Friday, May 19, 2006

Unlucky for some

I'm not really a superstitious type but the fact that my parking space is numbered 13 sometimes gives me pause for thought on the morning of one of my course's numerous exams. In England, 13 might have been skipped. Here, things are different:

Fourteen is considered unlucky because it contains the number 4 (which my car park also misses out). One pronunciation of 4 is "shi", which is a homonym for death in Japanese.

More on triskaidekaphobia and tetraphobia.


Anonymous said...

That "shi" thing was a bit of a drag in restaurants, 'cause if you ordered a plate of gyoza or springrolls or something like that, they would bring three or five of them, but usually it was four of us dining, so we had to fight over everything, or get creative carving them up.

Nonjatta said...

Four is bad but five seems to be seen as a very rounded, attractive number. A crockery set in Japan would normally be regarded as complete if it had five of everything. Seems strange to me, like you broke the sixth plate, but that is the way it is done. Suppose it might be the typical Japanese nuclear family: Mum, Dad, two kids, and Grandma. Although, nowadays more like Mum, Dad, One kid and Grandma and Grandad

kozappa said...

I think avoiding 4 pieces of food have nothing to do with "death". It feels wrong to have even numbers once you get used to the way in which you are expected to arrange food on plate.