Translating Toyo Keizai: New Words and Wedding Trends in Japan

Kyōyūkon is the new buzzword in Japan. "Shared Wedding"

No matter the country, no matter the culture, words evolve as time slips slowly on. Trends change, people change, and the way people tie the knot changes to reflect the environment. A recent study Marriage Trend Survey (Zekushi Magazine, October 2014) found that among other things a new trend was emerging in the world of weddings, calling for a new word: 共有婚 (Kyōyūkon). “What exactly is this recent Kyōyūkon trend?” asks Kyoto University graduate and journalist Yūmi Tokiwa at Tōyō Keizai news (online).

Understandable trend given the times, the kanji used sum up its meaning well: 共 (kyō) Share/Together, 有 (yū) to Be/Have, 婚 (kon) Marriage. Below is my translation the article which appeared in Tōyō Keizai on January 18th, 2015. It can be read in its original Japanese here.

Weddings, What exactly is this recent Kyōyūkon trend?

A decreasing numbers of guests and lower costs.

The wedding, the most important day of your life. Contrary to what one may believe, the movement of the economy does not hold much sway over the cost of a wedding. “Even during the financial crisis of 2008, the cost of weddings did not go down. It’s because Japanese people consider a wedding to be Continue reading

Nonsense: Word Jumble

People are constantly trying to understand eachother. Let alone when people don’t even speak the same language natively, there are always misunderstandings. When beginning to learn a new language, one goes through the frustrating experience of confirming what was said again and again and again and again…breaking down the sentence into manageable pieces, until finally what one person was trying to say is mutually understood at a certain level by the person they were trying to say it to.

Sometimes, even when all the words in the sentence are completely familiar and understood fully by the listener, it is just impossible to understand. In fact, in Japan people say, “Well, even Japanese people do not know this” more often than someone might expect. Ironic, coming from a Japanese person.

What I am trying to say is, at a certain point it is necessary to take a moment let your mind just free-flow with text.

Stop reading now if you prefer sensibility. 

Behold: “A Panda in Their Soups”

Yesterday and amalgamism of peaches went swimming in a new world of yesterdays insanity.  It wasn’t too long though, before they discovered that there were notimes of human trying to be so close to the next fluff of hints.  Soo many hints, they thought, to handle the rolling twine.  Didn’t see it coming…didn’t know it was there. How did find two? Nowhere though, so they went back to the beginnnning too much. It was nice you se, to be able to try new things instead of typing to momma.  Momma didn’t Mind, if there were spots of tinges of times when….oh god, so many cabbages!

It was true, there were no ways spiraling into the misssst. So thick.. Bells tolling in the distance to Spanish music and now again the rows of singing plants. All would have been well, said the mountain, if it was not for the amalgamizing peaches.

It was none to far for the peaches, fuffling hints of what was in yesterday. Rolling, twine of the mountain’s feet. Feet!? Mountains had paws,;what silliness. Have a new world bowling pin. HIyo fawawawa ting is next-door neigbor’s twine d,o,g. Much ado about the mist, the mountain watches the twine dg roll around in it.

Flabberghast! Don’s three people buckets up had will do. Twine (burning dyin)g leaves. Leaves burnt by mountain halibut there were no chimneys! It wasn’t meant to be, maybe” thought the mountain as fluffy mist curned twine balls to Spanish music eaten dog.  So it was. Thinking it makes it. Did you see him though the way that he looked away looked away looked awaaaaay to many.

So the mightmare ending rolling singing plants.  They write melodies harmonies soups stew is what it’s made from. HIyo fawawawa purrs stoking twine while. So we pause. After starting! appreciation now again Spanish. Why to the hints, behold, cabbages sing. Sweet peaches, cabbages, mountains-a-twined, is no where to be found.

Bark, HIyo, you silent tree. Telling us always eiei that the hints can not twine the handle.  After all, it was a door, not a mountain.

Radiolab: Leopards, Language, and Mr. Fernyhough

This week, take a load off your eyes and just listen. One of the most influential pieces of technology to ever hit the human race is surely the radio, is it not? Radio, in all its forms, influenced our grandparents and will surely influence our great-great grandchildren. Years ago (and not too long ago, mind you) if you missed a show on the radio, you would either write to the broadcaster for a copy of the program or wait to hear it again…somehow. Today, with the invention of the internet, nearly everything is available for listening consumption at any time you deem worthy…many times in the form of podcasts.

One such podcast that has never let me down both in variety of subjects as well as entertainment value is the American show Radiolab:

Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility. -Radiolab

With a new podcast every week, Radiolab is the perfect way to escape your routine and challenge your mind for twenty minutes to an hour a week on subjects ranging from natural selection and fate, words and language, or time and gravity (as well as many other subjects!) It is to this podcast that I highly encourage a bored blogger to visit in their spare time for it not only offers you a ears a world of entertaining sound but it offers your mind a new way to take in the world.  What with all this reading, our ears certainly are ready for some stimulation!

Radiolab is a member of WNYC radio as well as a part of National Public Radio.  Radiolab is supported, in part, by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

If you have not listened to it before, here are a couple good ones to get you started:

1) Words: Imagine a world without words!
2) Wild Talk : Animals with grammar? Words in the wild.

The Problem of Books: Linear Thought

In many ways, the idea that any matter can not be explained but only experienced is quite right.  Zen masters speak of giving an ideal lecture on the nature of Zen by simply walking into the room, ringing a gong, and then walking out. For in that sound and whole experience is all that is needed to fully comprehend everything.  Yet, we can not.

We are bound to words.  We are bound to words and words are bound to sensible sentences…and those sentences are bound to lines.  Lines do not in any way describe what actually exists they only serve to crudely translate to our limited minds what we have only begun to understand, and then those translations are interpreted as symbols.  Before continuing, please refer to this video I have edited specifically for this blog entry.  It is an excerpt from “Alan Watts: A Conversation with Myself” The initial spark for this entry most certainly were these considerations:

What must be expressed and considered is that language as we know it to be is too primitive and, as we evolve further and further, must too evolve and be improved upon.  Continue reading

When Language Doesn’t Cut It

I am at a loss for words.  What do you say when no words will suffice.  I am simply,__________.


Life, Without Words: Photo Courtesy of D.L Ennis Photography

Life, Without Words: Photo Courtesy of D.L Ennis Photography

Continue reading

“Words Do Inspire”

It should come as not surprise that these were the words spoken by a great public speaker: “Words Do Inspire.” Words, as I mentioned in a previous post, are an inexhaustible resource.  They can be used and reused countless times in countless many ways and never get old from overuse.  Words like “I”, “the”, “as”, and the like are even less like inexhaustible and more like eternal.  Yet, the question today regards what exactly it is that makes a word truly inspiring.  Is it the context or can a word on its own, regardless of context, be innately inspiring?    Similarly, if a phrase is inspiring then where does the inspiration lie within that phrase?  I hope we can look at some of the greatest orators of our time and procure our own answers to these questions.

Can You Pick the Single Point of Inspiration?
Can You Pick the Single Point of Inspiration?

By this point, surely you, the reader, have already begun to form words in your head that are inspiring to you in particular.  These words may include but not be limited to examples such as “Glory”, “Endurance”, “Champion”, “Best”, “Teamwork”, or “Victory” which all invoke a sports-like feeling, recalling images of the Olympics or the World Cup.  Others of you may conjure up words such as “Positivity”, “Patience”, “Honesty”, “Happiness”, or “Smile”, of which all concern your own personality rather than a distant goal.  Still other readers may be thinking now of words like “God”, “Heaven”, or “Blessed” which are clearly more spiritual in nature and thus draw inspiration from beyond—rather than from within—oneself.  Each person is unique. Continue reading

Words: An Inexhaustable Resource

450,000 unique words.  That’s a low estimate of how many words exist in the English language today.  Spanish has something in the order of 200,000 words; Japanese word count (and this could contain archaic, medieval, and modern/contemporary words) is no less than 450,000 words in its arsenal; and if Korean contains just as many words derived from Chinese as Japanese then we should expect Korean to have a similar word count (roughly 400,000) as well.

A few questions come to mind almost immediately after reviewing these numbers.  First, why is it that every language needs literally hundreds of thousands of words in its dictionaries when, on a day-to-day basis, its users will almost never use more than a couple thousand? (maybe no more than 30,000 in their entire lifetime!) Second, if it is necessary to have so many words, why is it that every language in this day and age has about 300,000 words on average?  Why isn’t there a more diverse and varied range of vocabulary?  Last, if one language has more words in its dictionary than another language, does this mean that speakers of that language can express emotions that others can not? Can they think things that speakers of another language can not even fathom?

The First Folio
The First Folio

As you may already know, I am no expert in this field I am only asking the questions and posing my humble answers with high hopes of getting some feedback from you–the reader–and then standing happily corrected.  That being said, let’s address the first question: why is it that every language needs literally hundreds of thousands of words in its dictionaries when, on a day-to-day basis, its users will almost never use more than a couple thousand? If you want to get any idea for what it takes to have the largest vocabulary of anyone in the English language (and to hold that record for hundreds of years) look no further than to the many plays of William Shakespeare.  Within the pages of those (at least) 37 famous plays so eloquently written, are 31,534 unique words.  That means that we are not counting words like “and” or “or” more than once, ever. To go a bit deeper, statisticians have done a bit of research to try to determine the actual amount of words that Shakespeare knew but never used and have concluded that the Elizabethan playwright probably knew somewhere in the ballpark of 66,500 words.  Let me give you a moment to consider the magnitude of that number…66,500 words.

My point?  Simply this: The person with probably the highest vocabulary of anyone before or after him for hundred of years (who single-handedly invented thousands of words) knew no more than 15% of all the words in the English dictionary today.  If that is the case with the most eloquent man on earth, what is the case for the guy next door?  What about you?  What is the point of having so many words when we only need maybe 2% of them to function in society and 15% of them to be considered the most poignant and potent writer that ever graced the face of the earth? Continue reading