Know Your Picture Characters Entry #30

November 8th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 川崎 B. 東芝 C. 日産 D. 任天堂 E. 日立 F. 本田 G. 三菱

Before we dive into this, it was brought to my attention that I did not explain all the choices in the puzzle from two weeks ago.  I thought that I had covered them over the course of the entry, but apparently one or two got left out.  So, the answers to the historical period puzzle were: A. Edo B. Kamakura C. Jomon D. Nara E. Heian F. Muromachi.

Now let’s get to work.  Our first guess, as always, came from Dragon, who identified E as Honda.  She felt that the character on the left represented a window, and cars have windows, and Honda makes cars, ergo, E is Honda.  It was a good plan, except that she made the fatal mistake of assuming that the kanji for “window” looks anything at all like a window.  But even if that were not the case, could it not also have been Toshiba?  They make computers with Windows.  Get it?  Get it?  Anyway, E is Hitachi, a company that does not make cars but does make something even cooler: bullet trains (and yes, they do have windows).

Next up was Theoman, who immediately spotted B as Toshiba.  We can’t even be mad at him, though, for we know that his long struggles as the owner of a Toshiba-made laptop must have given him infinite familiarity with the company, a familiarity that I am certain bred a fair amount of contempt.  “Know thine enemy,” said Sun Tzu, or one of those guys; now Theoman knows their name.  A Fan, on the other hand, owns a Honda (and a Toshiba computer), so it would seem like he was ideally positioned to sweep this puzzle.  But he made the curious choice of D, implying that his Honda had a wide enough front seat to fit two humans and a large dog.  While we can give him minor points because the character in the middle is somewhat similar to the one for dog, his theory falls short.  The characters actually represent him and his wife playing a game on the Nintendo Wii, with the dog lying between them in the most inconvenient position possible to prove how much he loves them.  D is Nintendo.

Our final contestant was Shirley, who went for G.  She had the right idea but the wrong corporation.  There were in fact three car companies on the list: C, Nissan, which nobody was interested in; G, Mitsubishi, which might be better for cruising down a two-lane highway than your stereotypical Honda; and F, the elusive Honda itself, with that “window” on the right side.  As we all know, windows are the defining feature of an automobile.  Just ask A Fan’s dog.

This week’s You Forgot About Poland Award goes to A, Kawasaki.  What have they ever done for us?

But after all that work, you must be exhausted.  Isn’t it time for a break?  Luckily for you, the upcoming puzzle is about holidays.  You get to learn all about the days that the Japanese get to take off but we don’t.  Theoman’s task will be to locate Constitution Memorial Day, while the rest of you can concentrate on Coming of Age Day.

A. 敬老の日 B. 建国記念の日 C. 憲法記念日 D. 成人の日

E. 体育の日 F. 天皇誕生日

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The Jenoviad Entry #91

November 5th, 2010 by Wordsman

Barret cried, “Today’s the day
I go in glory’s blaze!”
Red said, “Leaving the two of us
Imprisoned all our days”

“Okay, I admit it
I ain’t gave this plan much thought
But those are our two options
Outside (die) or inside (rot)”

From above a voice rang out
“And how ‘bout Option C?”
“God?  Is that you?”  “No.  Tifa
Come on.  It’s time to flee

“Escape route’s up the stairs, my friends
They’d not think of this trick
The only thing I need to know
Is if you can drive stick”

Tifa stood by an old truck
From well before the war
Its engine bad, its steering worse
And . . . “Uh, this just seats four”

Then they heard a manly roar
And Aeris squealed with joy
Cloud, mounted on motorbike
Looked proud of his new toy

Barret moaned, “I’ll drive this thing”
As he stepped on the gas
“But I don’t see why
he’s the one
Who gets to look badass”

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This Day in History Entry #90

November 2nd, 2010 by Wordsman

Quite a day for the transmitted word
Human sounds, but by EM waves spurred
Once our speech barely spanned
Past the reach of one’s hand
Now today it’s around the world heard

Events: KDKA, the first commercially licensed radio station in the U.S., goes on the air; founding of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; the British Broadcasting Corporation launches the BBC Television Service (now BBC One)
Years: 1920; 1936; 1936
Learn more:

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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #29

November 1st, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 江戸 B. 鎌倉 C. 縄文 D. 奈良 E. 平安 F. 室町

It seems I need to make a couple things clear here.  1. This is not an exhaustive list of Japanese historical periods.  These are just most of the interesting ones.  Well, Jomon’s probably not that exciting unless you’re really into pottery shards, but the rest all have their fun stuff.  I would not be surprised if, sometime down the road, a second challenge involving some of the other eras surfaces in this vicinity.  2. Periods of Japanese history are named for the center of government in most instances.  This statement is true of 5 of the 6 on this list.  Jomon refers to the signature rope-like pattern found on pottery from that era, because there probably wasn’t much of a government 40,000 years ago.

Finally, finally I have managed to stump Theoman.  He was correct on two counts: one, that “kama” means “scythe,” and two, that the “kama” in Kamakura is in fact the same “kama” that means scythe.  And then he tripped at the finish line, misread the first character in E, and ended up in the Heian period.  There are worse places to end up, I suppose.  What’s that, you say?  You’ve never heard of a place in Japan called Heian?  No surprise, I guess.  It was only the capital for, oh, over a thousand years.  Nowadays most of us call it Kyoto.

We also got to encounter a typical example of A-Fan-style logic, which bears the Wordsman Seal of Approval.  There may have been some trains in Japan by the very end of the Edo period, though they wouldn’t have really gotten going until the era that followed it . . . but we’ll talk about that later.  If that really is the Boston T, then presumably the left part of the right character is a window, through which the person represented by the character on the left is attempting to hand a sandwich.  Or maybe it’s just the Muromachi period, named for a district in Kyoto where the shoguns liked to hang out.

Shirley decided to engage in a bit of prognostication, predicting a dramatic shift in the function of the Japanese government following World War Eleven.  We’ll give her bonus points for that, if it comes true, but she too ended up drawn to Heian, the heart of classical Japanese literature, as so many scholars have been before her.  And we’re sure that the good people of Nara appreciate being described as, “Um, I don’t know.”  But the real answer was her other choice, picked up on successfully by her one-time co-conspirator Dragon.  Edo is A.  Nowadays most people call it Tokyo.  Not me, though.  And the Hagia Sophia is located in Constantinople.

Now it’s time to get back to work, so here is a list of places where you could work, if you were in Japan.  Feel free to identify as many as you wish (“This is the twenty-first century.  Many people hold down several jobs.”), but if you’re looking for guidance, try to pick out Honda.  Most of you should be familiar with that.  Except you, Theoman.  That’s right, I’m talking to you.  You get to look for Toshiba.

A. 川崎 B. 東芝 C. 日産 D. 任天堂 E. 日立 F. 本田 G. 三菱

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