Know Your Picture Characters Entry #28

October 25th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 大阪 B. 京都 C. 神戸 D. 東京 E. 名古屋 F. 福岡

First off, to respond to Dragon’s persistent rice fixation: yes, the concept of sushi refers more specifically to the preparation of the rice.  You can have sushi without the raw fish.  People over here just tend to fixate on the raw fish because, well, it’s raw fish.  Also, delicious.

But now we have bigger fish to, um, not fry.  With typical quickness, Dragon leapt right out at B, identifying it as . . . well, we’re not sure.  The challenge for this week, as you may recall, was to identify either Tokyo or Kyoto, to which Dragon responded, “It’s B.”  Presumably if a waiter in a sushi restaurant were to ask her if she preferred tuna or salmon, she would respond “Yes.”  Lacking further clarification, we at the Wandering Wordsman are forced to assume that she believed that the characters in B represent both Tokyo and Kyoto.

And she is right . . . to a certain extent.  As Shirley discovered accidentally, B is in fact Kyoto (we would accuse her of cheating, but then again she was able to look at a map of Shikoku without stumbling on the answer, so I guess we can’t fault her too much).  The two kanji in Kyoto can both mean “capital city” on their own, which certainly applies to Tokyo as well.  However, together they function only as a proper noun.  Tokyo is hiding out at D, the land of windy days blowing away people’s hats, as A Fan astutely noted.  The person on the right, a tourist unaware of the city’s blusteriness, watches in stunned horror as his precious beret flies upward.  The guy on the left is a Tokyoite, born and raised, and he has taken the common precaution of nailing his hat to his head to prevent catastrophe.  Or, if you want to be technical, it just means “Eastern Capital.”

Theoman, of course, claims to have known all of this already, and also that A is Osaka, the city of the “large slope.”  But we can forgive him for all of his illicit knowledge, because he chose a strategy much more appropriate to KYPC in making his own guess; he picked F because, “the second character in C looks funny to me.”  Fukuoka, as we all know, is an extremely serious place, whose people would not dare associate with a silly character the likes of which is to be found in C.  Or perhaps he did it because F is the first letter in Fukuoka, and he thought that it was not impossible for someone to refer to the city by the first letter of its name (when written with the English alphabet).  Either way, he is correct.  Fukuoka is indeed F City, the “hill of good fortune.”  That wacky place between Kyoto and Tokyo is the home of really expensive beef, Kobe.  The character that tickled Theoman so thoroughly represents one of the funniest objects in the history of the human experience: a door.  I’m barely able to stay upright myself, just thinking about it.  The other kanji in Kobe refers to gods or spirits.

Oh yeah, and E is Nagoya.  Nobody likes Nagoya.

Now it’s time to shift away from geography to history.  Japanese history is divided into periods that are almost always named for where the seat of government was at the time (so I guess it’s still kind of geography after all).  Here we have six of the major eras: the Jomon period (approx. 14,000-300 BC), the Nara period (710-794 AD), the Heian period (794-1185), the Kamakura period (approx. 1185-1333), the Muromachi period (approx. 1336-1573), and the Edo period (approx. 1603-1868).  And I’m not going to write “period” every time because that’s just silly.  Splitting up the tasks seemed to work well last week, so we’ll try it again.  Theoman can try to find Kamakura, when Japan’s first shogunate rose to power.  Everyone else can work their way back to Edo, the era of Japan’s last shogunate.

A. 江戸 B. 鎌倉 C. 縄文 D. 奈良 E. 平安 F. 室町

Posted in Know Your Picture Characters | 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. Dragon Says:

    Oh, dang. I was actually right, I just apparently forgot to write it down.

    Did nothing happen between 300 BC and 710 AD? Anyway, I’m going with A, because the characters are simplest and Edo has the fewest syllables. Except for Nara. But my point still stands.

  2. TheomanZero Says:

    Hmm . . . I recognize the first character in E . . . I believe it means “half”. Furthermore, I know that “kamatari” means “scythe”, and I believe that the sound “kama” is related to cutting things (in half?). Based on this, I’m saying that the first character in E is “kama”, and E is Kamakura.

  3. A Fan Says:

    F., because they are listed in order, and also because the dark object just to the left of the “T” symbol is a train (hence, the “T,” as Japan began to Westernize and copy the Boston mass transit system before Boston even had one).

    Anyway, none of those old ones would have had any use for a train, since they lacked train tracks.

    So F.

  4. Shirley Says:

    Hey, don’t I get points for naming the right kanji but being honest about it? I could have kept quiet about seeing the kanji for Kyoto, you know.

    Now about Edo. I know it is the old name for Tokyo and WW says that the historic periods are usually named for the location of government, so shouldn’t there be an historic period for Tokyo? I seem to remember that Japan was involved in a little history after 1868. Or do they wait until it is over? As I remember my history it seems to me that there has been a break in the way Japan’s government functions after WW11. A different emperor with less power. Am I wrong? I’m guessing E. for Edo because Edo has only 2 characters, as do A.,which looks more archaic,and D, which looks more, um, I don’t know, but E looks newer and Edo is the latest.

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