Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oyakodon and days of the week

Oyakodon (親子丼) is a simple dish, consisting of chicken, eggs, green onions, rice, and such like. The reason why I mention it isn't that it has some amazing flavor that we westerners shouldn't live without, but rather because of its name.

The first character in the word oyakodon is oya (親), meaning "parent". The second is ko (子), meaning "child". The last is don (丼), meaning something like "bowl". So,  oyakodon is the "parent and child bowl", because we eat the parent (the chicken) and the child (the egg) in the same bowl. Horrible, right?

japanese desktop
Anyway, moving on, I now use my laptop and iPod entirely in Japanese. No, I really can't make sense out of most of the text, but I am slowly learning useful new words, such as 時計 for "clock" and 天気 for "weather", through forced immersion. The most immediately useful thing that I have learned this way, though, is the days of the week:

  • 日曜日 (nichiyoubi) - sun day 
  • 月曜日 (getsuyoubi) - moon day
  • 火曜日 (kayoubi) - Mars day or fire day
  • 水曜日 (suiyoubi) - Mercury day or water day
  • 木曜日 (mokuyoubi) - Jupiter day or wood day
  • 金曜日 (kin'youbi) - Venus day or metal day
  • 土曜日 (doyoubi) - Saturn day or earth day 
It's worth noting that their weekday names are very similar to ours. Our first day is "Sunday", which is followed by "Monday", and our last day is "Saturday". This is no mistake — it would seem that the practice of naming days of the week after the visible planets was borrowed by China and Rome from Mesopotamia and Egypt, and then eventually was delivered in whole to Japan and in part to us. For comparison, here are the Latin day names:

Dies solis - "Sun day"
Dies lunae - "Moon day"
Dies martis - "Mars day"
Dies mercurii - "Mercury day"
Dies iovis - "Jupiter day"
DIes veneris - "Venus day"
Dies saturni - "Saturn day"

Well, I'd better stop here. I am about to fall asleep on the keyboard! I really need to do this earlier in the day.

First image retrieved from AllAbout.co.jp.
Second image is my own

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