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The Mini-Whippet #37: Snow at Mukôjima

McKinley Valentine — 5 min read

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Hello dear ones!

Mini-Whippet this issue because I am a) in Japan and b) married. I mean that I got married last Saturday, not that being married is affecting my newsletter abilities.

I'm going to veer a little into the politics of weddings here - if you're not up for it, skim on past to the CATERPILLAR THAT WEARS ITS OWN PREVIOUS HEADS AS A HAT. I just want to talk about... your options. I know a lot of straight people who were unwilling to get married until the institution became available to queer people (which it did in Australia about a month ago). But once you start looking at whether the government should play a role in your wedding, there's a lot more that's poisonous about them than just homophobia.

And the idea that a marriage is only "real" if the government signs off on it is both toxic and historically inaccurate, given marriage in some form has been around a hell of a lot longer than the Commonwealth of Australia.

From a piece my now-husband wrote:

Straight people, it's time to start having bootleg weddings

"Here’s how to get married:

  • get some mates around or pick a place and all of you go there
  • stand up in front of everyone with your significant other
  • say “A, babe, I love you, you absolutely rule, I’m actually swearing an old-school vow right now to stay with you until one of us is dead.”
  • try not to tear up when A says “B, same deal, my love gauge is maxed out, I’m hanging around until you or I turn into some bones, and that’s a legit oath like a viking or warlock would do.”
  • exchange rings or do a handfasting or a candle ceremony or whatever. or don’t. cut your palms and do that freaky blood swap if you’re ok with the risks. pick a thing and have fun with it.
  • get to kissin’! Hell yes in front of everyone, you’re allowed! you’re married now!
  • let all of your friends and family there make a happy ruckus
  • skip the paperwork. You wouldn’t pause your wedding to do your tax return or a lease transfer, why are you signing a goddamn contract in the middle of a party
  • crack open the champers
  • build a life together with your new spouse.

Now, going forward, you can do these things with complete and total honesty and nobody can stop you:

  • describe yourself as married
  • refer to A as your husband/wife/spouse
  • change your name so that you and your spouse have the same surname
  • check “married” on a census
  • in response to someone claiming you’re not “really” married, tell them stone cold to go and fuck themselves."

and that's still how I feel, regardless of the Australian government finally being backed so far into a corner they had no choice but to grant some citizens equal rights. (The reason for the emphasis on straight people is: don't be telling disenfranchised people they should just enjoy their disenfranchisement, come on.)

I know that in the US, there are huge numbers of rights that are not given to unmarried couples, and so a bootleg wedding is not an option. But I still think you should consider divorcing your idea of a what a wedding is from the paperwork you need to fill out in order to get some financial and legal benefits, like maybe do that later instead of interrupting the real ceremony.

Catherine Deveny's take is even more aggressive - she's pro-wedding and anti-marriage. She had a Love Party - and considers it a celebration of what they're already doing, rather than a commitment to anything new in the future. But still: loved ones, celebrants, rings, adorable kids with flower crowns. Reading that piece is a huge part of why I decided to ask Tom to marry me, because I realised I could have all that stuff that's super lovely and meaningful and joyful without the weird queasy doubts that I get about the institution of marriage - that the queasy stuff doesn't have to have anything to do with my wedding at all.


Caterpillar that wears its own heads as a hat

This caterpillar sheds its exoskeletons when it outgrows them, like many insects, but it keeps the heads and stacks them up on top of each other and honestly that's all there is to it, but isn't that enough for you?

It reminds me of some bodhisattva statues that have an extra head on top of the head to show that guy was particularly intelligent. When our guide in Vietnam was explaining this, she kept emphasising "symbolic, symbolic" like she was worried people would think Vietnamese Buddhists really thought some bodhisattvas had two heads. I am worries this was based on her past experiences with tourists.

Sort of like this, I couldn't find a photo of one with only one main head

Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)

Snow at Mukôjima

Kansa-no-Miya Shrine in Snow, Lake Tazawa

All of his works are pretty much stunning, and capture seasonal elements (snow, spring rain, autumn leaves, moonlight stillness, etc etc). The traditional period for this kind of woodblock art (ukiyo-e) is the 1600s-1800s so Hasui is from a period of revival/throwback.

View more of his work here.

Saruiwa, Shiobara - this one makes me think of some of Moebius' stuff

Yamadera in Sendai - look at the reflections in the water!


This is the one-year anniversary of The Whippet!

Thank you so much to everyone who got excited about it and sent me nice emails, it is the best. The other person I have to think is sort of a weird one, but they are absolutely responsible for me getting it together to start making the newsletter.

This time last year I took a moon yoga workshop, where basically you do a session of yoga, a guided meditation, and some tarot and then various moon-phase related rituals (setting an intention, burning away the old stuff, etc). The only reason I hadn't got it together to write more was my own dumb brain, so the only thing that needed changing was my own dumb brain. Anyway, the woman who ran it, Nico, is running some more this year - if you live in Melbourne I can't not recommend it, given it really did lead to me getting a bunch of my shit together.

Full Moon Yoga Workshop

See you next fortnight!


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