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Friday, January 30, 2015

Japan - What's In A Name?

It's 1941, and the two kimono-clad women in this funny, but anti-British photo are having a laugh at the expense of British prime minister Winston Churchill, having this gag photo taken supposedly at a party in Tokyo.

Winston's initials are W.C., which throughout Europe and Asia (including Japan) means "Water Closet" - the toilet room - imply that Winston Churchill stinks like a used toilet.

Though the photo is from 1941, it is unclear as to whether or not it was taken after of before its official declaration of war on December 7, 1941.

All the websites I have seen with this photo always claim that these women are geisha. That shows a decided amount of ignorance.

Just because a Japanese woman is wearing a kimono does not qualify them to be referred to as geisha. Want to know what geisha are? Read THIS.

Kimono are just like sari's in India. It's the national costume, if you will.

The two women in the photo hardly look the part of a high-society honest to gosh geisha. Where is the white face make-up? The specialized lipstick? I could go on.

Back in the early days of my time in Japan, the Japanese students did have some fun with me when I mentioned a couple of names, such as my brother Ben (which means excrement in Japanese), and friend Connie (which sounds like kani, which is the Japanese word for crab).

I had a couple of classes in stitches when I mentioned those names. I still laugh thinking about the kids making pincers with their hands and snapping them at me.

W.C. is funny, too.

Being from Canada, I wasn't 100% sure what exactly a water closet was, but on many a day, I just had to find out.

If I could have held my nose and used it, I would have. It wasn't my finest hour.

Below, via YouTube, is my all-time favorite television commercial from 1974. I used to do all the voices, what's it look like?

The British Bulldog with the Churchill voice is magnificent.

For the record, I can still do the voices, and STILL have it memorized.

I guess advertising works. Oh... and it did taste better than the old version.

Andrew Joseph

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