Learn Nothing Day, July 24, 2015

Two weeks until Learn Nothing Day!

Last year I made a big deal about Learn Nothing Day, because it was the seventh one. I grew up in a culture where seven is a fun, lucky number. it's the first cool number after one. Then 10, 12 and 13 have a bit of "cool," and after that 18 and 21 (for people's ages, but not for anniversaries).

So yesterday I was thinking it's kind of "culturalist" (?) of me to make a big deal last year and to slough off this year. I remembered that 4 and 8 are bigger and better in Japan than where I live, but I didn't remember why, and wasn't sure my memory was right anyway. Found this!!
I know that in Chinese the number 8 is a homophone with prosperity. However, in other Asian cultures 8 seems to have a special place even when it is not a homophone with some auspicious word.

My favorite example from Japan relates to the story of Mr. Toyoda founding his auto company in the 1930's. He consulted a soothsayer about what to name it. The soothsayer noted that "to write Toyoda (in Japanese syllables) you need 10 strokes, but to write Toyota you need 8 strokes which is much more auspicious." And thus the Toyota auto company was born.
On a page about what's special about numbers (from a mathematician's point of view), this year's anniversary is
8 is the largest cube in the Fibonacci sequence.
(from What's Special About This Number?)

So although eight doesn't naturally strike me as auspicious, in honor of the more-than-eight Korean dramas I have watched this year, and the fact that this is the ONLY unschooling holiday that's eight years old, prepare for the 8th Learn Nothing Day, coming soon.

2 comments:

  1. Harry who was 8 until recently also pointed out that if you tip 8 over onto it's side it is the symbol of infinity.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Infinity is 8, then?
    :-)

    My favorite infinity story is this:

    Wed, Jul 28, 1993
    The first thing [Marty] said after “good morning” was “Mom, if you count to infinity, is it illegal?”

    ReplyDelete

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