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Sakura: 第十九回 日本文化レッスンでございます。さくらです。
Peter: Peter here. Japanese culture class #19. As always, we are brought to you by Erklaren, the translation and interpretation specialists. Today is a throwback, a throwback to the good old days. The good old days when our staff was four.
Sakura: Good old…
Peter: And we used to work 24 hours a day. Things have calmed down a bit. We have a great staff surrounding us, we have so many voice actors but today it is just
Sakura: Sakura and Peter – ピーターさん.
Peter: As JCC, we can drop it.
Sakura: No, no, no, no…
Peter: Yes Sakura san has taken another Saturday out of her busy schedule to join us in the studio. ありがとうございます。 Thank you so much Sakura san. Now to tell you the truth, it is great to have you back. Your cultural insight to things is just unbelievable. We can’t buy that anywhere else. Where do you get all this knowledge?
Sakura: 自然に。 Naturally!
Peter: Naturally! Well again, it is a pleasure to have you back. Now what I’d like to do is introduce today’s topic. Sakura san, what’s today’s topic?

Lesson focus

Sakura: Today’s topic is 遊び
Peter: Games.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Playing. Yes as summer time is right around the corner, we want to introduce you to some games that Japanese children –
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Well not only children because the lot of adults actually will end up playing these things too. You know, these hobbies carry over. So we are going to do our best to introduce you to games and hobbies and other things that people play in Japan. Now the interesting this is, there is a lot of overlap. When we were doing the research for this, I found a lot of things that the Japanese do, we also. Just the names vary.
Sakura: Right.
Peter: Okay enough now. Let’s get into today’s lesson. Sakura san, please let us know what’s going on? Give us the first thing?
Sakura: 羽根突き
Peter: Japanese badminton.
Sakura: Umm badminton, oh yes.
Peter: Is it right, can we say badminton?
Sakura: The racket is all wooden but we use a shuttle.
Peter: The shuttlecock.
Sakura: Shuttlecock.
Peter: So there is no mesh.
Sakura: No.
Peter: It’s all wooden?
Sakura: Yes and its very traditional. It’s like – it dates back to many, many years ago.
Peter: That’s a long time.
Sakura: Centuries.
Peter: Yes history is not Sakura’s strong point.
Sakura: そうなんです。
Peter: Sorry Sakura san, now I believe this racket is called a battledorn – no I am sorry battledore in English.
Sakura: Oh!
Peter: So maybe we should get one and keep it in the studio for every time I forget to attach this suffix san to your name.
Sakura: Hah whack! いいね。 so and that racket is called 羽子板。
Peter: Yes and as we just said, in English battledore. I hope the pronunciation on this is right. Now again, these rackets are not the typical rackets. Apparently there is pictures painted on them.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: So….
Sakura: Sorry.
Peter: Now does the person who has the racket paint on it or do they come prepainted?
Sakura: They are already printed.
Peter: Okay.
Sakura: Yes. And this game is played on in new years.
Peter: Yes we got our dates a little mixed up. We are just half a year off but yeah around new years, this game is played.
Sakura: Yes and around that time, there are two types of rackets sold. One is for playing 羽根突き and that’s simple wooden racket with pictures painted on it.
Peter: Okay.
Sakura: And then there is ones for decorations just for you know…
Peter: The house.
Sakura: Yeah looking at them and they have 3D pictures you know.
Peter: 3D pictures?
Sakura: 3D pictures of a lady or a kabuki actor or famous person.
Peter: Interesting. Okay Sakura san, can you explain to everybody about this game. How do you play this game?
Sakura: Okay so there are two people and they hit the shuttlecock with their rackets and if you fail, the other person can draw something or write something on your face with 墨
Peter: Ink.
Sakura: Ink yeah for Japanese calligraphy the black.
Peter: Wait, wait! Now Sakura san…
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Is there a net or something or is it just playing in open space so you can hit it everywhere or you know, if I was playing with you, I would hit it behind me so that you couldn’t get it and then I would just paint all over your face.
Sakura: 嫌だな~。yeah you played outside yeah on New Year’s holidays.
Peter: So do you try to hit it so the person that you are playing with can return it or do you try to hit it so they can’t return it?
Sakura: You try to have a rally right?
Peter: That’s it okay yeah.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: So the person who kind of fails,
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: They get what?
Sakura: They get ink on their face yeah.
Peter: After just one try?
Sakura: Yeah and so your face is really black after playing the 羽根突き game.
Peter: Interesting. So have you played this game?
Sakura: Yeah when I was a child.
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Umm but actually we don’t have that 墨 ink at home now-a-days. So we don’t do 墨 anymore but traditionally and we all know that you are supposed to get 墨 but maybe we do some kind of
Peter: Permanent marker or something….
Sakura: 罰ゲーム。罰ゲーム。
Peter: Ah one of our other topics for today. Can you explain about this a little?
Sakura: 罰ゲーム is penalties.
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Penalty for losing.
Sakura: Yes, yes, yes. So we do 罰ゲーム for all kinds of you know games or…
Peter: Contests.
Sakura: Yeah. If you fail, you have to do 罰ゲーム and you have to do like something embarrassing or something painful or…
Peter: Oh Sakura, I don’t want to play with you.
Sakura: そうそうそう。
Peter: And this is an integral part of Japanese culture. Most things they have – what was it again Sakura san?
Sakura: 罰ゲーム
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: We do 罰ゲーム while drinking as well sometimes. We do some simple game.
Peter: Cultural thing, cultural focus, focus…
Sakura: そうそうそう。So 罰ゲーム is really popular. You’d often see that on TV as well, very useful – popular phrase 罰ゲーム。
Peter: Okay I am going to get you out of this. Let’s get on to the next one.
Sakura: Okay 凧揚げ。
Peter: Kite flying.
Sakura: Yes 凧。
Peter: Kite.
Sakura: Kite yes.
Peter: Now this is quite popular in Japan. So Sakura san, can you tell us a little bit about this?
Sakura: Yes traditional Japanese kites are made of very thin wooden frame with paper, Japanese paper on the surface.
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: So it’s actually wooden paper.
Sakura: Yeah wooden paper, yeah and nowadays, we have you know different kinds like…
Peter: Vinyl plastic.
Sakura: Yes, yes, yes…
Peter: The more modern day type.
Sakura: Yes like with ice on them. You know, those ones like the triangle ones.
Peter: I think ice painted on them.
Sakura: Painted on them. Yes but traditional ones – the very traditional ones have like colorful pictures, traditional pictures painted on them.
Peter: So yeah there is a kind of mix between traditional and modern types.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Now in Japan, they hold many kite competitions.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Now we are going to tell you about a couple of these. We actually did some research and we found out, there are a couple of national ones.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Twice a year right?
Sakura: So…
Peter: We just missed that last one. The last one was actually last month.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: Sakura san, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Sakura: In May, they had the spring competition.
Peter: Aha!
Sakura: In Ishikawa prefecture.
Peter: Quite far.
Sakura: Umm yes. And next one is going to be in October in Nagasaki prefecture.
Peter: Ah sounds nice.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Now again, these are just the national ones. Locally they seem to have almost every month some kind of kite competition. So it’s quite a popular sport. Can we say sport Sakura?
Sakura: Well maybe like competition level だとね。
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: So if this is your hobby and plus there are some really famous, famous festivals.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Around this and we are not talking about like a kite you buy at the store. We are talking about huge kites that just light up the sky.
Sakura: Yes I sometimes see that on TV. There is a really, really huge kite and people send around to hold it and they fly it and sometimes, there is a really long one as well. They are small and long one.
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: They are doing it together.
Peter: I think the key word in Sakura san’s sentence is the fact that people, not just one person, some of these huge kites have people.
Sakura: Right.
Peter: So it kind of gives you an idea, puts into perspective how big some of these kites are.
Sakura: Umm and generally in New Year’s holidays, children go to park with father maybe and they fly a kite they made or you know.
Peter: Well it sounds really nice. Have you done this too Sakura san?
Sakura: Yes with my father.
Peter: Ah!
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Okay what do we have next?
Sakura: カルタ
Peter: Cards. Now these aren’t the playing cards that you would think of. Sakura san, what’s the name for playing cards in Japanese?
Sakura: トランプ
Peter: Yeah and these are the playing cards you think of with poker and gambling and other games.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Now this actually comes from the Portuguese word カルタ meaning card. Sakura san, can you tell us about this game?
Sakura: Yes there are two sets of cards. One set is called 読み札 and 読み is reading. So these are cards for reading.
Peter: Okay.
Sakura: And the other set is called 絵札 and 絵 is picture.
Peter: Okay and 札 is
Sakura: 札...札 is cards, yeah.
Peter: Okay so picture card and….
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Word card.
Sakura: Right. So they are matching. One person reads the 読み札 reading cards and other people compete and take in the 絵札 that’s spread on the floor. So you have to find it, you know, where is that card and then you try to get that matching card.
Peter: And the winner.
Sakura: The person who has the most number of 絵札
Peter: And then we go into the 罰ゲーム right?
Sakura: Right, right そうそうそうそう。
Peter: You look so excited about that?
Sakura: 罰ゲーム。
Peter: So Sakura san, how were you at this game?
Sakura: Bad. My memory is very bad.
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Yes but this is very popular among children and they learn words using this. No way…
Peter: So it’s educational?
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: An educational game.
Sakura: Yes and there is also a very special カルタ for new years. We have this big competition in New Years.
Peter: Okay.
Sakura: And that’s called 百人一首
Peter: Okay. What does this mean?
Sakura: This is カルタ using ancient Japanese poems.
Peter: Okay. A lot more difficult to hear.
Sakura: そうそうそうそう。
Peter: A lot more.
Sakura: Yeah. Very, very famous Japanese poems or 短歌 which has a very distinctive flow 31 syllables and one person reads this 短歌 and people competing try to get the 絵札 as quickly as possible. So you know, maybe like after seeing 1 or 2 syllables, they guess.
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Yeah. So they have this rule というか when the first two syllables are this, it has to be this card.
Peter: Wow! it sounds like this game could get a little violent because this is played by adults mainly right?
Sakura: Yes you have to know all the cards and all the poems yeah.
Peter: So I imagine like people out there practicing for this.
Sakura: Yes and we try to learn them in elementary school as well for like educational purpose and you can see this big competition on TV in New Year’s. They wear kimono and sit on…
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Yeah. And sit on 畳 floor and they play it but it’s quite…
Peter: It gets pretty serious right?
Sakura: Serious, you know.
Peter: And they have quick reflexes.
Sakura: And cards kind of fly you know. はい!って。
Peter: I can only imagine like how things can just spiral out of control or if you get a few drinks and you….you know, the table gets cleared off and then you start playing this game and…
Sakura: Yeah and their outfit is really elegant with beautiful kimono and then you know, young ladies playing 百人一首 is very – something you have to see, yeah.
Peter: All right. All this talk, so far, we’ve introduced a few games and there have been new year’s games but if it’s the summer time, what do we have for the summer time?
Sakura: おにごっこ
Peter: Tag. Now let’s look at this word one more time because there are a few hints inside this word.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: One more time please.
Sakura: おにごっこ
Peter: Now what’s the first part, one more time?
Sakura: おに
Peter: Now what did we have at 節分 if you remember that culture class?
Sakura: Yes 赤鬼 and 青鬼ね。
Peter: Yes. This is the same
Sakura: 鬼
Peter: Monster.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And then after we have
Sakura: ごっこ
Peter: Which is
Sakura: Imitating.
Peter: Okay monster imitation.
Sakura: Yes I am trying to be like monster.
Peter: I would like to see your impersonation Sakura san. Now this one – it’s very similar to what we have in the US because in the US, you are it – kind of like a monster, it.
Sakura: It – ah…
Peter: No gender, just it.
Sakura: ああ、鬼ね。
Peter: Yeah. So there is even a monster, it.
Sakura: Hmm…
Peter: And if you’ve seen the Addam’s family, they have a cousin It, like, you don’t know what it is, it’s It. That’s why it’s it.
Sakura: So it’s very like 鬼.
Peter: But I think monster has that more general, but here it could be like kind of ambiguous monster.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: You know, maybe not scared but still you don’t really know what it is. Hence it – okay calm down. Now let’s have Sakura san explain about this. Sakura san お願いします。
Sakura: おにごっこ is general term for these types of games where one person chases after the others usually.
Peter: Okay.
Sakura: Yeah. Different – there are different kinds but one person is 鬼 and try to get other people.
Peter: And similar to the way we play, you get a head start. Of course you start by counting right? You let the running people get a head start.
Sakura: Yeah there are that kind of おにごっこ as well, yeah.
Peter: How do you play Sakura san?
Sakura: The one I really liked was たかおに
Peter: Which is?
Sakura: たか is short for 高い which is high. So you climb somewhere like it can be a rock or just you know fence or whatever. If you climb above ground, then you are safe.
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Yeah. So let’s play たかおに and then we decide the 鬼. You start by running and you find somewhere high.
Peter: Okay. This is just one style of tag. I also I am aware that there is freeze tag. If you are touched, you have to stop, you can’t move.
Sakura: So こおりおに
Peter: Yeah freeze tag.
Sakura: Ah so it’s the same.
Peter: Yeah and then also, there is a base, a safe area.
Sakura: Yeah, yeah…
Peter: And you can have a chain like people can connect. It’s called contact and so you can save your friend.
Sakura: てつなぎおに
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Yeah, yeah, yeah we have the same one, yes.
Peter: You see like so many of these similar things with just different names.
Sakura: Yes yeah.
Peter: It’s really fascinating.
Sakura: Yeah interesting.
Peter: Really interesting.
Sakura: Hmm…
Peter: And [*] was telling me about kick the can.
Sakura: ああ、缶蹴り?
Peter: Yeah can you tell me about this one? I’ve never heard of this one.
Sakura: 缶蹴りは、うーんと...鬼 has a can beside him standing up on the ground.
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: And while 鬼 is counting, other people hide and 鬼 tries to look for the others but he has to leave the can at the place and others try to kick the can like come up and kick the can and then 鬼 loses.
Peter: Hah!
Sakura: But if 鬼 can find others without having the can kicked, he wins.
Peter: I like that, interesting. So in this game, the 鬼 has to be a little careful too.
Sakura: そうそうそう。
Peter: Right, interesting. Now today we wanted to get into many more games but it seems like we are running short on time but there is one more game we want to introduce you to. Now this game is quite popular at the beach. It’s played with a water melon. What’s the name of this game?
Sakura: すいか割り
Peter: すいか being the watermelon and 割り being
Sakura: Smash
Peter: Smash.
Sakura: Break.
Peter: Easy Sakura san.
Sakura: Break.
Peter: Now how do we play this game?
Sakura: You are blindfolded and then you hold a long stick.
Peter: Okay.
Sakura: And you try to find the watermelon in front of you and smash it. Yeah you can’t see anything but you try to smash it.
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Yeah. And you have a competition.
Peter: Exactly. The people who are watching you do this are giving you advice. Left, right, straight.
Sakura: Yes, yes, yes.
Peter: Now are they always giving good advice?
Sakura: Not always.
Peter: It’s almost like in Mexico, they have pinatas. Inside the pinatas, they put in candy and then they hang the pinata and then the person who has the stick is blindfolded and they have to try to whack the pinata.
Sakura: Hah!
Peter: It’s almost like that except for the watermelons placed on the ground.
Sakura: Yes on the beach, ground in sand ね。
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: So the only problem I have with this game is that the watermelon gets smashed in the sand. So then the sand is on the watermelon.
Sakura: Yeah but you can eat it. Wash it, yeah.
Peter: Now here is one of the most interesting things about this. We did some research and actually up until 1993, what was there Sakura san?
Sakura: 日本すいか割り協会
Peter: Japan すいか割り association. This was actually established in 1991 but it’s no longer around.
Sakura: Right. So they had national competition right?
Peter: Yes they actually had rules and like stipulations of what people can do.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: I spent half the day reading it. So if anybody out there wants to know the real rules…
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Send it in or we will have the link up there for you on the home page.
Sakura: Really.
Peter: Really interesting, but if you come to Japan and you head to the beach.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Pretty much you are guaranteed to see somebody doing this.
Sakura: I think so.
Peter: It would be quite interesting to bury Sakura san up to her neck in sand.
Sakura: やだ~。
Peter: All right. So we are out of time today but next time, we are going to be back with Games 2.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And in Games 2, we are going to have the most important game.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: The most important.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: You need to know about.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: For being in Japan.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: Let’s give them the name at least.
Sakura: じゃんけん or じゃんけんぽん。
Peter: Yes and this is Rocks Paper Scissors.
Sakura: Yes, yes Rocks Paper Scissors.
Peter: Again we will be back with Games 2 and inside Games 2, we are really going to break this down because you need to know strategy, you need to know this game for Japan.
Sakura: You need to know じゃんけん yes.
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: Like even adults who use it very frequently.
Peter: We use it to see who is going to do the voice acting today.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Because there is always one winner and one loser in our conversations. It’s always decided by
Sakura: じゃんけん


Peter: Okay but that’s it for today.
Sakura: Right.
Peter: So have a great weekend.
Sakura: またね!
Peter: See you in two weeks for JCC and back next week with news.
Sakura: Umm..


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