Biz Cas Fri

When talking about other cultures and their respective languages, you can often learn just how undeniably the two are intertwined. Obviously, there are things like politeness and levels of respect (such as addressing people older/younger than you), different speech patterns for the genders, etc. Then there’s also the types of words that exist; the words that express concepts that we can’t natively express in our own language. They say that the Eskimos have 40+words for ‘snow’ (this is a myth, but you get my point) because snow is important to them and their culture. In the same way, we can learn some important things about Japan through their unique words that can’t be expressed in English.

This could be a long dissertation (I’ve read many books on the issue in both English and Japanese), but I’ll spare you. We’ll use two fun examples: morai naki (もらい泣き) and karoushi (過労死).

Morainaki means to literally ‘receive crying’, which makes no sense. But it means to cry because those around you are crying. It’s not to say that you’re faking it, but seeing others crying moves you to cry too (a social phenomenon we’ve all felt). As you can see, I can’t simply translate this in English because it’s a concept we don’t consider deeply–or think of as common–enough to warrant its own word.

Karoushi translates as (in this order): Excess – Work – Death. Yep! It means to work oneself to death. I don’t mean this as sensationalism that appears in newspapers, either. It is an actual cause of death that is written by real, licensed doctors.

This is a really round about way of saying that it’s been a long week and I’m tired. That’s not to say it’s all bad–I freely volunteer for the double shifts and overtime–just that I’ve come to appreciate the joys of sleep. When you’re in high school and university, you stay up late and subsist on 5 hours of sleep because you have bad time management skills and think it’s fun. When you get older, you subsist on 5 hours of sleep because God didn’t put enough hours in the day. But the weird thing about it is that despite the long hours and hard work, I’m enjoying myself. Immensely. Maybe I’m just weird, but I enjoy working.

In other news, tomorrow is business casual Friday and then the weekend! I currently don’t have any plans, but I’m sure I’ll work something out (one way or another). I’ve been looking into various museums around Tokyo that I may go visit. Or go to a cafe and read. Either way, I’ll find something to do.

That’s about it for me for now, but I wanted to at least write something before I go to bed and forget about it for the next few days. Coming up next, I get to plan for my 4 day trip back to Yamaguchi (where I lived for the past 3 years)! I’m going all the way back to watch my high school students graduate. I taught them for 3 years (and even met some of them back when they were junior high kids), so it means something to me to see them move on in the world.

With that, I’m gonna get some sleep. Later!

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