Saturday, December 02, 2006

Get into the kitchen and get me some chocolate!

I fully realize that a post about gender relations in Japan is both dangerous and fertile ground for comedy. After all, as far as I know, Japan is one of the few developed nations on earth where the majority of people hold the idea that that a woman should automatically quit her job after marriage. This is amazing, but not nearly as amazing as the fact that it's also financially feasable for women to do so. I say "women" because the idea of a "stay at home house-husband" is probably as foreign to most Japanese as I am while discussing the Tragically Hip after about six beers, eh?

Anyway, fortunately for you, dear reader, pontificating isn't on the menu tonight. We're going to go on mostly unrelated observation.

1) Language

Japanese is a very interesting language, and I know that many of you don't have the fonts installed on your computers... so here is a super quick primer and a basic observation that is about as original as the last pick up line you heard.

Japanese characters are ideograms, with each one representing an idea or several ideas put together to represent a concept. For example, these two characters represent common ideas...

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You can combine ideas to make new concepts.... for example, a man is *powerful* in the *rice field*. Thus...

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The Kanji character for "woman" is supposed to represent a kimono.

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It's good to note that MEN = WORK, WOMEN = CLOTHES was figured out thousands of years before the advent of Chatelaine magazine for women.

And... of course, we also have to consider that the character for woman is used for quite a few interesting ideas (many of which are rather negative).

For example... this character.

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hrmm... There are many more examples of the 女 character being used negatively (though this is not a rule)... still, I'll happily extend an offer to 私の日本の友人 (j-friends) to post any they can think of in the comments section or email them to me.

Lastly, if you don't trust the language, you should always trust the confectionery.

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Here in the land of the rising sun, people know that men need their OWN damn chocolate.

English help:

the Tragically Hip - an incredibly good Canadian band that no one outside of Canada knows about. And yes, as a nation, we are VERY angry that people around the world know who Celine Dion is but don't know who The Hip are.

confectionery - candy/chocolate


David said...

Why is men's pocky pouring onto the stick like steaming diarrhea?

Merry Man In Japan said...

So women know we're never afraid of chasing the pooper?

Kori the tomorrow lady said...

first of all, while 安い does mean cheap, the kanji has a second meaning: safe. as in 安全, anzen.

you just provided me with an opprotunity to get out my favorite dictionary and be a know it all. My apologizies, but I can't resist.

When the 女 character is used as part of another kanji, its called a radical. There are about 20 commonish kanji that use this as the main radical, according to my dictionary (which only has the most common 1945 kanji).
Some examples to prove your point:
妄念 mounen incoherent thoughts
奴隷 dolei slave
妨害 bougai obstruct, hinder

and some examples to disprove your point

好き suki to love/like/fancy
妥協 dakyou compromise, understanding
娯楽 goraku amusement

and just for the record, the primary radical of 安 is not 女, but actually the top part.

over and out -k