So have you ever engaged in syncopated hammering with another? The in and out of innuendo’ed speech, perhaps? Or the give and take of two minds pumping in unison?
Alas, if you came here for elicit sexual content I apologize in advance. Today is yet another in my long running culture series where we peek up the skirts of other countries to reveal the bald truth that lies beneath. In particular, today’s topic of discussion is “Ai Zuchi.”
The literal translation of this Japanese custom is “Hammering together.” It spawns from the New Years custom of pounding rice. A couple puts “mochi” or gelatinous rice in a hollowed out stump and begin hammering it in turn with zuchi’s or long awls, each hit eliciting a loud grunt.
This literal activity is then used to describe a common practice in Japanese dialogue or speech where one party acknowledges the other every 5 syllables or so with a nod of the head and a low grunt.
This practice gives the speaker assurance that the listener is, in fact, listening. Next time you see two Japanese speaking listen carefully for syncopated rhythms of Ai Zuchi.
Many non-native speakers don’t pick up on this subtle nuance and it drives the Japanese batty when their partner does not service them with Ai Zuchi.
Of course another meaning for the word “Ai” is love. And “zuchi” is not far from “kuchi” which means mouth.
So do you have a love mouth?
Who would you like to pound gelatinous rice with?