Saturday, March 12, 2011

a word of two of thanks and then hopefully a smile...

Hi, everyone.
Let me make a quick introduction....I'm Debbie Kuroiwa (kuroiwa = blackrock) and I live on the island of Kyushu in the southern part of Japan.  I have received so many concerned messages about my and my family's safety since the earthquake and horrific tsunami on Friday afternoon....I can honestly say that I have never felt so loved in such a long time.
We are safe.
We are far enough away that most people here didn't even know about the quake until they got home after work.  All of us here have been watching reports on TV and it's just so devastating.
We are saying prayers for those in the hardest hit areas and also counting our blessings that we are in a safe place.
Please send your good thoughts and prayers to those who need them....the recovery is going to be a long process, but, the Japanese are a strong people....recovery will happen.
I'm in need of something light this evening and I thought that, even though this has absolutely nada to do with bananas....I'm hoping it will make you smile (I know it does me, every time I think about it).
It's a blogpost from last week, but personally, I think it's a good one.
Plus, with all the images of Japan that you are seeing everytime you turn on the tv, this might help
refresh your senses a bit.
For me, it's been an escape, of sorts.

Japan is an amazing country and wonderful place to visit.
Her culture is so interesting, but sometimes, the best stuff is what you might not actually see when you come for a short visit.

This is where I come in.
I'm considering myself an
 "instructor in all things WTH"
 here in this land I call "home".

Ohhhhhhh Japan.....
If someone were to say "Japan" to you right now (like I just did),
what images would come to you?

Mt. Fuji?
Perhaps Mt. Fuji in the spring and and some sakura (cherry blossoms)?


How about station officials smooshing people into the trains of Tokyo?

Maybe you are more sports minded and Sumo came to mind.
*This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of the great Konnishiki.

Or maybe, your mind went another direction *thank you, Hollywood* and you had this lovely image...

Or....hey...did you imagine this?

Bet you didn't see that one coming, did you?
Which seems to make the Japanese kancho even funnier to those doing it....
the surprise attack.
The kancho.
According to the good people over at :
(yes, strangely enough, there IS a website!!)
Kancho is the ancient art of clasping your hands together and poking someone... in the rear. Kancho is not meant to be vulgar or mean, in fact it is rarely used in an antagonistic way, like a nipple twister, or a head noogie, but rather as a kind of affection, similar to athletes patting each other's butts. Foreign teachers in Japan are often the target of Kancho. This is partly due to their celebrity status in schools, as many kids want to be the one who Kanchoed the English teacher.

(Go ahead, when you're done here, click on the link
and learn more about this than what you will probably ever need .)

By the way, the boys told me that you really need to say "Kancho!!" in a loud voice when you are doing it to make it, I guess, the perfect kancho.

I guess, if you think about it, boys and men in the western world are forever punching each other, wrestling around, giving snuggies/wedgies to each other, or goosing someone...come to think of it, one of my brothers has a habit of pulling me in for a hug and then sticking my nose in his armpit.
Kancho fits right in.
Now...just to make this word just a liiiiiiiittle bit funnier....
the word kancho, in the dictionary has a few meanings:

1: (giving an) enema;
2: (Slang) prank where the anal region of another person is poked with index fingers
3: government office; authorities ; superintendent priest; chief abbot; superintendent; director;
curator; chief librarian

Seriously....can you think of any English word that is funnier than this???

At the community centers, when a class starts for the first time, the head of the
community center (the kancho) usually comes into the class to welcome the students and give information to them about the center.
I remember as if it were yesterday the first time this happened....first day of class, new students, the center officials came into the room and the kancho was introduced.
"Eh?  What the hell??"
I'm a pretty smart cookie so, it didn't take long to put 2 and 2 together to figure out that the kancho I knew, was not the same kind of kancho giving a speech to all my students.

That was almost 7 years ago, but even today, when I hear this word?
Oh, yeah....the 10-year-old boy in my psyche
has a very hard time keeping a straight face.

One more thing....for Issei's birthday, he got a t-shirt from some
good friends of ours that used to live here.

On the front was this:
Lock and load, baby.  We're ready.
In case you are wondering....
yes....we all want one of these t-shirts and will probably order them soon.

*Thanks GoogleImages for all the pictures, except that last one.

God bless you go, right now...and hug someone.
It's good for the soul.


Sassy B. said...

Maybe I shock easily but both the earthquake & kancho! blow my mind.

I'm sooo relieved that you & your family are safe. My heart goes out to the people of Japan. This is a devastating natural disaster on so many levels.

Banana Freud said...

So so so glad your end of Japan is safe. Am thinking of your country, especially with this latest nuclear threat. Is it as bad, Debbie, as our (ratings motivated) news is suggesting? Cooling attempt using sea water described in today's paper as a "hail mary pass?"

dkuroiwa said...

a friend and i were just talking about the sensationalism that is being's bad. yes. it will take years to recover from this, but....many of the videos we are seeing on CNN (for example) keep showing the "breaking news" tags, like it's happening right now. the videos you are seeing are from Friday...i guess the "action" videos are more popular than the aftermath.
the latest nuclear news is a bit scary...they keep telling us that all is going to be fine, but, at a BBQ yesterday, we all agreed that THAT news was probably a lie (spinning news here is unbelievable). i got a message last night warning of the radiation particles in the atmosphere and for us to be careful when it rains. and yes, we have rain in our forcast for later today. i wonder what kindof uber-strong umbrella we are going to have to buy for protection?? i can imagine a lot of people just staying inside....but in the dark because we are all supposed to be conserving electricity so it can be used up north.

we live in crazy times, my friends. please keep us in your prayers.

Sassy B. said...

Nuclear rain?! Holy sh*t. That's a terrifying weather warning. The typical umbrella and raincoat seem far from adequate. :/

dkuroiwa said...

and in the case of 'trying to make a joke in light of disaster', at the BBQ yesterday, when we were talking about this, one man made a comment that for those of us who have been living in nagasaki city for so long, the amount of radiation that we have probably soaked up over the years...this extra will just brighten us a bit.
which is sad, but...possibly has some truth in it.
it it's not one thing, it's another.

i'm going to check into those fancy-schmancy umbrellas from Holland and see how theyhold up against stuff like this!!!