Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Texting Japanese, I think I’m Texting Japanese…

When you’ve been in Japan long enough, I would wager even if you’re not actively trying to learn the language, you pick up a few phrases here and there.  “Arigatou.” “Sumimasen.”  “Daijoubu!”
(that’s “Thanks.” "Excuse me." and “Ok." respectively, for my peeps back stateside)

And you probably use those words, on a not-entirely-conscious level with your friends and acquaintances.  I know we (meaning The Mister and I) definitely use a few Japanese words commonly when we’re chatting with any of The Australians™ and they do the same back with us.  It’s sort of a fun way to have a “secret code” that is not secret to anyone.

The fun part comes when you begin to use those phrases in text messages.  Why?  Because we are too lazy to switch our texting keyboards over to the Japanese character keyboard for just one word, so we’ll spell ‘em out phonetically in roman alphabet characters.  Which means the best thing happens:


That above sentence is so laced with sarcasm it’s an entire doily collection.  Auto correct is not the best.  I hate auto-correct so, so much.  But when it’s Japanese words, the auto corrects can be amazing.  And so here are my top five favorite things which Auto Correct has sent to my friends in replace of words that are even slightly sensical.*

5.   Daijoubu
what it means: 大丈夫  Okay/ Alright
what auto correct thinks it means: Sais Honey

Bonus - when you can make fun of yourselves for how you said daijoubu before you learned how to properly pronounce Japanese words and find yourself telling each other “Die-joe-bers

4. Kanpai
what it means: 乾杯  Cheers!
what auto correct thinks it means: Limp pie

3. Sumimasen
what it means: すみません  Excuse me
what auto correct thinks it means: Sumo Mash

2. Doko desu ka?
what it means: Where are you?
what auto correct thinks it means: Dodo deus k’s?

1.  Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu
what it means: どもありがとございます  Thank you very much
what auto correct thinks it means:  Dino Rigatoni Go Carts

What’s your best Auto Correct?  
 Tell me in the comments!

*Sadly, I “added words” to my phone's “dictionary" as I’ve been here, and now the only one that still works is Dino Rigatoni Go Carts, because I’d finally figured out that these Auto Corrects were too great to demolish. 

today’s little language lesson

Watashiwa, jidou hosei no ga daikiraidesu.

I hate auto correct.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Japanese Netflix

I have a weird guilt thing going on lately: I’ve been in Japan for over a year and a half and somehow I am not 100% fluent in Japanese.

That sentence is about half joking.  I have seen native Japanese speakers take out their pocket dictionaries to look up words or kanji that THEY don’t know in their own language, so I am comfortable in the knowledge that the is no such thing as 100% fluent. I do sometimes feel like I should just be… BETTER at this than where I am.

I can manage the life basics: I am conversationally proficient in getting groceries, navigating to places, ordering at restaurants, and talking to people on the street about the giant dog at the end of my leash.  But because that covers about 90% of my life here, I haven’t pushed beyond that.  I’ve been sort of stagnating at that level for longer than I’m comfortable with.  

I study at least an hour a day, but recently my anxiety has been rearing it’s ugly little head every second I’m not parked in front of my notebooks with a highlighter, sneering in an ugly little voice; 
“why aren’t you studying right now?

I mean, I needed to do laundry so we have clean clothes to we-“but you could be studying.”
Yeah, I just needed to get dinner toget-“it’s your fault you’re not fluent”
Sure, except if I don’t walk Mac he’ll go craz-this is why we can’t have nice things!”

right except then I put up vocab flashcards in front of the toilet so there is no escape.

This feeling is worse when I’m doing things which aren’t vital chores.  Like say, doodling silly comics about my anxiety, or painting my finger nails.  

My current solution to curb the anxious little monster on my back is to make a point of turning Japanese subtitles on while watching Netflix for "reading practice” (which I admittedly mostly ignore). 

OR, better actual solution, watching Japanese television shows, to practice my listening skills.  If’n you have access to Netflix and want to also pretend you’re being productive in learning Japanese as you indulge some silly media… allow me to share my current faves.

  • Yokai Watch

Easily the most popular kid’s show in Japan right now, Yokai watch is like… pokemon, but with ghosts.  Watch out, America, my understanding is that it’s coming to the US soon, and it’s gonna be big.  There are no English subtitles on the Japanese netflix seasons of Yokai Watch, but the plots are easy enough to follow along without needing to read.  
Basically this kid, Keta, has a watch which allows him to communicate with ghosts, and once he’s befriended a ghost, the watch allows him to call upon them for help in his every day life.  

It’s interesting because many of the ghosts have back stories about how they came to BE ghosts, which alternate between weirdly hilarious - like the business man who was fired, got drunk and on his walk home was crushed by falling construction equipment… along with a small stray dog who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time… so his ghost is basically a toy poodle with a creepy adult man’s face.  It can also be “oh wow that actually made me cry” emotional - like the grandfather ghost who waits outside a convenience store every day to see his granddaughter, who he misses and was very close with in life… until he realizes that she still carries a trinket around that he gave her and comes to be at peace knowing she misses him too.  Some of the episodes get understandably real childish, like the one where the big problem was a ghost that made everyone he affected have to fart, but I’ve also learned a few fun phrases, so I’ve stuck with it.

This ghost's name is "MuRi" which I learned means "no way."  Yes, he is a wall.

  • Terrace House

My cousin actually turned me onto this show when she found it on her American Netflix!  I… am weirdly addicted to hating this show?  
Terrace House is a long running show that recently partnered with Netflix.  The premise is a little bit Real World, with six strangers, all picked to live in together, and a little bit traditional Japanese panel commentary style, aka an actual panel of (sometimes funny) commentators who watch the show along with you and pop in every few minutes to share their thoughts on how things are going.  And the rest of it is a REAL interesting look into Japanese relationships and courtship.  By which I mean these people are in this house with the express purpose of finding love, and it takes 10 (TEN!) full episodes into the series before of them even kiss.
I’m in a love-hate thing with terrace house because the pacing is (as described above) painfully slow for my American sensibilities.  But I love it for when the one random guy in the house who happens to have grown up in the US (Arman, if you’re also a TH fan), holds his dates' hand, and then I laugh for YEARS at how shocked and offended the entire commentary panel is with how brazen he is and how quickly he moves.  
the hand holding.
the reaction.
  • Silver Spoon

Silver spoon follows an upperclass rich kid who -for some reason that’s not yet explained- decides to go to an agricultural high school instead of a yuppy preparatory school. The show follows his trials and tribulations as he makes friends by melding his city-slicker sensibilities with his growing farm skills.  There’s not much more to say about that.  I heart when he’s introduced to the piglets and his classmates immediately tell him “these are food, do not name them.” and he takes approximately three seconds to pause before proclaiming his piglet’s name:  Porkbowl.  

I also love the stray puppy they find and name class vice president.  I watch this for the cute anime critters is what I’m saying.

  • The Devil is a Part-Timer

By FAR my favorite Japanese show I’ve found, The Devil is a Part-Timer is exactly what it sounds like and I need you to go watch it right now because it is absurd and amazing.  The Devil gets kicked out of the immortal realm and decides that his best path to power in current corporate Japan is to work his way up the McDonalds management chain.  Meanwhile there is an Angel sent to destroy him who gets a part time job as a cell phone sales rep to make ends meet while they hunt each other.  It’s just hilarious.  

And now, quite frankly, I’ve taken a long enough break from the books to write this up - back to studying!

Do you watch any fun Japanese shows 
I should check out (on Netflix preferably)?  
Tell me in the comments!

today’s little language lesson
nanagatsu no kyuujitsu no daishi no tame ni Amerika no shokuhin o kaimashita ka?
Did you buy American foods for the 4th of July holiday?

please note the clam chowder pringles in packaging 
featuring a pringle chip dressed like lady liberty.  ‘Murica.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

We Need a Bigger Couch.

I originally started out to write about Japanese TV and movies I’ve been watching, but this tirade about the couch just… grew. I’m having one of those “missing home/ grumbly with Japan” weeks, so you’ll have to excuse the non-Japanesey topic. 

Our Tiny Japanese Couch. [TJC™]  I. Am.  Over.  It.  It is a useless space hog in our home.  UGHHHH.

As Americans, The Mister and I, we have American sized booties.  (To be very, very clear, I greatly enjoy The Mister’s booty.  It is a quality booty.  I am pleased with the size of said booty.)  These booties of ours *technically* fit on the TJC™, though not in a way which people would call “comfortable.

Unfortunately, this TJC™ is part of the relocation package provided to us by The Mister’s company.  It is considered a "leased piece."  As such, we do not own it, and thus even though we greatly dislike it now* -and it will be trashed when we leave- we are sort of committed to just sucking it up until the end of our time here in Japan.   

If we went out and bought a new couch, it would be a cost out of our own pockets, and we’d have to figure out where to put the TJC™, and we’d have to get one which can physically fit into the elevator of our apartment/ through our apartment door (so it could not as big as we’d like), and then we’d have to deal with either getting rid of it when we go back to the states, OR we’ll have to ship it home and figure out where it’s going to fit in our house where a wonderful couch already exists.  Far, far too much hassle.

Even when The Mister isn’t home to share a couch with me, I there is one other sizable tookus in the McD household and it gets real exhausting playing the “steal each other’s couch spot game” with a mutt.

  Get up to pee, lose your seat IMMEDIATELY.

In fact, I got so sick of my dog’s inability to share the couch** a few weeks ago that I bought nice, cushy, yellow pillow for the floor so I can forfeit the couch fight and just sit in front of the darn thing.  Approximately 3 hours after I got it home,  this happened for the first time:
He picked it up off the floor and put it down for his head.
He is a smart dog, and sometimes I hate that.

*we actually picked it out thinking it would be good. And it seemed nice for the first few months, and then we realized it’s basically the furniture equivalent quality of a McDonald’s happy meal when you were really expecting at least like a Texas Roadhouse steak.

**Yes, I 100% understand that I am the alpha and he is a DOG and I should just ban him from the couch.  Judge me how you want, he’s a good dog 95% of the time*** and I suck at telling this face no.
So here is the visual pouting when he's not allowed on the couch.
You're missing out on the audio portion of exasperated dog sigh every 30 seconds.

***95% Good dog.  That 5%?  Mac’s most recent entry to Dog Shaming:

TLDR summary of the TJC™:  UGHHH.

I miss our giant sectional at our home in the states - big enough that The Mister, Mac AND I (plus Bubba on one of our laps) can all fit on it 100% stretched out without having anyone feel squished or contorted.  I have decided it is the one thing I miss most about the US.  Sorry friends and loved ones, I just want my Art Van brand "Dillon" 3 piece microsuede sectional couch in Chocolate.

 Have you had those “I’m cranky with not being home” times?  
What do you miss that some might think strange?  
Tell me in the comments!

today’s little language lesson
マークちゃんが、ソファを おりなさい。
Ma-Ku chan ga, so-fa o ori-nasai.

Mac, get off the couch.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ode to a Backpack

Since trying to drive in Japan near gives me a panic attack just to think about (I understand it’s an irrational level of anxiety, that knowledge doesn’t fix me) I instead  adopted a much more pedestrian lifestyle while we’ve been living in Nagoya.  Dare I say; I love it.   

I feel more active and healthy, hoofing around has made me more navigationally savvy, I see more cool stuff because I can let my eyes wander a bit instead of focusing on the road, and it makes everything I buy a VERY intentional purchase.  Because I’m walking.  And if I have to walk a mile or more back to our apartment, whatever I’m carrying better be something we actually have a use for.

ah yes, these tiny plastic 100¥ figures were all absolutely vital purchases

Since I’m physically carrying everything we need around this city (examples: groceries, clothing, dog food, laundry detergent, that one time I bought a bookshelf and carried it back home and pulled every muscle in my arms but felt so triumphant about it), I’ve ditched the idea of carrying a purse and have converted whole-heartedly to taking a backpack with me everywhere.

Backpacks on adult, non-student people are much more common here than I’d ever noted back home.  However, because it’s Japan, if you’re going to carry a backpack it needs to be fun and cute.  When we first arrived, my backpack was a takeaway gift we’d received from when the Kellogg Cereal company hosted a Navy Ball.
note how nice and fancy we look... 
five feet from a cardboard cut out of tony the tiger in fatigues.

Needless to say, it was not adorable, and I am a little ashamed to admit how quickly I became wildly self conscious about my totally not cute backpack.  And so I made an investment and purchased my beautiful blue starry backpack, roughly a year ago.

This blue starry backpack has proven to be the most perfect accessory in my life: It’s star pattern is cute, but not like, over the top for my American sensibilities.  It has side-zippers so I can reach behind me and rummage through the main pouch to grab stuff without needing to take it off (very handy on trains).  It’s got a padded back piece so that weirdly pointy thing I just bought won’t stab me in the back while I walk.  It has two side pouches that hold my phone and my house keys/rail pass respectively. It’s big enough to act as an overnight bag on weekend trips, even with the way I chronically overpack.  It displays my collection of pins from all the touristy places I’ve visited here (my solution for wanting souvenirs from cool places without accruing clutter) And I can fit $100.00 worth of groceries inside without the straps giving out while I walk or bike home.  It is  so choice.

And now after a year of dutiful service, it’s finally time to retire my trusty blue starry backpack.
Actually, maybe retirement has been due for a while now, but I couldn’t bring myself to make the decision.  I figured my blue starry backpack would tell me when it was time.  But it’s been looking a little rough for a while now - in fact, while my mum was here visiting she insisted on buying me a new bag even though I was adamant it was fine and the way the bottom seam was fraying was totally fine.  I am a creature of habit, you see, and I didn’t want to have to get used to a whole new system of zippers and pockets.  This blue starry backpack is perfect… how could I ever find anything that could replace this perfect bag!?

How do you carry all your stuff around with you?  
What do you look for in a new bag/ purse/ wallet? 
Tell me in the comments!

Long story short… I ended up getting the exact same model.

Thus, tonight I will be moving over my wallet, pocket umbrella and sketchbook.  My lip balm, tissues, and schedule book.  My sweat rag (if you live in Japan in the summer, you have one, don’t judge), hand sanitizer, and my pin collection.  And tomorrow will dawn a new era - the era of the black starry backpack.

today’s little language lesson
この かばん は、同じ ですね?
kono kaban wa, onagidesune?

isn’t that the same bag?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Negotiating Parlay

For those who missed the memo, The Mister and I spent Golden Week in Cancun Mexico, to celebrate my little cousin tying the knot.  

I’ve finally smoothed over the jet lag, thanks in part to KP2 who read my last post and came over three hours later with TWO entire boxes of Kraft Mac N Cheese which she had found.
less than three.
Our time in Mexico was spent at an all inclusive resort.  Which is a cost-effective way to feel like you’re an opulent almighty ruler of everything you see.  (that also makes it a WAY magnified version of the Waiter Rule.  FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY: Tip your staff and be gracious and kind for the work they are doing to make your vacation lovely.  They are human beings and you need to at least pretend you have a shred of decency.)  

The other thing all-inclusives are real good for, however, is finding ways to make you feel like you need to break out of the “included” amenities and spend more money to do “excursions.”

I have long felt the only detractor from all-inclusives is the constant sales pitch to do extra stuff.  When you save to be able to take a trip that you understand has, you know, ALL things included, a sales person could literally say “this is two cents extra” and my natural inclination is to recoil in horror and say “WHAT ARE YOU DOING GO AWAY I HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR ALL THE THINGS I FEEL LIKE PAYING FOR.

Have you ever stayed at an all-inclusive?  
What’s your excursion stance? 
Tell me in the comments!

I make a point on the occasions when I’ve been lucky enough to stay at an all-inclusive to be real upfront about rejecting extra charges.  Upon check-in I immediately shut down the extra pitches:  would you like to upgrade your room? Nope.  Would you like to come to this breakfast where we try to get you to sign up for another vacation? Sashay Away*.  Would you like to hear about all the fun things that cost extra in exchange for a bunch of coupons that are more or less meaningless? NO!  And then I follow that up with pretending to be asleep anytime the sales people make their rounds at the pool.  

Two exceptions to this rule in my head:
  1.  While I am 100% the person who will spend my time at a resort just belly up to the swim up bar, I recognize that I have married my opposite, and as such, he gets real bored of that in like, a day.  The Mister is very good at finding stuff to do on the grounds - yoga, playing the games the activity director offers, checking out the night club.  But we’re on vacation, and he needs a few opportunities to let his freak flag fly.
  2. Remember that one time last week I talked about how HORRIBLY sunburnt I got?  Turns out the onsite spa offers a sunburn treatment… for an extra charge.  Which I signed up for without batting an eye.
Now the thing about any of these extra charges is that they are all 100% negotiable on price, IF you’re the type of person who is comfortable negotiating.  The Mister is a champion of negotiating price.  I… am not.  He sent me to look at if the spa had any sun burn treatments and I without thinking about it just agreed to the first price I was given.  The very next day The Mister was able to go to that same spa and negotiate for us to get a couple massage at literally 50% of their initial price.  How did he do that?  I don’t know, because the only part I was privy to was:

“Hey babe.  I’m gonna go see if I can get us signed up for a couples massage.  No no, stay here, I’m going to talk prices with them and you’re better just enjoying your mojito far away from that conversation.”

That’s not The Mister being mean, that’s The Mister being honest.  And I’m grateful for that skill set of his because… I mean, I got a massage, did you not read the above?

He also negotiated for the one off-site excursion we took:  A sunset dinner cruise.  Which is pirate themed.  Aka - The Galleons of Captain Hook.  

Real talk, we took a gamble thinking this might be a stupid kiddie thing.  And there *were* kids aboard… but holy cow did we have  great time!  It was like Medieval Times at sea! 

There were three ships that went out, and at the end of the night, they had a legitimate pirate fight between each ship over the “treasure.”  There were games, dances, between the two ship masts they had rigged a space for an aerial silks performance, cir de solei style right over our heads in the middle of the ocean.  Did I mention there was a pirate fight between other ships at the end?  Listen, it was silly.  You should probably recognize that when you  sign up for a pirate dinner show.  But if you can be silly, I can’t recommend that trip enough.  
Donning the children's pirate kit he purchased.  Silly is The Mister's middle name.

It was our last night in Cancun and I’m so glad we chose that to wrap up our trip.  Now I’m back in Japan* and ready to get back into the groove.  


Are you in the Nagoya/ Chubu area?  The Chubu Walkathon is this weekend, and I hope to see you there!  The Walkathon is a charity event put together largely by the expat community of the area, and as this is the 25th year of the Walkathon, they’re going bigger and better than ever. 

This year also includes… are you ready?  COOKIES.

I’m in the middle of making a few hundred limited edition Walkie the Walrus character cookies that will be for sale (¥200, non-negotiable price.  Proceeds to the Walkathon charity) at the event.  I’m SO excited to have my little budding bakery featured in this way and I’m doubly excited for the effort of all this baking go to such a great cause.  Come say hi at the Walkathon on Sunday.  Buy a Walkie Cookie. Help a good cause and get a delicious treat.  I’ll see you there.

today’s little language lesson
Cuando hubiste hablado español para dos semanas, su mente esta muy confundido a empezar a hablar Japonese una vez mas.

When you've spoken Spanish for two weeks, your mind is too confused to begin speaking Japanese again.

*There are few things I make such a point to keep up with from the Western Hemisphere as knowing what's going on in RuPaul's Drag Race.  If you have a fave queen you should tell me about it because I would talk about this for eons.  Me?  #PurseFirst.  (and where do I buy Bob's first dress form the evening.  I want it.)

Monday, May 09, 2016

Learn from My Mistakes.

I’m pretty sure I am at a point where I would happily commit a heinous crime in exchange for one of those beautiful blue boxes of kraft mac n cheese in dino shapes.

Jet-Lag:  How does it manifest in your body?  
Tell me in the comments!

I seem to have a body that likes to deal with Jet-Lag on a roll of a dice:  sometimes I do REALLY well!  We landed in Cancun and were fine* within a day or so.

*with regard to timezones anyway.  just wait, we’ll get there.

And other times (aka 5 out of 6 times), my whole body just goes on strike.  Headaches, stomachaches, an acne breakout rivaling a 13 year old, a stupefying level of apathy to everything, and of course, inability to sleep at the proper time of day.  This is compounded by my absolute inability to fly in a plane well, so that’s all coming at you directly after I spent 12 straight hours on a plane back to Japan curled in a ball trying not to hork and occasionally weeping in my pleas to my husband to please not let the flight attendants put food anywhere near me because the smell would 100% certainly make me vomit.

taken moments after clearing Japanese customs.
Please note how unaffected The Mister is next to my miserable hot-mess of a person-hood.

Not sharing all that for pity, but as an explanation for my insatiable need to cure the Blue Box Blues.  Do they sell Mac N Cheese in regular grocery stores in Japan?  Not that I’ve found in the last two days of wandering to the markets within my walking radius.  I am hoping the craving and jet lag passes before I loose my mind and hitch hike out to the insanity that is Nagoya's Costco.  (on that note, if you know me IRL, please do not mail me mac n cheese.  I am well aware this is a passing thing, and will almost certainly be gone before a package would arrive.  But thank you for keeping me in your thoughts.)

Moving on from macaroni; I’m back from Mexico and had a GREAT time!  My little cousin got married in a beautiful ceremony, the reception was a blast, and I got to catch up with my family in a setting where no one had other stuff to run off and worry about.  Plus, The Mister and I had some quality time to actually SEE each other without work obligations getting in our way.  It was much needed.

This contrasts sharply with Japanese beauty standards, which place high value on pale skin.  In the summers, it’s not uncommon for me to be walking down the sidewalk sweating through my tank-top and shorts, as I pass by women wearing wide brimmed hats, long pants, parasols, and elbow-length gloves.

which probably explains that the sunscreen I was able to find in Japan before our trip was only SPF 15...
if everything is covered why would you need sunscreen too?  Who am I kidding this was not the sunscreen's fault.
In summary, I’m saying is that people here do not go tanning.  There are a few outsider trends that buck that blanket statement, like Ganguro girls, but by and large, tanning isn’t well-accepted by the public.  And so, before going to Cancun, I did no pre-tan.

Sure, there are people out there who are capable of going on vacation in Cancun without having tanned beforehand, and who manage to not burn.  I… have proven to not be one of those people.

Simply put, I didn’t add up the math - if I didn’t do any tanning before the trip, as I had done before every other trip I’ve taken to Cancun, then I should not use the same sun-screen mentality I’d used on those previous trips.  

You see where this is going.  
I burned.
I burned real bad.  
On day 1.
as this picture was taken I was slowly turning a vibrant crimson.

Did you know if you give yourself bad enough sunburn that you get dizzy when you walk?  You can’t eat?  That aloe isn’t soothing but instead feels like you have doused yourself in lemon juice and salt?  I didn’t go back outside to enjoy our all-inclusive beach resort for two days.   I was a mess, and I deserved it for my own idiocy.

not a good look.

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES. Use so much more sunscreen than you think you need.  Get a higher number than you can count to.  Apply so much more often than you think you do.  Ugh, you know this.  You actually listened to Baz Lurhman.  

I can share, though, that if you’re going to a wedding ceremony and your sunburn has started to peel, you can put some coconut oil over the peely bits to make yourself not look like a shedding snake long enough for pictures to be taken.  So that was good.

we cleaned up well, if not for being a bit pink. :)

I’m just about done peeling / fading from red to gold, and hopefully just about done having visions of making out with Cheesasaurus Rex.  Now I just need to switch my head back from speaking Spanish into speaking Japanese again.  Wish me luck!

today’s little language lesson:

me gustaría a matar un hombre para macaroni y queso de dinosaurios.
I would kill a man for macaroni & cheese dinosaurs.

tune in next time when I wrap up the Mexico trip by talking about bird pirates, actual (sort of) pirates, and why I’m not allowed anywhere near The Mister when negotiations are happening.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The End of My Political Aspirations

Okay some quick housekeeping first and foremost.

-The Earthquakes in the Kumamoto area of Japan have not affected us in Nagoya.  For that I am thankful.  We are safe and sound.  And I am so incredibly grateful for the family and friends who have checked in with us to make sure we're okay.  But there are many who are not okay, and relief efforts are being hindered by the destruction of roads and railways in and out of the area, as well as more and more fierce storms battering the shorelines.  If you are so inclined, this article is a great guideline for where and how you can help:

-The Mister and I are taking off at the end of the week for two very great reasons: a very needed vacation, and to celebrate my very wonderful little cousin get hitched, all from a resort in CANCUN.  So there shall be no blog posts the next few weeks while I tan myself to a crisp at a swim-up bar.  You understand.

Okay.  Got all that?  Great.  Let’s talk about the Penis Parade.
Maybe I should have added a disclaimer:  hey family, I really did go to a penis festival, so, you know, read at your own risk.

Spring sees a myriad of fertility festivals throughout Japan, and almost all of them center around the most easily recognizable visual representation of fertility.  I’m talking about d*cks here people.  Keep up.

Obviously, this is a festival which participants hope brings luck for new babies to be made.  It celebrates babies that are already on the way.  And in a less obvious way, is also about the vitality of the crops for the year.

About a month back, I went with a few people (who will retain their anonymity for their own possible political aspirations…but you could probably guess) to the penis festival in Komaki, which is both the closest fertility festival to us here in Nagoya, and also one of the more well-known festivals in Japan.  So that worked out well.  I’m happy to report we let ourselves get a little campy with it, which seemed in the spirit of the day.

Oh yes folks, I ate a corndog shaped like a penis.
I ate a chocolate covered banana with a marshmallow at the tip sculpted to make it look like a penis.
And I ate a sucker which was… you guessed it, shaped like a penis.  The number of SUPER amused Japanese folks who took pictures of us while we ate our penis suckers was out of this world.  And the more brazen ones actually asked us “do you know what you’re eating?
Nope, no.  We don’t have d*cks in America.

We waited in line to see the giant wooden penis in the shrine.  We waited in line to see the giant metal testicles… until we realized that women were touching the balls to be blessed with babies and then promptly exited said line.  We drank sake. We *almost* purchased little penis statues.  We watched the amazing parade that featured a giant wooden penis that was spun around like a hit record every so often along the route.  

Don’t believe me?  HA.  Hahahahahaha. hitplayidareyou. (NSFW)

I had a blast.  And, somewhere in Spain, I was broadcast on an English-speaking TV channel being interviewed about the festival while mowing down on that aforementioned penis-nana.  Japan, I hope you feel I represented your festival well.

from L to R: TV camera man.  Nana-weiner vending booth.  Fellow foreigner blurred for their protection. Definitely not me holding a penis-nana. And the reporter. This really happened.

What’s the most interesting celebration you’ve attended?  
Tell me about it in the comments!

today’s little language lesson
tabeteiru mono o shiteimasu ka?

do you KNOW what you’re eating?