Bleen and Grue

In English, to “get the green light” means to be allowed to proceed with an action or task. It’s like a traffic signal where red means stop and green means go.

    proceed – to continue as planned

But when I look at traffic signals in Japan, I remember when I was driving in a car with a Japanese woman and her daughter, and we were waiting for the traffic lights to change. When they did, the daughter told her mother to go forward because the light was あおい.

I looked at the daughter and said, “あおい means blue, right?”

She said, “Yes.”

I said, “But the light is green.”

She said, “No, it’s blue!”

I was surprised because traffic lights have always been red, yellow, and green for me; but sometimes when I’m looking at traffic lights in Japan, I think the color isn’t green or blue. It looks like a combination of green and blue and, according to an article I’ve read, foreigners who live in Japan call it “bleen” or “grue”.

So I guess the color is both green and blue.