Apr 29, 2011

Chinese characters favored by yokels

I saw these characters, "柔術", on the back window of an import pickup truck in California. I was trying to parse these mentally. I was thinking, ok, so 柔 (róu) is "tender" or "soft", then 術 (shù) is like "technique" or "skill". What exactly is "tender skill"? What's this Toyota pickup driving yokel trying to say exactly? I seemed at first like it must be something kind of pervy.

It turns out, though, that "tender skill" is how the Japanese write "jujutsu", which is like a type of karate. How cute is that? I think he needs a Hello Kitty to go next to the 柔術 characters. Tender kitty, tender skill.

The Toyota brand should have tipped me off that the characters should be parsed using Japanese and not Chinese.


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