Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Sumomo Challenge


The Girl Festival, also known as the Doll Festival just ended a few days ago. For this Japanese festival, parents put out a set of special dolls for display. I wrote a blog post about it right here.

A lesser-known name for this tradition is the “Festival of Peach Blossoms,” or “Momo no Sekku.” (桃の節句) And so I thought, why not write a post about that idiotic Momo character that actually accidentally became a thing on the internet, and mash it up with a bunch of random “momo” things?

Momo Challenge Hoax
Perhaps it’s my age, but nowadays there are a lot of  "things" out there I didn’t actually know were "things" until much later, after the craze has dissipated. In a way, it’s probably for the best, kind of like an immune response that keeps things I don’t need out of my life.

Like this Momo thing.

I first learned about it a few days ago from my Facebook news feed. Someone on my friends list had posted a video of some pastor warning a Christian group about this "messenger of Satan telling their children to commit suicide." The thumbnail showed what looked like the head of an ugly woman with scraggly hair, with the body of a chicken. I should have ignored my first impulse, but morbid curiosity got the best of me and I clicked the link and read the comments, and sure enough, there were users rebuking this "demon" in "the name of Jesus." I couldn't help but roll my eyes and LOL. Of course this wouldn’t be a problem if you’re a parent who actually monitors what your child watches online.

All I could think was "Really... you think parents had learned to watch their kids on the net after MySpace over a decade ago. If you let the iPad babysit your kids, it’s not Satan’s fault. Quit the fake outrage and watch your kids!" I navigated my way back to my news feed so I could keep scrolling down. That was the end of that. Or so I thought...

 A few days ago, I hadn’t known that this "demon" had a name. Then, just the other day at the lounge at work, I overheard one co-worker tell the other "I’m going to make a Momo mask." The other co-worker asks "What’s that?" "Oh you hadn’t heard of it?" the other co-worker said. Morbid curiosity strikes again as my ears perk up to hear the rest of this conversation. "It’s this weird bug-eyed character on the web with the legs of a chicken," he responded.

I knew immediately what he was talking about. There was no mistake. I Googled "Momo", and sure enough, there it was, staring me in the face. Apparently Momo was a hoax that became a "thing" by accident. Apparently there was this "challenge" that was never actually a real "challenge" like the other "challenges" that gripped the internet (E.g the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Tide Pod Challenge), but apparently still went "viral" none the less.

Even though no one actually took the "challenge" seriously, people still spread it around. This silly thing went so viral so as to warrant its own Wikipedia page, and according to it, Momo peaked in July last year (2018), but Momo reared her ugly face again in February this year, when idiots like Kim Kardashian "pleaded" with YouTube on her Instagram account to have the Momo videos removed.

OMG! What absolute level of ridiculousness humanity has come to! Who makes these videos? Who actually watches? Who cares? Why is anyone actually watching? Why aren’t parents monitoring what their kids watch? I seriously did NOT need to know this sad attempt at something viral existed. I could have lived the rest of my life knowing this thing rose and fell in the still of the night. May my BS immune system continue to block out wastes of time in my life.

Kind of failed this time though, didn't it. X-D

Things Momo
Did you know? The word "momo" means "peach" in Japanese. (桃) It’s also the name of a Nepalese dumpling. It’s real good. If you get a chance, you should try it.

 Nepalese "momo"

The dish bears a striking resemblance to the Chinese dish "xiǎolóngbāo" (小籠包), which, you should also try if you get a chance.

Chinese "xiǎolóngbāo" (小籠包)

The Japanese word for what we call "plum" is "sumomo," (李). (The Japanese plum is its own separate fruit the Japanese call "ume," 梅.)

Japanese plums or "ume" (梅)

Plums as they are known in the west, "sumomo" to the Japanese (李)

Incidentally, the Japanese make a sweet wine called "umeshu" (梅酒), as well as a tart, salty, pickled snack called "umeboshi" (梅干し) from Japanese plums.

Umeshu (梅酒, plum wine)

Umeboshi (梅干し, pickled plum)

The Sumomo Challenge
Hey! Here's a challenge for all you Japanophiles out there. As you already know, the Japanese word for peach is "momo," and the word for plum is "sumomo." In Japanese, the syllable "mo" can be added to words mean "as well" or "including." Consequently, there is a delightful little tongue-twister that goes “Sumomo-mo momo-mo momo no uchi.” (李も桃も桃の内。➡ すもももももももものうち。) It means, "Plums, as well as peaches are both part of the peach family," which I call the "butt-fruit family." Because they all got a little butt down the middle, though the technical name is the "stone fruit family" because they've all got "stones" or pits.

Now isn't all this just peachy!!! X-D

The challenge: Say the Japanese tongue twister three times fast.

Good luck!

Related Posts:

Hina Matsuri: Japanese Doll Festival - AKA "Girls Day"