Okay, another useless trivia thread that I hope you’ll contribute to.
When you cook (Japanese food), your ingredient count must be an odd number, but not 9. - In Japanese (and I know China, and believe Korea and most other Asian cultures) four is bad because it sounds like die and 9 sounds like torture. So when I cook Japanese foods like sukiyaki, I always have to have an odd number of main ingredients (seasonings don’t count), except 9.
Never stick your chopsticks straight up or stuck in your food, especially rice (I think this is also true for China and Korea also). In Japan, chopsticks in food, particularly rice is calling for the dead to eat. I’ve heard the Chinese version is because it resembles the incense which are placed straight up in a bowl of rice. I’ve been corrected, sometimes not so politely not to leave my chopsticks in my rice.
I’ve talked to other Japanese and suspect this may be unique to my family. Never ever go out or work on New Year’s day and avoid anything that my harm you. The logic is if you get hurt on the first day of the year, it set’s the luck for the rest of the year.
One my unrelated Aunties even goes as far as not cooking on New Year’s Day, she and her family eat the food prepared the night before (we always ate heavily after midnight as it’s the first meal of the year) and all cooking stops completely at 11:59pm. I’ve gone out only once in my life on New Year’s Day and that was because my Taiwanese friends insisted we have coffee. I returned home and took a nap to ward off any of the potential bad luck that may have clung to me on my outing.
I never eat pieces of candies or cookies in 4’s. This is my own personal quirk I started subconsciously years ago. Since four is a bad number in Chinese and Japanese, if I eat things like pieces of candy or cookies, I’ll either stop at three or eat five or more. If I have to eat something in four pieces, I’ll space it out.two now and two later. Oddly I only consciously do this with candies and cookies, rarely anything else.
Never buy a woman shoes, especially if she’s a friend - I was told this by a Chinese friend and she told me buying a Chinese woman shoes means you’re telling her to run away. I asked a couple of Korean friends and they confirmed it’s the same in Korean. I don’t know it’s true for Japanese women also. Oddly, I bought a Filipino friend a pair of new tennis shoes and a few months later she had to move to another Island because her work and I’ve never seen her since. Hmmm…
Never give a friend a knife -It means you want to cut the friendship. If you do give a friend knife, they have you give you a token amount, e.g. a dime so they’re buying it from you. I think this a regional belief.
Aswang - The Filipino Vampire. Okay, not a custom or superstition to follow/do, but it’s so ubiquitous, I’d love to hear your thoughts. The most common story I’ve heard is that the Aswang will silently fly up at you during the night (usually when you’re facing someone) and tear you body in half. Every Filipino immigrant I’ve asked (regardless of region they came from) swears it not a legend and a few have claimed to have seen it flying at night