Another week, another bubby bloggy break guest post. And boy, oh boy, am I excited about this one!
I am, of course, excited about all of my bloggy guest posts. Everyone has gone out of their way to help me out, and I’m so appreciative. But when I first emailed this next guest, I felt WAY out of my league. I’ve been following her blog since I first ventured into the blogging world, and she’s practically blogging royalty!
This week, please welcome the lovely Grace from With Some Grace. For anyone who’s ever flogged their blog on a Friday or shared some facebook lovin’ on a Sunday, she’ll need no introduction.
So I won’t write one! I’ll just leave her to it. Take it away, Grace.
Of Exotic Eastern Conventions and Superstitions
For almost a decade, I lived in a land of quirky customs.
Those who have been to Japan, or who are at least familiar with the movie ‘Lost In Translation, will know what I’m talking about.
Nowhere else in the world will you be entertained with kooky game shows where half naked men are forced to test the strength of their willpower (or the levels of their stupidity) by sitting in a tub of ice cold water for as long as possible.
It is the country where I learnt how to throw all inhibitions to the wind and got naked and cosy with many a stranger in a hot springs bath. (Full wash down prior to dipping in being mandatory.)
Do you sense a consistent nudie theme?
Thanks to the extended stay in the land of sushi, sake and karaoke (not necessarily in that order), a range of cultural habits and superstitions have been instilled in me.
Japanese custom dictates that slippers rather than shoes are worn when stepping into one’s house. Then, there are different slippers for separate occasions. Even a trip to the toilet demands a special pair. To go from confusing to convoluted, when stepping into a tatami room, slippers are not to be worn whatsoever.
Naturally, in the early days, I made many a social faux pas by getting my slippers in a twist. There were countless occasions when Japanese hosts would look down in complete horror seeing that I had worn the bright green toilet slippers into the lounge room.
To this day, something still feels disjointed when walking into a house with shoes intact.
Along with many other Asian countries, Japan’s unlucky number is 4. This is namely due to the fact that the word “death” in Japanese holds the same pronounciation, “Shi” .
You can still step into the elevators of old buildings in Tokyo and find that, eerily there is no 4th floor button.
At special occasions, particularly weddings, money envelopes from well-wishers will usually carry either 10,000 yen or 30,000 yen (convert it to the current strong Aussie dollar and you’re looking at either 100 or 300 big ones). No one makes contributions in even numbers, least of all the number four. When you take into account that at least 300 guests attend a Japanese wedding, you can quickly calculate that that’s a very nice head start for newlyweds.
While the number 4 has really never done me wrong and there have been plenty of instances where it has precariously crossed my path, I still have a superstitious adverse reaction to it.
For instance, I refuse to send an email or hit publish on a post at 4:44pm. I prefer to wait.
If I need to buy some meat at the supermarket, I will pick up the pack that weighs “0.533 gms” instead of the one next to it that reads, “0.543”.
Here I am, well settled in this rugged sunburnt country of sweeping plains and Vegemite, distant from all the conventions of the Exotic East. But I’m adamant that I willl never fully escape them.
Grace is a mum of twins, wife of an avid surfer, and reformed caffeine addict. She’s travelled the world and encountered countless adventures. Just when she feels she’s done it all, life still sends her little surprises. She writes about them here:
Are you superstitious? What superstitions or traditions do you live by