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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Hello and welcome to Culture Class: Japanese Superstitions and Beliefs, Lesson 2. Cutting Your Nails at Night and Dreaming of a White Snake. I'm Eric and I'm joined by Risa.
Risa: こんにちは!(konnichiwa!) Hi, I'm Risa.
Eric: In this lesson we’ll talk about two common superstitions in Japan. The first superstition is about bad luck. What’s the superstition called in Japanese?
Risa: 夜爪, (よづめ, Yozume).
Eric: Which literally means "cutting nails at night." Risa, can you repeat the Japanese phrase again?
Risa: [slow] 夜爪 [normal] 夜爪
Eric: In Japan, it's believed that you won't be able to be by your parents' deathbeds if you cut your fingernails at night.
Risa: This superstition is actually for safety.
Eric: It's because, in ancient times, they didn’t have electric lights, so the light at night was very weak.
Risa: Cutting your nails at night was not safe, and you could easily cut yourself accidentally.
Eric: So what does that have to do with your parents’ deathbeds?
Risa: No idea.
Eric: The second superstition is about good luck. What’s the superstition called in Japanese?
Risa: 白蛇の夢, (しろへびのゆめ, Shiro hebi no yume).
Eric: Which literally means "a dream of a white snake." Let’s hear it in Japanese again.
Risa: [slow] 白蛇の夢 [normal] 白蛇の夢
Eric: In Japan, it's believed that if a white snake appears in your dream, something very good and lucky will happen to you.
Risa: You’ll have especially good luck when it comes to money.
Eric: So where does this superstition come from, Risa?
Risa: Well, white snakes are very rare.
Eric: And, through the ages, it’s been believed that they have mysterious powers.
Risa: That’s right!


Eric: There you have it - two Japanese superstitions! Are they similar to any of your country’s superstitions? Let us know in the comments!
Risa: またね!(matane!)