I’m sitting at Arsenal’s place studying Japanese flashcards on my computer. Mama happens to be nearby and peers over to see what I’m doing.
Mama: Is this Chinese?
Me: No, it’s Japanese. Can you tell what it means?
Mama: No…Japanese use kanji in weird ways.
Me: Yeah…it can kind of weird sometimes.
Mama: But it’s not their fault.
Me: Why’s that?
Mama Theater Presents
Japan: Children of the Storm
[Cue dramatic music]
Centuries ago China was ravaged by storms and floods caused by the wrath of the spirits of the sea. The livelihood of all the people in China was endangered because of the destruction wrought by these storms. In order to appease the spirits of the sea, hordes of children were sent out to sea as sacrifices.
However, the spirits of the sea did not take the lives of the children. Instead, the children traveled many days and nights before landing on an island east of China. There the children founded a new civilization, which came to be known as Japan.
Mama: But because they were children they didn’t know Chinese characters that well and made mistakes when writing certain words, that’s why Japanese people use characters in weird ways.
Arsenal: That’s a nice legend.
Mama: It’s real! They taught it to us in school!
Me: In elementary school?
Mama: In high school, it was in the textbook and everything!
Arsenal: There’s no way that’s true.
Mama: It is!