JOK Notebook

Velveteen Books

I was lucky enough to come upon this wonderful term:

手沢本 (しゅたくぼん: favorite book (worn from much handling))    hand + to glisten + book

The concept reminds me of the children's book The Velveteen Rabbit. As that story showed, the things we love most (such as a stuffed rabbit) become tattered, but they also become "real," irreplaceable, and integral to who we are.

To learn more about 手沢本, check out essay 1552 on 沢, which also features this photo of a first-edition Kojien, the prestigious Japanese dictionary:

Photo Credit: Lutlam

This well-used and much-loved volume belonged to my proofreader's late father, who published heaps of books and articles. My proofreader now treasures this Kojien as much as his father did, or maybe even more so because it's a beloved remnant. That makes it a second-generation Velveteen book!

Speaking of children's stories, my proofreader told me about a classic Japanese kids' story with an incredibly charming premise. 

Photo Credit: Lutlam

The title translates as The Restaurant of Many Orders and involves two characters who, naturally enough, assume that this is a popular restaurant where people have placed many orders. However, that's not the situation at all. In fact, it's a restaurant where they give customers orders, telling them to do this or that! I've included this photo in JOKIA Album 69 (just posted and now available), where I explain the Japanese in this photo.

The Japanese text of The Restaurant of Many Orders is available online, so I read some of it and was delighted to come upon this group of look-alike kanji: 

Any idea what 構, 黄, and 横 are? I'll give you a moment to think about it, and I'll block the answer with another cover of The Restaurant of Many Orders:

Photo Credit: Lutlam

Okay, here are the three look-alikes:

構 (675: to construct; care about), shown here in 構わない (かまわない: not to care, not to mind, be indifferent to)

黄 (120: yellow), shown here in 黄いろ (きいろ: yellow)

横 (235: side), shown here in 横っ腹 (よこっぱら: side, flank)

Beware of look-alikes! Also beware of restaurants where they dispense orders to customers!



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