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Old 12-25-2009, 06:01 PM   #1
RED
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Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?

In response to complaints on my phonetic spelling of "shinto", I've been spelling it as "Shin Tao" which has been annoying some people.

A source:
Shinto is an ancient Japanese religion. Starting about 500 BCE (or earlier) it was originally "an amorphous mix of nature worship, fertility cults, divination techniques, hero worship, and shamanism." Its name was derived from the Chinese words "shin tao" ("The Way of the Gods")
http://www.religioustolerance.org/shinto.htm

People got upset privately and publically with my spelling of "Shinto".. in the end we are taking non-English characters and trying to translate in a phonetic language. So in the end I don't even think the spelling matters, but it was a big point to some to discredit my intelligence in general LOL

MM
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:18 PM   #2
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Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?

So you believe "shinto" is an English term? Or that English is a "phonetic language"? LOL

Shinto is Shinto and not Shintao, as Schill is Schill and not Zander (http://onlinedictionary.datasegment.com/word/zander). Yes, people get offended by things like that.

Last edited by Flintstone : 12-25-2009 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:23 PM   #3
RED
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Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
So you believe "shinto" is an English term? Or that English is a "phonetic language"? LOL
Oh no, I don't think Shinto is English. It comes from the characters "shin" and "tao" I believe English is phonetic and does its best to phonetically spell out those non-English characters.

Please reference my source for why I chose to spell it the way I did. Also the book "A Life In Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba used this spelling,so forgive my ignorance if people are angered by simple phonetic spellings.


In the end I think it is the difference between the word "gray" and "grey"

Last edited by RED : 12-25-2009 at 06:25 PM.

MM
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:26 PM   #4
Flintstone
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Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Oh no, I don't think Shinto is English. It comes from the characters "shin" and "tao" I believe English is phonetic and does its best to phonetically spell out those non-English characters.
I would say Shinto is formed by 神 (shin) and 道 (do). Oh, yes, Japanese kanji has its origin in Chinese hanzi and all of that, as Spanish has its origins in Latin and Greek and... But we do speak Spanish and not Greek. So do the Japanese speak, well... Japanese and not Chinese.

Don't even get started on English being a phonetic language...
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:27 PM   #5
RED
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Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
I would say Shinto is formed by 神 (shin) and 道 (do). Oh, yes, Japanese kanji has its origin in Chinese hanzi and all of that, as Spanish has its origins in Latin and Greek and... But we do speak Spanish and not Greek. So do the Japanese speak, well... Japanese and not Chinese.

Don't even get started on English being a phonetic language...
I think this needs its own thread.

Chinese and Japanese use similar character systems, it is really the inflection that changes. Technically a Cantonese speaker would say "Shin-Dao". It is inflection in the end.
Regardless, it is splitting hairs.

I agree, English is not entirely phonetic. However that's not what is being argued. Why English speakers spell it "S-h-i-n-t-o" is what is being argued, and those reasons are phonetic in origin.

Again, it is as good as the difference between "color" and "colour".

Last edited by RED : 12-25-2009 at 06:34 PM.

MM
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:29 PM   #6
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Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?

Hi Maggie,

Just a quick intercession here to say that I would never transliterate into English the name of the Japanese religion referenced in this thread as "Shin Tao" in any of the transliteration systems that I've encountered.

Also, for most linguists, English is far from being a phonetic language.

Hope that helps,

-- Jun

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Old 12-25-2009, 06:39 PM   #7
RED
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Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
Hi Maggie,

Just a quick intercession here to say that I would never transliterate into English the name of the Japanese religion referenced in this thread as "Shin Tao" in any of the transliteration systems that I've encountered.

Also, for most linguists, English is far from being a phonetic language.

Hope that helps,

-- Jun
I agree that English is not phonetic entirely. Never claimed it was. I argue the reason Shinto is spelled the way it is is for the sake of phonetics. So it can be written in English, so English speakers may pronounce it as correctly humanly possible.

I now understand that it is not normally translated as "shin-tao". From my readings, and the references I provided, you can see why I never thought that spelling it "shin-tao" would cause such a stink.LOL
I quoted my reference for why I said it that way.

And, I think your statement is the proper conclusion to the issue. thanks.

Last edited by RED : 12-25-2009 at 06:43 PM.

MM
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:40 PM   #8
Flintstone
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Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I agree, English is not entirely phonetic. However that's not what is being argued. Why English speakers spell it "S-h-i-n-t-o" is what is being argued, and those reasons are phonetic in origin.
Oh, there is a thingy called the "Hepburn Romanization System". That's why.

Ref.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepburn_romanization
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:45 PM   #9
RED
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Re: O-Sensei a Shinto Priest?

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Oh, there is a thingy called the "Hepburn Romanization System". That's why.

Ref.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepburn_romanization
Thank you for the reference.
I enjoy learning about language.

MM
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Old 12-25-2009, 07:18 PM   #10
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Actually, this is very simple.
There's, 127,076,183 Japanese, as of 3/09. Let's eliminate the preverbal, the senile, the developmentally disabled, the autistic, and the deaf mute. I've no idea what we've got left, but let's say it's a nice round number - 100,000,000.

If you go up to any one of that 100,000,000 people and said, "Excuse me, where is the nearest Shinto shrine?" They'd point to it. If you asked, "Do you practice Shinto?" Most would laugh and say, "Well, I go to the shrine to ask for" a better business year, or pass a test or get married. Whatever.

If you went up to anyone of those people and said, "Where's the nearest Shintao shrine, they'd look at you and go, "Ehh? Nani?" They would not understand. NOT one.
You think I'm over-exagerrating? I'm not. I lived there too long.
If you make the slightest mistake in pronounciation, people do not understand. I remember almost crying in frustration with the following. I was on a bus and wanted to get off at Oukeikubo, a stop on the line. I asked the bus driver to tell me when we arrived at Okeikubo. (See, I didn't add the almost silent u). he didn't understand. What else could it be? The stop was on the bus line. I thought maybe he was messing with me. But no one else on the bus understood either.
I just gave up - sat in my seat and eventually the automatic announcement went off, Oukeikubo. I stormed up and said, in Japanese - colloquial fluent Japanese, BTW - "There. That's what I said!" And he looked at me, honestly bewildered and said, "Oh, Oukeikubo. Why didn't you say so."
In a language comprised of a syllabary of only 55 sounds, every detail matters.
So it's not arbitrary at all.
Ellis Amdur

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Old 12-25-2009, 07:57 PM   #11
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Actually, this is very simple.
There's, 127,076,183 Japanese, as of 3/09. Let's eliminate the preverbal, the senile, the developmentally disabled, the autistic, and the deaf mute. I've no idea what we've got left, but let's say it's a nice round number - 100,000,000.

If you go up to any one of that 100,000,000 people and said, "Excuse me, where is the nearest Shinto shrine?" They'd point to it. If you asked, "Do you practice Shinto?" Most would laugh and say, "Well, I go to the shrine to ask for" a better business year, or pass a test or get married. Whatever.

If you went up to anyone of those people and said, "Where's the nearest Shintao shrine, they'd look at you and go, "Ehh? Nani?" They would not understand. NOT one.
You think I'm over-exagerrating? I'm not. I lived there too long.
If you make the slightest mistake in pronounciation, people do not understand. I remember almost crying in frustration with the following. I was on a bus and wanted to get off at Oukeikubo, a stop on the line. I asked the bus driver to tell me when we arrived at Okeikubo. (See, I didn't add the almost silent u). he didn't understand. What else could it be? The stop was on the bus line. I thought maybe he was messing with me. But no one else on the bus understood either.
I just gave up - sat in my seat and eventually the automatic announcement went off, Oukeikubo. I stormed up and said, in Japanese - colloquial fluent Japanese, BTW - "There. That's what I said!" And he looked at me, honestly bewildered and said, "Oh, Oukeikubo. Why didn't you say so."
In a language comprised of a syllabary of only 55 sounds, every detail matters.
So it's not arbitrary at all.
Ellis Amdur
Ah, I get what you are saying. My mistake if it has a totally different pronunciation. I was under the impression that pronunciation was the same. (mostly because of how I've heard it pronounced by my seniors. With a soft "ow" at the end, not a hard "O". )
Also, again I provided my two references for why I thought this was an alright spelling for the word.

MM
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Old 12-25-2009, 10:09 PM   #12
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Hi Maggie,

[obsessive language geek mode]

For entirely informational purposes:

If you want to go with the Mandarin Chinese pronounciation, which is what I'm assuming you were going for with "shin tao", it would be written either "shen tao" or "shen dao", depending on what transliteration system you want to use. And both of which reference the Mandarin, not Cantonese, pronounciation. "Shen" is pronounced like "shun", as in to shun someone, while "dao"/"tao" is pronounced like "dow", as in Dow Jones.

In Cantonese, it would be pronounced and written something like "san dou". Either way, as Ellis noted, a Japanese speaker would never understand you.

[/obsessive language geek mode]

Josh
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:57 AM   #13
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
If you went up to anyone of those people and said, "Where's the nearest Shintao shrine, they'd look at you and go, "Ehh? Nani?" They would not understand. NOT one.
You think I'm over-exagerrating? I'm not. I lived there too long.
If you make the slightest mistake in pronounciation, people do not understand. I remember almost crying in frustration with the following. I was on a bus and wanted to get off at Oukeikubo, a stop on the line. I asked the bus driver to tell me when we arrived at Okeikubo. (See, I didn't add the almost silent u). he didn't understand. What else could it be? The stop was on the bus line. I thought maybe he was messing with me. But no one else on the bus understood either.
I just gave up - sat in my seat and eventually the automatic announcement went off, Oukeikubo. I stormed up and said, in Japanese - colloquial fluent Japanese, BTW - "There. That's what I said!" And he looked at me, honestly bewildered and said, "Oh, Oukeikubo. Why didn't you say so."
In a language comprised of a syllabary of only 55 sounds, every detail matters.
So it's not arbitrary at all.
Ellis Amdur
Totally true and real.
I have this theory that American English speakers have a far higher tolerance for mispronunciation than Japanese speakers and have wondered why. It really doesn't make sense to me as so much in Japanese is context driven with lots of aisatsu and inference. Why is it that slight mispronunciation seems so often to be catastrophic?
Or, is it just me being wrong again...

-Doug Walker
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Old 12-26-2009, 05:45 AM   #14
crbateman
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
Totally true and real.
I have this theory that American English speakers have a far higher tolerance for mispronunciation than Japanese speakers and have wondered why. It really doesn't make sense to me as so much in Japanese is context driven with lots of aisatsu and inference. Why is it that slight mispronunciation seems so often to be catastrophic?
Or, is it just me being wrong again...
Perhaps it's because typical Japanese may be more used to hearing their language spoken by native Japanese, whereas Americans routinely hear their language spoken (or misspoken) by people of so many different non-English origins? Just a thought...
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Old 12-26-2009, 08:44 AM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Hello Doug,

I am not sure I agree. My very first aikido teacher used to complain bitterly about UK railway employees who refused to understand his English. The nearest train station to Sussex University is Falmer, which is VERY difficult for a Japanese to pronounce. In Japanese it would be ファルマ, which is what he said when he asked for a ticket. It always came out as a mispronounced 'Farmer' and it was made worse because he would make a very special effort to pronounce it clearly and distinctly, with all the native interference evident.

I have taught the English language to Japanese over the years and I believe that hearing is just as culture-specific a skill as speaking and reading. The cultural filters for processing supposed information are just as obtrusive. So very often people do not actually hear what I say in Japanese because they do not expect me to say what I actually say.

And the native speakers, of course, are always right.

Best wishes for 2010.

PAG

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
Totally true and real.
I have this theory that American English speakers have a far higher tolerance for mispronunciation than Japanese speakers and have wondered why. It really doesn't make sense to me as so much in Japanese is context driven with lots of aisatsu and inference. Why is it that slight mispronunciation seems so often to be catastrophic?
Or, is it just me being wrong again...

P A Goldsbury
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:27 AM   #16
kokyu
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Both Prof Goldsbury and Clark have valid points...

I think a passenger-facing employee at an international airport would have a greater tolerance for varied English pronunciation as compared to someone deep in the country.. so it depends on one's exposure to people speaking English differently... (either via one's social circle/workplace/TV, etc)

But, yes, Japan is a relatively homogeneous country, and the Japanese appear fond of rules/standards, so people speak hyojungo (standard Japanese) the same in places I've been to.. hence, a slight mispronunciation can be misunderstood... missing or adding an extra sound could mean a different Kanji altogether.. moreover, you don't see too many foreigners speaking Japanese on TV, so there is less exposure (and less tolerance) to different ways of speaking the language ... and... Japanese *has* intonations... compared to English, Japanese appears to have many more homophones, e.g. *hashi* could mean bridge, chopsticks, end, etc.. so you have to say it j-u-s-t right, to avoid blank looks
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:24 AM   #17
Keith Larman
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I have taught the English language to Japanese over the years and I believe that hearing is just as culture-specific a skill as speaking and reading.
As a gigantic fwiw, I think there is little doubt of this. As a person who has had hearing problems my whole life it is amazing the things I can "mis-hear" in conversation. People living with those with hearing loss have to learn a few things. One is to face the person who is hard of hearing when you speak -- we gather a tremendous amount of information visually when people speak. Another is that there are extremely subtle cues in speech that are critical to "understanding". It isn't enough that the sound is close unless the person is actively trying to figure out what something sounds like. In normal conversation if any of the most subtle of things are off you literally don't "hear" it. So considering the variety of quirks, mannerisms, etc. that are culture/region/whatever specific it should not be surprising that there can be remarkably subtle misunderstanding that render someone unable to "hear" what someone else is saying even if on reflection you realize they are very close in sound.

Those who are hard of hearing have constant problems with misunderstandings. My wife and daughter are both very good at being my "translator" when we're at a restaurant or something like that. The wait staff will ask me something and my wife and/or daughter almost always automatically rephrase it for me if I have any hesitation at all. They'll also correct me if I obviously misunderstood. The critical point here is that I "heard" what I thought I heard. It just isn't always what they said. The combination of facial expression, sounds, body language, everything comes together in the brain to form the "language" we hear. So I literally hear better when I can see someone's face. When I take out my hearing aids or they're in the shop, I have to "relearn" to read faces better. Lacking the improved hearing the high end digital hearing aids give I need to relearn reading faces, context, etc. So I hear a lot better if I know someone and have experience listening to them, especially without my hearing aids in. A new person, a noisy environment, and if I can't see their face clearly... Hearing aids or not I have a heck of time understanding a word they're saying. Or I might think I understood but I'll have often heard it completely wrong. Sometimes comically so.

Recently at a restaurant a waitress asked me if I needed a new fork. I picked up the fork and said "No, I"m fine". She looked puzzled and walked away. My wife told me she actually asked if I wanted a refill on my coke. Fork. Coke. Hmmm, I would have sworn I heard fork. And as a matter of fact I *did* hear fork. It's just not what she said... My brain filled in the rest. Maybe I happened to be holding the fork and wasn't thinking about the drink. I wasn't facing her so I didn't see her face when she spoke. So my brain filled in all the blanks in real time. And came up with something that made sense given context and whatever I happened to be thinking. It just wasn't what she asked...

The understanding of spoken language is a remarkably subtle thing on many levels. Every language (and dialect and region and...) has their own specific quirks and habits. If you're not familiar with them and immersed in them sufficiently you will have problems.

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Old 12-26-2009, 01:54 PM   #18
Ron Tisdale
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Ok, sorry Keith, I don't mean to make light of the issue, but given the context of your post, I was anticipating an entirely different reallity to "needing a new fork" than what you delivered!!!
Best,
Ron

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Old 12-26-2009, 03:02 PM   #19
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Very interesting article on "Shinto": http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...gsv6CVEepiyMTQ

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Old 12-26-2009, 03:32 PM   #20
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Thanks Peter and everyone for your thoughts. I do also recall my first struggles with katakana words and how frustrating it was to try to get "English" back out of them. I found it either clicked immediately or I was lost until I found it in the dictionary.

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Old 12-26-2009, 03:33 PM   #21
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Quote:
Josh Lerner wrote: View Post
Hi Maggie,

[obsessive language geek mode]

For entirely informational purposes:

If you want to go with the Mandarin Chinese pronounciation, which is what I'm assuming you were going for with "shin tao", it would be written either "shen tao" or "shen dao", depending on what transliteration system you want to use. And both of which reference the Mandarin, not Cantonese, pronounciation. "Shen" is pronounced like "shun", as in to shun someone, while "dao"/"tao" is pronounced like "dow", as in Dow Jones.

In Cantonese, it would be pronounced and written something like "san dou". Either way, as Ellis noted, a Japanese speaker would never understand you.

[/obsessive language geek mode]

Josh
I believe you. I'm willing to admit I was wrong(I've said this 5million times) but I gave my source for why I chose to spell it the way I did.


I have a really high tolerance for misspelling and grammar issues actually. It may come from working with children. I also used to work in Brazil as missionary with children, and their English was worse than my own. Either way, I've grown to be cool so long as I understand what some one is saying.

Last edited by RED : 12-26-2009 at 03:37 PM.

MM
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Old 12-26-2009, 05:16 PM   #22
Charles Hill
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

I just gotta share this story.

A young handsome American guy I know was working in an office under a middle aged Japanese woman manager whose affections for the guy were just barely staying this side of sexual harassment. One night, the workers were all going to go out for a drink once the final paperwork was done. The guy had finished his and was lying on the couch. He said to the manager in front of the whole office what he thought was "When you're done, okoshite kudasai (please wake me up)". What he really said was, "When you're done, okashite kudasai. (please rape me)". Until he quit, he was never allowed to forget it!
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Old 12-26-2009, 06:30 PM   #23
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Ok, sorry Keith, I don't mean to make light of the issue, but given the context of your post, I was anticipating an entirely different reallity to "needing a new fork" than what you delivered!!!
Best,
Ron
Hey, if it went that way I would have heard it juuuuust fine...

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Old 12-26-2009, 08:40 PM   #24
Toby Threadgill
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

LOL,

You guys are killing me. More confirmation that I was right to just give up on my Japanese classes. My brain was about to explode!

Toby
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Old 12-27-2009, 03:19 AM   #25
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Re: "Shinto" or "Shin Tao"?

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Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
LOL,

You guys are killing me. More confirmation that I was right to just give up on my Japanese classes. My brain was about to explode!

Toby
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