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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Hello and welcome to Culture Class: Japanese Superstitions and Beliefs, Lesson 5. A Snapped Shoestring and a Mt. Fuji Hawk-Eggplant Dream. 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: 靴のひもが切れる, (くつのひもがきれる, Kutsu no himo ga kireru).
Eric: Which literally means "a shoestring snapping." Risa, can you repeat the Japanese phrase again?
Risa: [slow] 靴のひもが切れる [normal] 靴のひもが切れる
Eric: If you’re leaving your home in Japan and your shoelace snaps, look out. Bad luck might be coming your way.
Risa: This superstition comes from a funeral custom.
Eric: After attending a funeral, it was tradition to cut the thong of your Japanese sandals, or
Risa: "zōri."
Eric: Then you’d throw them away. So what should we do to prevent our shoelaces from snapping and giving us bad luck?
Risa: Buy strong shoelaces.
Eric: The second superstition is about good luck. What’s the superstition called in Japanese?
Risa: 一富士二鷹三茄子, (いちふじにたかさんなすび, Ichi Fuji ni taka san nasubi).
Eric: Which literally means "1. Fuji, 2. Hawk, 3. Eggplant." Let’s hear it in Japanese again.
Risa: [slow] 一富士二鷹三茄子 [normal] 一富士二鷹三茄子
Eric: Imagine it’s New Year's in Japan. You have a strange dream of Mt. Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant. What happens next, Risa?
Risa: You’ll have good luck!
Eric: This is because "Fuji" has the same pronunciation as the word "immortal."
Risa: Taka or "hawk" has the same pronunciation as "rich" or "high."
Eric: And the eggplant is associated with a big family, as it bears many fruits.


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!)