Here's another example of wordplay.
There are several chorus groups who show up at Little
Manuela for some singing fun.
These groups started out first as simply friends who started to sing
together and harmonize when they happened to come in at the same time.
Some of the groups started to practice regularly, and even began to
prepare original scores for themselves. They all started out without
any names, but as their song numbers grew, they acquired names in one
way or another. Some of them became so good that they have been asked
to sing on stages of professional singers as their back chorus.
The chorus that leads the pack is undoubtedly the OZSONS.
And, their name is the result of wordplay. It is not derived from the
Wizard of Oz as some of you may think. Where it comes from is the Japanese
for middle-aged men, ojisan. We used to call them, simply, "ojisan
chorus", meaning, next-door guysf chorus, next-door daddiesf chorus,
or whatever you will, until a few years ago. Then one day, one member
of the quartet turned up with a logo he had designed, and showed it
around to everyone. The logo said, OZSONS, and this stuck. The "ji"
of ojisan had been changed to "Z", the "san" to
"SONS" since both of them have roughly the same pronunciation,
and when written in Japanese kana, the same letters are used.
Another letter that these guys often use with their
names is "G". This is another "ji" in Japanese kana.
They will occasionally sign their names, WakaG, KuriG, MakoG, and KiyoG.
You may have noticed these here and there in this site.
The original meaning of "ojisan" is uncle.
Also keep in mind here that the prefix "o" in Japanese is
put there for politeness, and as many of you know, "san" is
the Japanese form of addressing people. So, if you are talking about
your own uncle, you should actually say, "oji", and leave
the "san" out. The "o" in this case is not a prefix
for politeness, but part of the noun, since the kanji used for gjih
here is the letter that stands for father. There are two kanji for the
"o", one indicating those younger than one's parent, and the
other, older, since in Japan, whether someone is an elder or not dictates
your manners and speech. The word "ojisan" itself though,
in daily life, is commonly used to indicate middle-aged men. In this
case, it is written in katakana, the square kana most often.
Ojiisan, the "i" of the "oji" stretched,
so it is pronounced like an English "e", originally meant
grandfather. Of course, it is used in that context today, but in daily
life, it also indicates elderly men in general. The "o" here
is for politeness, so we sometimes call aged men, "jiisan",
leaving out the "o". The kanji in this case is a single letter.
Some of the "G"s of the OZSONS are really jiis, grandfathers
in real life.
All you men- and women, too, maybe- may ask, "Well,
what about women?"
Aunts are called "obasan", the "ba" in kanji is
the letter mother, with the two "o"s again to indicate whether
she is older, or younger than your parent. And again, "obasan"
in general, and written in katakana indicate middle-aged women. Grandmothers
are called "obaasan", the pronunciation, "baa" as
in "Baa, baa, black sheep", and here again, indicates elderly
women in general, as well. The gohs in both cases are the same as with
the men, so with "obaasan", the kanji gbaah is a single letter,
and the goh for politeness. Unfortunately, or maybe, fortunately, there
is no single letter that you can pronounce, "ba" or "baa"
in the English alphabet, so no one has so far come up with a sophisticated
idea on par with the OZSONS. Well, women can't be SONS, either. I guess
we can be SUNS, though.
Anyone out there want to give "ba" or "baa" a try?
The whys and wherefores of "Men are G or Z".