Japanese fire drill

Sam Clements sclements at NEO.RR.COM
Fri Sep 19 14:50:15 UTC 2003

It almost certainly was "Chinese fire drill" in most of the US.  If you
called it "Japanese fire drill" it might be related to where you lived.

Using "Chinese" as a derogatory adjective goes back to the late 1800's.  The
actual term "Chinese fire drill" is cited in RHDAS in 1952, but implied in a
1942-5 cite.

I called it that in 1961, when we would get out at a light and run around
the car.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Patti J. Kurtz" <kurtpatt4 at NETSCAPE.NET>
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2003 10:33 AM
Subject: Japanese fire drill

> Just wondered if anyone's ever heard or knows the origins of the
> expression 'Japanese fire drill"-- which, when I was younger, was a
> prank teens did-- they'd stop the car, get out, run around the car and
> get back in again, much to the annoyance of motorists behind them.
> Just curious.
> Patti Kurtz
> Assistant professor, English
> Minot State University
> --
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