Tuesday, 1 December 2009

I'm getting a tattoo of my name in the Japanese alphabet.

No I'm not. I don't like tattoos, my mummy wouldn't let me and there's no such thing as a Japanese alphabet you Absolute Follop.

However, I have been thinking of late about ways to write my name in Japanese.
Japanese has 3 syllabaries: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. The first two are purely phonetic, with Hiragana being the system used mostly for grammatical constructions and basic words and Katakana being the system used for foreign words and sound affects (and sometimes it is used like typing in ALL CAPITALS in English). Kanji is borrowed from Chinese and is the system where characters hold both sound and meaning. This is used for the majority of the Japanese vocabulary, including names.

Most non-Asian foreigners write their names in Katakana, trying to best aproximate their name within the narrow constraints of the Japanese limited phonetic range. My name in Japanese comes out as Dominiku, written


. My friends Frankie and Sam come out as Furankii and Samu,



But a few rare foreigners chose to write their name in Kanji, giving it meaning and making it look more Japanesey. A well known example is that of the foreigners rights activist, the ex-David Aldwinkle and current Arudou Debito. Which is a name which looks like
有道 出人

, which literally translates as "Exist Road Leave Person" and which he translates as "a person who has a road and goes out on it". This is kind of cool? But mostly really annoying. Like his activism is kind of pretty necessary, but he's mostly a confrontation self-righteous wasteman with a persecution complex.

But anyway, I've been playing around with the same thing. Sam has managed to come up with 茶武

, which means "Tea Warrior". For Frankie we've come up with 腐乱鬼

- "Decomposing Goblin" or my own hippy variation, 不乱気

- "Non-violent Energy".

So now to Dominiku. Sigh. Within my name there is a stark 'niku' -

- "Meat", or even more depressingly a near percet match with 'minikui' - 醜い

- "Ugly". Compounded with the fact that "Do" can act as "Very", it doesn't start off promising. Right, round 1:

or going upmarket, 何魅肉

- respectfully "What flavour meat?" and "How charming meat!"

Right then. I have been restricting myself with one thing. The majority of Japanese names are 2 characters long, all though a fair few are 3. Four is just not the done thing. So I can struggle on playing with Do, Mi, and Niku (In which case I should probably do away with meat in favour of

- "Hardship, Difficulty") or I can concede artistic defeat and break it into the unweildy Do, Mi, Ni and Ku...

To be continued! xxxx

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