Being a foreigner in Japan gives me an alternative view on things that are “normal” in Japan. White Day is something that was new and unusual to me when I first came to Japan. In the U.K., we celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving our partners, or a person we ★fancy, a gift. This is done by everyone, both men and women. However, in Japan, gift giving is separated: on Valentine’s Day women give gifts to men, and on White Day men give gifts to women.
I was curious about this, so I looked into the history of White Day. By all accounts, it was started at the end of the ‘70s by a Fukuoka-based company called Ishimuramanseido, and was originally called Marshmallow Day. I guess, Marshmallows rather than chocolates were given as gifts. This did not ★take off, but was adapted in following years into what we now know as White Day. Though a little unusual to me, the idea of separate days is easy enough to understand. However, the thing that still puzzles me is the idea of sanbai gaeshi. This term means that men are expected to buy gifts for their partners which are three times the value of the one received on Valentine’s Day. White day is celebrated mainly in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and China.
Europeans too have unique holidays. One of these is called Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day). It takes place every year at the end of February or the start of March. This is a festival that marks the beginning of Lent, a time when people are supposed to give up ★rich foods for 40 days. So on Shrove Tuesday, people use up all the rich foods in the house, such as eggs, milk and butter to make pancakes. In the UK we have pancake races where people run down the street with a frying pan flipping a pancake! Personally, I prefer to eat them with lemon and sugar.
Anyway, I have to make sure I get my wife something for White Day or I will be ★in the doghouse. If you are ever in the UK around the end of February, make sure that you ★indulge in some lovely, rich pancakes.
先日息子の習い事の申し込みが朝10時からのメール送信で「先着順」となっていました。それを説明しようとした際に「．．．あれ？何て言うんだろう．．．」と疑問になりましたが、状況を説明すると、「It’s on a first-come-first-served basis.」と教えてもらいました。そしてさらに先着順でも、時間が重なるとそれは「a lottery」(抽選)になるようでしたが、後日、受講可能の連絡が来ました！
英語学習をする際、世界の国々や人々を英語で覚えることは通らなければならない課題の一つです。その時に、日本語が混乱させることが多々あります。例えばスイス。英語では国名をSwitzerlandといい、スイス人がSwissです。タイもThailandが国名で、Thaiはタイ人を指すのです！かといって規則性があるわけでもなく、Japan/Japanese、China/Chinese、 Taiwan/Taiwanese のように「～ese」になるものもあれば、The United States of America/American、Puerto Rico/Puerto Rican、Korea/Koreanなど「～an」になるものもあります。大変な量ですが、「おもしろ～い！」と楽しみながら覚えましょう！
日本語でsnackというと、甘くないお菓子を思い出しますよね？ですが英語では軽食のことを指し、サンドイッチやホットドッグもsnackのうちの一つです。日本人の小学生に「What’s your favorite snack?」ときかれ、「French fries!」と答えると「え？snackだよ？」と不思議がられました。10時のおやつや３時のおやつなどの「間食」をa morning snackや an afternoon snack と表現します。ちなみに大人が行くスナックは a snack barです！