PDA

View Full Version : the number 4



Anthony Akin
24th June 2001, 18:48
Greetings,
Could someone explain to me why the number 4 is pronounced SHI, but changes to YON when applied to something else such as Yondan etc.?

Don Cunningham
25th June 2001, 00:49
It's superstition. The sound of the number 4 is very close to the same word for "death." The Japanese are very superstitious about this and don't like to pronounce it, so they have a "nickname" for the number 4. I still haven't figured out why the number 7, or shichi, is pronounced as "nana" in everyday usage, though. I was told that it is just a shorter, easier way to say the number when giving things like addresses or telephone numbers.

Anthony Akin
25th June 2001, 05:15
Thanks guys for answering my question. I didn't realize it was the same for other numbers as well. That's interesting. So I take it the Japanese word for "death" is also Shi?Is that right?

Best wishes.

Don Cunningham
25th June 2001, 05:33
Same pronounciation, different kanji.

Same thing with words/concepts like sei, which can be either "truth" or "sex" depending on the kanji. Not too important unless you're making up a "Asian-recognized" rank certificate and get them mixed up. Just ask Rod Sacharnoski about his Seidokan rank certificates, which was apparently supposed to have been "home of the true way" but was actually printed as "sex-house way" due to the kanji he used.

The combination of kanji is generally read as a bawdy house or bordello, so the final translation is "whorehouse style" on his Seidokan ryu dan rank certificates. Most asians are familiar enough with the language not to make such mistakes.

Anthony Akin
25th June 2001, 06:20
Thanks again Don! That story about the "whorehouse style" certificates was too funny! LOL! Hopefully no one's wives could read Kanji! That would take a lot of beggin..oh, explaining! I'm just starting with the basics of the language, so it'll be awhile before I tackle Kanji. Sounds like theres alot to know when it comes to translating and understanding Kanji.

Best wishes.

Asia
25th June 2001, 12:31
SHI is the sound of for death. The 4/shi thing is very superstitious. Giving pple things in groups of four is considered taboo. Not just in Japan but china as well because, as sited above, four shares the same sound as 'death'

Don Cunningham
25th June 2001, 14:54
Jeff posted a copy of the yudanshakai certificate created by Rod Sacharnoski. It is for 4th dan rank issued by the Juko Kai's "Kokusai Juko-Kai Shorin-Ryu Karate Renmai" and available on Jeff's <a href="http://www.geocities.com/bolerjp/" target="_top">Budo Quackwatch</a> site.

You can see the whole Juko Kai story and images of the certificate by clicking on <a href="http://www.geocities.com/bolerjp/sacharnoski.htm" target="_top">Seidokan certificate</a>.

Jeff Hamacher
26th June 2001, 02:07
Originally posted by Anthony Akin
I'm just starting with the basics of the language, so it'll be a while before I tackle Kanji. Sounds like there's a lot to know when it comes to translating and understanding Kanji.
you ain't jus' whistlin' "Dixie". still, i wouldn't put off your kanji study until sometime further down the road. get a start on the characters that are simple in form and memorize their meanings as well their various readings. if you want to get anywhere beyond an intermediate level of japanese you cannot go without kanji study. of course, if you're not that serious about japanese then you may not want to bother and save your sanity while you still have it.:laugh:

i've been studying japanese for a few years and if you'd like some study suggestions i'll gladly post them or mail them to you off-board. take care and i'll read you later.

cheers, jeff hamacher

Anthony Akin
26th June 2001, 07:56
Thanks for all the help guys it's been very informative.

To Jeff: Yes Jeff I would be very interested in some study suggestions.Thank you for offering. You could post them here or e-mail me at : anthony_akin@Hotmail.com, whichever you prefer.

I am taking my study of the language seriously...slowly...but seriously. My first priority is a basic skill in speaking and listening comprehension of Japanese, because I plan on visiting next year for training and want to make my visit as fun and less frustrating as possible, and to make the most of my training while there.


Thanks again.
Best wishes.

Don Cunningham
26th June 2001, 14:07
<blockquote>I am taking my study of the language seriously...slowly...but seriously. My first priority is a basic skill in speaking and listening comprehension of Japanese, because I plan on visiting next year for training and want to make my visit as fun and less frustrating as possible, and to make the most of my training while there.</blockquote>
Anthony,

It may seem like this is a logical way to learn the Japanese language, and it is basically the way I initially tried when visiting Japan on business many years ago. The written language looked so complex that I thought it would be easier and more practical to work on conversation skills first.

When I finally got around to learning basic kanji, though, I discovered a lot of answers to that which I had found confusing, even contradictory, in the spoken language. I am a far way from being proficient, but I would say that in hindsight that I should have started working on kanji first and let the conversation skills develop as a secondary result.

I highly recommend <em>Read Japanese Today</em> by Len Walsh (Tut Books bt Charles Tuttle Publishing, ISBN 0-8048-0496-6). It is not a comprehensive language guide, but a very short and easy-to-read paperback. I literally read it all on one of my many business flights to Japan. It is incredible how much I learned that had been hidden to me before. After that, I suggest you buy a good kanji dictionary and learn how to look up kanji by (1) radicals and (2) stroke counts. It's amazing what becomes clear once you see the kanji concepts behind the language, especially when dealing with rather arcane subjects such as traditional martial arts.

Anthony Akin
26th June 2001, 18:53
Hello Don,

Thanks for the tips, there very helpful to a newbie like me. I think I'll make a run to the local bookstore and check out that book you mentioned. I've also kicked around the idea of getting a kanji dictionary, but I've seen a few different one's and haven't really look into it to much to see what the difference is in the dictionaries available. Any suggestions?

I'm learning from an introductory CD-Rom program, the Rosetta Stone. It teaches you by associating words with pictures, like the way you learn a language as a child, and has several learning options. Because I didn't purchase the entire CD-Rom set(a little over $300) it didn't include a language book so I need one to substitute till I scrape up the change to get the whole program, but even than I think it would be good to learn from several different sources.

Could you or anyone else out there suggest a good comprehensive language book? There are so many out there I haven't narrowed it down yet to what might be a good book to start with.


Best wishes,

Jeff Hamacher
27th June 2001, 02:07
Originally posted by Don Cunningham
When I finally got around to learning basic kanji, though, I discovered a lot of answers to that which I had found confusing, even contradictory, in the spoken language. I am a far way from being proficient, but I would say that in hindsight that I should have started working on kanji first and let the conversation skills develop as a secondary result.
this is exactly what Heisig did: he memorized the meanings and forms of all the Joyo Kanji (nearly 2,000 characters) before he even tried learning the spoken language. many students of japanese today still swear by his series of kanji textbooks.

I highly recommend <em>Read Japanese Today</em> by Len Walsh ... It is not a comprehensive language guide, but a very short and easy-to-read paperback. I literally read it all on one of my many business flights to Japan. It is incredible how much I learned that had been hidden to me before. After that, I suggest you buy a good kanji dictionary and learn how to look up kanji by (1) radicals and (2) stroke counts. It's amazing what becomes clear once you see the kanji concepts behind the language, especially when dealing with rather arcane subjects such as traditional martial arts.
funny, Don, i got my start on kanji study with the same book! it is a great introduction, but you have to bear in mind a couple of things. it is a bit dated, so the forms of some characters as printed in the book are different than those used today (although you may still see the "older" versions in some places), and some of the vocabulary examples are kinda behind the times. i'm also against studying japanese from materials printed in roman characters, as this book is. i firmly believe that you should just learn the phonetic syllabary of japanese (known as "hiragana" and "katakana", or generally as "kana") and forget romanized japanese as soon as your memorization skills permit. the kana took me all of about two weeks to learn, and within a month or two i was able to consistently read and write them.

my fave kanji textbook/dictionary is Kanji in Context, published by the Japan Times, ISBN4-7890-0753-7. it's very reasonably priced in japan, but i understand it can be very expensive when bought in foreign countries; a british friend told me he found it at almost 50 pounds sterling when it costs not much more than the equivalent of 18 pounds here. it covers all of the Joyo ("Common Usage") Kanji, and thus can be used by a complete beginner as well as an advanced student. and it's learning philosophy is spot-on: much like you said Don, you must learn the relationship between kanji, vocabulary, and nuance in the context of actual use of the language.

as for a general textbook, the two leading favourites for english speakers seem to be either Japanese for Busy People (for cryin' out loud, get the kana, not the romanized versions) or my personal choice Japanese for Everyone. i've also seen another beginner/intermediate textbook series called Minna no Nihongo which is published by the 3A Corporation. it looked really good, but it's entirely in japanese so you'd probably want a teacher to help clear up points you don't understand. i have some advanced grammar books from 3A and they're fantastic, so i can at least vouch for the publisher. and even if they're pricey, get the tapes/CDs that go with the textbook, 'cuz you need listening practice.

more later, jeff hamacher

PS so much for my "i won't post this stuff" statement, eh Anthony?:D

Anthony Akin
30th June 2001, 00:20
So much for secrecy, huh Jeff!:laugh:..hehehe... That's great though. Good info should be spread to the masses;In the end it benefits us all!

Well, not only is' kanji in context' pricy, but hard to find as well. Looks like I have to track it down from a used bookstore. In the meantime I'm gonna check out the others this weekend and see what I can come across.

Thanks Jeff for the reading suggestions, there are so many books out there it's hard to tell which ones are worth the money, and especially the time.

Could someone suggest a good program I could install to read Kanji? Or an online site I could download from?


Best Wishes,

Don Cunningham
30th June 2001, 17:57
Since I am no longer working for a Japanese company and have little reason to travel to Japan nowadays, I am not an active conversational Japanese student as I used to be. I do still translate Japanese texts since so much of the historical information I am seeking in my research is only available in the native language. I have also found that I can not always rely on the translations of other authors since it is such a subjective exercise in many cases.

I've found "The Learner's Kanji Dictionary" by Wolfgang Hadamitzky and Mark Spahn to be an excellent reference book, although it took me awhile to learn the system for looking up specific kanji. Their book, "Kanji and Kana," was my first reference book, but I found the entries to be far too limited for extensive translation.

I've heard many kanji books recommended by others. My choice was based simply on economics and convenience. I bought the books cheaply before I knew too much, and later I had them on my shelf, so they were convenient. Others will disagree with me, but the main difference I've noticed in kanji dictionaries is the methodology of finding specific kanji, i.e., the book's organization, versus the actual translations. Preferences seem to be based on the organization versus the content.

If I was starting over, though, I might use Nelson's book. It is a common standard, so many others use it. Thus, the reference numbers can be used in communication where kanji is not an option. My kanji dictionaries also have reference numbers, but they are meaningless unless you also are looking at the same book.

Pick your dictionary by how easy it is to find the kanji. I spend most of my time looking for the kanji rather than considering the definition. You want a book which is organized in such a way that you can find a kanji character, especially any that are no longer standard, without too much trouble or time. I suggest you take a kanji character or two, then go to the bookstore and try to locate them in the various reference books. The one that is easiest and fastest is the one you want.

P Goldsbury
8th July 2001, 15:10
Originally posted by Don Cunningham
Since I am no longer working for a Japanese company and have little reason to travel to Japan nowadays, I am not an active conversational Japanese student as I used to be. I do still translate Japanese texts since so much of the historical information I am seeking in my research is only available in the native language. I have also found that I can not always rely on the translations of other authors since it is such a subjective exercise in many cases.

I've found "The Learner's Kanji Dictionary" by Wolfgang Hadamitzky and Mark Spahn to be an excellent reference book, although it took me awhile to learn the system for looking up specific kanji. Their book, "Kanji and Kana," was my first reference book, but I found the entries to be far too limited for extensive translation.

I've heard many kanji books recommended by others. My choice was based simply on economics and convenience. I bought the books cheaply before I knew too much, and later I had them on my shelf, so they were convenient. Others will disagree with me, but the main difference I've noticed in kanji dictionaries is the methodology of finding specific kanji, i.e., the book's organization, versus the actual translations. Preferences seem to be based on the organization versus the content.

If I was starting over, though, I might use Nelson's book. It is a common standard, so many others use it. Thus, the reference numbers can be used in communication where kanji is not an option. My kanji dictionaries also have reference numbers, but they are meaningless unless you also are looking at the same book.

Pick your dictionary by how easy it is to find the kanji. I spend most of my time looking for the kanji rather than considering the definition. You want a book which is organized in such a way that you can find a kanji character, especially any that are no longer standard, without too much trouble or time. I suggest you take a kanji character or two, then go to the bookstore and try to locate them in the various reference books. The one that is easiest and fastest is the one you want.

Mr Cunningham,

Have you looked at the larger dictionary produced by Spahn and Hadamitsky? It is called "The Kanji Dictionary" and is much more useful than the smaller version. Once you have mastered their reference system, the fact that you can find the meaning of a compound word by looking up any of the constituent characters makes the book much more useful than Nelson, even the revised Nelson with its new 'universal radical index'.

Nevertheless, once you reach the level of needing to use a dictionary like Nelson, you can also see their limitations. As a hobby, I translate various works written in Japanese, including newspaper articles and works by authors like the late Aikido Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. I find that I have to use 5 dictionaries: the big Spahn & Hadamitsky (for ease of reference); Nelson (for the larger number of words); Masuda's Japanese-English Dictionary (because many words are written in hiragana and the kanji are not immediately obvious); the Kojien, published by Iwanami Shoten; and occasionally the Shin-Kanwa Jiten by T Morohashi.

It is a great pity that there is no comprehensive and up-to-date dictionary covering Japanese koryu and budo arts.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Goldsbury
____________
P A Goldsbury,
Graduate School of Social Sciences,
Hiroshima University

Don Cunningham
8th July 2001, 18:54
Thank you for the information, Peter. I will try to locate a copy and check it out. I sometimes get quite frustrated when translating older martial arts related text. The authors, even modern day authors, often used the earlier kanji forms. This makes it very hard to find the initial kanji and crossreference to the current acceptable kanji. Of course, I am simply an amateur when it comes to Japanese translation. Nearly all I do is for my own interests and only because I can't find a previously translated version. (I've been surprised to find how often translators often interject their own bias into the interpretations, too. I'm usually only interested in my own particular bias and preconceptions. :look: )

As I tried to explain, the dictionaries I use are more based on circumstance and expense. It was only after I obtained the few reference works I own that I learned about the differences in reference methodologies. To me, many of the professional translators supportive arguments remind me of the UNIX versus DOS (Windows) and MacIntosh wars at work. Of course, we all know those who prefer MacIntosh are obviously demented. :)


It is a great pity that there is no comprehensive and up-to-date dictionary covering Japanese koryu and budo arts.

Fredrick Lovret attempted this with his Budo Jiten. I even bought a copy several years ago with great expectations. It is a shame that a great deal of the material was simply copied from other sources without attribution. In addition to many other minor errors, his personal abusive nature and bogus experience background has soured me completely on this text. I agree, though, that it would probably be an excellent project. Unfortunately, it would take someone with much greater knowledge than myself to undertake it.

Michael Bland
11th July 2001, 07:41
One other suggestion on Studying Japanese:

My linguistics professor in Universtity told me that the most efficient way to learn a language was to get a lover who spoke only that language. You'd be amazed what you can accomplish in your language skills when your motivation is to woo them into bed.

His words not mine... but 5 years of taking his advice in Japan has made me FAR more fluent than 5 years of studying Japanese in the US did before I came here. *smile*

Good luck!

-michael bland

Don Cunningham
11th July 2001, 14:41
Sounds like a great idea. I should have asked my wife. I'm sure she would have understood.

Actually, she's from Wisconsin. I've learned a lot of Yankee lingo since we dated and married. (We met and married in Texas, my home state.)

kingwoodbudo
11th July 2001, 15:41
One thing I think was forgotten is that there is another way to say 4, yottsu. Also, when counting objects you can't just say Shi or Yon, as the japanese count objects differently based on the characteristics of the object. Yottsu is apart of the counting list that can be applied to any object.:nin:

P Goldsbury
12th July 2001, 02:03
The advice given to Michael Bland to find a 'sleeping dictionary' is not uncommon. The problem is that if you follow it for any length of time, there is a down side. Your Japanese is liklely to become subtly 'female' (as I learned to my cost).

In the Japanese textbooks you will learn the numbers hitotsu, futatsu, mitsu, yotsu, itsutsu, mutsu, nanatsu, yatsu, kokonotsu, to. And virtually no Japanese ever uses these numbers. There is ichimai, ippon, issastsu, ippiki, ikko, ippen etc, and when someone counts out change there is yet another set.

Just to muddy the waters a little...

Peter Goldsbury
_____________
P A Goldsbury,
Graduate School of Social Sciences,
Hiroshima University

kingwoodbudo
12th July 2001, 21:08
Well my japanese wife says it is common to use hitotsu, futatsu, mitsu, yotsu, itsutsu, mutsu, nanatsu, yatsu, kokonotsu, to, and that men use it too. She said in Hiroshima their words are a lot more raw, and that in other places in Japan you get a slight difference in usage, just like here in the States. She knows not to teach me to speak like a man, so I trust her since she used to teach Japanese in Ube, Yamaguchi prefecture.

She taught me this list because of the many forms of counting objects, she said that this way is the only way in which you can count everything using one system. I know about ichimai and so on, but thanks for telling me anyways :)

Don Cunningham
12th July 2001, 22:44
I think Peter was answering or commenting on two different issues. The counting part always threw me off. There are different ways of counting or referring to the number of things based on something like the shape. Isn't this correct? I recall that you would use ichi, ne, san, etc., if counting flat things like books. Yet, you would order one beer with "Ippon beru!" because it is round. I may have this totally screwed up, but I do recall there was something to do with the shape. I never had any problems getting another beer, though.

As for the female influence, I have heard this several times before. Even if your instructor doesn't mean to, there is a tendency to use the feminine forms, thus you are more likely to also pick these up. My Japanese male friends always claimed they could tell when a non-native speaker had learned from a woman.

In addition, the Japanese males tend to use more childish slang, especially when talking between themselves. Most women I knew would not use such language, not because it was profane, but because it is sort of uneducated or unsophisticated. I would be surprised if a female language instructor felt comfortable teaching this kind of conversational Japanese.

Different parts of Japan have dialect differences, just like we do here in the good ole U.S. of A. I come from the south, so I use phrases my Milwaukee-born wife has never heard all the time. For example, the singular form of address is "you'all" in Dallas. Of course, the plural form is "all you'all."

Then one day she asked me where "the bubbler" was, and I thought maybe the heat had gotten to her. (A bubbler is apparently a drinking water fountain in Wisconsin dialect.)

In Tokyo, it's common to say "Ohio!" short for "Ohio gozai masu!" or "Good morning!" when greeting each other. In Osaka, though, they are more likely to greet one another with "Mow kallea maka?" or "Are you making any money?" The common response is "Bochi bochi den nai" or "I'm doing so-so."

kingwoodbudo
12th July 2001, 22:54
Hey Don,

Yeah, I was thinking that Peter might be talking about other posts, but I wasn't sure.

I've heard the same thing concerning female teachers, but if she taught male students too, then those guys would sound female too :laugh:

In any case, I just wanted to be helpful to the post :)

You are right about Ippon biru, but if you don't know the correct word for a particular item, you can always use the numbering system mentioned in the other post, it's a "catch all" way for us who have trouble remembering the specifics of the language :)

I'm in Houston, so I can relate to the HEAT :eek:

Keep cool :toast:

P Goldsbury
13th July 2001, 00:36
Originally posted by kingwoodbudo
Well my japanese wife says it is common to use hitotsu, futatsu, mitsu, yotsu, itsutsu, mutsu, nanatsu, yatsu, kokonotsu, to, and that men use it too. She said in Hiroshima their words are a lot more raw, and that in other places in Japan you get a slight difference in usage, just like here in the States. She knows not to teach me to speak like a man, so I trust her since she used to teach Japanese in Ube, Yamaguchi prefecture.

She taught me this list because of the many forms of counting objects, she said that this way is the only way in which you can count everything using one system. I know about ichimai and so on, but thanks for telling me anyways :)

Whenver questions like this arise, I always go to my students and Japanese university colleagues. I am sure that hitotsu, futatsu etc are used and taught to foreigners to avoid the extra burden of learning all the other counting systems and this is is what I learned, after ichi, ni, san etc. But when I discussed this with my graduate students last night, they were unanimous that they themselves would use a shorter form when counting objects, namely, hi, fu, mi, yo, itsu, mu, nana, ya, kono, to. When Murakami-san, the lady who runs my local sake shop, counts out change, she uses the even number counting system, as the English do. So we get ni, shi, ro, ha, to. As you see, there are slight differences. Interesting.

I wonder why the Japanese have invested so much cultural baggage in the simple act of counting. Actually, I suppose this is a silly question when you consider the Japanese reading system.

Regards to all,

Peter Goldsbury,
_____________
P A Goldsbury,
Graduate School of Social Sciences,
Hiroshima University

kingwoodbudo
13th July 2001, 02:45
Hey Peter,

We have the same thought, I told my wife that counting objects seperately based on characteristics didn't make since :) She agreed, so I'm glad that I can use one system if I need to. I will try to learn the counting system, even as crazy as it is :confused:

It is very interesting that certain regions in japan use different systems and have differing opinions on how to count. I was talking with my wife and she asked some of her friends about it too. They said that Hiroshima people were more like the Okinawan people in their use of the language and that is probably why Tokyo based japanese might sound feminine at times :) She said one of the women had been teaching her husband and he was saying Atashiwa instead of Watashiwa, which is considered feminine and used by gay men.

Thanks for helping me see another side to the japanese language, i wish i could live in Japan for several years to build my knowledge, since I only get a little practice now. I'm glad to get what i can, but i want to know more, but who has the time :D

mata :nin:

Kreth
13th July 2001, 11:43
Originally posted by Don Cunningham
Yet, you would order one beer with "Ippon beru!" because it is round. I may have this totally screwed up, but I do recall there was something to do with the shape. I never had any problems getting another beer, though.
Shouldn't the number go after the noun, as in:
"Biiru ippon, kudasai"

or (if it's draft)

"Biiru hitotsu, kudasai"

Jeff

Chi
13th July 2001, 12:51
Originally posted by Kreth

Shouldn't the number go after the noun, as in:
"Biiru ippon, kudasai"

or (if it's draft)

"Biiru hitotsu, kudasai"


(Adavance warning, I am not a native speaker... in fact my Japanese isn't all that hot at all, but I thought I'd contribute my 2)

Yes, thats correct... you would say Biiru o hitotsu kudasai... but this is because the counter goes with for the verb in that case ("three please" kinda thing). I don't know what would happen in a less trivial example (e.g. "three men bought four cars")...

And wouldn't a draught pint be ippai/nihai/sambai etc? I thought that was the counter for "cups of things"...?

...and whats with ippon/hitotsu... surely you meant sambon/mittsu at the very least :)

Regards,

Chris.

kingwoodbudo
13th July 2001, 14:12
Hey Chi and Kreth,

As for the sentence structure I was not commenting, I was only agreeing that with different objects you count differently.

mittsu is right!!! :toast: :toast: :toast:

:nin:

P Goldsbury
13th July 2001, 14:25
Hiroshima is in the boondocks and our grammar isn't very good, but I think that "San nin no otoko/otoko san nin ga kuruma yondai katta" would do the trick for 'three men bought four cars".

As for ordering beer, at the party last night my students did not care very much whether it was "Biiru yotsu kudasai", or "biiru yonhon (the counter for long and possibly, but not necessarily, round objects) kudasai", when ordering jugs of nama biiru. The object particle ('wo') was never used in the entire evening. But this is Hiroshima-ben, probably.

Regards,

Peter Goldsbury,
____________
Graduate School of Social Sciences,
Hiroshima University

kingwoodbudo
13th July 2001, 14:45
Isn't grammar wonderful Peter :D

It's so common to learn a way of speaking, but most of society always breaks the rules when speaking, no matter what the language.

I'm sure Japanese are confused when they learn sentence structure in English, but when they listen to us, they can't understand why we left out the rules :confused:

kingwoodbudo
13th July 2001, 15:53
Robert,

Yes, my wife said that it's very hard to understand Okinawan japanese. I didn't mean to say that they were similiar in sound, but in roughness, then again, I could still be wrong, maybe I didn't understand what my wife was telling me :)

It's funny how the type of person you learn japanese from will dictate your feel for the language :)

:nin:

Don Cunningham
13th July 2001, 22:28
I always ordered with "Ippon biru kudosai!" and never once was I refused or misunderstood. Well, maybe sometimes I ordered it as "Ni biru kudosai!" :toast:

kingwoodbudo
14th July 2001, 04:30
LOL :laugh:

Good one Robert!!

:toast:

red_fists
18th July 2001, 09:26
Just a bit of Trivia on the Number 4(Death).

My Neighbour over here in Japan decided to reduce his garden and allocate
Parking bays which he than could rent out for a Monthly Fee.

Anyhuh, since he is older, he refuses to use the number 4.
So the bays were marked:
1,2,3,3a,5,6

The sounds for counting
Ichi ni, san
Hitotsu, futatsu, mitsu
Also depend on what you are counting.

BTW, going for my Level 2 Japanese Test this year. :-)
My Wife can read 6.000 Kanji as she used to work as a Typesetter.

Groenewold
30th July 2001, 04:44
Hello,

This is a very fun thread. Lot's of good stuff on the Japanese language (and good advice for Japanese learners too!).

Anyways, I wanted to share with you something "shi" related. I was told by a very prim and proper woman here (Ishikawa-ken, Japan) that Japanese people do not use "shi" because it reminds them of "oshiri" (buttocks) and that the Japanese people are far too genteel to use such vulgar language.

This was quite a contrast to when I was asked quite bluntly in front of a group of people whether or not my intestinal tract was in good working order, whether or not I was either constipated or had the runs, and advised the best postures in the toilet for alleviating discomfort. That was a scream.

Next I am sure I will be told that oshiri and shi have some kind of linguistic or cultural relationship. Yes, the "buttocks of death". Ahh, but I digress...

Best regards to all,

Mark Groenewold
Ishikawa-ken, Japan

red_fists
30th July 2001, 05:04
Hi.

I agree learning Japanese is great fun and a nightmare to navigate to avoid all the possible pit-falls of the langauge.
A lot of Japanese words have a very subtle sound difference, but a BIIIG difference in meaning.

At to that that certain words in certain contexts are a taboo or plain simply vulgar.
Many a times I got a non-plussed look from my Japanese colleagues, and after recosnideration I realised what I said. :(

When I started I thought Kanji were a waste of time, but they are life-savers when needing to differentiate certain words or meanings.

The reason why Japanese are uncomfortable about "oshiri", anything above mid-thigh and bellow belly-button is considered as non-existant, in public and all the activities & bodily functions that surround that area as well.

So a lot of work-around terms are used, like the woman's private area is usualy refered to as "asoko" or "that place", and so on.

Have fun and study hard.