Here (below) are some carrots. The Japanese word for them is ‘NINJIN’.

Here (below) is one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen in my life – the awesomely raucous Ken South Rock – playing, last night, a song the title of which is the Japanese word for people: ‘NINGEN’.

Here (below) is the best paragraph I read in 2011. It comes from Hokkaido Highway Blues, by Will Ferguson, a wonderful book about travelling in Japan. Describing what a challenge similar-sounding words in Japanese can be, the author provides an important message to keep in mind as we plunge on into 2012.

‘Another combination that gives me trouble is “human” (ningen) and “carrot” (ninjin) which once caused a lot of puzzled looks during a speech I gave in Tokyo on the merits of internationalization, when I passionately declared that “I am a carrot. You are a carrot. We are all carrots. As long as we always remember our common carrotness, we will be fine.”

Happy New Year 😀