Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at JapanesePod101.com. That’s right - kanji seen and used everyday!
The theme for this week is kanji found on envelopes used to put money into for special occassions. Let’s take a look!
The word お年玉 refers to a gift of money given to children and young adults on New Year’s. Typically, this money is put in a small envelope called an お年玉袋 (“o-toshidama bukuro”, o-toshidama + bag). The お年玉袋 in the picture has a tiger (虎, tora) because 2010 is the Year of the Tiger.
● 年 (toshi) = year
● 玉 (tama) = ball
Bōnasu ga nakatta node, o-shōgatsu, oi ni o-toshidama o agenakatta.
I didn’t give an o-toshidama to my nephew on New Year’s because I didn’t get a bonusthis year.
御見舞 (o-mimai) = get-well letter/gift
The word 御見舞 (o-mimai) means a visit to someone who is sick in the hospital as well as a letter or gift to someone who is sick. This is also commonly written as お見舞い。
● 御 (o) = honorable prefix
見舞 (mimai) = get-well letter/gift
●見 (mi(ru)) = look
●舞 (mai) = dance
Hanataba o motte, byōin ni tomodachi no o-mimai ni itta.
I went to the hospital to visit my friend with a bouquet of flowers.
御新築祝 (go-shinchiku iwai) = Congratulations on your new home
This envelope is used for money that is given to someone who has just moved to a new house. This phrase is made up of three parts: the honorable suffix 御 (go), the word 新築 (shinchiku) meaning “new house”, and 祝 (iwai), meaning “congratulations/celebration”.
● 御 (go) = honorable prefix
新築 (shinchiku) = new building (house)
● 新 (shin) = new
● 築 (chiku) = build
● 祝 (iwai) = celebrate
Watashi no ie wa mada shinchiku na node, takaku uremasu.
My house is newly built, so it can be sold at a high price.
御霊前 (go-reizen) = before the spirit of the deceased
This envelope is used for money given to the family of someone who has passed away. The amount given differs greatly depending on the age of the person, the relationship to that person, the region, etc. This phrase is made up of the honorable prefix 御(go), and the word 霊前 (reizen), which means “before the spirit of the deceased”.
● 御 (go) = honorable prefix
霊前 (go-reizen) = before the spirit of the deceased
●霊 (rei) = spirit
●前 (zen) = before
Go-reizen wa gūsū no kingaku o irenakereba naranai.
The amount we put in the envelope (for the famiy of the deceased) has to be an even number.
★ For more info on this kanji/card, please check out this special bonus video!!
寿 (kotobuki) = longevity, congratulations
This single kanji means longevity and is seen on envelopes used to store money that is given to a newly married couple. There is a strict rule that the money given must be in the form of new, crisp bills that have never before been used.
● 寿 = (kotobuki) longevity, congratulations
San-kai no Wada-san wa, harete kotobuki taisha rashii.
I heard that Ms. Wada from third floor will quit her job because she is getting married.