[Kaori and Aya are good friends and now staying at a hot spring inn.]

Kaori: Good hot spring, wasn’t it?
Aya: Yeah, the bath was spacious and wonderful.

[Returning to their room, Aya seems to have found something wrong with their futon, which the inn staff has spread out on the tatami floor while they were out.]

Aya: Look! Our pillows are pointing north, aren’t they?
Kaori: No, I think north is this way. Anyway, staff at an inn wouldn’t lay out the futon that way.
Aya: Now that you say that, they certainly wouldn’t. By the way, why do we avoid sleeping with our heads toward the north?
Kaori: It’s probably because that’s how we lay out dead people.
Aya: Oh that’s right, it’s because it’s ominous. There’re other customs similar to that, aren’t there?
Kaori: For the same reason, we aren’t supposed to wear kimono with the left side over the right, or pass food from one pair of chopsticks to another, as we’re trying to avoid doing in normal circumstances what we do when people die.
彩: あと、ご飯(はん)にお箸立(た)てちゃいけないというのもそうよね。子供(こども)の頃(ころ)、それやってすごく怒(おこ)られたの。
Aya: And don’t stick your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl! That’s what I did as a little girl and I was severely scolded for it.
Kaori: How could you possibly have done that? I can’t believe it!

hidari mae
Hidari mae, or “the left side over the right”, is the way to dress the deceased. Contrary to hidari mae, the usual way of wearing kimono is migi mae (the right side over the left.)

hashi kara hashi he
One impolite way of using chopsticks is hashi watashi, which is associated with funerals as people who attend gather the remains of the deceased with chopstick-like tools after the cremation.

◆Natural Japanese Expressions
そんな風に sonna fū ni in that way / like that
Sonna fūni kangae nai de kudasai.
Please don’t think that way.

(~する)はず(が)ない (~suru) hazu (ga) nai cannot~ / wouldn’t~
Kare ga yon-jū dai no hazu ga nai.
He can’t be in his forties.

言われてみれば iware te mire ba now that you mention it / that having been said
Iware te mire ba boku mo soko ni itta kot ga aru kamo shire nai.
Now that you mention it, I might have been there myself.

同じ理由で onaji riyu de for the same reason
Watashi mo anata to onaji riyū de chikoku shimashita.
I was late for the same reason as you.

あり得ない arie nai I can’t believe it / That’s impossible
Arie nai. Uchino ko ga ukaru nante.
I can’t believe it. My son passed the exam.