Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife

I was having a discussion the other day about an ema, that J and I procured in Kyoto last year. It was from a small shrine devoted to tako *octopus. The image is simple, a woman praying on her knees to a large googley-eyed tako.

The Baron commented on how apeshit Westerners would have gone had they seen this shrine back in the days of conquest and cultural misunderstanding. I could only imagine the Japanese being seen as even more pagan because they appear to be praying to sea creatures. Ahh... ignorance in history. Anyways, I was researching the first forms of tako/woman love, since an entire genre of anime *hentai has been born from it. I am going to blame Hokusai, who brought us the titular piece of today's post, The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife. I like how he cunningly doesn't mention if it is a nightmare or not... left open to perverted interpretation.

A simple artistic interpretation of maritime fantasy becomes a future generation's whap fodder. I was reading an interview with one of the "hentai legends" Toshio Maeda, who had this to say about tentacles:
At that time [pre-Urotsuki Doji], it was illegal to create a sensual scene in bed. I thought I should do something to avoid drawing such a normal sensual scene. So I just created a creature. [His tentacle] is not a [penis] as a pretext. I could say, as an excuse, this is not a [penis], this is just a part of the creature. You know, the creatures, they don't have a gender. A creature is a creature. So it is not obscene - not illegal.

I guess that makes sense, when you consider that even pubic hair is considered vulgar in most Japanese pornography. Funny how they could get away with a woman clutching an oozing tentacle. Ha ha! Gotta give the gentleman props for imagination! This has become a pretty common theme in contemporary art, not just manga and the like.

I will leave you with some real tentacle porn...

might have to watch this and educate myself!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And they said it couldn't be done

Ahh... America... land of the rude and home of the obese. My trip was planned. I was to hit Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, and Michigan again. Many called me a fool. Others were convinced I would lose my tremulous grip on sanity. All were correct. It went by in a blur, so here is a briefing.

Upon entering Detroit's International Airport, I was bombarded with my first cursing rant. Just your average spoiled business man not wanting to wait his turn to change over his yen into dollars like the average plebian. My favorite line from the exchange between us, "I don't want to go upstairs. My car... I mean, my LIMO is waiting down here for me." Sigh. Yes, I know you have money. Most overweight middle-aged men on an international flight from Japan to the US are probably comfortable enough in their finances to take trips such as that. He ended up cussing at the poor woman working the exchange counter and storming off. Classy.

The trip was great, besides my raging culture shock. I can only imagine what it has been like for my comrades who have been home for nearly 9 months now. The meals were huge, and no matter how much J claims that his Big Boy is better, I am still going to be scared if I ever enter one again. I probably gained about 3-4 lbs in a matter of 7 days. That is pretty impressive. We were consuming a lot of beer, however... and some margheritas for good measure.

I arrived in Michigan to guacamole and a monkey. We went to watch a college hockey game in Joe Louis Arena, which made me quite happy! Then headed to Toledo. Toledo was a completely random, yet very fun choice. The art museum had wonky hours, and made for a good wander and lovely arting on a Sunday afternoon. Josh scouted out a little jazz bar near the hotel, while I snuck in a jetlag induced mid-afternoon nap. Then we celebrated St. Patrick's Day in style with Mexican food and jazz. What can I say, we are unconventional... and we had fish & chips with beer the previous evening.

After leaving Toledo behind for the bright lights of Howell, hee hee, I headed out to Indiana at 4:30am. The gods of travel were not with me, as per usual, and I took about an hour detour between Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis in a gas guzzling shiny red Jeep Wrangler. Fun. I did make it, however, and got to hang out with my grandma and my sister!

The red theme was purely coincidental. It was really nice to eat lots of grandma pancakes and catch up being a smartass little sister for a while. I was out of practice...

Next on the list was Florida to see my folks, and to meet up with some friends from college/Boca. I say some, but I really mean Mike who gets props for coming all the way down from Satellite Beach to see me. You are a star, and it was wonderful to see you. Remember to call me long distance when you cross the state border on the way out of Florida! ;) I also saw John at good ol' Mizner Starbucks. Everyone is moving on to bigger and better things and I am happy for you all! The downside of the Boca visit was that Blane and Dr. Courtney both had the day off from FAU, so no professor visiting for me. Sadness.

My parents and the dog were happy to have me home. We celebrated with key lime pie and feet licking (well, Buffy did). I got to teach at my mom's school one afternoon, and the kids asked me a bunch of random questions about Japan. My mom also wanted me to explain why my boys were dressed up in drag in a picture I sent her (from an old school festival pic). I got to explain the Japanese view of homosexuality, etc. to a bunch of special ed. kids. Intriguing.

Back to Michigan for a final evening, and the DIA! Icing on the cake was the Diego Rivera mural, I was led into the room by J and "released" to my geekery. It was amazing, and I have been looking forward to seeing it for YEARS. I was a melty pile of happy art nerd.

Meiers has a lot of cereal. We took this photos to taunt the Baron of Breakfast. Let us see if he retaliates. Thanx for getting my camera from the car, and not minding me embarassing you in your hometown grocery store too much ;).

The next afternoon was my flight out, and after a soggy and difficult goodbye, I sauntered my emo ass around the airport till boarding time. The flight was rather painless, as I was exhausted as all hell. The little girl with the melon head, next to me, did try sleeping on my lap twice. I had to remove her gently both times, to her dismay. Then began the 11 hour marathon vom fest. When she wasn't hurling, she was crinkling the barf bag, or her brother was killing goombas with his DS volume on max. I came milimeters away from committing multiple counts of manslaughter on the plane. Good thing I passed out!

I made it back to Takaoka just in time to hear about the 6.1 earthquake that rocked our neighboring ken, Ishikawa. We felt aftershocks all last week, and one of my Christmas Cacti was not happy to have been knocked over, but little other damage came to my abode.