Remember when you used to go to the seaside when you were young and went to those crappy gift shops. They would all have postcards or keyrings with your name on it and the meaning behind it. All of them would be very complimentary but I always had a sneaking suspicion they were made up.
Well, all Japanese names are written in kanji. Each kanji character has its own, possibly multiple, reading and meaning. That means that while this leads to difficulties when reading unusual names, it does mean that most names mean something and it is not just made up by some card company. For example Hanako (花子) means flower child and Yoshiro (義郎) means righteous son.
Unfortunately foreigners, or at least those who aren’t Chinese, can’t get in on the act straight away. For foreign words Japanese uses katakana which means that names have no double meaning. However it is possible to look up the readings of kanji to find the kanji for your name. Another Shane teacher did just that a while ago and found 功俐主 (Chris) which means successful intelligent master. Which is very flattering, I guess.
Not wanting to be left out I went and found out what my kanji name could be and eventually came up with this:
or Sun Country (Hicoku) Lucky Win (Shioun)
That’ll do me.
Although I did find out that I could also use 暑怨 (hot grudge) for Shaun. Is that cooler?
A short time ago I discovered a fascinating thing. It is a discovery that perhaps shows the key cultural difference between the Japanese and the British. While Japan has a tradition of respect and honour, Britain has a history of mocking those in authority. While in Japan people are always scared of saying the wrong thing, British people love a cheeky chappy. In Japan, people stick in groups, while the British admire the underdog who strikes out on his own.
Yes, I am of course referring to the fact that Japanese people can’t blow raspberries. Now, I’m not saying that it is not possible for them to, it’s just that they’ve never really tried. Within a few minutes training, a satisfying raspberry can be produced. However only after a few rather flemmy false starts.
I wonder why Japanese culture never demanded people to make this sound, maybe toilet humour isn’t as popular here as in other countries. Do they not know the great therapeutic qualities in going “fffllbbbblblblblblppph”? Anybody have any theories? Are there any sociologists reading this?
If it wasn’t for the raspberry we wouldn’t have had the late, great Spike Milligan writing sketches like this:
You may have noticed that I have been posting on this site a lot less recently, this is mainly because Street Fighter 4 has finally been released and I have spent much of my free time over the last 2 weeks playing it.
It’s so much better to be able to play it away from the arcade, the average arcade player here seems to be crazy good at whatever their game of choice is. So it is great to be able to play against other mere humans on Xbox Live.
With the release of Street Fighter 4 some strange marketing campaigns have begun. Walking around town the other day, looking for a bite to eat, I came upon a Chinese restaurant and I noticed SF4 posters all over it. Intrigued I ventured in and found they were serving Street Fighter themed meals.
Quite what SF has to do with Chinese food I have no idea but being a Cammy player I had to order Cammy’s Won’t Lose Meal! Beef and Green Onion Black Pepper Fried Rice. It was indeed peppery and not that great. However I didn’t have much to choose from really, the selections on the menu were:
El Fuerte’s Miracle Pork and Bamboo Amazu Stir Fry
Honda’s “Chanko de Kowasu!” Beef and Bamboo Jirosoba
Infused with Rose’s Power! Clam and Garlic Yakisoba
Ryu Goes Straight at it! Stamina Liver and Nira noodles
Ken’s beloved wife’s food! Pork and Takana Ankake Rice
Apparently I should have got some trading cards with my meal but they didn’t bother to tell me about this, so I stole the SF branded menu instead. That’ll teach ‘em.