Today my day was filled with mapmaking for a guidebook that’s going to be given to all of the new JET participants at the end of the summer. So in order to keep everyone entertained, I’m falling back on yet more proof of the uphill battle I’m fighting as an English teacher in Japan.
Yet another post during what was supposed to be Kitakyushu week, that is only tangentially related to Kitakyushu.
Unchi. What is it? It’s shit, of course. Poop, crap, feces. Number two. A particular stylized kind of shit that only the Japanese with their weird fetishes could dream up. A cartoon coil that spirals up into a cone.
I’ve decided to keep up the photo posts and continue with the retro comics theme I started a couple of days ago. As some of you know, we live in a part of Kitakyushu called Tobata Ward (戸畑区). About a half-hour walk from our apartment is an older market area called Tenjin (天神). From what I can tell, many cities here have a Tenjin area, in the same way that most North American cities have a Main Street. The most famous Tenjin in Kyushu is in Fukuoka City, about an hour away by train. It’s a district of offices, shopping, clubs and other entertainment.
Last Saturday I went out on foot to explore parts of our neighbourhood which I hadn’t seen before, or had only passed through at night. Usually I bike along major roads at relatively high speeds.
The plum trees have started to bloom in Yomiya Park. There were election trucks patrolling and propagandizing. I was reminded of how much strange stuff there is in this country, and that I don’t have to go very far to find it. If anyone wants, I’d be happy to upload some plum photos. Or the Popeye Beauty Salon. Or a video clip of an election campaign truck with its loudspeakers blasting. I also found hope and peace, for a less than 300 yen each. Just ask.
…what you think it means. The Japanese love to decorate things with words from foreign languages. They also like to combine foreign words to create new vocabulary. A case in point is the wanpeesu (one piece)—a dress. Many of the shops, buildings, and products here are labelled in a way that makes me wonder if they have any understanding of the chosen language. Here’s a selection of decorative English (and a bit of French) at its best.