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Friday, May 4, 2007

Going to Japan 日本に行きたい

I've finally decided. Despite our less-than-ideal financial situation, life in Taiwan is reaching a point where I need to get out, if just for a short spell. So next month I'm going to visit Japan for a week, by myself. I'd love to take Pamela and Amber along, but the things I want to do on this visit are, by and large, solitary acts. I'll post the itinerary another day. For now, here are some pictures I took of Japanese being used on signs in T'aichung (Taijhong) 台中(たいちゅう), where I went this morning to pay for and pick up my tickets from the travel agency.

I spotted the sign on the left on Wenhsin (Wunsin) Road. It reads "Tokyo", or at least it tries to. In furigana, however, Tokyo is written as "Toukyou" とうきょう, and not as "Tokyou" ときょう as it is on this sign. I couldn't tell what kind of business establishment this is as everything was shuttered.
The sign on the right comes from a restaurant on Kungi (Gongyi) Road called 赤鬼, "Red Ogre", which is a pretty cool name when you think about it. The Japanese reads "ステーキの専売店", which would translate as a "steak monopoly store". I think the owners meant to say their place is a ステーキの専門店, a "steak specialist shop", but with a name like Red Ogre, they can describe themselves in any way they like.

These two signs, taken near the SOGO Department Store, were next to each other. The left-hand one reads "Flamingo" in katakana フラミンゴ (it's also written in English in small letters next to the カタカナ). Another mystery business, as it too was closed up. Next door is an establishment going by the name of "Nijiya" にじや. The meaning of the name isn't clear (some kanji 漢字 would help), but the nature of the business is. According to the sign, Nijiya is an izakaya 居酒屋, a Japanese-style pub. I loved going to 居酒屋 in my Japan days, but I have no idea how authentic this place might be.

These signs were just around the corner from the two above. It's for a Japanese-style hot pot restaurant (according to the Chinese) called 森坂及 (Morizaka...kyu? I'm not sure about the last character). The hiragana reads しゃぶしゃぶ. Shabu-shabu is, well, a Japanese variant of a hot pot dish. I could nitpick and say that Shabu-shabu in Taiwan is not the same as Shabu-shabu in Japan, but I won't ;)

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