Interesting conversation last night. Hubby has been bumming hard because the work place requires him to wear long sleeves and it’s not air conditioned. We had both assumed it was a safety issue, although if you hit your arm on a spinning table saw, I doubt a layer of cloth is going to do you much good. He has a new theory, though. Carpenters are considered true artisans, but some other trades have traditionally had yakuza connections, particularly painters, and yakuza tend to be covered with tattoos, thus the long sleeves to maintain anonymity. Why painters? Dunno, but it’s an open secret that one does not mess with them.

I got a call this morning about a scene in a video where some kids are doing Rock Paper Scissors (Junkenpo in Japanese). The woman said a mom had called asking why we say Rock instead of Stone. I thought she was joking, but she was perfectly serious. I said I’d never heard anyone say Stone. Google gave me over 6,000,000 hits for Rock Paper Scissors (always in that order) and less than 3,000,000 for Stone but with the words in any old order.

Japan takes Junken rather seriously. It’s used all the time to decide things–who goes first, who gets the last bite of sashimi, who will be the next Prime Minister…. I read a story once about a school soccer club. After practice, all the members do Junken to decide who has to take the balls home. Inevitably, some poor sucker gets stuck with the balls more often than anyone else. When asked, some American kids looked perplexed and said, “Why don’t they just take turns?” The Japanese kids looked perplexed and replied, “What’s fun about that?” Cultural differences. C’est la vie.


Any opinions about that? I love to hear from you.

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