A trip to Kyoto recently left me puzzled. I came across something called ‘The Golden Poo’. It is a good luck charm, which looks suspiciously like a soft serve of ice cream (yurk!). On my travels, I had occasionally seen them in the souvenir shops, but had not taken much notice.
Well, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t think to look twice at a little gold poo that people tell you is good luck. Let’s be honest, feces isn’t good luck!
But what we’re all missing here is an amusing piece of word play. The charm is referred to as Kin no Unko (The Golden Poo), a name that plays on the fact that the Japanese word for poop (unko) starts with the same ‘oon’ sound as a completely unrelated word that means luck (Un).
The Japanese enjoy this kind of pun, it is evident by the fact that more than 2.5 million of the ‘lucky little loads’ have sold in the last 7 years.
In Tokyo, there is also something that catches your eye in the city. Perched on top of a shiny black building on the side of the river is a giant golden poo. It’s enormous – think the Big Pineapple. At first, you don’t know what it is. The thing is, it’s not really poo this time. It is described as a “unusual and striking building designed by interior designer turned architect Philippe Starck, is one of Tokyo’s most notable modern landmarks. It has earned itself several unflattering nicknames among those who disdain its flashy self-important style but it is sure to please devotees of Starck’s sleek and elegant style. Completed in 1989, it serves as a symbol of the Asahi Beer company at a location where Asahi has been making beer for over a century.” Yes, of course it does.