Basically, it’s the same as in America.
Everyone has one but me, and they’re not supposed to be turned on in class…
2. Bathrooms in schools.
Well, there’s a whole row of them
per floor. So there are seriously quite
a few, and like restrooms in public places in America,
there’s a table to put your stuff on and lounge around. I don’t know why you’d want to unless you were making out in the bathroom, though…*snickers* horny teenagers make me laugh. *Pretends
not to be a teenager*
3. ‘Come here’ gesture.
You know that thing Sasuke and Itachi do?
The tiny little “bye-bye” we make towards little babies? The one that makes everyone say “THEY’RE
GAY!”? Well, sorry, everyone does that in Japan. It’s how you indicate “come here.” In America, we do that by turning our palms up towards the sky,
and crooking our pointer finger a few times. In Japan,
they turn their palms down, and bring all the fingers to touch the palm to say
*Sweats* I remember that one, ‘cause
my first day in the country my classmates were trying to get me to go take a picture, and I was like, “Oh, bye…”
and walked off. *Laughing* they made fun of me for that for a while…
4. Use of bitch/ho/whore/etc.
…in short, there’s no real
reason. I just felt like it, ‘cause it amuses me to no end when my coworkers
pick up my forgotten-on-the-couch story, and go, “Taes, you cuss?!” and stuff like, “I thought you were so sweet and innocent, but damn, I don’t say some of these things!” *Laughing* yeah…in RL, I don’t cuss, smoke, or
anything like that, so it surprises people when I write so…liberally.
But! I have a sorta reason I came
up with on the ride to work. J In the anime, Naruto and Sasuke say stuff like, “Yarou,”
and “Omae” and “aho” and “Teme” and “baka” and “ochikobori” and…uh…
“usuratonkachi” and stuff like that? Yeah. That’s a lotta cuss words…and some of them make no sense
in English, so, um, I substituted for words that carry a similar edge…
Really. ^_^ it’s not just surprising my coworkers…
5. Neechan, older sister vs. bachan,
grandma vs. baachan, aunt.
I think I explained this a chapter or two
earlier, but a young person calls a slightly older person neechan, older sister. It’s
nice, it’s polite, it sounds cool, and dude, guys use that as a pick up line starter a lot. *Laughing* if they’re
into slightly older women, anyways…
is what you’d use for someone around your mother/aunts’ ages. I tended to avoid that one ‘cause people
always giggled at me when I dared use it…same with baachan, grandma.
Oh! I’m always thinking in casual,
aren’t I? These are all the familiar form…if you wanted to be more formal, like you would with someone off the
street, replace the ‘chan’ with ‘san.’ So, it’d be ‘neesan,’
and so forth. The younger a kid is, though, the more likely they are to use ‘chan’ as the suffix, but, *shrug*
6. Ice Maiden.
…I heard this from two different
people/groups. One was in Clamp’s graphic novel, and another was in a student translation of folklore from Akita—the prefecture I lived in. Basically, a samurai/warrior/farmer
goes away for some reason (war, lack of crops, whatever), and asks his beloved to wait for him. He’s gone a long time,
though, but she keeps her word…through lots of snow, ice, and blizzards, apparently, ‘cause she somehow falls
beneath the lake’s surface and is frozen there…until the samurai/dude
returns as an old man to visit his beloved’s family/grand kids. -_- it makes me sad,
‘cause he finds her frozen stiff ‘neath the snow… people
tell such creepy stories…
I have made kiritanpo, so I can field Naruto’s question. It takes a couple of hours to make the stew from start to finish.
You smush rice in a plastic bag—or you use a big stick and mush it against the sides of a wooden, butter-churn-looking-thing—until
it’s soft enough to roll flat on a counter. Then you take these wooden rods for cooking and roll it up around the rice,
and make sure it doesn’t fall apart (…forgot how you do that…). Then you bake it (traditionally) around
a fire, or (more conveniently) you put it on a stove-top-like-thing-that’s-as-long-and-wide-as-your-stove-surface (i.e.
no burners…just hot stuff). Note, these are usually kept in cupboards and such ‘cause most Japanese kitchens don’t
have ovens built in…
Oh, yeah. Kiritanpo is a specialty dish of Akita. ^_^ Akita’s well known in Japan
for great rice and wonderful sake. Personally, I think all sake’s foul…but that’s just me.
…in short, theyr’e entertainers.
They do stuff like perform tea ceremony, arrange flowers, play harps, wear pretty kimono. They have a reputation in America
for being, uh, whores, but usually they only sleep with their sponsor, and then only if he wants to…don’t worry
about the details, it’s not really important.
Oh, and just ‘cause I’m weird,
I want to dress up like a maiko(san) when I go back to Kyoto…just to see
if anyone can guess that I’m a boy…*snicker*
9. Chopstick courtesy stuff.
Itachi did it correctly. If you want food
from a big serving dish, you get it with the ends of your chopsticks—the
fat end. Then you switch it around and eat normally, so only the small end gets touched by your ‘unclean’ mouth.
Most families don’t bother doing this in their own house, and most people don’t even bother doing this in restaurants, anymore. I found out on accident when my neighbor
from across the street did it at lunch, and I asked my host mom about it. She looked at me in an awfully amusing way…I
guess people think I’m not observant. ^^ ; ; ; the ditz/clutz part does that, methinks…(*Grins* my manager always
says that me and Taise should have been born blonds. ^^ …yeah…)
10. Okaerinasai vs. okaeri.
One’s more polite. “Nasai”
is up a level, and just “okaeri” is normal, polite enough speech…most
people switch between the two with their significant others, and use ‘okaeri’ for their children…I think.
Can’t remember exactly; every day stuff starts to blurr in your head after a while.
11. Anata to one’s husband.
I thought it was so weird when I heard that on a day-time soap…it was so, so strange
to me, I had to ask my host mom and dad on a car trip. They said it was like, “dear,” or “darling”
And, for those of you who don’t know,
anata has a normal meaning, too. It means “you.” That’s why I
thought it was so weird…
12. Eggs from a chicken’s stomach…
…I don’t like it, and I don’t
really wanna go into it. Long story short. My host dad ate them, and told me what they were, that they were very good, and
very hard to find. I remember him eating it, and it creeped me out enough to go into a story. ^_^
…one of these days, I’m just
going to give up on stupid meat altogether…the texture makes me want to stop eating…guh…
13. Mugicha, barely tea.
I’m mentioning it ‘cause my
twin makes a big deal about how it’s terrible hot, and wonderful cold. *Shrugs* I thought it was okay both ways, but
then again, we only had it hot on cold, cold days, so I appreciated the warmth. *Shrugs again* so, yeah. They don’t
drink just green tea in Japan.
They drink ooron-cha (oolong tea), kocha
(English style tea with milk or straight) and black, black, terrible coffee.
-___- there’s a reason why all Japanese coffee cups are so small…the
stuff’s bitter. Way stronger than any kind normal Americans drink (And, I’m
one of those crazy kids who likes to put cocoa, hazelnut, white chocolate, strawberry mix and French vanilla into my quick-trip/whatever-that-gas-station’s-called
coffees. Just for the record. ^_^).
14. Sake drinking habits.
First off, it’s not sah-key, it’s sah-kay, like café.
And, it’s normal for Japanese men
to drink their sake in the evening. It’s not necessarily an alcoholic problem…the little cups are very small…
15. Gays…Japanese vs. foreigners.
I don’t get it. I’ll just say
that up front. I don’t know why it’s expected/okay for a foreigner
to be gay, but not a Japanese guy. I don’t know why some gangs target gays,
and other people idolize them. Japan has
a reputation for being ‘tolerant’ of gays, but…it’s not quite like that…people were nice to
me, ‘cause I look like a kid, I’m foreign, and I “follow” the expectations of gay boys (nice, effeminate,
quirk and weird). But one of my friends had a friend who was either bi or gay, I can’t remember, and he got beat up
because of being different…and her host mother was kinda like, “He brought it on himself, for dressing so strangely.”
Their tolerance stretches only towards people they know (and like), not towards strangers, typically. And gays are stereotyped
to be, well, quirky girls who like to prance and make funny motions. Blame the media.
…I’ll be doing more research
on sexuality in Japan, but first I need to save 50-some dollars for the psyc book I want…so, this is all based off of
letters I’ve gotten, tv-shows I’ve seen, and feelings I get from the majority of the Japanese. But, once again,
there are amazing people out there who go against the norm…
You’ve heard it before, you use it
all the time…sama is used for ‘master’ for respect. In real life, they use ‘sensei’ more often. In real life, I only heard ‘sama’ used in airports, when they didn’t
know what the correct title for the guy/girl was… “Tachibana-sama, you’ve misplaced your bags…”
and stuff like that.