Monthly Archives: January 2013

An Old Japanese Fetish Story…: Her poop smells and tastes sweet…

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     “Speaking of “golden poop”, there’s an interesting story on poop in one of the old folk tales of Japan.” Masa said that during an English class and he introduced the story. It was really interesting! I would like to tell you about it. Before that, I suppose many of you must be wondering what the “golden poop” is. The topic of the English class was a toilet theme park in Korea that day. It was from Breaking English News, which is an English learning site (http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/index.html). I’ll show you the news first.

“Toilet Theme Park” Opens in S. Korea http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1211/121111-theme_park.html

     A city in South Korea has added a new attraction to its cultural landscape – the world’s first “Toilet Theme Park”. The Restroom Cultural Park in the city of Suwon is proving a huge hit with locals and tourists alike. The latest tourist site is dedicated to the memory of former city mayor Sim Jae-duck, affectionately known as “Mr Toilet”. He believed the toilet is a very important and under-appreciated aspect of world culture. Visitors to the park can admire its toilet-bowl-shaped exhibition hall as well as dozens of bronze statues in various toilet positions. They can even sit on Mr Kim’s original toilet, which includes a full-length glass door that mists up when it is being used. poop 3

     Suwon has become well known for the promotion of toilet culture. The city attracts toilet-related artwork from around the world to its galleries. It famously hosts the Golden Poop Art Festival – a celebration of one of the calls of nature. The city also lists dozens of its own public toilets as tourist attractions on its website. Sim Jae-duck’s own giant, toilet-shaped house, now a museum, should be the must-see for enthusiasts. Mr Sim’s fascination with toilets supposedly began because he was born in the smallest room of his mother’s house. He said in 2007: “The toilet…can save humankind from diseases [and is] a place for introspection. The toilet is also a central living place that possesses culture.”

     Hmm…interesting! The news made all of us in the class, especially our teacher, feel like going to the theme park. Well, I’ll introduce the Japanese old story of “the golden poop” then…It is in “Uji Shui Monogatari” which is a collection of Japanese tales written around the beginning of the 13th century. The author is unknown.

     Long time ago, there was a man named Sadafumi. He was called Heiju. Being noble, good-looking, and a charming talker, he was very popular at that time. Because he was confident in himself, he made sexual advances toward all women he liked.

     There was a maid of honor called Jijyu at the residence of another noble man named Tokihira at the time. She was young, very beautiful and clever. Heiju tried to relate her with zeal, but Jijyu ignored him and had never even written back to him. Heiju was heartbroken and wrote to her, “Could you please at least write back to me ‘I saw this letter’? I think of you all the time.” Then, a servant brought Jijyu’s letter to him. Heiju was very glad to take it and opened it immediately. However, there were no words from her, but a small piece of torn paper was pasted on a sheet of tissue. She tore the part of his message “I saw this letter” from his letter and pasted it on the tissue as her reply.poop 1

     Heiju was chagrined. That was at the end of February. He decided to give up Jijyu and stopped writing love letters to her. But one night around May 20 when it was raining, he thought, “If I visit her on such a dark rainy day, she might see me even if she is cold-hearted.” So, he went to Tokihira’s residence at midnight in the pouring rain. He let a servant give his message to Jijyu: I can’t bear my loneliness and have come to see you. The servant came back to him and whispered, “My lord hasn’t gone to bed yet. So she can’t make her exit. Would you please wait for a while? I’ll tell you after she left for her room.” Heiju was delighted to hear that. He was hiding in the darkness and waiting for the servant.

     About two hours later, it seemed everyone had gone to bed. Heiju heard of someone’s footstep coming toward him and then a click when the lock of the door opened. He was excited and opened the door with his shaking hands quietly. A sweet fragrance of incense was filled in the room. He grouped around the bed and felt a body in soft kimono lying there. He touched her hair. It was long and smooth. He was too thrilled to say anything. Then the lady said, “Oh, I’ve forgotten to lock a door. I’ll go to lock it.” She shrugged her kimono out and left it there, and walked to the door.

    Heijyu got naked and waited for her coming back. He heard of the sound she locked the door, but she didn’t come back. Time passed by. He thought there was something wrong and got up, and then walked to the door. There, he found out that the door was locked from the outside the room. He got shocked. He was deceived. He was angry and thought about staying there until morning. But he had second thoughts when he heard servants awaking at the dawn, “I might be in hot water if I’m witnessed…” So, he left there before the morning.poop 2

     After that, Heijyu tried to gather bad rumors about Jijyu to come to hate her. But his attempt failed. His love for her was just growing. But one day he came up with a way of taking a dislike of her. “She is very beautiful, but her feces must be as the same as others’. I might fall into disgust of her naturally if I squish her feces!” he thought. Therefore, he went to Tokihira’s residence again and peered around. Then, a 17 or 18 – year-old beautiful girl came out from Jijyu’s room. She was holding a chamber pot covered by a thin cloth, hiding it with a red fan. Heijyu got excited and followed her. He snatched the chamber pot from the girl’s hands when they were out of public sight, and dashed away leaving the crying girl behind.

     Heijyu entered an abandoned house and locked the door from the inside. The chamber pot was a gorgeous box covered by golden lacquer with a lid. He was hesitant to open it because the box was extremely beautiful. But finally he nervously opened the box. Then he smelt the smell of cloves. He peered into the box with wonder, and then saw three pieces of two or three-inch brown lumps in yellowish water. He thought, “Oh, that’s it…” and stuck a piece with a chunk of wood and sniffed it. It smelt like a solid perfume called Kurobo made from cloves, agarwood, sandalwood, and musks and so on. He licked the liquid and the lump like a person possessed. It tasted a bit bitter and sweet.

     Because Heijyu was a fast thinker, he noticed that the urine-looking liquid was made by boiling cloves and those lumps were boiled yams with some solid perfume and sweetening. He thought, “What a wonderful lady she is! Who else can come to think of me trying to get her chamber pot? I would kill for her!” He was obsessed with her and got sick, and then died at last…

     It is amazing that this interesting story was written 800 years ago! The episode of feces or urine is extreme and unusual, but our feelings on amorous things have not changed so much since such an ancient time. Too much spoils…especially regarding love affair…

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Kakuozan Tour (Nata-Yakushi): Walking around in the old and new area

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覚王山1

     “There’s no point in looking around here in this approach to the temple. Look at the cake shop opposite. That came from Tajimi six years ago. There are few which have stood here since olden days but my shop. Most other shops have come to this place recently from somewhere, and will leave for somewhere soon.” The 70-year-old man said bitterly. 覚王山9

     I was at a tatami, or straw mat, shop in Kakuozan with some of my friends on December 21. We dropped by the store after visiting our main destination: Nata-yakushi. Kakuozan is a place name, but it actually means a temple called Nittai-ji standing there. The tatami mat shop is in the approach to the temple. As the owner said, many new stores, such as café chains and cake shops, lately have opened along the approach and they have gathered not only senior citizens but also youngsters. 覚王山14

     As the tatami shop’s owner pointed out, the area is losing historical attraction because old buildings have been destroyed and been replaced with modern fashionable shops, though the alteration is attracting young people. However, there are still many old and historical place remained in Kakuozan. He was delighted when we told him that we had visited Nata-yakushi. “Oh! You went there! That’s good!” 覚王山2

     Nata-yaskushi (a.k.a. Ioh-do) was built by Shimpo Cho originally in a temple named Eiko-in in Chikusa-ku in 1669. But it is not clear when the building was moved to the present place. Shimpo was a doctor in the Chinese Ming dynasty. He became a naturalized citizen and a special doctor for the lord of the Owari (Nagoya) Domein in the Edo period. Yakushi-nyorai (Bhaisajyaguru), or Buddha of Healing is enshrined in the building because Shimpo was a medical worker. In addition, Shimpo has become a street’s name in Chikusa-ku as well. 覚王山3

     The building attracts people because of not only its statue of Buddha of Healing and Shimpo’s story but also two statues of Buddha of the sunlight and the moonlight and 12 god statues curved by a famous sculptor in the Edo period: Enku. According the legend, Enku made those statues using spare woods for building Nagoya Castle with only a machete. He was a man more than 300 years ago but his works look avant-garde in even the 21st Century. They were fabulous. Unfortunately I could not take any photos of them because it was banned…But you can see them here: http://www.a-namo.com/ku_info/chikisaku/pages_n/enku_butsu.htm 覚王山4

     Interestingly many people were praying before those statutes putting a one-yen coin on the edge. I asked the reason around me, but no one knew. So, I rummaged through my wallet to find a one-yen coin, and stood it before a statue and prayed for people who were suffering from diseases, though I did not know why letting the coin stand. I found a stone monument when I came out from the old hall. It exactly looked like a coin. Standing a coin may have something to do with it. 覚王山5

     After visiting Nata-yakushi, my friends and I went to a Japanese restaurant nearby for lunch. The restaurant is an old folk house on whose roof there is a statue of Shoki, which is a figure of Chinese mythology and is believed to expel evil spirits. There was only one menu for lunch that day on December 21 because the 21 of every month is a festival day of Nittai-ji Temple in Kakuozan. 覚王山7Actually, Nata-yakushi is also just opened on 21. So many people come to the area on 21 and the restaurant cannot offer their usual service that day. Our table at the restaurant was interesting. It was made of an old sliding door and four old ceramic blaziers. The place was very old and cozy. We relaxed there and enjoyed their lunch special. 覚王山8

     After lunch, we walked through Nittai-ji temple’s ground, where there were many stalls and people. It looked like a bazaar somewhere. There were many food stands, and people were enjoying eating them outside. 覚王山10Many of the stalls were selling special items for New Year, such as rice cake, dried fish, and flowers and trees, and wives were shopping much they could not carry them all. The place was filled with energy from sellers and visitors. 覚王山11

     We left the bustling marketplace and walked into a tranquil place. We visited an old building called Yoki-so, which was an old villa of the first president of Matsuzakaya department store. It stands quietly near Nittai-ji Temple.覚王山12 It was built in 1918 and now is opened to the public as a Nagoya City’s tangible cultural asset. But we cannot enter inside the old building. Even so, it is nice to visit there. You can see the interesting architecture and the tea ceremony house, and walk around the garden for free.

     As going back to Nittai-ji Temple and the market area, we were returning to the hubble again. We dropped by a small shrine along the approach to the temple called Sai-Kobo-do, which has 65 statues of Kobo Daishi (a.k.a. Kukai). 覚王山13Those statues show his 62-year life. Actually Nittai-ji Temple has a festival on the 21st day every month because Kukai died on the 21 of the third month in 835. Despite Nittai-ji Temple does not worship Kukai, why has its special day become his death date? The old villa’s owner Mr. Ito started a campaign for gathering visitors to the temple using Kukai in 1909. He began building shrines relating to Kukai along the approach to the temple. The project hit a jackpot. Since then, many visitors have come to Kakuozan area and have spent money there.

     There are many interesting historical and culture things in Kakuozan area. I had a wonderful time at Nata-yakushi, the Japanese restaurant, Yoki-so, Sai-Kobo-do, the bazaar and the tatami shop with my friends. Next time I go to the area, I would like to visit other old temples and to come across something new!

2012 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.