Auld Lang Syne

I came home a bit late tonight because I had my final bonenkai celebration today with the last of my English students. He took me out to a very nice sushi restaurant in Pontocho, one of the entertainment and Geisha districts of Kyoto. The food was excellent, as was the sake, and we had fun together – and with the waiter/cook who prepared our sushi.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk about. After dinner, I went to the Maruzen, a very large book store that is open until 9 pm. While I was browsing the books (I did buy one at the end), all of a sudden, music began to play. It was 20:50, 10 minutes before closing time, and there was an announcement that the book store would close and would people be so kind as to leave.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all, I think it’s a nice way to make this announcement, and when I asked the cashier, she said this was standard in all Japan. The fun (standard) thing is the song: They played Auld Lang Syne.

If you don’t know that song, it’s usually sung just on midnight at New Year’s Eve, and it’s about how old friends should never be forgotten etc. It surely is suitable for the occasion of closing shop (after all, you do want the customers to come back), but still, it does seem a bit funny. Here is a youtube video of the song, sung in best Scottish, in case you want to try it yourself next Monday night.

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