The esteemed Guardian newspaper colorfully describes a lack of sexual desire and practice among young Japanese. Apparently, it’s “too troublesome” to deal with sex or marriage. What I found most unbelievable is the report that this red gloved woman, with the improbable name of Ai Aoyama, earns a living providing sex counseling to the unwilling.
On New Year’s day, beginning just after midnight, many Japanese visit shrines, provide a small contribution, pray for less than 30 seconds, and buy a fortune. My friend took me to Adachi in northern Tokyo to a famous shrine the evening of January 1. You can see above that if you don’t like the fortune you receive, you can fold it up and tie it on a special stand that contains all the bad and just mediocre fortunes.
I left my fortune. And, under the guise of being a foreigner observing local customs, I couldn’t help but take this image of a Tokyo yankii leaving his fortune at the shrine. His mane of distressed hair, the fake fur sweatshirt color, the glitter, lack of warm clothes on a cold evening, and exposed backside somehow all added up to a good omen for the new year and new decade.
Oh, and inside my fortune, I found a (fake) gold plated trinket. Mine is considered especially lucky, a rake that symbolizes I will be “raking in” the money this year. I hope so!
Reading a 1960s literary book by last century’s most celebrated Japanese to English translator, I was struck by his use of charmingly out-dated English. Famous North American translator describes how famous Japanese Meiji writer turned his attention from geishas to “slatterns.” The setting was the start of the 20th century, and the fiction writer was making the impossible biological transition from young man to middle age.
The context made clear that the “slattern,” lacking the art of the geisha, was a barely obscured word for prostitute. What a now quaint word to denote lack of sophistication, slovenly hair and costume, and inadequate hygiene.
With this delicious new word in mind, what did I see in the JR Metro but white plastic heart-shaped high heels? Yes, the heel itself was in the shape of a valentine’s day heart with the point serving as the base of the heel. Below is the closest approximation I could find on Google images. And, trust me, somehow the white plastic was even more slattern-ish than the lucite model.
My only question is why, even in Tokyo on a hot evening, can men not signal slattern-iciousness the way ladies can and often do? Step it up, herbivores-ladies danshi-gyaruo-otomen!