Today is the First Day of Summer, and you know that summer has really arrived in Japan when they start giving away fans on the street. Today, I am “left hand fanning”—hidari uchiwa, which is an idiom in Japanese for ‘living easy*,’ but not with this Pfizer VIAGRA® giveaway fan.
Here are more typical examples of the promotional, hole-type, uchiwa fans that are given away for free when it gets hot in Japan.
The phrase, “left hand fanning” (hidari uchiwa) is an idiom in Japanese for, “living easy” such as in the following haiku by the poet Issa.
edo no mizu nomu tote hidari uchiwa kana
living in comfort in Edo
his left hand
—the poet, Issa
(…Edo is the old name for Tokyo and this is Issa’s cynical remark about his contemporary haiku-poets living in Edo.”)
Daruma buddha uchiwa