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Lesson Transcript

Chigusa: 第二十回 日本文化レッスンでございます。ちぐさです。
Yoshi: よしです。
Peter: Peter here. Japanese culture class #20. As always, brought to you by Erklaren, the translation and interpretation specialists. All right, we are back with Japanese games part II. The last time Sakura san joined us and what a pleasure it was having her in the studio but today, we are changing the pace a bit and joining us is Yoshi san and Chigusa san. Now they are going to give us more insight to the games Japanese people play. Now we have part II. So just a few more remaining. So the first thing to do is get the first game from Chigusa. Chigusa, what do you have for us?

Lesson focus

Chigusa: The first game is 福笑い
Peter: And I believe this is jovial laughter game, correct?
Chigusa: Correct.
Peter: Okay what can you tell us about this?
Chigusa: Well it’s often played at New Year’s time.
Peter: So many of the games we’ve introduced thus far are New Year’s games. So you are going to have to wait a while to play them but it will be worth the wait. Okay Chigusa, please continue on.
Chigusa: In 福笑い there are pieces of paper cut into face parts.
Peter: Okay.
Chigusa: And the player is blindfolded and he or she has to create the face by placing the pieces of paper on a large piece of paper.
Peter: With the circle joined for the face.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: Okay a few questions about this game. Now is everybody sitting down, are you standing up?
Yoshi: I think it depends.
Peter: So you can play it either standing up or sitting down?
Yoshi: Right.
Peter: And standing up, the paper is kind of taped to the wall.
Yoshi: I think it’s usually placed on the – either table or on the floor.
Peter: And do you grab the pieces yourself or someone hands you the piece and tells you what it is. For example, Yoshi san, here is the nose. Yoshi san, here is an eye.
Yoshi: You can play that way too..
Peter: Okay.
Chigusa: But other times, when people don’t tell you what the piece is, it’s more fun because you know you can put the nose where the brows have to be and it all gets messed up and that’s the fun part of it.
Peter: I think that you are a fan of Picasso.
Chigusa: Exactly. I am but…
Peter: I would love to see the result of your game. Maybe we can do that. We can have you come in to play this and see what kind of face you come up with.
Chigusa: Any time.
Peter: All right. Here is what we will do. If you want to see Chigusa’s face, stop by, leave a comment at japanesepod101.com. Next week, we will have Chigusa make the face and then we will get a image of that up on the page but it’s up to you. We are going to need over 30 comments. If we get over 30, Chigusa, you agree to do it?
Chigusa: I promise.
Peter: All right, there it is. Just 30 comments and what should they address it as, what should they say?
Chigusa: 福笑い
Peter: All right there it is. So stop by japanesepod101.com, leave a note for Chigusa and then we will get to see the face. Okay now these are pieces of paper cut out or are they parts you can feel what it is.
Chigusa: They are cut out so you can sort of feel the shape and guess what it is.
Peter: So what’s the common result? Do people get pretty close to making the face is it something out of Frankenstein?
Chigusa: It really depends on that person. If you are good at it, you will come pretty close to a person’s face. If not…
Peter: Happy Halloween.
Chigusa: Exactly.
Peter: I would actually like to see what Yoshi comes up with too. He is going to stand. All right anyway, we will leave Yoshi along.
Yoshi: This 福笑い I think it means symbol of a good luck lady.
Peter: Ah so it’s a lady’s face you are making.
Yoshi: Right.
Peter: Okay I see. All right, more on that inside the PDF. Okay on to the next game.
Yoshi: The next game is 折り紙.
Peter: Now this is folding square paper without using any kind of tool. For example, scissors or a paper. You just have a square piece of paper and you fold it into something such as sword, hat. What else do we have?
Yoshi: Airplanes.
Chigusa: Birds.
Peter: And maybe the most famous, cranes. Now there is something special about the cranes. What can you tell us about that?
Chigusa: There is 千羽鶴
Peter: Which is?
Chigusa: Which is a bunch of 折り紙 cranes put in together, sewn together to give to sick people for speedy recovery.
Peter: Yeah they have this meaning. Now, why don’t we go back to the animal episode? Do you remember cranes? What’s special about cranes?
Chigusa: Cranes are said to live for a thousand years and it’s a symbol for a long life.
Peter: Right?
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: So thousand cranes living 1000 years each. It has this meaning that get well, speedy recovery.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: All right. Now when was the last time you’ve done 折り紙?
Chigusa: Elementary school.
Peter: And Yoshi san, how about you?
Yoshi: Just a few days ago.
Peter: Really?
Yoshi: Yes with my nephews.
Peter: What do you make? Don’t be embarrassed.
Yoshi: I made an airplane.
Peter: Is an airplane really 折り紙?
Yoshi: Yeah.
Peter: Really.
Yoshi: It’s popular for boys to make…
Peter: What kind – the simple 3 and over? 1, 2, 3, throw…
Yoshi: No, no... not the…
Peter: Window seats and…
Yoshi: No, no. It flies pretty well too far away if you are skilled airplane maker.
Peter: Nice. All right. So what do we have next?
Chigusa: Next we have あやとり.
Peter: And many of you might be familiar with this game by its English name, Cat’s Cradle. Now I remember we used to play this with the string we got from the bakery. So when you buy something from the bakery, they give you this string. They wrap the box in the string and then you could take that string and use it to play this game, cat’s cradle. Now in Japanese, one more time the name?
Chigusa: あやとり
Peter: Now you can play this with one person or two people and so on, right?
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: Now here is the interesting part. We have some moves that you can do with one person and then we have some with two or more. So why don’t we talk about these for a bit because there are some interesting ones. For example, Tokyo Tower, what’s Tokyo Tower?
Chigusa: Japanese kids make a tower with the あやとり strings and it looks just like Tokyo Tower.
Peter: Nice. Now this is a one person move. Pretty interesting. All right, kind of you pull the string up vertically, stretch it out and according to Chigusa, it looks just like Tokyo Tower.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: So we will have an image of that in the PDF.
Chigusa: It kind of looks like Eifel tower too.
Peter: Yes. All right, next interesting move that I want to know about is Fuji san, Yoshi san what’s this move?
Yoshi: You go like this…
Peter: Come on, we can’t see your face…
Yoshi: Like that…And here it is.
Peter: We will take that as a I don’t know.
Yoshi: I think it looks like a fat version of Tokyo Tower like to the side.
Peter: Yeah kind of more stretched out.
Yoshi: Maybe.
Peter: We are going to get an expert in here to do some of the moves and then we will take some pictures and have them inside the PDF. All right, another interesting move that we have is, now this is for two people. They have the 亀 the turtle. Chigusa, any help here.
Chigusa: Hmm…I wonder. あやとり。亀。No idea.
Yoshi: It must be really advanced.
Peter: Yeah this is getting a little beyond our skill. Chigusa, what moves can you do?
Chigusa: None. I have touched あやとり before but I have never done it really.
Peter: Really?
Chigusa: Really.
Peter: Yoshi, how about you?
Yoshi: I can do 田んぼ and 川
Peter: Really?
Yoshi: Yeah the rice field and river.
Chigusa: Well あやとり is popular among girls right?
Peter: Nice timing there, nice timing there Chigusa.
Chigusa: Umm…
Yoshi: But not always.
Peter: It’s a strategy. I mean think about it. It’s a great strategy to meet girls.
Chigusa: Ah…
Peter: Right.
Chigusa: Now I see.
Peter: Okay on to our next game which is Chigusa?
Chigusa: けん玉
Peter: Okay what’s this?
Chigusa: It’s a wooden toy shaped like a double side hammer with a spike.
Peter: You make it sound so barbaric.
Chigusa: I know. It sounds like it but it looks really cute actually. It’s like brown and red.
Peter: Yeah it’s got these two dishes. We say hammer, but it’s actually double side dishes like these kind of dishes and there is a string with a ball attached, a wooden ball attached and the idea is to swing the ball around and catch the ball inside one of these dishes. Now there is also spike on the top because the ball that’s attached by the string has a hole in it that it’s perfectly on the spike. So one of the more superior or one of the better moves is to flip the ball with the string around and catch it on the spike. Really good people can go from spike to dish to dish and on the handle, there is actually another dish. So if you invert the double-sided hammer as we call it, you can actually catch the ball on the base of this hammer. So there is four positions, dish, dish on both sides of the hammer. Also a dish on the handle and a spike on the top. So really good people go from one to one to one to the other. Me, I am lucky to get a dish. How about you Yoshi?
Yoshi: I can hold the ball and swing the handle to put into the hole of the ball.
Peter: Wow!
Chigusa: Wow!
Peter: That’s some advanced skill.
Chigusa: That’s really amazing.
Peter: See, I didn’t even know about that technique.
Chigusa: Wow! Ten points up for Yoshi.
Peter: What’s his total score? I think that’s what everybody wants to know.
Chigusa: He went negative so…
Yoshi: Oh okay.
Peter: Interesting, really interesting. Now, again we will have a image of this inside the PDF. It’s really – it’s a very popular game. The first time I came in contact with this was inside a bar. People were playing it while they were drinking and umm, so this one is not so limited just to kids as kind of adults will play this too. Chigusa, how are you at this game?
Chigusa: No I am terrible. I’ve tried but I’ve never even made a dish.
Peter: Breaking windows jaws.
Chigusa: Yes, spreading people.
Peter: All right. Next we have
Yoshi: The next game is かくれんぼ
Peter: Hide n Seek. Now last week, we talked about
Yoshi: おにごっこ
Peter: Let’s have Chigusa san tell us about this.
Chigusa: かくれんぼ is really just hide n seek. You have one person counting numbers and while that person counts, all the others hide.
Peter: Yes so in Japanese, Tag and Hide’n Go Seek have different names. Tag is
Chigusa: おにごっこ
Peter: And Hide’n Seek is?
Chigusa: かくれんぼ
Peter: Yeah.
Chigusa: And when we play かくれんぼ, the counter says もういいかい? when he is done counting.
Peter: Really?
Chigusa: Right. To make sure everybody is ready and when the hiders are ready, they say もういいよ。
Peter: Doesn’t that give away where they are hiding?
Chigusa: Sort of but kids don’t realize that.
Peter: Well, I don’t think I would never be caught because I would definitely I would be like here I am.
Yoshi: And if you are not ready, you can also say まだだよ。
Chigusa: まだだよ。
Peter: Interesting.
Chigusa: That’s not yet.
Peter: Nice. All right, we didn’t cover this last week. All right, when was the last time you played this?
Chigusa: Like four years ago.
Peter: Really?
Chigusa: Yeah. There was a Hide’n Seek club in my university.
Peter: A club?
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: How many people in the club?
Chigusa: Like 30 or 40.
Peter: Wow!
Chigusa: My friend was in it. They were so serious about it.
Peter: Strategies and everything.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: But do they say here we are ready. Do they use this?
Chigusa: Yeah, yeah.
Peter: And Yoshi, how about you?
Yoshi: I used to play this like all the time. I was also organizing a club on campus.
Peter: At the US university?
Yoshi: Yes at Humboldt State University, I was organizing a Cops and Robbers Club.
Peter: Wow interesting. All right, so maybe I am the one out of the loop. You guys seem to like it.
Chigusa: Yeah its fun like when adults play children’s games, it’s really fun.
Peter: All right.
Yoshi: Are you ready?


Peter: Yeah I am going to go hide and you guys ______ (0:12:50) here so…now we wanted to get to one more that we had today じゃんけんぽん which is Rock, Paper, Scissors but we are out of time. So I think what we are going to do, maybe just maybe sometime in the near future, we will get a video of this because there, you will see strategy involved in this game. So that’s going to do it for today.
Yoshi: またね。
Chigusa: またね。


Please to leave a comment.
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JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 24th, 2006 at 06:30 PM
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Mina-san, hope you are having a great weekend wherever you are! While we did promise pictures, our inability to complete the moves resulted in us scouring the net for people that could. Here is what we came up with: Ayatori・Cat's cradle http://www.pref.ishikawa.jp/kosodate/kodomodj/kodomo-files/a-files/a-8/a-8.html Kendama http://hokusetsu.kendama.jp/ninnteiwaza.html The move Yoshi claims to be able to do is 06.飛行機・ひこうき・Hikouki - airplane.:grin:

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 27th, 2015 at 12:54 PM
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Steve Comstock-san kon'nichiwa.

The Lesson Notes has some common moves of cat's cradle and the description of kendama.

As for kendama, we just explain it since it has too many moves and tricks.

Thanks for your understanding,


Team JapanesePod101.com

Steve Comstock
May 21st, 2015 at 11:31 PM
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Constant reference to seeing things 'in the pdf' but I don't see it. (e.g.: moves with cat's cradle and kendama). :unamused:

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 1st, 2014 at 11:08 AM
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Hi Rora,

Thank you for posting!

We will consider your suggestion about that video :smile:

Let us know if you have questions.



Team JapanesePod101.com

September 23rd, 2014 at 12:29 AM
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Did they end up making an audio/video for Japanese rock-paper-scissors? Could someone please let me know where I can find it? :D

JapanesePod101.com Verified
August 9th, 2013 at 11:33 AM
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Thanks for your comment!

Chigusa-san is not with us anymore. But be sure that Nanatsu-san and Natsuko-san can help you with any questions you might have!


Team JapanesePod101

August 1st, 2013 at 06:35 AM
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Is Chigusa-san still here?? This podcast is several years old.



April 11th, 2012 at 10:06 AM
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Hi wout!

That sounds interesting - please share it with us :D

April 5th, 2012 at 04:46 PM
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fukuwarai onegaishimasu

the ke(n)dama is a really popular game among th jugglers too

this summer there will even be a european kendama championship at the european juggling convention if you want i can post a video of it

January 3rd, 2008 at 05:56 AM
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February 16th, 2007 at 03:40 AM
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I think it's interesting that in America we play hide and go seek but the finder yells out "ready or not here I come" while the Japanese make sure everyone has had time to hide.