Showing posts with label japonés (idioma). Show all posts
Showing posts with label japonés (idioma). Show all posts

26 January 2020

Curidas's Name

Japanese companies –and not only in the stationery industry-- have a hard time naming their products, and I have pointed at some examples in the past.

More often than not, the issue is simple—the Japanese and the overseas names are different: Capless vs. Vanishing Point, Elabo vs. Falcon, Profit vs. 1911, etc.

Some other times, the problem is associated to the lack of consistency among Japanese on how to transliterate their own language into alphabet: Ohashido vs. Ohasido is the most evident of all, but there are more: Fuyu-shôgun vs. Fuyu-syogun, Sho-ro vs. Syo-ro, Doyô vs. Doyou, etc.

And now Platinum goes one step forward with the soon-to-be-released Curidas model. According to the company, the name is related to the Japanese word “kuridasu” (繰り出す, くりだす), that could be translated as to roll out. And the word would be something like “koo-ree-dah-soo”. The other associated word, also according to Platinum, is the English word “curiosity”.


Kuridasu, curiosity; Curidas.

But Japanese are often concerned about how English speakers might pronounce their Japanese words. Or, alternatively, they are worried about sounding too Japanese. Anyway, at the time of writing “Curidas” in Japanese, Platinum changed it to キュリダス, which transcribed to alphabet becomes “kyuridasu”.


Could Platinum at least be consistent?

And the whole mess is served. We will see the name of this pen written both as Curidas and Kyuridasu. And both of them are correct.


Pilot with steel overlay, Yamada Seisakusho – Sailor Blue-black

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, January 22nd, 2020
etiquetas: Platinum, japonés, capless

05 August 2019

A Pen Is A Pen

A pen must write well in any country. That should be a given, but not all pens perform correctly.

When a Japanese pen is at fault, the different writing scripts –Kanji and kana in Japan, alphabet in the West— have been used by some to explain why it did not work properly, and even to justify how suitable a pen is for certain market.

These are some examples:

Some years ago, it became well known that the size #10 Falcon nib by Pilot (present on the models Custom 742 and Custom Heritage 912) did not always behave properly (::1::, ::2::). Many units tended to railroad under almost any pressure. But to this obvious fault some in the West invoked the special way of writing (Japanese, that is) to explain and justify that failure.


Pilot Custom 742 with a Falcon nib.

More recently, Davidoff argued –at least in Japan-- that their nibs were perfectly suited for Japan because their nibs were Sailor's... Like if Pelikan and Montblanc pens were so bad at that and had a hard time in the Japanese market.


Davidoff pens.

The case of Naginata Togi nibs has already been discussed on these pages. In the Japanese market, Sailor brags about how suitable those nibs are to write Japanse (::3::, ::4::), but that does not prevent Sailor from selling them in the West...


Sailor Naginata Togi nibs.

All those examples are nothing but bland excuses and cheap marketing. A pen is a pen and must write well in any script. And Pilot claimed this long time ago:

A Namiki ad from 1927 in the UK explained that the Japanese writing was the perfect benchmark to ensure the correct performance of their pens under any circumstance... such as writing in alphabet!


The Bookseller & the Stationery Trades Journal, July 1927. Page 27. As seen at the Pen Station, Tokyo, in April of 2013. Japanese as the perfect test for any pen!

Japanese are not from another planet. Neither are Westerners when seen from Japan.


Sailor Profit Naginata Togi – Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July - August 2019
etiquetas: mercado, Japón, japonés, Pilot, Sailor, Davidoff, plumín

08 April 2019

The Case of Naginata. V. Results

On the previous Chronicle, I wondered whether the alleged virtues of the Naginata Togi nebs were real and detectable. To do so, I published a picture with seven sets of ideograms --焼肉定食, yakiniku teishoku--, all of them written by the same Japanese hand using seven different pens. Then I asked if we could find out which one had been written with a Naginata.

From top to bottom, the pens were as follows:

- Kubo Kohei nib. Unlabeled point, but it is about an MF.
- Montblanc 149 (F?)
- Henckel nib, architect grind.
- Sailor Naginata Togi, NMF.
- Pilot #5, music nib.
- Pelikan M200, F.
- Pilot Vpen, F.


The solutions to the question of last Chronicle.

The most popular answer –both on comments to my text and on Instagram-- was number 5; that is, the music nib by Pilot.

This result is surprising—either people love the results of writing with a stub nib or most of us do not really know how a Naginata nib is actually cut.

On second position came number 3 –a Henckel nib with an architect grind--, and on third, the actual Naginata Togi. This is more reasonable, as the Naginata nib can be seen as a smooth architect's nib.


The architect's grind on a Henckel nib.


A Naginata Togi nib.

The conclusion is that the alleged beautifying effects on the writing come only through practice with the Naginata Togi nib itself. But if so, many people, in Japan and overseas-- buy Naginata pens without really knowing how to use them and take no benefit of their supposed advantages.

But Naginata Togi nibs are excellent writers for whatever script, Eastern or Western. And christening a nib with an exotic name is an excellent marketing strategy.


Sailor Profit Naginata Togi – Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku

Bruno Taut
Bunkyo, April 2nd 2019
etiquetas: plumín, Sailor, japonés (idioma), mercado

27 March 2019

The Case of Naginata. IV. Writing

On the previous text I tried to deconstruct what a Naginata Togi nib was. I concluded that in essence, a Naginata Togi nib is a variable nib. My friend and fellow blogger Fudefan reminded me how Sailor marketed these nibs as optimized to write beautifully in Japanese.


A Naginata Togi nib.

Now, how true is that?

The following picture shows the same text (焼肉定食, yakiniku teishoku) with seven different pens. Only one of them is a Naginata Togi.


焼肉定食 with seven different pens. Some were Japanese, some Western.

Can anyone figure out which one was written with a Naginata Togi?

Which one do you think is more beautiful?

Finally, does this matter?


My thanks to Fudefan and to Poplicola-san.


Iwase Seisakusho prototype – Hôgadô Doroai (Sailor)

Bruno Taut
Bunkyo, March 26th, 2019
etiquetas: Sailor, plumín, japonés, mercado

19 March 2019

Katana or Fude

I am responsible for what I write, not for what others understand (::1::).

Some months ago I wrote about how at certain stationery shop in Tokyo the clerks in the fountain pen section did not call the Nakaya pen pouch "kimono" but "katana bukuro".

However, some people took my words as incorrect or as a complete speculation.

Well, none of the above.

The shop was Itoya's headquarters in Ginza (Tokyo) and the clerk's words implied that in that shop they spoke of the pen pouches as "katana bukuro". That conversation took place in October of 2018.


Katana bukuro, tô tai, fude ire?

More recently I posed the question to some other people in Tokyo. Among them, a journalist specialized in the stationery market with several publications under her obi. The result was similar: "kimono" is totally unheard in Japan to name a pen pouch.

'How do people call them then?'
'There is not a clear name', they replied.

And after thinking for a while the journalist continued.

'Some people call those pouches "tô tai".

"Tô tai" is just the onyomi (Sino-Japanese) pronunciation of 刀袋, whose kunyomi (native Japanese) pronunciation is "katana bukuro".

So be it.

And most people understand when you simply say 筆入れ, "fude ire", which translates as pen container.

But not "kimono". At least not in Japan.


Montblanc 149 – Aurora Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, March 18th 2019
Etiquetas: Platinum, Japón, japonés, Itoya

14 December 2011

Hepburn

When writing about Japan in English or Spanish soon one encounters a linguistic problem—that of the transliteration of Japanese words into alphabet. And this is an important issue as we, non-Japanese, need a consistent way of writing those, otherwise, mostly incomprehensible terms and names.

The most common set of rules for these transcriptions, or in Japanese terms, to write in Romaji, is the so called Hepburn Romanization, after James Curtis Hepburn, who proposed his system by the end of the nineteen century. The problem arises when Japanese native speakers are not really familiar with it. Needless to say, they do not need any transliteration in their daily life, and Romaji is not seriously covered at school. However, sooner or later, many a Japanese will have to write something in alphabet —a name, an address…— and mistakes are in order. The first type of mistakes is to follow the writing of the Japanese syllabaries. The second is to make the pronunciation of the written word in alphabet close to the Japanese sound when read by an (American) English speaker.

Behind the first mistake lays the inconsistency of writing certain sounds –mostly long o and most diphthongs (Yôon, 拗音). This is the reason why we see the name of the founder of the Japanese brand Swan written as Itou instead of Itô.

The second type of mistake --to help English native speakers to pronounce Japanese more correctly—accounts for spelling Ohto (大戸), a Japanese pen brand and a common family name—instead of Oto or Ôto, although this case creates no problem as the commercial name is well known and is not subject to different spellings.


At the end, the basic problem is one of consistency. Consistency both within any given text as well as with respect to other texts. Andreas Lambrou’s Fountain Pens of the World (1995) is an example of the opposite. The founder of Swan in Japan is spelled both as Itou and as Ito; SSS’s founder is both Asahirou and Asahiro Hosonuma; workshop or works (製作所) is randomly written as seisakusyo and as seisakusho; to name just a few examples.


I hope these problems were absent in the incoming Fountain Pens of Japan, by A. Lambrou and Masamichi Sunami. This book is bound to become a basic reference on Japanese fountain pens, and everything would be easier with good foundations.

(Pilot Prera, eyedropper – Senator Regent Royal Blue)

Bruno Taut
December 13th, 2011
[labels: japonés (idioma), libro, Japón]