2007-07-16

"She Sells Seashells by the Seashore."

No matter how hard I try, it's next to impossible to teach the above Seashell tongue twister to nihonjin.) It's got to do with the "sea" sound being pronounced as "she" in Japanese. It gets complicated. But speaking of tongue twisters, here's the first Japanese one I learned: “Nama-mugi, Nama-gome, Nama-tamago (なまむぎ、なまごめ、なまたまご in Hiragana / 生麦、生米、生卵 in Kanji). This Japanese tongue twister means: “raw wheat, raw rice, raw egg.” (Just so my Francophone readers don't feel left out, here's one in French: "Un chasseur sachant chasser doit savoir chasser sans son chien." I think it means something about chasing dogs.)

Today is 海の日(7月の第3月曜日)(Umi-no-hi, Marine Day, the third Monday of July)

Here's a quote about it that I dug up. 海の日の趣旨は「海の恩恵に感謝するとともに、海洋国日本の繁栄を願う」ということです。The purpose of Marine Day is “to appreciate the benefits of the sea, and to pray for the prosperity of this seafaring country, Japan.” (You'd better appreciate it. You don't have much choice...you're an island Nation, people.)

Historically, the 20th of July corresponds to the anniversary date of the Meiji emperor's arrival in the Yokohama port, back from a voyage in the north of Japan in 1876. This anniversary had already been celebrated since 1941, but July 20th became Marine Day, observed for the first time in 1996.

By the way, "The Happy Monday System" (ハッピーマンデー制度, Happi Mande Seido) was a decision by the government of Japan to move a number of national holidays to Mondays, creating a three-day weekend for those who normally have a five-day work week. So thanks to that inventive move, I get the day off today! Woo Hoo! In celebration, I spent yesterday and today at the Beach, but more on that later.

Let's end with a tongue twister that everyone should follow on any holiday:
飲むなら乗るな、乗るなら飲むな.
Nomu nara noru na, noru nara nomu na.
If you drink don't drive, if you drive don't drink.

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