USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘girl’
Childhood
Customs
Festival
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival)

Aubrey is a Japanese-American currently attending ELAC. She plans to transfer to UCSD to pursue a bachelor’s in Marine Biology because she intends to protect the marine environment with her university education. She enjoys drawing, watching anime, attending sports games with her dad, and playing with her dogs.

Original Script

When I was small, every year on March 3rd, we celebrate this holiday called Hinamatsuri, which is Girls’ Day. And you set up these dolls called hina-ningyō on these 5- to 7-tiered stands called hina-dan and the dolls are supposed to protect the family from evil spirits. And you’re supposed to leave the dolls up for a few days after the holiday because putting them away quickly will be bad luck.

Background Information about the Performance from the Informant

The informant first performed this ritual during her trip to Japan on New Year’s Day in elementary school. She enjoyed Hinamatsuri because it was a memorable family bonding event and it was fun handling the dolls.

Context of the Performance

I interviewed the informant in my house.

Hinamatsuri, also known as Doll Festival or Girls’ Day, is celebrated every year on March 3rd in Japan. On this day, the parents pray for their daughters’ happiness, health, and growth. This festival originated from a thousand years ago in the Heian Period. It is a tradition to display ceremonial dolls, dressed in the attire of the people of the traditional court, on tiered shelves.

My Thoughts about the Performance

I find it endearing that there is a festival purely dedicated to ensuring a daughter’s happiness and wellbeing in Japan. Over time, it seems that the festival’s promotion of one’s health and good luck has also spread to other members of one’s family. However, the placement of the dolls, decreasing in status as one moves down the platforms, remains generally the same. The festival connects the past to the present by having the ancient court from the Heian Period watch over and protect families of today.

general

The Heart

심청이 (Shim Chung-yi) – Heart-yi

The Story:

심청이는 여자의 이름이였다. 심청이의 아버지는 눈이 멀었다 – 안 보이셔. 그리고 가난했다. 어느날 심청이가 자기의 몸을 중국 선원들한테 팔았지. 옛날에는 선원들이 이직 시집을 못 간 여자의 몸을 바다에 빠트리면 가는길이 안전하게 된다는걸 믿었었지. 그래서 심청이는 집을 떠났고 받은 쌀은 아버지가 먹을수있게 저장에다가 넣었지. 중국 선원들이 가다가 심청이를 바다에 던졌어. 물에 빠지면서 거북이가 심청이를 받아서 용공으로 데려갔어. 용공에서 임금님이 심청이에게 물었지 “너 는 어떻게 여기까지 온거냐?” 심청이는 그래서 자기가 어떻게 온걸 설명해주었다. 임금님은 심청이의 예쁜 마음 보아서 다시 자기의 집으로 데려주었고 심청이에게 말 했다 “돌아가면 너의 아버지 눈이 보이것이다. 심청이는 돌아가서 아버지랑 행복하고 풍부하게 살았다. 

Shim Chung is the name of a girl. She lives with her father and he is blind. They are a poor family. One day, Shim Chung sold herself to a group of Chinese people for money. Back then, sailors believed that when a girl who is not yet married is thrown into the water, their voyage will be safe. Shim Chung received rice in payment and stored it in the storage for her father to eat. After she left, her father called out for her but there was no reply. Shim Chung was thrown into the sea and a turtle caught her as she fell, and brought her an underwater kingdom (dragon home). The king asks her how she ended up there and she explained her journey. He tells her she has a kind heart and when she returns her father’s eyes will open. She is returned home and calls out to her father, and he is able to open his eyes. They became rich and happy.

 The Analysis:

The ultimate moral of the story is that a kind daughter will bring wealth and happiness to a family. Shim Chung is the name of the girl in the story but it is also a play on words, which means heart. She has a kind and beautiful heart, selfless and caring only for others and not herself. Her beauty is not skin deep and resonates throughout her personality. The king of the underwater kingdom takes notice of this and sends her back to land. Kindness and goodness will never lead one astray, so everyone should live their live for others, not for themselves. 

Digital
Legends
Narrative
Protection

New Form of Kidnapping (Ladies – be aware – worth a read)

“NEW FORM OF KIDNAPPING

Please take a minute to read this. This is very scary and could happen to
any of us.. Seems like every nice thing people do for one another can be
perverted.
A new twist on kidnapping from a very smart survivor:
About a month ago there was a woman standing by the mall entrance passing
out flyers to all the women going in. The woman had written the flyer
herself to tell about an experience she had, so that she might warn other
women.
The previous day, this woman had finished shopping, went out to her car and
discovered that she had a flat.
She got the jack out of the trunk and began to change the flat. A nice man
dressed in a business suit and carrying a briefcase walked up to her and
said, ‘I noticed you’re changing a flat tire. Would you like me to take care
of it for you?’
The woman was grateful for his offer and accepted his help. They chatted
amiably while the man changed the flat, and then put the flat tire and the
jack in the trunk, shut it and dusted his hands off.
The woman thanked him profusely, and as she was about to get in her car, the
man told her that he left his car around on the other side of the mall, and
asked if she would mind giving him a lift to his car.
< BR>She was a little surprised and she asked him why his car was on other
side.
He explained that he had seen an old friend in the mall that he hadn’t seen
for some time and they had a bite to eat, visited for a while, and he got
turned around in the mall and left through the wrong exit, and now he was
running late.

The woman hated to tell him ‘no’ because he had just rescued her from having
to change her flat tire all by herself, but she! felt un easy . (Trust that
gut feeling!)

Then she remembered seeing the man put his briefcase in her trunk before
shutting it and before he asked her for a ride to his car.

She told him that she’d be happy to drive him around to his car, But she
just remembered one last thing she needed to buy (Smart woman!!)

She said she would only be a few minutes; he could sit down in her car and
wait for her; she would be as quick as she could be

She hurried into the mall, and told a security guard what had happened, the
guard came out to her car with her, but the man had left. They opened the
trunk, took out his locked briefcase and took it down to the police station.

The police opened it (ostensibly to look for ID so they could return it to
the man). What they found was rope, duct tape, and knives. When the police
checked her ‘flat’ tire, there was nothing wrong with it; the air had simply
been let out.  It was obvious what the man’s intention was, and obvious that
he had carefully thought it out in advance. The woman was blessed to have
escaped harm.

How much worse it would have been if she had children with her and had them
wait in the car while the man fixed the tire, or if she had a baby strapped
into a car seat? Or if she’d gone against her judgment and given him a lift?

I’d like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life.

A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to send this
to the ladies only; but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters,
daughters, etc.., you may want to pass it on to them, as well.

Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that The world
we live in has a lot of crazies in it. Better to be safe than sorry.

PLEASE BE SAFE AND NOT
SORRY”

 

This email was originally received by my real estate agent, she resent it to me with the message that I should be, “extra careful!” especially since I am a single woman living away from home.

What first threw me off about this narrative was that the woman remembers the man put his briefcase in the trunk of her car; however, when she is narrating what he put in the trunk, she doesn’t mention the briefcase. It was inattention to detail like this that made me look it up and as it turns out, it’s an urban legend that’s been around since at least 1998.

My real estate lady is older, and she sent it to me because as a single young woman living in a big city like Los Angeles by myself, she thought I was more at risk. I guess this goes along with the stories and legends you hear about how dangerous and gang-infested big cities are.

Digital
general
Narrative

Japanese girl’s suicide drawing

My informant tells me this story of a teenage girl in Japan who drew a drawing Japan shortly before she committed suicide. The story and drawing went viral in Asia. In the forums online, it is said that you can see the girl’s sadness in the eyes of the girl in the picture. Forums warn against staring into the girls eyes for longer than 5 minutes, telling me that people have committed suicide after doing it. According to my informant, people say the picture changes,as you view it there is a hint of a growing taunting smirk appearing on the girls lips or a dark ring grows around the girl or her eyes.

Me: “Have you looked into the picture for five minutes?”

Informant: “No! I thought it wasn’t a big deal, but it’s really scary when you actually try it! I can’t meet the girl’s eyes for more than a few seconds because I’m afraid of what I will see!”

Me: “Do you believe that people have committed suicide from looking at the picture?”

Informant: Not really… I don’t think they did. But it’s a freaky story, so I don’t know.

Analysis: Through my research, I could not find any solid news articles to support the claim that people have committed suicide after looking at this drawing, though many people claim there are hundreds. Furthermore, I found some forum posts that claim a video-game designer in Japan was the real artist of the portrait and that he was still alive and well. Some forum posts claim that because the image has a blurry quality to it, if you stare at it for too long, your vision will get blurry as well and you are under the illusion that the picture is changing before your eyes. This also has to do with the image being seen on a digital screen.

Because of the context of the story and the atmosphere in which it is often read, this will help induce fear and influence a person’s response. This most likely is an elaborate internet hoax, much like a chain email letter. People enjoy being scared because it provides an adrenaline rush which can be extremely addicting.

My informant is 23, Korean-American, and currently studying at USC (expected graduation 2013). She first saw the picture and heard the story when she was in high school, approximately 16 years of age.

Folk speech

“Girl with the look”

The informant is a friend from high school. He originally created the expression “girl with the look” on one of the first days of senior year when he saw a girl he was very attracted to. He didn’t know her name so he just called her the girl with the look. The expression quickly became a kind of inside joke within our friend group and rather than ask each other who we were interested in at school, we might ask who each other’s girl with the look was. The expression expanded out a little and other people at our school started using it, too. Another variant is “girl with a look” meaning simply a girl you’re attracted to, whereas “girl with the look” implies infatuation at first sight almost. For girls and gay guys, “guy with the look” also became a thing, though it was never used as much.

My informant liked the expression because it was a way to refer to someone without using a name, which kept it kind of secret and exclusive to those that knew what was being talked about. It kept the discussion within the friend group and also bonded us together by having our own phrase. I like it for the same reasons. Because it started out in one group, it created a sense of community and exclusivity within the group. And even though it’s a new piece of folklore, it did grow to have multiplicity and variation.

Childhood
Customs
Folk Beliefs
general
Life cycle

Blue For Boys, Pink For Girls

This piece of folklore is something that is widely known across the country, if not the entire world. My informant is a pregnant woman, and works and lives in the Los Angeles area. When asking her about folk practices that she takes part in regarding her baby during pregnancy, she said that she is waiting to find out whether it is a boy or a girl so she can find out whether to paint the baby’s room pink or blue, get it pink or blue blankets, or get it pink or blue clothing.

When I asked my informant where she got this notion of baby boys being ‘blue’ and baby girls being ‘pink’, she simply said “it’s everywhere”. We all have grown up in a society where that’s just how it is. Popular culture, magazines, movies, and more all exhibit that this is just how it is and how it’s always been.

“The other day”, she said “I was watching the sequel to Father of the Bride”, and they were creating the baby’s room. She was going to be a girl, and they showed the room and it was “all pink, pink walls, pink furniture, pink stuffed animals, pink everything!” she said. It got her thinking about it, and solidified the fact that she would have to do this for her child if she wanted it to have a ‘normal upbringing’.

When I asked her how she believed that this notion and tradition started, she just said that it’s probably in human nature. Blue looks like a more masculine color, and obviously, pink is feminine she said. When I asked her why blue and pink rather than any other colors, she said that she wasn’t sure. “Maybe they’re just the most inherently masculine and feminine colors” she said.

I believe that this tradition started because, like my informant said, blue and pink are the most inherently masculine and feminine colors there are. I remember reading of a study saying that men are more naturally attracted to blue, while women are more attracted to pink. I believe that this tradition stuck on, and is now a big part of our popular culture and traditions of a baby.

Annotation: Father of The Bride Part II (1995), Movie.

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