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Monday, June 30, 2014

A Dirty Little Food Story - 1800s Japan


It's 83F or 23.3C in this computer room where I write this at 11:30 PM in Toronto. No air-conditioning will do that. I shudder to go upstairs and sleep where I know it is 10 F hotter (34C), and I'm wondering just who I pissed off in a previous life to have to sweat so much this late in the evening.

It was hotter this afternoon when it took me two hours to cut the grass and when I came in to afterwards to take a shower it took me a few minutes to peel the soaked tee-shirt off myself.

Six hours later I can still squeeze my perspiration from the shirt. I know... ick.

I mean... it's so hot that I wouldn't even feel like having sex if it were offered. That's how you know it's hot.

Ugh.. what's worse is that my stupid new cat - a 7-year-old already named Daphne - decided to hop up on the computer table just now and rub herself all over me... and because I am slick, her hair is now stuck all over me. Stupid love-starved cat.

Anyhow, I was researching another story when I came across the following... it has the following English translation under this image.Again... I don't even know if it is correct - but I like it.

Kuchi-tori (serving foods to mouth)
"Dear, listen, I say open your mouth.
In order not to get your hands dirty,
you see, it looks so funny
everyone opens his mouth
so wide when I say that.
They look like
sparrow kids waiting foods."
"Ha, ha, ha, not a
sparrow's kid - but a
girl like you that is what
I want to eat.
What do you think of it,
instead of serving foods to my mouth?"

To me, the implication is that this is the English translation to the messy Japanese writing from the pre-1868 ukiyo-e (no dark purple color used, which was all the rage at that time)... but I can not find any evidence of this particular ukiyo-e or the poem being what it purports to be.

I have no idea who drew the rather comical artwork - the hanko stamps denoting artist and publisher aren't apparent.

Why do I say it's comedic?

Simple... the art depicts the faux pas of someone being fed via chopsticks food - definitely a no-no in Japanese society.

And... despite the cannibalistic comment of the man saying that he wants to eat the beautiful girl feeding him akin to a momma sparrow bird, he is instead propositioning her for sex via some cunning lingual word play.

I have fixed the grammar and changed a word or two in to a better English equivalent, and have fixed the quotes to indicate first woman as the first speaker and the hungry, horny man as the second speaker.

I'm pretty sure that if you are with a Japanese woman who doesn't mind feeding you with her chopsticks, you can pretty much say whatever you want to her.

Now... in the woman's defense... I have NO evidence that she is eating any food herself, and that these chopsticks are the only one's visible in the image, thus she is merely feeding her guest.

Since that is apparently correct, the man's suggestive question does seem a bit out of line.

Yeah, yeah... I look at the scene, write, look at the scene again and write and look once more to see if I've missed anything else.

Bad man. Poor Japanese girl... providing the sexy service of feeding the male clientele... but we are left to wonder if she is ONLY feeding them food or sex, the food of life.

Somewhere starving for attention,
Andrew Joseph

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