About a month ago I went to a restaurant in Matsusaka (松阪) with a very difficult name, simple but difficult. This is a fine distinction which is a struggle in both English and Japanese. Most folks will say simple is the opposite of difficult, but I would contend that simple and complex are opposites and, likewise easy and difficult. In Japanese I would say kantan (簡単) and muzukashii (難しい) are opposites and, likewise tanjun (単純) and fukuzatsu (複雑); however, many people take difference with this. Language is a delicate creature and should be handled as such, but I have wandered from the main topic… the restaurant’s name: Kaka no Te (かかの掌).
Readers who know a little Japanese might jump to the conclusion that ‘te‘ means hand, but a quick look at the kanji shows that it is more complicated, having the entire character for ‘hand’ as a part of this character. Different meanings, some religious, are described by this character but it can mean te no hira, which I’ll translate as ‘the palm’; more literally, it might be ‘the inside of the hand’. Kaka is a little simpler. being a loving term that children use to say ‘mom’ (お母さん), written in kanji as: 母, 嚊, or 嬶. So, the restaurant is “The Palm of Mom’s Hand”.
Normally restaurants should have very comforting names but, dad being absent alot, mom was the primary disciplinarian in our family; hence, the palm of her hand didn’t always have that comforting feeling. Spanking is not popular in Japan, so I’ll assume there’s no similar duality here. A business card labels this as Kami Shima Homemade-Style Cooking. It was tasty and seemed healthy enough.