The CRUTape Letters now in Japanese

People send me stuff. I get so many books and manuscripts to review that I could heat my home if I had a wood burning stove. While I was away, one arrived in the mail from Japan. Despite claims that Climategate is going away or was inconsequential, as evidenced below, it continues to gain interest worldwide.

Of course, I can’t read a thing in it.

The sender, Tadashi Watanabe wrote this curious note in the margin:

I’ve never thought of the Japanese language to be “freak”, just unreadable to me. (Note: in comments it has been pointed out that he may have written “fresh”, which makes more sense. I looked at it several times, but the last letters looked like a small a and small k. They still do. But let’s go with “fresh”.)

Fortunately the book has some familiar pictures, actually, a lot of them.

I feel honored that WUWT gets notice in Japan and I thank Mr. Tadashi Watanabe for the kindness of sending me this book. I also offer congratulations to Steve Mosher and Thomas Fuller for breaking the language barrier.

If you haven’t got your copy yet, click on the image on the right sidebar to order THE CRUTAPE LETTERS from Amazon.

Oh, and a note of acknowledgment to WUWT regular “bulldust” who coined the phrase “Climategate” right here on WUWT (Bulldust coined the phrase at 3:52PM PST Nov 19th)  just hours after we broke the story. It was great to meet you in Perth.

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July 5, 2010 1:43 pm

Domo arigato

July 5, 2010 1:48 pm


July 5, 2010 1:50 pm

Keep up your onerous work!

July 5, 2010 1:53 pm

Japanese is not a freak language, but it is one that’s all Greek to me.

July 5, 2010 2:01 pm

BTW a “wood burning stove” it is a very important piece of hardware: It allows, at the same time, to burn all GWrs. pamphlets, while increasing life giving CO2.

Tom in Texas
July 5, 2010 2:04 pm

freak, as in odd or different?

July 5, 2010 2:08 pm

Has “the Mosh” become wealthy enough to move out of CTM’s apartment, yet? Congratulations on a book that’s going around the world!

July 5, 2010 2:11 pm

Is that “Enjoy a fresh language “, not “Enjoy a freak language”.
REPLY: Could be, I looked at it several times, and the last letter looked like a small k to me. “Fresh” works, and is more likely what he wrote. – A

July 5, 2010 2:12 pm

I believe he is paying you a high compliment, Japanese tend to be blunt.

Max Hugoson
July 5, 2010 2:24 pm

I searched the online dictionaries, and went back to my time doing some business in Japan, 5 years ago.
It took a moment to figure it out. The use of the term “onerous” refers to the “mentally taxing” challenge of following all the information on WUWT. There is a little bit of “literalism” at work here, and the writer does not understand the “connotation” that this is an “undesirable” task.
Thus it IS a compliment!

July 5, 2010 2:25 pm

Doctor Tadashi Watanabe (if one and the same) is a very accomplished engineer.

John Peter
July 5, 2010 2:25 pm

Good to see how the Climagate relevations are spreading into non English speaking countries. Once the genie is out it is impossible to get it back into the bottle. In a sense I feel that we US/Europeans have to rely on probably mostly Asian countries to break the AGW “spell” that have beset our politicians. That some climate researchers “follow the money” as their No. 1 concern is only possible because the politicians are prepared to hand them our money to prove AGW over and over again. If the science is really that settled then they should surely close the money box for further research.
I was actually stunned to read this from the Guardian article
“But greater openness and engagement with their critics will not ensure that climate scientists have an easier time in future, warns Hulme. Back in the lab, a new generation of more sophisticated computer models is failing to reduce the uncertainties in predicting future climate, he says – rather, the reverse. “This is not what the public and politicians expect, so handling and explaining this will be difficult.” and this from no other than Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia. When is this message going to sink into Obama, Cameron, Merkel and all the other AGW believers? Is Professor Hulme also referring to the Hadley centre’s £30 million wonder?

Henry chance
July 5, 2010 2:26 pm

Keep it up. They are getting angry and circling the wagons. Climate gate interferes with social engineering.
One day the EPA will have to demonstrate endangerment. Till now they lean on very bad articles to claim they expect danger somewhere.

John Peter
July 5, 2010 2:27 pm

“relevations” should be “revelations” in the above message. Sorry about that.

July 5, 2010 2:33 pm

It is unfortunate still not having it in spanish though temperatures below normal are making their best to fight against global warming campaings.

July 5, 2010 2:37 pm

Unfortunately very few Japanese actually write English. Many can read it and many more can speak it. Add a Japanese to English dictionary/thesaurus and well……..

Ian H
July 5, 2010 2:42 pm

Enjoy & great language
It isn’t hard to read to a teacher used to deciphering student scribbles. His handwriting is actually quite good compared to a lot of what I see.

Steven mosher
July 5, 2010 2:54 pm

Nope I still live with Charles

View from the Solent
July 5, 2010 2:57 pm

This is good news sensei Watts.

July 5, 2010 2:57 pm

Mmm, that looks a lot more like ‘freak’ to me. And I know all about freak – I’m an environmentalist! *rimshot*

July 5, 2010 3:01 pm

Congratulations from me as well, this book has also reached Norway! I am reading it these days (in English), it is a fascinating and frightening story. I have also read “The Hockey Stick Illusion” by A.W. Montford. These books should be taught in schools, instead of the AGW nonsense our kids are offered.
They are important supplements to WUWT and Climate Audit, and will sooner or later help put an end to the AGW scare.

Gail Combs
July 5, 2010 3:19 pm

The is great news. The Japanese have a higher regard for truth and honesty than what we have been seeing lately in the USA. I do not think the dishonesty shown in the e-mails will go down well with the Japanese.
If I recall correctly written Japanese, Chinese and Korean are close enough that the book may cover more than one country. I hope so.

July 5, 2010 3:32 pm

This is Engrish. That is, English done by a Japanese not familiar with the nuances of our language. ‘Onerrous’ probably meant ‘magnificently difficult’ and ‘freak’ was probably meant to be ‘unusually different’. You can rest assured only the highest praise was meant.
More Engrish at

July 5, 2010 3:32 pm

It’s Japlish, and darned fine examples, too!
onerous ≈ difficult/challenging
freak ≈ different
No disrespect to Mr. Watanabe, whose English is a million billion times better than my Japanese!
It reminds of a story of a reliability test of English -German translator software:
English phrase, translated to German, and then back to English to see if it would hold up. It started out, “The spirit is strong but the flesh is weak”, but morphed into, “The wine is good but the meat is rotten”.

July 5, 2010 3:38 pm

I was a bit more taken aback by the description of your writings as being “onerous”.

Bruce of Newcastle
July 5, 2010 3:45 pm

JoNova’s ‘The Skeptics Handbook’ in Japanese is available here:

val majkus
July 5, 2010 3:54 pm

that word looks like ‘great’ to me; enjoy a great language

July 5, 2010 3:58 pm

Pascvaks says:
July 5, 2010 at 2:25 pm (Edit)
Doctor Tadashi Watanabe (if one and the same) is a very accomplished engineer.

From the link:
“Furthermore, Dr. Watanabe played a central role in the successive development of the SX Series and “the Earth Simulator”. The Earth Simulator was certified as the world’s fastest supercomputer for three years running from 2002 to 2004. NEC’s SX Series and the Earth Simulator both employ the vector principle that was invented by Seymour Cray.”
Er, wow!

July 5, 2010 4:01 pm

Dutch agency admits mistake in UN climate report

July 5, 2010 4:08 pm

> The Earth Simulator was certified as the world’s fastest supercomputer for three years running from 2002 to 2004.
That was an astonishingly long run on the Top500 supercomputing list. The exponential growth in computer power on that list is utterly amazing. It wasn’t
long ago that a Teraflop was the holy grail. The Earth Simulator’s reign stands out in the middle traces at

July 5, 2010 4:11 pm

Way to go Tadashi Watanabe. Well done.

July 5, 2010 4:12 pm

What a lot of ungracious carping! And, there is nothing wrong with “onerous” in this context. Also, because it is written in Japanese does not mean that Chinese or Koreans can understand it. Chinese people will be able to understand the title and a lot of the key words, as will older Koreans, and those Koreans who can read the Korean language it was written up to about 30 years ago. Anyway, stop your nasty comments.

July 5, 2010 4:32 pm

Thanks for your comments folks.
I used “freak” as a (possible) synonym of bizarre, exotic or peculiar since my dictionary appeared to tell me so. Apology for any confusion.
Tha person Pascvaks has cited is another Tadashi Watanabe. As Watanabe is the fifth most frequent names in Japan (where the number of personal names well exceeds 100 thousand), there are naturally many Tadashi Watanabes here.
I’m a physical chemist working in the field of molecular mechanism of plant photosynthesis, which is closely related to CO2 problem and that was a key factor for me to get interested in the GW issue more than 10 years ago.
FYI one of my recent publications is: Spectroelectrochemical determination of the redox potential of pheophytin a, the primary electron acceptor in photosystem II. PNAS, 106, No.41, 17365-17370 (2009); this may be again bizarre for many of you.
Thanks again.

July 5, 2010 4:34 pm

It’s freak. Two clues, the connecting of e to a or s is pretty standard, you connect em at top. However, of course people have different style, but would the style be so different so much so that the h is writ as a k? So, aha, freak.
Or one could just go with the fact that drawn japanese, not written roman letters, is different from spoken, not like mandarin which is just weird ’cause it’s like the original.
Why I like book with drawings: I read the book, now I just need someone to translate it. :p

July 5, 2010 4:40 pm

It’s “fresh”
Keeps his fertile mind working.

Gary Pearse
July 5, 2010 4:44 pm

One good thing about the wind change is that real, honest, searchers of truth will become the recognized leaders in an overhauled science of climatology and the climategate conspirators will be consigned to an ignominious footnote.

Grant Hillemeyer
July 5, 2010 4:46 pm

Sounds like one of those google translations, likely meant strange or odd but got freak or freakish……

Mike McMillan
July 5, 2010 4:58 pm

We Japanese have no “L” sound in the language, so “R” is used instead.
Think Crime-at gate.

July 5, 2010 5:09 pm

Thanks, Tokyoboy, you’ve made for an interesting discussion here.
I do not understand the language spoken here [ Japanese? Korean?], and I can’t read the subtitled characters. But I get the message loud & clear.☺

July 5, 2010 5:10 pm

OT but I reckon NH ice is going to be a real surprise for some this minima

July 5, 2010 5:18 pm

Smokey says: July 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm
I do not understand the language spoken here [Japanese? Korean?]…..
Neither. It’s Chinese.

July 5, 2010 5:22 pm

I think he wrote “freak” … but the meaning is different from what you assume. I believe it is intended as something which might be considered “odd” or “strange” … from your perspective.

July 5, 2010 5:26 pm

A wondrous note.

Robert of Ottawa
July 5, 2010 5:33 pm

I think, Anthony, that the word UNIQUE got lost in translation

Richard Sharpe
July 5, 2010 5:43 pm

tokyoboy says on July 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Smokey says: July 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I do not understand the language spoken here [Japanese? Korean?]…..

Neither. It’s Chinese.

I concur!

Ben U.
July 5, 2010 5:58 pm

Watanabe called Anthony’s work (not just his writing) onerous, long-standing, and enlightening. I suspect that Wanatabe meant that it must have been work onerous for Anthony to do. By “long-standing” I guess Wanatabe meant that the work has taken a long time (though maybe he meant that it will stand up to the test of time). So he seems to be saying that Anthony has worked long and hard and that the result has been enlightening.

July 5, 2010 6:33 pm

Courtesy and gift-giving are very important in Japanese culture. I would take his comments in the very best possible light.
The Japanese language and culture has nuances that are almost impossible for a Westerner to grasp and communicate correctly without saying something that would be a terrible offense if a Japanese person said it. However, thank goodness the Japanese are very gracious and do not expect foreigners to master the subtleties of their language and culture.

July 5, 2010 7:05 pm

pat says: July 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm
Unfortunately very few Japanese actually write English.
I must’ve been lucky then when I got talking to a couple of Japanese students in a bar in Fukuoka 5 years ago. When they couldn’t say what they meant, they pulled out pens, and wrote what they were trying to say in beautiful copperplate English. They could write it, but they couldn’t speak it. We conducted a lively ‘conversation’ in little exchanged notes, assisted with the odd word or two. And we gave ourselves a big round of applause whenever we’d succeeded in making ourselves understood.

July 5, 2010 8:27 pm

idlex says:
July 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm
“They could write it, but they couldn’t speak it.”
I have it on excellent authority that all Japanese children study at least (6/8) years of English in school. Sorry, I don’t remember now whether it’s 6 or 8, I think it’s 8, but with either number, many students study English longer than that. However, many of their English teachers are Japanese who have no idea how anything is pronounced. So they often learn pronunciation that no native English speaker would recognize. Yet they can often do pretty well at reading and writing English.

Van Grungy
July 5, 2010 8:42 pm


bizarre, exotic or peculiar?

anna v
July 5, 2010 9:26 pm

As another non native speaker of english, I salute tokyoboy for his gracious presentation to Anthony of an intriguing coffee table book, including the dedication .

July 5, 2010 9:59 pm

Still don’t understand the whole “(insert scandal here)-gate” thing that resonates with so many, but whatever. I’ll take it. If I had to take anything from this story, it’s that there’s no stopping this now. Climategate is the virus of truth.
And on a side note, “People send me stuff” reminds me of, “That’s the way it was.” Some day we’ll all be looking back on this saying, “People send me stuff.”

Neil Jones
July 5, 2010 10:43 pm

This may be a translation problem. Japanese is a language linguistically unrelated to any other on the planet (there are said to be only three in the world, the others being Finnish and Basque). In that sense it is a peculiar/Freak/special language.

July 5, 2010 11:31 pm

TA says:
July 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm
However, thank goodness the Japanese are very gracious and do not expect foreigners to master the subtleties of their language and culture.
When I was leaving Japan after my stint as visiting professor I gave a small farewell speech in which I apologized for at times behaving as a bumbling foreigner. With typical Japanese bluntness, the director [of the Institute] responded that I shouldn’t worry too much about having behaved ‘correctly’, because “our expectations were low”.

Ken Hall
July 6, 2010 12:06 am

That word could be “great” as in “Enjoy a great language”.

Geoff Sherrington
July 6, 2010 1:14 am

He’s saying that he enjoys your blog and that he speaks English (as evidenced by his English message).

David, UK
July 6, 2010 1:40 am

Great to see the word getting out to more corners. As for the Japanese language being freaky – it’s certainly pretty unique (in terms of its structure, honorifics and other rules) and the Japanese people are quite aware of this, so this may have been what was meant. Kuraimatto Geeto – Kuruuteepo Retaazu, gambatte!!!!
@ Geoff Sherrington: Ohhhh, now we get it.

July 6, 2010 2:53 am

Since no one seems to have done it yet for this , below is a rough translation of the main title and large point text in white on black at the bottom of the page:
“Earth temperature warming change
“Warming affirming faction vs. skeptic faction, which is correct?”
Note that Tadashi Watanabe appears to be the translator of this book into Japanese. It is his name in Japanese kanji characters written below that of Tom Fuller.
One final note, Japanese is closely related to Korean (I usually realize someone is speaking Korean because it sounds so familiar and yet it is completely incomprehensible). Both languages are in turn probably related to languages spoken in eastern Siberia since the peoples of the Korean peninsula and the Japanese islands originated in that part of the world. There is a Finnish connection in there somewhere . . .

July 6, 2010 3:02 am

@ Neil Jones.
Japanese is very clearly related to Korean. (A Japanese friend who was learning Korean told me that the word order is almost identical.)
Finnish is a member of the Uro-Altaic group. It is very closely related to Estonian, and less closely related to Hungarian, Turkish, and Mongolian. (Other members of the family.) There is some speculation that Japanese and Korean also belong to the family, but they do not show the vowel harmony that is so characteristic of the well-recognised members of the family.
Basque certainly seems to be unrelated to other languages, but it is not the only language isolate.
Wiki has a long list here.
Further research may establish that some of these are actually related to other languages.

D. Cohen
July 6, 2010 4:59 am

Look, English is full of words that, from the viewpoint of other languages, denote the same basic quality united with the idea of “in a good way” or “in a bad way”. “Freak” means unusual in a bad way. Change the idea to unusual in a good way and you should use a word like “exotic.” Another good example of how this works is the word pair “outstanding” and “egregious”. “Outstanding” of course means unusually noticeable in a good way and “egregious” means unusually noticeable in a bad way. As a science progresses it tends to develop a collection of technical terms where the connotations of “in a good way” and “in a bad way” have been stripped away. Scientists who have learned a foreign language to communicate with others in their field may well be insensitive to this aspect of foreign words because it is by and large irrelevant to their technical communications…

July 6, 2010 5:12 am

Here is a more accurate and up-to-date version of the previous post.
Japanese is not quite a language isolate. It is, of course, related to Ryukyuan. There is a debate about its relationship with the ancient Kogyuro languages, and its relationship with Korean. (Neither Koreans nor Japanese usually want to admit that their languages are related. I think the relationship is pretty strong.)
The big question is whether J and K are related to the Altaic group of languages. (This group includes Mongolian and Turkish)
Finnish is certainly not an isolate. It belongs to the Finno-Ugric group, along with Estonian and Hungarian. There is a debate about how closely the Finno-Ugric group is related to the Altaic group. Oldies like me still tend to think of Ural-Altaic as a single family.
Basque is certainly an isolate, but it is not unique in that. A list of languages now regarded as isolates, and an excellent discussion of the whole issue, can be found here.

July 6, 2010 5:48 am

I don’t know any Japanese either, but Tadashi Watanabe has got to win coolest name of the day. Watanabe. Tadashi Watanabe. Sounds even cooler if you do it in the staccato fast Japanese pronunciation.
Well done to your parents sir.

July 6, 2010 10:22 am

Hey tokyoboy!
Missed seeing your comments here of late. That present to Anthony was real nice, he sure deserves it, doesn’t he and the whole crew? Liked your frequent comments back near January, keep in touch. I’ve got a few questions on plant growth later, great to hear you’re the man!
( And your freaky language is no more freaky that English, believe me, just look at the list on new additions to Webster. Wish I could just add a certain glyph to press my point sometimes, maybe we could just merge the two languages! 🙂 )

July 6, 2010 10:41 am

Ref – wayne says:
July 6, 2010 at 10:22 am
“Hey tokyoboy!…”
Ditto! Ichiban!

July 6, 2010 11:04 am

Alll of the other S’s in the text are unconnected so I doubt that it is an S. It looks like the rest of the lower case A’s.

July 6, 2010 6:09 pm

Welcome, and thank you for your efforts, and your thoughtful gift!
We, in the unworldly uncoordinated compacted mess that has become English, do enjoy the advantage of being to create more puns than any other language: Thus, I agree that Anthony Watts has done a one-erous job – because there is no other that has equaled his results.

July 6, 2010 11:48 pm

The translation is now on the Amazon Japan site as:
Three positive reviews are there, though for most of you this is the jungle of a bizarre language, except for “IPCC”, “CO2” or the like.
I am not expecting too strongly that you would press the purchase button.
Cheers, T. Watanabe

July 9, 2010 6:00 pm

You make me blush Anthony, the pleasure was all mine. Thanks again for doing the wonderful tour. It was great to meet Dave Archibald too. I hadn’t realised he was a local… I guess I don’t get out enough 🙂

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