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The Scratch Marks of Your Life

In the past, when Japanese men proposed marriage, they used an abalone as a betrothal gift! How would you like to receive such a fishy offering?! Here's the word for that present:

            長熨斗 (ながのし: dried abalone stretched long and thin (used as a betrothal gift))      
                        long + flatiron, to smooth out + dipper

The newly published essay 1633 on 斗 (dipper) shows how this gift has left a legacy in the form of のし (written in kanji as 熨斗). A のし is now a long strip of paper that the Japanese attach either to a gift or to an envelope containing money. As the essay notes, "Few Japanese people mentally connect this のし with either the kanji rendering 熨斗 or the abalone meaning."

Here's a preview of essay 1633:

[Read the rest on Joy o' Kanji!]