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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:20 pm 
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Most people in Japan speak virtually no English. They can probably say hello, yes, no, and rattle off a long list of English words if pressed, but if you try to enguage them in even the simplest conversation, most people won't be able to understand you or give a proper response. You will randomly run across people who speak decent (occasionally even near perfect) English, but it's not very common. Considering that English is a required subject in Junior High and High school in Japan (and in elementary in some areas), it doesn't say much for their English curriculums. The main problem being that they're taught English in a way geared towards getting them to pass the tests on the big national tests, not a way that actually focuses on helping them properly speak or understand it.

As for translators, if you're talking about people you can hire to translate for you, I'm sure there's a decent amount of them around, though probably not a whole lore more than there are in the US. If you mean machines, handheld Japanese/English dictionaries are sold in virtually every electronics store and come in quite handy if you're going to be in Japan for an extended period of time. Though they're mostly just a help with volcabulary, not grammar.

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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 9:57 pm 
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How popular is Disney animation or any other western animation compared to Japanese animation?

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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 12:23 pm 
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Disney animation is extremely popular. There's a Disney park in Tokyo (which you can read about in my travelog), plenty of Disney DVDs for sale in stores, and lots of toys, stuffed animals, and figurines of Disney characters for sale. Especially popular Disney characters (aside from Mickey's gang) include Stitch and Jack Skellington.

Other Western animation, however, not so much. I never really saw much in the way of DVDs or merchandise for other Western animation in Japan. There was a TV station that was playing whatever the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon is (dubbed in Japanese of course) but that was about it (and I never saw any TMNT merchandise or anything for sale).

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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 1:34 pm 
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Suppose Disney did a movie a little bit more eastern than Mulan. What Japanese legend do you think they might do?

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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 11:21 am 
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Here's a few popular Japanese "fairy tales" with brief summaries. If you want to know more about them you can probably find full texts online somewhere.

Momotaro: A baby found inside a giant peach grows up, teams up with a dog, bird, and money, and kill some ogres.
Tsukihime: A girl is found inside a bamboo stalk. She turns out to be a princess from the moon.
The Mouse's Wedding: A mouse tries to find the best possible husband for his daughter.

There's more, of course. I'm not overly knowledgable about Japanese fairy tales to begin with and I vaguely recall hearing a few others I can't remember the details about. There's also plenty of myths (the one about Ametarasu (which inspired the game Okami) for example) and historical things (legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, maybe) that could possibly be adapted into a good Disney movie. Though possibly one of the best things Disney could go for if they wanted something really "Japanese" is to do a version of Saiyuki (The Journey West). Ok so it doesn't take place in Japan (it's about a guy traveling to India) and wasn't written by a Japanese person either (I believe it originated in China, though it might have been India), but it's an extremely popular story in Japan and has inspired many anime, manga, and other things there.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:28 pm 
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Is Miyamoto Musashi the most skilled of all Japanese warlords?

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:05 pm 
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Musashi was never a warlord, he was a samurai. In "english" terms, a warlord is like a king (albiet of a single province, not the whole country) and a samurai is a knight who serves under a warlord. Musashi wrote a book called The Book of the Five Rings, which you can still buy copies of today, about life, war, and other things, but what he's most famous for is his swordsmanship. At this point in time, it's hard to say if he was really as good as the legends say but, supposedly, he was the best swordsman in the history of Japan. One of the popular legends about him, for example, says that he was so skilled that he started fighting only with wooden swords in order to give his opponents a fair chance. One famous story about Musashi concerns his duel with a man named Kojiro but, while Musashi is generally aknowledged to be a real historical figure, there's a big debate over whether Kojiro ever really existed. The story of Musashi has inspired a lot of anime and manga (including the historical fiction biography manga Yojimbo) as well as video games (such as Square's Brave Fencer Musashi).

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:19 pm 
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Kinda a reverse question here, but I've been trying to figure this out...

Totoro is to Japan as _____ is to North America?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:30 pm 
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I'd say Winnie the Pooh. Their stories are even pretty similar.

Though, you could say Mickey due to his mascot status and that Ghibli is the Disney of Japan.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:11 pm 
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But Winnie The Pooh doesn't have a cat-bus....

And does Totoro have a mascot status there? I'm not sure :P


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:24 pm 
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He's not quite as much of a mascot as Hello Kitty or anything, but...

Yeah, Totoro is definitely a popular mascot.

And yes, how you determine a mascot's status is how much merchandise is made in their image, and how weird and ridiculous it gets.

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Regardless means "without regard", and adding "ir" on the front actually makes it a double negative; exaggerate means "to overstate" so you're literally saying "over overstate."
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:39 am 
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Yeah, if you were to compare Totoro to anything it would be a Disney character. Though I can't say for sure which one. Poo is a good fit in some ways though. But yeah, Ghibli is the closest thing there is to a Japanese Disney and Totoro is their most popular character. He doesn't have as much merchandise as Hello Kitty, Pokémon, or some Disney characters, but there's still quite a lot.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:58 am 
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How many different ways of writing Japanese are there? I know only Kanji, Romaji, and Hiragana.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:22 am 
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There's also Katakana. It's mostly used for writing foreign words in Japanese.

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Regardless means "without regard", and adding "ir" on the front actually makes it a double negative; exaggerate means "to overstate" so you're literally saying "over overstate."
Example: I can not exaggerate the importance of this fact enough, regardless of how often people ignore it.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:28 pm 
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Yeah, Silver's right. For reference:

Hiragana: Primary Japanese alphabet.
Katakana: The same letters as hiragana, but they all look different. It's used primarily for writing words of foreign origin.
Kanji: Approximately 2000 Chinese symbols which can be used seperately or combined with other kanji and/or hiragana. Kanji can have anywhere between one and several different meanings and pronunciations.
Romanji: English transliteration or Japanese. It's mostly used in beginning Japanese textbooks. It's really only used in Japan for place names (for example, all train stations have their names written in kanji, hiragana, and romanji on various signs).

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