Hey guys! Time for another Lost in Translation! In this entry, we visit some of the crazy country-side antics found in episodes 1 and 2 of Sakura Quest.
What’s in a name?
Yoshino has a habit of retreating to the occult in order to redress whatever perils life throws at her way, and one method of divination introduced in this series is something known as Seimei Handan (姓名判断, lit. “name judgement”). It is a traditional form of fortune telling based on the number of strokes in a person’s written name, and depending on the sum of numbers between characters, speaks towards different qualities regarding that person’s fate. A good explanation of the different components of Seimei Handan can be found here.
As a little bonus trivia, I was first introduced to Seimei Handan in the first episode of Sayonara Zetsubô Sensei, wherein Itoshiki (糸色) laments at the fact that his name portends a terrible fate due to the number of unlucky numbers it contains. When one of his students, Kafka, suggests writing his name in the horizontal to avoid the issue with counting, we realize that the characters of his last name end up looking like a single character zetsu (絶), which when combined with his first name brings us to the word zetsubô (絶望) — despair. This amusing quirk in Japanese writing brings us to our next little tidbit…
You’ve got the wrong dude!
Yoshino actually has a very peculiar last name — Koharu — which is written with the characters for tree (木) and spring (春). When this is written in the horizontal, a similar problem with Itoshiki’s name arises, bringing us to a single character that is read as tsubaki (椿, lit. “Camellia”).
Finally, to round up this post, I thought I’d focus a bit on the chief’s terrible penchant for making puns. The name of the tourist destination in Manoyama is called the “Kingdom of Chupacabra”, which is actually a forced pun on カブラ, which means “turnip” — the main produce of this inconspicuous country in the boondocks. But just when you think the chief is the only person guilty of creating such blatant crimes against the Japanese language, we see Yoshino et al. using some similar word play in their commercial to sell thousands of Manjû buns:
The pun here involves the adjectives majû (魔獣, lit. “evil beast”) and manjû (饅頭 — a kind of sweet bun with filling). Although to be fair, it was a pretty cute approach as far as advertising is concerned, so I give them credit (especially given how terrifying those manjû look).
And there you have it! I decided to cram in several things in this post since I haven’t been writing that much for a while, but I hope you guys enjoyed it. Anything you see this season that you feel might be Lost in translation? Do share it in the comments below. Until next time, ciao!
I relish accessing your knowledge of Japanese customs and language–thanks for more fun info! As it happens, I also posted last night in my review blog about Sakura Quest. The first episode really tried my patience–it stretched my suspension of disbelief so far that I think my shoulders slipped out of socket–but the second episode rebounded nicely to redeem the show. I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes!
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Haha, my pleasure dude. 🙂
Yeah, the first episode was a little ridiculous. But I think the characters were endearing enough for me to carry on. Yoshino’s character will be an interesting contrast to the modern-day ethos that tends to be urban-centric. Already, we’re getting some good interactions with her and the other people in the country-side (i.e. the former actress and the disillusioned tokyoite). If the show decides to take advantage of this setup, then I think we’ll be in for a pleasant experience this season. 🙂
I have to agree–here’s hoping that we’re right!
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