Let’s face it: There are way too many emoji. There are also many that we see in the West that we may not have the context to understand, let alone use. Since I began living in the homeland of emoji, I have been able to decipher these emoji and now I am ready to share that information with you!
The Carp Banners 🎏
The carp flags are used as decorations for Children’s Day in Japan. Long and short: Some carp represent different family members, depending on the size and color. Also, there’s the old legend that if the carp swims upstream, it will turn into a dragon, which can be taken as a metaphor for progressing from childhood to adulthood. Thus, when the carp flags flap in the breeze, it looks like them swimming upstream to their eventual adulthood!
The Tulip Name Tag 📛
Thought this was an odd-looking fire, maybe? Or a square comet? Perhaps a thin piece of tofu that’s burning? Well, this is a tulip-shaped name tag, and it is commonly used by the tiniest of students as a way to mark, well, their name! They wear this on their tiny little smock-like uniforms in Japanese Kindergarten and are fairly common in the country. It’s not a nation-wide thing, though, nor is it some kind of mandatory accessory. It’s just one of the most common name tag varieties for youngsters in the country.
Telephone Number ➿
This odd set of loops is commonly used on Japanese signs and websites to show what their phone number is. Seeing it out in the wild, you’d figure it out pretty quickly, but in isolation on the emoji keyboard? Maybe not so clear, so there we go!
Beginner Symbol 🔰
This odd shield is used to mark a beginner in Japan. This is most commonly seen on cars to let others know “Hey, I’m new on the road. Avoid me.”
You can also see this symbol sometimes in other contexts, such as at stores. Employees in training will sometimes wear this symbol on their chest or name tag. That seems to be far less common, though.
Bonus Symbol! Elderly Driver
This one is not an emoji, but you’ll see it in many places across Japan and on numerous cars. It’s used to let other drivers know that there is an elderly driver in the vehicle. It has the same effect of “Watch out!” that the beginner symbol evokes in other drivers.
Curious about other emoji? Comment with an emoji you’re not so sure about and I’ll do a follow-up post for you!