Why is it acceptable in Japan to leave even small kids home alone?

Being a (soft) Sapir-Whorfist, I have long thought that it was at least partly due to how easy and reasonable-sounding it is to say to a kid “O-rusu-ban o-negai shimasu” (something like “Please look after the house while I’m out”) as you leave, as it sounds a lot less neglectful than the English “I’ll be back in a couple of minutes” or “Be good while I’m gone”. This nugget of information from East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History that I’ve just come across might also have some relevance though if the habits have long outlasted their roots (as is common in any culture):

“For reasons of etiquette and security, old-style houses had required that someone always be home to greet guests and guard the premises. Western-style front doors made it easy for the housewife to lock the door and go shopping, visit friends or see a movie” (page 480)

Then again, some Japanese parents also seem happy to let their kindergarten-aged kids take the train home without any adult supervision, so maybe it is something more general.

Why mother con not mother com?

Mazaa kon is short for “mother complex” and is the Janglish expression for mama’s boy/ Oedipus complex. As in English, Japanese words spelt with n change to an m sound before p. Unlike English, there is no chance of actually replacing it with an m sound in the spelling as n is the only consonant Japanese syllables can end with and the final consonant in borrowed words that end in m is always followed by a vowel (e.g. chiimu for team). This therefore leaves a rather strange “orphan n” when mazaa kompurekkusu (which would be spelt mazaa konpurekkusu) is shortened to mazaa con with an n sound, as the only other option would be to change the n (pronounced m) in the original to mu.

Why does everyone ride mama chari shopping bikes? 4th attempt

Although this is a lot less true than even a year ago, it’s still quite striking coming from the UK where a male would probably have to cycle through a hail of jeers on the typical Japanese bike. Here’s an explanation I hadn’t come across before:

“It is illegal to ride a bike on which you cannot touch the ground when mounted (this is one of the things that the police check when registering your bike).”

Japan For Kids pg 23

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers