Friday, November 11, 2005
Recently, on a morning television show, this book was talked about and it caught my attention. It is a dictionary which you can look up a food term or food name in Japanese, if there is a Chinese character it is given, the English term is given next and if there are terms in other languages (such as French & Italian) for the same food; they are also given.
The book was written by Kazuhiko Nagai & Kikue Suzuki under the supervision of Yukio Hattori. Some may know Mr. Hattori from the television program, the "Iron Chef ", where he was a guest commentator.
A lot of times trying to figure what the katakana word for some foods or things can be a bit stressful.
If you have been to Japan and/or understand some Japanese, you can understand why katakana can be a bit stressful, for example, ba-su could mean bath or bass, ro-zu could mean rose, rows or roads.
Katakana is one of the four Japanese writing systems (hiragana, kanji and romaji are the other three).
The main uses of katakana in modern Japanese are for onomatopoeia--used to represent sounds, like hii means "to sigh", for technical and scientific terms, such as the names of animals, plant species and minerals and the transcription of words from foreign languages (gairaigo)--television would be terebi in katakana.
Although nowadays people use hiragana for foreign words too.
For people learning English, I would suggest that you give up using Katakana because you will lose the true pronunciation of the English word.
Anyway, if you're a foodie, like me, I think you'll find this book very useful.