Apr 10, 2008

The Rites of Spring, Part II: The Giant Cocks of Kawasaki

I've decided to be somewhat crude in this post. Also, there are some mildly NSFW pics at the end. Just FYI.

First, though, a story:

Once upon a time, there was supposedly a young girl who got infected with a demon. A rather nasty demon, too. This demon didn't make her vomit pea soup or do any of that Exorcist type stuff, instead it just hung out in her nether parts and caused her vagina to sprout fangs.

This was a problem.

Anyway, the demon collected a few cocks, biting them away, and it was decided that the best way to solve this dilemma was for the local blacksmith to make a big steel phallus that would subsequently be used to smash apart the vagina dentata.

The plan went swimmingly, and the girl's lady parts were joyously teeth-free on account of the Best Dildo Ever, which gave her a good solid fucking and smacked out the Worst VD Ever in one fell swoop.

Anyway, this particular shrine in Kawasaki where said events supposedly took place was a place long visited by prostitutes where they prayed that they would not get VD. This is a very practical thing to pray for, I think- lack of VD. If I prayed, I'd probably ask the Powers That Be for that very thing. I'd also ask for a few dozen odalisques and a pony.

But I digress. The point is that there's a cock shrine in Kawasaki, and every year people celebrate the shit out of it at the Kanamara Matsuri, the Festival of the Steel Phallus. The festival, instead of cracking the teeth off of VD demons, now raises money for HIV research.

We got to Kawasaki on Sunday morning. The cherry blossoms were in bloom and spring was in the air. We met up with a few friends, and found the shrine, which was mobbed by people, many of them curious foreigners such as ourselves. Not only "mobbed," mind you, but absolutely packed. It was like a 6:00 Yamanote line train, except stationary, and filled with depictions of cock.

All kinds- cock lollipops, cocks on banners. Cocks carved from daikon, cock candles, cock hats. Sake jugs that looked like cocks, sausages (which always looked like cocks), and carved wooden charms that were little more than cocks on strings. There were big wooden cocks that inevitably got mounted, hugged, and caressed by the various festival goers. Most of all, there were cocks hoisted above the crowd on portable shrines. One was metal and one wood. The largest was huge, bright pink, and carried around entirely by drag queens.

Above the crowds the huge cocks traveled, the revelers chanting and thrusting the gigantic mobile members into the air- two or three dozen men all chanting in time, thrusting in time, and fucking the dome of the sky with the same enormous metal dick.

And there were the metal cocks that were part of the shrine. One was a good meter tall, thrusting from the earth, and the other was welded to an anvil. The anvil cock was huge, but of all the members on display it was the smallest- perhaps the size of horse's. It's smallness, though, it's supposed manageability gave it a pornographic presence that the larger members lacked. The anvil cock invited contact. Women straddled it and had their pictures taken with it, and I couldn't help but wonder if it had ever been mounted. In a shrine once frequented by whores, I got to wondering if ever one of them, after perhaps a glass too many of sake, decided to test her limits and see if she could handle the girth and length of the anvil's phallus.

I wondered if whores had straddled it on dares or out of curiosity, and I wondered if perhaps it was more than just whores who'd done it. The curious and aroused, perhaps, venturing to the shrine at night, testing their luck and the limits of their orifices on the rigid, steel approximation of manhood.

We milled about and drank. There was drumming and music of various kinds, and the smells of greasy festival food wafted about the air. It was absurd, all of it. Part of me reveled in the obscenity of it all, the sheer bawdiness and ridiculousness of the situation. It was novel and fascinating, and I couldn't help but think that such a thing would never happen in the States.

But another bit of me, perhaps a more reflective bit, thought about how absurd it all was. The cocks were somehow devoid of any real sexuality. There they were, isolated and alone, without even testicles for companionship. The countless members were so exaggerated and decontextualized, that they were without any sort or sensuality or maleness. The whole thing was bawdy, but it wasn't a bacchanal. Picture, for instance, a floating pair of breasts, entities unto themselves unattached to any sort of woman. It would be impossible to derive anything truly sexual from said orbs. Likewise, the multitude of dicks were without mojo. They reminded me a bit of men in pornos- formless, mindless things that simply stand erect and fuck without feeling or enjoyment.

This isn't any sort of condemnation, mind you. It is far easier to engage something complex (like sexuality) when you engage its gross caricature instead of the real thing. I think it's far, far easier to laugh and chant and mount a giant penis than it is to really think about the complexities and vicissitudes of sex. Simple and direct revelry isn't wrong, of course. I had a wonderful time, but it was a gross and bawdy time. As a celebration, it had more in common with making someone laugh by saying "penis" than with anything sexy.

But, I like dick jokes. I don't think that I'll ever reach some mystical point of final maturity where the human body ceases to be amusing. Despite the empty non-sexuality of it all, I could only approve of the thing in all it's simple, obscene glory.

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10 comments:

Eric said...

PENIS!!!

Okay, now that that's out of my system. The anvil penis reminded me of the Roman marriage rite where the newly wedded bride would mount a marble statue of Priapus, for fertility. And here I thought that was a thing of the distant past.

PENIS!!!

Kristin said...

Wow...

That's awesome! Lots and lots of cock, being paraded around. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a country where sexuality wasn't supposed to be quite so "private"? Sounds like you guys had a great time. : )

Joseph said...

You know, the cocks are cool and all, but all I could think about when looking at your photographs was where the hell the "flashing the peace sign" during pictures comes from. Seriously, /everyone/ in Japan seems to do this. Did the 60s just make it to Japan or something? I don't get it.

SonicLlama said...

Just did a google image search for "Priapus." Got to say that I like this one the best (link NSFW): http://posthus.naestved-gym.dk/historie/pompeii/priapus.jpg

The guy just looks so damn proud of himself.

The penis festival, though, is by no means representative of views on sexuality in Japan. Over in the states, we've got tons of layers of complexity. Same thing over here. Something I find funny, is that even though people can carry around huge dicks in public, genitalia are fuzzed out in Japanese porn movies. The very object of public veneration here, the penis, cannot be legally showed film.

I have no idea where the whole peace sign thing came from, but yes, everyone here does it when posing for pictures. As far as I can tell, it's been around since the sixties and it's just never left.

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