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att. Culture - 携帯 vs ケータイ 6
att. Culture - 携帯 vs ケータイ 6
att.JAPAN Issue 23, July 2005

携帯 vs ケータイ 6


A look on Japanese characteristic seen through Japanese Orthography

Ketai


If you know what this means, you get A plus plus in Japanese. Translation: Konnichiwa. If you don't even know what that means, it's "Hello" in gal-moji, or "girly letters." Gal-moji is comprised of a variety of orthographical means: Japanese, Kanji, English, Greek, Russian, etc. It's used by teen-aged Japanese girls (of course!) in mobile e-mails. My son has received some, he says, and it seems it did take him a while to get used to it. For some mysterious reason, a couple of years ago teenaged Japanese girls have decided to devise a writing system of their own. I made my own "adult reasoning" in understanding the philosophy: 1. To keep parents from finding out what they are up to. 2. to feel a sense of belonging among peers 3. to show off creativity.
In any case, these girls' adeptness in acquiring this innovative form of communication is remarkable. It's almost like getting hooked on some new kind of puzzle. And in a way it is. My way of thinking about gal-moji is that it isn't written actually, but drawn. In other words, this type of language expression is perceived in the right cerebrum that is said to preside over artistic ability.
KetaiIt's almost like a new type of manga (cartoon). Japanese manga culture irritates many foreigners, especially when they see Japanese sarari-men (office workers) engrossed in comic books while sunk comfortably in priority seats on trains (the Japanese get exasperated at the sight, too, just in case you're concerned). But think of it this way. Ignoring the elderly and handicapped in front of them set aside as a different issue, reading manga is the same as reading books, because the Japanese perceive written language in the right brain. At least that's what the Japanese entomologist Takeshi Yoro repeatedly claims in his books. He says: "When the Japanese read, they use the same part of the brain that they use when reading manga." Gal-moji is precisely a drawing. It is a modern hieroglyphics.
My conclusion is that, with so much natural training in both sides of the brain in daily life from as early as age two throughout adulthood; the Japanese can do a lot more than they think they are capable of. It saddens me that these days so many Japanese lack self-confidence.
So don't think lightly of gal-moji and other emerging subcultures, and manga-reading sarari-men! You never know when they will come up with incredulous ideas that will shake the human race.
Ketai


(Ganbare!---Hang in there!)

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