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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Unlucky 4 Some

Notice the deliberate mistake?

The number 4 is considered unlucky in Japan because it is pronounced "shi" - the same sound as the Chinese character for death. In spoken Japanese, the alternative reading "yon" is often preferred and in certain more old-fashioned establishments (such as this onsen bathhouse), 3 jumps straight to 5.

Carp Streamers


  1. and then of course the 9 is missing too. and you know what 9 and 4 equals....

  2. that's sharp, stu, but how come they actually have the 13? come to think of it, I think the 9 might be absent because one of its pronunciations is 'ku' which is the name of the character for 'painful'.

  3. Well spotted - I didn't notice that at all. But I've heard the same theory about "ku" as Carol.

    It reminds me of a novelty towel I once saw emblazoned with "yoroshiku" (a common greeting) written in these characters:

    "Yo" - Night
    "Ro" - *Can't remember*
    "Shi" - Death
    "Ku" - Pain


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