[The American Years]

Friday, March 02, 2007

Greetings from Japan. March Madness Day 2.

When you leave work, what do you say to the people who are staying and working later? "See you." "Good night." "Have a good evening." All are good. In Japan, there's a more scripted exchange.

The person who is departing starts the exchange by saying, "O sa ki ni." Or more formally "O sa ki ni shi tsu rei shimasu." The o sa ki ni means literally "Going first." With the formal part, it becomes "Leaving before you, please excuse me."

The response is "O tsukare sama deshta." This is a compliment paid to the departing person. It is calling the person a hard working person, in an honorary way.

So to sum up, the exchange translates like this.

"Please pardon me for leaving before you." (Nuance: I'm no good for ditching out early.)
"You are an honorable hard-working person." (Nuance: You finished early because you are more efficient than I.)

It's a lot nicer than "Later." "Take care."

It's Hina Matsuri time, or Girl's Day Festival, or Doll's Day festival.

On this festival you set out dolls. You eat special cookies, sing a special song, maybe go to a shrine or temple, I don't know. We have a set of Girl's Day dolls. Hina Matsuri dolls are of the Emporer and Empress, and then of some royal courtiers.

These 5 dolls are all we have on display. We have 5 more... tiers of dolls. Not 5 more dolls. Five more levels, inlcuding rickshaws and trees. More than we have room to display, or to store for that matter. (We got them for free, almost on accident.) We'll have to put them all out tomorrow for Girl's Day proper. Then we have to put them away before Girl's day is over, or superstition holds that Veronica will marry late or not at all. (I will do all I can to leave them out for a few extra weeks. )

Mata Ashita
(Until tomorrow.)

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