Today’s word: Banzai!
Banzai literally means “10,000 years.” It is currently used to mean “cheers!” It is often said while flinging the arms upward, just like the football referee’s sign for “touchdown!” except that the palms are facing outward instead of towards each other.
When I was very young, my parents used this word to get me to lift my arms upward so that they could put a shirt on me or take one off. I didn’t understand the meaning of the word as a kid, so the reference was lost on me.
I was reminded of this word recently when I was talking to Lipby the other day about his interest in bonsai (note the kanji for this word). The exchange between Mr. Miyagi and Daniel in the movie The Karate Kid came to mind, in which a drunk Mr. Miyagi, recalling his days in the war, shouts “Banzai!” as a toast, and Daniel, confusing the word with the one associated with Miyagi’s current occupation as a gardener, replies, “To little trees.”
Happy birthday, Dad.