Thursday, June 14, 2012

Learning to Read Signs

When I am out and about I try to read the signs I see.  Most of the time there is a combination of hiragana and kanji, so I can’t figure anything out.  Even when it is all hiragana and I can sound out the word, I don’t usually know what it means.  Yesterday, I was standing at the corner waiting for the light to change and I saw this sign.

I sounded it out: ya ki to ri – yakitori – YAKITORI! I knew what it said. Yakitori is this cooked chicken on a stick that is popular here.  This is a place that sells those chicken things. It sounds silly, but it was so exciting to read and understand what the sign said.

I know about 20 kanji symbols now. It seems like I see the ones I’ve learned often. I see “north” on street signs and I saw it on a bank in Sapporo the other day.  I see the fire kanji a lot because there are a lot of fire hydrants around.

The two kanji I recognize and see the most are “not allowed” and “stop”. Unless there is also a picture, I don’t know what is not allowed, so I’ve just decided not to do anything around any sign that says 禁止 .

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