This has nothing to do with my blog except for the bloody ears. It is a Japanese blood donation cartoon. Check out the rest, if you’re so inclined: http://pinktentacle.com/2008/11/japanese-blood-mascots/

We’ve all done that high school litmus test at some point that tests our blood type. What’s yours? Do you remember? I don’t.

Normally, I pride myself on knowing these things. A responsible person should for medical reasons. I used to know. I guess that means I used to be a responsible person. At some point. I think it was back when I was a teenager.

My friend Zona and I were sitting around in the park one evening talking the good talk about life, the world, and everything, when out of the blue she asked me what my blood type was.

I couldn’t help myself. What is up with blood types in Taiwan? I barked at her. This is the second or third time this has come up!

It so happened that I was doing some on-line dating shortly after I arrived in Taiwan. A Taiwanese guy messaged me, I responded, and we started to email back and forth a bit before he went all crazy. He started asking some fairly personal questions, which was already annoying, but the one that stopped me cold was when he asked me about my blood type. Being the open-minded adventurous traveler that I am, naturally I thought “Um, what?” Who does that? Who asks someone what their blood type is before you’ve even met?

Needless to say, we never did meet. Or talk again.

It was weird, but I figured I was just dodging another random nut job on-line and didn’t give it much thought.  A few months later when I switched to FB’s time line I went scrolling through my personal settings, which is something I like to do a couple of times a year. It’s good to keep an eye on how they change and expand.  Much to my shock, in my basic info section I saw an entry for blood type. I couldn’t believe it. What the hell would FB be asking that for? Who would put that up on their profile? I know FB wants all your information so they can sell it to advertisers but this is kinda ridiculous.

By the time Zona got around to asking I realized there had to be a cultural quirk that I was missing. Through her, I learned that, in Japan, blood types are very important. The Japanese believe that your blood type indicates your personality type, much like Zodiac signs in the West. Because Taiwan was occupied by Japan for so long, a strong Japanese influence remains in the culture.

She told me about a study done among kindergarten children. The video for it can be found here. In this video, Japanese kindergarten children are grouped together based on their blood type, and then forced to react to a tense situation involving an unknown teacher and vase they were explicitly told was very important, and not to be touched. Their regular teacher left the room, and the unknown teacher came in, and broke the vase. Later, when their regular teacher came back in, she demanded to know what happened to the vase. Their reactions, as a group, supposedly reinforced how their personality was influenced by their blood type.

Zona went on to tell me how blood type is believed to have a strong influence over the type of partner you should pick, and career you should have. She had even written up a worksheet about it for the classes she taught because it was such a popular topic.

After checking around on-line it appears there is no scientific evidence that blood type has any influence on our characters or personalities. The BBC recently published this article a couple of weeks ago, and Wikipedia provides a fairly comprehensive general report here.

Mystery solved. Maybe I wrote that guy off too soon. Then again maybe not. He did email me three times in the space of three hours, the last one demanding to know why I hadn’t responded, and how I could forget about meeting him now because he knew his own value and he didn’t need to be blown off by someone like me.

I think a dodged a bullet there after all.

As for blood types, it appears that, like the zodiac signs in the west, it’s a bunch of superstitious nonsense with no basis in reality, science, or facts of any kind. Naturally then, it’s incredibly popular.

I encourage you to check your bloody horoscope and let me know what you find out. I’d tell you what mine says but it’s not worth a trip to the hospital to find out my blood type.

But, mom, if you happen to remember, you should totally tell me.

Who knows what kind of bloody future I have in store? We should all be prepared for these things, don’t you agree?

What does your blood say about you?

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