Wednesday, February 13, 2008

板 - Are You Behind the BOARD or Opposite to It?

Readings & Meanings:


ハン , バン

board, plank

Common Usage:










The sushi chef's cutting board is very important.

I'm going to go and see that pretty cafe girl.

Between my wife and my mother-in-law, I'm between a rock and a hard place.


板前さん is the proper way to refer to the sushi chef. Though literally it means "behind the counter", it is a term of respect. It takes many years to become an Itamae-san, decades perhaps.

Also, the cutting board is very, very important. It's a sacred piece of equipment.

There was one Iron Chef episode where Bobby Flay, an American, stood on his cutting board after he was finished cooking, and Chef Morimoto was horrified. All the Japanese people could say was "Flay is not a chef" because he stood on his cutting board. See Wikipedia for more useless details.


Look on the right. 反 is a thin sheet of wood curving back on itself; from this we get "opposite" as seen in 反対. Look closer, and you'll see mata, the radical 又, inside the cliff radical. But that's looking too closely. Just get back to the original pictograph of a thin sheet of wood.

Then look on the left. 木 emphasizes the wood idea. Thus, means plank.

Extra Bonus:

The 看板娘 idea may be sexist, but it's still used in small restaurants and shops. Whether it works or not... well, I must admit I've been beguiled in my time by a smiling かんばんむすめ or two...


No comments: