Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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Reading Chinese - Star Wars in Bristol - No Real Connection Between the Two
I'd like to have posted this yesterday - if only to mention that it was the Japanese Festival of Shichigosan (Seven-five-three), which celebrates children aged seven, five and three. Is that not a charming idea? It hardly seemed worth posting just to mention it, though, and meanwhile my camera and computer were not on speaking terms, which thwarted me.

Their standoff continues, but today I'm relying on Google streetview to do the job instead. This is a Chinese restaurant and supermarket I walk past several times a week. The same three characters are also blazoned several feet high on the wall, taunting me with their illegibility as I come up the road. At this point I'm almost 1,500 characters into learning the kanji (albeit superficially), and with the trip to Taiwan looming I feel I ought at least to be able to get the gist of these few Chinese characters. Admittedly, my textbook has its own way of doing things and doesn't necessarily teach the characters in order of usefulness, so there are probably some really common ones in the pages yet to come, but so far I've been able to make of these three only "Something - Righteousness - Go". This conveys little to me. Perhaps it's just a proper name, in fact. (Wai Yee Hong?) Either way, I have a feeling I may be relying more than I'd really like on the English-language signs in Taiwan.

Meanwhile, on 8 Out of 10 Cats yesterday they were making a few jokes about the open audition for Star Wars that was held in Bristol this week (the first I'd heard about it). I was waiting for them to mention that Darth Vader is indeed a Bristolian, but if they knew it they didn't mention it. Instead, Jimmy Carr finished by quipping that it was appropriate that the auditions were held here, since the plot was about a boy who didn't know who his father was and then fell in love with his sister. This got a laugh, but which stereotype was he alluding to? The not knowing your father bit might be a reference to sink estates and Vicky Pollard, I suppose, but incest jokes are traditionally the lot of East Anglia, or at any rate sparsely populated rural areas, not cities of half a million.

Could it be that for Carr and Co. anywhere outside London counts as the sticks? Surely not.

Specifically, three-year-old boys and girls, five-year-old boys, and seven-year-old girls, marking their passage from infancy to early childhood and then into older childhood (when boys could start wearing a hakama and girls tied their kimono with an obi instead of a cord). Typically involves visiting a local shrine in formal clothing, which means for the three-year-old girls this will likely be the first time ever wearing a kimono, which means there is hella adorableness involved.

It's one of the few important holidays (aside from local Shinto festivals) with no Chinese equivalent -- it was originally IIRC a samurai custom that spread to commoners.

---L.

Thanks for that extra background.

girls tied their kimono with an obi instead of a cord

Any excuse for a party!

well first, the romanisation of that supermarket's name is in Cantonese, so not what you would be hearing in Taiwan. Instead of Wai Yip Hong it would be Wei Yi Hang. the 行 (Hang2) in the name comes from 行业 (Hang2 Ye4), so in this context it doesn't mean 'Go' but something like 'enterprise' or 'establishment' or 'firm'. Wei2 Yi4 would mean something like Great Justice.

also omg shichigosan!! I was happily in Japan during that festival a few years ago and -- SO MUCH CUTE.

and well, they do say that Londoners tend to think of anywhere outside London as the country.

Thanks! I was hoping someone who knew might be able to enlighten me. "Great Justice Establishment" is still a slightly strange name for a restaurant, maybe, but it does make me want to book a table.

Oh, isn't it a supermarket? A lot of Chinese shops and companies like to name themselves after ideals and traditional values. It's a thing. :)

Its a supermarket downstairs, a restaurant upstairs. But come to think of it, I guess the restaurant is just the "Water Sky" bit (even I recognized those characters, stylized as they are). That makes sense.

A lot of Chinese shops and companies like to name themselves after ideals and traditional values. It's a thing. :)

Interesting! I'm trying to think of there's any British equivalent to that. The Co-op, maybe? And all those building societies and insurance companies called things like Prudential, etc. Not so much a thing, anyway.

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