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Today's Phrase

Common Superstitions in Japan

Hello, everyone.
We talked about what not to do with chopsticks in our past blog, but there are many other superstitions in Japan. Let me talk about 8 of them today.

1. When you sneeze, someone is talking about you.
If you sneeze once, someone is gossiping about you; if twice, it’s a bad rumor; three times, it’s just a cold.

2. Hide your thumb when you see a hearse.
They say that if you don’t hide your thumb, your parents will die prematurely. Thumb in Japanese is called 親指 (parent finger).

3. Four and Nine are unlucky numbers.
Four is pronounced like death (死), and nine is pronounced like pain (苦).

4. It is good luck for a swallow to nest in your house.
Swallows usually build nests in place where there is a lot of people going in and out in order to protect themselves from natural enemies. Also, people believe swallows know the people of the house (there swallows build nests) are kind.

5. People with large earlobes become rich.
This is because one of Japan’s Seven Gods of Good Fortune, the God of Money, has large earlobes.

6. Different blood types have different personalities.
Many Japanese people believe this, and almost everyone knows their blood type: Type A is meticulous, Type B is selfish, Type AB is a genius, and Type O is optimistic.

7. It is bad luck to sleep facing north.
This is because only the deceased people’s bodies are placed in the facing the north until their funerals.

8. When it thunders, the Gods of Thunder will take your belly button.
This is often taught to children. When it thunders, children hide their navel with their hands to avoid having it taken away. This is supposed to keep their stomachs warm and avoid catching a cold, as the temperature drops during a thunderstorm.

Do you have similar superstitions in your country? Are they very different? It would be interesting to learn what kind of superstitions exists in your country, what they originally meant, and the wisdom of the people of the past.


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