猫被り ・ 猫を被る
ねこかぶり ・ ねこをかぶる
neko kaburi ・ neko wo kaburu
Literal: Wearing a cat.
1. Wolf in sheep's clothing.
2. Feigned naivete.
3. Pretending to be innocent to lure someone in.
Origins for this one are pretty standard. Felines are pretty universally accepted as being kind, when it suits their purposes, and being a generally manipulative animal.
If you like cats, (and NOT in the way that a certain sect of Japanese オタク likes cats: there are CAT maid cafes!), then check out this site, which lists pretty much every Japanese 諺 where cats make an appearance.
And since we're discussing 猫被り, I'd like to raise a point for discussion: Is 猫被り a trait that is considered desirable in a Japanese woman? Culturally, I mean.
(These are some of Yuri's friends. They made this video as humorous presentation for their friend's wedding. We've seen lots of these (they're a common practice) and trust me, in terms of the choreography and production quality, this is on the high end of the scale.)
Back to the matter at hand, according to "Pink Samurai," which is a non-fiction book, not a smutty manga, thank you very much, Japanese males are attracted to the ingenue more than the experienced woman, which explains the obsession with underage girls. The book even analyzes the number of occurences of the phrase 「優しくしてね,」 in personal ads for girls who work in the ヘルス massage industry as a kind of 猫被り, analogous to a western pro saying "Be gentle," with the pretext of inexperience implied.
On a personal level, Brett and I have witnessed a couple of examples of conversations where Japanese girls have claimed to not understand a patently obvious joke about things of a sexual nature. One even claimed to not be able to imagine how the person in this picture (who shall remain nameless) kind of looks like he's violating the karaoke tv.
A Japanese woman whose opinions I value told me that Japanese women do pretend to "not get it," at least in front of other men.
I'd love to hear what Japanese people, or non-Japanese women (koff koff Cassie) who have lived in Japan have to say. I know the foreign female Japan experience and the foreign male Japan experience are very different, and I wonder what kinds of insights my gender might not be privy to.
In the meantime, I think that 猫被り is a good opportunity to revisit some earlier posts and make some clarifications:
- 猫を被ること would go well with the idea of 海千山千: someone who looks like a kindly, wise, Dragonheart-dragon might actually turn out to be a wicked, ravenous, Reign of Fire-dragon.
- 猫を被ること would NOT go well with 衣ばかりで和尚はできぬ, which is more often used to mean "You can't become a monk just by getting the robes," than it is to mean "Appearances can be deceiving."
That Daily Yoji site is a wolf in sheep's clothing, don't you think? Oh sure, they'll ask for female "input" all nice and polite, but is it for real? The truth is, they're always posting dirty pictures, and Brett's writes sexist comments... And did you see those nanpa posts? Suspect! Sure, this time they're trying to get women involved, but somehow I doubt that it's a woman's "opinion" that they're interested in.