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The Fly

When you notice someone's fly is open, what will you do? That's somewhat a delicate matter. If he was an unpleasant guy, I'd be happy to leave him alone. If not, I would try to say in a quiet voice ... Wait, how should I say it in Japanese? The Japanese language is rich in roundabout expressions. OK, what about this case? One I can think of is "shakai no mado (a window to society)." This, however, is quite an old-fashioned wording. Ha! I'm ashamed to use this. Then what else? Mmm, no, I can't come up with any witty phrases. (Do I have to be witty anyway?) Well, I'd say like "Um, you know, that part is open."

If you are a man, I suppose you have an experience or two or three or hundreds. I mean, accidentally leaving your fly open and noticed by someone else nearby. I have done it once. Yes, once. Only once, I want to believe. And that was, of all things, in front of the students at a 9th grade class! I went into the classroom, getting to my desk, standing by it, and said "Hello!" as usual. Then, a boy student said, "Sensei (teacher), that is open!", pointing to my, ahem, opening. The rest is history -- No, no! It's history.


I would never feel comfortable pointing out to a man that he was "flying low". I'd certainly tell another woman if something was "exposed" but, not a man.

Mine is the first generation of our family born in "the North", everyone previous being from southern Ilinois, western Kentucky and Tennessee, and southeastern Missouri. We have a wealth of odd phrases in our family lexicon. For the fly problem, someone would say, "Your barn door's open."


I love "shakai no mado"! Do you think people would laugh at me if I used it? Does it really sound corny in Japanese? When we were kids, we'd say XYZ (X-amine Your Zipper). Come to think of it, that's pretty corny too.

Kiyo, your timing is great! On Sunday, I only discovered that my fly was open just as I was approaching the station I get off at in the suburb where my school is located. So that means that for approximate 50 minutes from leaving the house until noticing this, my fly was open. I immediately did a backward mind trace of all the people (hundreds!) I had encountered on my two trains, the stations, walking to the station, etc., and realized that there was a guy sitting opposite me on my first train who was looking at me very curiously, almost like he had a smile on his face (being a gaijin, I'm fairly used to this type of bemused curiosity). I'm certain now that he noticed my fly was open (when sitting, the barn doors fly wide open -- forgive the pun) and desperately wanted to tell me but decorum or perhaps the lack of language was hindering him.

It's weird, but not being used to wearing slacks before, this is the third time in about a month that I've forgot to zip up before leaving the house (fortunately I've always remembered before actually getting to work)! It's gotten so that my wife now performs a zip check before I leave for work, but unfortunately she wasn't home on Sunday when this latest gaffe happened. Forgive me for sharing with you this little window into my society!

LOL! Thanks guys. I sometimes find myself checking my "barn door" (Hey, I like it!). Kurt, I think it's time for you to teach how to say it to your students. ;) And "shakai no mado", I think it's corny now. Young guys may not know it. But if you say it, Jennifer, it may sound cool. Worth trying. ;)

Just the other day, I was sitting on the bus and happened to notice that my fly was open. What did I do? Nothing because I didn't want to draw attention to my "barn door." I just let it be until I could stand up and close the door inconspicuously!

On another note, speaking about embarrassing moments in front of your class. One day while delivering a stellar lesson on the different types of tectonic faults, I used the words "normal fart" instead of "normal fault" it got quite a rise out of my 9th grade students.

I would do the same thing, mac. "Normal fart" is terrific! I wonder what made you say so. ;)

For some reason in school people used to say "XYZ." I suspect it was a play off of CYZ, as in "Close Your Zipper."