If you’re learning hiragana, give this Kyoto restaurant sign a look. It caught my eye because of the elegant, stylized script that might make this otherwise easy to read word a bit of a challenge, if not for the context of the photo.
You might also already be used to sight reading the word in its often seen kanji incarnation that I’ve written just below the photo.
These particular kanji are most often associated with this word and are seen in other forms much less frequently, so learning them as a set is common.
Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool on the text I’ve transcribed just below the photo if you need help reading this sign.
Even if you’re learning katakana and aren’t very familiar with kanji yet, you might be able to sight read these words based on the context of this photo, or recognize individual characters or often seen elements within them.
The katakana word will also give you a clue about what the others might mean, and about what products and services this shop offers.
Use the rikaichan popup dictionary on the text I’ve transcribed just below the photo if you need help reading the sign.
I liked the look of this quaint old sign in front of a small shop in Kyoto that might not even be in business anymore. I hadn’t realized that the katakana version of ‘spare key’ was Japanese, so I snapped the photo.
Then, when I used the rikaichan popup dictionary just now as I transcribed the words on it, I confirmed the reading あいかぎ, as I had never really been sure about how to pronounce that. That’s the Japanese word for ‘spare key.’
And though I go to hardware stores now and then, I didn’t know what to call one in Japanese! the answer is also on this sign.
I’ve seen the characters 金物 and understand that it refers to ‘metal things’ or hardware. But there are various common ways to pronounce these two characters and I’d never been sure about how to read them together. Now I know that if I’m looking for a place to get a key made, I should ask where the nearest かなものやさん is.
It so happens that I need a spare key made, and have been procrastinating about it. Maybe this will nudge me to get it, just to have the chance to use these new words before I forget them! I wonder if Mr. Okada is still plying his trade.