03
Sep 08

可愛い vs. 恐い

Cool. Now that I’ve snipped a couple of lines of code from the WP Configuration file, I can use foreign characters. It saves me from having to get some gigantic HTML book for the Unicode for various Kanji (this would have been futile). All I have to do is set my keyboard for hiragana, which has an option to search for the appropriate kanji. Strangely enough, I figured out Japanese keyboarding a few years ago even though I don’t have full fluency in Japanese. I just use the vocabulary I grew up with and what I learned in college Japanese courses.

Brian had a had a post about Tiny Sepuku, a perversely cute comic and website that utilizes a term for a traditional form of Japanese suicide, made legendary by Yukio Mishima (三島由紀夫). He used it to die like a samurai when he failed to take over the Japanese Ministry of Defense, and it was not so 可愛い.

Now on to 可愛い, transliterated as kawaii, which means cute. Kyle‘s comment was interesting and got me thinking: Although loving all things kawaii can be a sign of something appropriately disturbing.

In contemporary Japanese culture, 可愛さ (kawaisa, cuteness) is ubiquitous, enough to be jarring to 外人 (gaijin, non-Japanese). Talk about cute overload.

When I was about 8 years old, I would often get 可愛い confused with 恐い (kowaii), which means scary or frightening. Naturally the two words sound similar, despite the different first vowel sounds. On top of that, both words are adjectives, even if the meanings are worlds apart.

I’ll now try to make a very basic sentence using the two terms:

可愛さは恐いです。(Cuteness is scary.)


03
Sep 08

Resplendence: Feuille 2

Resplendence: Feuille 2

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