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Dumb question


8 Dec 2003
yeah, this sounds really dumb but I have been curious on it.

I see roman characters written in English all over Japan products... is this done because some words cannot be written in hiragana and katakana? Because I know some words are incapable of being written like that.

Also, while watching Japanese movies... sometimes the character just burts out an English sentence. Whoever saw Ichi the Killer can relate to this. Why is this?

Thanks... just trying to gather as much info possible...

PS: anybody recommend any books off amazon for japanese? how is japanese for dummies?

I'd love to know a clear answer for this too.

Best I can come up with is it is similar to us using a french phrase, or logo to express that thought.

As for books, I've never seen a dummy book worth buying EVER. I recomend two series of japanese books that I know are good. They are college books though, but the first one is quite cheap.

Really need someone who IS japanese or a teacher to really start learning though. :/

Learn Japanese New college text by John Yougn and Kimiko Nakajima-Okano: This book is the four part series I used. Wonderful books, cheap as well. Still you need a teacher or someone to get you started.

Genki! (can't remember much, but I know a friend used these books and loved them)
it's meant to be really trendy for companies to use english words or phrases on their products, in fact you basically can't find any japanese products without a word or two of english.they do this regardless of whether these sentences have good grammar or if they even make sense: Engrish.com

im not sure about in the movies...
English phrases/words, as mentioned, are trendy and cool to many Japanese people, even if they dont' make sense to people know know English.
Also, all unknown words can be written in katakana by creating the closest pronouncation of the word.
Most of today's J-Pop song lyrics contain tons of English words and phrases, even though the singers themselves may not be able to carry on a conversation in English.
^ I find that a reprehensible practice. I cringe when I hear bad English in songs. Good English is fine, good Japanese is better, but please save the incomprehensible English for babies and the deaf. :D
Originally posted by MikeM
. Whoever saw Ichi the Killer can relate to this.
Well if you mean Karen... it was to make her character more mysterious... she speaks in Chinese, English and Japanese.... so it wasn't just with English in that case... Plus the actress (Pauline 'Alien' Sun) is from Hong Kong (or maybe Singapore?) and before the film, she couldn't speak any Japanese...
I also recommend the Learn Japanese series. It's what I used and I still occasionally pull them out as references. (I was in a college setting, though, I didn't use them for self-study).
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