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My user name is the Romaji transliteration of the Katakana transcription of my Spanish name, which apparently is not an uncommon name in Japan.

No, I am not the (also Spanish) guy behind http://www.MiGeRu.com

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 07:42:24 AM EST
...our Japanese department is having a field day with your handle.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 12:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was once in Firenze for a month studying italian and one of my classmates we a Japanese who had been living in Italy for two years and spoke with a Tuscan accent. He said he had a nephew called Migeru back in Japan, whose parents were a Spanish/Japanese mixed couple.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 12:56:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd assumed that Migeru was your real name and that it was Spanish.  This was before I knew you were actually from Spain but weren't called Migeru.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 12:59:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mi ge-i ru is about as close as you can get to "Miguel". "r" and "l" are indistinguishable in Japanese which leads to a lot of misspellings and mispronunciation by Japanese.

According to my Japanese friends "Migeru" is not at all common in Japanese. In fact it's the kanji transcription of "Miguel".

The fun part is what kanji are used to transcribe the syllables of the name. You can come up with hilarious phrases. The Chinese under Mao regularly used deprecatory kanjis to transcribe evil capitalist world leaders' names. Unfortunately I don't remember any off hand. A vague memory of a US Sec of State coming off as "ugly evil man with long nose".

So, kanji-wise, Mi gei ru can come off hilarious or slightly poetic.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 01:26:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a number of manga/anime characters whose name is from an European language, but in English editions (or already on English inscriptions in the manga/anime) was translated back with an r instead of l or vice versa. Say, the Trigun manga's Razlo (should be Lazlo), Full Metal Panic!'s Teletha "Tessa" Testarossa (should be Teresa).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 01:49:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Come on, give me a list of Kanji meanings of my name!

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 02:30:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll start with the nicest one:

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From top to bottom: Beauty Art Current (as in stream). Current(s) of beautiful art (correnti di belle arti may sound better but implies art movements whereas we're dealing with waterstream currents).

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 02:48:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Judging from pictures of you, this one currently doesn't apply:

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From top to bottom: Three hairs remain. Which ever way you juggle it, it's a countdown to baldness.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 02:56:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It reminds me of this Spanish children's song.

La bruja tiene tres pelos / Tres pelos tiene la bruja / Si no tuviera tres pelos / Ya no sería la bruja

It is a countdown song in that it's supposed to be repeated dropping one word at a time, until none of the song remains.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 02:58:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the worst we've come up with. I'll use classic kanjis for a change:

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From top to bottom: Taste (or smell) Whale Remains. It could suggest that you make a living cutting up whale at the Tsukiji Fish Market before dawn. (And don't wash after.)

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 03:10:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is an excellent resource for information about kanji and Japanese words:

http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/wwwjdic.html

You can get a list of characters searched by romaji here:

http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1B

Using that second page, you can search on mi, ge (or gei, if you like) and ru to come up with various combinations.

However, once you just choose a combination, if possible, get someone with native Japanese or Chinese language ability (that would not be me) to check the passability of your desired kanji combination.  Sometimes people (including myself) come up with really ridiculous-sounding/meaning character combinations (see http://www.hanzismatter.com/ and http://www.engrish.com/ to see what it looks like with the shoe on the other foot).  Actually, what passes in Chinese may not pass in Japanese, and vice-versa (although, three characters in Japanese are quite rare anyway.)  And remember, as your name will not sound the same in Chinese as in Japanese, you would only ask a Chinese for a sanity check based on the combination and order of the character meanings.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 08:28:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was surprised to learn that the Japanese and Chinese can understand each other through kanjis. And that Japanese is now the custodian of kanjis after the simplification imposed by the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:43:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was surprised to learn that the Japanese and Chinese can understand each other through kanjis.

Yes, it's quite common for Japanese tourists in China and Chinese tourists in Japan to communicate in this way.

(By the way, note that 漢字 is transcribed as kanji and hànzi [pronounced HAN-zuh] in Mandarin.)

And that Japanese is now the custodian of kanjis after the simplification imposed by the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Well, Chinese in Taiwan still uses "traditional" -- i.e. pre-simplication -- characters, which can be more complicated than the Japanese versions.

For example, the character for "to read" is:

讀 in traditional characters (used in Taiwan)
読 in Japanese
读 in simplified characters (used in mainland China)

Sometimes the traditional and Japanese are the same.  For example, the character for "Chinese; Han dynasty" (the kan in kanji and the hàn in hanzi) is:

漢 in traditional or Japanese
汉 in simplified

And sometimes the Japanese and the simplified are the same, but the traditional remains more complex.  For example, the character for "country" is:

國 in traditional
国 in Japanese or simplified

Having studied Japanese before Chinese (using simplified characters), I initially found the simplified version of the characters an appalling abuse upon the language.  But becoming more familiar with them, I realize more and more just how well the simplification was conceived from a pedagogical point of view (facilitating learning based on superficial commonalities or similarities in character components and pronunciations) and appreciate how this must have helped significantly in accelerating the literatization of the gigantic Chinese population.  For all of Mao's abominations, this is one thing I think he can be praised for (another being the bringing up of women's status in Chinese society).

Still, it is a pity that the richness and complexity of traditional Chinese characters had to be sacrificed for the pressing, practical concerns of rapidly educating the population.  I dream that some day China may revert back to traditional characters, both officially and in practice, maybe as part of a campaign to restore different aspects of traditional Chinese culture in general.  This may not be as crazy as it sounds on the face of it, as most Chinese can read traditional characters easily enough anyway, and often are used to doing so from watching TV shows, movies, and karaoke videos with subtitles added in Taiwan.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 06:45:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have read that those foreigners who learn simplified chinese have an easier time picking up traditional chinese than the other way around.

Ideograms are a great obstacle to acquiring literacy and Supposedly simplified chinese makes it easier. This is not a trivial matter. According to adition Korea's script was designed by an old ruler also for the purpose of aiding literacy.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 07:02:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have read that those foreigners who learn simplified chinese have an easier time picking up traditional chinese than the other way around.

I really hope so!  In fact, I was struggling back in September with how to advise a friend of mine who was just starting to learn Mandarin in Taiwan, where he had the option of studying in traditional vs. simplified characters.  I really did not know what to tell him, because after two months of study, it was already clear to me that learning simplified was significantly easier than traditional.  However, it was also quite clear that by learning simplified, you lose an enormous amount of information about the etymology among and thus "deep" relationships between characters.

Come to think of it, I never found out which one he decided to study.  As for my myself, had I been given the choice, I would have started studying traditional, but being on the mainland, I had no such choice.  But in a way, I am sort of grateful now that I am studying simplified, as it is already such an immense task to learn the other aspects of Chinese (grammar, listening comprehension, vocabulary, etc.)  It would be great if what you read about learning simplified vs. traditional first turns out to be correct!

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 01:45:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A half-Japanese woman told me that my name, David, would come out in Japanese as "Debido". IIRC her own name, Melissa, would be "Merisisa".
by Gag Halfrunt on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 07:23:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read that as "half-naked Japanese woman" the first time 'round.

It may be time for a cup of cocoa and off to bed for me.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 07:34:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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