Coded gray.

Sunday 9 March 2003

Picture from anime Asagiri no Miko

Pic of the day: Sometimes it is hard to act natural in front of someone you feel something special for. Though I believe most girls manage to hide it better than this one, in the anime Asagiri no Miko.

Kissing cousins?

So, Asagiri no Miko is the second anime in a row I watch where a teen boy goes to live with female cousin who secretly has a big crush on him, somewhat to the amusement of the rest of the family who think it is only a residue from when the two of them played together as children. 'Are Japanese like that, or is it just an anime cliché?' I thought.

And for the entire duration of the previous series, 13 episodes, I entirely forgot that when I was a teen boy, I went to live with my female cousin and her family ... She was also one of the cutest girls I've ever known. Though, luckily for all involved, she was already pretty much engaged to her high school sweetheart whom she later married. Boy, I really have cute cousins. I guess it runs in the family ... Anyway, it's funny I could manage to forget that she used to live there while I lived there. I certainly did not forget it while I was there.


Here in Norway, cousins are considered mostly harmless. I don't think it is against the law to marry first cousins anymore, but it's regarded as weird and slightly unhealthy. And it is, too. If you have kids, there is a higher chance of them becoming retarded or deformed. Admittedly the risk is moderate, but depending on what runs in your family it might be a bad idea. Of course, inbreeding will also increase the chance of positive mutations to surface, but those are fewer.

In the past, and I believe in Catholic countries today, marrying close cousins is not just genetically dubious. It was considered incest, basically like marrying a family member. You just don't do it, and no justification is needed. It is Just Plain Wrong.

On the other hand, in some Middle Eastern countries, marrying cousins is the norm. It keeps the property within the clan, and saves you from getting into alliances with people you don't know and can't trust. A marriage is after all not just a personal union, but binds the clans together for centuries to come. It is a serious thing and the safe thing is to stay with what you know. Besides, it's good blood, it's one of ours.

And in some African ethnic group, whose name escapes me at the moment, the cousins have a rather specific role. They don't marry, but they provide scope for erotic explorations. Cousins are supposed to make lewd jokes and flirt wildly and go pretty far that way ... just not all the way. Again, they are out of reach, it is not really acceptable to do the things that married people do, but they are not disgustingly close family either. They act like a bridge between the intimately familiar and the unfamiliar, between the family and the world.

Here in Norway, and I would guess in Japan too, it is not so official. But I think it is some of the same. Because they are family, cousins can be more familiar. But at the same time, they are not really close family, especially when they don't grow up together. So they can still act as a bridge, though there are no fixed traditions for it. Which just may be our loss.

Anyway, just these thoughts for the day. Despite having overly cute cousins, fate conspired so we never had any crushes on each other. At most there were some stray eyes from my side I guess, but that's youth for you. Later I've acted as a virtual cousin for other families, but that's another story. To be a bridge between the familiar and the unknown seems to be my fate, but that's a thing of the mind, not the genes. And like most bridges, I never go anywhere myself.

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Apprentice gods
Two years ago: Stretch
Three years ago: Into the dark
Four years ago: Feeling good

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