I’ve pictured this scenario where a white person is walking around with a Japanese person and the white guy asks the Japanese guy what does that say and the thing they’re pointing to is scribble aka archaic writing.
Reading archaic writing is a skill that I never developed from just immersing in Japanese since I don’t read stuff written in the cursive writing etc. Sometimes I can figure it out and sometimes I’m like wtf? I remember pausing the screen while watching JIN when Nokaze or whoever would send letters to JIN and I’d be like how he does he read that scribble or I’d be able to read some of it. Luckily, he usually read the letter aloud in the narration etc so I didn’t have to read that to enjoy the show. Now that I think about it I’ve seen a lot of handwritten Japanese on Japanese tv shows since they always make people write letters and read them on the show. those are usually legible. I always get excited whenever I spot a mistake in handwritten Japanese lol. Check out my previous post for an exmplae
I later learned it’s not just hand-writing scribble; it’s olden japanese hand scribble. This was back in 2009 when d-addicts was a thing and I was watching the show with Japanese subtitles. I was thinking how unhelpful korean subtitles are for watching time period dramas as a Korean learner in that even if you watch with the korean subtitles they don’t help you understand the show when it comes to encounters with new words. English subs would be more helpful honestly in terms of whatever learning you can accomplish while watching a drama like a normal person (no pausing, rewinding, etc) and looking up zero things in the dictionary since my ears aren’t broken and I want to know what the words mean not how to spell them. This is a statement I’d never say about Japanese because of the inherent nature of its writing system. But in the end it doesn’t matter because I don’t watch Korean dramas since they’re unwatchable. This tangent is just a long-winded of saying that watching JIN with Japanese subtitles was an ABSOLUTE pleasure. J subs are a MUST for jidaigeki imo. I contemplated watching ryoma-den at one point because it was getting buzz and yoshida from black mayonnaise loved it but I never watched it but if I did I would watch j-subs.
I’ve mentioned before on a post about the finale of JIN season 2 about the behind the scenes scoop on the letter reading scene. The actor who plays Jin decided to read the letter for the FIRST time on the FIRST take so that he can give a genuine reaction while in character. All I thought while watching that scene is how does he read that shit lol. I was genuinely curious how well modern-day Japanese people can read the scribbles.
I was digging into this topic again because I read this on dokushometer
Then I googled gyousho and sousho and found an informative answer on chiebukuro!
The person posted links to website that will teach you all that you need to know so you can learn to read Japanese that’s written in those specific styles and of course if you want to read old Japanese (edo era etc) you have to learn the traditional forms of kanji. This elicited the thought that learning Japanese is never-ending if you are obsessed with being super skillful or perfect in Japanese with even reading; I don’t feel like learning how to read that stuff because I don’t read that kinda stuff and I don’t have interest in shodou. I contemplated looking through it since i am into writing messy, quickly, taking shortcuts etc and i love getting tips. but i never took a deep dive look into it. though from the cursory look, I already do some of the truncating they do when I handwrite Japanese… it’s human nature to want to be lazy lol. Why write all the individual strokes when you can draw a wavy/squiggly line.
If you are dead set on perfection in every aspect of Japanese and go down all these rabbit holes like pitch accent or even reading all types of Japanese writing it’s never-ending…. at the end of the day you have to follow your heart do whatever interests you the most. for me that does not involve learning how to read cursive/archaic japanese. Time is precious and I have a lot of other more practical activities to use my time towards. Maybe I’ll change my mind in the future. w’knows
The post was aptly titled blast from the past like the YG post because it took me a very long time to post it and I never went back to click on the links from the chiebukuro answer. I have many interests and it’s just not one of them.
HERE IS AN interesting article:
AND on a japanese 101 note I found out this year that PANSA means panther! I never looked it up and I think I even saw a bit of the commercial for black panther when i was watching hanseikai. I never gave a thought to the word PANSA until the london heart’s hliarious dokkiri on ogata when ogata said ko-yo-te. I’ve probably heard this word a couple hundred times if not thousands of times by now. Better late than NEver I guess.
On the topic of handwriting Japanese: I’m not into journaling but I do sporadically freewrite in Japanese. I scoff and roll my eyes at the silly blogs that tell people to read the news in their target language everyday or start a diary in the target language because everyone knows no one will keep that habit going for long unless they truly enjoy those activities. FOr me I don’t give a shit about the news in English and I also unsurprisingly don’t give a shit about the news in Korean and in Japanese especially the boring political articles. Occasionally I’ll read news articles that interesting ie scandals or if it’s about a topic I find interesting but I don’t go out of my way to buy a newspaper or visit the news websites daily etc. My freewriting activity is organic because I only do it if I feel like doing it. I don’t follow any schedule so the interval between entries could be days, months, or weeks. Every time I go to write, I’m amazed by the kanji I remember as well as the ones I don’t remember (sometimes I just blank out) since I’ve had problems with my heisig deck in the past which led to be stop doing it. Nowadays I only do kakitori cards since I combined some amazing pre-made decks.
So maybe a year or two ago I tried turning my spiral notebook sideways to write vertically in Japanese. I’ve written words or a sentence vertically before but I’ve never tried it for my freewriting. I noticed that writing Japanese vertically is easier and more practical. I never knew because I never tried it! I hate handwriting in general so I appreciate anything that lessens the burden. I’m not into buying expensive notebooks, stationary, pens, etc so I’m glad that I tried it and loved it. I write extremely messy and I plan to throw the notebok away after filling it so I have no interest spending money on nice notebooks. Writing Japanese has definitely help me hone in my skills in writing in my own sougyou-esque handwriting style.