mjj (flemmings) wrote,
mjj
flemmings

Puzzley 12K question

Something that struck me back in vol 1 of First 12K. Youko meets a Japanese soldier who got carried off to Kei just at the end of the war, who's all overcome and kerblonxed because OMG someone who speaks Japanese after all these years. (Which is how you discover, in the novels, that everyone in Kou is *not* speaking Japanese. No Asano and Sugimoto here, and thank god for it.) Soldier asks her when the war ended. Youko says 1945. He says What year is that of Shouwa? Youko has to stop and think.

What I'm wondering is /how/ does she think. When I convert between western and Japanese I just add or subtract from the western year, because I naturally think in western years. Shouwa 35? 1926 + 35 = 1961. 1975? 75 - 26 = 49. But when I was in Japan everything was presented in Heisei. I'm surprised at Youko automatically thinking '1945' for war's end in the first place, and I suppose, when she converts, it's the way I do it. But after that, and supposing you don't have a cumulative calendar year to use as a base, how do you do calculate length of time? Like the guys in the Seven Samurai, counting on their fingers?-- as it might be, you were born in Shouwa 60 and there were 64 Shouwa years and it's now Heisei 7, so hey guess what you're only 11! (2010 is actually Heisei 22, FWIW.)

Also I hadn't registered that both the first and last years of Shouwa lasted a bare week. This is what happens when you juggle two calendars.
Tags: 12kingdoms, japan
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