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Saturday, March 23, 2002


Gods and sea monsters: culture quiz

It's time for another Japanese culture quiz!

1. "Smile Life" is:

) A Confucian motto

b) Another name for "bubble economy"

c) A reference to the afterlife

d) The name of a convenience store

Answer: d

2. The four greatest fears of Japanese are earthquakes, fire, thunder and:

a) Roaches

b) Father

c) Foreigners who can't speak Japanese

d) "Oba-chans" wielding umbrellas

Answer: b. Although the proper answer would seem to be c, b is correct, as fathers have been around longer than foreigners.

3. If your first dream of the new year is of Mount Fuji, you will:

a) Have a lucky year

b) Have a lucky year but with many hazy days

c) Move up in your career but with lots of trash along the way

d) Reach the top in your career, but it will be cold

Answer: a

4. After people die in Japan they become:

a) Gods

b) Canaries

c) TV sets

d) Hello Kitty

Answer: a. Your descendents become gods in their afterlife to be worshipped at the family shrine. As gods, they will come back to visit and may do bad things.

5. Shinto gods drink:

a) Energy drinks

b) Sake

c) Green tea

d) Vitamin D milk

Answer: b. Shinto Gods will eat or drink any offering, including rotten fruit and water, but they definitely prefer alcohol, especially sake.

6. Which of the following are NOT Japanese values:

a) Hard work and instant noodles

b) Self-sacrifice and bar-hopping

c) Relaxation and hot meals

d) Self-discipline and karaoke

Answer: c. Neither can be found in Japan with much frequency.

7. Pink is to "pinkku" as:

a) Sex is to "sekkusu"

b) Kabuki-cho is to "sekkusu"

c) "Rabu hoteru" is to "sekkusu"

d) All of the above

Answer: d. Both words in each pair are synonymous.

8. In Japan, when you're sick you look:

a) Red and white

b) Yellow

c) Blue

d) Naked

Answer: c

9. Neon orange is to Akaboshi trucks as:

a) Blue is to seaweed

b) White is to doves

c) Psychedelic is to cats

e) Red and white is to Japan

Answer: a. Seaweed is considered blue in Japan.

10. Choose the word pair that doesn't belong:

a) High school girls and shopping

b) Personal grooming and public transportation

c) Doctors and smoking

d) English teachers and sighing

Answer: b. Although all are common, personal grooming applies to a wider audience and public transportation is a place, not a verb.

11. Guests are seated in which seat in a car?

a) The front passenger seat

b) The back seat

c) The seat with the air bag

d) None; guests go on the hood

Answer: b. Guests or VIPs always sit in the back seat, as it is considered safest.

12. Which of the following do Japanese NOT eat?

a) Sea urchin

b) Fish sperm

c) Raw horse meat

d) Raw sea monster

Answer: d. Sea monster is always served cooked.

Contact Amy at amychavez2000@yahoo.com or visit the "Japan Lite" home page at www.amychavez.com

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