only a subtle insinuation of one of the women’s pubic hair.

2) Kitagawa Utamaro ( 1753~1806 )

In this rather unflattering image of an intimate Dutch couple Utamaro depicts the man as a rude barbarian (the hat suggests he could be a captain) with almost cannibalistic tendencies. Or as described by Timon Screech in his ‘Sex and the Floating World ‘: “… a wind-blown seadog with a woman seemingly of his own ethnic group although dressed in the costume of a different epoch”. This oban print is from Utamaro’s ‘Poem of the Pillow’ – series (c.1799) which is considered to be one of the great highlights in shunga and Ukiyo-e.

1) Keisai Eisen ( 1790~1848 )

A Westerner penetrates a sleeping courtesan who’s laying with her head on a salon table. In front of the couple on the floor lays a sachet containing an aphrodisiac for women called nyoetsugan. This egoyomi (calendar print) design is meticulously printed with various gauffrage and pigment details, published in c.1810s and attributed to the artist Keisai Eisen (1790-1848).