Japanese for Rays Fans: ????Phillies!

Warning: This post is just throwing a bone to the folks who’ve stumbled across our site looking for a few kanji. (Who knows? Maybe they’ll be back.) It has nothing to do with baseball and won’t tell you anything you don’t know if you know very basic Japanese. There is, though, a chance for you to win something in a little impromptu contest – scroll down to the bottom for that.

Since the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox to win the American League for the first time in their otherwise bleak history, we’ve gotten traffic the predictable “Iwamura” and “Iwamura Rays” and “Iwamura Japanese team” and variations thereof (but surprisingly no “Iwamura Swallows”, or anything like that, that we’ve noticed.)

Perhaps the most interesting, though, have been “japanese symbol for 10-12-08” (I’d be interested in hearing the story behind that one) and, of course, people who seem to be looking for how to write Iwamura’s name in kanji (“Chinese characters” for those who came across this post looking for just that. Your machine will have to be able to display Japanese.) So, without further ado. . .

“Akinori Iwamura” would, of course, be “Iwamura Akinori” in Japanese, which is:

?? ??

An ambitious Rays fan could make a banner reading:




(Which is ganbatte – possibly the most common cheer or encouragement in the language – and means, roughly, “Do your best!” But that’s an awkward translation.)

Better yet, a Rays fan could give Philly fans a taste of their own medicine and make Mr. Iwamura feel all nostalgic by going for:

???? Philly!


???? Philly!

Same thing.

Oh, and for that guy looking for October 12, 2008 in kanji, here it is:


The numbers alone would be 10 = ?, 12 = ??, 2008 = ???? or ???, but would most often be written either 2008? or ??20? or ?????.

(If I’m correct in interpreting “symbol”, my guess is that’s a wedding ring or a tattoo. If so, I’ll offer the perhaps hackneyed opinion that marking important events or ideas by getting them in a language you can’t read makes no sense at all. Do you keep your diary in Swahili?)

Yes, I’m procrastinating. There are better things I should be doing.

If you’ve read this far, though, and, like many of our readers, know a bit (or a lot) of Japanese (or are Japanese), what would you put on a big banner for Iwamura’s consumption, encouragement, or in-game entertainment? Let us know below.

Maybe there’ll be a prize in it for the “winner” if there are a lot of entries. I’m not a collector, but I have some baseball cards and other knick-knacks with which I’d be willing to part in exchange for inspired bursts of creativity or wit on someone else’s part.

  • Ken


  • I think he must be glad to see “????” on a banner, for it has been his motto for a long time.
    “???” means both “Hang it!” and “everything is based on hardships”, and ? menas “spirit”.

  • Nice answers, both. Ken, I dig yours, but I somehow doubt it will have any effect on him.

    You’re both Swallows fans, which means my plan to get rid of the Giants stuff I received at the Tokyo Dome this season is off the table. I have plenty of good Tokyo trinkets to pass on, though.

    For the purposes of our little contest, I suppose I’ll leave this open through the World Series and distribute prizes at the end, whether Tampa Bay wins or loses.

  • Ken

    I don’t want any of your stuff anyway.

  • Me, either. So keep them for yourself, Garrett. I just enjoy taking part in contests.