Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April fools...?

Did you get tricked on April fools day?
It is surprisingly well know in Japan.
It seems to have become more popular in the last few years.
It was never a big thing when I was a kid.

The origins of the day, while unclear, are quite interesting.
A long time ago, new year was celebrated in April.
This makes sense, as it is the start of spring.
(The middle of winter is an odd time to 
have new year if you think about it)
Around 1582 Pope Gregory XIII 
decided to introduce a new calendar. 
The Gregorian calendar replaced the old Julian (Roman) calendar, 
and made January the first month, 
effectively making January 1st new Years Day.

However not everyone suddenly changed 
over to this new calendar, for many years 
some people continued to celebrate new years on April 1st. 
These people were dubbed April Fools! For they had 'foolishly' 
missed the now 'official' new years 3 months earlier.

Now who's laughing?


  1. This is interesting because many Japanese have regarded April as start of new year even now. We graduate from school in March and go to the next step in April. This is very very old custom in Japan. So, it means almost all Japanese are April Fools... Now who's laughing?

  2. I agree Masa, spring just feels like the beginning of a new year. We should change it back! Is that what Setsubun is connected to originally?

    "Now who's laughing" is from an old episode of The Simpsons TV show. It is the story of the first April fools day, and the Simpsons family are dancing around a fire celebrating new year. Their neighbors, the Flanders family bring them gifts for their celebration, but the gifts are all pranks, and the Flanders family laugh and tease the Simpsons, calling them April fools, as new year was 3 month ago. The Simpsons then tie up the Flanders and burn them in the fire asking "Now who's laughing?".

    It is a good phrase you can use when things suddenly change from your opponents advantage to your advantage. I often use it at sports games or when playing with friends. One team or player is winning at first, perhaps mocking the looser, but at the end of the game the scores have changed and the other team/player wins, "Now who's laughing?" (Not you anymore, because I'm winning now!)

  3. Thanks Phil. I am so embarrassed. I used it the wrong way. It roughly means "serves you right", doesn't it? I will use it when I hit back successfully. By the way, episodes from the Simpsons family are always difficult for me. But don't hesitate to use them. Those are quite fun.

  4. Masa don't be embarrassed, you where right in a way. I think it's OK to use it the way you did.

  5. Also Masa here is a page about the "Pity the fool" question you asked me on Saturday. Sorry I didn't have time to explain well on the day.