musings travel

Furaidochikin Crossing: There Will be Blood

On the first day that I was finally able to start chopping fans I mistook my left index finger for bamboo. THWACK! I don’t have a pic of the initial damage but it almost made me throw up and pass out. I feel overly dramatic about it because the wound is only about a centimeter long. It’s just that it went about 3 mm deep. It think that’s what made me so woosy. For as deep of a wound as it was, there was surprisingly little blood. When it first happened I squeezed it open to see how deep it went and I saw Uruguay. (That’s what’s on the other side of the planet from my current location.) It’s healing up super fast though. I attribute that to the fact that I cut it with my very sharp Japanese made knife. (Read, “Hattori Hanso.”)

My very sharp knife in its nest with its litter mates.

But I’ve pulled the ol’ bait and switch on ya. You’ll never believe what this post is actually about. I’m still trying to process what just happened myself! A couple of days ago when I arrived back at the house after running errands, a Japanese woman was waiting in the doorway. She had been speaking with one of my housemates but turned her attention to me as I approached. She asked if I was from America and I said yes. Shortly afterwards she asked me if I wanted to go to a workshop about controlling your menstruation the following evening. WAIT! GUYS! COME BACK! There went half of my readers. I PROMISE TO KEEP IT LIGHT AND FUNNY! Nope. They’re gone. Oh well.

Sitting on a giant fruit roll-up will help you find your pelvic floor.

I didn’t know how to react to a total stranger asking me to go to a another total stranger’s house to talk about something deeply personal so I tried to find a way to let her know I would think about it and get back to her. That didn’t work and she told me she’d be back the following day to pick me up at 6:20. She then introduced herself as Ai-san (after asking me if I’d like to learn about how to manipulate my parts), hugged me, and drove away. As I struggled with what just happened I decided to accept my fate by reasoning that this was too bizarre for me not to go. It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever done and I knew I’d have a story for you guys. She had mentioned that another girl in the residency would be going so I knew I could get some answers about this unusual situation from her. I immediately contacted her to make sure that we weren’t about to be inducted into some strange cult, never to be seen again. She assured me it was legit so all I had left to do was wait and wonder.

I got a good work day in before it was time to get ready to go. Ai-san arrived a few minutes early and then we picked up Sally and headed across town. We had some light conversation about food and the latest washi factory that I went to (I’ll be posting about that soon too!) before we arrived at our destination. It turned out to be a house that had the front room, dining room, and kitchen converted to a cafe. Inside there were about a dozen 20-30 something year old Japanese women chatting before the workshop. Nothing appeared abnormal. None of them had crazy far off looks in their eyes so what little anxiety I had began to dissipate.

An anatomical model with removable uterus, bladder, and some other body part I don’t remember.

Our sensei, Motoko-san, was very professional and is a practitioner of this ancient method of menses manipulation. If you think about it, when a baby is born it has no control over its bladder or colon and has to learn to do so. When a woman starts her cycle she is like a baby all over again, having no idea how to control the bleeding. We even get a new form of diaper. The child eventually learns how to control peeing and pooping so why not learn to control the blood flow too? Well now you can with three easy payments! (There was no charge for the workshop but if you want to pay me for writing this blog you totally can.)

As is appropriate in Japan, this workshop was delivered in the Japanese language. Ai-san served as our interpreter. Sensei Motoko-san had a light, soft, and delicate way of speaking that was very pleasant. Musical even. As she began to explain the process a little more deeply, her flowing words became punctuated with a, “HNGH!” I couldn’t understand most of what she was saying but I do understand “HNGH!” “HNGH!” was what my ears began to fixate on because these are the sounds I heard: “Delicate language, soft words, delicate language, HNGH, musical tones, delicate language, HNGH!” I must add though, in Sensei Motoko-san’s voice, even “HNGH!” sounded nice.


To make a long story short, every time you go to the bathroom, if you use your pelvic floor muscles to push out the blood, you can train your body to expel everything and never have to use tampons or pads again. This will take about two years of training. The traditional Japanese squat toilet is ideal to align your muscles but for those of us with western toilets, the above position is the correct position to make this happen. The “HNGH!” sound is optional but you should push with enthusiasm. You’re supposed to go every hour and a half. Maybe over time the time in between HNGHs can lengthen. Your body will start to remember this process and you’ll stop randomly bleeding. In addition, this method should shorten your periods to 3 days and it also helps with bladder control. It’s the Kegel exercise, ladies!

I’ll leave you with this video. I couldn’t find the one they showed me in English for the HNGH! process. At least this uterus seems to demonstrate the HNGH a few times! Can anyone tell me why one of the blood droplets is a pirate? And why one appears to be special? Ohhhh nevermind. It’s a goatee. Makes perfect sense. Why do they have eyes for that matter? The more I think about it the more disturbed I get.

Guys, if you’re still with me, bravo. I promise this post and this subject matter will the the only one of its kind. Never did I dream that I would be blogging about menstruation. On a side note, a day later I cut the same finger again in just about the same place.

Don’t cut your fingers kids. Love, Furaidochikin.

Special thanks to Ai-san for translating. Also here’s Motoko-san’s website in Japanese and here’s her facebook page.

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