Prunes and Prism

RULES FOR YOUNG LADIES: Some arch advice on snagging a husband. Exercising the mouth into a pretty shape through repetition of certain words seems to have been an indoor sport for young nineteenth-century girls; in Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens' overly bred girl repeats, "papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism." (

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Think I'm Turning Japanese

I really think so.

I'm seriously considering joining the ranks of Japan's hikikomori, disaffected teens who for years at a time hole up in their rooms eating leftover dumplings and building model cars. Psychiatrists and social critics think the kids, mostly boys, must be alienated by their dim prospects in Japan's sagging economy, coupled with the pressure of culturally sanctioned gender roles.

I'd like to humbly submit my beloved late grandmother, Della Mai Agee, who holed up for years at a time eating chicken and dumplings and watching The Price Is Right while she smoked Pall Malls. It's a safe bet this had nothing to do with the falling yen, but was simply the only sensible lifestyle choice: Life inside the house is really just about as interesting as life outside, and certainly far less tiring.

At the heart of the Times magazine piece linked above is Takeshi, who used to spend 23 hours a day on his bed listening to his stereo; after four years he was finally spurred to leave (the logical conclusion to 1,460 days of nonstop Radiohead).

"It's not hopeful," he says, "but I learned that the world is not such a good place, and regardless we have to move on. That caught my heart."

Mine, too.


Blogger Recovering Baptist said...

I read that article, and it reminded me that every weekend and every summer of my teaching career (which lasted 2.5 years) I was, in fact, hikkimori. I gained 40 pounds and became a chatroom junkie but you don't go through as much laundry. And also it turned me off of Sun Chips forever. Do you want that to happen to you?

5:08 PM  

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