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the drugs didn't work

It's the stuff of Osaka legend. Imagine the scene. It's July 1978. In a smoke-filled room above an old izakaya in the heart of Umeda, three city planners are thinking about how best to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the city's founding. Their remit is to design something that symbolises Osaka's prestigiousness, while at the same time reflecting its uniqueness in a world of increasing mediocrity.

But copious amounts of ramen and beer have led to nothing and furthermore, their boss has asked them to present their ideas at a meeting the following morning. Panicking and in fear of being fired, they turn to drugs for inspiration.

The notorious Gang of Three - Daisuke Nakata, Kenichi Hashimoto and Jakanori Sakamoto - spent the next four hours injecting, snorting and smoking all manner of very hard drugs in a desperate attempt to come up with something special for their boss, and for the city of Osaka.

Initial ideas included "a singing carpet" and "a piece of string with lollipops attached." However, after much discussion they settled on "a big plastic thing with two faces." The mind-blowing originality of the idea was a clear indication of just how smashed up their brains were on their heady drug concoction.

The resulting design was given the green light, but it was only after it had been built that officials realised that a piece of string with lollipops attached might have been a better idea.

And what's more, it sent a clear message to the Japanese people - drugs don't work, unless it's an aspirin for a headache.

The big plastic thing with two faces even inspired a hit song by The Verve. The Gang of Three have since been fired.


To indicate the enormous size of the big plastic thing with two faces, I placed a pair of chopsticks at its base before taking the photo.
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On Sunday, 07 May, 2006, Anonymous dr Dave said:

I never spotted that thing during my [ultra short] stay in Osaka, but it looks furiously like Taro Okamoto's style. I'm not sure what it's supposed to be commemorating here (Osaka's 900'th bday? really?) nor if its location makes it more incongruous than it looks on a photo, but otherwise being one of the most famous Japanese sculptor of the late 20th century, I guess it would make sense to ask him for something.
Beside the Taro Okamoto museum near Tokyo (which is very much worth a visit, if only for the thoroughly enjoyable surrounding park), you can also see some of his stuff sprinkled through Tokyo. The one in front of the UN university on Omotessando are quite famous.

It is not known whether Taro Okamoto was a heavy drug user.  



On Sunday, 07 May, 2006, Anonymous sallyman said:

Looking at it, I'd say the drugs certainly DID work.  



On Sunday, 07 May, 2006, Blogger Marie said:

Tower of the Sun! What a masterpiece. :)  



On Sunday, 07 May, 2006, Blogger Name: Mr Moshi Moshi said:

It is an Okamoto Taro work. Working as I do in a gallery, I hear all the time about how supposedly important this artist is, but I don't care. I don't like his crappy sculptures.  



On Monday, 08 May, 2006, Blogger Clayton said:

or maybe they watched that trippy neon genisis evangelion show  



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