Hidari or 左 - Writing Japanese Characters

Q: Hi richard, first of all: genkijapan.net is Sugoi! I’ve a question about the japanese way to write. By example i tryed to wrote hidari (left) and that was 5 characters. I looked of it was correct and saw in your left, right, forward and backward vid that it was simply one character. I found out that it also was in more words. I thought first that learning japanese was easy! But now i think it’s a little harder than i thought. Can you explain me how to write the characters of words correct?  thank you.  – D

A: Just like in English where we have different ways of writing things, for example you can write “thirteen” or “13” for exactly the same word,  then in Japanese you can also do this.   “Hidari” is how you spell the word for “left” using the Western or Roman letters.  But you hardly ever use these in Japan.

Which is quite cool because hidari has a lot of letters, whereas in Japan you’d usually use the symbol for hidari “左” which is just one character!  This makes things easy!  But it also means you have to learn lots of different characters, and learning them by heart is the only way!

Be genki,

Richard

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