January 19th, 2021

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Deer and Doughnuts

Having Haruka to stay makes for some interesting cross-cultural moments. The other day she saw a Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewell for the first time, and cried, "It's the hinomaru!" And it's true, the resemblance, once seen, cannot be erased.

hinomaru

Then, a couple of days ago, we were looking at a field of deer, and we got to talking about the different names in English for the male, female and young of various animals. (This is one of the areas where English is far more complicated than Japanese, which has a standard prefix for each of these things.) I mentioned that a female deer was called a doe - like in the song.

She looked blank. What song? It turned out that, though she was familiar with that song from The Sound of Music, in Japanese the tonic sol-fa system has a very different mnemonic. In particular, the "Doh" line is: ドはドーナツのド ("Doh" is the "doh" from "doughnut"). This seemed so quintessentially Homeric (in the Simpson sense) that I had to laugh. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting - something more Japanese, I suppose?