Here’s a little guide to some of the Japanese in issue two (and some of the French)! I’m no expert, so I enlisted the help of my Japanese teacher (Sensei) Saori. If you have ever thought about learning Japanese I highly recommend it – it’s very challenging and a lot of fun!!
Page 4, panel 5
Neon is saying here hajimemashite - this is hiragana, one of the Japanese alphabets. Japanese words are spelled out by their sounds, so if you look at the letters, they mean ha-ji-me-ma-shi-te.
Hajimemashite is a formal greeting in Japanese meaning ‘nice to meet you‘. It’s often said the first time you introduce yourself to someone.
Page 5, panel 6
The Spandex characters like to say ‘hm‘ a lot, I don’t know why, so at the bottom of the page, they’re all saying it, kind of. Butch doesn’t say anything , cos she rarely does, Diva says it, and Neon says the Japanese version, which here is ‘etto‘.
Page 7, panel 8
On the calling card here, you can see the katakana for Neon. Katakana is the 2nd Japanese alphabet, and is used for more modern words. Here it’s spelled ‘Ne-o-n’. You can also see this word on Neon’s arm as his tattoo.
Page 10, panel 8
Some French here! Indigo’s saying ‘What’s going on?’
You can’t really make much out on this page. I just traced the word in panel 2 from a photo I took and i have no idea what it means ha ha! There’s an upside down McDonalds sign there somewhere, under that is a black and white pic of my Japanese Sensei Saori…
In panel 2, in the background, there is me and my Japan travel buddy James, and his friends Kaoru and Hitomi (sisters) who took us round a lovely part of Tokyo one day.
Page 12, panel 1
You can’t really see it, but top panel behind Prowler is the katakana for Spandex!
Page 12, panel 2
I traced some of this stuff, but the blue poster is my tribute to my friend Teppei who is a very talented Japanese singer – he writes and sings in English. There’s a little cartoon of him there, and he provided the Kanji (the third Japanese alphabet) but I actually messed it up ha ha. You can check out Teppei’s music here http://www.myspace.com/tteppei
Page 12, panel 6
The sign on the black post is Tsuruya – a cool okonomiyake restaurant I went to in Hiroshima, where a very charismatic chef called Hiromu prepared my dinner! The swan sign is the sign of the Tsuruya restaurant.
Page 13, panel 2
On the building is the sign for good old ka-ra-o-ke! (you can’t see the ‘ka’)
Page 13, panel 5
The guys here are the people I met on a coach trip to Fuji, such nice people.
Page 13, panel 11
True story – when I arrived at my first hotel in Tokyo (a ryokan, a traditional Japanese hostel), I thought it was closed because all the doors were ‘locked’. But duh, some Japanese doors slide open! Took me a while to realise this.
Page 13, panel 13
More Neon katakana scattered around on the walls.
Here Neon says ‘irashai‘ which means welcome. Whenever you enter a shop in Japan, they SHOUT at you irrashaimase, which is ‘helloooo welcome!’
Neon also says ‘watashi wa Neon desu‘ – my name is Neon.
Page 16, panels 2 to 4
Some French here! Indigo says ‘What shall I take’, then ‘Where is it, Where is it…’ and finally ‘Ah, here it is!’ Thanks to my friend Mark for his help with this.
Page 17, panel 1
Here, Prowler says ‘Spandex Shioki’! I asked my Japanese teacher Saori to help me come up with a good Japanese ‘S’ word that I could use here for the Spandex battle cry! Saori came up with a great list, and I went with this word, which means ‘physical punishment’ lol
Page 17, panel 5
Neon here says ‘eitsu‘ – ‘ha!’
Page 18, Indigo panels
Indigo says ‘I’m here!’ and ‘Shit!’
More French. Prowler says ‘You’ve changed your costume?’ and Indigo says ‘Yes’. Prowler: ‘Why?’ Indigo: ‘Why not?’
Then, ‘Ready?’ ‘Ready.’
‘Je ne sais pas’ is ‘i don’t know’.
Page 20, panel 1
C’est Tout is ‘is that it?’
Page 21, panel 5
Yatta is ‘I did it!’, made famous by Hiro on Heroes.
Page 22, panel 3
Pink Ninja guy here says ‘aishiteruyo‘ – ‘I love you‘
Page 23, panel 1
Neon says ‘he was my lover‘ – kare wa boku no koibuto datta
Page 23, panel 3
Neon here says ‘what?’ – which is ‘etsu’
Page 23, panel 4
Neon says ‘yes‘ – HAI!