I always thought that a Japanese name card had
Japanese characters on one side for those who can read and write Japanese,
and English (Romaji) characters on the other side of the card,
for those who can't read or write Japanese.
So in the same vein, the IDN user, say Japanese, has his/her Japanese
domain name or email address, not for the sake of the non-Japanese
reader/writer. If it were intended for this guy,
then the IDN user would have sent the email using
the ASCII character address.
This means that anyone not knowing Japanese is not expected
to be able to type or read Japanese on his/her computer, and
if they sent an email address to you in Japanese, chances are
that the content included Japanese characters which you can't
So the issue of whether you or I prefer to type
"xn--d9juau41awczczp@xxxxxxxxxxx than u+305D u+306E u+30B9 u+30D4 u+30FC
u+30C9 u+3067@xxxxxxxxxxx "
is a near non-issue except in the following kind of circumstance,
for instance, say,
"I know both Japanese and Romaji, and this Japanese (who can handle
English too) guy wrote email to me in Japanese, which I typically reply
to on my Japanese-enabled notebook, but I was flying into San Francisco,
and had to reply to him using my yahoo account (which is by then
IDN'ised), and the computer at the airport business center, doesn't have
the keyboard input system for Japanese, I had to figure out the punycode
xn-- version of his email address in order to reply to him
urgently, and cannot possible have the time to hold down
the Control Alt key to do the U+ thing."
The issue IMHO is also not "forcing every international user
to set up a second email address". The point is that
if every IDN user is also an international person, he would
have had his namecards printed one side in say, Japanese,
for Japanese meetings, and the other side in English,
for international meetings which he is having. In the
same way, he would naturally have both an ASCII email
address and the Japanese email address.
And in his common usage, he will be using his Japanese
language email address when mailing stuff in Japanese
to his Japanese friends and if any of the stuff leaks
out to the International friends, he may well
include his ASCII email address, and if not, he's not expecting you to
In fact, if all of us English speaking folks put
ourselves in the same shoes as the IDN guy, we might be asking the opposite.
"I would rather type email addresses in Japanese characters rather than
type ASCII because it is not natural and I find
it rather difficult to recognise the terribly confusing
ASCII characters on the keyboard simply so that I can
write a completely Japanese email to my friend
who is also Japanese down the next block. So the
Internet stuff of sending email in ASCII, an alien
character set is pretty broken for me."
So take home message here is that all of us should be aware that
we are arguing from the world view of the English-enabled person.
The whole purpose of having IDNs and IDN email addresses, in
my opinion, is for the sake of the un-ASCII'ed masses in the world
who take a long time, (as long as you take to key in funny IDN
characters or U+whatever characters), to use the Web or the
Email to read stuff in their own language. So long as they're
ok with it, I'm ok with it. To them, U+whatever, or
xn-whateverpunycode, or even tinwee@xxxxxxxxxxxx
are all just as bad for them, as much as U+whatever, or
xn-whatever or <sono><supiido><de>@example.com
is equally bad for me as a non-Japanese user.
Sorry to take so long to put across a small point,
but I am not a true native English user.
Dan Kohn wrote:
D. J. Bernstein wrote:
Let me put it this way. Someone gives you a business card. The card
has an email address. The email address has (say) Japanese characters
that you've never seen before. How do you type those characters?
Answer: The card shows you, on the next line, what to type, thanks to
a universal keyboard standard for Unicode, namely ISO 14755. Done.
The only alternative proposal I've seen is forcing every international
user to set up a second email address---an ASCII address. Why waste
all that effort to work around the typing issue, imposing extra costs
on billions of users, when we can simply have keyboard interfaces
support a perfectly straightforward standard that allows everything
to be typed?
There is an alternative to registering an ASCII domain for each IDN:
instead, you can print the punycode on the business card below the
IMAA/IDN email address.
Compared to ISO 14755 , it seems to me that punycode is more
universal (it works wherever ASCII is available), more compact (it
supports LDH rather than hex), and no more ugly than ISO 14755.
Take an email address on a business card of
<sono><supiido><de>@example.com (where the bracketed characters would be
shown as kanji).
Not knowing Japanese, I'd rather see (and type)
xn--d9juau41awczczp@xxxxxxxxxxx than u+305D u+306E u+30B9 u+30D4 u+30FC
u+30C9 u+3067@xxxxxxxxxxx where for each u+ I need to hold down
ctrl-alt. Of course, we both agree that they could also set up
sonosupiidode@xxxxxxxxxxx to forward to the same mailbox.
Of course, I know how much Dan hates punycode and so he'll hate this
Dan Kohn <mailto:dan@xxxxxxxxxxx>