Japanese is arguably one of the hardest languages for native English speakers to learn. Today I want to explain one reason for this.
The language actually has three different forms of writing. The kinds are called hiragana, katakana, and kanji.
Let me explain. One sound could be written in three different ways. For example, the sound ki, which can mean “tree”, can be き(hiragana), キ(katakana), or 木(kanji).
Why do Japanese use these varieties? One of the reasons is actually so that it is easier to read! When you write one word with a few hiragana symbols (for example: くるま(car)) or katakana symbols (クルマ), you can say that with only one kanji symbol (車). Because Japanese language doesn’t have any spaces, it is very hard to read if there was no kanji. Kanji helps break words apart, making it easier to read.
Another reason is that kanji gives actual meaning to words. The sound “hee” (ひ) can have many different meanings and therefore can be written as 日, 非, 妃, 悲, and many others!
“Wait, but why is there katakana then?” you might ask. Well, katakana is used to show words that come from foreign countries. For example, ハンバーガー(pronounced: hanbaga) means hamburger, and ライオン (pronounced: laion) is for lion.
Now let’s get into some history. Many many years ago, Japan didn’t have any written language. People in Japan traveled to China, learned the Chinese characters, and began using them for Japanese words. These pictographs were called kanji. But there was a problem. Only men (at that time regarded “higher” than women) learned and used this writing system. So women made a new phonetical alphabet called hiragana, so they too could read and write. Katakana was created later, taken from this hiragana. After a while, all of three types of words mixed together for the reasons above. So now, in any one sentence you could have all three written forms represented!
So, there you go! That is why there are three written forms in the Japanese language and it is one reason Japanese is so difficult to learn. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to comment below!
Now for the update! We came to Hokkaido on the 19th and set up camp! It was the first camp site in the 11 camp sites we will be going to! :O
The food, as I knew it would be, is GOOD!!! Very fresh and flavorful. I could tell why everyone likes it so much.
The first camp site was close to Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, so we visited there the next day, on the 20th.
There were delicious restaurants, site-seeing spots, parks, other buildings, and people wherever I looked! As I explained in the post about Hokkaido, most sites are far away from each other. But in this city, the biggest one in Hokkaido, everything is so close together and easy to navigate.
On the 22nd, we all awoke early to set off for our next location, called the Shiretoko Peninsula, six hours away.
Shiretoko is a World Natural Heritage, and we were able to enjoy God’s wonderful artwork: waterfalls, the Okhotsk Sea, mountains, flowers, many wild animals, and sea cliffs!
At the campsite, we spotted a couple of deer! We also saw some footprints and manure of a bear close to our tent! Thankfully, we haven’t seen any real bears yet. 😀 (Though there are supposed to be as many bears here as any other place in the world.)
I hope you enjoyed this week’s post! I will try to continue to post and update like this, but don’t be surprised if I don’t; I have a tight and unpredictable schedule!
Bye and God bless!