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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Hi and welcome to Culture Class: Japanese Superstitions and Beliefs, Lesson 3. Hiccups and a Swallow's Nest. 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: しゃっくり, (しゃっくり, Shakkuri).
Eric: Which literally means "Hiccups." Risa, can you repeat the Japanese phrase again?
Risa: [slow] しゃっくり [normal] しゃっくり
Eric: I get the hiccups pretty often.
Risa: Have you ever hiccuped 100 times in a row?
Eric: No, I don’t think so.
Risa: Good. In Japan, it's believed that if you hiccup 100 times in a row, you’ll die.
Eric: It's because if you hiccup so many times, it’s possible that you have some kind of illness.
Risa: Makes sense right?
Eric: Yeah, hiccuping that often is fairly unusual.
Eric: The second superstition is about good luck. What’s the superstition called in Japanese?
Risa: ツバメの巣, (ツバメのす, Tsubame no su).
Eric: Which literally means "swallow's nest." Let’s hear it again in Japanese.
Risa: [slow] ツバメの巣 [normal] ツバメの巣
Eric: The house I grew up in had a swallow’s nest just under the edge of the roof.
Risa: Wow, you’re very lucky! In Japan, it's believed that houses where swallows come to make their nests will have good luck.
Eric: It's because swallows are considered very important to Japanese people.
Risa: They eat insects harmful to the rice fields.
Eric: So people thought that they would bring a good harvest.
Risa: And I think they’re very cute.


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!)