Friday, 27 February 2009

Red Flag, White Flag

It seems that many things in Japan are depicted by the colours white and red. Currently, this blog's main colours are just that. This is not coincidental.

Take, for example, roadworks. Back home, we sometimes have workers directing traffic, but other times there are temporary traffic lights or temporary lanes for travelling slowly down. Here in Japan, there are always roadworkers assigned to directing traffic. Said roadworkers always have two flags: a red one and a white one. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if the red flag is out: you stop!

Look at the Japanese flag. It is only red and white. They say that Japan is the land of the rising sun (nihon literally means sun origin). I learned the kanji for that last week, near the beginning of my dedicated kanji learning. It is represented by the number nine (whose primitive is baseball) and the sun. I simply imagine a baseball being hit into the sun and I remember that it means rising sun.

The red circle on the white background is obviously the red sun, displayed in all its glory. The typical "gambarre headrag" worn by Japanese has a more distinctive sun, whose rays extend out in all directions. Incidentally, I also know the kanji for ray. Its elements are little and human legs, so I imagine tiny human-like dust creatures floating through the rays of the sun that come through the window.

At school, dividing students into teams is easy. Why? Because there already exist two teams: red and white. If you want to divide a class (or classes), simply tell the white team to stand in one place and the red team in another. The main purpose I have found for there being red and white teams is for school sports events. I'm sure there are other purposes, but it sure makes things handy for competitive activities in the classroom!

Too bad the Japanese football team wears blue. Red and white seem to suit this country well. Perhaps this is one change that will lead to others, politically, socially and educationally.

Red flag.


No comments: