What's happening in this Gmail "Tea House" theme easter egg?
January 12, 2011 9:55 AM   Subscribe

What's happening in this Gmail "Tea House" theme easter egg?

One of the themes you can apply to Gmail is called "Tea House," and it features a little fox in the main background image who does different things at different times of the day (sweeping the house, gardening, having tea with a monkey, etc). Like some of the other themes, it has an easter egg: a special background image that appears only at 3:14am.

I can't figure out what's happening in this little scene, and it's driving me crazy! Why is the other fox upset? Why does he have a bell? Are those other three figures ghosts, or what? Is this a reference to something I'm not familiar with? I did some searching but while several other people have the same question, nobody seems to have the answer.
posted by miskatonic to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
They're Jiang Shi (hopping vampires)!
posted by zamboni at 9:59 AM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Does it have anything to do with the fact that 3:14 is pi rounded to two decimal places?
posted by proj at 10:01 AM on January 12, 2011

To clarify, the fox on the right is dressed as a Taoist priest. The guys in the middle are Jiang Shi, animated corpses/vampires controlled by the yellow paper on their foreheads. The fox is hiding from the scary corpses, and probably holding his breath.

For more, see Mr. Vampire, or similar.
posted by zamboni at 10:08 AM on January 12, 2011

Isn't the Tea House theme supposed to be Japanese, and the Jiang Shi Chinese? So maybe these are Kyonshi?
posted by christopherious at 10:12 AM on January 12, 2011

I didn't realise that the house had an invisible wall. Revised version: Fox is asleep in his house. Taoist Priest Fox is transporting the ambulatory corpses past the house (it's cheaper than a wagon!), ringing his little bell to let people know to get out of the way. Something's gone wrong with the ritual, as it always does in this kind of movie, (hence the beads of sweat on Taoist Priest Fox), and the scary corpses are now approaching the house. Spooky!
posted by zamboni at 10:32 AM on January 12, 2011 [6 favorites]

So if there's no yellow paper, the taoist priest fox loses control of the corpses? It looks like the yellow paper on corpse two is about to fall off.
posted by prenominal at 10:59 AM on January 12, 2011

I think the paper is raised on Corpse #2 because he's in mid-hop- look where his shadow is.
posted by zamboni at 11:20 AM on January 12, 2011

Amazing. Thanks, zamboni!
posted by miskatonic at 11:28 AM on January 12, 2011

I have to say, I've used this theme for years and had no idea! I guess I'm not up late like I used to be. My mind is blown.
posted by whitneyarner at 2:19 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

wow! I've used it for years and am usually up around that time and I've never seen it! I will have to look for it!
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 6:49 PM on January 14, 2011

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