Of Pussies & Box Ties


Shimenawa (注連縄, sacred rope)


If we are to believe lexicographer Jonathan Green you could introduce your “silent flute” to “Mount Pleasant” in order to “make feet for children’s stockings” or present your “credentials” to the “Netherlands” for some “horizontal refreshment” and you would still be playing the same old in-and-out game employing penis and vagina for procreation. In other words there is no “one correct” way of saying it. Things are going to become even more complicated if you wanted to describe specific copulation “techniques”. The Kamasutra describes 64 types of sexual acts while its Japanese equivalent, the Shijuhatte (四十八手) lists 48 sexual positions.

Next time you are with your significant other you may want to check out the ekiben (駅弁) style. On the face of it, it translates to “station lunch”, but is also a euphemism for sex in the standing position. The story goes that female vendors of bento (弁当, lunch boxes) would occasionally entertain travelers with “horizontal refreshment” too; the verticality of it being necessitated by a lack of time and space.

Having now delved on sex and lunch boxes, it’s only natural to dedicate a few words to the box tie, the bread-and-butter tie in shibari. In Japanese it is called either takatekote (高手小手) or gote (後手).

It isn’t entirely inconceivable that a Western person unfamiliar with Japanese shibari terminology may feel compelled to “contribute” his or her (educated?) opinion on that matter. To a certain extent this isn’t dissimilar to having an Asian person who doesn’t speak Scottish trying to teach others the “proper” word for pussy used in Edinburgh.

Should someone (again) try to draw you into a discussion about the definition of takatekote versus gote, just mention that there is no one single truth or true word to be found, just as there is no one single correct way of tying, or bondage, or shibari, or kinbaku.


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