date: Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 1:43 AM
subject: [Fwd: Emailing: P1230294.JPG]
Hi. I'm from Israel. Love your blog.
The story goes like this: I study Japanese for several years now, and I can read about 1400 kanji more or less. One day, my co-worker approaches me with his cellphone. "Can you tell me what this says?" he asks me, showing me a photo of a piece of fabric carrying the kanji 私変態. I take a look, and reply "It's not grammatical, but it basically says "I'm a pervert".
"'I'm a pervert'. The first character means 'I', the other two mean 'pervert'", where did you get that from, anyway?
"It's on my 1.5 years old daughter's shirt!"
After LOLing for about 15 minutes straight, I kind of demanded that he get me a photo of the complete shirt so I can send it to Hanzi Smatter. And here is the shirt, complete with the cute, luckless 1.5 years old "hentai" herself.
I mean, yes, I have seen intentionally-made "hentai" shirts around the web (and on Hanzi Smatter). Adults buy them and wear them for the laughs. But who in his right mind would put this on a toddler's shirt, and sell it in a children's clothing store rather than a joke shop? I can't imagine.
Yes, I suppose it *could* mean "metamorphosis", but really, outside scientific contexts, it's almost always means "pervert". Or am I wrong?
Cute kid, though. The "bunny" or whatever kind of cute animal that is also on the shirt is a nice touch. We have obviously uncovered a diabolical plot to "pervert" innocent youth with inappropriate hanzi!
By the way, the T-shirt would be cuter and better if it was grammatically correct, like:
私、変態なんです。[I ... am a pervert.]
私、変態かも…[I might be a pervert...]
As it is, it sounds more like Tarzan-speak: "me - pervert." You kind of expect "you - Jane" next.