Ma(pronounced as Maah) literally translates to the space between. The kanji for Ma is 間 which as all you Nihongo students know means between, among other things. The actual meaning of the phrase derives from a Japanese architectural style which I did not really understand so I will not try and explain it.
The V-sign, or peace sign as it’s known today, is an integral part of East Asian picture taking. If you were to browse through pictures of East Asians on social media or to Google the words ‘East Asia’ or ‘Japan’ and ‘picture’ in whichever order, chances are you would find tonnes of pictures with, not exclusively but, mostly young Asians flashing smiles as they make the peace sign.
Interesting, right? But, why?
It was Christmas Eve! She could see the beautiful Christmas lights that had lit up the city from her window and she smiled. She heard her daughter’s laughter and she smiled. She saw her daughter laughing as her husband lifted her up and she smiled. She imagined her daughter oohing and aahing after she would see the beautifully decorated streets and she smiled. She walked hand in hand with her husband as their daughter happily skipped ahead of them and she smiled. She thought of the wonderful meal they were going to have that night and she smiled. She saw the incredibly long line of people outside KFC and she did not smile. You see, this was her first Christmas out with her daughter and she had forgotten about the lines. She joined the line knowing that it would be a few hours before the three of them would enjoy their Christmas Eve dinner but she smiled a big smile, with all her teeth trying to hide the embarrassingly high rate at which her mouth was watering.