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Anchors Aweigh
December 10, 2008 2:39 AM   Subscribe

The raccoon dog is native to China, Korea, Japan, and southeastern Siberia. Adults measure about 65 cm (2 ft) and weight ranges from 4 to 10 kg (9 to 22 lb). Average litters are large, up to 15 or more pups. Longevity is 3–4 years in the wild and up to 11 years in captivity. The species is found in both plains and mountainous regions and is especially common in woodlands. The Raccoon Dog is commonly seen near villages and in rural areas. They absolutely cannot enlarge their scrotums.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (69 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
It all makes sense now. Bizarre animal-body-part-porn is an old Japanese tradition. Tentacle porn is the new enlarged raccoon dog scrotum.
posted by chillmost at 2:59 AM on December 10, 2008


How do you know about the scrotums? Have you ever asked one?

Seriously though, one thing I'll always enjoy was seeing one dart across a mountain road one night after an English lesson. The guy driving me to the station seemed just as shocked as I was to see one in the wild, at least where we were.

And you should really see Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko, or, as I've heard it translated, The Heisei Tanuki War, a fictionalized telling of the destruction of a tanuki habitat near Tokyo, in order to build a wide swath of soulless, nigh identical concrete apartment blocks. Makes me weep every time I see it. Highly recommend.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:21 AM on December 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Tanuki no kanban

What. The. Fuck? Japan!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:35 AM on December 10, 2008


mushroom MUSHROOM
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 3:40 AM on December 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


It's a sad commentary on modern life that enlarging one's scrotum will probably be the topic for numerous comments on this thread.

In ancient days, scrotum enlargement was commonplace. Yogic techniques for scrotum enlargement are still taught in secret esoteric schools, but so few current novices deem it worthwhile to pursue these ancient teachings. Too bad for them, 'cos enlarged scrota really get the babes!
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:47 AM on December 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Where were the scrotum-enlarging raccoon dog villains in Ōkami? We require a sequel.

The difference between these Edo-period woodblock prints and a contemporary deviantART page is that no-one jerked it to the Edo-period woodblock prints. Maybe.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:10 AM on December 10, 2008


It's like a big hairy apron.
posted by furtive at 4:10 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tentacle porn is the new enlarged raccoon dog scrotum.

Well, these prints were from 1842, and they had tentacle porn in 1820, already.
posted by martinrebas at 4:13 AM on December 10, 2008


Fascinating! I was ignorant of the existence of raccoon dogs. These links prompted me to finally start using the tagging feature for Firefox bookmarks. I found my typical categories Art-->Art History-->Japan and Zoology-->Mammals woefully insufficient. “Scrotum” tag, FTW. Adding “WTF Japan”^ right now.
posted by bonobo at 4:17 AM on December 10, 2008


They look tasty, as they say on Metafilter whenever a new sea creature is featured, so why not apply the same reasoning here?
posted by asok at 4:22 AM on December 10, 2008


Buster Gonad and his Unfeasibly Large Testicles
posted by kcds at 4:36 AM on December 10, 2008


What. The. Fuck? Japan!

This the fuck.

SLYT, just at the end.
posted by Iteki at 4:38 AM on December 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


I propose that the raccoon dog replace the pony in MeTa.
posted by Rykey at 4:53 AM on December 10, 2008


Asok, the racoon dog is already used as food in China. For several days at a conference I saw multiple variations of racoon dog being served. I was not sure if it was one of those dishes that was supposed to make you "strong" I did not partake since I was suffering several days of food poisoning and watching a lot of biographies of Mao on CCTV during my delirium.
posted by jadepearl at 5:03 AM on December 10, 2008


How do the Japanese explain this to outsiders? (Or to themselves, for that matter.) Is it a joke that got out of hand? Do these animals have fur that makes their balls look unusually big?
posted by pracowity at 5:04 AM on December 10, 2008


twoleftfeet: It's a sad commentary on modern life that enlarging one's scrotum will probably be the topic for numerous comments on this thread.

...isn't that the raison d'etre for this post?

In ancient days, scrotum enlargement was commonplace. Yogic techniques for scrotum enlargement are still taught in secret esoteric schools, but so few current novices deem it worthwhile to pursue these ancient teachings. Too bad for them, 'cos enlarged scrota really get the babes!

See? Here's mine. "Scrota? I hardly know 'a!" Now that's sad commentary for ya.

But srsly... Although Raccoon Dogs are relatively quiet and cannot bark they do have a broad vocal repertoire. This includes a wonderful mew not dissimilar to the hoot of an owl which never fails to make me smile - usually only expressed, in my experience, during periods of play, just prior to feeding or with the initial excitement of having young puppies in the vicinity.

OMG, and they can be domesticated? Damn, that's just cute as all getgo. WANT.
posted by not_on_display at 5:05 AM on December 10, 2008


It's a sad commentary on modern life that enlarging one's scrotum will probably be the topic for numerous comments on this thread.

Why is it a sad commentary on modern life when clearly it's been a topic of conversation for at least 150 years?
posted by Pollomacho at 5:20 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


This the fuck.

Well, certainly that the fuck!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:40 AM on December 10, 2008


It feels all weird to call them racoon dogs. They're neither, and Japan doesn't even have racoons, so Japanese people get all confused when you say 'racoon dog.' Tanuki. Say it with me:

Tah-noo-key. Much better.

They're kind of like the fox in Native American mythos. Trick playing shape-changers. Fun, lovable. Giant balls. Balls that can stretch to the size of (I think) ten tatami mats. Perfect for hosting a large picnic. On your balls.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:41 AM on December 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


An open letter to the Most Honorable and Very Friendly Nation-State of Japan:

Instead of invading the US with your soon to be completed army of ninja assassin killer robots it would probably be more effective and less costly for you to carpet bomb us with strange historical art prints and modern comic books. Go crazy. Dope up your most perverse, twisted artists, print it a hundred feet tall and aim for the Beltway. Heads will explode.
posted by loquacious at 5:42 AM on December 10, 2008


I had a friend from Japan while in school way back when, and she had a stuffed animal version-- this sort of vague mammal thing (I don't think she had an English word for it) that had these enormous stuffed animal 'nads, which of course had little ringie jingle bells inside so they'd jingle with a good whap. Very strange.
posted by Capybara at 5:42 AM on December 10, 2008


Pom Poko
posted by Balisong at 5:54 AM on December 10, 2008


Mind the bollocks.
posted by Phanx at 5:58 AM on December 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Hmm. This reminds me of a story I read about a kid about seven magical brothers, one of whom had an iron neck, one of whom could swallow the sea, one of whom could not be burned... but instead, this is the story of seven magical animals, one of whom could enlarge his scrotum, one of whom could enlarge his scrotum, one of whom...

I'd like to see them use THAT trick seven times to break their innocent identical twin out of prison. (Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me seven times with a magic scrotum...)
posted by Kiablokirk at 6:08 AM on December 10, 2008


My God! I say well done sir, well done.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:08 AM on December 10, 2008


Japan is like Texas, things are bigger there.
posted by snofoam at 6:10 AM on December 10, 2008


Also, this is what they look like in statue form, with visible, but unenlarged balls.
posted by snofoam at 6:12 AM on December 10, 2008


Previously previously previously
posted by Wolfdog at 6:28 AM on December 10, 2008


The key to enlarging your scrotum is living a long time.
posted by Mister_A at 6:30 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I cannot comprehend this. It's too early in the morning. However I do have one thing to add; I feel sorry for the girl raccoon dogs in these pictures. It is bad enough to give birth to one kid but imagine pushing out 15 of those large scrotumed ninja, dog, animalish things!
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:31 AM on December 10, 2008


Scrotum enlargement? If anything I need a reduction technique.
posted by Curry at 6:34 AM on December 10, 2008


And 99% of the cheap coats you see with 'fur trim' are from the Racoon Dog. They consider it like a regular racoon and could give two poops about it being considered "fur". JC Pennys got tons of flack for carrying coats with them. I wasn't too happy when I realized my coat had it too. I thought it was fake fur.
posted by dasheekeejones at 6:36 AM on December 10, 2008


Metafilter: They absolutely cannot enlarge their scrotums.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:49 AM on December 10, 2008


This series of comic prints alludes to the supposed ability of raccoon dogs to voluntarily enlarge their scrotums.

Talk about tripping balls.
posted by Curry at 6:52 AM on December 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


My favorite pop culture tanuki is the shopkeper Tom Nook in the Nintendo game Animal Crossing. He always wears an apron, presumably to hide his giant balls and avoid scaring the American children.
posted by sugarfish at 7:24 AM on December 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was looking for a video about a guy who injected silicon into his scrotum to make it absolutely huge. I didn't find it but instead found this (nsfw) unfortunate soul.
posted by sineater at 7:28 AM on December 10, 2008


That 1820 tentacle porn is by a well-revered Japanese artist, no less. I don't know a lot of his work, but I saw his 36 views of Mount Fuji a few years back and was really impressed, especially as wood-block artwork boggles my mind a bit.

He also made manga, including some with realistic illustrations of Tanuki.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can you really have one of these as a pet? I really love tanukis. The article seems to imply that if you get ahold of em' early, they're super tame. Anybody ever hear of someone keeping one as a pet?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:28 AM on December 10, 2008


Japanese Penis Kittens from way back.
posted by gdav at 7:33 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


So apparently Mario's Tanuki Suit is not really a raccoon suit after all.
posted by martin10bones at 7:43 AM on December 10, 2008


They absolutely cannot enlarge their scrotums.

The evidence in that link would seem to indicate otherwise.

mind boggling at using giant scrotum as umbrella or winter coat
posted by owtytrof at 7:47 AM on December 10, 2008


I guess we know how they'll answer the "boxers or briefs?" question.
posted by tommasz at 7:55 AM on December 10, 2008


An interesting side note: the Tanuki suit in Super Mario 3 was initially going to have a parachute-type device formed from the enlarged scrota, but Miyamoto decided that it was too similar in functionality to the raccoon tail.

Hey, it could be true!
posted by graventy at 8:24 AM on December 10, 2008


How do the Japanese explain this to outsiders? (Or to themselves, for that matter.) Is it a joke that got out of hand?

Japan : Tanuki :: New Hampshire : GG Allin

It's not an easy thing to explain to outsiders, but for better or for worse, it's a part of our culture, alternately lovable and frightening.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:28 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


They absolutely cannot enlarge their scrotums.

And just like that, I have a new way to introduce myself when meeting people for the first time.
posted by quin at 8:46 AM on December 10, 2008


He always wears an apron, presumably to hide his giant balls

I don't know if that's an apron...
posted by FatherDagon at 9:00 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The town of Shigaraki gave them the day off in November.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:21 AM on December 10, 2008


Really? No one has mentioned Tom Robbins's Villa Incognito yet? How... odd. One of the lead characters is a tanuki.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:41 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I sort of wish this was my introduction to Raccoon Dogs, but noooooo. PETA had/has a video of them being skinned alive I had the misfortune to see. Thanks, PETA, you're a swell!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:42 AM on December 10, 2008


filthy light thief, thank you from the bottom of my scrotum for that link to Hokusai's work! He's long been one of my favorite ukiyo-e artists, and I was wondering if he'd done any tanuki as I browsed this thread.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:48 AM on December 10, 2008


Guy_Inamonkeysuit - glad to help. I think I need to research the fellow more, as he seems to have had a most intriguing life. From the wiki article:
Hokusai was known by at least 30 names during his lifetime. Although the use of multiple names was a common practice of Japanese artists of the time, the numbers of names he used far exceeds that of any other major Japanese artist. Hokusai's name changes are so frequent, and so often related to changes in his artistic production and style, that they are useful for breaking his life up into periods.
And to be honest, I only found his tanuki manga through google this morning.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:08 AM on December 10, 2008


Thanks, PETA, you're a swell!

See, it'd be kind of tempting to be snarky and point out your typo in some cocky fashion like "You're a swell what???"

But I think it's probably kind of obvious this time around.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:10 AM on December 10, 2008


I'd just like to point out that people seem to be confusing a large scrotum for large balls. If these racoon dogs had balls proportionate to their scrotae they would be unusable as an umbrella or cargo skid. Just a minor point, I realize, but important.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:15 AM on December 10, 2008


In one of my trips to the Japanese particle accelerator facility, KEK, we took a day trip to the ceramics town of Mashiko. Imagine my surprise upon first arriving in town, my first time in Japan, to be greeted by a giant statue of one of these large scroted beasts. Sadly, I did not buy one of the home-sized versions...

(This is just a photo I found on someone's Flickr since my computer with photos from that trip crashed, but I couldn't resist sharing.)
posted by essband at 10:23 AM on December 10, 2008


Marvelous, funny old Japanese paintings, balls as fishing nets, signs, umbrellas. Loved the exaggeration-as-fun fantasies, which reminded me of a testicles version of the Four Yorkshiremen.
posted by nickyskye at 10:26 AM on December 10, 2008


Yarbles! Great bolshy yarblockos.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:06 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


See, it'd be kind of tempting to be snarky and point out your typo in some cocky fashion like "You're a swell what???"

It's not a question of being cocky... It's more about having the cojones.
posted by qvantamon at 12:26 PM on December 10, 2008


Ting-a-ling!
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 2:58 PM on December 10, 2008


Scrotum? It nearly killed 'im!
posted by The Tensor at 3:00 PM on December 10, 2008


Guy_Inamonkeysuit - Great, great book, and it's even my least favorite Robbins novel. The guy has a hilarious, unique take on any subject he writes about.
I'd recommend it just for the portrait of Tanuki as a talking racoon dog, steadily drunk on sake and chasing Japanese girls. I should really read it again as now that I think about it I can't seem to remember how he ties that into the other plot, about the old Vietnam vets who went AWOL.
posted by mannequito at 3:30 PM on December 10, 2008


Speaking as a tehloki, while wild tanuki cannot make their balls any larger, wild tehlokis can. However, they are simply satisfied with the size of their current balls.
posted by tehloki at 4:06 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, this creature is nature's version of Inspector Gadget. If every male human had a built in tent, raincoat, canoe, fishing net and beanbag chair, REI would go out of business.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 5:01 PM on December 10, 2008


Those raccoon dogs don't tea bag, they potato sack.
posted by BrnP84 at 8:26 PM on December 10, 2008


I think I saw one of these things once when I was living in Japan, but the guy I was hanging out with that night didn't think so. It was fast like a cat, and about the size of a cat, but a little bit longer and the legs were all wrong. And the balls? I dunno, what's wrong with you people?
posted by Hoopo at 10:32 PM on December 10, 2008


And you should really see Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko, or, as I've heard it translated, The Heisei Tanuki War, a fictionalized telling of the destruction of a tanuki habitat near Tokyo, in order to build a wide swath of soulless, nigh identical concrete apartment blocks.

I saw this many years back at the Seattle International Film Festival, where it was billed as The Raccoon War. I was fond of the works of Hayao Miyazaki and therefore ignorantly expecting something Totoro-like. Imagine how flabbergasted I was the first time that the animals' testicles grew to monster proportions. I don't think Totoro even has testicles, or if he does, they sure as hell don't come up in his movie. I recall that the "raccoons" bounced along on their balls for locomotion, crushed their enemies beneath them, and at least once used their sacs as parachutes during an assault from the air. SIFF audiences are so deathly respectful that no one dared to laugh, or maybe I was just the only one in the theater who had no idea what she was getting into.

Anyway, I never knew that the "raccoons" in the movie were not actually raccoons, but rare and primitive canids, nor that the testicle-expansion thing was the stuff of legend. It seemed inexplicable that the Japanese cared that much about vermin (I can't imagine an American movie dealing with the habitat destruction of, say, opossums or rats) and that a tragic storyline would have giant nutsacs as a major plot point. So this was enlightening; thanks, Marisa!
posted by cirocco at 11:20 AM on December 11, 2008


I sort of wish this was my introduction to Raccoon Dogs, but noooooo. PETA had/has a video of them being skinned alive I had the misfortune to see. Thanks, PETA, you're a swell!

You're blaming PETA for this? I think some of the responsibility belongs to the people who skinned them alive.
posted by grobstein at 10:56 AM on December 14, 2008


Oh, don't be thick.

I support a good deal of the platform at PETA, but not as not many of their promotional practices, like going to the lengths of circulating horrible, haunting videos as a means to generate impotent outrage, and guilt. So there's a highly unethical raccoondog fur industry in China. I already don't support it. I already don't buy fur or farmed meat. Why would it help to see this? I honestly don't suggest you watch their video, but I wanted to review their framing of it, see what it is they suggest we make of it. They suggest we use it as a reminder to harass fur-wearers. I would far rather activism, even anti-fur activism, be motivated by rational thought than sheer revulsion and guilt. There's something disrespectful to us and these little critters in the overdistribution of this callous and upsetting imagery.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:45 AM on December 14, 2008


I would far rather activism, even anti-fur activism, be motivated by rational thought than sheer revulsion and guilt.

These are not exclusive options, so I disagree. I think videos like that serve a purpose similar to those in the Holocaust museum in DC. Obviously we don't have to go over this here.
posted by grobstein at 8:48 PM on December 14, 2008


Anchors Aweigh? More like Wankers Aweigh, amirite?
* dodging thrown fruit *
posted by not_on_display at 9:06 PM on December 14, 2008


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