Author Archive

Italian Proverb

Original Script: Nella botte piccola c’è il vino buono

Translation: In the small barrel, there is the good wine.

Background information: This Italian proverb refers to the fact that the finest wine is usually produced in limited quantities. It’s in contrast to the thought that “big” necessarily means “better,” suggesting that the concept of quality often doesn’t coincide with that of quantity.

Thoughts about the piece: Like lots of provers in Italy are related to wine, this one uses wine as a metaphor to talk about people and things in general.


Italian Proverb

Original Script: Nel vino c’è la verità

Translation: In the wine there is truth

Background information: I was in the study abroad program in Italy last year. When I stayed in Italy, I realized how wine has always been an important element of the Italian culture, deeply rooted in the history and the land.

Thoughts about the piece: This proverb indicates how wine helps us reveal our inner thoughts and feelings that we would otherwise keep to ourselves if we were sober.


Do not flash your head light

Emily once told me that there was a flashing headlights gang initiation. If you are driving at night and see a car with no headlights on, do not flash your head lights. This is an initiation game of the gang–the first car that flashes the head light will be the target of the gang. The gang member will turn around and chase the people who flash the light and shoot them.


The Number 4

The number 4 in Chinese culture is usually considered to be unlucky because its pronunciation is the same as the word “death” in Chinese. However, my roommate was from the southern part of China told me that in her hometown if two number 4 come together that means wealth, as 4 plus 4 equals to 8, and the number 8 represents prosper and wealth. So if you have two 4 in your phone number, that is very lucky.


dream of tooth falling

Original Script: If you dream of your tooth falling out, that means someone you know will leave the world. And there is one day I had the dream of tooth falling out, several days later my grandmother passed away.


Background information about the piece: In Chinese folklore, there are lots of stories of dream interpretation. For example, if you have a dream of seeing a frog, you will make a fortune very soon.


Thoughts about the piece: The interpretation of the dream in Chinese folklore always relates to mysterious predictions. However, the interpretation of the dream in the Western world is more scientific. For instance, my friend in the US tells me that if you dream your tooth falling out that means you need to cut back on the candy and sweet food.



the barking dog

anOriginal Script: “After dinner, I was laying on the sofa and watching TV with my husband as usual. Suddenly, our dog Meme became very manic; he was barking at us and running to the front door. Meme is three years old and has never been like that; he used to be very quiet. My friend even asked me if Meme was dumb because he never barks. So my husband and I both thought this was very strange.We walked to the front door and look through the peephole. However, it was dark outside and there is no one there but the flower pot was knocked over. My husband suggested if it was an earthquake, but we live on the 19th floor and we could definitely feel the shake if there was an earthquake. And it can’t be people who live here passed by because Meme would not bark at our neighbors. There are always some stories about the supernatural ability of animals. My husband and I were timid and did not walk out to see what happened.”

Thoughts about the piece: There are lots of stories of how animals can predict danger.  This is might because animals are always thought to be the friend of human beings. 



Informant: Yume grows up in Tokyo and now studies in USC.

Original Script: The kitsune is a tricky fox that can transform its appearance. It can transform itself into the form of human or surrounding objects. There is a story that a poor man walked alone at night and found a warm house with a hot meal on the table. After the man was full he slept on the cozy bed. However, when he wake up in the morning, he was in a muddy pool, belly full of rotten leaves. The illusions were all created by the kitsune.

Background information: Kitsune is an evil animal in Japanese folklore. Kitsune is also said to be able to possess and control a person, usually a woman. The kitsune-possessed woman would suddenly act strangely. For example, she would throw things away, jump into the river, or climb up to the roof. If her family call in witches to pray for her, she will return to normal.

Thoughts on this piece: Besides foxes, cats are also the subject to many superstitions in Japanese folklore. Though kittens are much loved and considered cute and innocent, older cats are thought to possess evil spirits. Cats are also believed to have the ability to transform into the form of human. They use the form of older women to get close to people and eat them, then they disappear again as a cat.