Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Genghis Kong vs. The Sacred Iron Phallus of Kawasaki

Sunday of last week dawned bright and blustery. I was not personally awake to see the dawn, of course, but it was still bright and blustery when I awoke at the ungodly hour of 9-ish so I assume that that was how it dawned. It was with a sense of nervous anticipation that I broke my fast and performed my morning ablutions (checked my Facebook and e-mails, looked at youtube for a while - the traditional morning rituals), for I had arranged some days earlier to spend the day at a penis festival in Kawasaki.

This plan had come about during an utterly failed - although nonetheless very enjoyable - attempt at a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party in Yokohama. I had been trying to arrange a hanami party in Ueno park in Tokyo, but due to a rather feeble response to my RSVPs, I decided at the last minute to abandon that plan and take myself down to yokohama instead, where my friend James was attending a hanami party of his own. Having gathered together myself and a friend (Kaleb) we set off (3 hours late) for Yokohama's Yamashita park, to view cherry blossoms. When we arrived, however, we discovered that Yamashita is the only park in japan to be completely without cherry trees. Not a single one. So an utter failure with regards to hanami, although we still sat around by the sea in the sun and had a couple of beers under the trees, so it was very pleasant. I think it's worth mentioning that while walking from the train station to the park we passed through an area called sakuragicho, which means cherry tree district, so you would have thought that cherry trees wouldn't have been too hard to find.

So beer and time was merrily shared in Yokohama, and James mentioned that on Sunday there was a famous penis festival happening in Kawasaki, and that he and his friends were planning to attend (those of you who know James will not find this surprising at all). Already with a considerable measure of Asahi Superdry swilling around inside me, I don't think I really had any option but to eagerly promise to go with them. We were about to go out that evening for a proper drunking session around Tokyo, but at that moment I realised I had no money, so that particular event was called off, and I went home. It will happen soon though, I'm sure, and when it does I will tell you all about it. Or at least, as much of it as I remember.

So on Sunday morning I set off for Kawasaki. The station was uncommonly full of gaijin, cameras at the ready, as I understand this festival has become rather infamous among western tourists. From Kawasaki station we had to take another little train to the particular district, and on this train almost 95% of the passengers were groups of rowdy white folk, talking in loud voices about cock. Honestly, when you are en route to a penis festival it is extremely difficult to refrain from constant cock-jokes. Well, it's certainly very hard (boom boom).

We arrived, and had to hang around the station for a while (again) waiting for more people to show up, but we could see a crowd gathered at the end of the street and could hear excited voices, and then slowly a curious shape began to appear in the distance and move towards us.

Now, I don't know how well you will be able to see it with the picture this size, but you can probably make out a pink shape poking up above the heads of the crowd under the archway, roughly in the centre. This is the centrepiece of the penis festival parade.

We crossed the road and moved closer, and realised that the giant pink wooden penis was not, in fact, the only article on display here and it was in fact second in line, behind a somewhat smaller, although nonetheless impressive, black lacquer offering carried in some kind of portable shrine.

I'm just going to post this video clip again, for those of you who missed it last time. I think it demonstrates the general theme of the event quite well

As I so astutely point out there, the main giant penis appeared to be carried by a team of transvestites.

The parade passed by where we stood, and we got to see the final float of the procession. This was the least visually impressive of the three principle penises, but it is the most religiously significant (yes, this is actually a religious festival, not a gay pride parade). Again there are slight difficulties with the photo's being reduce for blogger.com, but hopefully you can make out inside the little portable shrine there is a large wooden pillar with bits of paper tied to it, there is a little wooden gateway at the front and in the little wooden gateway, maybe 6-7inches and 3 inches across, is a small (relative to the two previous ones) iron penis. This object, in fact, is the centre of the festival and the parade, although it could easily go largely unnoticed.

You might be able to see it better in this video.

Or possibly not.

Incidentally, these wooden shrines are supposedly very heavy, so they periodically have to swap the teams of people carrying them. When this happens, they mark the transition with a bit of vigorous penis shaking.

But anyway, this is the famous Sacred Iron Phallus which is enshrined at the Kanamara Shrine in Kawasaki. The legend is thus:

Once upon a time (I'm not quite sure when), a young girl lived in village near Kawasaki. She was very beautiful, and many men wanted to take her hand and marry her. Eventually a suitable man was found, the marriage was arranged and they were wed. Unfortunately, she had a demon living inside her vagina which bit off his genitals on their wedding night. She remained beautiful, however, and another gentleman of the village also decided to try his luck, with the same eye-watering consequence.

It was then that the local blacksmith hit upon a bright idea, and forged an iron penis for the girl. I needn't go into details, but basically it broke the demon's teeth and the demon died/ran away, and they all lived happily ever after.

So, the Phallus was enshrined at Kanamara, and the shrine became famous as a place to pray for fertility, marriage, marital harmony and protection for children. It also became popular with prostitutes praying for protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

So the parade went up the road, then at the top of the road it turned around and went back down the road. After toing and froing a few times over a few hours, it eventually made its way back to the Shrine from which it came. We got distracted by lunch, so missed its triumphant return to penis shrine, but on out route to the shrine we encountered some of the lovely 'ladies' who had been carrying the big pink willy.

Now, at first glance I had assumed they were a group of local lads who had just dragged up a bit for the festival, but when we saw them close-up (some closer up than others, James), it turns out they all had boobs. Not padded bras or falsies, but actual boobs. So this means that they must either be a team of really unattractive broad-shouldered women who have no idea how to apply make-up, or they are genuine she-males/transsexuals. Very peculiar. Anyway, James obviously had to pose for photo with them all.

What gender are these... people? Answer on a postcard to:
Genghis Kong's Lair

Anyway, eventually we got to the famous shrine for more penis-themed fun. Apart from penis-shaped lollies for licking, there were also a pair of giant wooden penises you could mount, presumably for fertility or luck or something, it was never never really explained. Much jollity when me and James leapt on one of these things - me posing at the base of the penis, as if 'twere my own, and he bending over at the other end - but the stranger sight, for me at least, was a Japanese man who mounted the giant cock with his tiny infant daughter. I just didn't quite get it - was he praying for fertility for his 3-year-old? Seems a little premature to me; give the poor girl a chance!

Anyway, there were stalls selling freaky penis shaped items and a man handing out some kind of freaky sake. Normal sake is clear and smooth, but this sake was sort of thick and white and... gloopy... It was only after I had had a cup of it that someone pointed out it's slightly worrying similarity to semen. I mean, it didn't taste particularly spunky. At least, it didn't taste like what I would imagine jizz to taste like, but then, maybe I'm wrong - maybe jizz does taste like sake. Who knows. Perhaps I just had a cup of priestly man-milk.

Oh well. Once a philosopher, twice a pervert, as I like to say.

Here are some of those strange penis shaped items. I mean, I could deal with a large wooden sculpture of a gnarled penis with a bright red bell-end, that wouldn't be too bad, but for some reason half of these penis seem to have vaginas in them, and that's just disturbing and off-putting. I guess the thinking goes something along the lines of 'double the genitalia in your statuette, double the magical fertility ju-ju'.

And the was about the long and the short of it. That was the famous penis festival. I presume that I am now many times more fertile than i was before this ritual took place. In fact, I'm pretty sure I impregnated at least four women just by looking at them on the train, that's how fertile I am now.

I hope that was worth the wait - sorry it took me a week and a half to get round to writing this - there just somehow never seem to be enough hours in the day for me to get everything done that I would like to. I had to skip going to the gym today in order to write this.

Since I went to the penis festival I have mostly started school. Update on that, as well as my tomatoes (very exciting) to follow shortly. I've got no class tomorrow, so I may get round to it then, but we'll see. You know how long it takes me to get anything done.

So that's it from me this time, folks.

Comments and donations (cash, cheque, bank transfer and PayPal all gleefully accepted) are welcome as always!

This would seem most appropriate. Enjoy!

Oh! Incidentally, when we finally got to the penis shrine there were quite a few cherry trees there, they were in bloom, and I was drinking a beer. I'm counting that as a successful hanami party! Epic win!

Lots of love,
Genghis Dong xx

or should that be Genghis Schlong?


Jethro said...

One of those manwoman people seemed very familiar...

lauriedix said...

"Lots of love,
Genghis Dong xx

or should that be Genghis Schlong?"

I think "Woody" would have sufficed.