Erimaki tokage, la nouvelle idole of Tokyo, le Macintosh des lézards!In English:
Erimaki tokage (frilly-necked lizard in Japanese), the new idol of Tokyo, the Macintosh of lizards!And the postcard was signed by a great French filmmaker, 63-year-old Chris Marker, who was a good friend of mine at that epoch. He was in Japan to film the making of Akira Kurosawa's movie Ran, which resulted in Marker's documentary AK, released at Cannes in 1985. Here is one of the rare portraits of Chris Marker (who detested the idea of personal photos and biographical stuff):
Japanese fascination with an Australian lizard was the outcome of a promotional project created by Mitsubishi Motors. Confronted with a vehicle called the Mirage, the people at Mitsubishi's ad agency found that this word sounded like the Japanese "tokage". So, the expression Erimaki tokage became popular overnight, in the typical way in which certain memes apparently proliferate in that country.
"We got some visitors here who like lizards. I'll slip another frilly on the barbie."By coincidence, the original ad I'm referring to (directed, not at Japanese, but at Americans) dates from the same year as Chris Marker's postcard, 1984. But it looks terribly old hat today.
A month ago, I was sad to hear of his death [obituary]. Many of the papers written about Chris Marker have mentioned his adoration of cats. At the time I knew him, the creature that fascinated him most was, not the cat (nor, of course, the frilly-necked lizard), but rather the owl. Inside his house in Neuilly, Chris Marker had a marvelous collection of all kinds of artistic representations of wise and less wise owls.