Wednesday, February 02, 2011



I find myself grinding my teeth every time I come across an article about Japan in mainstream western publications, because they are so concerned about translating every little part of the word and getting it all wrong.

I was reading an article about Japanese food (link is unimportant) and it was talking about hachinoko, which is basically just wasp larvae.
 The word for "wasp" is "suzume-bachi", and the word for "bee" is "hachi".
The article in question broke down "suzume-bachi" into its two components--swallow, and bee--and then made the claim that Japanese makes no distinction between bees and wasps.

this is dumb and you are dumb and you should turn in your press pass to me so i can start writing articles about how much of a dummy dumb dumb you are

Suzumebachi is wasp. Hachi is bee. A cursory glance at a dictionary or even Wikipedia is enough to clear this up, and Japanese people don't show apprehension when you mention hachis, but they will when you mention suzumebachis, specifically the species Osuzumebachi, because the huge crazy kind actually kill quite a few people every year.

By breaking down the Japanese language like this, so finely and so literally, it gives a further distance and further exoticism to the language that isn't there.

In short, this is not how language works.
An example in English: No one confuses that a lion and an ant lion are two different creatures. Or any of the other dozens of animals named after other animals.

I may do more of this, because I grow more cantankerous by the month. D:

Why I am no longer a Famous Celebrity Blogger


I was hanging out with Tenten and Taku last night and they asked why I' d started a new blog. As we were talking about the process with Ameba (which is kind of convoluted), your representative management has to apply for Special Celebrity Blogger Status, and I guess when Front Mission turned in the applications for Taku's blog, Ameba people must have figured that I didn't need a blog anymore. Or something? It's not really a big deal. It all went down as I was in America and there really wasn't a way to get a hold of me in a jiffy, and I guess no one realized the implications. But everything's okay now, and I'm blorgin' and bloogin' away (i.e. i have written one post)!