The weather forecast predicted a hot, sunny day, so I took my camera and went out on a walk at lunchtime. The natural beauty of the area where I work is definitely a perk of my job.


Bamboo forest

The public holiday coming up on Monday (5/5) is “kodomo no hi” or “Children’s Day”. In reality, it’s Boys’ Day, because 3/3 ("hina matsuri") is Girls’ Day. Incidentally, some claim that 4/4 is Queer Day, because it’s in the middle. Sadly, I doubt that you’ll find it on official calendars any time soon.

Boys’ Day = Carp Streamers. Don’t ask me why. They resemble windsocks like those you would find on airport runways, but with eyes, mouth and scales drawn on. Preparations have already started, and the koi look fabulous flapping in the blue sky:

Koi carp streamers

By the way, if you thought that there were no graffiti in Japan, you were wrong:

The text says, “I graduated on 2003-03-14,” with an aborted attempt at writing “White Day” underneath. What you might not know is that “graduate” has a second meaning in Japanese, and White Day is the counterpart of Valentine’s Day. Briefly, in Japan, girls give boys chocolate on Valentine’s Day; a month later, they return the favour on White Day.

In other words, it really says, “I lost my virginity on 2003-03-14.” He—and I don’t think that I’m really pushing the boat out too far in suggesting that the person who decided to spray-paint the walls with news of his sexual achievement is male—is obviously very proud of himself!