Friday, July 31, 2009

07.12-Waiting for Blue

07.12-Waiting for Blue, originally uploaded by sleepytako.

I took this photo sitting in my favorite seat on the bus. It's the one in the front with the full view of the front window. It's a single seat so I don't have to worry about any one else as I daydream and watch the city roll by.

Odd Japanese language note: Don't call green, it's blue. On a stoplight you have red, yellow, and green which is pretty much common the world over. The color is green is still green in Japan, but everyone calls it blue (aoi). Why? I have some theories, but it's one of those unanswerable questions. Maybe another good one for this month's JSoc Matsuri.


angryparsnip said...

great photo. . . why blue ? now this will drive me crazy till you find out and tell us ?
maybe the first person who saw the green light said it was blue and since he was a high ranking official and if you crossed him you would get your head chopped off. . . everyone went along ?
so now everyone calls it blue because it is one of those weird things you do because everyone does it that way for years ?

David said...

My odd theory is that the word "green" is treated more like a noun than an adjective in Japanese. I'm sure it's wrong, however.

Really basic Japanese grammar here. All of the basic colors red, blue, yellow... end in an i sound

akai 赤い
aoi 青い
kiroi 黄色い

If you want to say "red cat" it would be akai neko 赤い猫

Green needs the NO participle to connect it to the noun cat

Green cat would be midori no neko みどりの猫

Shops that sell "plants and flowers" sell "green and flowers" (midori to hana) in Japanese.

It seems to me that red is a name for a color while green is the color of something else and used for its color. You can think of it like the word "saffron" being used as a color in English perhaps.

Does this relate to stop lights? Who knows.

angryparsnip said...

your probably right but. . . I like my story better with the whole off with their heads time line.