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Trevor Stone's Journal
Those who can, do. The rest hyperlink.
International Multilinguists of DOOM 
18th-Aug-2008 09:29 pm
I received in the mail today a blurry photo of some flowers or weeds. On the back was an Irish stamp, my address, and nine lines of Japanese. I quickly deduced the sender to be my brother, even though he didn't know any Japanese last I checked. The following is my attempted transcription of the message using Apple's Japanese Kana Palette. I'm sure some letters are wrong, but they're the closest I could glean.

よ はようごぢいまよ, トレ-バ-さん!
うま は, ろなしは フ-イ-ランドに
いまよ。 てんきは よごい きしい
でよ。 火旧目 でよ。 ねご の こぇ
は よ'もしロい でよ ね? ちょぅと
さ?しい でよ カ? だいじよづでよ。
フ-イ-ランドに ホて 下さい! ねーコ
ケー?は よごい よいしい でよ ね?
づよーね、 きすつけて ね トレーバーさん!

Between Harper writing in Japanese, Trevor reading in Japanese, and Google translating from Japanese to English, the following tangle arises. Anyone have a better guess? If something would make more sense by changing a few lines in a character above, that's probably the right thing to do.

Now it's DZI HAYOU how the trailer - Va -!
Skill, without the filter off - Lee - Land
Now. If it is TENKI Disc KISHI
OK? Old fire in the eyes. NEGO saw sir
That? Wristed it to me one? DAIJI DZUDEYO it.
Hu - Lee - Land Ho please! KO.
Kay? It will be nice and good, right?
DZU, boy, I know it KISU tray bar!

Harper's Japanese Post Card
19th-Aug-2008 04:00 am (UTC) - Terribly unhelpful help
I think this person is actually a spy using a one-time pad....

But seriously, here's the best I can do. Underline means I'm substituting a decent guess, italics means I don't have a better guess so maybe it's wrong, maybe it's not.

ohayoo gozaimasu, toreebaasan!
ima wa, watashi wa fuuiirando ni
imasu. tenki wa yogoi kishi
de yo. kayoobi de yo. nego no koe (perhaps nihongo)
wa omoshiroi de yo ne? chooto
sa? shii de yo ka? daijoo de yo.
fuuiirando ni ho de kudasai! neeko
tee? ha yogoi oishii de yo ne?
dzuyoone, kisutsukete ne toreebaasan!

Good morning Trevor!
Right now I'm in FUUIIland.
The weather is SOMETHING.
It's Tuesday.
SOMETHING (the japanese language?) is totally interesting, don't you think?
I guess so, huh?
It's okay.
Greetings from FUUIIland!
SOMETHING? is delicious, isn't it?
SOMETHING, huh, Trevor?
Bye bye!
19th-Aug-2008 05:01 am (UTC) - Re: Terribly unhelpful help
Google translates Ireland to アイルランド which has two fewer hyphens and an extra ル from what's on the card, so I think that's a safe bet there, given the ÉIRE stamp.

ハーパー (Harper) vs. バイバイ (bye bye) is a neat orthographic sign-off play for him. I'm pretty sure it's the former since it's only got one high circle, but the postal barcode adds lines which could be mistaken for the latter.
19th-Aug-2008 05:35 am (UTC) - Re: Terribly unhelpful help
I have a few contrasting hypotheses:
I suspect "tenki wa sugoi kirei desu" may be more accurate, which would mean "the weather is incredibly pretty" with a slight misconjugation on 'sugoi' which should be 'sugoku' but that's a common mistake.

"neko no koe wa omoshiroi da yo ne?" which would be "cat voices are really interesting, huh?"

"chotto sa(bi)shii desu ka?" with "bi" replacing a question mark would make "are you a little lonely?"

"fuuiland ni kitekudasai" would be "please come to Fuuiland, the kanji for "ki" in that instance looks a lot like the katakana 'ho' that you inserted.

Otherwise I mostly agree with rubicantoto's guesswork.

If you took a picture and posted an image, I might be able to give you a better translation *hint hint*
19th-Aug-2008 05:58 am (UTC) - Re: Terribly unhelpful help
Picture posted.

I thought that might be 米 as well, but I figured I'd try a kana first and then didn't remember to replace it with hanzi later.
19th-Aug-2008 02:53 pm (UTC) - Re: Terribly unhelpful help
Okay, some more sense has been made. It's a-i-rando, so definitely an attempt at Ireland. Choko keeki (chocolate cake) is what is delicious. The interesting voice is still baffling to me, it says "nede" which is not a word... He's also doing some really cute katakana/hiragana switching, which makes reading it a little schizophrenic, but fun. And he closes with "ja ne, ki wo tsukete ne torebaa-san" which means "Okay later, take care, okay Trevor?"

All in all, a very cute postcard. Is he studying Japanese? What's goin' on?
19th-Aug-2008 03:48 pm (UTC) - Re: Terribly unhelpful help
He's also doing some really cute katakana/hiragana switching, which makes reading it a little schizophrenic, but fun

I did take some transcription guesses on the assumption that a single word wouldn't switch from katakana to hiragana, but I was amused too. Fortunately, I quickly inferred that valid strokes in Chinese were in one alphabet and curves were in another. It took me a little longer to figure out that " didn't mean a quote, but was part of a single character in another section of the palette.

Is he studying Japanese? What's goin' on?

He's in Ireland in a network of organic farms. Participants work on the farm in exchange for staying there and hanging out with the other interesting folks who've landed on that particular farm. I knew he was learning some about traditional Irish music from one of his hosts. I assume the Japanese thing is a connection with a fellow traveler rather than a focused pursuit. His Japanese handwriting is apparently better than my Chinese, as my postcard seems to have been lost somewhere in China.
19th-Aug-2008 04:20 pm (UTC) - Re: Terribly unhelpful help
That is so cool! Sounds like an amazing experience... might be something to look into. I'd love to do that in New Zealand, too.
And his penmanship is exemplary for a beginner; you can tell him I said so. ^_^
19th-Aug-2008 04:23 pm (UTC) - Re: Terribly unhelpful help
And his penmanship is exemplary for a beginner

Apparently there are benefits to being a painter...
19th-Aug-2008 04:25 pm (UTC) - Re: Terribly unhelpful help
I've heard it really brings in the ladies, for one.
19th-Aug-2008 04:25 pm (UTC) - Re: Terribly unhelpful help
WWOOF is the into in which to look. They seem to operate in New Zealand.
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