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  • Reply to: Lifehacker site tackles the modern "Kaizen"   3 years 5 months ago

    On the topic of kaizen, I've seen a few mentions here and there pointing out that the word "kaizen" (maening the way it's used in every day use in Japan) doesn't necessarily have a different meaning from "improvement" in English. So maybe the misunderstanding is startig to go away.

  • Reply to: Debunked: "OMG Japanese has three writing systems!"   3 years 5 months ago

    I'm glad you mention italics, as I've long considered the same thing myself. Just as you say: Italics and katakana are of course not the same thing, but there is a really interesting parallel to be drawn: Both are visually distinct from, but clearly related to, the "normal" set of characters (hiragana in Japanese), and both can be used for emphasis or to distinguish foreign words. In a language like English, italics play a rather katakana-ish role!

    The similarities only go so far; for example, in English, the use of italics for foreign words seems rather optional, while the use of katakana for foreign words is quite standardized. And needless to say, katakana go much farther than italics in differing from their source characters' forms. Still, it's an interesting comparison to make!

  • Reply to: Debunked: "Crisis = Danger + Opportunity"   3 years 5 months ago

    Thanks for that! I know there are so many more out there, so will keep my eyes open too...

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   3 years 5 months ago

    "Actually, there are at least three separate writing systems in use in Japan."

    Well, there's Japanese, of course; that's the main one. And there's plenty of English publishing, correspondence, etc. going on all the time in Japan, so English is certainly another commonly-used writing system. Beyond that...

    Well, certainly, at any given time, somewhere in Japan, some persons are reading or writing Russian or Mongolian or Urdu or what have you. There are plenty of Korean and Chinese signs in cities for tourists, pamphlets in multiple languages published by local governments for foreign residents, exotic scripts in the windows of ethnic restaurants... Yeah, there are countless writing systems in use in Japan.

    Is that what you're referring to? 

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   3 years 5 months ago


    Actually Japanese do not refer to american comics as 'manga'

    That is incorrect. People in Japan DO call American comics manga. (I'm here, and I hear it around me. Really.)

    Do I mean all people in Japan, all the time? Of course not! But plenty of people, often? Sure. 

    they refer to them as 'comics' pronounced with katakana.

    Yes, American comics may be labeled in Japan with the English-derived komikku. And non-American comics, too! Even Japanese comics!

    I just put up a post you might find interesting: A photo from a Japanese bookstore chain that clearly labels its comics/manga with komikku コミック for Japanese-reading visitors, and MANGA for other (generally foreign) visitors.

    They never called them 'manga'

    Incorrect. For a simple lesson, just look at the Japanese Wikipedia page for 漫画. (Though I don't know whether you read Japanese; I'm guessing not.)

    and even refer to 'japanese manga' as 'comics'

    Yes, this is correct. That's the gist of the new post I mention above.

    Plus, you said 'using chinese characters' - japanese is based on japanese-modified-chinese characters -only with a few arrangements.

    Your meaning is not clear. If you're referring to differences beween Chinese characters used in Japan and Chinese characters used in China: Yes, they often differ in appearance and even meaning. But by no means always. A huge number of Chinese characters used in Japan remain identical to the original Chinese characters (or at least to the Traditional Chinese version, if not the newer Simplified Chinese).

    You aren't japanese,I can tell.

    You are magical.

    All japanese characters differ

    ?? If you mean "All Chinese characters used in Japan have been visually modified from the Chinese original", that would be very incorrect. 

    and the ones for manga are both arranged.


    Anime was first created by japanese carved in stone and then in flipbooks.

    ???? Is that the schnapps talking?

  • Reply to: Debunked: The uniquely Japanese "shou ga nai"   3 years 5 months ago

    You must be talking about the gay district in Shinjuku which is disappearing due to encroachment resulting from a rising property values and the ability to meet people online instead of in bars. The district is very small and will probably be gone within ten years."America is so ass backwards." At least in America you can get married. Japan has a ways to go in terms of treating gay men in particular to something beyond the Hobson's Choice of being completely closeted or being seen as "Hard Gay." The only visible gayness in the mainstream is mockery, from the scenes in Final Fantasy VII to Hard Gay. Yaoi isn't real gayness and you don't even see that in video games yet.

  • Reply to: Debunked: "OMG Japanese has three writing systems!"   3 years 6 months ago

    Think about the kind of places that English uses italics. Foreign words. Titles of greater works (books, record albums) but not lesser works (stories or songs) -- those get simple quote marks around them. Words used for emphasis. Names of vessels. Slightly archaically, technical words and terms of art. That doesn't completely line up with the use of katakana, but the style of use and the idea that there's particular context for it and there's no disaster or confusion from not doing so shows that it's not a separate writing system in English and that katakana can be thought of similarly. Just another way of writing the same thing, for particular purpose.

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   3 years 6 months ago

    Actually, there are at least three separate writing systems in use in Japan. You might want to check up on your facts before publicly reprimanding others.

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   3 years 6 months ago

    Just wanted to say two things (late as they are, given the original publishing date of this article):

    • First, thank you for writing it and providing some very interesting trivia and background on these words. My only "gripe" could only possibly be that it is way too short! I'd love to read many more such comparisons. But then, I am fascinated by language, particularly the interrelations between different languages, so perhaps my view is in the minority. Nevertheless, I stand by it.
    • And second, you have my sympathy for what appears to be a veritable plethora of people who are apparently unable to understand the difference between describing differences and stating dichotomous judgments about them (or which is better). But then (and not to descend too deeply into armchair Freudianism), I would wager such limitations say much more about those posters' own abilities to discern conversational nuance and to recognize a simple comparison for what it is, rather than the moral judgmentalism that perhaps they are all too used to falling back to in their way of perceiving human interaction. TL;DR (and sorry for what is now probably a cliched aphorism): A wiser man than me once said: It is the mark of an intelligent mind to be able to entertain an idea without necessarily agreeing with it. Of course, you did not even entertain the notion of which interpretation of the words in question was the "correct" one, so the saying might not fit perfectly... but it felt like the appropriate one to me here.

    In any case, much thanks, and I hope to find more such articles by you.  Cheers!

  • Reply to: "OMG French animated film captivates Japanese audiences!"   3 years 6 months ago

    Really great job. Loved the way you wrote the post. Hope to see more from                                                       



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