The Japanes word for lamen is lamen but it has been incorrectly spelled in English for decades as ramen, which is a mistake, a faux pas, something that is lost in translation. The Japanese do not say Rondon for London or ”chokoret” for chocolate or Rarry for Larry. They say London, chocolate and Larry, even though the hiragana and katakana character they use for the LA sound is a Japanese sound somewhere in between LA and RA and is written in hiragama katakana as the RA sound. However, all Japansee people know that lamen is the correct word and that the correct spelling in English should have been lamen. However, some lazy editor
wrote ramen a long time ago and now most people think ramen is the correct spelling,
It is not. The correct spelling in English is lamen. The Chinese word is “lamien” — which is the
word that the Japanese borrowed to call the food from China they now love themselves.
The Japanese do not call London as Rondon even though in katakana is looks like Rondon to people who do not know the ins and outs of Japanese oral skills.
However, such critics as Ben Zimmer, Matt Gross, Toshio Yamamoto and Lisa “Tokyo Mango” Katayama do not want to face reality.
I say “lamen” – they say “ramen.” They are wrong. I am right. The debate has been settled.
”Thanks for the very correct clarification about ramen, I couldn’t
agree with you more. It should be lamen in English, and in fact, the Japanese pronounce is as lamen,” says a longtime expat in Tokyo.
In an article titled “Confessions of a hardcore instant lamen lover,” Tokyo blogger Lisa Katayama gets it right, finally. Even BoingBoing is coming around to this reality, slowly but surely.
Now all we have to do in convince the thousands of lamen restaurants in the U.S., the UK and Australia that they correct spelling is lamen. But try telling that to the owners of “Tokyo Ramen” in Los Angeles! They don’t want to hear this.
Why? It means repainting thousands and thousands of store signs. And as for the instant lamen
industry, do you think they will ever change the labels on the packages to the correct spelling of lamen? One day they will. Especially after they read this and the brouhaha it will create online in the blogosphere.
To sum up, the correct spelling in English in lamen. Ramen is hereby retired. Sayonara!