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September 08, 2022

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4 or shi (四) is a homophone of shi (死) or death

Barely on topic, but when I was studying Japanese and we were learning to count, the number 4 was given as yon. (I also note that 4th generation Japanese Americans are referred to as yonsei.) Is there a rule of thumb on which reading for 4 is used when?

Isn't the same true in Chinese? I know of that taboo mainly from there.

Chinese try hard to avoid phone numbers, license plate numbers, etc. that have 4s in them. And they are willing to pay a high premium for the same with 8s in them.

RIP Elizabeth.

It will be a long while before the Monarchy comes up with another Queen (or King) to rank with you.

Elizabeth was also the first female of the Royal family to be an active duty member of the British Armed Forces. This also makes her the last surviving head of state to have served during World War II.

***

RIP Elizabeth.

It will be a long while before the Monarchy comes up with another Queen (or King) to rank with you.

Helas.

I rather detest the idea of royalty and the whole birthright thing in general.

That said, this Queen was a remarkable person, even amongst royalty, and the world is less without her.

One of the things I admired about her most was her ability to send pointed messages through wardrobe alone.

My heartfelt condolences to the Commonwealth.

The principle of a hereditary head of state is ridiculous. The Queen was an extraordinarily successful example (the preeminent example) of a conscientious, dutiful servant of her people, as she made clear in the letter she released on the eve of her platinum jubilee, which she signed "Your servant, Elizabeth R".

https://twitter.com/majestymagazine/status/1490083205504020485?lang=en-GB

Now, in a way that is perhaps hard to understand, we are having to try and accustom ourselves to a change of wording in our national anthem. It is no longer, absolutely incredibly, "God Save the Queen", it is now "God Save the King".

One of the things I admired about her most was her ability to send pointed messages through wardrobe alone.

I am by now fairly drunk (a bottle of champagne and a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape between two of us, not to celebrate but to honour her memory), but the best example of this was the fact that (as opposed to the enormous, hugely valuable brooches she normally wore) she wore a small, not very costly brooch given to her by the Obamas to meet Trump. Much too subtle for him to understand, of course, but not for us.

she wore a small, not very costly brooch given to her by the Obamas to meet Trump.

My personal favorite as well. Close second is the “EU flag” hat. They may say coincidence, but I refuse to believe it.

It would be wrong, despite my general contempt for him, to omit the 3-part statement tweeted by Boris Johnson on the death of the Queen. He is clever, and he is talented, and whatever else one thinks about him (and you all know what I think about him), his comments are moving. Again, I say, I am so glad his is not the main (let alone the most important) comment to be made on this. But we should not forget that the PM has weekly meetings with the sovereign, so has more sense of her than most people do.

https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson/status/1567941080796078085

Larkin, on the silver jubilee:

In times when nothing stood
But worsened, or grew strange,
There was one constant good:
She did not change.

Does BoJo have an alibi?

Morning all, about shi and yon, Japanese has two sets of numbers (actually 3 if you count English), one derived from proto Japanese, the other from Chinese. A lot of folks here have some Chinese so they can probably see the similarities
ichi/ni/san/shi/go/roku/shichi/hachi/ku/ju

Proto Japanese (with the counter -tsu, which is the most common way to hear it)
hitotsu/futatsu/mitsu/yotsu/itsutsu/mutsu/nanatsu/yatsu/kokonatsu/kokonotsu

https://www.coscom.co.jp/learnjapanese101/wordcategory/basicwords_numbers.html

Super cool fact. When you realize that fu- is a variant of hu, you can see that the proto Japanese system has a notion of binary counting that relates the numbers using ablaut (change in vowel quality)
hi/hu 1/2
mi/mu 3/6
yo/ya 4/8

The original observation was by Roy Andrew Miller (1967)

Sorry and didn't answer the question. Use the Chinese derived numbers for counting qua counting, use the proto-Japanese as prefixes to counters that are bound to the word. You'll probably get to a point where you aren't thinking about the number aspect, but just that hitori means one-person and futari means two. This means that you'll probably never use the smaller numbers in isolation.

Now that I think about it: English has three sets of numbers also.
- Germanic: one, two, three, four, five, six
- Latin: uni-, bi-/di-, tri-, quadr-, quin-, sex-
- Greek: mono-, di-, tri-, tetra-, penta, hexa-

So, futari means two people, but nisei means second generation?

As I type this, I realize that first and second bear no particular relation to one and two. Although for higher numbers (fifth, seventh, etc.) there is a clear relationship. Hmmm, wonder how that came about. Maybe our ancestors didn't care about anything after second place...?

the best example of this was the fact that (as opposed to the enormous, hugely valuable brooches she normally wore) she wore a small, not very costly brooch given to her by the Obamas to meet Trump. Much too subtle for him to understand, of course, but not for us.

This had me laughing.

Pity someone didn't tell him a) that the broach was a gift from the Obamas and b) she was dissing him. His inevitable reaction would have created the spectacle of the Tories scrambling to distance themselves from him. Which might have lent some amusement to their recent leadership contest.

wj, that's right. sei is the 'on yomi', which means it is read with the 'chinese' pronunciation (though that pronunciation may or may not resemble current pronunciation), so it 'requires' (though there are exceptions) that the first character use the chinese reading (the sei is the same as in sensei, i.e. born before or 'previous generation') It's actually similar to what Pro Bono points out for English, the Latin and Greek numbers need to be prefixes and it more often than not has to be Latin+Latin or Greek+Greek, though it is pretty confusing because the morphemes have developed different nuances (for example, uni- means all, encompassing, like a uni-driver or a unitard but mono means a single part or unit like monorail or a monograph)

futari actually has kanji (二人)which can also be read as ninin, though not all Japanese find it acceptable. If you go in a restaurant and they ask how many, you would say 'futari', but if you were asked how many people were in a group you saw, you might say 'ninin gumi'.

If the 'monarch' is a mere figurehead lacking actual formal political power, a hereditary head of state position/office has certain advantages. It requires strict discipline of the holder though. The moment he or she becomes openly partisan*, most of the advantages go out the window.
I would not recommend it for a new state though. But I see no reason to get rid of it where it is long established (as in Britain).

*or becomes a personal disgrace (cf. Spain)

It's probably indicative of my circles that 90% of what I am seeing in response to Elizabeth's passing is mourning her passing. Still have relatives in the UK and the friends and connections I have made here in Japan are, if they aren't US, are from the UK. A few hotter takes, a few Aussies wondering why they needed to have 10 days of talking news heads in black suits and ties, a few of my more leftish friends recycling things like this

https://www.theroot.com/black-twitter-responds-to-the-death-of-queen-elizabeth-1849513595

In regards to Hartmut's observation, it would have been interesting if the Queen had weighed in on Brexit or on the Windrush scandal (something about this is no way to treat her subjects), but there seems to be a big wall around that. It's interesting how the locating of the monarch into a non-political space comes to uphold the status quo.

I am wondering if we will have a situation like Thailand, where the universally beloved emperor Bhumibol passed away and the accession of his son, who by most accounts was certainly not the same kind of person as his father, has led to a lot of confrontation. I'm not suggesting that Charles has precisely the same issues, (and doesn't have recourse to the same lèse majesté laws that Vajiralongkorn/Rama X has) but the story of trying to replace someone so beloved has some similarities.

A few random thoughts:

My daughter got a thank you card from the queen only a few days ago, after having sent in a hand drawn card congratulating her on the diamond jubilee.

The EU hat was great.

As per the BBC doc I watched last night, the queen welcomed immigrants from the Caribbean and Southeast Asia in the Christmas address and spoke out against racist violence sometime the 50s .

She had a motherliness and warmth to her which brought people together, though it didn't seem to have extended to her own family, which was terribly dysfunctional in a traditional English upper class way.

In 1953 it was decided to televise the coronation, which was the first step in turning 'the Windsors' into the global brand that it is now - going down this path was by no means inevitable but a conscious choice.

I think the only way to save the monarchy is to gradually dial things back again and become a 'normal, bourgeois' monarchy, as practised in, say, Belgium, Sweden or the Netherlands (they ride bikes and have real jobs and stuff).

The impact of the Empire and class society is still very toxic in the UK and the monarchy needs to deal with it openly if it wants to heal the nation - fat chance that Charles will do this, but hey, at least he's strong on the environment.

Stephen Frear's "The Queen" is really good.

I'm very thankful Bojo is not presiding over all this.

Here's an interesting obit:

https://www.politico.eu/article/the-short-unhappy-life-of-elizabeth-windsor-queen-elizabeth-ii-obituary/

lj knows I have a passing acquaintance with Japanese. Originally for me it was from playing Go.

In Go, the 3-3 point is referred to san-san, but the 4-4 point is hoshi (star).

I must say, I think that the author of that Politico piece gets a lot of the feel of the thing subtly wrong. Can't be bothered listing items, but several times I found myself thinking "Hang on, that's not right". I wonder what his nationality is - it's possibly a cultural misunderstanding. But the thesis that her true internal life was absolutely unknown is certainly true. I saw a long interview with Helen Mirren recently, and in describing her preparations to play the Queen, she talked about her sense that Elizabeth was, in almost a physical way, in a submarine, and that she put the periscope up through which she observed the world. It is said that the Queen liked Mirren's portrayal in The Queen, but one never knows.

I must say, I think that the author of that Politico piece gets a lot of the feel of the thing subtly wrong

Yes, I read that and thought it pretty rubbish.
As if written to prove a point.

I'm no monarchist, as was hoping from the title to find it interesting. It wasn't.

He's British. There were several aspects in the piece that I hadn't been aware of and I think he did a good job of peeling away a bit of the official narrative. But, that's just me and the timing might be a bit off for some.

It wasn't the "peeling away of the official narrative" aspect I minded, if it had been accurate, it was the persistent sense that he was getting the interpretation of many things subtly wrong. Never mind - hers is a life that has always been, and will always be, much interpreted, and by all sorts of people with all sorts of agendas.

Ok, that's all a bit too cryptic for me, but let's not get into an argument :)

A few hotter takes, a few Aussies wondering why they needed to have 10 days of talking news heads in black suits and ties,

I was in Australia a few decades back, when they were going thru one of their occasional bouts of "Maybe we should drop the monarchy, and just become a constitutional republic." One of my acquaintances take was "When I became a police officer, I took an oath to the Crown. Not to some damn republic!" Since they stayed with a monarchy, opinion there on the Queen was pretty solid. So I'm guessing that objections to a few days of public mourning may not be ill-received by many.

It will be interesting to see if republican sentiment picks up under Charles.

although the principle of a hereditary head of state is ridiculous, still: give me Charles, or William, rather than the risk of a Trump-type or a representative of the half of the country who voted for Brexit.

No doubt there were aspects of her life that she was not happy with. But having decades with a husband she very much loved makes her better off than a lot of people.

Back in 1977 I had a "stuff the jubilee" poster on my wall, and wanted to sweep away the whole structure of hereditary privilege.

Over time it came to me that many unprivileged people take vicarious pleasure in watching the royals, and that it is not for me to deprive them of it.

The last thirty years have seen a new era of privilege, built not on titles of nobility but on inherited wealth. And this new privilege is much worse. The British royal family has a very obvious sense of noblesse oblidge, Trump and his like have the opposite feeling: not of obligation but of entitlement.

The British royal family has a very obvious sense of noblesse oblidge, Trump and his like have the opposite feeling: not of obligation but of entitlement.

Well, Trump is handicapped there by the fact that he has no trace of noblesse. Not to mention that any feeling of obligation is foreign to him, too.

My typist is so sacked.

My typist is so sacked.

Quite right too.

wj, I may be exceptionally dim, but I don't see the connection between your comment @04.15 and my quoted words immediately above it.

and:

Damn, and double damn. I think Snopes has (at least partially) debunked the Trump/brooch/diss. What a shame. Although, they do say as part of their reasoning that there is no proof she didn't like Trump. Whereas, to those of us who saw the footage, and had some experience reading the runes, that's pretty funny.

I don't see the connection between your comment @04.15 and my quoted words immediately above it.

That's because I messed up, and inserted the wrong quote. Unlike Pro Bono, it's my copyist who is so sacked.

What I meant to reference was Politico piece suggesting that she had an "unhappy life". I've made a lot of mistakes here, but that one was a doozy!

Got it. Boy, ObWi is pretty hard on clerical staff these days. Quite right, though, standards must be maintained!

Damn, and double damn

Ok, I guess I have to admit I may have been bamboozled & I trust Snopes.

On my phone, so I’m not gonna do exhaustive research, but there are a coupla things at work here:

The Queen is a sharp cookie.
By all appearances, the Obamas get on well with the royal family.
By all appearances, the Queen sees clearly the boorish clod that is Trump (didn’t he want a carriage trip to Buckingham?).
And that EU flag thing? No way that was an accident.

wj: yes, and that wasn't the only thing that was off about that Politico piece. The stuff about her childhood home (pre-abdication), and relationship with her parents, was also so tone-deaf as to almost seem written by somebody who knew absolutely nothing about that particular stratum of English life, which was why I thought it might have been written by a foreigner. But apparently not. So maybe just somebody who had a particular agenda. It makes me think of the Alan Bennett play (and movie) The History Boys, when the iconoclastic teacher brought in to shake up the boys' coaching to get into Oxbridge tells them that it's a better tactic (for success in that limited endeavour), when writing entrance essays, to go for a controversial, counter-intuitive theory, even if false, as long as they can give a clever justification. Or, as someone I once knew maintained (and he had an amazingly successful career as a supposed authority on his subject and a talking head, published and interviewed all over the place): "it's more important to be controversial than to be right."

Pete: it's not just you. That's a favourite story of lots of us.

But FWIW it really does seem very clear that she was properly keen on the Obamas; that occasion where Michelle put an arm around her and she put hers around Michelle is (as far as I know) unprecedented, and caused quite a stir. And I think I read somewhere that the Obamas were the only ex-presidential couple asked back after leaving office. Not to mention Trump's boorish behaviour as he barged past and strode ahead of her, and her expression when he did so, was pretty clear.

GftNC,

Apologies on no due diligence on my part but IIRC, the Obamas were invited to Harry/Meghan’s wedding. They did not attend, gracefully declining. I do not believe the invitation was extended to the sitting President.

Volumes, it speaks.

I do not believe the invitation was extended to the sitting President

Given his desperate compulsion to be the center of every event, one shudders to think what he would have done at a royal wedding. (Actually my imagination fails on that. Unfortunately, his likely would not have.)

Novakant's link is interesting, especially when compared with one covering the same territory, but in a different way, in the Graniaud
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/sep/09/private-life-of-queen-elizabeth-ii

I, like GftNC, thought it was a bit off, but I think we all agree that she was a cipher. In fact, after a long time of thinking that it was good to be very clear with where you stood, I'm beginning to think that not wearing all your opinions on your sleeve might be a better option.

It's also interesting that both of these pieces (and a lot of others) talk about Elizabeth's love for Phillip, especially since he was always a target for pieces about his failings.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/apr/11/the-chequered-legacy-of-prince-philips-notorious-gaffes

Another story that folks here might like,
https://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/people/arid-40958324.html

There were also two great stories in this twitter thread, one about the Queen driving around the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, presumably to make a point about woman drivers, and the other about two American tourists meeting the Queen while hiking in Scotland.
https://twitter.com/jonpayates/status/1568160644381155328

On a separate point, I'm sure almost everyone knows the reason for the Guardian nickname, but if not, here
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=grauniad
Strangely enough, the google search quotes from the site
Nickname for a radical left-winged newspaper in the U.K called: 'The Guardian'.
but the actual entry has it as
the UK national newpaper [sic], the Guardian,

To uphold their rep (for the nickname if not for being radical left winged, this discussion of Charles' speech
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/sep/09/charles-iiis-first-speech-what-the-king-said-and-why-it-was-important
has this:
A feint gesture of recognition of the cost of living crisis, perhaps.

Ahh, Grauniad, don't ever change.


Pete: how it was reported here was that the Obamas were not invited to the wedding, because that would have involved inviting Trump, and the feeling was that this reasoning was probably passed on personally by Harry to the Obamas, who clearly had a warm relationship with him as revealed by lots of the Invictus Games pranking etc.

And for anybody who fancies seeing the extreme nuttiness of the archaic ritual of the Proclamation of the King, I recommend watching the three minute item 3 of this link:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-11/king-charles-proclamation-key-moments/101426494

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