My regular readers can see that I enjoyed my holidays by my lack of posts. One friend pointed out a few years ago the irony of blogging: when we have interesting stuff to post, we are too busy to write; when we have time, we need material. Anyhow, lots of material backed up… let’s see if I can find time to write.
Last year I was planning to spend the holidays in Japan to experience traditions with my girlfriend’s family and to propose; however, my father went through a pacemaker surgery, so I headed to Seattle. My Japanese holiday season was postponed for a year, but the proposal wasn’t.
One of the traditions, in which my girlfriend insisted I take part, is called oosouji (大掃除) or Big Cleaning. At the end of the year, it is traditional to do a thorough housecleaning to prepare for the New Year. Scrub and wax the floors; wash the curtains, windows, and screens; clean around and under appliances in the kitchen; discard unneeded items; sanitize the toilet room and bath room; etc.
I like a clean house, but I’m not always a big fan of cleaning. Spring Cleaning in America is a quite similar tradtion, so I tried to postpone the cleaning – under the guise of cultural exchange – by recommending we do Spring Cleaning. Naturally, she replied back without pause, “Yes! Let’s do Spring Cleaning, too!”
One of my first tasks was purging photos. I’ve been paying to transport thousands of photos around with me and they clutter up my storage. Well over 90 percent of them sit in boxes because they aren’t worth displaying and I have negatives, slides, or digital images of them, so they can be reproduced. Anyhow, I got them down to one large moving box and need to find time to attack them again soon. Ideally, I’d like to scan the negatives into the computer, and just store a boot box of negatives and a small number of photos.
Mixed in with the photos were postcards I have received over the last 25 years or so, and a few other odds and ends. Perhaps the most amusing find was a few pages of notes from my first trip to Japan in 1989. I scrawled 28 kanji characters with my guesses at their meanings. Providing embarrassment doesn’t take over, I plan to show them to my calligraphy teacher for some laughs. Also, I now have greater understanding of how Americans end up with bad kanji tattoos. The last page contained two sentences written in horrid phonetics with amusing translations.
- Kino a domo. Arigato Gozaimashte.
- I had a good time last night. Thank you very much.
The translation is not too bad, but the next one has made us giggle through the holidays.
- Domo osewa ni narimashite
- (Good Bye?)
This is a phrase to thank people for having taken care of you and built a good business relation; however, I noted that we always said it when departing the office at the end of a business trip – hence, “Good Bye”.
Correct sentences should be:
- 昨日はどうもありがとうございました。(Kinou wa doumo arigatou gozaimashita.)
- どうもお世話に成りました。(Doumo osewa ni narimashita.)