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Tweet of the Week

Learn Japanese with what's going viral in the Twitterverse.

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What better way to convey an important message to your loved-one than to write it on their food? That’s the experience @marinamiries shared with his followers on Twitter which quickly went viral thanks to the rather special choice of words from his loving wife.

In this hilarious example of marital powerplay you’ll find not only a cultural lesson, but also a chance to brush up on the Japanese conditional form, too.

‘Til death do us part —literally

After a hard working morning, @marinamiries was ready to enjoy his lunch. But as he opened his bento box, he was quite surprised to find out this message from his wife:

浮気 うわきしたら、ころす” = “If you have an affair, I will kill you”

Naturally, his first instinct was to immediately share it on Twitter.

愛妻 あいさい弁当 べんと わら=LOL” = “My wife’s love bento, lol”

Apart from the impressive cutting techniques, his wife is clearly also a good cook. That tamagoyaki looks amazing.

Bento culture in Japan

In Japan, cooking and preparing lunch boxes, known as bento, is an integral part of the food culture and considered by many as Japanese wives’ important duty. Not only does the typical housewife do her best to cook delicious healthy meals, but she often makes them eye-pleasing with elaborate decorations and presentation.

Truthfully, a bento box means way more than having a conveniently prepared meal. It represents a very practical communication tool for housewives — or anyone preparing food for their loved one — in a society which heavily values keeping your feelings bottled up inside. If you don’t believe us, google “shikaeshi bento” a.k.a “revenge bento”, a special form of lunchbox reserved for when your beau has wronged you.

Japanese conditional form

~ たら

In Japanese, you will quickly find out that there are a lot of ways to express the conditional. The interesting aspect of ~ たら is that depending on context, it can carry two meanings.

  1. The meaning of a past action as a condition to do something: “When (action) has happened…”
  2. The hypothetical “if” conditional: “If (action) happens, then…”

The conditional structure is often introduced with the little word もし (“if”) + condition + ~ たら + consequences.

However, Japanese people will omit もし when they feel the condition is more likely to happen or that it is certain.

Hmmm, we’re not sure if @marinamiries should really be using the word (“lol”) if he wants to live.

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
あい ai love
つま tsuma wife
弁当 べんとう bento bento
わら wara laugh, but on social media stands for “lol”
浮気 うわきする uwaki to have an affair
あい さい 弁当
ai sai bento
a wife’s bento made with love

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