No.79 [LANGUAGE] Let’s nihonGo!


Hello there! This column will include useful Japanese phrases that cover a variety of topics.

Mina-san, konnichiwa! (Hello, everyone!) This issue, let’s have a look at the emblems of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games! The checkered pattern using three different types of indigo squares ( emblem/) is similar to patterns also used since historical times in the West, but do you also feel a sense of Japanese aesthetics from these emblems? Actually, in Japan these types of patterns were not historically known as “checkered patterns”, but as “市松文様 ichimatsu monyoo” – a pattern used since long ago for kimono fabrics. You can see just a few examples of these types of patterns in the table on the right, but if you know the names and origins of these patterns, then you can understand why these fabrics came to be used in order to bring people good fortune and make their wishes come true! What’s more, speaking of “縁起を担ぐ engi wo katsugu/bringing good fortune”, in Japan students will often eat “victory foods” the night before their exams – which of the following food do you think they eat? I’ll give you a hint – do you know the Japanese verb for “to win”?? :

1. すし Sushi
2. とんかつ Tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet)
3. てんぷら Tenpura

I hope that next time you have a contest or challenge, you can try to get good fortune too!

Sayoonara, Jaa mata!
さようなら、じゃあまた!(Goodbye, see you!)