I’ve just discovered another language blog, Every Way but One, authored by Russell: “Student of linguistics. Student in Japan.” There’s a lot of good material about Japan and the Japanese language; I was particularly taken with the post English Readings for (Japanese) Chinese Characters, which describes a truly weird onomastic development:
The original name for [an army base in Miyazaki Prefecture] was pronounced shin-den-baru (new-paddy-field). But the current pronunciation is nyuu-ta-baru. That is, the first character, which means new, is now being pronounced with the (Japanese rendition of the) English word. (Oh, and for some other reason the second character now has a native Japanese reading instead of a Chinese reading…not sure why that is – generally the S[ino-]J[apanese] readings go just as fine with foreign words as they do with other SJ morphemes).