Saturday, March 27, 2004


My nephew Sam e-mailed me to say that a hundredth of a euro in Italy is called "uno centisimo." Two would be "due centisimi." Didn't coin any new words for the new coins, I see.

The following was undated -- very rare for my documents -- but I think it was the spring of 1993:

Occasionally I still find things written on various surfaces in Japan that still surprise me, though mostly I'm inured to fractured English in public places. But one of the inscriptions I found this week was in Latin. I've seen a lot of English, plus some French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Chinese and even a little Arabic and Greek written for public view in Japan, but this was the first Latin. It really is an inscription, too, Roman-style on a freestanding column.

I was in Amagasaki, which is between Osaka and Kobe, walking near that city's performing arts center. It's set in a small park, and in one spot, surrounded by trees, is an off-white concrete column mounted on a pedestal of cemented stones. The column is about six feet high and two feet in diameter. Written on it is this (I copied it, I was so impressed):


My guess is that this is a copy of a road or bridge marker from the time of the Septimus Serverus, Caracalla and Geta, which, I remember, was a pretty thin slice of the early 3rd century AD, since Caracalla rubbed out Geta in 212, as soon as he got the chance, to become sole emperor. The real question is what this is doing in Amagasaki. There are no other markings or signs in any other language, much less Japanese, to explain it.

Also found recently, on the plastic package of two little pies ("tarts"): "Enjoy a delightful tart, sitting in your favorite chair," and "Visit your friend with these exquisite tarts, to enjoy together." My Australian friends got an enormous kick out of those two lines.


Post a Comment

<< Home