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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Braille And The Japanese Drinking Man

I had no idea that Japan had its own braille alphabet for the visually-impaired.

I stupidly assumed they used braille English.

I’m not going to re-write the entry in Wikipedia… I’m just bringing it to everyone’s attention.

The matter was brought to my attention by a friend who sent me a link about how Japanese beer cans have the word for alcohol in braille upon them so the visually-impaired don’t ingest booze by accident.

The can above purports to show a can of Asahi Super Dry beer—a pretty good beer that I can recall through the alcoholic haze of my time in Japan—with the braille word in raised dots on the can’s top for “sake”.

Contrary to popular belief, “sake” (pronounced saah-kay) is not the clear rice wine every associates with Japanese alcohol. Sake is a term for Japanese alcohol. Shōchū is the actual word for rice wine…. but it has to be a distilled beverage less than 45% alcohol by volume, typically (not always) made from rice (kome), barley (migi), sweet potatoes (satsuma-imo), buckwheat (soba), or brown sugar (kokutō), though it is sometimes produced from other ingredients such as chestnut, sesame seeds, potatoes or even carrots.

I know… my mind is blown, too.

So… in Japan, just to fug up every person drinking booze, sake" (酒) can reefer to any alcoholic drink.

Nihonshu (日本酒) is Japanese liquor, but in this case it’s Shōchū when less than 45% alcohol… any more, its nihonshu. I think.

I’m confused, too.

Anyhow, Japanese braille:

a i u e o
⠁ (braille pattern dots-1) ⠃ (braille pattern dots-12) ⠉ (braille pattern dots-14) ⠋ (braille pattern dots-124) ⠊ (braille pattern dots-24)
k ka ki ku ke ko
⠡ (braille pattern dots-16) ⠣ (braille pattern dots-126) ⠩ (braille pattern dots-146) ⠫ (braille pattern dots-1246) ⠪ (braille pattern dots-246)
s sa shi su se so
⠱ (braille pattern dots-156) ⠳ (braille pattern dots-1256) ⠹ (braille pattern dots-1456) ⠻ (braille pattern dots-12456) ⠺ (braille pattern dots-2456)
t ta chi tsu te to
⠕ (braille pattern dots-135) ⠗ (braille pattern dots-1235) ⠝ (braille pattern dots-1345) ⠟ (braille pattern dots-12345) ⠞ (braille pattern dots-2345)
n na ni nu ne no
⠅ (braille pattern dots-13) ⠇ (braille pattern dots-123) ⠍ (braille pattern dots-134) ⠏ (braille pattern dots-1234) ⠎ (braille pattern dots-234)
h ha hi fu he ho
⠥ (braille pattern dots-136) ⠧ (braille pattern dots-1236) ⠭ (braille pattern dots-1346) ⠯ (braille pattern dots-12346) ⠮ (braille pattern dots-2346)
m ma mi mu me mo n
⠵ (braille pattern dots-1356) ⠷ (braille pattern dots-12356) ⠽ (braille pattern dots-13456) ⠿ (braille pattern dots-123456) ⠾ (braille pattern dots-23456) ⠴ (braille pattern dots-356)
y ya
yo    -y-
⠌ (braille pattern dots-34)
⠬ (braille pattern dots-346)
⠜ (braille pattern dots-345) ⠈ (braille pattern dots-4)

r ra ri ru re ro
⠑ (braille pattern dots-15) ⠓ (braille pattern dots-125) ⠙ (braille pattern dots-145) ⠛ (braille pattern dots-1245) ⠚ (braille pattern dots-245)
w wa (w)i
(w)e (w)o   -w-
⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠆ (braille pattern dots-23)
⠖ (braille pattern dots-235) ⠔ (braille pattern dots-35) ⠢ (braille pattern dots-26)

By the way, when I wanted a beer in Japan, I asked for a biru.

When I wanted rice wine, I asked for o-sake... which everyone knew meant the rice wine one drinks after a meal.

I was not a whisky guy, but wi-zu-ki so-da could be pronounced phonetically, and everyone would know what you meant.

Try ba-bu-n so-da. That's right bourbon soda, a drink I sometimes had.

Somewhere blind drunk in the past,
Andrew Joseph