As I have spent the last 3.5 weeks in Japan, I have realized that a major part of the American culture consists of our crazy and fun tattoos and piercings that most 18-21 year-olds receive in order to rebel and claim their independence from their parents and from society.
One of the first things we learned before even going to Japan was that tattoos were considered taboo. Tattoos, under no circumstances, should be shown or revealed by an AC (American Counselor) especially when around the Japanese campers or children. If you don’t remember, in Japan there is complete public bathing, and sometimes, we are required to bathe with campers. So, when you have tattoos and naked bodies, it becomes a bit of a problem…
Of all of the AC’s here, I have seen tattoos on wrists (covered by band-aids), ears (covered by hair), feet (covered by tennis shoes and socks), thighs and ribs (covered by clothing) and legs (covered by large bandages). All AC’s with tattoos are advised not to go to public bath houses; the same goes for piercings. A lot of AC’s have belly button piercings or nose rings; or especially more than one ear-piercing (i.e.: cartilage). This either has to be taped, covered with a band-aid, or taken out, for the same reasons as tattoos.
Finally – peace signs. In Japan, in any picture you take, one holds up the infamous “Peace Sign.” This is a culture norm in Japan, as Americans tend to smile in pictures, Japanese hold up peace signs, in literally EVERY. SINGLE. PICTURE. As an American of course I think this is corny, but after being told over and over by my campers to “Put up my peace sign” I have decided to participate in this cultural practice whilst in Japan. Here’s some examples:
Japanese Host family and friends
My host sister at a museum
Camp ends tomorrow for the day around 2:00 pm so I’ll time to update some of my whereabouts, including my first host family stay and the previous camp. So, something to look forward to!