Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 52674
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2021/10/17 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
10/17   

2009/3/4-6 [Politics/Foreign/Asia/Japan, Reference/History/WW2/Japan] UID:52674 Activity:moderate
3/4     Apparently reading Japanese is hard, even for the Japanese:
        http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090304/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_reading_japanese
        \_ Well, yeah.  Japan has the most BS writing system ever developed.
           It's managed to get all the detriments of both pictoral and phonetic
           writing, with none of the benefits of either.  This for a language
           that, phonetically, can fit within a subset of the latin characters.
           \_ Thank you. I was going to post something like this, but figured
              I'd get skewered what with the Asianphiles on soda. Sometimes you
              have to disregard culture and admit someone else came up with a
              better idea. This is true of chopsticks, too, but I know that
              will be an even more controversial issue than the language.
              \_ Ah, the Asianphiles are a problem in this case.  We have a
              \_ Ah, the Asianphiles are not a problem in this case.  We have a
                 couple of pro-chinese and a pro-Korea guy, but China and Korea
                 hate Japan.  So, no problem there.
              \_ you can do much more with chopsticks than a fork.  You are a twit.
                 \_ true, chopsticks>>fork, but they aren't so good for cutting
                    fork+knife is a great combo. Chopsticks are good for
                    noodles, salad, small pieces of meat, etc, but not so
                    good for an uncut piece of steak or a half chicken.
                        \_ further evidence of the superiority of chopsticks.
                           designed to support a society where everyone carries
                           blades intended to kill people.  The craftsmanship
                           of food is taken more seriously as evreything is
                           is cut into pieces designed for eating.  Surely you
                           must know this.  Barbarian culture is not something
                           to be proud of.
                           \_ So Chinaman, are you pro-China unification as well?
                           \_ Chopsticks kind of lost their appeal to me, after
                              I was eating with a native-born Chinese guy who
                              said to me after I asked him why he asked for
                              a fork in a Chinese restauraunt, "Why would I
                              want to use chopsticks?  A fork is better and
                              easier."  And most of the time, it is.
                  \_ Actually, chopsticks are very limiting. While you have
                     more precise control, you can pretty much only eat
                     one item at a time. If I want to have avocado,
                     lettuce, and a slice of tomato then I can do that
                     with my fork but with chopsticks I have to hunt for
                     each item one at a time. Also, chopsticks are
                     terrible for foods like pies and cakes. There are
                     probably other examples, too. I think there are some
                     things forks can do that chopsticks cannot do and
                     vice-versa, but overall the fork is a more versatile
                     tool unless your food consists solely of little bitty
                     pieces of pre-cut food that you want to eat individually.
                     \_ I nominate this for "most pointless MOTD debate of
                        all time."  -tom
                        \_ Surely the Great Camera Lens Debate of 2008/2009
                           is more pointless.
           \_ There was a time when Japanese uses Chinese Han character 80% of
              the time.  I thought it's at least better than the mix-mush they
              got today.  Then again, I am biased because I am a Chinese
              myself.  And just give you an idea how relatively recent has
              Japanese abandoned Chinese characters... I was able to read and
              comprehend World War 2 Japanese machinegun manual, and be able
              read and comprehend 90% of news paper headlines back in the day.
              \_ and now, you can't read a new Japanese machinegun manual?
                 \_ and that is due to percentage of Han Characters in modern
                    Japanese writing is a lot smaller... something like less
                    than 20%.
2021/10/17 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
10/17   

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news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090304/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_reading_japanese
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso checks after writing calligraphy reading AP - Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso checks after writing calligraphy reading 'Reassurance and Energy' at ... TOKYO - Reading Japanese isn't easy -- even for the Japanese. He's made so many public blunders that an opposition lawmaker tried to give him a reading test during a televised session of parliament. The Japanese leader bungled the word for "frequent," calling Japan-China exchanges "cumbersome" instead. Another time, he misread the word "toshu" (follow), saying "fushu" -- or stench -- and sounded as if he were saying government policy "stinks." While the media and Aso's political rivals have been quick to heap ridicule, many Japanese have seen a bit more of themselves in Aso's goofs than they would like to admit. Since his missteps, books designed to improve reading ability have become all the rage. Aso's nemesis is his mother tongue's notoriously tricky mishmash of Chinese characters and its two sets of indigenous syllabaries. Just reading the newspaper requires knowledge of about 2,000 characters. Most characters have several different pronunciations depending on the context. For instance, the two characters in the prime minister's surname can be read several ways. The first character, which means linen, is pronounced "asa" or "ma." The second -- meaning life, raw, or to occur or grow -- can be pronounced "nama," "sei," "sho," or "ki," to list just a few possibilities. During last month's televised parliament session, opposition lawmaker Hajime Ishii chided Aso for his stumbles, saying: "We'd better discuss Chinese characters." Then holding up a cardboard panel with a list of a dozen words, he asked: "Can you handle them?" Aso refused to take the impromptu test, but Ishii didn't back down. "Today, those who can't read Chinese characters are scoffed at, and people are rushing to buy textbooks," he said. One titled, "Chinese Characters that Look Readable but are Easily Misread," released a year ago, has sold more than 800,000 copies -- most of them since Aso's mistakes first got national attention in November, said Yukiko Sakita, a spokeswoman for Futami Shobo Publishing Co. "As far as the book ranking is concerned, Mr Aso beat Mr Obama." Gossip magazines have compiled lists of words Aso has misread and blamed the prime minister's love of comic books, or "manga," for his weakness. At a school in Aso's hometown, Fukuoka, children who make reading mistakes are called "little Taros." Aso's gaffe over Japan's relationship with China occurred in a speech in November, when instead of saying the countries' exchanges were "hinpan," or frequent, he proclaimed them "hanzatsu," or cumbersome. His most embarrassing stumble, however, was over the word "unprecedented," which takes three Chinese characters to write. He read the third character incorrectly, saying "mee-zoh-you" instead of "mee-zoh" -- such a basic mistake that it would turn a high school kid's face red. Aso may be trying too hard, said Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano, respected statesman and grandson of a renowned poet. "Some people just fall deeper into trouble the harder they try," he said. Some pundits have acknowledged Aso isn't alone in the struggle with the written word. "It's not just Aso," columnist Kenichiro Horii wrote in a recent issue of the Weekly Bunshun magazine. "I feel awkward ridiculing someone else's reading mistakes. According to a 2007 government survey, one-fifth of Japanese 16 or older often encounter Chinese characters they cannot read, while one-third have trouble writing them without looking them up. Nearly half said they still need to master the 2,000 characters considered necessary for daily life. "Japanese is difficult," the best-selling primer on reading said. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends a graduation ceremony at an air force academy near Khartoum, Sudan, Wednesday, March 4, 2009. Sudan denounced an international tribunal that issued an arrest warrant against its president Wednesday on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, calling it a 'white man's court' that aims to destabilize the country. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.