Google has informed me that this is the blog's hundredth post. I don't know how I feel about this.
|Because that's how I hunt giant carp: with my scrotum.|
At parties, where my fiction-writing identity is a secret, I talk about Japan and history and people, and I am immediately responsible for answering any questions relating to the chain of islands. On occasion, people want to talk about what I think of as Weird Japan. And as the impromptu party Japan ambassador, it means the entirety of Japanese civilization is taped to my chest.
There are some things regarding Japan that I can talk about in great detail. Like early epidemic gods or navigating Kyoto. There are many topics I can hold conversation. Then there are topics where I just stare cluelessly at the person asking—usually there's a lot of vague words, and it, whatever it was, could have happened in Korea or China because don't remember but Asia.
No man, I kid.
Sometimes I get curveballs. Like, let's talk about the weird creepy octopus porn. What's up with that?
Everyone's thinking of the piece above, which is by Katsuhika Hokusai (1760-1849), also famous for The Great Wave of Kanagawa. I like to joke that while America was working on winning its independence, Japan was working on tentacle porn.
But if we stop our middle school giggling for a few minutes, I think it's worth noting that the picture isn't intended to be tentacle rape. I'm not here to de-sexualize Hokusai's works. It's definitely erotica. All in all, the Edo Period, which produced his prints and others, was a pretty sexy times-oriented period.
Since this isn't a party — sorry — I'd also like to take a moment to note that even though I'm a Japan person, Hokusai is literally almost a thousand years outside of my expertise.
But the whacky Hokusai picture deserves to have a few myths dispelled. First, the picture illustrates a scene from a popular folktale, and contemporaries of the print wouldn't have thought of the picture in isolation, but one snapshot from the story. Scholars have pointed out that the octopus aren't raping her, but this is a bit of bestial cunnilingus. Still not good by modern standards, but at least the octopai aren't trying to be mean.
Oh. Is this my first NSFW post?
Anyway, I have absolute no idea what's going on in the tanuki scrotum catfish picture. No clue.
I hope that never comes up at a party.