Messages in Shorthand (MSS)

Here’s a reading practice in shorthand. Italics mean I tried my best; blanks mean … you guessed it.

Shorthand messages to decipher.
  1. Dear John,
    On May 5, I shall put Miss Florence Stone in the opening in our Akern hotel. I cannot supply her home address but I shall get it in a day or so. Put her name on the payroll as of May 5.
  2. Dear Nora,
    Could I leave my dog with Harry for 5 or 6 days? As I shall be with my sick daughter, I cannot take the dog with me nor can I leave him alone at home. He’s a good dog; his name is Spot. Call me at home if Harry will take him.
  3. Dear Thomas,
    Our factory will be closed for 10 or 12 days starting May 4. There’s no cloth in the mill. The mill cannot get the labor it needs, though the man in charge hopes he can at a small supply of cloth by May 10. If the cloth arrives on or before May 10, I shall open the factory again.
    John Collins
  4. Dear Don,
    I’m sorry I can’t go fishing on March 10. My boss has made changes in my plans for March. He is putting me in charge of the branch on the East Coast. I shall be back for the May fishing trip though.

No blanks! I found many to be ambiguous, but in the end, I think the messages made sense. For the next entry, I’ll try to answer the message above. Should be fun. ❧



This kanji is composed of the narwhal and the construction radicals. The onyomi reading is sa; the kunyomi reading is hidari. The meaning of this character is left, as in, the opposite of right.

A basic example is saying I am left-handed, which is roughly like this:

Watashi wa hidari kiki desu.

…which is not really that basic after all since there is another kanji (利) in there that I completely know nothing of.

Ain’t I something? Haha.


What time is it?
What time is it?

Mr. Hajime: Jimiji-san, nanji desu ka? ( ジミジさん、なんですか。)

Jimiji: Etto, ima gogo … yonjihachifun — ( えーっと、いま ごご よんじ はちふん )

Mr. Hajime: Yoji … happun. Jimiji-san wa, benkyou shimashita ne? ( ヨジ、ハップン。ジミジさんは、べんきょうしましたね。)

Jimiji: Hai, benkyou shimashita yo. ( はい、べんきょう しました よ。)

Mr. Hajime: Nihongo no hon wo yomimashita ka?  ( ほんほんみましたか。)

Jimiji: Iie … apri wo tsukaimashita! ( いいえ、アプリ を つかいました。)

Because Jimiji uses kana, here are some of the words he used that should have been written in kanji:

Yoji (yonji, which was a mistake) 四時
Happun (hachifun, which was a mistake) 八分