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Old 05-24-2008, 06:42 AM   #7
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,237
Re: Counting to 10 in Japanese (Inconsistent)


One question, as a matter of interest. Why are you being asked to learn the numbers from 1 to 10 in Japanese for your 5th kyuu test? Is it because you count in Japanese when you do your warming up exercises? If so, I suggest that you learn them correctly. Actually, if you want to extend your knowledge of aikido Japanese, I also suggest that you learn the hiragana syllabary.

I myself learned how to count from practising with Japanese students in the aikido club of Hiroshima University. But only one person actually keeps count. The kendo club has the same practice, however, but does it in a kind of chant, with everyone counting/chanting together.

Here is the Japanese sequence in hiragana, with the Romaji equivalents afterwards:
いち, に, さん, し, ご, ろく, しち, はち, きゅう, じゅう
ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, shichi, hachi, kyuu, jyuu

Notice that every word except san ends in a vowel, which needs to be voiced, if only slightly. So, ich is not really correct. Actually, there are subtle pronunciation differences between male speech and female speech in Japanese and the young male students at Hiroshima University sounded quite different from the people on the Youtube videos.

For interest, here is the other (Chinese) sequence:
ひとつ, ふたつ, みつ, よつ, いつつ, むつ, ななつ, やつ,ここのつ, と
hitotsu, futatsu, mitsu, yotsu, itsutsu, mutsu, nanatsu, yatsu, kokonotsu, to.

I think you can disregard the Chinese system, because I have never heard anyone here use it to count when doing the warming up exercises. Which means that no one ever shouts yon instead of shi, or nana instead of shichi. (At least this is the practice in my own university club. In my own dojo, we do not count aloud in warming up exercises.)

I should also add that this explanation barely scratches the surface with regard to counting in Japanese.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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