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  • Codes

    I already started some of this conversation in another thread, but at Mr. Syzygy's suggestion, I've started a whole new one. What I'm interested in finding out is if/how the codes that we all know about make it into the Japanese translation. Any translation or adaptation is interesting for what gets left behind, but the first-letter code provides a particular problem for languages like Japanese where word order is significantly different, and characters aren't letters in the same sense.

    So my goal is to translate (or maybe "reverse engineer" is a better term) the May 8, 1987 letter and see what happens. So far, though, I've just made it through the April 27 letter, because I figured if the code were changed somehow, P would have to let JT in on it on the 27th. I'm basically relying on babelfish and other online sources for this, but what takes me so long is looking up the kanji. Anyway, here's what I've got so far:
    • 一九八七年四月二十七日


      注意して読んで。 次の手紙は暗号で書きます。 各単語の最初の文字をつないで文章にするの。 単語の切れ目は丶 おまえのすばらしい力があればわかるでし ょう。 この手紙は夜の看護婦に託します。秘密は守られろでしょう


    This says basically the same thing as the original letter in English. Babelfish comes up with,
    • 1987 April 27th
      Dear dear ジョニー (Johnny)

      Noting, reading. You write the following letter in code. Connecting the first letter of each word, it makes composition. As for the break of word if 丶 there is a power where you are splendid, it is understood, probably will be. Entrusts this letter to the nurse of the night. Secret probably will be is protected

      Love ろ
      From mother
    The only thing I can find to add is that the closing "love" has a specific denotation of motherly love. Also, the fact that it says "you write the following letter" probably isn't significant. The point is, though, that it definitely says that the code will involve the first letter of each word, so we'll have to see how that plays out.

  • #2
    OK, after consulting the lovely Ms Hayashida I can reveal that the kanji you were having trouble with here spell a name, tatsumi takayuki:
    巽孝之 I think. Does that look right?

    Google-work reveals that (though I think it's a reasonably common name) he wrote ""Towards the Theoretical Frontiers of 'Fiction': From Metafiction and Cyberpunk through 'Avant-Pop'", and has written extensively on fantasy writing and postmodernism generally. Perhaps the author of the explanatory insert you mentioned?


    • #3
      Yeah, that's it, and the explanation definitely makes sense. A lot of this guy's publications seem to be in the area of Science Fiction as well, so this is probably an introductory essay of some sort.

      The title next to his name translates "Bottom of the American Darkness" (or something like that) which sounds like an essay. This is probably like a foreword to the translation, which is supplementing a note from the translator himself.

      At any rate, I owe you a cake, so here's the best I could do:

      It's small, but its sexy. 8)