Friday, March 10, 2006

Interviews and Comics

I have been a little busy lately.

One of my short films called “Brokeback Heat”, actually it was just a parody thing I put together in two hours with Sony Vegas, was mentioned in March 2nd issue of New York Times (24 KB pdf file). Before that, I got interviewed by Larry Carroll of MTV about the short film as well.

I have also done several Hanzi Smatter related interviews with Joe Ventura of Hiragana Times, Christine Ziemba of Los Angeles Times, Janet Tzou of Inked Magazine and I am scheduled to do an interview next week with Cindy Chang of New York Times.

Over the week, I got three comic strips sent to me that are both entertaining and somewhat related to Hanzi Smatter.

Travis in Hiroshima sent me to the extremely funny David Malki's called “Wondermark”.


In an email, David told me that he was “considering offering a T-shirt joking about how ‘strength’ or ‘peace’ kanji on merchandise probably mean something like ‘dumb whitey’ or ‘balls’.” Perhaps David should submit his idea to By the way, the character on the guy’s chest is , it’s frequently used in both Chinese and Japanese city names.

Aron emailed me Guy & Rodd’s “Brevity”, where Confucius is upset about noisy neighbors.


Aron has this to say: “[Brevity] it's not usually very funny, but the characters in the first panel caught my eye. It seems like they read (with extra stroke) (radical version, backwards) (extra stroke) (sheep). Something about a sheep?”

Indeed, it does look like something dealing with goats or sheep, just like my local fire chief.

The last one was sent to me by the Patrick Brousseau,


Wherein the womanizing protagonist meets a Chinese girl and then her parents. Her parents are mystical because they appear to speak entirely in Chinese Zodiac calendar terms.

T-shirts Giveaway sponsored by Hanzismatter and


  1. I don't know if I'd phrase it that way, that 京 is used frequently in city names. That phrase, standing alone, makes it sound like it means "city" or such. It means capital, and so it might be pertinent to include that when referencing it. How many cities use it? I'm sure there are more than I know, but the ones that come to my mind are
    東京 - Tokyo (eastern capital since it is east of Kyoto, the former capital of Japan)
    京都 - Kyoto (capital city)
    北京 - Beijing/Peking (northern capital, I guess since it is north of Nanjing)
    南京 - Nanjing/Nanking (southern capital, I guess since it is south of Beijing)

    Anyways, just a comment.

  2. Hmm... Tokyo, Kyoto, Beijing, and Nanjing...

    Those sound like city names to me.

  3. Before, Seoul used to be written as 京城, which also means Capital (and the word Seoul itself too, it does not have a hanja/hanzi though). I'd seen on an old Chinese map. And also the hanzi/hanja: 京 is used in compound abbrevations including Seoul. This means the capital, for sure.


  4. Apparently 京 can also mean "ten quadrillion (American), thousand billion (British), or 10^16 (scientific)" in Japanese.

  5. The third cartoon reminded me of the speeches of the Chinese Tsun Family, in the wonderful manga of Dr. Slump (IQ博士 in China) by Akira Toriyama. To make them seem like they are speaking another language and yet comprehensible, Mr. Toriyama has chosen to write with kanji, homonymous but different. For example the phrase "ごめん、ごめん、姉さん。僕が悪かったです。" (Gomen, gomen neesan. boku ga warukatta-Sorry, sorry sis...I was bad/wrong) was written as "五面、五面、姉三。僕蛾悪勝多死" same reading (until shi meaning death, which Mr. Toriyama uses it as the default character for です-desu, the Japanese phrase ending) but no meaning. That's a similar practice used by Goscinny & Uderzo, the French creators of the comic "Asterix" (About the invincible Gaulish village resisting Roman Empire) where Goths speak in "Gothic Letters" and Vikings speak with A's becoming Å's and O's becoming Ø's (two special characters of Scandinavian languages)