Monday, March 7 asks you to help save the whatever

As a Greenpeace Australia member I got an email this morning urging me to support Greenpeace Japan in its campaign to stop the construction of a US military base in a coral reef area home to the endangered Japanese dugong.

I didn't know much about the Japanese dugong (I've never seen it appear the sushi or sashimi menu) but I wanted to show my support anyway because I'm generally not in favour of US military bases anywhere, for any reason. So I headed over to the website, hoping to find some endearingly cute Japanese-style enviro-action. Initially wasn't disappointed, because there's a little anime action there, with a cartoon Bush and Kanizawa getting their runway eroded every time a supporter leaves a message on the site's messageboard area, while a dugong swims around the reef below. But wait, what's that in the campaign logo? Surely that's not meant to be a dugong?

Judging by the Hello Kitty-style dugong logo for the campaign, you'd think the Japanese dugong has a head like a jellyfish, with stubby tentacles where the mouth ought to be. What's up with that? You'd think the first step in saving a species of animal would knowing what it looks like, but apparently not if you're Japanese. It's more important that it's cute, and preferrably, tentacled.

What's up with the Japanese and their tentacles anyway? Every second anime you see has a lot of tentacle action, usually popping forth from the throbbing torso of some really angry/bioenhanced/mutated/radioactive dissafected youth/scientist/evil superhero/witch/robot. Usually the tentacles go writhing across the room to pick up and throw your hero/heroine into a pile of boxes, or to imprison and constrict your heaving, gasping heroine so that she's left gasping, sweaty, and powerless... oh, wait a sec...

Turns out I'm last to figure this out as usual, but there's a whole sexual tentacle fetish thing happening that I wasn't aware of. Search on "anime tentacles" and you realise there's yet another bunch of deeply sick weirdos out there into tentacle sex. Nine inches is nowhere enough for these people, try 12 metres.

Hey, each to their own, but it leaves me with the worrying afterthought that the tentacles on the Japanese dugong icon might be the expression of deeply sublimated dugong lust somewhere in the Japanese psyche. I can see the Greenpeace Japan boss saying to his people, "OK, I know we said that in order to save the dugong we first have to learn to love the dugong, but Hideo, your wetsuit is pretty tight, and I can see that you've misunderstood me on this one."

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