Welcome to another edition of Your Weekly Japan. Today I’d like to speak about belly buttons. The belly button has always been a mystery to me. In truth they are nothing more than just another scar, but they seem to carry far more significance. The shape of your belly button determines whether it will look cute or ridiculous when you get it pierced. Some are shallow and some are so deep you’d almost expect them to be housing a sarlac. Then there’s outies… Don’t even get me started on those abominations. Recently I learned that an outie is just a simple result of where the doctor cuts the umbilical chord. I still choose to believe they are a sign of the devil.
With all this mystery and contention over the body’s least useful orifice, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that the Japanese have a special festival to honor it. They call it the Heso Matsuri (”Belly Button Festival”) and every year the residents of Furano in Japan take to the streets with their bodies painted like faces to honor the belly button.
This video of one of the parades is extra fun because not only do you get to see people painted up like characters from Dragonball and Totoro, but you also get a creepy Japanese dude in a Barack Obama Mask.