The Palm of Mom’s Hand


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.


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3 Responses to “The Palm of Mom’s Hand”

  1. titus2woman Says:

    Is it true that Japanese children are well trained and behaved? Is there a secret you can share? LOL!

    Okay, between you and me and on the down-low, all that rain and barefoot and wet hair talk and such is a black thing! HA! I remember a friend of my darling’s~also black with white gal~asking him, “Would your Mom or sister EVER have gone to bed with their hair wet?” It’s just a foreign idea. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  2. titus2woman Says:

    I forgot to share that your comments on my blog ALWAYS make me laugh and laugh and laugh! (((((HUGS)))))) sandi

  3. びっくり Says:

    Traditional Japanese children have, for the most part, manners that I love; however, there are a few trends that are turning the youth into monsters. Someone convinced most parents that they should trust the schools to properly raise their kids. Many teachers want to be the kids’ friend, so they don’t discipline the kids. American things are ‘cool’, particularly gangster fashion and attitude. The kids aren’t being disciplined anywhere and they think it’s cool to act ‘bad’.

    Traditional manners include: being thankful for anything received, no matter how small; apologizing quickly for any trouble, regardless of who is responsible; and thinking of how others will be affected by one’s actions.

    I’m glad I can bring mirth.

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