Another karaoke favorite of mine. Known as Sukiyaki in English it was a hit in America in the 60s even though it was sung in Japanese. Lyrics here
There is a recurring theme on a lot of blogs and forums that Japanese can only be written intelligibly using kanji. They have the idea that Japanese written only in kana (or romaji) cannot hold enough information and becomes difficult to read if not unintelligible. These ideas are mistaken. Kana is perfectly suitable to represent the sounds of Japanese, and that is all writing is, a representation of spoken language.
There are two examples of kana usage in Japan that demonstrate this; braille and morse code. Continue Reading →
…as a procedure for efficient learning, it obviously has little if anything to do with reading Japanese as Japanese. Heisig’s method is a thoroughgoing technique for memorizing the equivalent of a dictionary, much as a magician might memorize the order of cards in a stacked deck – a fine trick, but not the secret to winning poker.
J Marshall Unger Ideogram University of Hawaii Press 2004 p82
In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Touhoku people are slowly rebuilding their lives. However with so much wiped out I can only guess at the difficulties facing many people. Having a small child in an evacuation centre must be especially difficult. A Japanese friend of mine sent me the following information about a project addressing a specific need in the disaster area.
I can certainly vouch for my friend and the sincerity of this project. Please consider supporting them.
In some areas, people didn’t just lose their family, friends, pets, houses and jobs, but also the assurance of feeling part of the universe. Just to see cloths from the other end of the world will remind them they haven’t been forgotten.
Send Cotton-Muslin Squares to Japan Tsunami Areas
We are sending Muslin Squares to help young mothers and mothers-to-be in the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear affected areas in Japan.
Muslin Squares are large cloths used to wipe babies’ mouths, for breastfeeding or as burp cloths. They are not traditionally used in Japan, but we know they will be extremely useful for mothers who are struggling to wash and dry clothes in the evacuation centres. We have been contacted by NPOs, supporting organizations and maternity centres that are in desperate need of supplies for clean cloths for mothers.
We have already sent more than 1,500 Muslin Squares to help, but they need many, many more. We pack two large muslin squares per bag, and send them with instructions.
Please help us to help young mothers during a very difficult time. Your donation will be used to buy Muslin Squares and to ship them to Japan.
To donate, please go to the Muslin Square Project webpage (Japanese)
For bank transfer and cheque payment, please contact email@example.com.
London Mothers’ Praying for Japan, Muslin Squares Project | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sayaka)
You can read about the Project in Japanese (or just look at pictures) at Sayaka-san’s blog
cross-posted on microblog
Some low culture and a fun song. Bodily functions seem less taboo in Japan.