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).

Do Sweat the Small Stuff

dont-sweat-the-small-stuff“From small beginnings come great things.” ~Proverb quotes

“When you drink the water, remember the spring.” ~Chinese Proverb

So, with the majority of our stuff still firmly rooted in the states (see Castaway), I’ve decided to, every once in a while, focus on the smallest things that I find myself missing the most.  In other words, I think we all should actually start sweating the small stuff.


Just make sure it’s the little things worth sweating. In other words, a year from now when you look back upon your life, what will matter most?  It won’t be our household goods SNAFU….


Little-thingsA couple of years ago I bought a book for me and Jody as either a Valentine’s Day present or anniversary gift; don’t hold that lapse in memory – it’s a small detail!  The book is You Still Give Me Butterflies: Feel Like You’re Falling In Love…Again by Laura Corn.  From the book itself, “There’s nothing like brand–new love.  It takes your breath away.  It makes your heart race.  It feels like butterflies inside you, all taking flight at once.  BESTSELLING AUTHOR LAURA CORN is back with two dozen fun, flirty, romantic and sexy surprises for committed couples.  The Red pages are For Her Eyes Only, and the Gold pages are For His Eyes Only….”

A Cuteness-Based Japanese Approach to Saving

A Cuteness-Based Japanese Approach to Saving

Each Chapter focuses on inspirational ideas, complete with “secret” instructions, clues, or invitations to play printed on beautiful butterfly cutouts for him and her contained in sealed envelopes, which will tell how exactly to prepare a breathtaking romantic surprise for your sweetheart.  The idea is to exchange cards every month or so.  Not only is the card a love note, it heralds a delicious surprise is on the way!

Life with Jody 2013, the Love JugJody handed me a butterfly and lead me into the kitchen.  It was a simple, yet brilliant idea:  THE LOVE JUG.  The idea:  recognize, enhance, and generate acts of intimacy between us.  The execution:  a glass candy-jar, decorated with instructions and icons of love.

Our Love Jug!!

Our Love Jug!!

Life with Jody 2013, the Love Jug (vertical)So, every time we do something intimate for each other, we pay into the Love Jug.  And this is important:  intimacy does not equal sex; intimacy starts in the mind, and is inherent and best recognized in the smallest acts done for one another.  Anyone can buy a card on Valentine’s Day, and anyone can go out to dinner.  But what about a love note in her lunchbox, or cooking her breakfast, or writing her a steamy sexual fantasy, or hell, even doing domestic engineering chores so she doesn’t have to?!?  The amount deposited is rather unimportant; spare change at times, dollar bills at others, maybe a tax return or refund from an overpaid account.  Change hitting the glass vessel results a very distinctly audible announcement.  However, it is the sword-drawing echoing “sha—RING” created by taking off and putting back on the thin metal top as it slides against its glass coupling that is wholly unmistakable and so totally audible throughout our home.  Either sound alone is enough to bring a smile to your face and warmth into your heart.  It is the sound of intimacy.  And it happens often with our Love Jug.


Life with Jody 2013, the Love Jug (dark)We committed to this idea for just over a year, maybe 15 months.  We decided the focus of the money would be for a yet-to-be planned overseas vacation as a graduation present for ourselves once we both finished our graduate degrees.  We settled on Scotland, and when the Love Jug was cashed in, we were amazed to find that we had almost $1,800!  And while it’s almost too tempting to focus on the numbers – how much is that a year ($1,440), month ($120), week ($30), and day ($4) – it is much more important to realize how amazing that such small but frequent acts of intimacy and love accumulate so quickly in our lives.  What a difference this small idea has had in our lives…all for the “cost” of less than a foo foo coffee at Starbucks a day.

Yeah, those will work.  But our way is a lot more fun!

Yeah, those will work. But our way is a lot more fun!

4f45f0bab8ef4542c722700f3c28b0c2And out of the over 6,000 pounds of “stuff” coming our way in seven weeks (hopefully), right now I miss our Love Jug the most.  Thank you Wife:  you still give me butterflies!