Catch-Up Part II – Waist-shake
More catch-up again today.
Next week is the holiday season in Japan, called Golden Week. I have no idea why it’s called Golden Week, the name is just about accurate as Apple Jacks. There’s nothing particularly Golden about it…and it’s not even a week! Though the form of the vacations fluctuate every year, this year how it works is – Monday, Thursday, and Friday are holidays. Cool, right? But Tuesday and Wednesday are not. Yep, two actual working days in the middle of what would be a glorious week of vacation. If you want it to be an actual week, you use your paid vacation time for those two days, as I suspect most sane people will. However, for those unlucky suckers who don’t have any utilizable paid vacation (such as myself), we have to go to work. Only the Japanese would have two working days in the middle of what would be a week-long vacation. I’m guessing its part of the Japanese drive to always be suffering in some way. “Well, this is my week long vacation…but I’m gonna work two days anyway.”
What I’m trying to get at is that as next week is vacation time here in Japan, I might put the site on a week-long vacation. To catch-up with things, to enjoy a little time off, and last but most certainly not least, to try and preserve some scraps of sanity I might have left (I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel, but I’ll take what I can get). I’ll let you all know.
Back to today’s article, along the same lines of Taste The Golden Spray Week, Japan is well known for using English in unconventional ways. Anyone who’s been to Japan in the summer has enjoyed seeing the garbled English printed on T-shirts. And there are plenty of Engrish sites to bring you snapshots of the oddity. However, if you live here long enough, you may actually start to hear it being put to use in conversation. That happened to me in this classic entry, “Waist Shake”, as a group of boys invented a new English term that nobody – English or Japanese, knew what the hell they were talking about.
Although, it does kinda sound like one of those 1950-60’s era dances, like the Electric Slide or the Tighten-Up. “Do the Waist-Shake!” And then you can have girls in bee-hive haircuts and knee-high boots dancing on a platformed stage while a groovy young guitarist describes exactly how to do the “Waist-Shake” in his song. …This would be the best sex ed class, EVER. Even better than that one time our 6th grade teacher started playing the Magic Johnson educational tape, and unknowingly left the room, as Magic Johnson’s voice boomed out from the stereo – “Hi kids. I’m Magic Johnson. I have AIDS. Do you know why I have AIDS? I had sexual intercourse. I put my penis in the vagina of a woman who had AIDS. But that’s not the only form of sexual intercourse from which you can get AIDS. Here, let me list them all…”
…Wow. I knew my sanity was slipping, but I never knew it was this bad. I TOLD YOU I WAS CRAZY, BUT YOU DIDN’T BELIEVE ME! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY DIDN’T YOU BELIEVE ME?!
One day I visited the soccer club at the Ghetto School. Actually, no, come to think of it, I was walking around, and they stopped me. First, they asked me what “waist” was in English. I told them. They then asked me what “shake” was, so I told them that as well. They then combined it into “waist-shake!” and started thrusting their crotches forward to simulate sexual intercourse.
…Um…no. Granted, we have a lot of words for the bump ‘n grind, knockin da boots, the horizontal tango (etc…) but “waist-shake” is most definitely not one of them (for the record, my favorite phrase is “hitting it”).
I told them we didn’t say that in English, but this actually seemed to work better for them, as they were thrilled that they’d just come up with a new English word for sexual intercourse. As if we didn’t already have plenty.
They then started asking me about Harry Potter (the latest movie had just come out in Japan at that time). “Hermione’s pretty cute” they said, winking at me and giving me the ‘ol “Eh? Eh?” elbow nudge. I said she was cute…for a fourteen year old. But to me she was just a kid, nothing more. “Yeah,” they said, “but she’s just the right age for us!” Along with more of the winking and nudging. “Waist-shake?” I innocently and stupidly asked. This absolutely set them OFF, as they started pelvic-thrusting their way across the soccer field. I figured this was the best time to make my escape before any more damage was done.
Unfortunately, it became a fad or sorts for a while. The boys could say “waist-shake!” and nobody, Japanese or English speaker, knew what they were talking about. I’d see them sitting together in groups, and pointing at different girls and saying “Waist-shake? Oh yes, yes! Yes, waist-shake!” I figure most American women would catch on pretty quickly, and some boys would start getting some angry kicks to the junk. However, the Japanese girls merely wrote it off as “those silly boys” and continued on along her way, as the boys gave her a “would you hit that or not?” rating. Score one for sexual harassment!*
*The reverse also holds true I suppose. Only my third month or so in Japan, I was riding a local train when I noticed two girls talking about me. Everyone always assumes that I don’t understand Japanese, which gives them a liberal license to talk about me to my face. Or so they think. Anyway, these girls were talking about how big and intimidating I was, when suddenly one busts out with – “Yeah, but you’d still sleep with him!” “So would you!” the other quips back. …I’m not quite sure what I was supposed to do with that. Turn to both of them and say “Well ladies, I happen to be free tonight….” The “Would you hit it or not?” discussion is a popular activity for 2 or more men watching people in a public setting, and I highly encourage all you women out there to do the same. Very loudly. And if one of your “yes” candidates comes by and offers to make good, you must accept. For the betterment of today’s society.
Anyway, I digress. One day I was in class with the big-headed boyfriend teacher. She was going around asking students some simple questions. She came to one of the soccer boys. “What do you do after school?” She asks. The boy stands up and exclaims “waist-shake!” while doing the pelvic thrust. She, of course, had no idea what this meant, but in her curiosity, she looked at me, and while imitating the pelvic thrust motion, asked “waist-shake”?
I honestly don’t know how long it took the soccer boys in that class to stop laughing. They may actually still be laughing about it now.
The teacher really wanted to know what was so funny, and I just didn’t have the heart to tell her she’d just unknowingly propositioned me for sex.
The “waist-shake” craze died down eventually, mercifully. I don’t think there was ever a successor, but honestly, given the way the Ghetto School worked, I don’t think those boys needed one. They probably figured out who all the school sluts were, and instead of speaking in cryptic code, they’d just snap their fingers and say “You! Blow-job! Now!” You all probably think I’m joking there, but I’m really not. On my way to buy lunch one day, I noticed a boy and a girl behind the school, in the bicycle parking lot. The boy was sitting on one of the bike racks; the girl was on her knees in front of him. Now, granted, this position was all I saw, so forgive me for making an assumption here. I suppose maybe she was helping him look for a contact. Or, reciting Shakespeare. Or, proposing marriage. …I really doubt that though.
As they noticed me, they both kinda stopped (well, at least she did – not like the boy was doing anything in particular) and looked at me. I looked at them, but realizing that looking any further would probably be paramount to watching kiddie porn, I went back on my way. Realizing that I wasn’t going to go rat them out, the boy said something to the girl – I couldn’t hear, but unless by ability to read body language has declined, it was something along the lines of “hey, get back to work.” And thus, the girl’s head disappeared downwards again.
Why didn’t I rat them out? That’s a whole Pandora’s Box I just didn’t want to open. Besides, I can’t say I didn’t have the smallest bit of admiration for the boy. Raging sexual hormones at 15? Absolutely. Takes me back to my school days, when I used to get blow-jobs in the bicycle parking area behind the school …Oh, wait, that never happened. Goddamnit.
Now I’m just jealous.