December 26, 2010 | Japanese
Japanese writing sometimes looks like little animals and smiley faces.
Today was a blizzard. Blizzards are good for studying.
While practicing the Japanese syllabaries at Café Margot, I met a Japanese man who is here on a short-term rotation with his employer, a large financial firm. I am finding that I suddenly cross paths with Japanese people all the time. Meaning I must have been crossing paths with them all the time before, too, but just didn’t recognize what language they were speaking.
Some of the Japanese hiragana and katakana symbols are really very cute. If they were familiar to me, they might actually look like syllables. Since they are not familiar to me, they often look like little pictures, kind of in the way I perceive faces of animals and people in the random patterns of our bathroom tile.
For example, the hiragana symbol for re makes me think of an elephant. There is another hiragana symbol, for me, that resembles a bunny.
Hiragana Re, an Elephant Trunk
Hiragana Me, a Bunny
The hiragana symbol for fu looks to me like a small explosion. And the katakana symbol for tsu is a happy face peering mischievously out from the words in which it appears.
Hiragana Fu, Exploding Symbol
Katakana Tsu, Smiling
Snow started falling harder during the afternoon. I studied.
One thing I learned is that in Japan, requesting a hanbaagaa will get you a hamburger with a bun, but say hanbaagu by mistake and your order will show up bunless. So don’t mess up that final vowel if you are inflexible on questions of hamburger design.
The Blizzard of 2010, Underway
Snow Piles Growing