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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lunar New Year 旧正月 Day 7

Finally, a day that stayed sunny the entire time. No clouds, no rain. I didn't do much today. In the morning I went for a walk in the hills overlooking Chung-cheng (Jhong-jheng) Park 中正公園. That was followed up in the afternoon by a visit to another park near our apartment, with Amber, Pamela and my mother-in-law. As always, Amber enjoyed the time spent outdoors.

On the way to Chung-cheng Park, I took a short detour to take these pictures of signs utilizing Japanese.

This bizarre sign is for a slot-machine parlor. Casino gambling is illegal in Taiwan, so who knows what goes on in these kinds of places. The writing is a mixture of Japanese and Chinese, おさるの超五空の家 "O-saru no Ch'ao Wu-k'ung (Chao Wu-kong) no ie". さる is the Japanese word for "monkey" 猿, with the honorific お attached. "Chao" means "super", while "Wu-kung" is the name of the Monkey King in the novel "Journey to the West", which I've just read about on Wikipedia (The Monkey King is known as 孫悟空 in Japanese). 家 means "house" or "home". Because the hiragana "no" の is widely used and recognized in Taiwan, the sign could also be read (and probably is by the locals) as "O-saru no Ch'ao Wu-k'ung no chia (jia)", "chia" being the Chinese for "ie". So the name of this establishment is "The honorable monkey Super Wu-kung's house". Yeah, whatever.

A few doors down from the super simian establishment is a cafe called "Toho" 東宝. And I know it's called Toho, and not "Tungpao (Dongbao)", because the name is written in hiragana underneath, とおほう. Actually, though, the onyomi 音読み for 東 is とう, and not とお. Toho is the name of a major Japanese film studio, but methinks there is no connection to this shop.

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