Please Call Me Hararie
August 6, 2009 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Japanese Element Symbols is an introduction for non-Japanese to the Japanese language through Kanji symbols, its alphabet, elements of Japan's culture, and what to expect on the culinary front.
posted by netbros (11 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, this is an impressive site.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:39 AM on August 6, 2009

Check out this page on The Gay of Kanji Symbols. It's all kinds of awesome.

Is she seriously suggesting 同性愛者 or 薔薇族 as a tattoo?
posted by sour cream at 10:46 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Excellent! I have been flirting with a girl at the grocery store by exchanging interesting Japanese expressions and I ran out after gyoku-paka and norokeru — this will be a big help!
posted by nicwolff at 11:31 AM on August 6, 2009

Wow...her level of detail is impressive. I'll have to show this site to my wife, who will enjoy it very much.
posted by mrmojoflying at 12:25 PM on August 6, 2009

Hararie's probably-totally-innocent statement "I am a pure Japanese" rubs me the wrong way.

Yeah, me too - it's a disappointing discovery. But the site's merits far outweigh that statement, except, of course, for her unforgivable enabling and encouragement of clueless non-Japanese-speaking folks to tattoo ridiculous kanji characters onto their bodies.

For those of you looking for a more indepth discussion about kanji and language, MetaFilter's own No-sword has an awesome blog that is truly best of the web.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:30 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, "Pure Japanese", what does that mean? How does she qualify that?
posted by dibblda at 12:30 PM on August 6, 2009

The 'pure Japanese' thing may be just an unfortunate mis-translation. I'd like to think she means that both of her parents are Japanese as opposed to people like me who are mere halfbreed Japanese. I, for one, am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.
posted by madokachan at 2:09 PM on August 6, 2009

I think that by 'pure Japanese', she is translating the phrase 純日本人 (jun nihonjin), which would be better translated perhaps as 100% Japanese all-Japanese, or (as madokachan says) Japanese on both sides. (The kanji 純 does mean 'pure'.) I'm not sure why she wanted to emphasize that she is all-Japanese - I can only speculate that perhaps she wanted to reassure people that she is a 'real' Japanese person vs. a non-Japanese person interpreting Japanese culture for the reader, or something. I'm all-Japanese too but I would never use that phrase myself. But then I've lived in the west long enough to know how claiming one is a 'pure' race anything is a minefield.

Re Japanese (or Chinese) people telling unsuspecting non-speakers funny kanji to use as tattoos or on t-shirts: A few months ago, I was at a Swiss local government office, dealing with the most dense, inflexible, to-the-letter official ever. I was really ready to strangle her for her inflexibility (the issue got resolved in the way I wanted after a simple call to her supervisor later). Anywho, in the middle of my getting so pissed that steam was coming out of my ears and just about reaching out to tear her hair off her head, she suddenly asks me, "Are you Japanese?" I said (thought 'duh of course I am B*****') yes I am. Whereupon, she suddenly exposes her ankle and shows me her tattoo, and asks, "Could you tell me what this character means?" It was 精神 IIRC. I was really really tempted to tell her it meant "Hi I'm Real Easy" or something like that...but I didn't. Damn.
posted by thread_makimaki at 2:29 PM on August 6, 2009

posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:48 PM on August 6, 2009

The food section is a treasure trove - "Pickled Japanese radish" is very delicious and is slightly stinking.

posted by ikahime at 8:15 PM on August 6, 2009

Oh wow. This will be super-useful. I just got the kana down, and this will probably help with the next step.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 8:36 PM on August 6, 2009

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