Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Jirou-cho 次郎長

Very near us is the city of Shizuoka. Part of Shizuoka is a ward (used to be its own little city before it got eaten up in a merger) called Shimizu. And there, last weekend, was so sort of festival. We didn't go. Wanted to. Couldn't. So I have no idea what happened there. I hear it was fun.

But J's friend's mother was in the parade evidentally. They gave us some cookies from the event. Here is one.

Looks like a pirate. Actually, Jirou-cho is a big hero for Shimizu. He's had over a hundred movies made about him! What did this man do?

Born in 1820, at the age of eighteen some wandering monk predicated he would die very soon. Old Jirou began to wine, gamble, and womanize. At twenty two (yep, still alive) Jirou was attacked while coming home from a play. He then vowed never to drink again. He got in a fight with a gambler once and killed him. He divorced and became a drifter. He studied fencing and business. Basically, he was a yakuza. But a good one.

He actually became a policeman and watched over Shimizu harbor. He became active in many charity and community projects and had enough muscle behind him to settle disputes peacefully. He even opened an English school in Shimizu.

My husband told me that he was a very good gambler (meaning he won a lot). After he died other gamblers from all over Japan came to pay respects to his grave...and while they were at it, shave a little off the tombstone for luck. Eventually they had to rebuild the tombstone as it was widdled down so much.

Anyway, I just wanted to show you the cookie. There was another. It was very good. Lots of butter.

※My son just looked at one of my purchases and exclaimed, "What on earth did you buy woman!?" I must go explain.

1 comment:

Matt D. said...

That has got to be the coolest cookie ever made. I wish I had that cookie.