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View Poll Results: Do you find the claim that the Japanese like/love nature more than others justified ?

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  • Yes, they care much more about nature, animals and the environment than the rest of the world

    2 7.69%
  • They care a lot by international standards, but less than the Western average

    2 7.69%
  • Why would they care more than others ?

    10 38.46%
  • They care a lot about seasons and cherry blossoms but kill whales and destroy their environment

    6 23.08%
  • No, the Japanese care less about the environment and animals protection than average

    2 7.69%
  • I think it is impossible to compare because there is no national trend anywhere

    4 15.38%
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Thread: Do the Japanese really love nature more than all other people ?

  1. #26
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Kerr's claim is not that all rivers have concrete banks on all their length, but at least at one point or another (even a few hundred metres). At the time he wrote the book, there was only one river in Japan that didn't have concrete anywhere from the beginning to the end (in Shikoku, if I remember well).
    This is not what you were originally argueing! Nice to see you backtrack at times, but never admit that you could be wrong.
    Next trip I make to mainland I will take some pictures for you to prove my stance.
    As a matter of fact, if you get there before me, go visit my friends...I'm sure that they will show you what real rivers look like outside of the cities:
    http://www.kappa-club.com/
    Last edited by DoctorP; Nov 13, 2006 at 22:47. Reason: added link

  2. #27
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    You know what I find funny? All this argueing about what to call a rat in Japan and I don't think that I have ever really seen a rat in my time living here!

    Shrew? Yes, rat no.

  3. #28
    japán vagyok undrentide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    These parks may be packed, but it would be because the Japanese go to the same places justly because there are so few big national parks.
    Is it really so?
    I learnt from the internet source that the number of national parks in Japan is 28, total 2,051,179ha.
    It is 5.43% of the total land (37,768,366ha). But I don't know about other countries. I'm very much interested, and searched further on the net and found interesting data.

    http://earthtrends.wri.org
    Biodiversity and Protected Areas > Data Tables


    Note:
    (1)-(3) Number of area (Total size in 1,000ha)
    (4)(5) Number
    *It seems that National Parks in Japan are not categorized as (1) by UNEP-WCMC.
    I think that there are various way to measure the status of nature in each country and the above data is not everything.
    There are many different ways to appreciate nature.
    But at least the above data is some indication, and Japan is not so bad.
    There are 7 national parks which are over 100,000ha - it is less than UK or Germany but not so astonishingly few either.



    Note:
    Number of Total Know Species, 2004 (Number of threatened species, 2003)

    *It's sad to see that the number of threatened species increaseced rapidly, especially birds in Japan.
    Biodiversity and Protected Areas > Country Profile shows more details, though the data is older than the above.

    Biodiversity in Japan is far better than I expected from a post in this forum in the past which states as if there were far less botanical diversity in Japan than other European countries.
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    And here're my bloggies (JP) & (HU)

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Indeed, but eggplant is only American English (the proper British English word is aubergine). As for grapefruits, it is because they grow in clusters/bunches like grapes (such "bunches" are called "grappe" in French). But I never understood why English has chosen "grapefruit" rather than "pomelo", "pompelmo", "pamplemousse", "pompelmoes", "Pampelmuse" or something like that, like in other Western European languages. "Pamplemouse" would have been an easy English adaptation.
    Isn't "aubergine" French? Thanks for the info on grapefruits -- at least it makes some sense now. But then again, why aren't bananas called grapenanas or something? They grow in bunches too.

    I wonder what they call eggplant in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    So there is only one word for "fish" and for "species that live in the water". It still show a lack of scientific rigour.
    I think there is only one word for "fish" (well, I guess three if you count いお and うお as separate readings for 魚), which includes eels, sharks, and all the other things that are usually associated with the English word. The component 魚 can also mean an animal that lives in the water. It isn't a word, but a part of other characters. For instance 鮑 is an abalone and 鯱 is a killer whale.

    I don't think there is much scientific rigour in common names for the animals and plants in English, either, which is probably why the scientific names are given in Latin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Isn't it incredible that one of the world's most common mammals, the rat, does not have a clear name in Japanese ? In some dictionary it is ドブネズミ ("gutter mouse/rodent"), in others it is just ネズミ ("mouse/rodent"), in others ラット (from English) and in others yet 大鼠 ("big mouse/rodent") ! None of them are unique words, only adjective + noun compounds, except if "nezumi" alone means "rat", in which case it cannot mean "mouse" or "rodent" without having a double usage again.
    Well, like undrentide said, ラット is specifically a lab rat. I'm curious about 大鼠, though, as it doesn't show up in 大辞林, 明鏡国語辞典, the EXCEED dictionary, or 英辞郎. It's in Random House, though, and I'm pretty sure I heard it in Kill Bill.

    I don't see why 鼠 couldn't have one usage as a word and another as a part of a word, especially if it were an abbreviation (like "homo" or "tele"), but, at any rate, that doesn't seem to be the case.

    Here's the definition of 鼠 in 明鏡国語辞典: 一般に小形で、尾が細長いネズミ目ネズミ科の哺乳類。 上下一対の門歯が発達し、終生伸び続ける。農作物や食 料品を食い荒らすほか、病原体を媒介することも る。 「ねずみ算」の語が るほど繁殖力は 盛。「ドブネズ ミ・クマネズミ・ハツカネズミ・アカネズミ・ハタネズ ミなど、その種類はきわめて多い。So, maybe "rat/mouse" is more appropriate, and "rodentia" is too broad (or perhaps "Murinae" would be most appropriate, but who uses that in everyday speech?). But just the English word "rat" isn't all that accurate, it seems.

    I guess it's worth noting here that glosses are in most cases apporximations of words, so most likely one-to-one correspondences are rare. Lately I'm finding that using J-E/E-J dictionaries cause lots of misunderstanding in word usage, and even checking a Japanese dictionary can leave you at a loss as to how a word is actually used sometimes.

  5. #30
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    Belgians call "water-rat" (which is a delicacy according to my dear southern neighbours) "water-konijn", which translates to "water-rabbit".. Now how stupi.. I mean, how logical is that?

  6. #31
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    After reading this...my comments are:
    -Whaling is wrong, no matter if its done by major country or not , Norwegians, Icelanders or by Japanese.
    -At least I was teached in elementary school that whale is mammal. How do you teach it is a mammal if there is only one kanji for sea animal, how do you teach differences ?
    -In my country we dont much sakura bloom, though seasons which Japanese are proud are still much more stronger than in part of Japan where I have lived.


    -Japanese Riverside nature is 50-100 meters joke forest, greener for, for what I have seen.

    -The mountine areas what I have seen though are expectionally beatiful.

  7. #32
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leonmarino View Post
    Belgians call "water-rat" (which is a delicacy according to my dear southern neighbours) "water-konijn", which translates to "water-rabbit".. Now how stupi.. I mean, how logical is that?
    Never heard of that. Who told you that ? Any link ? Anyway I suppose you are referring to a dish, not the actual scientific name of an animal. As you know there are 3 official languages in Belgium, so I suppose again that it is in Dutch (your language) that you heard that. My influence is only limited to the ministers of the French community, so I do no take responsibility for that.

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  8. #33
    Regular Member Gentleman10's Avatar
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    I think what's funny is, even though the Japanese may not care about the greenery, they sure make an effort to keep their cities clean. I think it's very considerate of them to keep their streets and sidewalks clean, so I guess maybe that gives some people of an impression that Japanese people respect their environment more? On the other hand, I did have the experience of going to the beach in Japan, and let me tell you, it wasn't the most pleasant water their...

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Never heard of that. Who told you that ? Any link ? Anyway I suppose you are referring to a dish, not the actual scientific name of an animal. As you know there are 3 official languages in Belgium, so I suppose again that it is in Dutch (your language) that you heard that. My influence is only limited to the ministers of the French community, so I do no take responsibility for that.
    I don't have a link I'm sorry but I used to go to Belgiu.. Flanders a lot, so that's how I know. A Belgia.. Flemish friend of mine and I were actually talking "waterkonijn" a while ago.

  10. #35
    Banned sabro's Avatar
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    I see more tour groups and busses up here in these mountains, at Yosemite and at the Grand Canyon than from any other foreign country. Perhaps it is just because the Japanese tourists prefer to go on group tours here, but in California, there seem to be no shortage of Japanese that do seem to love nature.

    My mother's family... who are Japanese, seem to have a deep and abiding respect and appreciation for nature. We often went fishing, camping, hiking and backpacking. I spent countless weekends in the mountains, at the beach and in the dessert and slept under the stars in wilderness areas for weeks at a time. I don't know if this reflected a "Japanese" value, but it was a value that my Japanese family passed down to me.

  11. #36
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro View Post
    I see more tour groups and busses up here in these mountains, at Yosemite and at the Grand Canyon than from any other foreign country. Perhaps it is just because the Japanese tourists prefer to go on group tours here, but in California, there seem to be no shortage of Japanese that do seem to love nature.
    You may be right about the Japanese liking bus tours more than average. On the other hand I very rarely see Japanese tourists in the countryside in Europe; they tend to stick to the cities, especially the big and famous ones (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Milano, Firenze, Roma and Napoli are probably the most popular).

    The only exceptions might be the Cotswolds and the Lake District in England... France has plenty of great regions for nature : the Ardeche, Auvergne, Cevennes, Provence, Jura, Alps, Pyrenees, Perigord... These regions are packed with European tourists in summer, and yet Japanese tourists are extremely rare there. Go to the Galeries Lafayette in Paris or shopping streets of Milano and all you will see is long queues of Japanese women waiting to buy Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada bags... My impression from that is that Japanese women prefer a dead animal's skin than a live one.

    Another reason to believe that the modern Japanese don't care much about animals is that vegetarianism is almost unheard of in Japan (apart from a few Buddhist priests, esp. around Kyoto). In some European countries (UK, Belgium, Germany...) it has become so popular that it any self-respected restaurant has a vegetarian menu.

  12. #37
    japán vagyok undrentide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrjones View Post
    -At least I was teached in elementary school that whale is mammal. How do you teach it is a mammal if there is only one kanji for sea animal, how do you teach differences ?
    Having one kanji for whale with 魚 radical does not mean they don't teach whale is mammal. Of course pupils are taught at school that whale is mammal, so is dolphine. It can be explained in Japanese as easily as in English or other language.

  13. #38
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    I also have been disappointed with some areas in Japan. For example, I visited Kamikochi Park in Japan. In the park they restrict entry to a limited number of taxis and tour buses. So, we are hiking along, nice view of the river, and we come around a bend, and there is a nice view of a bus parking lot (conveniently located next to the river)! That and the park decided to build two hotels right next to the river.

    So the problem in Japan, is that they seem to do a poor job of balancing access with preserving the natural landscape. The same for many hiking trails, which often use concrete reinforcement rather than more natural materials.

    As to numbers at national parks, I don't think the number of Japanese visiting national parks in Japan compares to the number of visitors in the US to national parks. For example, a smaller park in Maine, Acadia National Park, gets close to 7 million visitors a year. I can't imagine most of the national parks in Japan get anywhere close to that number of visitors.

    http://www.env.go.jp/en/nature/nps/np.html

    This link shows the number of visitors over 50 years (!). Some 390 visitors over 50 years, or about 8 million a year for all the national parks!

  14. #39
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    I also have been disappointed with some areas in Japan. For example, I visited Kamikochi Park in Japan. In the park they restrict entry to a limited number of taxis and tour buses. So, we are hiking along, nice view of the river, and we come around a bend, and there is a nice view of a bus parking lot (conveniently located next to the river)! That and the park decided to build two hotels right next to the river.
    So the problem in Japan, is that they seem to do a poor job of balancing access with preserving the natural landscape.
    This is also what Alex Kerr explained in "Lost Japan" and "Dogs & Demons". Many temples nationwide have advertising signs (mostly notoriously by Hitachi) just in front of them, which spoils the overall view. Many castles have had lifts/elevators built inside them (e.g. Osaka-jo, Chiba-jo), which kills the historical character. Many forest trails have asphalted paths and steps, which I am sure make it easier for o-baasan to walk, but also spoils the natural atmosphere. If there is something that the Japanese have always done for centuries, it is to try to control and impose their will onto nature. This is obvious in Zen gardens, which are almost a misnommer because a garden is supposed to have a lot of greenery, not just well raked sand and stones... Building concrete hotels or other ugly tourist facilities next to beautiful attractions is certainly a Japanese speciality, which Alex Kerr makes a point in denouncing in both of the above-mentioned books.

  15. #40
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    Before people start blaming and shaming other countries of being "not environmentally friendly" or "not up to modern standards" (if I may be so free to paraphrase some of you posters), may I put it in a bit of perspective?

    Japan is one of the cleanest countries I know.. In fact it is the cleanest country I've ever been too. I rarely see any filth lying around in the city, suburbia or countryside. This is in sharp contrast with the situation in Europe. No matter in what desolate piece of land I come, there is always filth left behind by our fellow human beings.

    And it is so easy to bad-mouth the Japanese for their concrete riversides and hills, and then compare it with, say, Switzerland.. But Switzerland doesn't have as many earthquakes a year as Japan does now does it? The fear for landslides is very real.

    And for god's sake what's with the whale thing!? A whale is a mammel just like a cow or pig many of us love to eat. Japan, being in middle of the sea, whale-hunting had become a very normal thing to do. So what? If you want to put the Japanese in a bad light for "not being educated enough", why don't you start teaching peoples of the evils of eating meat (a cow in Europe and the US receives more subsidy than half of the world population has to live on: $2 a day) (and their excrements cause damage too due to the methan gasses), or talk to the animal lovers who have pets and take "good care" of them by giving them medicines whenever is needed.. Which are tested on other, less fortunate pets!

    But to get back to the nature issue: Japan has had a very succesful forestry and timber policy since the 17th century, which succesfully fought a timber scarcity. If it weren't for the Tokugawa rule Japan would have been extinct now. And on another account, Toyota is the most efficient car manufacturer in the world, creating the least waste per car produced and delivering cars with efficient fuel usage too. "Toyotism" is a major contribution to the world and has opened the eyes of many other manufacturers around the world.

    Also the recycling policy in Japan is amazing, I don't have to explain you that. I have to admit that I sometimes wish that Japanese products used less packaging, but at least a near 100% is being recycled.

    Now I am not saying that Japan is perfect with regards to perserving nature. Sure there a lot a points that can be improved. All I want to say is look at your own country and that situation too: I am ashamed of the attitude of most Dutch people, throwing garbage on the street "or else the cleaners wouldn't have anything to do!" I am also ashamed of our European Union, quartered in Brussels, and which has a monthly plenary meeting in Strasbourg, costing a whopping 300 million dollars a year, not to mention the environmental damage the vehicles are causing.

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  16. #41
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    If you want to prove Kerr wrong, why don't you give me examples of rivers in Japan that have not been "concreted" ?
    Just right here around me locally, how about 荒川, 利根川 and 渡良瀬川?

    They do have limited stretches with concrete reinforcements on the banks, typically in urban areas as has been pointed out already.

    Even in areas without the concrete reinforced banks, though, unsightly earthen levees are the norm for large stretches of river. These are an absolute necessity, though, for flood control. I've seen vintage film footage of what happened right here in Kiryu soon after the end of the war, prior to any flood control measures being put into effect. It was horrible, to say the least.

    I like watching documentaries about nature, and in my 4 years in Japan I almost cannot remember seeing such documentaries on the 7 main (free) channels in Tokyo (NHK, NHK2, Nihon TV, TBS, Fuji TV, Asahi TV, Tokyo TV).
    Well, maybe some day you'll be able to come here for something other than such a short visit.

    I absolutely hate Japanese television and in most cases would rather take an *** whipping than even be in the same room with it....but even I've seen nature documentaries. (Technically, NHK isn't free, by the way).

  17. #42
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    There many other animal names missing in Japanese. There may be over 100 with all the male (castrated or not, like in bull vs ox), female, child, meat, cry and general term like these :

    sheep : ram, ewe, lamb / mutton / to bleat
    goat : buck/billy/wether, doe/nanny, kid / chevon / to bleat
    cattle : bull/ox, cow, calf / beef / to moo
    deer : stag/buck, hind/doe, fawn / venison / to bell
    pig/swine/hog : boar/barrow, sow/gilt, piglet/shoat / pork / to grunt, squeal
    chicken : ****/rooster, hen, chick / chicken/poultry / to crow, bwuck, cheep

    ...and also (I replaced the meat by the adjective below) :

    horse : stallion/gelding, mare, foal (colt/filly) / equestrian / to neigh, whinney
    dog : dog, *****, puppy => adj. = canine / to bark, bay, howl, whine, and yap
    cat : tomcat, tabby, kitten => adj. = feline / to mew, purr

    fox : tod/reynard, vixen, kit/pup / to bark and yelp

    Add to this the special term for groups of such animals (herd, pack, skulk...).

    English is not unique for having so many words for common animals. It is standard in European languages. It is Japanese (and many other Asian languages) that lack nuances. Just check the cries of animals page on Wikipedia, which only has translations in European languages. Another evidence that the Japanese/Asians do not care as much about animals as Europeans.

  18. #43
    japán vagyok undrentide's Avatar
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    I think diversity in vocabulary shows what people in old days were interested, in other words what were their may concern in their daily life.
    I don't think Japan has a long history of keeping cattles so it is no wonder that we have far less vocabulary for animals, especially cattles.
    (But I don't think it immediately means that today's Japanese people care less about animals in general or nature.)

    We have different words for rice, raw one is called 米 while cooked one is called 飯(はん or めし). We have two different terms for water, hot water is 湯, cold water is 水. (Most European languages just have one word - does that mean people don't care about water??)

    Name of traditional colours in Japanese is interesting.
    Many of them reflect the nature - plants, birds, animals, for instance.
    http://www.colordic.org/w/
    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~xn6t-ogr...ors.txt.n.html
    Last edited by undrentide; Nov 14, 2006 at 23:50. Reason: grammatically mistakes...

  19. #44
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by undrentide View Post
    I think diversity in vocabulary shows what people in old days were interested, in other words what were their may concern in their daily life.
    I don't think Japan has a long history of keeping cattles so it is no wonder that we have far less vocabulary for animals, especially cattles.
    (But I don't think it immediately means that today's Japanese people care less about animals in general or nature.)
    Let me disagree with that. Most of the animals I mentioned are common in Japan, and even the most common since ancient times. How do you explain for instance that foxes (kitsune), which have a very special place in Japanese traditions (e.g. inari jinja), have not been the object of more detailed vocabulary ? The Japanese have ridden and bred horses since ancient times too, but do not have separate words for male, female or young horses ?

    The argument that modern Japanese (after WWII ?) care more than their ancestors also doesn't hold the road. With the tens of thousands of new kanji compounds and imported foreign words since Meiji, and even more after WWII, it would have been so easy to find new words for these very common animals. Yet English speakers are already among the least keen on differentiate between male and female animals in daily speech, because the English language does not use genders very much. In French, Spanish or Italian, rare are the people who would say dog (respectively chien, perro and cane) when they mean bi tch (chienne, perra, cagna). I guess English speakers don't use the word bit ch so much because of it is also used as an insult. But it is unthinkable for speakers of European languages not to distinguish between a cow and a bull, a stag and a doe, or a rooster and a hen.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    But we are going offtopic. The purpose of comparing animal names was to show how much more European cared about animals.
    What a whole lot of bullsh.. Do we have another, non-conjured word for that?

    The Spanish vocabulary contains less words than English, now are Spanish less caring of.. Everything?

    Your theory totally ignores the dynamism a country, its people and its language is subject to. Europeans has had many centuries more experience with cattle. Hence, we have more words that describe these mammals. The Japanese however, to give an very obvious example, having more experience with rice, have two words for rice: 米 and ご飯, uncooked and cooked rice respectively. The Inuit, as Sabro pointed out, are said to have many words describing snow and the states their in (icy, powdery etc.) In other words, the environment has shaped the vocabulary.

    Now, how flexible are vocabularies? If people start to find other things in the world more important, say, emission gasses, are people then suddenly going to invent new words for the types of emission gasses? Hell no. They'll probably be combination of existing words. So what? Do we have to invent new words to show people we care about them? Speaking of care, the Japanese have two words for love: 愛 and 恋. Does that make us non-Japanese people insensitive bastards? Maybe some of us are, but I would like to argue that I am not, although the Dutch, like the English have only one word for love.

    On a more fundamental level, I think it is pretty ignorant to rate one people's attitude towards animals on the basis of its vocabulary. I might memorize all the names of all animals in the world, and even create new words for it, and still be a meat-eating, animal-abusing, pet-hating.. Linguist.

  21. #46
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    I'm not certain that having differing names for males and females and the young of a species makes them more "childish and primitive" either. It would seem to be a jump in logic to make such an assumption. I also don't know if it follows that vegetarians care more about nature than other humans.

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    I have always though that words like "centipede" and "octopus" were very childish English words. Not to mention "millipede". I guess English doesn't care enough about animals with more than 4 feet.

  23. #48
    japán vagyok undrentide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    But it is just like saying "male cattle" and "female cattle", "male deer" and "female deer", or "male chicken" and "female chicken" in English. Of cours you can always give nuances to nouns by using adjectives. But in this case itjust sounds childish and primitive.
    If we say 女の牛 or 男の牛, that would sound very childish, if not primitive.
    But as to 牡牛 and 牝牛, we do not use 牡 or 牝 individually as an adjective. Each of them is one word, different from オスの牛 and メスの牛.

    And putting 牡 or 牝 to show the gender is not unlike the word you listed as examples:
    chien - chienne
    perro - perra
    cane - cagna
    Each pair shares the same 'word stem'.
    It is different from "stag and doe" or "cow and bull".

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Are you supposing by saying this that English, or other European languages, do not have special terms to describe hair colour ?
    I beg your pardon? I cannot see why you could draw such a conclusion from my previous post.
    I don't think I mentioned anything that would imply such an absurd idea in my message...?
    I'm more astonished and surprised than offended.

    (1) First of all I am not talking about colour of people's hair - I did not mention it at all in my message.
    (2) What I mentioned is that in Japanese language there are words used only for the colour of horses or the horses with that particular colour. I use the word "hair" because I don't think we call what horses have on their skin as "fur".
    (3) You stated that having no different words for female/male for animals means the Japanese care less about them. I wanted to say that we may not have different words for gender, but we do have words for colours when it comes to horse.
    (4) I did not say Japanese has "more" vocabulary than European language.

    Why do you assume as if I were trying to compete against European languages, or as if I were trying to say that Japanese language is somewhat superior to other languages?
    I merely stated a fact on vocabulary about horses in Japanese language.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    But we are going offtopic. The purpose of comparing animal names was to show how much more European cared about animals.
    To Sabro, it doesn't matter whether the Inuits have many names for snow, slush or blizzard, because it is not related to this topic. If we go down this road, there could be hundreds of categories of words which we could compare...
    We are not going off topic - except the comment about human hair colour.
    This thread is about nature, not specifically about animals.

    I think having many words on a some specific things may indicate that the language (and maybe its people) have more interest in that aspect. But I don't think this "theory" works in the other way round. I don't think having less words about something does not necessarily mean that that particular thing has less importance or interests.
    Perhaps the fox (kitsune) you mentioned is a good example. Having not many vocabulary does not mean it is not common or has small importance in Japanese culture.

  24. #49
    puzzled gaijin
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    Okay, Mike and others, you have shown a good justification in some cases for concrete retaining walls to avert mudslides and floods.

    But what about the bus terminal next to the idyllic river in the Kamikochi national park? Unfortunately, as Maciamo has hinted at, this is far too common. The Japanese have decided that access to 'natural' areas is preferable to areas becoming staying more natural.

    As to the garbage issue, in the cities, Japan cities are hands down one of the cleanest I have seen. But in the countryside, no. Seen plenty of illegal garbage dumps interspaced here and there. Saitama and Gunma are literally vast dumping grounds (never mind the radioactive jokes about Ibaraki)!

  25. #50
    Back leonmarino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    Okay, Mike and others, you have shown a good justification in some cases for concrete retaining walls to avert mudslides and floods.
    But what about the bus terminal next to the idyllic river in the Kamikochi national park? Unfortunately, as Maciamo has hinted at, this is far too common. The Japanese have decided that access to 'natural' areas is preferable to areas becoming staying more natural.
    As to the garbage issue, in the cities, Japan cities are hands down one of the cleanest I have seen. But in the countryside, no. Seen plenty of illegal garbage dumps interspaced here and there. Saitama and Gunma are literally vast dumping grounds (never mind the radioactive jokes about Ibaraki)!
    I have never been such a place, so I may not be the right one to answer this one. However, I can imagine such a parking lot + hotels being more environmentally friendly than not having such a place. You actually say this yourself in the next part, that urban areas are cleaner.

    This can be explained by looking at the Japanese psyche through a sociological view (in particular a theory that prescribes three different facets to collectivism as opposed to individualism), that the Japanese, being a relatively collectivist people, have two "selfs". One public self to interact with other individuals, and one private self. This model allows contradictory elements to coexist within a culture and a person. This is often regarded by westerners as "hypocrisy". In Japan it is "accepted" and may be referred to as "omote" vs. "ura", or "soto" vs. "uchi", or "tatemae" vs. "honne".. To make a long story short: because of the great amount of monitoring and control in the cities, people are very clean there, but at the same time it might make people to dump illegal garbage elsewhere.

    So in that sense, it is good to build such a parking space including hotel in the countryside isn't it? More opportunities for monitoring people.

    I'm bit of a devil's advocate now though, as I rather have no parking lots and no hotels in the countryside and also no illegal garbage. But, if I have the option between (1) "Hotel + clean countryside" or (2) "No hotel + illegal garbage", I'd definitely go for the first option.

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