Saturday, December 5, 2015

today's eyeball

The literal translation of the Japanese expression kyou no medama is "today's eyeball." Variations include "the eyeball of the menu," or "the eyeball of the festival," or "the eyeball of the event." It refers to a particular thing of special interest or value that is meant to attract customers or participants within a larger context-- the keynote speaker at a conference, a popular season-only item on a restaurant menu, and so on.

The silly series of etegami posted here was inspired by this expression. The wordplay going on would be clear to any Japanese speaker. A fried egg ("sunny side up" as we say in English) is called a "fried eyeball." And the eyeball creature bathing in the cracked rice bowl is Daddy Eyeball, a popular and very familiar character from the Japanese manga series Gegege no Kitaro by the late Shigeru Mizuki. At the top right is a bunch of fresh-caught fish with bulging eyes, and at the bottom right is a pair of toy pop-out eyeball glasses. I may add a few more to the series if I ever get unbearably bored with nothing better to do.  Maybe you can help me by suggesting more eyeball wordplay.


  1. Lolol, Debbie, what a cool expression! Thank you for explaining it, and the cards illustrate it perfectly. I noticed how dark orange the yolk is (in fried egg card) compared to American's (store-bought) yellow egg yolks.

    My favorite one is the fish card, I think simply because they look so real--! And next fave is the bathing eyeball -- LOL, manga is so fanciful. We have an expression here which you might also know-- "keep your eyes peeled". Feel free to paint that one!
    😀😀😀 :) :) :) Love Mary

  2. OH, these are a lot of fun! Probably very weird from an American point of view! Especially the Daddy Eyeball!! Gotta love it!

  3. I love this! What a great expression.

  4. Hi Debbie,

    I don't know if you remember me since I haven't been around for a while, but I'm slowly getting back into the blogosphere.
    I still love your etegamis!

    Regarding the "Keep your eyes peeled" mentioned by Mary above, I can totally see you doing a play on words with 目をむく,
    which is also about peeling your eyes, but has a different meaning.

    I also like 目からうろこ when it comes to eye related sayings! I always picture someone searching for a fallen contact lens when I hear that expression.

  5. Love these! I suggest the expression "Eye of the storm" if you are still thinking of more eyeball play!