Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.

Fighting Against Japanese Culture

Fighting Against Japanese Culture

I lucked out. I get to host the March version of the Japan Matsuri (Festival). What happens every March in Japan, unless you are in Hokkaido, then it’s May, and the Tohoku region, then it’s April…okay never mind?

Around this time of the year, the Cherry Blossoms come into view and Japan goes hanamiiiing…I am not sure how to put ..ing on the end of Japanese words when writing, but it happens all the time when gaijins talk to each other about Japanese things, no?

Hanami…flower viewing/watching…can also be translated getting drunker than a skunk under the cherry blossom trees. However, for the designated driver, s/he needs to have something to talk about to keep the conversation pouring along with the sake.

There is plenty to talk about, too….when the discussion turns to ‘uniquely Japanese.’

Before that, however, a Japanese riddle….

A guy and his girl were sitting under a sakura tree in March. He asked her to marry him and she said…”No!”

Later that year around fall…while sitting under an ume tree he asked her to marry him again. This time she said, “Yes.”

Why does she changed her mind?

The answer after the matsuri.

Now…uniquely Japanese.

Ken at What Japan Thinks is great for me. Having spent more years in Japan than anyone under twenty years old in the country, I figured I knew Japan but having been away, perhaps I have lost touch somewhat.

1.  What Japan Thinks reminds me daily of, well, What Japan Thinks. This post gives the Top 30 Three Greats in Japan. What are Japan’s Three greatest tunnels? Three greatest disappointments? Three Greatest Sand Dunes!? Three most famous Castles? What Japan Thinks knows the answer to these questions and 26 more just like them.

2. Nick at LongCountDown tells the world what Japan eats when the sakura are in bloom…and, well, any other time we want to. Thanks, Korea for letting Japan do it their own way…Hi-tech!

3. For those who like to remember the old times under the trees or perhaps strike up a debate on which manga was best…..FuguTabetai (You really want to eat this?) tells us where to find the answers….the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

4. Well, nobody can stay at Ueno Zoo ALL day…so, evening, or the next day…a trip to the Maid Cafe might be desirable. Maid sandwiches, Maid fried potatoes…okay, I am not sure. But, Fugutabetai has the skinny on what is served.

5. What else might be on the menu when the yakiniku runs out….Deas at Rockinginhakata tells about his experience with whale meat. I’ve had whale blubber…and it has been stuck on me ever since. The last time I went to the beach, three people with Greenpeace signs kept trying to throw me back into the sea.

6. Bored…blossoms aren’t so hot?…I mean they only last a week, if that long. But the Japanese think that is the beauty of the flowers…beauty is only temporary in life, quality of spirit is long lasting, they say. What to do? Deas provides 22 links (I lost track after I ran out of fingers and toes, so I may be off a bit) of the playgrounds of future NEETS and Freeters and where they play and how safe (too safe?) it is/was for them and forever will be.  And you don’t need to be bored to want to know.

7. Gesticulation – not as dirty as it sounds….Japanmanship explains and gives graphics of uniquely Japanese gestures. Does he have his finger on his nose? When you asked her out, why’d she make an “X” with her arms? Gestures come in handy when communicating with Japanese…unless they are drunk. For whatever reason, Japanese speak better English when they are so used.

8. Japanmanship offers up this ‘action’ that needs no explanation but definitely needs a retort.

9. The next two booths in the Japanese Matsuri are two I borrowed from AnEnglishmaninOsaka. Seriously…every time the Englishman updates his page, I laugh…out loud. If you couldn’t make it to the Cherry Blossom park…not to fear, the Englishman brings it to his blog. Oh, and one guy…who didn’t make it to the party apparently is still waiting at the station. Guaranteed laugh out loud.

10. Japundit tells us Spiderman didn’t make it to the party either….he was stuck in a tower. Someone tell me why does he have a six pack THERE?

11. Question: Why does beer go through a person so quickly?
Answer: It doesn’t have to take a time to change color before it goes out.

Japundit tells about a Million Yen toilet/loo in Chiyoda that is already turning a profit after just six months…100 yen a squat, or sit and squirt, puff and powder dry.

12. Finally…well almost…RisingSunOfNiihon tells us there’s the ride home on the train for the geezers who had a bit too much, okay, make that way too much to drink, but not so much that they will take their eyes off the little girl old enough to be their daughter AND keep their hands to themselves. Japanese girls are fighting back against the gropers.

13. Making it a baker’s dozen….RisingSunOfNiihon has an artist’s depiction of the old fart in # 12.

With that the matsuri is finished….oh…wait…under the sakura tree, the woman said “no” in the Spring. Under and ume tree in the fall, the woman said, “yes.”

The reason…”ki ga kawatta.”

Trust me, the Japanese will laugh or groan…but either way, be impressed that you can tell this riddle in their language.

See you next Japan Matsuri!

Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.

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Bill Belew

Bill Belew

Daddy and Christian.

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