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Cock

April 29, 2007

It's the accepted English word in Japan for what we would probably call a rooster. This was in a children's play area. It's also on animal crackers.

On an unrelated note, I went to Tokyo a few weeks ago for the Kanamara Matsuri. It takes place in a little shrine in Kawasaki, a suburb of Tokyo. There's a few stories about how it came to be, but this is a popular one: Once upon a time, there was a beautiful woman. So beautiful that a demon (oni) fell in love with her. However, the woman wasn't so keen on the ugly demon, so she turned him down. Then got married to someone else. The demon was angry, so he went up… inside her, and nestled himself in there. Then, as the newlyweds consummated their relationship on the night of the wedding, the demon bit down hard from inside the woman, and removed the husband's rooster.

That relationship didn't work out, and she married again, with the same result. The village didn't know what to do, until a blacksmith decided that they should make a phallus out of iron, and use that. So, the blacksmith fashioned one, and used it. The demon bit down hard, and smahed all his teeth. Then he slunk out, ashamed, to nurse his wounds. Everyone celebrated, and the blacksmith married the woman. In Kawasaki, there is a shrine dedicated to … penis. Prostitutes used to come here and pray to ward off STDs. It holds a festival once a year. It sounded interesting. So, that was what I went up to see.

The solemn service
Outside the solemnity
Well outside the solemnity



When my friend and I arrived to check out the night-time celebrations before the big festival the following day, we got a bit of a shock to find a solemn service taking place…


… the solemnity of which was only a little marred by …

… the surroundings.
 


As it turned out, it was a solemn offering to the god of the shrine before the shenanigans in the morning. My friend and I were invited in afterwards to gert drunk with the priests. Or whatever the people who work at a shrine are called.

The next day was madness, as you'd probably expect from such a place. The crowds swelled through the day, and by the mid-afternoon the place was packed with people checking out the sights. The shrine has many permanent fixtures of penis-shaped statues for people to pray at, and there were also many stalls and other things set up especially for the day.

One thing that I found particularly disturbing about the place was the number of small girls present. Ideally, at a place like this, I would have like to have found none. Yet there were plenty more than that. And watching them staring at giant penis-shaped statues while everyone admired them, was a little disturbing.

EnterprisingWishful thinkingJapanese Men Love PenisDisturbing

There were two giant wooden penises (penii?) on the grounds, which people were having a great time with. But it got a little weird to see the girls playing on them as well, especially seeing the looks of delight and hilarity which the adults were giving them when they did so (note the lollipop in her hand).


Aside from the fact that no end of men were taking their pictures, these girls obviously became very interested in this wonderous creation, and would have been wondering why everyone was loving them so much. When this one girl dismounted, she stroked the head for a little while with this look of mystery on her face… it certainly looked like she'd be trying to get to the bottom of this mystery as soon as possible. Which, especially considering Japan's prevalent apparent lenient attitude towards pedophilia, was just plain wrong, and not helping the situation at all.

So, then, a few of us foreigners (I met a few there) got into Japanese kimono, and joined in on the parade. The cross-dressing cat policeman stopped the traffic…
 

Neko-copperLong-nose and Shrine MaidensLong-nose the pervertMobile ManlinessPink ManlinessBlack ManlinessDawning InterestThe Price of Carrying a Giant PenisMaids and Maidens

And then we were on our way, led by someone who I have no idea who he was. But he did seem to have something to do with a couple of the little girls. Who did look super cute in their little kimono.

The main feature of the parade was the mikoshi – three of them. One made of wood, one of what looked like steel (though it can't have been…. could it?), and a third which I don't know what it was made of, but was vividly pink. The three were hoisted by various groups, and carried through the crowded and lively streets for about the next hour and a half. The giant pink one was carried by the local gay contingent.

 

They're yelling "Dekai Mara!", which literally means "Huge Dick!"

And once again, little girls took it all in with wondrous eyes.

Those things were damn heavy. When I carried the one here in Goma, we put it down regularly for a break and a beer. These one in Kawasaki were bigger, and carried for about an hour and a half without a break! I have no idea how they did it. People were swapping in and out quite often, I think, but some probably were in there for a long time. The pressure of doing so year after year had taken its toll on some people, in the way of severe hunchbacks being developed amongst people who looked in their 40s! This guy's was pretty minor but the only one I got a good photo of.

Eventually the parade made its way back to the shrine, where there was much rejoicing and drinking, and the random Tokyoness started to invade, such as French maid girls turning up for no reason and getting their photos taken with shrine maidens. 

Afterwards, I got interviewed twice by two different people as a foreigner for my take on events, then I headed out to see a bit more of Tokyo before heading home, such as human dolls buying bus tickets…

Human DollTough Guys

… and gangs showing everybody how tough they are by putting on a dance performance in the park.
 

Man. Tokyo.

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