Monday, November 28, 2005

Japan: Hiroshima 9 - Language

We've been taking Japanese lessons since before we moved here. Japanese is made up of 3 different forms of writing. The joys! First there is Hiragana which is roughly 100 combinations of vowels and consonants. Then there is Katagana which sounds exactly like Hiragana, but uses different symbols. I have no idea why. Lance claims there is a conspiracy to confuse foreigners. Katagana is mainly used to distinguish foreign words that the Japanese have adopted like ice-cream or even our names in Japanese. Lastly there is Kanji, which are chinese characters. Lucky for us, they mix these 3 forms of writing together. It is a slow learning process to say the least, and everything sounds the same.

Side note: My favorite word is reizoko. I told Lance if we get a Japanese pet I'd want to name it reizoko. It means refridgerator. We could call it zoko for fridge.

Many people can understand a little bit of English and when paired w/our spastic hand gestures, it goes a long way. So it works pretty well. Some restaurants have an English menu when asked. Incidentally, Lance went to a restaurant where someone had translated it into English for them. One of the items was chicken a**holes. Either the translator was trying to be funny, or he had no idea what it was and made it up. To my knowledge, the only chicken a**holes that exist are the chicken rings from White Castle.