Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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Three Ages of Japanese Man
Three factoids I picked up from three different conversations with my Japanese friends on italki.com this week.

Birth

When Japanese women give birth, it is customary for the hospital to take the umbilical cord and put it in a little box. The mother is then presented with it as a memento on leaving the hospital.

Childhood

There is a kami who specialises in straightening out badly behaved children. His twisted staffs symbolise the crooked behaviour of the children he has to deal with, usually as a result of a prayer of the parents.

mami kami

Also, he gets to ride on a fox.

Man's Estate

Whenever a train is late and it is deemed to be the driver's fault, the driver is made to write a letter of apology to the customers. However, whenever a Japanese salaryman feels that it's all too much and throws himself in the path of a speeding shinkansen (as happens all too often), the family is made to pay a large amount of compensation to the train company - pour encourager les autres, presumably.

Does the kami ride standing up on the back of the fox? (This is how it looks to me, but maybe the statue is misleading.) Does the fox go on the ground, or through the air?

I would like to think that it's a flying fox, and that he sits, if only for health and safety reasons.

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