Friday, August 25, 2006

Acting your age: optional

One of the most enjoyable thing about Japan, at least from the perspective of a westerner, is the complete ability of the Japanese to dismiss the western concept of masculine maturity.

In the west, there is a significant amount of effort put forth by some to be a "manly man" and to do "manly things". While this has certainly helped sell freeweights and camaros, it has on occasion reduced the amount of fun being had by the average adult male.

This idea has shown up in such things as the cartoon police force, the reading of comic books by grown men, and the fact that I can ride a one speed bike with a basket and no crossbar. This is not to say that Japan doesn't have its own idea of what it means to be an archetypical man, but merely that many things that *I* believe most western men would frown on are totally accepted here.

For example, I recently had the pleasure of attending a Barbeque party organized by my illustrious friend Atsushi (or "飯田富-さん" as he's known to the 日本人 locals.

Fun was indeed had by all.

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Now, Atsushi is not technically a twenty-something party boy, but you would never know it to meet him. He stays out all night, has fun and generally is a great guy to spend time with. I have never met anyone in my life who laughs at their physical age the way Atsushi does.

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Check out that style, ladies!


Let's put it straight: I don't think any reasonably mature businessmen in North America would be caught dead jumping on a makeshift trampoline with a fair share of glasses of wine in them.

Here he is bouncing around with one of his best chums (and teacher!) Nick

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Mad Juggling David also joined in the party.

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This thing we are bouncing on is called a "jumping board". It's kind of like a safer, Japanese version of log rolling. You'd better believe that I got involved.
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Later on, we engaged in some more serious fun - SMASHING WATERMELONS!

This is apparently some sort of traditional Japanese idea, to blindfold someone, spin them around a bunch of times, then guide them to the watermelon.

Let's just say that success fell somewhat along gender lines.

For example,


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...Lucy...


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...and Emily...

...Seemed to fare rather well.



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David...


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...and Takyua...


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...were not so hot at it.


Seriously, there are a great many things that you can do in Japan that simply wouldn't work anywhere else in the world.

For example, you could try to look dangerous while holding a 99 yen folding fan.

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Seriously! Fans are cool for men here. You just need to make sure you put your wrist into it.


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Log rolling: In Canadian stereotypes, two lumberjacks would jump on a log in the water and try to knock each other off. Very Crazy.

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