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Japanese superstitions and lucky charms for university entrance examinations

Matome Culture & Lifestyle
Friday, January 13, 2017 at 21:11

Japanese examination applicants really like superstitious lucky charms to get the best result in exams.

This year, the "National Center Test for University Admission" will be held on Jan 14th and 15th.
This is an universal examination for Japanese universities, which is necessary to enter National or Public universities and also sometimes helps to enter private universities too.

At this season, you witness how superstitious Japanese people are.
University examination applicants believe in many kind of "lucky charms".
As a matter of course, the most famous and traditional ones are real lucky charms they buy at temples or shrines.However, there are many kinds of lucky charms that we can buy at supermarket that don't look like lucky charms at al,l such as Kit Kat Chocolate Bars.

Why are Kit Kat bars considered to be lucky charms?
That because, "Kit Kat" sounds like "きっと勝つぞ (kitto katsuzo: I will definitely win)"
in Japanese.
Oh yes, this is merely a fun play on words, but it makes applicants feel much better.

There are tens of these instant lucky charms in Japan.
I would like to introduce you some of them in this article!
Kit Kat Bars
Kit Kat Bars
"Kit Kat" sounds like "kitto katsuzo" which means "I will definitely win!"

Pork cutlet on a bowl of rice / カツ丼 (Katsu Don)

Katsu don sounds like "Katsu zo" (I will win!)

Natto / 納豆

Natto is fermented soybeans and very sticky.
"Sticky" is called "Neba Neba" in Japanese.
"Neba Neba" sounds like "Never (give up)"

Therefore sticky foods are considered to be a symbol of victory.

Sausages / ソーセージ (so-se-ji)

Sausages are called "ウィンナー (Wiener)" in Japanese.
"ウィンナー" sounds like Winner.

Pentagonal food / 五角形の食べ物

"Pentagon" is called "五角形" in Japanese .
五角形 (Gokakkei) sounds like 合格 "pass (the test)"

Octopus / 蛸 (Tako)

Octopus is called "たこ (Tako)" in Japanese.
Tako sounds like 多幸 (takou: Many happiness).
Therefore octopus is considered to be a symbol of happiness.

Iyokan orange / いよかん (Iyokan)

Iyokan sounds like "いい予感: ii yokan (a nice hunch)"

Koala's March (Snack) / コアラのマーチ

Koala's March
Koala's March
Koalas don't fall off from trees even when they fell asleep.

We say "試験に落ちる(fall the test)" for the meaning of "fail the test".
Therefore Japanese people believe if they eat Koala's March they won't fail the test.

Xylitol chewing gum / キシリトールガム

Xylitol Gum
Xylitol Gum
Xylitol sounds "きっちり通る: kicchiri to-ru (Pass the test perfectly)"



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