Saturday, May 19, 2012
the four scariest things in life
The writing quotes an old Japanese expression: Jishin, Kaminari, Kaji, Oyaji (Earthquake, Lightning, Fire, and Dad), a list of four of the most terrifying things in life. I first heard it as a child when it was used as the title of a TV drama featuring a fiercely despotic father. Very recently, I was rooting through some linguistic archives on the internet, and I discovered that the word oyaji, as used in this particular expression, is not the word oyaji that means "Dad," but is rather a mutated form of Oo-yama-ji (big-mountain-storm), which used to be another word for Typhoon! I asked my Japanese friends if they were aware of the original meaning of this once-common expression, and even the oldest among them had never doubted the oyaji = dad interpretation. Probably because they all grew up in an age when "Dad" really did belong on a list of life's most terrifying things.
For those who haven't been following my blog long enough to understand what the daruma dolls represent, or why I find them fascinating, you can catch up a bit by reading one of my earliest Daruma posts. (click here)