Hey, who wants candy?

Last weekend I went to Nikko, a historical area about two hours away from Tokyo. It was a great chance to road test my new Sony Alpha-300 (finally, a flip screen on a DSLR). Hopefully I can upload some of those photos soon, but before I do that, there’s one particular photo I just can’t get past.

A widespread Japanese tradition is omiyage, or souvenirs, very often in the form of food. You’d normally be expected to buy these for your co-workers and friends whenever you go away on a trip. Omiyage are often specialised to each region, playing off famous sights or local delicacies.

One of the most famous sights in Nikko are the “3 monkeys“. They’re actually not too big in person, perched just above a doorway:

Three monkeys

So, to play off that while preserving the air of grandeur and history of the area, a local specialty would be:

Saru no unpii

…faux monkey poo. The label reads “saru no unpii”. “Saru” means monkey, “no” is like apostrophe s, but I couldn’t find “unpii” in any of my dictionaries. When you put it into the mighty Google though, you’ll be treated to lots of lovely pictures of cat… “leavings”.

But here I am explaining when… well, just look at it. Truly, graphic representations of animal digestive tracts are the international language.


5 thoughts on “Hey, who wants candy?

  1. The packet clearly has a picture of …leavings… on the front, along with a goatse-esque monkey butt. What _else_ could they possibly be.

    Another case of unnecessary translation.


  2. Hmm I have it on good authority that ‘unpii’ is not a dictionary word, but is actually a combination of ‘ใ†ใ‚“ใก’ and ‘ใƒ”’ . The ‘ใ†ใ‚“ใก’ actually being poo, and ‘ใƒ”’ being ‘small round thing you eat’ใ€as in the borrowed word for ‘pea’. So combine them together and you have ‘ใ†ใ‚“ใƒ”’ probably because it doesn’t sound quite as revolting asใ€€ใ†ใ‚“ใกใ€€but still gives that impression while giving them a unique product name ใ†๏ฝŽใƒ”.

    In any case this is a disturbing world wide trend, I have seen ‘Roo Poo’ chocolate confectionary in our very own airports and tourist shops.

    Still … somethings I just refuse to buy.

  3. @MDB: Well, I think I mainly wanted to translate it to understand that there was no other possible explanation for it. Out of interest, the phrase at the top says: “If you eat these droppings, you’ll have good luck”. I think it’s a bit of a pun too – the Japanese word for luck is “un”, and the infamous droppings are “unpii”.

    @Xamis: I didn’t know such things existed in Australia! I guess questionable taste knows no international boundaries.

    If you’ll excuse me, I think I might just have to sing “We are the world”.

  4. I have a plastic Christmas reindeer that once pooped out chocolate-flavoured jellybeans, but that behaviour quickly stopped after I introduced him to an all-dust diet, courtesy of the top shelf of my TV cabinet…

  5. You know, the box would be at least 8000% cooler if one of the monkey’s fingers had a wedding ring on it.

    Joel: you must have been the talk of the christmas decorating street with your chocolate pooping reindeer. Was it a fad for the next year?

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