FINALLY, AFTER A LONG TIME MESSING AROUND THIS MORNING I actually "alighted" in London's wormlike mass of underground railway tunnels to emerge by Russel Square, where the intellectuals hang out. There I raided the academic bookshops for irritatingly hard-to-get-hold-of tomes on the Japanese writing system. I didn't buy everything that looked any good, by any means. One particularly tubby hardback ~ priced at $59.99 American they wanted £59.99 in sterling (typical).
Here of course I could actually leaf through, rather than relying on some Amazon customer having posted a descriptive review... It may be 2009 but I'm still pretty technophobic in that way... So, being able to see just what they were like, I immediately I cast aside several "workbooks" full of empty squares for the student supposedly to practise writing for him/herself. How patronizing! Haven't these publishers heard of blank exercise books? I chose my purchases to a formula of usefulness-versus-cost and bought (if you are interested):
Easy Kanji: A Basic Guide to Writing Japanese Characters by Fujihiko Kaneda (McGraw-Hill) £7.99
Kanji and Kana: A Handbook of the Japanese Writing System by Wolfgang Hadamitzky and Mark Spahn (Tuttle) £16.99. Tuttle publish lots of useful books on the Japanese language.
The first of these shows how the characters actually look when written by a Japanese hand, but only covers about 250 of them; the second explains the entire Japanese writing system including the 46 hiragana, 46 katakana (other authors have written entire volumes on each of these, but if you really need two whole books on how to use 92 phonetic symbols I don't think you're going to get far with Japanese very quickly...) The majority of the Hadamitzky-Spahn book covers the 1945 basic kanji, which are Chinese-derived characters. Most have at least two readings. Some have seven or eight or more. Every character is written out large with numbers showing the order of strokes. If you learn these wrong, your writing is never going to look very authentic.
The third book cost £8.50 secondhand and was called A Beginner's Dictionary of Chinese-Japanese Characters and Compounds by A Rose-Innes (Yoshikawa publishing, Yokahama; no copyright date is given but it looks pretty ancient ~ possibly 1920s or earlier...)
So all in all I blew £33.48, but I won't be short of stuff to doodle. Of course I checked the German sections as well but couldn't find the novel I wanted to plough through next: Die Velorene Ehre der Katharina Blum by Heinrich Böll (The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum) ~ a tale of trial by media in iron-curtain times...
And then I bought Stern magazine, and then I was broke. And went home at the beginning of the rush hour, so was shocked to get a seat the entire way...
... by the way, just as I was about to get on the train at St Pancreas, Valium Marilyn phoned me saying the Greek crackhead witch had stolen £20 and her mobile phone off her on Saturday afternoon (what a surprise). She pretended not to know anything about totally ignoring me because she'd got a better offer but that's druggies for you. Marilyn says she's going to sit across the road from the witch's doorstep and pounce as soon as she parks her broomstick...
Illustrated: The Hadamitzky-Spahn book; the Kaneda book; hiragana ~ used mostly for Japanese word-endings; katakana ~ used for onomatapoeic and foreign words and names (Gledwood is グレドヲード ~ Guredowodo); Tokyo by night: Japanese writing at its funkiest...
Profiles in Recovery - I will write something "real" soon... but in the mean time there is this. It's "real" but it's recycled. Lol Much love and care to all.... Annette
15 minutes ago