Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Nara Deer Causing Injuries

The more than 1,000 native deer (shika) in Nara Park in Nara Prefecture are considered to be messengers of the gods and a national treasure, so they are protected within the city limits due to their sacred connection to Nara's Kasuga Taisha Shrine.  Because of their protected status, they are allowed to roam freely throughout the park and the streets.  Special rice crackers are sold to feed the deer. 

Every year hundreds of people are injured by the deer, and the number of injuries are increasing each year. Last year eight people suffered fractures, including hip fractures. Foreign tourists are among those injured, with five of the eight serious fractures last year affecting tourists visiting from abroad. In December of last year, the prefecture began giving out information booklets in several languages, to visitors with warnings not to irritate the deer.  

When I visited in 2012, I witnessed some children crying because of aggressive deer, but I didn't see anyone get hurt. They look very cute, but you have to be careful!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Monday Morning Star Count - Year 1 Quilting Start

I sandwiched, then pin basted Year One. I started hand quilting and hope to continue working on it until I can finish it!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

License Plate Hiragana Characters

I love finding out things about living in Japan.  I don't drive here, but I do notice cars and license plates.  Only Japan uses hiragana on license plates (see 3. kana text above). The following are never used on license plates:

1) Any hiragana with ten-ten voicing marks on the side (such as が (ga), じ (ji), ど (do) etc.)
2) Combination hiragana sounds (such as きゃ (kya), ちょ (cho), みゅ (myu) etc.)
3) Old hiragana not used anymore (such a ゐ (wi) and ゑ (we) etc.)
4) わ (wa) and れ (re) are only used on rental cars. 

In addition to these, there are four more that are not allowed to be used on the car plates:

1) お (o). This one isn’t used because of its similarity to the hiragana あ (a). During a high-speed chase, the last thing police want to do is have to squint and try to deduce if they’re tailing an お or an あ only to get it wrong. This might also be why the similar-looking わ and れ are both only used for rental cars too.
2) し (shi). し isn’t used because it’s pronounced the same as the word 死 (“death”), making it an unlucky hiragana to have. Those who have studied Japanese know that the number four (also pronounced the same) is considered an unlucky number, similar to 13 in the West. But still, there are plenty of license plates with 13 in Western countries, and their owners haven’t all faced untimely deaths… probably.

3) ん (n). This one kind of makes sense, seeing as ん is the only hiragana that is just a consonant and not a consonant followed by a vowel. There are no words in Japanese that start with ん making it difficult to pronounce on its own. When department store clerks announce over the loudspeaker that a car has its lights on in the parking lot, they want to be able to get that info out clearly, not stumble over pronunciation errors.
4) へ (he). And here we have the strangest exclusion of them all. The reason you’ll never see a へ on a license plate? Because it sounds the same as 屁 (“fart”). We assume that policemen and store clerks would just burst into a fit of non-stop giggling if they had to read a license plate with へ on it, which led to its banning. Although perhaps the even funnier image is a room full of policy-makers deciding which hiragana are okay to use on license plates actually discussing the fact that へ makes them think of farts and striking it down because of that. 

Source: soranews24.com

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Edo Castle

Edo Castle is a flatland castle build in 1457.  Now it is part of the Tokyo Imperial Palace (where the Emperor and Emperess live) in Tokyo, which was formerly known as Edo.  Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa shogunate here and it functioned as the military capital during the Edo period. It became the Tokyo Imperial Palace during the Meiji Restoration. 

I was happy to visit the area, but I didn't see the Imperial family while I was there.

(If you are interested in Japanese Castles, check out my Castle Page to see the castles I've visited.)