mbarker (mbarker) wrote,

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Manju Kowai (aka I'm scared of dessert!)

The daily NHK drama had a cute story today. When we heard the name (Manju Kowai - Fear of Manju?) Mitsuko said, "Oh, I think I've heard of that one." I'm beginning to believe that every Rakugo story is well-known, even though no one ever admits to going to a rakugo show. Somewhat like the time that a friend convinced me to watch some professional wrestling - and when I asked people about it, they were all familiar with the wrestlers, even though no one ever watched it (why was it on TV then?).

Okay, Manju Kowai starts with five friends talking about what they like. One says sake, and so forth. Then the ring leader says, "Well, then, what don't you like?" One admits to being scared of snakes, another hates slugs, and . . .

The quiet one in the corner looks nervous, and admits that he is terrified of manju. One of the others looks surprised. "Manju? You mean the soft white cakes, with red bean paste filling? But they taste so good!"

The quiet one shudders, and turns away from everyone. "I know it is foolish, but they terrify me. Oh, please, let's not talk about them."

The other four get together later, and decide to tease the quiet one. So they buy a bunch of manju, find him in a room, and throw the manju at him. Then they peek around the corner, only to be surprised to find the quiet one with all the sweet cakes piled up in front of himself, with a big smile. And he proceeds to eat one!

The leader says, "Oh, so you misled us! All right, tell us, what are you really scared of?"

The quiet one licks his lip, and says, "Right now, I think I'm really scared of some tart tea."

And that's the story of Manju Kowai. 饅頭こわい - まんじゅうこわい for those who want the Japanese.

It reminds me of the story of B'rer Rabbit and the Briar Patch - Don't throw me in there, please?

Please don't throw tasty treats at me! Oh, please!
Tags: rakugo
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