Wednesday, April 16, 2008

skin ship

I was just going through my "Finger In The Throat" books, when I came across this reference book, which I probably bought in earnest as a grad student to navigate my way through English borrowings that made no sense in Japanese.

Case in point: Dattchi Waifu (Dutch Wife)

This was a term I ran into while translating some dialogue, and though I'm familiar with "Dutch oven" (pulling the covers over the person you're sharing a bed with, right after you've farted), "Dutch Wife" rang no bells.

According to the Kenkyusha Online Dictionary, a "dutch wife" is a sex-doll/blow-up doll.
Hmph. Go figure. The poor Dutch, though. Can you imagine being the metaphorical reference to a fart-trick and a fake orifice?

Needless to say, "Dutch Wife" was not in "'English' in Japanese." Fat lot of good this book will do anyone, really. None of the terms in it were really "false friends," that is, except:

Skinship.

Now I've heard of a "skin flute," so I kind of assumed a "skin ship" was the female equivalent... But according to its definition, the editor suggests skinship might be a contraction of "skin" and "kinship," to mean physical contact between kin. I've never heard "skinship" in any Japanese context myself, so I'm going to keep pretending it's what I think it is.

Speaking of "skin ship"...Is it just me or does this book cover look like someone's looking out through a uterus at that woman in the center? It's a potentially significant abstract symbolism -- a woman watching herself through a birthing canal, suffering a sort of post partem breakdown.

4 comments:

Deborah said...

That's just you, Anne, being heartful.

Michelle said...

I see the vaginal walls...

-Michelle, GRLA

UnmanlyerRoses said...

Skinship is more common in Korean culture. It's basically showing affection (of varying degrees) through physical contact :D

moritheil said...

"Dutch Wife" comes from the pejorative English concept that the Dutch did things "backwards." Thus, "Dutch auction," "going Dutch," "Dutch courage," etc.