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Showing posts with label overprotective much?. Show all posts
Showing posts with label overprotective much?. Show all posts

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Japanese Language Trivia of the Day:

I think that today's trivia paints a really funny picture in a way that our English equivalents don't quite capture.

箱入り娘
はこ いり むすめ
hako iri musume

My girlfriend is an only-daughter (she has three brothers), and in a culture that's big on filial obligation, especially on the part of women, you can imagine how 大事 her family considers her.

This term is used a lot for only-daughters, and where we might translate it as "daddy's little princess," or merely "over-protected" or "sheltered" it literally means "the daughter who gets put in a box."

You can use this in a friendly manner to tease a girl who's an only child, or if you are "daddy's little girl," you can refer to yourself as such. I'm gonna try it out next time I hang out with my girlfriend's family, because whenever I see them we always end up having a long 感動する conversation about how great and special she is.

Side note: I wonder if you can mix-and-match this phrase with 玉手箱 (たまてばこ; tamatebako) or 宝箱 (たからばこ;takarabako), which both mean, treasured box or treasure chest? A 宝物 (treasured item) goes in a 宝箱, so would a 宝箱入り娘 make sense? I'd worry about the fact that 玉手箱 has other connotations. Pandora's box is called a 玉手箱, as is the box that contains Urashima Taro's lost years... This one might be better confined to the pages of Jokes that Japanese People Might Not Get.