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Saturday, Nov. 12, 2005

JAPAN LITE

Celebrity bull cownters misperceptions


Celebrity profile

News photo
A statue of Japan's sacred cow is harnessed in "o-mikuji" fortunes at the Genki-kun Shrine.

Name: Genki-kun
Age: 7
Race: Holstein mix.
Charm point: eyelashes
Favorite food: clover with ranch dressing
Favorite drink: Calpis
Favorite flower: cattleya
Favorite sport: sumo
Favorite sumo wrestler: Kaido Hoovelson (Baruto)

Today I am interviewing Genki-kun, a cow who survived being swept 90 km down the raging Yoshii River during a typhoon that dumped him into the Seto Inland Sea, where after 50 hours of swimming he climbed onto an island to safety.

Amy: Can you tell us what happened after that?

Genki-kun: When I was found on Kijima, they traced me back to Ishikawa Farm. Of course, if they had just asked me, I would have told them where I was from. Anyway, when I arrived at the farm, I was surprised to see that none of the other herd members were there. That's when it hit me -- it was a miracle I was still alive.

A: How many cows perished?

G: You'd need a cowculator to add up all the carcasses along the river, but I heard the final body cownt was 150, with 29 never found. The news traveled fast -- the TV came out the next day, and soon everyone knew about me.

A: What did you think about all that?

G: Personally, I just wanted to kick back for a while, maybe take a trip to Moscow, or even just sit on the cowch and watch "The Simpsons" on TV -- cowabunga! But I was bullied into becoming a celebrity instead. Then after I grew up and wasn't so cute anymore, and my owners had milked my celebrity for all it was worth, I was put out to pasture. That's when they moved me here to North Village park. Which isn't a bad place to be, mind you. It's just that -- well, I hate to blow my own horn, but I didn't make one gold bullion out of the whole celebrity thing. And to think I had dreams of going on to Oxford!

A: What would you like to do now with your life?

G: Cows can do a lot of good in the world. Look at the sacred cows in India. I think I could spread peace, cownter terrorism. But I've learned that the world is not so black and white. My owners butchered my proposal, saying it was a bunch of bull, and told me to round up some moolah elsewhere. Cowards. No sense cowering in a corner about it, I suppose. You know, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

A: That's true. And you have become a sacred cow of sorts. They've built a shrine in your name, Genki-kun Jinja, on the grounds of North Village.

G: Yes, it's quite complimentary. It behooves me to stay here for the moment.

A: And they wrote a children's book about you called "The Miracle Calf."

G: Yes, that was a nobull cause. And all this fame has helped me avoid being served as fodder in a calfeteria. I really can't complain.

A: Do you have any other dreams, Genki-kun?

G: Just two. One is to see Prince Hitachi and his wife, who, according to today's bulletin, are visiting North Village park today. I would also, just once in my life, like to ride the bullet train.

After I left Genki-kun, I walked back through North Village. The prince and princess had already arrived and were having lunch at a restaurant in the park. Many people were gathered outside waiting, holding paper Japanese flags. I stopped to take a look when a woman ran over and gave me a flag. "The prince and princess will come out of the restaurant in five minutes. Please wave this flag as they pass!" she said. When the prince and princess finally walked out, everyone waved their flags. Everyone except me, that is. I was cowtowing to them on behalf of Genki-kun.

Get the live Genki-kun interview at dollarbooks.tripod.com/podcasts.html


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