Ugh I can't understand anything... oh wait it's Chinese

Ya’ll ever have this happen to you? You pull up some article from the web (the title looks Japanese, the website’s name is Japan related etc.) and start reading. A few Kanji in you’re like…jesus this is one long 熟語… Then have a moment of “maaaan all this time studying Kanji and I can’t understand anything!”…

Then you look down further and see there’s not a Kana in sight… it’s Chinese!! Well at least my Japanese isn’t terrible like I thought!

P.S. this is the article that inspired me to post this morning: 2000円紙幣 - 緣起沖繩的紙幣 - 喜愛日本 LikeJapan |ライクジャパン


Not really. There’s a bunch of parts that show up only in Chinese kanji or at least look different in Chinese kanji. The 糸 radical is a dead give-away from this article’s title that it’s Chinese.


I’m often surprised at how much Chinese I can read. I find that I can get the basic gist of simple text sometimes.

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Chinese fonts tend to have some distinct differences, even when the characters don’t have different forms, so I usually recognize that it’s not Japanese fairly quickly, but I guess it’s possible for it to be confusing in small scale stuff, like t-shirt slogans or something.


Checking out words like 我, 存在, and 開始 really gives you an idea of how Japaneseified the on’yomi readings are. lol

It’s funny to hear a line of Chinese and think, “Hey… I kind of recognize a few words.”

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I’ve been learning a bit of Chinese and omg most of the time the on’yomi is not even close


I love running on’yomi by my Chinese friends and seeing their reaction. Bonus points for non-Mandarin dialects.

Thinking back, my favorite response was “What the [expletive] have you done to our language.”


Go look up the chinese (cantonese) pronunciation of 態度.

水 is one that made me go ‘Huh?’ when I heard it the first time, especially since all those sounds are actually in Japanese still. lol.

I’ve actually found learning Chinese to be so much simpler than what people say it is since I already know a good little bit of Japanese. You don’t have to worry about having to learn about radicals and stuff, and it’s cool to see where some stuff in Japanese came from. One of my favorite things I’ve learned is how 謝る uses the same kanji as 谢谢. When I noticed that, 謝る seemed super Japanese all of a sudden.

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Everytime i google japanese words for context I automatically assume chinese content will come first.

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I don’t think I’ve ever had Chinese content come up when trying to google for Japanese content. It probably helps that I’m currently in Japan, but even before then, if you include things that only exist in Japanese, like 例文 (the equivalent Chinese word appears to be 例句) or 違い, then Japanese results are typically going to be the things that come up.


I’ve more frequently had the reverse happen, where I don’t see any kana in a small string of text (usually on a label or something) and assume it’s Chinese, and then realize it was just short enough that they only needed kanji.


Lucky you!

The lack of かな is always a dead giveaway.


So it was not difficult to see that article in Chinese is about 2000 yen notes commemorating the Okinawa Summit held in 2000. Putin, Clinton participated, among other world leaders沖縄(守礼門)が載っていますね!沖縄サミット開催を記念した二千円紙幣 Here in Okinawa you can see the 2 thousand yen notes and can be seen when withdrawing from ATMs

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For me, one of the unexpected bonuses of learning Japanese is learning to distinguish Asian character sets: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, …

Also, I have enjoyed learning to recognize different languages, including hearing the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese, which I never even knew existed before I learned Japanese, then realized that I could hear Chinese people speaking at least two radically different languages.

Also Also, it is really neat to start to hear different Japanese dialects, and to guess where a speaker is from.


I bought Steins Gate and found it ridiculously hard!! Then realised I somehow bought the wrong version :sob:
I was able to get refunded, thankfully they were kind to me =^_^=

I managed to do it by finding the Japanese version, and not being able to decide if maybe I should buy the English instead, and then thought I went back to the Japanese…which turned out to be the wrong one… (Chinese)


I manage a collection of Chinese historical material in my day job (I don’t speak Chinese…) and we have a dual language catalogue. I’ve tried to be clever once and search on the chinese interface by using kanji typed on my japanese IME, and it didn’t work, so the computer obviously distinguishes between kanji and hanzi behind the scenes, even though they’re visually identifical.