Homework or torture?

Good morning everyone,

Today is looking at least as nice as yesterday with a high of 12C and sunny skies. We may see some clouds roll in later and then it'll be cloudy with rainy periods tomorrow. Tuesday will see the sunny weather return and remain warm with a high of 13C. The rest of the week will see a mix of sun and clouds and highs around 9C. That doesn't sound too bad...

In breaking news, a new video of one of the Japanese hostages holding a picture of what appears to be the body of the other one has been released. There are reports that this video is very different from other videos released by the group and therefore may not be authentic. I hope it isn't. I'd like to see both of them returned to Japan none the worse for wear.

Until then, let's turn our attention to some elementary school student's homework and see if we are smart enough to pass grade 5!

Take a look at these riddles and see how many you can get playing: What Prefecture is This?

Are you up for the challenge? Let’s try it ourselves!

ken quiz 5

Yes, that row of hiragana characters is supposed be a hint at the name of a Japanese prefecture. Any ideas?

Need a hint? Think of the order for Japanese kana.

ken quiz 6

 This character looks something like 田 (ta), which represents a rice paddy. But unlike a normal “ta” kanji character, the one above has all these holes or “open” spaces where the lines should be joined.

ken quiz 7

It seems that two images are forming together to make a circle/ring.

ken quiz 8

There is a familiar kanji behind the downward-pointing arrow here.

ken quiz 9

There are so many mas! We have hiragana ma (ま), katakana ma (マ), and romanized ma. How in the world are we supposed to sift through the herd of ma to find the name of a prefecture!?

ken quiz 10

Immediately we see the katakana for i (イ) and te (テ) separated by what looks like an equals sign.

ken quiz 11

Last one, folks! In this picture there is wa (ワ), ki (キ), ku (ク), ke (ケ), ko (コ) in katakana. Wa is in bold with a question mark over it. But wait, why is wa in there when all the other characters belong to the k family? Where’s ka (カ)?


1.  The hiragana characters begin from “i”, reading: ni (に), nu (ぬ), ne (ね), no (の), with na (な) all the way at the end. To any native Japanese person, this should seem seriously strange since, as the little arrow tells us, na should be at the front! Or, in Japanese: “Na ga saki ni.”

2.  In Japanese, the word for “open” is “aki”, so our “ta” is “aki”. Yup, this crafty picture turns into “aki ta”, denoting Akita Prefecture. Is your brain starting to melt yet?

3. After staring at the picture for a while, the two bits look like the katakana characters for “ka” (カ) on the right side and “na” (ナ) on the left, albeit kind of twisted. So, “ka” and “na” are making a circle/ring, or “wa” in Japanese. So, “kana ga [is] wa”. 

4. You can see the kanji character for migi (右) which means “right” as in “turn right.” In the middle of the kanji is an arrow, or as it’s known in Japanese, a ya. So, in the middle of the “mi” and “gi” is a “ya” or “mi ya gi”.

5. Herd! There are a “herd” of “ma”. The kanji for “herd” is 群, so this has to be “gunma”

6. Aha! Just like the sentence “Watashi wa KK” means I am/= KK, this also must be i = te or “i wa te”. Finally, an easy one!

7.  Well, ka became a wa! Or, in Japanese: “ka ga wa ni natta.”

So...how did you do? Do you think you could pass grade 5? I definitely couldn't! I only got two! Ha ha!

Have a great day!

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