Sunday Soundcheck 59


Week four of the ‘M’ column is the sound me, remember the vowel sound here is like the ‘e’ in pet. We write it in hiragana as め and katakana as メ.

Meriken (メリケン) is one of the ways we write American in Japanese. It is an older way; a lot of people in their 70s and 80s still refer to wheat flour as merikenko (メリケン粉) – the flour from America. Most people now say amerika (アメリカ), the difference reportedly occurred because in English we speak with a stress accent. Often Japanese people misunderstand English because they miss syllables – Japanese having no stress accent.

Meisousuru (めいそうする・迷走する) is to wander or to stray. When I first started practicing calligraphy I heard this often. Not knowing the path the brush should take or lacking the confidence necessary leaves a stroke that wanders and has weak edges.


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