Happy Year Of The Snakelet!
It’s tough to make a snake appealing, but they give it a damn good try here in Japan. Naturally, over the past three days, I’ve seen everything from lucky red underwear to beer emblazoned with cute ones, funny ones, elegant ones, snakes with flowers, snakes with smiles, and this one, the jointed bamboo snake toy! (Why a child would wish to play with a jointed bamboo snake is a mystery to me, but the one depicted on my new kitchen dish towel is apparently a Traditional Plaything, go figure.)
None of this sugarcoating, however, changes the fact that everybody knows that girls born in the Year Of The Snake grow up to be scary women. The birthrate dips every time this zodiac year rolls around, as couples put off rolling the gender dice.
Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, published by Penguin/Intermix.