A Special Day for a Special Unchi

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.

One of its many forms is the mobile phone strap:

photo of unchi keitai strap

It comes out of a vending machine, in this case in the vicinity of Tenmangu Shrine in Dazaifu,

unchi in the plastic vending-machine bubble

and is available in rainbow colours. This picture shows the various flavours, and their properties. I’ll try to get someone to translate the Japanese. If I can keep a straight face while asking. I don’t think the translation of vending machine marketing materials is a regular part of the senior high school English curriculum.

unchi collectors manual

As you can see from the first photo, we got a green one. It has a name tag and shamrock. We didn’t get the red one with the heart, which is kind of too bad. Still, I’d choose a lucky little shit over a lovely piece of crap any day.

Here’s a final unchi picture, with the green ornament next to a blue highlighter so you can get an idea of how small it is.

unchi next to a highlighter pen, for a sense of scale

At least the unchi we bought was cheap and easy to conceal, unlike some:

mother wearing questionable shirt, with balloon-toting child, at Tenraiji sports day

You may need to read it again, just to make sure. Photoshop was not involved in the production of the image. I guess the clothing designer was using one of those 25-letter alphabets. You know, the one with no r. One would almost expect a surtitle of “My parents went to the Louis Vuitton store and all they got me was this…” I took the photo at a neighbourhood sports day that was held at Jarrod’s school last fall. What’s a neighbourhood sports day? It’s a family event where there are all sorts of goofy races and contests, and people sit around cheering, eating and drinking. And wearing questionable shirts. I repeat: a family event. If there’s interest, I’ll post a separate entry. I’ve got lots of photos, as well as a few short video clips.

What occasion could drag my vocabulary down into the gutter like this? It’s a long story, twenty-nine years in the making. If you know a certain someone who is celebrating his birthday today, you might want to point him to this song about aging Tech notes: it’s an mp3 file about 1.5Mb in size, just under two minutes long, and used without permission. And the file name is rot-13 encoded though the ID3 tags have full info. If you enjoyed the song, you might want to check out dial-a-song from this band. I’d recommend that you don’t listen to it for the first time while eating or drinking. If you don’t want to disrupt the cubicle farm or just don’t have the technology to play the file, here are the lyrics

And a final message, for a very specific birthday boy: there’s a little green shit (your Martian twin?), and a couple of inexpensive shirts on their way.

Time. Is marching on.

4 thoughts on “A Special Day for a Special Unchi

  1. Hi Ed,

    The shi(r)t is hila(r)ious. Do you think she knows?

    & the green thing? What can we say about Japanese inventiveness?

    I’m really enjoying your blogs!!

    Keep well & don’t misplace the letter ‘r’. No problem for Lia or Ed, but poor Ja–od!

  2. I will never understand japanese culture i swear.

    And dammit i want an expensive shirt!

  3. Wes: we could’ve gotten you the 6000yen shirt with the pretty flowers on it that had some slogan like “The apparel for the masculine man” or somesuch. But the ones we are sending were on sale!!! We couldn’t resist the sale! (watch out for the warning tags though . . . )

    Ed, maybe you should put up the picture you took of the “masculine” shirt . . .

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