I know what you're thinking: what did Meiji Japan call pocketwatches before they had pockets? Because you know that portable and flashy Euro-accessories saturated society before shirts had even gotten their shoes on (so to speak).

Answer: they called them sleevewatches: sodedokei 袖時計, tamotodokei 袂時計. Or, more commonly (bah!) kaichūdokei 懐中時計; kaichū refers to the area between kimono and breast, where watches and contraband can be stowed, and, by extension, a hypothetical space-of-portation (thus, a kaichūdentō is a "portable electric lamp," i.e. flashlight, even in the modern age where no-one has a literal kaichū any more).

Better yet, Tsuchida Mitsufumi 槌田満文's Meiji-Taishō no shingo/ryūkōgo 明治大正の新語・流行語 ("Neologisms and buzzwords of the Meiji-Taisho period") quotes Sakabe Kōjirō 坂部甲次郎's Tokei gogen shō 時計語源抄 ("Selections from the etymology of [the word] 'Clock'") on some period pickpocket (suri) words for pocketwatch: kinman, ginman, monaka, meaning "golden manjū," "silver manjū," and "monaka" respectively.

This was the golden age of watch-related pickpocket slang: before long, everyone would move on to wristwatches, which are much more difficult to steal.



I'm just going to pretend that I didn't skip, like, two weeks of posts here, and show you the glory that is The Swan-Elephant:

This is the... well, totem pole, I suppose, for Kanagawa prefecture's anti-passive smoking campaign. The motto is suwanai hito ni wa, suwasenai which would be well localized as "Non-smokers shouldn't have to smoke" or similar. Why is it a swan and an elephant? Because suwan ("swan") is the verb suu ("smoke") with a colloquial negative ending, and ("elephant") is an elongated zo, the sentence-final particle of emphasis and/or determination.

Symbologically though this is kind of a mess. If its name is a pun on "I won't smoke," why is it smoking? Is that look on Elephant's face oblivious or malicious? If Swan hates Elephant's secondhand smoke so much, why doesn't he just get off Elephant's back? If Elephant's trunk is a cigarette, is it reasonable to place restrictions on how he uses it? (Can he even breathe any other way?) And of course there's the weird sense, created by the color scheme, that the trunk/cigarette is actually part of Swan, somehow poking through Elephant.