Teach Yourself Japanese
Subject: Re: gestures
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 15:09:32 GMT
References: 1, 2
You made a good try, but let me correct some of it.
> More typical Japanese gestures are the shallow wave to indicate "come here." It looks to an American like you're brushing some away, but the meaning is the opposite.
The gesture of "come here" involves the palm of your hand downwards and making a waving motion. This is complete reverse of the palms upward and moving the five fingers towards you, which normally signify the gesture of "come here."
> Thumb and forefinger can be used to indicate small or "let's get a drink."
The circle made by the thumb and forefinger would signify "money."
> To do numbers one through five is like America, and for six through ten you put one hand in front of another. (Which is really intuitive and gets rid of the 6 or 51 type ambiguities that the American version has.) When counting the tendency is to start with a closed fist (zero) then extend fingers from pinkie (1) to whole hand (5), but I don't know if there are set in stone rules on that.
The number counting using fingers starts with an open palm, facing upwards, for one, you fold the thumb, followed by forefinger, two, middle finder, three, ring finger, four, and the pinkie, five. To count up to ten, you start with the closed fist with which you ended up counting to five, and start opening up your fingers backwards, pinkie, six, ringfinger, seven, middle finger, eight, forefinger, nine, and thumb, ten.
> They play paper, rock, scissors with the same gestures, but there's a big opening phrase and motion you do before you battle.
The players shout "Janken Pon!" thrust out their signs and if the players show the same sign, they say "Aiko De Sho!" and play again. You must remember that there are some dialects which could use slightly different words.
> They pinkie swear.
When making a promise, two persons (normally kids) involved would cross their pinkies, called yubi-kiri and chant "Genman Genman Uso Tuitara Hari Senbon Nomasu" I don't know what "Genman" means but "Uso Tuitara Hari Senbon Nomasu" means "If you lie (break the promise) I'll make you swallow one thousand needles." Note also that yubi-kiri in the old days meant Geisha chopping off the tip of her little finger to pledge her love to her true lover.
> The Japanese (in my opinion) aren't as much about hugs as Americans, but they're more willing to hit each other on the head to show friendly disapproval.
They don't hit each other on the head to show friendly disapproval to the best of my knowldge (standing comics often resort to such gesture to draw laughs) but adults often caress the heads of children to show affection.
> Horns by the head means someone is angry.
Not someone, but your WIFE!
> A fist in front of the nose means the long nose of a demon, Tengu. I forget what tengu symbolizes.
Tengu symbolizes the state of being "puffed up" or conceited.
> When something even mildly embarrassing happens or people are talking about you, you put your hand on the back of your head and scratch it. (That one is really catchy, I think.)
This gesture is called "atama o kaku" (scratch you head) but you do not actually scratch your head, which could suggest embarrasment, apology, admission of error or incompetency, etc.
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