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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Hello and welcome to Culture Class: Japanese Superstitions and Beliefs, Lesson 4. Sleeping Facing North and Plump Ears. 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: 北枕, (きたまくら, Kita makura).
Eric: Which literally means "north pillow." Risa, can you repeat the Japanese phrase again?
Risa: [slow] 北枕 [normal] 北枕
Eric: In Japan, it's believed that it's bad luck to sleep with your head towards the north.
Risa: According to one story, the Buddha died with his head pointed toward the north.
Eric: Now it’s customary to lay a corpse with the head directed to the north.
Risa: Like Buddha.
Eric: So bedtime is one time you may not want to emulate Buddha?
Risa: I think so, yes.
Eric: The second superstition is about good luck. What’s the superstition called in Japanese?
Risa: 福耳, (ふくみみ, Fuku-mimi).
Eric: Which literally means "Plump ears." Let’s hear it in Japanese again.
Risa: [slow] 福耳 [normal] 福耳
Eric: In Japan, it's believed that people with plump ears will be rich in the future.
Risa: Right big ears are a good thing!
Eric: It's because plump ears are one physical feature of several important figures.
Risa: Buddha and many of the Seven Gods of Happiness have big, fat ears.
Eric: So the bigger the ears, the bigger the windfall?
Risa: I’m not sure if that’s how it works.


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!)