Ariana Grande’s BBQ Grill has Seven Rings

I’m sure, by now, if you pay attention to anything Japanese or related, you’ve found that a major US pop star with lots of beauty and very little talent has decided to get a tattoo with Japanese kanji.

It is supposed to say “seven rings”, which I assume is the title of either a movie or a song she darkened the door of, but instead, apparently, it says “BBQ grill”.

Even though Ariana Grande and I have little in common – she’s a beautiul young talentless star, I’m a balding middle-aged guy with more talent in my little finger – I understand why one would want to get a tattoo in kanji. It’s got that foreign exoticism to it, kind of a hidden meaning that only you and a few billion other people in the world might understand, and the logographs are actually rather pretty in many cases. So I understand the temptation.

But, seriously. If you don’t know Japanese, don’t.

Let’s set aside the issue of trivializing a beautiul and ancient language to make a fashion statement and focus on the fact that one is making a permanent or semi-permanent alteration to one’s body without fully understanding what the heck they’re actually drawing on.

Google translate is not a substitute for knowing Japanese.

Running it by a native speaker is only marginally more a subtitute for knowing Japanese.

Learning enough Japanese that you can be confident that a kanji or jyokugo means exactly what you think it does is the only way to be sure that what’s going on your body is what you expect is going on your body.

Plus if you learn Japanese, it gives you much more of a right, in my opinion anyway, to use the kanji in ways it was not intended. It’s much less disrespectful to a culture to first learn, understand, and appreciate the culture. After which, of course, you can go ahead and use the kanji as you will, secure in the knowledge that you’re neither embarrassing yourself or disrespecting a proud, ancient culture by being stupid and thoughtless.

Learn Japanese, miss Grande. Or at the least make some Japanese friends. Surely either of things are a better use of your time than whatever you do that makes you think it’s a good idea to look up “7 rings” on google translate and take that to a tattoo artist that doesn’t know any better either.

Our Japanese friends deserve just a bit more respect from you than that, don’t you think?

Post in Japanese #1

Hi all.  I am going to try to write a weekly post in Japanese, mostly to address the issue in “Crisis of Confidence“, which I wrote about earlier.  It will have a lot of mistakes and I will need to look a lot of things up.  Feel free to correct.  The point is just to do it no matter what.  Honestly, it will probably take me a long time to write this, as I refuse to use Google Translate except to check that my work is halfways intelligible… 🙂

こんいちわ。私は日本語学生です。私がとても恥ずかしいい日本語をかいてます。
昨日は店にいきますでした。やさいと肉とチキン買うました。今晩はハンバーガーを炊くます。私がふかふかパンの中にいハンバーガーとレタスとトマト炊くます。とても美味しいです。

日本語は難しいです。毎日は一時間約日本語を学者うます。

よろしくお願いします

Just for humor’s sake, this is what I first came up with before I used google translate to correct my *worst* errors…  I guess I learned something through the process, though.  The English translation is hilarious.

Hello. . I am a Japanese student. It’s embarrassing, is not it. I went to the shop yesterday. It is chewy with chicken or meat. I will hang a hamburger tonight. I bask in bamboo, lettuce, tomato and fluffy bread. It is very tasty. Different books are difficult. I am a scholar for an hour or Japanese.

okay…  think that’s all for this week.  I have so much to learn…