Which of the following is sold
as a lucky food at baseball stadiums? Why do you think it is lucky?
A katsu sando is a sandwich made with a deep-fried
pork cutlet (katsu). “Katsu” is also the word for “win,” so a
“katsu sando” is thought to bring good luck. It is among the many omens
of good luck and things associated with good fortune, success, and happiness
to be found in traditional Japanese culture. For example, when celebrating
a wedding or graduation, sea bream (tai) is often served because
the name of the fish resonates with the word for “happy” or “auspicious”
(medetai). During entrance exam season, shops and supermarkets
stock up on snacks with names that sound the same as words connected with
success (katsu), “getting in” (hairu) to the desired
school, “passing” (ukaru), and so forth.
[キットカット] Kit Kat (chocolate bar): I’ll surely win! (“Kitto katsu!” )
[カール] Karu (“Curls”; corn puff snack): I’ll pass! (“Ukaru!”)
[ハイレモン] Hai-Remon (lemon-flavored candy): I’ll get in! (“Haireru mon!”
[mon is both “gate” and a particle expressing emphasis])
[コアラのマーチ] Koara no Machi (chocolate biscuits): Association with koalas,
which never fall (ochiru, which means both “fall” and “fail [an
exam]”) from trees, even when they’re asleep.
In one part of Japan, pears (nashi 梨) that had survived a big typhoon
without falling off the trees were distributed to students taking entrance
exams as tokens that they “won’t fall short/fail” (ochiru koto nashi 落ちることなし;
“nashi” meaning “not”) of the passing mark to the school they want to attend.
Prior to entrance exams, some students avoid playing or even mentioning
sports that involve sliding (suberu), such as skiing and skating,
because “suberu” can also mean to fail entrance exams.
Are there any practices like these in your country?
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