Because Japan, That’s Why

Just another day at the office in Tokyo.
Just another day at the office in Tokyo.
Long ago and far away, on November 10, 2010, the very first article I wrote about Japan was about how Domino’s Pizza was willing to pay $31,000 an hour for a pizza delivery person. If you search this blog for articles mentioning Japan you will end up with hours of reading pleasure. Or so I am told. You can just click the link if you’re lazy. Anyway, amongst the gems you will discover the joys of young girls riding giant penises down the street. That is a family activity in Japan. I tell you this in case you are looking for ways to spice up your next sushi experience. Certainly the flying knife displays at Benihana’s would become more dangerous and fun. Then again we are talking about a country that uses Kentucky Fried Chicken to sponsor Christmas, so maybe that whole “finger licking good” thing just carries over.

The world may never know.

One thing it does know is that perfectly innocent things go to Japan and come back in need of therapy. For example, there is a Disney World in Japan. When you go there you can see all the Disney princesses, just like you can at any other Disney owned park. What’s different in Japan is that after you meet the princesses you can own their underwear.

You thought I was kidding didn’t you?

Online retailer Bellemaison features the Disney Fantasy Shop, a section that sells lingerie in designs inspired by Disney’s princesses. Each pair includes a carefully crafted bra and pair of panties that are intricately lined with lace, and made more vibrant with pastel colors. In some designs, bra straps are equally decorative with hues that sometimes complement the cups.

If you read Japanese you can order online by clicking the company’s link above.

If you do please send us pics so we know what they look like on humans.

Of course now that you’re festooned in your princess panties you need to do something romantic to make the evening worthwhile. Thanks to the fact you’re in Japan now, just go with me on this, you need not buy wine, order food or even go see a movie. No, all you need to do is let your significant other drop by and have him/her lick your eyeballs.

Oh, sure, the Japanese don’t actually do that, despite the stories to the contrary, but there’s nothing preventing you from starting a trend.

After all, once they start at the eyeballs who knows where they’ll end up?

Probably by moistening your pretty princess panties.

Anyway, one thing that has been a tradition in Japan for over a thousand years (unlike eyeball licking) has been the history of the ninjas. Ninjas, in pop culture, are mostly sword wielding assassins who want to kill Batman. Mostly employed by Ra’s al Ghul. Who, oddly enough, isn’t Asian at all.

In the real world, and yes they do exist, their legacy is a touch more complicated. Yes, they killed people but they also protected them. Also, ninjas would use any means necessary to accomplish their goals. If that meant shooting you in your sleep, so be it.

But now the tradition of Ninjutsu may be passing into the setting sun. Jinichi Kawakami, the last living ninja, has decided not to train a successor.

Masters in the dark arts of espionage and silent assassination, they are rarely seen and never heard… until they strike.

Employed by samurai warlords to spy, sabotage and kill, they are relics of an ancient code that have all but died out in the modern age.

All but one. As the 21st head of the Ban clan, a dynasty of secret spies that can trace its history back some 500 years, 63-year-old engineer Jinichi Kawakami is Japan’s last ninja.

He is trained to hear a needle drop in the next room, to disappear in a cloud of smoke or to cut a victim’s throat from 20 paces with nothing more than a two-inch ‘death star’.

‘I think I’m called (the last ninja) as there is probably no other person who learned all the skills that were directly handed down from ninja masters over the last five centuries,’ he said. ‘Ninjas proper no longer exist.’

But Kawakami has decided to let the art die with him because ninjas ‘just don’t fit with modern day’, adding: ‘We can’t try out murder or poisons. Even if we can follow the instructions to make a poison, we can’t try it out.’

An engineer by trade, Kawakami started practicing the art of Ninjutsu at the age of six before he began training under the gruelling regime of Buddhist master Masazo Ishida.

To improve his concentration, he would spend hours staring into the flame of a candle until he felt he was inside it.

To hone his hearing he would practice listening to a needle being dropped onto a wooden floor in the next room.

He climbed walls, jumped from heights and learned how to mix chemicals to cause explosions and smoke.

He was also trained to withstand extreme heat and cold as well as go for days without food or water.

‘The training was all tough and painful. It wasn’t fun but I didn’t think much why I was doing it. Training was made to be part of my life,’ he said.

And at the age of 19, he inherited his master’s title along with a cache of secret scrolls and ancient tools.

But he says the art of the ninja lies in the power of surprise, never brute force or outward strength and is about exploiting weaknesses to outfox larger, more powerful opponents while distracting their attention to get the upper hand.

And, he says, the ability to hide in the most unlikely of places is a ninja’s greatest weapon.

‘If you throw a toothpick, people will look that way, giving you the chance to flee, he adds. ‘We also have a saying that it is possible to escape death by perching on your enemy’s eyelashes; it means you are so close that he cannot see you.’

Kawakami now runs the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum, in Iga, 220 miles southwest of Tokyo and recently began a research job at the state-run Mie University, where he is studying the history of ninjas.

He says he has decided not to take on an apprentice to pass on the legacy, making him the last in the line of Ban clan ninjas.

Ninjas, also known as shinobi, have been feared and revered throughout history for their talents as assassins, scouts and spies.

They are mainly noted for their use of stealth and deception but also for their amazing powers of endurance.

Ninjutsu can be translated as ‘Art of Stealth’ but also means ‘Art of Enduring’ and the ninjas themselves were noted for being able to walk long distances without stopping, jump over seven feet and dislocate their joints to escape from small spaces.

But they are not only ruthless killers as depicted in so many Hollywood movies.

In fact, ninjas considered the art of espionage far greater than that of fighting which was always a last resort – ninjas were skilled in spying and defeating foes using intelligence, while swinging a sword was deemed a lower art.

But if necessary, they had to be experts with weapons such as shuriken, a sharpened star-shaped projectile, and the fukiya blowpipe, usually filled with a poison dart.

And they were also skilled at making both poisons and medicines.

Excluding the whole killing thing those are the same skills taught to Boy & Girl Scouts the world over. Just in case you’re ever thinking of messing with a Scout.

There is no word, and God knows I looked for one, as to why he’s refusing to train a successor. I’m sure it would be an interesting reason but, no matter what it is, the decision is his and his alone.

And so, like many things the west doesn’t truly understand, another part of a colorful universe fades to black.

Unlike your pretty princess panties which will, ultimately, fade to beige.

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