FoRKs and KNiVeS and RiSoTTo SPooNS, oh my!

Rohit Khare (
Mon, 14 Dec 1998 13:16:46 -0800

Well, well, well -- all is not right in this far Northern kingdom. But
though we search onward for a melancholy Dane (to offset Henrik, of course)
we have some traitorous defections and welcome recruits to hail.

First, let's all gather round and have a stomp for Beki Grinter, an
ex-ICSer who's been nagging to be let onto this 'freak zone Jim Whitehead
commended' and promptly unsubscribed within fourtyeight hours. Glad to see
our bouncer Tim is well at work.. :-)

Similarly, while I flushed most of the false unsubscribes from a fortnight
ago, Tim was too much for Nelson and Daniel, whom we will deal with
personally the next time we're in Boston -- which should be Dec 27-Jan 4
for Jay Thomas' New Years' bash and fieldwork for fresh drafts of "The
Evolution of W3C"...

As for the false loyalists who retreated from retreat within moments of the
Resurrection of Rifkin, well, all I can say is that y'all deserve your
heroes. You'd think this was FoIFK or something with the rate of "Belay
that order! My faith has been restored! Adam's Back" posts. Even from the
closest FoRK of all... sniff, sniff.

Which, in turn, should explain a lot about the void of VOIDposts. Now that
I have a certain social life, I still get to spend my weekend nights alone
in exotic cities getting into inspired trouble in my Mickey Mouse ears, but
I don't get to do anything about it :-)

On to new business: Welcome to a clutch of new FoRKs: Kragen SItaker,
Ka-Ping Yee, Joe Touch, Marc Horowitz, and Ari Bixhorn.

Kragen has been trying to subscribe for a month, as I've patiently lost his
request in my 10,260 message inbox (less than 15% of which is actually mail
to me, I've found). He finally figured out the trick: you have to prepare a
short introductory bio, which I've duly redistributed. Most of all, he
already included a bit: a reference to the search engine, which
was surprisingly effective at implicating our next initiate, whom Alta
Vista had found no trace of save IETF attendance records:

It's too bad the shot doesn't have a close-up of Ari's beautifully
misshapen chompers :-)

It also found my citation of Ping's work, but not my original fan mail.
FoRK is falling off of search engines, and I'm getting worried. AltaVista
now appears to have but 10% of FoRK indexed...

Joe, however, needs no searching for: his pate is his own beacon :-)
He's a cool guy -- more to come about our exploits in Orlando and back at
my housewarming party in a VOIDpost to be named later. I really need to
look up this paper he co-authored with Jon on "Network Infrastructure".
It's a small world, after all: I met him through Eve at Caltech, and here's
this essay appearing in Kesselman and Foster's "The Grid: Blueprint for a
New Computing Infrastructure"... with a blurb by Vint.

Not quite as small a world, though, as the incident at IETF where a young
techie I was tweaking for misunderstanding the evil of transparent
router-based web caching stalked off, fuming "I work for Vint Cerf's group!
I report to John Klensin!" :-)

Marc's the final fresh meat, a secured type who I've forgotten to add from
IETFs past. Search for him, and you'll find him, typically enough, sounding
off in RISKS digest:

>> What a risk - millions of (pounds, dollars, whatever - big in anyone's
>> currency) and all that work.

Designing a "separate and chute" mechanism into the Ariane 5 would be a neat
engineering feat, but is it cost-effective? All rocket cargo is insured
(and I'm sure the insurance is not cheap). If there was an advantage to
this system, I expect either the insurance companies would fund it so they
would have to pay off less often, or the aerospace companies would fund it
to lower their premiums. It all comes down to economics in situations like

It is, as they say, only money, even if its quite a lot of it.


So, clearly, Marc needs FoRK, since there he would have learned from
CDRadio's SEC 10-K filing that Arianespace has a failure rate of 1%, with
insurance premiums thus rated at 1.3% of payload value.

The next most intriguing hit for Marc was:

And from that, it's only a hop, skip, and a link away to...

Juliana Ngiam

InspirAsian website

Camellia, plum,
Once these were white -
I find in peach
That does not blame my sin.

Akiko Yosano, from Midaregami (1901)

Nowadays, older men seem to think that high school girls are all
prostitutes. We were just in a shopping centre the other day and a 40 year
old man came up to us and said, "I know what kind of girls you
much do you want?" At first we said we were available only for dates, but
when he wouldn't settle for that, we said OK. He then took us to a cafe,
bought us cake, and started making arrangements. I kinda freaked out and
said I couldn't do it that day 'cos I had my period. He said, "That's OK, I
don't mind periods." My friend and I were totally revolted. So I insisted
we meet in some faraway suburb another time. When I told him we didn't have
enough money for the train trip, he immediately gave us $350 each. Of
courses we never turned up for that date." (giggles)

A scene from a cash-strapped teenage prostitution racket in Thailand? Jaded
child-hookers from a sleazy Los Angeles boulevard? No, just two
middle-class Tokyo high school students unabashedly describing their new
found pocket-money spinners to Sapio, a popular Japanese trend-spotting
magazine. Welcome to the land of Enjokosai, where teenage entrepreneurs
trade their virginal image and compliant companionship to legions of men
old enough to be their fathers, at a premium rate.

Literally meaning 'support-exchange', enjokosai was originally used to
describe the phenomenon of women who exchanged sexual favours for financial
support from a small group of regular clients. Encapsulating the lifestyles
of these modern-day free-lance concubines, enjokosai has recently been
appropriated to describe the newest phenomenon of high school girls wading
in on their elder sisters territory in droves to cash in on the perennial
demand for Lolitas by 'roricon' (Lolita complex)- sticken older Japanese
men. That young Japanese women, even university students, have willingly
moonlighted as call-girls to maintain the high costs of a Chanel lifestyle,
is nothing new nor alarming to a society known for its porno vending
machines and XXX rated comic strips in national sports dailies. But it
seems the thought strange men subsidizing 14 year old hankering for the
newest Gucci handbag was too much even for the Japanese.

Frenzied media coverage on titillating teenage tales finally whipped up
such a storm of public furor, that the usually diffident government was
forced into ordering an 'investigation', culminating in the widely
publicized "Youth and Telephone-Sex and Other Related Issues Investigation
Report" this August. The report only confirmed what was already evident on
street level: 27% of the 2348 14 to 16 year old female high schoolers
surveyed had dabbled in 'tere-kurabu' (a call-girl/phone sex system); while
30% of these had gone on to 'meet' their clients in person. Finally,
surprise, only 1.2% of parents/guardians were aware that their little
sailor-suited pumpkin had been wagging cram school for the past 6 months.

In a twist that would do 'Yes, Minister' proud, the honorable report
sparked off a fresh spate of media exposes, quasi-documentaries and endless
talkshows, which meant that more school girls than ever before were exposed
to 'in-depth' details of the unbelievably lucrative and easy rewards of
sexual entrepreneurialship. To whit: A 17 year old confesses in Sapio
magazine that although she'd always been aware of the telephone numbers of
'date clubs' in magazines, she was only motivated to contact them when she
saw the problem on TV. " I very interested in being in the forefront of
trends. When I saw the problem with 'deeto-kurabu' (date-club) on TV, I
wanted to try it out for myself." She describes, with a disarming absence
of embarrassment, how she went to an apartment and joined 20 other girls in
a companionable wait for clients, who came in to choose a date. An
up-market version of the deplorable prostitute shop windows in Thailand's
infamous Pat Pong, Japanese date clubs demand about 10,000 yen (A$120) for
membership, and an additional A$100 per pop-in. Once out with his 'date',
the man is expected to maintain the illusion of romance by showering
brand-name goods on his sweetheart. "First you go to the cafe. After
chatting, it's the hotel. Date club prostitutes are expensive - more than
70,000 yen. When business is good, you can earn 200,000 yen in 3 to 4 days.
when the oyaji (old codger) talks, you just reply dutifully, "Soo, desu
ka?" (Oh, really?). It's just like the hostess' job." (laughter).

One catches not the teeniest whiff of guilt nor remorse from these teenage
voices, and that is what is perhaps most unsettling for even the most
liberated of Japan observers, especially the majority of us born under the
legacy of Original Sin and/or Confuciunist Puritanism. The Japanese hold no
monopoly on sexual deviation, but perhaps nowhere is adultery, paedophilia,
S&M and other sexual variations more tolerated - as long as it stays in
fantasy form, Japan-apologists like to add. Fantasy or reality, let there
be no doubt - Japan is arguably the most sexually permissive industrialized
society in the world today. As Prof. Lebra, renowned Japanologist pointed
out 20 years ago, the Japanese find the Western guilt and Eastern
conservatism associated with desires of the flesh tiresome, even unnatural.
Whatever exists in nature, Japanese would say, cannot be denied. They even
have a label for this philosophy: "yokubo shizenshugi" (desire -

As expected, examples of yokubo shizenshugi abound, and most recently so in
the excessive 1980s. As Roger March, lecturer and Japan expert at the
University of NSW recalls, the reigning sex scandal in the early 80s was
the 'no-pan kissa' (no panties cafe), so called because the waitresses wore
no panties. This was of course put to a stop by bureaucratic party-poopers,
who must have wondered at the huge number of policemen volunteering to
enforce the crack-down. "But the funniest thing I ever saw on TV",
reminisces Roger with a chuckle, "was a late-night TV show of a man who
told fortunes based on the shape of women's vaginas. He'd say [Roger gets
on all fours and mimic a man looking up a woman's skirt] , "Oh, you're
going to marry a rich man and travel overseas!"

Intellect-raising programs like these would have continued to this day if
not for the auspicious Tokyo Economic Summit in 1985, which sent Japanese
politicians scouting for ways to resuscitate Japan's flailing international
virtue ratings to a level more on par with the catapulting yen. "Tissue
Time" provided just the excuse for the then prime minister, Nakasone, to
don the cape of the moral crusader and order all sleazy TV programs off the
air. In case you were wondering, "Tissue time" was the 3 minute climatic
segment on a Saturday late-night variety show, where you could watch young
people do silly things to get prizes, like young men squirting milk from
their mouths out of their eyes, or giggling couples eating extra long
bananas from both ends while cream dripped was on the fruit. An euphemism
for orgasm, "Tissue time" was designed specifically to appeal to people
(let's not be sexist here) who got a kick out of timing a nymphet
masturbating 'live-on-air' with a large clock at the side of the screen.

Nakasone doused the national libido with a cold shower through the 1985
Morals Law for a while, but at last report, the 'desire naturalism'
national psyche is alive and well, if a 1995 TV show which had 12 high
school girls doing things for prizes - without any panties on - is any
indication. So why are the Japanese blessed with such a no-strings-attached
outlook on sex? The answer, or at least the most entertaining one I have
encountered, lies in Nicholas Bornoff's book, 'Pink Samurai'. Don't let the
hefty volume deter you: in it lies one of the most illuminating, raunchy,
and well researched pleasure cruises into Japanese sexuality, history and
culture ever written.
Here are some teeny teasers to rev up the most latent of libidos:

The Japanese Creation Myth - it's all in the first move A reading of
Japan's myth of genesis could well spell satori for many outsiders seeking
to understand Japanese attitudes to sex. Imagine being told at Sunday
school Adam and Eve were brother and sister. But there you have it: brother
and sister deities, Izanagi and Izanami, emerging from an the ovular
chaotic abode of their celestial relatives, follow ancestral instructions
and plunge their birthday gift of a huge phallic lance deep into the void
outside. The tip of the phallic monstrosity sinks into a vast ocean, into
which they stir until it curdles. As they pull the lance out, "the gobs of
foaming brine dripping from the end formed the island of Onogoro-Jima (the
island spontaneously congealed)."

Lodging the lance on the island, Adam-san and Eve-san descend into their
Eden , and proceed to populate the island with people, flora and fauna.
Only nobody told them how. Undeterred, the intrepid DIY creationists circle
each other around the primordial maypole, and sister Izanami finally makes
the first move. Tut tut. The coupling results with the birth to a hideous
leech child, which they promptly set adrift in a reed boat. Where did they
go wrong? According to Japan's oldest historical documents, it seemed it
just wasn't proper for gals to be making the first move (one senses some
Imperial creative editing here...) Needless to say, when the deities tried
again with Izanagi initiating the pick-up line, good tidings ensue and the
Japanese archipelago is happily born.

Ode to Olden Outback Parties Despite regular suppression from Buddhism in
the 9th century, sporadic Confucian purges and the ultra-conservative
oppression in the Meiji ear, Japanese peasants (by far the great majority
of the population) continued to celebrate the fecundity of Nature through
fertility festivals, right up to the 1970s. There was the utagaki (singing)
festival, where young male and female celebrants gathered to serenade each
other with songs soaked with bawdy humour and libido-raising innuendo. Of
South China origin, utagaki used to climax in 'copulation on the spot or
inebriated participants would pair off and do it in the woods or fields'.
This was considered particularly good for the crops, a fact not lost on
extra-entrepreneurial couples who were said to have spent nights playing
hide the sausage next to their silkworm grubs in the attic to spur faster

The ancient Japanese animists, also known as Shintoists, seemed to have
shared with their Roman brethren (and sisthren) a rather one-eyed view of
the supremacy of the piccolo over the clam in averting evil spirits. This
has resulted in a proliferation of phallic worship festivals. Oh, a kingdom
for a time-machine to go festival hopping! To enjoy once again the
spectacle of monstrous straw penises paraded through the streets and
torched at the festival climax; or burning giant penises tossed into the
sea at Nishimachi in Hakata; or to disport oneself at the sight of a vast
wooden member being plunged into a giant straw vulva as participants
symbolically spatter the connected organs with milk-white raw sake, as once
happened at the climax of the Yamagami matsuri in China.

And for those came from the country, there was always the ancient Japanese
village equivalent of the Wagga Wagga Council sponsored bachelor's party,
otherwise known as 'yobai' (night creeping). Occurring mainly after
rice-planting ceremonies, the yobai was an all blokes-only event which
kicked off with drinks at the headman's house. With the elder man's
blessing, the youth would set off on a silent cruise around the village
like packs of toms in heat. At the first farm housing a maiden, they would
stop and do a quick scissors-paper-stone to decide who gets first go. Then
leaving the lucky lothario to his task, the rest of the pack would prowl
off to the next wooden dwelling. With the tacit sanction of parents who had
no doubt found their lifelong mate in the same way, the maidens simply left
the doors of their humble rooms open. In some places, before entering the
maiden's room, the young man would urinate against the base of the sliding
door to prevent any noise when it was drawn open, and 'like the spraying of
a tom cat, the reek informed other yobai aspirants that the house had
already been visited.'

Woefully, these festivals no longer exist in its original bacchanalic form.
Westernization brought along foreign ideas of shame (Christian missionaries
effectively sowed the first seed of doom for the Japanese practice of mixed
bathing), while paradoxically introduced greater opportunities for
intermingling between the sexes, all of which contributed to the
diminishing popularity and relevance of these celebrations. Nevertheless,
as the laissez-faire attitude of young Japanese towards enjokosai reveal,
'desire-naturalism' is enjoying a healthy comeback in Japan. Whether you
love it or hate it, read 'Pink Samurai' and you'll come to understand it.

Pink Samurai
(An erotic exploration of Japanese society)
Nicholas Bornhoff
Harper Collins 1991

[sadly, out-of-print.
24-6572617 also at UCI Main Lib HQ18.J3 B67 1991b]