sneezing

...i think of random things pretty often and i was wondering... what do you say in japan when someone sneezes? or do you even say anything?.....just curious
Sayaka-Matsuura

Sayaka-Matsuura

Puddle san! Great Question!! What do Japanese say when someone sneezes??? NOTHING!! :o Actually, in Japan, the SNEEZER apologizes for the outburst, by saying すみません (Sumimasen) or 失礼しました (Shitsurei shimashita), meaning "excuse me". :shock:
Raedwolf

Raedwolf

It's late and I have nothing better to do, so I post this irrelevant reply. :) I beleive that the custom of saying "Bless you" when someone sneezes in Britain (or now America aswell I suppose) comes from the Black Death period (Bubonic Plague), specifically the 1600s (there were actually many plagues throughout history). As sneezing was one of the first symptoms, if you saw someone sneezing in that period, there was a very good chance they had the plague, therefore you would bless them in the hope that God would not kill them. Although the plague pandemic is believed to have started in central Asia, as most of the Japanese population were (and are) Buddhists they would not have used this Christian phrase or anything similar as Buddhists (as I understand it) pray internally and for the most part silently. Interestingly, this is also supposed to be the time when spitting on the floor in public became rude. According to my history teacher it was fine to do it and people even had whole barrels to spit into (like in westerns) but someone with half a brain realised that it spread the plague like wildfire, so they told everyone to stop, and to this day I think it is officially still illegal to spit in public in Britain. What about Japan? I would imagine spitting on the floor in public would be considered impolite, but is there a specific reason why?

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