A Strange Floor Plan

I went to the hospital to visit someone last Friday. When I got to the nurses’ station, I asked to see the patient. While I was waiting, I looked at a floor plan that was on the wall next to the elevator. Something looked strange to me, but I didn’t know what it was. Then I looked carefully at the numbers: 701, 702, 703, 705, 706, 707, 708, and 710. There were no 4s or 9s! No wonder it looked strange! Then I remembered that 4 and 9 are unlucky numbers in Japan. “Shi”, one reading of 4, can also mean “death.” “Ku,” one reading of 9, can mean “pain.” No one wants to think about death or pain, especially not in a hospital!   (124 words)