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Letting It All Hang Out

Because kanji appeals to people around the world, there's a good chance you're not from the United States. If that's the case, you may not know how crazy things have become here politically. In some circles, politicians are trying to score points by coming out against birth control and by calling for strict limits on reproductive rights. Some of us look on in amazement and horror at how the political discourse has taken a drastic turn toward lunacy. One new bumper sticker sums it up neatly: OMG GOP WTF.

This really isn't the place for politics, so I won't go into details, but I will say this: I find it interesting that everyone is suddenly talking about female anatomy in graphic terms. In particular, I can't count how many recent public references I've heard to the vagina (especially in the phrase "transvaginal probe"). Before, people tended to couch such discussions in euphemisms, but now we've let it all hang out, so to speak.

As people try to drag this country into the Dark Ages, I can't help but fantasize about moving somewhere else, anywhere else. What a relief it would be to live in a sane place where such things wouldn't happen and where people were, on average, mature, compassionate, reasonable, proactive, and comfortable with certain realities.

What about Japan? Are people there as crazy about reproduction? Well, again, Joy o' Kanji isn't the place for politics, so I'll steer clear of such an investigation. But let's look at things from a kanji perspective, which always makes me feel better!

I've discovered the following word, a wonderful combination of two kun-yomi:

尻叩き (しりたたき)      bottom + to hit

The second kanji is non-Joyo, but the yomi (たたき) is nevertheless very familiar to those of us who like beef tataki (literally, "beaten beef").

The word  尻叩き now means "spanking" but once had an additional meaning: "ritual spanking of a new bride to encourage fertility." Wow. I wonder how effective that was. It seems that if pregnancy was the goal, the attention went to the wrong part of the body.

[Read the rest on Joy o' Kanji!]