letter to a Japanese man

Today is full of adventures! I finally got up the courage (maybe it was that Queen of Cups!) to sit down and write a letter I’ve been meaning to write for about a month, to the father of a friend of mine. My friend Akiko is from Japan originally, and her parents still live there. On a recent visit home, Akiko had her father write Matthew’s name in katakana to be scanned and embroidered on his gi. I knew I wanted to write a thank-you note, but I also knew that Japanese letter-writing is, just like many other things in Japan, all about tradition and following the form. I even know what the traditional form is for writing a letter in Japanese. (This is a really good overview for starters!)

That’s the crux, though – in Japanese. Which I neither write nor speak, at the moment, because unfortunately, 10+ years of watching anime somehow didn’t make me into a native speaker. So I wrote the letter in English, but using the traditional progression. I did use the kanji for haikei/keigu, and I’m hoping I did them correctly and didn’t accidentally misplace a stroke and write something insulting!

I started the whole thing off with a date-stamp featuring My Neighbor Totoro. I figure if nothing else, it’s cute, and if I did accidentally insult him, maybe this will soften the offense!


totoro month & day stamp
totoro month & day stamp

2 responses to “letter to a Japanese man”

  1. drew Avatar

    My kids love the movie Totoro. They go around singing it until I go bonkers.

  2. leilamarchi Avatar

    I watch it in Japanese, which drives Matthew nuts.

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