Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Lost in translation (twice)

We have had the pleasure of the company of two of my nieces for a fortnight at the end of their summer holidays.  On our way walking from Asakusa to Ueno we came across this sign.   They puzzled over it - their interpretation that it was for a sex change.  Go to bed as a man, wake up as a woman....  makes perfect sense really..

It's a high presure oxygen chamber (which I erroneously assumed was a capsule hotel catering for women until I blew up the picture and saw the 高気圧 and closer inspection revealed price per 40 minute session.)

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Tattooed kewpie dolls

Asakusa is well known for the Sanja Matsuri and the obvious display of tattoos on almost naked, relatively well built men who may or may not have half a little finger.  I guess it's not so surprising then that kewpie dolls in Asakusa have the option of coming with tats.   I was a bit taken aback to see them though; tattoos are highly stigmatised in Japan, with many onsen, swimming pools, amusement parks not admitting people with visible tats. It's a relatively recent stigma though - legislated against by the Meiji govt. -  in Tokugawa times, tattoos were quite widespread, and it's an old tradition of the Ainu (though Ainu tatttoos  The recent influx of western tourists, many with tattoos might be softening the social prejudices that have developed, but not a whole lot.