Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Healthy Haramaki

Yesterday saw me home sick from work. I'm doing better now, but while we're on the topic, let's talk about haramaki! (腹巻)

It comes in a few different forms, but a haramaki in the modern day is a "belly wrap", a long length of fabric wound about the stomach for warmth underneath other clothing. I learned while in Japan that old customs hold that the stomach is the center of your health. If you keep your stomach and core area warm, then you can stay healthy.

An old Japanese boyfriend, who was a fan of cheesy Chinese martial arts movies, would come over and watch them at my house with me. The Japanese were often the bad guys in these movies, and one time a Japanese spy who had been passing himself off as Chinese was revealed when the main character walked in and found him... dun dun DUNNN... wrapping his haramaki around himself.

The boyfriend started laughing and I asked what was so funny. He explained that it was really old-fashioned and stereotypical that a Japanese guy would always have a haramaki on no matter what, sort of like an American constantly walking around with a hamburger in his hand.

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