Raising children is like baking

In the previous post below I explored the often used analogies between digestion and learning. This food analogy isn’t limited to education. We often joke that a pregnant woman “has a bun in the oven.” In Japan this cooking analogy is developed in full.*

In the Japanese language, the development of personhood, the process of becoming a full person – growing up, getting married and preferably having children and able to partake in the customs, rituals and socio-economic life of society – cooking metaphors are used to describe this process.

When a person is fully developed or complete they are then described in as ichininmae no shakaijin meaning “one helping of a social person” – like a complete plate of food.

In contrast, a person who has not reached the ideal stage of personhood may be described as mada dekiteinai, or “not yet done,” like food not yet ready to be eaten. This phrase can be used by parents to apologize to others when their children are misbehaving

*For more on this and the development of personhood in society see Anthropology by Hendry and Underdown, Oneworld Publications, page 93.

Credits: image by Talia Josie Heron

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