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  • Reply to: Debunked: "kaizen = Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement"   3 years 8 months ago

    Loved your article and your responses to readers' comments.Thanks for the information.And I'm amazed that this article keeps getting comments after 6 years it's been written. Congrats! :) 

  • Reply to: Debunked: "Crisis = Danger + Opportunity"   3 years 8 months ago

    In the British tv series 'Being Human', the ghost character says that crisis & opportunity are one in Chinese. Season 2, episode 2.

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   3 years 9 months ago

    Actually Japanese do not refer to american comics as 'manga' they refer to them as 'comics' pronounced with katakana. They never called them 'manga' and even refer to 'japanese manga' as 'comics' Plus, you said 'using chinese characters' - japanese is based on japanese-modified-chinese characters -only with a few arrangements. You aren't japanese,I can tell. All japanese characters differ and the ones for manga are both arranged. Anime was first created by japanese carved in stone and then in flipbooks.

  • Reply to: What's easy about learning Japanese   4 years 1 month ago

    You are completely right about that. "They" first started grating on me some years ago, and I initially assumed it was a new abasement of language... but then I began noticing it in works written decades ago. And while I haven't seen it myself (yet) in works hundreds of years ago, I've seen several sources pointing out what you noted: that none less than Shakespeare and Chaucer indulged in the same usage.

    I'd forgotten my little (incorrect) comment on the matter; thanks for reminding me! I'll update it.

    (But on the personal preference front: I fear that the singular "they" will always sound idiotic to my ear. I'll stick with he/she, or constructions that require no pronoun at all, rather than follow Shakespeare's philistine lead on this one. : )

  • Reply to: What's easy about learning Japanese   4 years 1 month ago

    The singular they is not modern; Shakespeare and Chaucer used it, and it is only subjectively ugly. Even if you do find it ugly, it is far nicer than 'he/she'.

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   4 years 1 month ago

    This seems like its an older article. I just wanted to say its nice seeing the "otherside" so to say. I think the problem is, and its probably the same in Japan when it comes to western culture/ideas, words take on their own meaning. I love comics (I am probably what is considered an otaku). To me, if I was asked, I would make the distinction too. English is just that way in my opinion though. Comic Strip is different than a Comic Book. In turn Manga is still different than both of those. The same thing with anime and cartoon. Most of the time when a japanese anime comes out it has a story line aka a plot and character depth. I noticed that even if the anime is from America, if it has these things its considered an anime. A cartoon on the other hand are shorts. When the cartoon ends everything starts over. There is no development or growth.Then again I am a cutlural anthropologist so maybe I am looking to far into it. To me at least these conotations mark the differences. I think something similar for Japan and Korea would be certian television shows. I find it amusing when watching a live action (why are they called this by the way?) or drama of any kind from Japan or Korea they add english words very randomly. One example is there were a group of people who were super happy and out of nowhere they say 'Jesus Christ'. For no reason. The use of ebonics seems popular now too....and its hardly ever used correctly. Not a big deal just seems silly and makes us giggle when we hear it. I remember I was watching something and instead of "I'm the Dawg" they kept saying "I am a dog". Two very different meanings. I just find it fasinating the differences words can take in meaning when they are adopted into other cultures. :D

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   4 years 3 months ago

    Thanks for the interesting insights. I'm not necessarily poking fun at those who want to describe certain works as "anime / manga" instead of "cartoons / comics". I think there's some illogic in wanting to draw that distinction – but I'll be the last to say that logic needs to be the iron rule in how we categorize or otherwise discuss artwork! Humans categorize, even if in ways that can be pretty arbitrary (such as the "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it..." sentiment that seems to be at work here). I appreciate your shedding some more light on such messy human behaviors. : )

    Let me add a little more detail on why I personally tend to shun this "comics vs manga" distinction: it's largely borne from respect for the art form! Specifically: I'm not a big comics nerd (otaku if you will : ); the true fans at a comics conventions would mock my non-expert knowledge. But I have a real comics nerd or two in the family, was able to indulge all I wanted in American comics while growing up, and gained more knowledge of many DC, Marvel, and indie titles than the average person holds. Along with genuine appreciation for some of the great story tellers and artists.

    The result: I dislike the memes "[American] comics are only for children" and "American comics are just superhero stuff" because those claims aren't true. There's far more non-superhero variety in those comics than people realize, and – in what really shouldn't at all be surprising, given that commercial titles are created by adults – there's plenty of material with adult-appropriate themes, sensibilities, and complexity. Comics – including American comics – can and do address any sort of content, for audiences of any age.

    So, how should we respond to the incorrect prejudice that says "Comic books are all men-in-tights stuff for juveniles"? My preference is that we directly correct the misinformation: "No, that's not true. Take a look at this comic book right here in my hand..." This seems sensible, right? But what's odd to me is that many comics fans seem to prefer another response. They know that the comic book they hold in hand is quality, adult material, but instead of just saying so, they respond with: "Uh, yeah, comic books are for kids. But this isn't a comic book. It's a graphic novel." Or: "This is a manga. Not a silly comic book! Like I'd read one of those!"

    This response strikes me as somewhat sad. It gives a mistaken prejuduce free rein, and lets misinformed people define word use within an art form they know little about.

    That's one reason why I like to use "comic book" instead of "manga": I want to rescue the term "comic book" from the ghetto some would place it in, and correctly let people know that a comic book can be anything: simple or complex, funny or serious, child- or adult-oriented. Just like any other form of art or publishing!

    None of which addresses whether comics originating in Japan tend to have more adult-oriented depth (that may certainly be the case!), or other matters concerning works in Japan vs America vs wherever. I only want to say that I have too much respect for the art form of comics (including, of course, the many great ones from Japan that you noted!) to let misinformed people define the word as something negative. Let's show the world the true amazing diversity and depth of comics, comic books, and cartoons, from wherever in the world they may hail, and respectfully hold those names up high!

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   4 years 3 months ago

    Hello. I think we're probably quite in agreement: as I note at the start of the article, if speakers of English want to define some Japanese-derived word like Anime in a way not used in Japan, that's just fine. It's a new English word (or at least, a new English word used among some limited group of people). If I'm correcting anything, it's not this use of the new English word Anime (which isn't "wrong" any more than any other word is); I only correct a misconception that some people may have that the Japanese word anime means the same thing.

    In shorter words: I only point out that Anime (new English word) and anime (older Japanese word) aren't quite the same thing. It's a bit of linguistic trivia, that's all.

    So along those lines, I'd pick a quibble with the following:

    The Japanese may feel that Popeye the Sailor Man is an example of Anime. A quick comparison of a Fliescher cartoon and Kimba the White Lion is enough to dispell that notion.

    Well, if speakers of Japanese define anime as inclusive of both Kimba and Popeye, then their use of anime for both is correct; no notion gets dispelled for them. At the same time, if you wish to define a new word English word Anime that includes one of those cartoons and excludes the other, that's fine too; if using that word, then yes, the above notion gets dispelled for you. 

    But I think that's all clear in the article, and I'm repeating myself. Thanks for the insight into fans' acceptance of a new word.

    (Incidentally, the first Japanese cartoon that I saw was also Star Blazers : ) And, yes, I clearly recognized that the style of art was something different from what I was used to seeing. I'm still happy calling it "cartoon" instead of "Anime", but I'm not going to jump on people who do the latter!)

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   4 years 3 months ago

    You mean the Japanese word anime, as used in Japanese? If so, the Q&A is simple:

    Q. Since when is Popeye considered anime?

    A. Since Popeye was first seen by a speaker of Japanese, who thought – correctly – "Ah, it's anime."

    And so it's been ever since, right up to today. Popeye? Anime? Well, live-action Robin Williams Popeye, no; cartoon Popeye, yes!

  • Reply to: "Did I mention what kind of sword it is?"   4 years 3 months ago

    Yeah, I figure it's all about the SEO – gotta get all the words in there!



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