Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pretty in Pink

The custom around here is to sit down in the late afternoon for a solitary hour and knock together some ideas and words for a blog post. For most of Saturday my routines and customs were off kilter with family come-to-call, with thoughts scattered and for the most part revolving around a big nada. At such times a love of Japan and all it’s weird-wacky diversity usually provides a starting point for some kind of blog scramble, and if the words fail to come then there are always a few pictures of the unusual made into art.

Chances are high that a few of the pictures below have bounced around the world and the Internet a dozen times, but both the photos and the ideas behind them deserve another rerun. From a long list of favorites seven examples of the weird, crazy, funny, puzzling and unbelievable side of Japan are shown below.

It took a minute or two to figure out what the pink frame around the woman’s face is for, but then I noticed the long hair and it spatial relation to the bowl of noodles. The horribly unattractive pink face-frame is meant to keep the woman’s hair from dangling into the bowl of noodles. What’s wrong with an old-fashioned rubber band or hair clip?

There’s really more good timing to this photo than weirdness. Experience tells me that the occasion here is probably something like a school festival, a time when students often put on drag. Certainly it is a special occasion of some sort, and a time when two of the guys took a restroom break. Great picture though.

I have a funny feeling this baby is not Japanese, but Chinese. I found the photo labeled as Japanese, but something about it makes me think otherwise. In any case, it is an unusual picture and altogether charming.

The point in this photo of a trash receptacle inside a store somewhere in Japan is the small, hard-to-read English translation of the Japanese phrase at the top of the green label. The Japanese moenai-gomi means non-burnable trash, which has been translated here as NONCOMBURNABLE GARBAGE.

The Japanese prefectures of Kumamoto, Nagano and Ôita are famous for basashi, or raw horse meat and the dish is common in the Tôhoku region as well. I once had it in a Tôhoku inn and believe me, once is enough. But clearly there is also a dessert made from horse meat called basashi ice cream.

Chicken wing ice cream is a regional specialty of Nagoya, a city famous for its poultry. No, I’ve never tried this one and doubt I could be enticed.

The chocolate puff snack above is pretty good and there’s nothing at all unusual about the taste. Tastes about like any other cookie with chocolate on top. It’s the name and the shape that come across badly in this case. It looks just a little like a box of chocolate-filled colon bits. Awful in the same way that the Japanese drink Calpis was renamed initially as Cawpis for the US market. When too few shoppers bought the drink because it sounded like ‘cow piss’ the makers changed it to Calpico.


  1. These are examples beyond my understanding. I'm with you....why doesn't the girl put on a head band to keep her hair out of her noodles. The fat little baby is cute but I'm happy I don't have to be the mother that has to carry around that "hunk".

  2. I enjoyed this post. I lived in Korea many years ago - and this brought back many good memories. Thanks!


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America