Tattoo You? Absolutely, given the right Territory

Tattoo….  Absolutely.  Given the right Territory.

Do you have a tattoo?  If so, what’s the story behind your ink?  If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned permanently on your skin?  After all, tattoos and Asian are synonymous…at least in the Navy.

What kept sailors' hats on in the 1940s??

What kept sailors’ hats on in the 1940s??

I do (I was in the Navy, and stationed in Asia), and it all started right here in Okinawa in 2004.  But when I started to research and write a blog about the story behind my inked permanence, and while trying to find that just right perfectly crazy connection to Japan, I came across a topic that, well, had to be broken out as a stand-alone conversation:  Zettai Ryouiki Koukoku.

Thigh Advertising.  Genius or demeaning??  Both!

Thigh Advertising. Genius or demeaning?? Both!!

Let me get this straight:  my tat is not for advertising, nor really even for daily public consumption (given its placement).  However, use of tats for advertising was very recently proposed, and not just by a liberal-leaning and progressive marketing company (are there any other kinds?  A rhetorical question for a certain mother-in-law in the advertising industry….), but by The Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau (OCVB) along with the Okinawan Prefectural government.  Seriously.


The OCVB and the government have cancelled their plans to use space on Japanese and Okinawan women’s bare thighs for marketing the Ryukyu Islands as a graduation trip destination to students in Japan’s other prefectures.  After reporting by the local Okinawa Times, numerous complaints were logged criticizing the plan as “undignified” and “not an appropriate use of taxpayer money.”  Citing such criticism, the two bodies stated, “Placing temporary tattoo-like stickers on the thighs of young women to advertise Okinawa is not in line with prefecture’s brand image.”

You think?

Parading around town....

Parading around town….

With “thigh advertising,” a new method of marketing gaining traction in Japan, young ladies wearing miniskirts or short shorts parade around town with promotional stickers placed on their zettai ryouiki or absolute territoryZettai Ryōiki (絶対領域) (or Ryouiki as alternate spelling) loosely translates into “absolute territory” and is the area of bare skin seen between a skirt and thigh-highs or socks, a strategic body location that’s often fetishized in Japanese anime and manga.  The idea of “Absolute Territory” comes from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, which initially referred to an “AT Field,” or, a nearly impenetrable barrier (force-field) generated by Angels and Evangelions – in essence, an inviolable area created God.

Can you spot the Absolute Territory??

Can you spot the AT Field??

However, at the time, a popular Chatterbot (known throughout Japan as Jinkou Munou, literally Artificial Intelligence without Intelligence) was noted for eccentric anime character design.  Unveiling its newest character creation Mayura, imagined to be dressed in a black turtleneck, a grey checkered miniskirt, and black over-the-knee-socks and boots, the bot proclaimed, “The distance between the knee socks and miniskirt is invincible!  I can even say that it’s God’s Absolute Territory.”  Thus, while “absolute” in this context hints at the idea of “inviolable sanctuary,” there was also an almost direct and immediate tie-in with Neon Genesis Evangelion.

A lessor-known Divine Proportion

A lessor-known Divine Proportion

And, as a mathlete, I was tickled pink to find that this segment of weird fetish in Japan has its own “Divine Ratio,” akin to the one of the same name found repeated in nature and art over and over again, strongly related to the idea of God’s Territory.  Some have suggested that the ideal “Divine Ratio” is 4:1:2.5, referring to Miniskirt Length to Exposed Thigh (Absolute Territory) to Thigh-High Length above the Knee.  Oh, and it seems that the acceptable margin of error is ±15%.  Someone has really thought this through….  Unfortunately for him, he’s most likely destined to never touch a woman’s thigh on account of all the weirdness.

Please, no math in my fetish.

Please, no math in my fetish.

Given that mathematical ideal, it’s only perfectly normal to think that there should be a grading scale by which to judge the quality of Absolute Territory.  And there is.  Which is roughly as follows (although these too have recommended absolute distances associated with them):  Grade A – Thigh high socks, thigh-highs or stockings; Grade B – Over-the-knee sock; Grade C – High socks; Grade D – Three quarter socks; and Grade E – Crew socks.  Ankle socks are an instant Grade F.  Only the top two Grades (A & B) are considered true zettai ryouiki and are only properly achievable by females.  Thank goodness.

"F" is not even worth listing

“F” is not even worth listing

Interestingly enough, there appears to be also a most coveted Grade S (wonder what that stands for) that can be reached only from Grade A, and with the addition of two other critical elements:  1) Twintails hairstyle, more commonly perhaps known as pig-tails; and 2) a Tsundere personality.  What is the latter you ask?  Good question.


Tsundere (ツンデレ, pronounced tsɯndeɽe) is a portmanteau of two Japanese phrases:  “tsun tsun” (ツンツン), which is to turn away in disgust, and “dere dere” (デレデレ), meaning to become something akin to “lovey-dovey.”  The term refers to characters who act under a mask of indifference, dislike, or even open hostility to the object of their affections, but secretly (or not-so-secretly) harbor feelings for them.  A tsunderekko is a tsundere female; more rarely you may see tsunderekun for a tsundere male.  Two prime examples of Grade S Absolute Territory include Rin Tohsaka and Hiiragi Kagami.

Rin Tohsaka.  Grade S.

Rin Tohsaka. Grade S.

So, in an attempt to cash in on this craze, a Japanese marketing firm is launching zettai ryouiki koukoku, or “absolute territory PR”.  There are three criteria for prospective thigh flashers:  1) you must be a female; 2) you must be over 18; and 3) you must have over 20 “connections” on your social networking site, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, or something similar.  It’s a one day gig, during which you’ll wear a sticker on your thigh, and participants will get paid between ¥1,000 and ¥10,000 (roughly $10 to $100USD).  You’ll need to be photographed in at least two different locations and then upload those photos on a social networking site.  So, in a sense, it’s not about advertising live in public, but using the idea of drawing eyes to Absolute Territory in public that makes this so…alluring.  From what I can find online there is no shortage of applicants (これはつい見ちゃう自信アリ! 絶対領域に貼りつける広告ステッカー「絶対領域広告 Absolute Territory PR, Kotaku Japan).

From the PR Firm's Website....

From the PR Firm’s Website….

So, given this background and pop-cultural shift in advertising in Japan, Okinawa seems to somewhat at odds with the times.  When asked for a further explanation regarding the cancellation of this type of advertising, the Okinawan prefecture’s tourism promotion section replied, “Though we believe it would prove to be instantaneously effective in marketing to young people, when looking at the image of the prefecture as a whole, the demerits are considerable.”  The OCVB continued, “As funding is coming from national government coffers, we decided it was not worth fighting those opposed.”

Really, we are supposed to read stuff posted *there*??

Really, we are supposed to read stuff posted *there*??

Talk about a Tsundere attitude.  Now, if only the OCVB uniform consisted of twintails and thigh-highs…but there’s little doubt their disposable Foot Sox dooms the government to Grade F, perhaps fitting for this epic failure.

Grade F for Epic Fail

Grade F for Epic Fail

Blood, Nurses & Vampires: Halloween in Okinawa

Blood drops for ears?  Forget about the Logic - they are CUTE!!

Blood drops for ears? Forget about the Logic – these Blood Donation mascots are CUTE!!

The Japanese can take most any idea, animate and anime it, which almost always results in a cuter, friendlier, more happy version of most anything.  This is no less true in terms of donating blood, or, given the season, in regards to Halloween and vampires!

How can you resist this cute-covered Blood-Mobile?!?

How can you resist this cute-covered Blood-Mobile?!?

A few weeks ago we ran across a local blood drive at the Okinawan Mihama Jusco.  What caught my eye, and set the vector for this blog, was just how cute the graphics of the campaign were, in print, poster, but mostly on the bloodmobile!  How could you resist such frivolous happy-go-lucky blood-based critters?

Surely one of these critters is your...wait for it...TYPE.

Surely one of these critters is your…wait for it…TYPE.

Well, I still could resist.  But then again I have a “thing” about needles….


In all seriousness, The Japanese Red Cross says the decreasing birthrate and aging population throughout Japan are causing a drain on blood supplies, since more elderly people are in need of transfusions and fewer young people donate.

Imagine the kids' games you can play with THIS.

Toys to increase blood donation.  Imagine the kids’ games you could play with THIS!

And contrary to what some people here may think, foreigners (to Japan) can donate blood.  However, there are some conditions which do preclude such giving, including “anyone who has sexual relationships with random people in the previous six months….”  Define random.

The Japanese LOVE Mascots

The Japanese LOVE Mascots.  I think the “O” is for OMG!

And, in a Japanese twist on the American culture of fear, British nationals are not eligible due to scares from Creutzfeldt-Jakob (mad cow) disease if they lived in the United Kingdom anytime from 1980 through 1996.  But not to call out the Brits; anyone who has resided in “certain countries in Europe (yeah France) since 1980″ are also included, but you have to specifically ask about these.  Odd.

Karin - a Pubescent Blood-Producing Far Eastern Vampire

Karin – a Pubescent Blood-Producing Far-Eastern Innocent and Fun-Filled Vampire.  She even rocks the “horns of the devil!”

Now for a refreshing take on vampires, you know, in honor of Halloween.  Karin is an anime show in Japan that not just happens to be about vampires, but is about an interesting spin on the vampire mythos that perhaps is distinctly Japanese.  But it’s more:  Karin is also a romantic comedy about a clumsy and somewhat dull-witted vampire girl and her vampire family trying to survive in modern day Japan.  However, what makes this all so unusual, and unusually Japanese is that Karin is a rare vampire that produces blood.  So, as a result, when she gets the urge to bite, Karin actually gives blood and can heal rather than feed on blood which leads to more dreadful results!

Asian Sun-Goddess Amaterasu

Asian Sun-Goddess Amaterasu

Being this unique type of vampire allows for certain advantages over the more traditional fare; Karin can walk around in sunlight, although sunlight still harms “normal” vampires in the series’ unique reality – which is usually representative of the judgment of an Almighty.  This may be attributable to a Japanese nod to Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess who represents growth and fertility, elements that seem present in Karin in her ability to pass along blood.  And, consuming her blood induces fertility in what are normally sterile run-of-the-mill western-flavored vampires….

It seems that Karin has violent nose bleeds when she resists her...urges.

It seems that Karin has violent nose bleeds when she resists her…urges.

There are certainly many other elements of Karin that are rather fascinating to contemplate, including all the more common if not less-known representations in the vampire mythos, including the central theme of a vampire’s bite and feeding as intercourse and orgasm – the vampire’s true sin, which in the anime series makes becoming a vampire nothing more than an analogy for puberty.  And therein lays the real themes of Karin.

The Peace Sign is given by all-things Japanese!

The Peace Sign is given by all-things Japanese.  Or is that simply “V” for Vampires??

But, who would like this more traditional Halloween-horrors Battle Royale??  My vote is for the vampire girl.  How can you lose in a Japanese school-girl-sailor suit with those sultry Flashdance leg-warmers ?  The Franken-kimono is way too limiting in terms of dexterity…and that obi looks terrible!

Vampire Girl versus Frankenstein Girl:  who would YOU want to win?

Vampire Girl versus Frankenstein Girl: who would YOU want to win?

In a “heartfelt” connection to blood (pun intended), it seems we have on-island in Okinawa, the individual who is currently recognized (in 1994) as the Guinness Book of World Records holder who has donated more blood than anybody else.  Yep, 79-year-old retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Dennis Provencher has donated well in excess of 34 recorded gallons of blood.  Provencher has been regularly donating blood since arriving on Okinawa in 1961, and reached!  Born in Milton, N.H., Provencher enlisted in the Air Force in 1951. Ten years later, the radio operator received orders to Okinawa. He said he fell in love with the island and its people and kept extending his assignment until he retired in 1971. He has been donating blood since his arrival.  “It’s for a good cause. It’s like an oil change: They take the old blood out and make way for the new blood.”

This is NOT

This is probably NOT Provencher….

“I challenge anyone to catch me,” Provencher said. (Stars & Stripes, 2010)


And to end this Halloween installment of the Far East Fling, I offer a special treat!  A sampling of the fetish Japanese anime has for nurses!  Naughty, sexy, or simply scantily-clad, I’m sure their standard of care…like their virtue…is irreproachable, and probably untouchable.  Enjoy!

Jody, notice the HAT....

Jody, notice the HAT…(and stockings – wink).

5 Anime Series for Non-Anime Fans

I really try to keep my site and blogs all-original content, but every once in a while, a blog is certainly worth reposting. As Japan-Hub states here in their blog, “In my humble opinion, the [anime] storylines are either too weird or too violent or just plain out ridiculous….” But, anime, as an Eastern art, is certainly worth investigating, if not appreciating, and the listing and reviews provided here I believe can offer anyone with a remote itch for something different and Far Eastern-centric a great place to start. I know I will.  It is time.


At least once a week, someone I know gives me a suggestion on an anime series to watch.  While I’m not an anime hater, I rarely give their suggestions a try.  In my humble opinion, the storylines are either too weird or too violent or just plain out ridiculous.  But once in a blue moon, I will get turned on to an anime that actually holds my interest and makes me look forward to the next episode.  Here are some of my suggestions for anime series that I feel any non-anime fan can enjoy and maybe even come to love:


attack on titan

Attack on Titan is THE anime to watch right now.  The premise is definitely intriguing: Mankind has been forced to live behind 3 concentric walls in order to protect themselves from Titans, huge and ugly giants whose only goal is to gobble up humans.  When titans…

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