Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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Japanese diary 33 - what a difference a letter makes!
Damn you, kanji! I just tried to write "kumamoto no jishin" (熊本の地震, Kumamoto earthquake), got one letter wrong and ended up with "kuramoto no jishin" (蔵元の自信 - i.e. "self-confidence of the brewery").

Japanese is full of traps for the unwary. My other regular from earlier in my Japanese study was "henji wo arigatou" (返事をありがとう "Thank you for your reply"), which for some reason I actually wrote "henshi wo arigatou" (変死をありがとう "Thanks for the unnatural death").

Aubergines cropped up a lot in those early emails, too.

Always proofread, people!

My other regular from earlier in my Japanese study was "henji wo arigatou" (返事をありがとう "Thank you for your reply"), which for some reason I actually wrote "henshi wo arigatou" (変死をありがとう "Thanks for the unnatural death").

Well, that doesn't sound like the start of an urban legend at all.

So then "jishin" doesn't mean "earthquake"?

Oh, it does when it's written "地震", but not when it's written "自信", which is what my computer helpfully suggested (quite apart from my misspelling Kumamoto). Japanese doesn't have many phonemes compared to English, so has a particularly high number of homophones, usually written using different kanji. When you write Japanese on the computer, it will make a hilarious best guess at what you're trying to say, and (even when not mistyping) you have to make sure the kanji it's suggesting are the ones you actually want.

:D (Tones can be very misleading, too.)

:-P

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