J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Thursday, January 06, 2022


The First Tsunami

The First Tsunami

There are have been large waves created by earthquakes for as long as there have been seas and earthquakes but the first time that the word "tsunami," using the characters for harbor and wave was quite recently, sometime in the early Showa period (1930-1940) it seems.

Iwase (2020, p.2 ) says it was in 1940, when it was used to describe the effects of waves on Hawaiian islands. But Aoyama (2012, p.20) claims that it was a new word in 1933 citing Yoshimura. Yoshimura points out that "tsunami" was not used to describe the tsunami in Meiji 29 (1896), in which 21915 people died, with 44 missing, when “海嘯” kaishou or “sea spew/whistle” was used as in the title of the wood-block print by Oguni (1896) above. Kaishou was used to describe any large wave that makes a noise and was subsequently, I presume, used to refer to “tidal (as opposed to earthquake caused) tsunami.”

Were there tsunami before there was the word "tsunami"?


Aoyama, 青山咸康. (2012). 1.4 東日本大震災と津波 (未来へつなぐ地域環境づくり, 平成 23 年度石川県立大学公開講座). 石川県立大学年報: 生産・環境・食品: バイオテクノロジーを基礎として, 18-22.2011, www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/aripu/2011/0/2011_KJ00007993... Iwase 岩瀬彩香. (2020). 大型浮体式津波シェルターにおける重心位置と耐津波特性の関係. core.ac.uk/download/pdf/344666115.pdf Oguni 小国政(1896). 明治丙申 三陸大海嘯之實況.東京大学地震研究所図書室特別資料データベースより wwweic.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/dl/meta_pub/G0000002erilib_L000472 Yoshimura Cited in Aoyama 吉村 昭.(2004).関東大震災,文芸春秋文庫,347 ページ 吉村 昭.(2004).三陸海岸大津波,文芸春秋文庫,191 ページ

Tuesday, January 04, 2022


Japanese Superstitions

I am not sure I have got these all right. Most of them are from this article in Japanese, but I hope and believe that they are in the public domain.

When crows cry someone is going to die.

If you eat too much curry your skin will become yellow.

When spiders build webs it is going to be fine.

If you eat watermelon seeds a shoot will grow out of your tummy and you’ll get appendicitis.

You’ll get a nosebleed if you eat too much chocolate.

When swallows fly low it is going to rain.

When catfish squirm there is going to be an earthquake (truth in this).

If you grow loquat (fruit) in your garden someone will get ill.

If you lie to the gate man, king of hell he will rip your tongue out.

If you can hear things a long way away it is going to rain.

If your bottom tooth falls out throw it on the roof, and if your top tooth falls out throw it under your floor.

Children who play with fire wet their bed.

If you drink milk you will grow big breasts.

If you drink milk you will grow to be tall.

If you break a mirror it is bad luck.

If you walk over the top of a comb you will not become a bride.

It is bad luck to sleep with your socks on.

If you meet a bear pretend to be dead.

People’s blood type determines their personality.

If swallows build nests in your eaves your business will do well.

When cherry blossom is only a pale pink it will be a cold year.

If three people take a photo together the one in the middle will die young.

When there is cloud on the mountain it will rain.

People with big ear lobes become rich.

If you put a discarded snake skin in your wallet you become rich.

If you write the kanji for “person” three times on your palm and then swallow (it) you can cure your jitters.

Don’t let your wife eat autumn aubergines.

If you eat things that are in season you will live 75 days longer.

You’ll have good luck if you see best Mt. Fuji. then an Eagle, or aubergines in your first dream of the year.

Don’t drink tea from the previous evening.

If you write the name of a person you love on an eraser and use it till there is nothing left, that person will love you back.

If you go to bed immediately after eating, you will become as fat as a cow.

If you drop food it is okay (to pick it up and eat it) within three seconds.

If you aren’t true to your parents, your skin ad the base of your nails will peel up.

If you forget to put “hina” (girls’ day) dolls away your daughter will take longer to find a husband.

If the stars twinkle then the day will have strong wind.

The pregnant woman that gives birth to twins is a beast.

There will be a good harvest after heavy snow.

Male and female twins were unconsummated lovers in a previous life.

If fish gulp at the surface of the water, then rain is coming.

You should not stick your chopsticks into bowls of rice.

If you can eat the last grain of rice it will rain, if it sticks to the bowl it will be fine.

If you hit your rice bowl hungry demons gather.

You should not sew in the mornings and before going out.

Morning spiders are lucky.

If there is mist in the mornings, it will be fine during the day.

Daughters will be born to strict husbands and sons to mums who are in charge.
It isn’t good to eat tempura and watermelon.

You’ll be happy if you see a double rainbow.

If cat’s wash their faces it will rain.

Stupid people don’t catch colds.
If you eat the stones of dried plums, you be struck down (because the god of heaven lives in the stones)

White snakes are lucky.

You should not pass food between people from chopsticks to chopsticks.

If you bring red higan, tiger lily flowers home your will have a house fire.

If you pick red higan, tiger lily flowers someone will die.

If you attach your house name plate with nails, you’ll be unsuccessful at work.

You’ll cold will get better if you infect someone else.

Women born in the year of the horse will make their husbands die young.

If you keep your toilet clean you will have good children.

Put urine on bee stings.

If you wear a hat all the time you’ll go bald.

It is unlucky to sleep with your cushion facing North.

You should not put your shoes out in the entrance hall at night.

Snakes will come if you whistle at night.

Drying clothes at night is bad luck.

If you cut your nails at night you will not live to see your parents die.

You should kill spiders that come out at night, even if you think it might be a reincarnation of your parents.

If you hear thunder hide your navel, lest the god of thunder comes to take it away.

Turquoise is poisonous.

Hide your thumbs (lit. parent fingers) if you see a hearse.

This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.