Month: Last updated Jun 24, 2017

Diary of an Ex-yakuza Moll

Back in May, my wife and I went to the Sanja Matsuri, a famous mikoshi festival. There were some yakuza there showing off their tattoos, and one of them was this woman. My wife somehow got curious about what kind of person married a yakuza, and when we got home, she started doing some googling on the subject. She came across a blog called “Kekkon ni Mukenai Hito” (A Person Who’s Unsuitable for Marriage). It had this entry about a woman who got entangled with a yak, and I thought it was quite interesting, so I translated it below: If you’re an ordinary office lady, you probably don’t get pursued by yakuza too often. This happened quite a while ago. I started secretly working part-time after my regular job, and soon after that, a yakuza started pursuing me. I used to be kind of daring, and I got desensitized to partying. Half because I wanted to party, and half because I felt sorry for him, I became a yakuza moll. I just thought he was lonely and I felt sorry for him, without thinking about it seriously. He was the shadow-president of the company I was working part-time at. For me, it was just a way to kill time. I wasn’t demanding, I was reserved (because I don’t like to be a burden), and I wasn’t sexy, so he...

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Chocolate Natto

Mito’s meibutsu (famous local product) is natto, a goo made from rotten soy beans. It is, as they say, an acquired taste. I once ate it every day for three weeks, testing out my theory that a person can get used to any food. I gave up  because I just couldn’t get it down without gagging. This souvenir stand is trying to make it more palatable by adding chocolate to it. By the way, I’m moving tomorrow, so there probably won’t be any posts until next weekend. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Sekigahara War World

Photos courtesy of FunkyBuddha Experience Sekigahara was probably the most important battle in the history of Japan. It was fought in Gifu Prefecture in a tiny village called Sekigahara, which is viewed today as the dividing point between eastern and western Japan. It was the Gettysburg of Japanese history. On one side, were Ieyasu Tokugawa, a powerful feudal lord from the east and his allies, and on the other were the forces of Mitsunari Ishida, the most powerful man in western Japan. After the death of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the de facto shogun of Japan in 1598, Tokugawa conspired against Toyotomi’s young son, Hideyori, who was supported by Ishida. He created an alliance of feudal lords from the eastern prefectures, and moved against Ishida and the western army in 1600. After much manouvering, the two forces came together at Sekigahara, a village on the Nakasendo Highway, which joined Tokyo and Kyoto. The battle was a terrible bloodbath in which the soldiers of a divided country slaughtered one another to decide the fate of the nation. More than 170,000 men fought at Sekigahara, and some 60,000 men were killed on the losing side. The Tokugawa alliance won the battle after several of the western generals turned traitor and fought on the their side. After the battle, the Tokugawa Shogunate took over Japan, ruling the country for the next 250 plus years....

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Money Washing Temple in Kamakura

The famous Zeniarai Benten Shrine in Kamakura. See the green trough-looking thing at the back of the cave? People believe that if you wash your money in the trough, it will double in value. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Courtesan Procession in Shinagawa

Embarrassing confession: until a few years ago, I thought a “courtesan” was a female courtier. Just on the off-chance that you’re confused like I was, a courtesan is a prostitute. The oiran were, like geisha, more than just prostitutes, though, and were renowned for their music, dancing, poetry, and calligraphy. They were farther toward the coital end of the sex-worker spectrum than geisha, and were the aristocracy of the pleasure quarters. There’s an interesting Wikipedia article about them at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oiran Oiran were fashion trend-setters. The high-ranking ones wore these huge shoes and had a style of walking where they dragged their feet out sideways in a semi-circle. You can see it in this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNncpdEFOB0&feature=related. The shoes weigh 2.5 kgs. The procession is held in Shinagawa and takes place every year on the first Saturday in June, and is part of a larger mikoshi festival. The procession starts at 6:30, not from the Shinagawa Bridge (as the Japan Times Festival Listings said, causing me to wait in the wrong place) but up the road farther toward Shinagawa Station. If you come to the bridge, keep going, cross the big road and turn left. I believe it’s here. <http://www.google.co.jp/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=ja&geocode=&q=%E5%93%81%E5%B7%9D&sll=36.949892,136.40625&sspn=48.185068,71.806641&ie=UTF8&ll=35.618169,139.743416&spn=0.000366,0.000548&t=h&z=21&layer=c&cbll=35.618177,139.743523&panoid=O7bd7U4gXmwqG_AgjYBrRQ&cbp=12,4.65,,0,12.93> Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens...

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