Rosewood Handles

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Chris Hall
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:20 am

It ought to be noted that the representation of the Japanese long 'o' , or long 'u', sound, since it is not something we have in English is going to be problematic no matter which way you approach it.

With Saitou, a lot of English speakers will assume the end of the name is pronounced like the end of the word too. That would be wrong.

With Saitoh, some might think the end of the name is pronounced like the 'o' in toffee. That would be wrong.

And with Saitō, if you don't know what the diacritical mark, a macron in this case, means, then you will be left unsure as to how to pronounce the word.

Note: to my undoubtedly warped way of thinking, it seems far better to leave the un-savvy reader unsure, rather than completely misapprehending, the pronunciation of a long vowel sound.

And presupposing any of these treatments of the long vowel sound is knowing the Japanese way to pronounce the vowel in the first place. If the name did not end with a long vowel sound, and was simply read as 'Saito', then one needs to know at the outset that the letter 'o' is pronounced in the same way as in the English word toe.

So when we append something to that vowel to indicate it is a long 'o' sound, whether ~ou, oh, or ō, then what that is signaling is that we utter the terminal 'o' sound for twice as long as otherwise.

Getting your long and short vowel sounds correct is absolutely essential to spoken Japanese if you want to get your meaning across. Without it, you can sound really funny, as these examples hopefully indicate:

This first one I found on the web elsewhere:
“As a non-native Japanese speaker, I particularly pride myself on my pronunciation, but every now and then I slip up when it comes to long vowel sounds. Case in point: on [the JET Programme] at my junior high, some topic in the textbook led to a discussion about wind chimes, or fuurin. Unfortunately, I then announced to the class that I was a big fan of furin (adultery) instead…”
Others:

Ryokō (旅行), meaning travel, versus ryōkō (良好) meaning favorable.

Horyo (捕虜), meaning prisoner of war, versus hōryō (豊漁), meaning good catch (in fishing)

Shinju (真珠), meaning pearls, versus shinjū (心中), meaning double suicide

Kōbi (交尾), meaning copulation, versus kobi (媚び), meaning flattery.

Obāsan (おばあさん) meaning grandmother, versus obasan, (おばさん) meaning aunt.

Yūki (勇気), meaning courage, versus yuki (雪), meaning snow.

One can well imagine the embarrassing mix-ups and confusion in conversation that can occur from erring with the long and short vowel sounds. And that's just one pitfall....
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Brian
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:18 am

Ah, thank you! That does clear up quite a bit of confusion on my end with how to pronounce the o.

For instance I have always pronounced Kinshiro with an 'oo' at the end, but now I will mend the error of my ways, if I understand correctly it is Kin-She-roe?

That list you provided has happened in similar scenario WRT to mandarin. I made a comment in mandarin directed at my son, exactly (in my mind) how I had heard it spoken the day prior and everyone turned to me with a look of horror on their faces.....something that seems to happen regularly when I speak in mandarin...though safe to say I could do a good job of being offensive if that were my goal.
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Chris Hall
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:51 am

Brian wrote:For instance I have always pronounced Kinshiro with an 'oo' at the end, but now I will mend the error of my ways, if I understand correctly it is Kin-She-roe?
Yessiree Bob, you're on the right track.
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Brian
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:40 pm

Awesome! Thank you again!
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Chris Hall
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:32 pm

If I might belabor the point just a tad further, the funny thing is that a lot of the most well-known Japanese words that any westerner would know feature long vowel sounds and we seem to have omitted them in almost every case. Even for those with no inclination to study Japanese, learning little details like making the long and short vowel sounds properly will make their stock of 'everyday' Japanese a lot better, at least to a Japanese person hearing it. Some examples:

arigatō (thanks)

sayōnara (good bye)

Tōkyō (city name)

Kyōto (city name)

Ōsaka (city name)

nō (Japanese traditional drama)

zōri (wooden sandals)

bentō (a box lunch)

gyōza (a Japanese form of Chinese dumplings)

tōfu (tofu)

jūdō (Judo)

sumō (Sumo wrestling)
nyamo_iaint
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:44 am

If I may hijack this fascinating discussion on comparative linguistics for a few moments...
Brian wrote:I recently optimized the shape of my gennou handles with the help of Stan Covington, he drew out a sketch of what to make and I made it. The optimized handle allows me to apply force very accurately and basically back off the size of hammer needed for a given task.
I am in the market for a gennō in the next 12 months, and would like to make my own handle. So I am interested in what you did with the handle.
Are you able to describe/link to what you did? I might try a more regular handle first, but would like to keep my options open.

I doubt I'll be using rosewood for the handle ;)

Iain
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Brian
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:55 am

Thanks Chris! That list is incredibly helpful.....and made me want gyozas.

Iain,

I used Kingwood for one handle and Ash for the other and the ash is better to use. Not just for reasons of the wood itself but also because the shape was better. Stan suggested sticking with Ash for handles, it has a quality that it can absorb vibration from impact better than rosewoods and so it works nicely for this purpose. Shirakashi and gumi also work well, a few other woods are listed but I found ash the easiest to source, you may of course find another wood easier to source that has ideal characteristics.

Here is a link to the original thread where Stan details the gennō

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread. ... Gennou-BTS
nyamo_iaint
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:41 pm

Thanks for the link Brian.

I suspect being in Australia finding most of the woods referred to will be difficult, at least at reasonable price. But I'll see how I go. I suspect there is a native wood here that has suitable qualities too.

Iain
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Brian
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:23 am

I suspect So Yamashita would know which woods to use for this endeavor, being that he is located in Australia.
Gadge
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Re: Rosewood Handles

Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:21 pm

Iain,

Use spotted gum. Probably the best aussie handle material. Can probably get a few pieces from the off cuts bin at Anagote Timbers in Marrickville. Send me a message offline if you need any help finding some.

Gadge

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