Tuesday, March 08, 2011


If someone were to say "Japan" to you right now (like I just did),
what images would come to you?

Mt. Fuji?
Perhaps Mt. Fuji in the spring and and some sakura (cherry blossoms)?


How about station officials smooshing people into the trains of Tokyo?

Maybe you are more sports minded and Sumo came to mind.
*This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of the great Konnishiki.

Or maybe, your mind went another direction *thank you, Hollywood* and you had this lovely image...

Or....hey...did you imagine this?

Bet you didn't see that one coming, did you?
Which seems to make the Japanese kancho even funnier to those doing it....
the surprise attack.
The kancho.
According to the good people over at kancho.org :
(yes, strangely enough, there IS a website!!)
Kancho is the ancient art of clasping your hands together and poking someone... in the rear. Kancho is not meant to be vulgar or mean, in fact it is rarely used in an antagonistic way, like a nipple twister, or a head noogie, but rather as a kind of affection, similar to athletes patting each other's butts. Foreign teachers in Japan are often the target of Kancho. This is partly due to their celebrity status in schools, as many kids want to be the one who Kanchoed the English teacher.

(Go ahead, when you're done here, click on the link
and learn more about this than what you will probably ever need .)

By the way, the boys told me that you really need to say "Kancho!!" in a loud voice when you are doing it to make it, I guess, the perfect kancho.

I guess, if you think about it, boys and men in the western world are forever punching each other, wrestling around, giving snuggies/wedgies to each other, or goosing someone...come to think of it, one of my brothers has a habit of pulling me in for a hug and then sticking my nose in his armpit.
Kancho fits right in.
Now...just to make this word just a liiiiiiiittle bit funnier....
the word kancho, in the dictionary has a few meanings:

1: (giving an) enema;
2: (Slang) prank where the anal region of another person is poked with index fingers
3: government office; authorities ; superintendent priest; chief abbot; superintendent; director;
curator; chief librarian

Seriously....can you think of any English word that is funnier than this???

At the community centers, when a class starts for the first time, the head of the
community center (the kancho) usually comes into the class to welcome the students and give information to them about the center.
I remember as if it were yesterday the first time this happened....first day of class, new students, the center officials came into the room and the kancho was introduced.
"Eh?  What the hell??"
I'm a pretty smart cookie so, it didn't take long to put 2 and 2 together to figure out that the kancho I knew, was not the same kind of kancho giving a speech to all my students.

That was almost 7 years ago, but even today, when I hear this word?
Oh, yeah....the 10-year-old boy in my psyche
has a very hard time keeping a straight face.

One more thing....for Issei's birthday, he got a t-shirt from some
good friends of ours that used to live here.

On the front was this:
Lock and load, baby.  We're ready.
In case you are wondering....
yes....we all want one of these t-shirts and will probably order them soon.

*Thanks GoogleImages for all the pictures, except that last one.


ChiTown Girl said...

Ok, that is seriously one of the funniest/weirdest things I've ever heard of!!!

Janet said...

hahaha I never heard of that word in my time there! But Dave pokes me in the nose and the ear every morning before he leaves...says it's his way of telling me he loves me, the brat!

Sassy B. said...

Better to learn about this from you, Debbie, than find out the hard way.

Cid said...

Promise never to tell my boys about kancho, okay? We would never hear the end of it - pun intended ;-)

Moxy Jane said...

Is there seriously a STATUE of kids doing the KANCHO??? Oh, Japan, you are just an endless supply of joy and wonder;-) Thank you, Debbie, for educating and entertaining us!!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

And they call Americans crazy?!

Anonymous said...

As little of the Japanese language as I know, I actually DO know the word kancho from another blog that I frequent from time to time. The writer was, bingo, an American teaching English in Japanese middle schools.

Ms. Lea 李女士 said...

I Love the Pictures with the Cherry Blossoms.....so Beautiful!

Yarni Gras! said...

I am crying! That is one of the funniest things I've ever read.........hahahaha!

yogurt said...

Hoping you, your city and your loved ones are doing ok. Worried about you right now. So much scary footage from Japan.

Anonymous said...

Echoing Yogurt and hoping that you and yours are OK. Based on everything I've seen, read and heard, it doesn't seem as if a loation as south as yours would have had any sort of massive/numbingly tragic issues but even so, when you get a chance, please pop your head in to tell all of us that y'all are OK. Thanks!

Ms. Lea 李女士 said...

Thinking of you and hoping you and your family are okay. Please let us know.....

Pissed Off said...

Stopped by to send my prayers to you and your family.

Nancy said...

Haven't caught up with you in quite sometime.Thought Of you and your family immediately when I heard of the tragedy in Japan.So glad I kept the link to your blog.You,your family and country are in my thoughts and prayers.Will continue to check here to see if there is any word from you.((hugs and prayers))

Pretty Things said...

I thought the Koreans had some funny things when I taught there -- I think you win on this one!

yogurt said...

Saw mention of this book as one of the best of 2010 ... thought of you: "novel "If You Follow Me," by Malena Watrous, about a young woman teaching English in Japan, is wonderful and brooding and hilarious and perfect."