he makes it


Ok I saw a rb of this with some context and I only remember like half of it so I’m also using Google I may get some of this wrong

But apparently the “first errand” thing isn’t just a cute little fact about the little kid, it’s a totally real thing done in Japan to teach kids that they can like rely on the community to offer assistance if they need it. They send their kids (like 2-3 years old) out alone to perform a relatively simple errand like going to a convenience store and buying a carton of milk. (There’s even a tv show where a camera crew follows children as they accomplish this first errand.) It’s not uncommon to see kids as young as 6-7 riding the subway alone because they’ve gained this sense of independence that comes from knowing that there will be people to help out if they need it.

Oh my god that’s even better

As someone who grew up with a paranoid and over-protective mother, this both warms my heart and terrifies me.

Here’s the tv show about First Errands!





Firefighter Uniform




Fun fact: That is made with real indigo grown on a farm.

The heat index real indigo can take is up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why it was used for centuries.

Another fun fact: Japanese firefighters were hardcore and very proud of their job and abilities. If anyone is interested, I can dig out some amazing images.

Okay guys, so here it is: History lesson about the firemen in Edo, Japan. (Because I need to impart some knowledge before I get to the fun part.)

Edo (now Tokyo) in the 17th century had some massive problems. The city had only become the official capital in 1603. Before the 16th century, it had been an inconsequental fishing town. After becoming the capital, the city boomed and population more or less exploded.

The numbers I could find are the following:

  • 1640: 400′000 residents
  • 1693: 800′000 residents
  • 1721: 1′100′000 residents

All in all, Edo became a massive, sprawling city in a very short amount of time. All kinds of people came to Edo, from poor women that were literally sold into prostiution by their parents to the leaders of the country.

The rapid population growth wasn’t the only problem the city faced, however. Some other factors include:

  • Building material: Most houses were built almost entirely out of wood, which, surprise, burns easily.
  • Building structures: Houses were often built in rows, with narrow streets in between, perfect for the quick spread of fire
  • Weather: Constant strong winds, especially in the winter and in spring, helped along with that, too
  • Arson: Yes, people literally set fires in the hope that they would manage to loot something valuable in the process. These people were often from the lower strata of society, showing that not all was well in Edo. (In short: being poor sucks massively.) Sometime merchants just wanted to destroy their rival’s business, though. Burn that fucker to the ground, or something like that.

Due to these factors, the city experienced 49 large fires between 1601 and 1867, and over a thousand smaller fires. Which means there were approximately 7 smaller fires a year, as well as one massive fire every five years… not great odds if you just wanna do your thing in the big city. The largest fire in 1657 killed around 100′000 people, which was, if you look at the numbers up there, probably around a quarter of the population.

While the shogun quickly commanded the creation of a firefighting force to prevent the burning of his buildings, he was less concerned about the rest of the city. It took until the 18th century (I think somewhere in the 1720s) until he finally ordered the creation of a city-wide firefighting force that protected people from fires and put them out.

In short, because of the frequency of the fires, this was a massively important job.

(Above: Fireman in gear. Take note of the fire hook. These hooks were standard gear for any firefighter, and usually used to destroy buildings to prevent the spread of a fire.)

(Above: Firemen at work. The lanterns and the matoi they are carrying are symbols to identify the “department”.)

And I don’t know, but it seems like an universal rule that important people like to show off, or maybe it’s just a side-effect of running into rapidly-spreading fires, but at some point, they started the tradition of “ladder climbing.” It’s now part of a yearly ceremony that takes place just after new years, but the exact origin of this tradition is unclear.

(Above: We have no time for your foolish safety measures. Get on our level. Hahahaha.)

Anyway, what they do every year in this ceremony is this:

One or more dudes climb a straight ladder that’s only secured with the fire hooks of their colleagues on the ground (you can see them do that in the image), and on top of that ladder they perform various acrobatic feats to show off their awesome firefighting skills (not really). Now if you say this is obviously a print and does not depict reality at all, let me direct you towards some newer technology:

(Above: AAAAH.)

And the tradition lives on until today:

(Above: You can also clearly see this goddamn ladder is not secured at all, other than with the fire hooks. You can only hope none of your colleagues are planning to murder you.)

And if you want to see the entire thing in movement:

In this video, you can see some very nice close-ups of the ladder and the way it’s being secured by the fire hooks. The best stunts come towards the end. Here you can see three dudes on the ladder, and here’s a video of a woman doing the stunts.

Honestly, I could go on enternally, but there you go. The badass firefighters of ye olde Japan.


“Mogas” (Modern gals), the japanese flappers.

Modern girls (モダンガール modan gaaru) were Japanese women who followed Westernized fashions and lifestyles in the 1920s. These moga were Japan’s equivalent of America’s flappers, India’s kallege ladki, Germany’s neue Frauen, France’s garçonnes, or China’s modeng xiaojie. 

 By viewing her through a Japanese vs Western lens, the nationalist press could use the modern girl archetype to blame such failings as frivolity, sexual promiscuity, and selfishness on foreign influence. The period was characterized by the emergence of working class young women with access to money and consumer goods. Using aristocratic culture as their standard of Japaneseness, the critics of the modern girl condemned her working class traits as “unnatural” for Japanese. Modern girls were depicted as living in the cities, being financially and emotionally independent, choosing their own suitors, and apathetic towards politics.

 The woman’s magazine was a novelty at this time and the modern girl was the model consumer, someone more often found in advertisements for cosmetics and fashion than in real life. The all-female Takarazuka Revue, established in 1914, and the novel Naomi (Tanizaki, 1924) are outstanding examples of modern girl culture.


In Northern Japan, the Wara Art Festival recently rang in the September-October rice season, and it’s a wildly inventive and fun way to repurpose rice straw left over from the harvest.

Now some of these plot points may seem strangely familiar. A weird love triangle involving a grown man and a baby? A man so beautiful he’s supposed to sparkle? Well, of course, the natural comparison would be to Twilight, our modern tale of literary trashiness. In fact, in a lot of ways the books [of The Tale of Genji] were kind of the Twilight of their day, romantic tales of fantasy for impressionable young women. In fact, there’s a Noh play written several centuries later about Murasaki Shikibu’s ghost wandering the earth lamenting how The Tale of Genji led young women astray from their proper and pious lives with its materialistic fantasies. And you thought those Amazon reviews were harsh.

Isaac Meyer, History of Japan podcast, Episode 4 – The Golden Age of Heian