Posted by: Airtower | 2011-06-07

Japanese Culture: Scary things and Marriage

The two topics of this article are totally unrelated, but I think it’s funny this way. 😉

Scary things

As usual I was having lunch at church on Sunday, and as is also fairly common in Sendai these days we were talking about earthquakes. In the process, I was taught a Japanese proverb:

「地震、雷、火事、親父」
(Jishin, Kaminari, Kaji, Oyaji)

It is “a list of scary things” as one of the people I was talking to put it. The literal translation:

“Earthquake, Thunder, Fire, Old man”

Jisho.org also lists “one’s father” and “one’s boss” as possible translations for 親父. Doesn’t change much, does it? 😉

Marriage presents

In this Monday’s Japanese class our teacher explained what amounts of money are appropriate as presents at a Japanese marriage ceremony. Usually guests will give special envelopes that contain a number of 10,000 Yen bills. So, what amount is good?

10,000 Yen: Just not enough. The couple will usually treat guests to a very expensive feast, and this wouldn’t even cover the cost for that.

20,000 Yen: That would be two bills, and thus could be easily divided between the newlyweds, but of course the idea of marriage is that they do not divide. Therefore, any number of bills divisible by two would be bad.

30,000 Yen: This is what friends will usually give.

40,000 Yen: In addition to being divisible by two, the Japanese words for “4” and “death” sound very similar. Very bad!

50,000 Yen or 70,000 Yen: Common amount to be given by relatives.

90,000 Yen: The word for “9” sounds similar to 苦しい, meaning “painful” or “difficult”. Avoid!

So many things to keep in mind…

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Responses

  1. ich wusste bishern icht mal dass es üblich ist 10.000 yen scheine zu verscheneken. Was machen denn diearmen leute die sich dass nicht leisten können? Ich meine in ärmeren Familie haben die freundevllt ja nicht grad c.a. 300 euro locker, oder Verwandte 500 etc
    Oo

    • Tja, eine gute Antwort habe dazu auch nicht. Die Lehrerin hat erwähnt, daß manche dann trotzdem 20.000 Yen verschenken weil mehr einfach nicht geht. Außerdem habe ich irgendwo (weiß nicht mehr, wo, also Vorsicht ;-)) gelesen, das junge Paare oft nicht mehr so groß feiern wie üblich, eben weil es teuer ist. Dann sind die Geschenke vermutlich auch kleiner.


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