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Home » Books » General Interest

Ichi, ni, san. Adventures with Japanese numbers

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Ichi, ni, san. Adventures with Japanese numbers
Author: Prof. R. Byron Bird and Dr. Reiji Mezaki
ISBN 978-1-895198-42-3

Published: 2009
Number of pages: 192

Cover option: Hard Cover (ISBN 978-1-895198-42-3)
Paperback (ISBN 978-1-895198-43-0) ($-20.00)

Price: $55.00 + S&H
  • Summary
  • Table of Contents
  • Author(s)
  • Related Publications

This book is about numbers and their use in enumeration, counting, and calculation in Japanese, in everyday life, in sciences, and in geography. It also provides a gateway to the understanding of the Japanese language, culture, and organization. In addition, the book gives an introduction to Japanese grammar, place names, proverbs, idioms, sayings, and poetry.

The authors of the book are Dr. Bird, a professor of chemical engineering from the U.S.A., and a former student from his department, Dr. Mezaki. They have interacted for decades after first meeting in the 1950s. Dr. Mezaki has worked in several areas of applied chemistry and chemical engineering, and Dr. Bird has had the study of technical Japanese as a hobby since 1960.

This book is an excellent example of international cooperation that not only brings people together, but inspires them to produce for us this marvelous book, which is a guide for both technical and nontechnical people to learn about the subject of ways of human perceptions that differ from place to place but serve similar needs.

The book may be useful for collateral reading in courses in first- and second-year Japanese. Considering the type, composition, and contents of the book, it is difficult to say who does not need it.

More information about the book can be found in the Preface (pdf)

1. The Japanese Writing System
1.1 Pronunciation of Japanese; Romanization
1.2 Hiragana
1.3 Katakana
1.4 Kanji
2. The Numbers and Counting
2.1 Counting from 1 to 10
2.2 Counting from 11 to 100
2.3 Counting from 101 to 1,000
2.4 Counting from 1,001 to 10,000
2.5 Even larger numbers
2.6 Lucky and unlucky numbers
2.7 Numbers in legal documents
2.8 Still other symbols
2.9 Counting on the fingers
2.10 Tallying cups of coffee or soft drinks
2.11 The soroban
3. Zero, Fractions, Decimals, etc.
3.1 Decimals and percentages
3.2 Fractions
3.3 Powers, roots, and factorials
3.4 Regular polygons and polyhedrons
4. Months, Days, and Hours
4.1 Names of the months
4.2 Days of the month
4.3 Time of day
4.4 Birthdays
5. Counters
5.1 “Chinese numbers”
5.2 “Japanese numbers”
6. Use of Numbers with Prefixes and Suffixes
6.1 Ordinal numbers
6.2 “Times”
6.3 Equal distribution
6.4 Indefinite numbers
7. Words Containing Numbers
7.1 One
7.2 Two
7.3 Three
7.4 Four
7.5 Five
7.6 Six
7.7 Seven
7.8 Eight
7.9 Nine
7.10 Ten
7.11 One hundred
7.12 One thousand
7.13 Ten thousand
7.14 One hundred thousand
7.15 Zero
7.16 One-half
7.17 Miscellaneous
8. Numbers in Geography
8.1 Main islands
8.2 Lesser islands
8.3 Prefectures
8.4 Cities
8.5 Towns
8.6 Villages
8.7 Mountains
8.8 Lakes
8.9 Rivers
8.10 Peninsulas
8.11 Stations
9. Numbers in Personal Names
9.1 Family names
9.2 Given names (male)
9.3 Given names (female)
10. Some Grammatical Points
10.1 Particles
10.2 Verb forms
10.3 Adjective forms
10.4 Ellipses
11. Numbers in Proverbs, Idioms, and Sayings: Kotowaza #1 to #68
12. Numbers in Haiku: Haiku #1 to #49
13. Numbers in Tanka: Tanka #1 to # 32
14. Fooling around with Numbers

14.1 Sayings with four characters
14.2 Sayings with N and N
14.3 Sayings with N and (N+1)
14.4 Numbers appearing inside other characters
14.5 Mnemonics for remembering numbers
14.6 Numerical categories
14.7 Comical expressions involving numbers
14.8 Names for vegetables and other edibles
15. Writing Kanji
Appendix: Characters given by their total stroke count

R. BYRON BIRD has been a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1953. He is well known as the senior author of Transport Phenomena, a standard chemical engineering textbook, and the monograph Dynamics of Polymeric Liquids. He has taught twice at the Technical University in Delft in Holland, and has coauthored two Dutch literary readers. In Japan, he has taught at Kyoto and Nagoya Universities, and has coauthored three books on technical Japanese translation. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, as well as a recipient of the National Medal of Science.

REIJI MEZAKI received his B.S. in Industrial Chemistry from Kyoto University and his Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. After several years of teaching service at Yale University and New York University, he worked for Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Mitsubishi Research Institute, and the University of Tokyo as a research staff member in frontier and essential areas of applied chemistry and chemical engineering. They include computer-assisted optimization of chemical processes and database construction of polymers and nanocomposites. Presently he is a visiting researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

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