We saw a number of these little signs embedded in the paving stones. This one seems to say ‘electricity‘:
This one seems to say ‘weakelectricity‘, perhaps suggesting that you should not dig here?:
The warning sign on the arm seems to say:
Large black characters: “Entermouth“, or “Entrance”
(Note that the smaller red characters were difficult to read, this is my best guess):
Smaller red characters:
“Pa/Ba- beam/girderRe SeNSa- ??Middle!!”
“Hand Wo(of)?Re?To Fu(Bu/Pu/Wa)Ga?Ri ???Come out”
Perhaps something about a bar sensor, and cars may come out? (Or perhaps the standard warning, that the bar may move seemingly of its own accord, and bonk you unexpectedly?)
When we were there, there seemed to be some sort of election going on. Here is a selection of various campaign posters:
Interestingly, his name is in Hiragana, not the more formal Kanji, I’m assuming so it’s easier to read. At the time of the election, he would have been 52, I’m not sure if that would make him young or old for running for office (as to why he would include his birth month on the poster). Also note the prominent but understated wedding ring.
“What do you want?” A very bold statement, especially with the English being given equal treatment with the Japanese language. Direct translation: “MiNNaGa LaughingFaceDeIRaReRu (of could to be) NiShiTaI (to do)”
The person seems to by Fumiaki Matsumoto. Note that the person making the poster helpfully spelled out his first name ‘FuMiAKi’, probably to help people vote.
Stay tuned for next time, when our intrepid heroes visit the mythical Department Store ‘Tokyu Hands’!
In some ways, these repeated similar words remind me of the words around the ‘Utwig Planetary Engineering Tool’, or Ab’s commentary about the ancient weapon. Also similar to many sci-fi novels’ ‘translations’ of alien languages, putting multiple words to represent one alien word, to show that their concepts are grouped differently than they are in English.
The large green label on the left reads: “MaChiWoMi ShiKu!!” or “Town/Neighbourhood (of) Beauty District”.
This would make sense, given the prominent advertisement for ‘Hair & Make & Photo Studio”. There seem to be a number of restaurants, such as the ‘YaKiToRi ToMaRiBa’ (or Yakitoi Haunt)
There are a number of things I can’t decipher, such as: “FuaMiRi- Ma-To”, and “(TeNTeN)”, which might be a cool bar with a difficult-to-search name, or perhaps an eyebrow salon.
“TeRuRuMoBaIRu”, possibly a mobile phone store, but also turned up this in a google search.
There’s also “SaNKuSa YoYoGi …” “Sankusa Yoyogi bundle opening store” But ‘Sankusa’ is in Katakana, meaning it’s a loan word from somewhere, Yoyogi is the neighbourhood, and the last three words seem to be describing it as some sort of store. If we were there, it would probably be easy to find out. 🙂
The last one is in the lower right corner: “DaNSu SuTaJhiO M&S Company”, which sounds like a Dance Studio! 🙂
The previous map and the next map were beside one another on the street, suggesting that they referred to the same or similar neighbourhoods. At the time, we had figured that these maps were some sort of neighbourhood directory, but I had thought that the one above was commercial, and the one below was residential.
At the top, in blue on white, it seems to say “INTa-NeTo”, beside a ‘DoKoNeTo’ ad, suggesting it’s an internet company ad. Beside it is a pointer to a QR code, which I will ignore, because QR codes are silly.
Looking at some random establishments, we see:
– “MaGuNa” (The smaller characters are difficult to read, perhaps SuChiIToANa-?)
– “Yoyogi ZeMiNa-Ru”, “Yoyogi Seminars”? beside:
– “Yoyogi A-To GiyaRaRi-” Which seems to be ‘Yoyogi Art Gallery”
– Beside what looks like a large building titled “BaRo-Ru Yoyogi MaNShiyoN” or “(something) Mansion Yoyogi”, which has such establishments as:
– “AHAHA LAND”
– “HeA-SuTaNO” (Perhaps ‘Suntan’ or spa?)
And many others I can’t make out. How many can you find/translate?
This next map seemed somewhat the worse for wear:
I can’t make out too many words in this one, perhaps a ‘KuRi-Su’, there’s a JR station on the right side of the map, ‘SaSaNiTaWa-‘, and many others I can decipher even less about.
What can you figure out? I feel like this has helped me with a lot of Katakana practice (and Yoyogi-recognition practice), but I still have a long way to go. It’s also interesting to see how many different neighbourhoods that we had heard of were so accessible to each other, often just by walking at random.
Stay tuned for next time, when our intrepid travelers, now that they’re oriented themselves, start actually experiencing the city!
Some of their explorations from that first day, related to the design of the city and various objects, were captured earlier in ‘Thoughts on Design in Japan‘.
As part of our preparation for going back to Japan (and now that I’ve finally organized all of my pictures), I’ll be revisiting our first trip there in 2012. Part of the goal is to help me re-learn Japanese, part is the fun memory lane trip.
We rejoin our intrepid travelers in Tokyo, by Shinjuku station. As they prepare to exit the station, they consult the map:
Moving on to ‘Shinjuku Southern Terrace’ (literal translation ‘Shinjuku SeZeN TeRaSu', which you get to through the ‘Southern Terrace Entrance’ (‘SeZeN TeRaSu Opening‘). Note that the last character is not the Katakana ‘Ro’, it is instead the Kanji ‘KuChi‘, for opening.
Moving clockwise, we see the ‘East Japan Railway Company Head Office’, or ‘JR East Sun originmaincompany BiRu’.
(Those of you who play Mahjong will likely recognize ‘East’ here. Also note that the second character in ‘Japan’ (‘origin’) takes a different meaning (‘main’) in ‘Company Head Office’.)
(I likewise learned ‘2’, or ‘Ni’ in this context from playing Mahjong. Note also that the ‘yoyo’ in ‘Yoyogi’ is an alternate of ‘daidai’, which presumably someone who grew up in Japan would know, but is perhaps non-trivial to someone trying to translate it.)
This takes us to one of the places that we stayed in Tokyo, the ‘Hotel Sunroute Plaze Shinjuku’ ‘HoTeRu SeNRu-To PuRaZe Shinjuku’, which shall forever be near and dear to our hearts. 🙂
This is right next to the ‘Shinjuku Maynds Tower’ ‘Shinjuku MaINZu TaWa-‘, which seems to be a 34-story office building.
‘Shibuya‘ ‘reluctant valley ?’ is surprisingly difficult to translate, as for some reason the handwriting recognition didn’t recognize the third character ‘district‘
Moving down to the bottom, in red, you will see one of the most important set of words to recognize in Japan: ‘Black UDoN MountainFood‘. (The operative words here are ‘Udon’ noodles and the Kanji for ‘Food’. 🙂 )
The last one that I want to translate here is in the lower left-hand corner, in red: ‘Shinjuku SeNE- BiRu 1F’ ‘FueSuTei BaRu GoRuFu’ ‘Shinjuku WING Store‘. This seems to say (to me) that there’s something on the first floor of this building, perhaps a bar and grill and store?
Katakana is often difficult to de-transliterate, as you often have no idea which language the words are loaned from. Perhaps someone in the comments can answer!
Next time, our intrepid heroes pause to ponder the immensity of Shinjuku station, where the large number of train tracks is just one part of a huge complex:
…and then continue on their journey. Stay tuned!
Many thanks to the KanjuVG Project and Ben Bullock: http://kanji.sljfaq.org/ They were able to detect my poor drawings of kanji symbols on the first attempt, and their first suggestion was correct three out of three times (for the third symbol, I had to tell the program to ignore my stroke order)! If you’re going to be working a lot with Kanji, it’s worth learning the rules for stroke order.
Interestingly, ‘Shinjuku’ means ‘New Juku’, or ‘New Lodge‘. Knowing this meaning of ‘Shin’ was to be helpful later.
It’s always an experience coming home from an immersive event. Good movies can do it, especially when you’ve experienced catharsis, I’ve also experienced it a good meditation or epiphany.
But when the event is weeks long, with a totally different culture and social mores, the decompression experience can approach culture shock in its intensity.
When I first came home from Burning Man in 2013, I was biking down the Danforth, looking at all of the establishments along the road. Because I was still decompressing, I saw them as emplacements whose main goal was to persuade passers-by to give them resources.
we had decided to spend a day or two in Reno on the way back from the Burn in 2015, a trip which I will document later. Today it’s more about the decompression experiences.
And, that’s all she wrote.
There are still many more photos to process (we had so many people helping us plan and build!), but this is the chronological end of the project (modulo a couple of moves of the installation parts when they arrived home). It feels good to feel like I’ve finished something, even if it was in much more depth than I had ever expected.
This is a long and painstaking process. Somehow, I didn’t take any pictures of this. Imagine raking an area of desert the size of a football field under the blazing sun. But Leave No Trace is that important.