Know Your Picture Characters Entry #23

September 20th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 折り紙 B. 将軍 C. 大君 D. 津波 E. 俳句 F. 盆栽 G. 帝

We at the Wandering Wordsman would like to welcome back Shirley.  Let it never be said that we do not appreciate her attitude (valor is indeed the better part of discretion, at least in this game).  We also would have liked to celebrate her triumphant return, but, unfortunately, it seems like she has a little rust to knock off after her long vacation.  Her numerous guesses, while highly entertaining, were entirely wrong.  But that’s okay.  Experts in second-language acquisition have found that sometimes the best thing your students can do is to make mistakes.

This week provided an interesting variety of viewpoints on character A.  Shirley saw it and reeled in terror.  Dragon, on the other hand, perceived it as simple math.  Theoman thought it looked like folded paper, which is exactly what it is: origami.  Also interesting to note is a fact that I think most of you did not realize, which is that the second character is not a kanji.  The ri in origami is a hiragana character, and it means only that: the sound ri.  Knowing your picture characters is key, but it takes more than that to be able to read Japanese.

B was the only completely ignored item on the list this time, and I don’t think it was particularly wise of you to snub the shogun like that.  On the other hand, the tycoon (or taikun) received plenty of attention.  This was a word used to describe the most powerful man in Japan before they borrowed the Chinese idea of calling him an Emperor, though I believe most people think the alternate pronunciation of ookimi was more commonly used.  And I’m sure he would have appreciated being compared to poetry, as Shirley did.

D is our tsunami, and if you want a way to remember that, you can say that the two characters are images of water (left side) falling against buildings (right side).  Shirley was closest in her attempted identification of E, but she mixed her visual arts up with her written ones: it is not the simple grace of folded paper but the simple grace of the three-line haiku.  I agree that F has a lot going on, and it does almost call to mind the topsy-turvydom of an operetta at the Savoy, but it is, in fact, bonsai (all those little branches needing to be trimmed, I suppose).  Which leaves us with, last but not least, G as the mikado.  He was a little upset at first that no one guessed him, and also that someone thought he looked like a miniature tree, but we talked it over and decided to let the punishment fit the crime: those people who failed to figure out the correct answer will be forced to continue participating in the game week after week after week.

This week’s punishment will be geography, specifically, islands of Japan.  For those of you not familiar with the layout of Japan, it consists of way too many islands to list them all here, so we’re only going to be working with five of the better known ones: Honshu, the big one; Hokkaido, the one up north; Kyushu, the one down south; Shikoku, the one that’s all tucked away down there; and Okinawa, the one that’s far away from all the rest.  Since I believe all of my readers have met at least one person from Shikoku, I’ll have you try to find that one.  (Quick reminder to those with insider information: let other people have a chance to guess before you jump in).

A. 沖縄 B. 九州 C. 四国 D. 北海道 E. 本州

Posted in Know Your Picture Characters | 3 Comments »

3 Responses

  1. Dragon Says:

    Well, B and E appear to have a character in common. However, Shikoku doesn’t seem to have syllables in common with the others, and syllables are the only way I know to judge similarity, so I’m going to say that it isn’t B or E. I guess I’m going to go with C, because…uh…Shikoku is all tucked away “down there,” and the characters in C are all tucked away IN BOXES. I hate geography.

  2. Shirley Says:

    I googled a map of Shikoku from a poster put out to show tourists why they should tour there (tho it doesn’t make it look very attractive.) The island is ringed with 88 temples. I assume that if tourists are to be enticed by this, the temples are ancient. I don’t know when these characters were created,They must be ancient, too but hopefully don’t predate the temples. The box enclosed in A. could indicate something ringing the island that is enclosed in the box. Temples! (even though that line through the box suggests something is in the middle which certainly doesn’t show up on the map.) Also, the island-box is surrounded on both sides and at the top, showing that it is “tucked away”. Other than that, I can’t find any other clues, though I tried hard to think of something for B because I liked it. It is so pretty. Couldn’t,sadly. So A. it is.

  3. TheomanZero Says:

    Okay, I think it’s safe for me to go now. It’s a good thing you suggested I hold back (that was directed at me, right?) because I’m pretty sure I can sweep the board this time.
    All right. B & E have the same second character, and there are two islands that end in “shu”. I recognize the first character of E and know it can be pronounced “hon”, and the first character of B is the number nine, which is pronounced “kyu”. I also recognize the number 4 (which can be pronounced “shi”) and “country” (pronounced “koku”) in C. I’m not as certain about A and D, but Hokkaido is “the one up north”, and I’m pretty sure that the first character in D is “north”.
    So, A: Okinawa, B: Kyushu, C: Shikoku, D: Hokkaido, and E: Honshu.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.