Japanese thoughts, Vocab and Grammar

Shoulder massaging ticket: 肩たたき券 for mother’s day

What better present to give someone who does so much for you. It doesn’t cost anything and rest assured it will put a smile on your mom’s face. Japanese kids are encouraged to make these for their parents for mother’s day and father’s day too. It works like a craft activity for kids and gives them a chance to get creative with the services they wish to offer their parents. Though they are called “肩たたき券” literally “shoulder massaging ticket”, the tickets can be anything including “お手伝い券” (errands ticket), “プリクラ券” (ticket for getting snapped at a photo booth). They gift their parents with these tickets and even put an expiry date on the ticket:-).

 Though it is kids who usually gift these tickets to their parents, I feel it would be awesome for a parent to receive tickets such as these from an adult son or daughter in their 30’s or even 40’s. An expensive gift might thrill them for a few days, a “kata tataki ken” without an expiry date is sure to warm their heart for a much much longer time.

Cheesy? Maybe yes. But priceless and timeless:-)




Japanese thoughts, Vocab and Grammar

Hansei (反省)or Self reflection

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It is that time of the year when all of us are in a self reflective mood – What did I set out to do? What  have I accomplished? Am I at least on the right track?

In the Japanese context “hansei” or “self reflection” is something that is encouraged right from childhood. School kids could be asked to write a passage (hansei sakubun) reflecting on a bad deed. At home too a child could be told “hansei shite kudasai”  meaning “reflect on what you just did”. Works similar to “take a good look at yourself” I suppose:-).At the corporate level regular team meetings (hansei kai) are held to reflect on failures and sometimes even successes. While after failure “Hansei kai” is held to analyse how and why things went wrong, “hanseikai” after success is held to objectively identify areas of improvement. In this sense “Hansei” is something that reminds one to constantly strive to improve and better oneself.

In these ever changing times, what could be more relevant than “hansei”? You think you did well? – don’t let it get to your head.. “hansei” to get better. There is so much room for improvement. You think you didn’t do well – “hansei” again. There is always a next time!