Gānbēi. Kanpai. Ad Fundum. Bottoms up.
Chinese. Japanese. Latin. English.
All important languages and cultures have a word for it.
And no, it has nothing to do with binge drinking or alcoholics.
It’s the glorious, full-blooded celebration of the appetite for life itself.
Yet the intercultural differences are mindbogglingly revealing.
The literal translation in both Chinese and Japanese is ’empty cup’. That’s no big surprise: throughout many centuries, the Japanese shamelessly (or was it ‘most intelligently’?) copied as many things as possible from the Chinese.
In Latin, the meaning is ‘to the bottom’. Whether it was also meant to be a race to the bottom remains unclear due to the obscuring veil of history.
And in English? Some vulgar reference to saggy bottoms seems to be the best the Britannic isles could come up with.
What’s more, there is absolutely no need to delve deeper into the explanation of the current use of the expression in modern slang.
So much for Western supremacy. After the Romans, ‘uphill’ apparently never had a cultural connotation.
Or is it unfair to say so?
More likely, what’s written here above is plain wrong.
On the other hand, the story behind the idiom’s origin isn’t exactly edifying either.
And as goes for so many British customs, maritime history harbours the explanation.
Sea: Bottoms Up – Origin