Who knew there were so many ways to describe portioning out rice?

Quick! What are these baked wheat products called?

In my British childhood I called these baps or barms, but nowadays American influence has me calling them dinner rolls or bread rolls. I’ve also heard them called cobs, teacakes, or just plain “rolls” depending on where I happened to be at the time.

No matter where in the world we live, all of us have our local peculiarities: calling grocery carts “trolleys” or “buggies”, using “coke” to refer to all carbonated soft drinks, or referring to frozen treats as “popsicles”, “freezepops” or “ice lollies”.

There are plenty of regional dialects in Japan too, and many of them come with their own special lexicon for everyday items. For instance, sitting while hugging your knees has a bevy of different names, as do band-aids, snails, and fatigue.

Twitter user @emdr_shirimochi sparked a new round of discussion with this regional map, this time portraying how various locales “served” rice.

“You guys don’t say ‘tsugu’ to serve rice?!”

To break down this map, first let’s look at a map of prefectures:

Then break down the color key one by one for which verb they use to “serve of rice.”

  • Red: yosou
  • Green: tsugu
  • Yellow: yosoru
  • Lavender: moru
  • Blue: ireru
  • Grey: refused to answer

As you can see, yosou is actually the predominantly used term overall, used in Hokkaido but also many others such as Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Chiba, and even much more southern prefectures such as Shimane and Kochi. Tsugu dominates much of the Kyushu island — Fukuoka, Kumamoto etc. — but also has some sway in Hiroshima, Ehime and Okayama.

Yosoru is the sole domain of Tochigi and Gunma, while moru flourishes in Niigata, Nagano, Aomori and Akita. Okinawa uses ireru to dish up rice. The rest of the prefectures didn’t see fit to answer, those punks!

Here’s how Japanese netizens responded to the regional variance:

“Losing it at how Gunma and Tochigi just have to be different. I say yosoru too.”
“You’re supposed to use tsugu for liquids, darn it!”
“I guess Yamaguchi prefecture was like, ‘Hurry up and just gimme my rice, damn the results!'”
“I think I’ve used all of them except ‘ireru‘.”

Plenty of playful bickering went on in the comments, but in general it’s nice to see these these little reminders of how similar our linguistic quibbles can be, regardless of language. Rice, anyone?

Source: Twitter/@emdr_shirimochi via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso

Insert image: WikiMedia Commons/Tokyoship
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!