"Kombanwa minna! Genki?" are one of the many phrases
webmasters love leaving
around their homepage in the blink tag. I totally agree
with Liz in her article "The
Biggest Clichè of them All" yes, using Japanese phrases all
over one's homepage
has definitely turned into a very popular cliche. And
yeah, it angers me too to
see people showing off their knowledge. Well, maybe I
don't have a right to
complain about this but here's my
Japanese-Knowledge-History: I've been studying
Japanese for two years, at a Language center on the sunny
little island of
Singapore, and there are some really high requirements to
fulfill before you can
actually begin learning the so-called "sacred language" to
anime fans. I can now
write compositions and carry out conversation and whatnot.
Anime fans out there thing
I'm lucky. I'm not. If you want to learn Japanese off the
internet, it's just impossible.
I just came back from Hiroshima. And if you go pay a visit
to the departmental store
and try communicating with the shop assistant, you're gonna
be speechless. You'll
just feel as though you don't even know the language (that
happened to me, but I
soon got adjusted thanks to my lovely senoir.) Let me tell
you what you're in for.
In Japanese there is conversational Japanese and written
somewhat a little different. There's the polite form and
plain form, masu-form,
nai-form, te-form, ta-form, i-adjective, na-adjective, to
change an adjective to a
noun take away the -i add a -sa to it etc. There's the
jidoshi and tadoshi and a long
list of the sickening pair to memorize, sentence particles
and the particle "ka" can be
used to ask a question and it can also mean "or". The
counter words (hitori, futari,
san nin, yo nin. etc) Even the first ten days of the month
are not read as numbers,
the twenty years old is not "ni jyuu sai" it's something
else! *Umi-chan pauses to catch
her breath* I'll go insane listing down everything!
There's more to Japanese than
meets the eye!!! And there are so many ways to say "but"
Doesn't it just frustrate you when you see people using
Japanese all over their webpages
like they know the language? Well, if you know the
language, you're excused. Knowing
what kawaii, minna, konnichiwa, hai, iie and a bunch of
other common words does not mean
you know Japanese. I used to harbour this thought when I
was 11. I thought I knew
Japanese just because I knew these words and knew how to
use them. Well, I got a
rude shock two years later when I finally got my wish and
took up that language.
*darn! Should have taken French instead!*
Many people have sent in emails accusing me of being some
like I do take lessons. Haha, say anything you wish but I
rarely/never use Japanese
phrases on my sweet little Planet Mermaid.
By now, my dear readers and wonderful people who frequent
my little Planet would
have realized I'm Chinese :) And what am I doing typing
this article out in English?
YES, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE I'M TRILINGUAL. Japanese is like
Chinese, some say.
They're wrong. The only similarity the two languages have
is the kanji. And
sometimes the kanji has a totally different meaning in
Chinese or it might not even
exist in Chinese (example the "to" in Tomoe Hotaru. it
doesn't exist in Chinese)
Though some Japanese words do sound like the way we
pronounce them in Chinese,
that's the cute part. Then comes words like maamaa (no
this is not Japanese for
Mama!) and kuuki (air) which are just so cute you can't
forget them ;)
I personally find English slightly easier (excuse my weird
spelling, I use British English)
compared the Japanese and Chinese and some other Asian
tongues. Like take Thai
for example, they have more alphabets than English
(well....so does Japanese).
Chinese is just totally made up of kanji, kanji and more
kanji. There's no simplified
symbol like hiragana and katakana in the language.
Well, I won't say that Japanese is the hardest language in
the world to master. All
languages are just as difficult as each other. It just
depends on the learner
Well, after this huge long-winded letter *Umi-chan hears a
snore* I hope everyone
will realize that using Japanese phrases in abundance (or
like siao like that in
pure Singaporean slang) all over one's homepage does NOT
give it a "Japanese feel" it
just irritates the visitor, and even better if the visitor
is a Japanese or someone who
knows Japanese at an intermediate level 0.o Just try not
to do this frequently and
stick to the language you intend to use for your homepage.
Comments on this article can be sent to: Umi-chan.