Good Couple Day in Japan 11/22

Well, it’s November 22nd, and you know what that means!

Okay so you probably don’t. I didn’t know either until my wife told me.

Today, 11/22, is “good couple day” in Japan.

11/22 is いい夫婦の日。(ii fuufuu no hi)

japanese wedding at meiji shrine

[click image for a blast from a JapanNewbie past]

Some of you language geeks might already have an understanding of where this is going…

In Japanese, the number 1 is pronounced ICHI, and sometimes it is pronounced HITOTSU.

Number 2 is pronounced NI, and sometimes it is pronounced FUTATSU.

Still doesn’t make sense. Stay with me here…

The word for “married couple” in Japanese, is 夫婦, and pronounced FUUFU (or huuhu, depending on how you want to do you romanization. Same thing.)

The word for “good” is いい, pronounced II. (long E sound)

Almost there! The の日 NO HI, on the end, is just “day” with the possessive NO.

Okay let’s put it together and solve this needlessly cryptic linguistic mystery!

II FUUFU NO HI

11/22 → ICHI ICHI FUTATSU FUTATSU

See!? The sounds in the phrase いい夫婦の日 also appear in the numbers, 11/22! And even in that order OMG!!! This is too amazing!

Anyway. Have fun with it. It’s so minor most Japanese will probably say “NARUHODO” after you explain it. There are lots of number/word games in Japanese. Anyone have any they would like to share?

– Harvey