November’s Been Good — Goro Awase

My November Uncanny Japan podcast was about goro awase (語呂合わせ), a kind of Japanese, number word play. I give a few examples there and thought I was done with the topic when yesterday during every single one of my classes I heard the elementary school students ask kids from other schools if they had been given a free package of katsuo bushi – (kastuo bushi is dried and smoked tuna flakes. My town is kinda famous for producing them).

Anyway, I finally asked what was up with that. Why would they be given a package of dried tuna flakes? And why would ALL the elementary schools be giving them out?

The answer I got was brilliant.

The kids told me that it was November 24 (11. 24)  or “ii fushi” Day. “Ii” meaning good and “fushi” sounding somewhat like katsuo bushi.

That got me thinking about the post I did on Facebook about how November 22 (11. 22) is considered “ii fufu” Day, which is “Happy Married Douples’ Day”, I guess. Since November is 11, and 11 is one one or ii in Japanese, meaning good, I figured there have got to be a whole bunch of other interesting play-on-words days this month.

Here are a few of the keepers:

11.8 Good Teeth Day – ii ha いい歯

11.9 Good Ventilation Day – ii ku (ki) いい空気 (kuki meaning air)

11.10 Good Toilet Day – ii to (ire) いいトイレ

11.12 Good Skin Day – ii hi fu いい皮膚

11.26 Good Bath Day – ii fu ro いい風呂

11.27 Good Carp Day – ii fu na いい鮒

11.29 Good Meat Day – ii ni ku いい肉

I know it’s the end of the month so we’ve missed a lot of these. There are only a couple more days left, but I notice I’m writing this on Good Bath Day. So go one, take yourself a nice, long and good bath. Tomorrow you may thoroughly enjoy some carp and then two days after that appreciate meat on the 29th.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *