December 27, 2006

What I'm up to

December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, I made you a cartoon

You being my little sister. This is a collaboration with my little brother. There should be a name for my semi-animation style... maybe Claymation. Oh wait...

edit:I'm experiencing technical difficulties. If you are too, view the video here.

December 14, 2006

Vlog 13, you know the drill

December 12, 2006

I'm a part of the lie

At the request of a friend, I have forged two letters from Santa, complete with pictures and exhorations to be good. I even suggested leaving candy and coals in shoes as a pre-Christmas reminder (remember that tradition?). I feel so guilty yet so amused. This must be what parenting is all about.

Things I would have liked to know about Japanese

I'm gonna do a post about Japanese, just cause I've been collecting mental short cuts for a while now. I may expand upon this. So here is some general info and musings to get you started.

Japanese has no plurals of a proper sort. Sometimes a word is made plural by repeating it (though the first syllable of the repeated word often changes, ex:ひとびと) sometimes one can indicate a group exists with a postfix.

There is no future tense to worry about. Just context.

Japanese sounds come in little beats called moras, one mora for each kana usually. This makes haikus a breeze in Japanese. Sometimes they add onomatopoeic emphasis by lengthening a mora noticeably.

は and が Seem related but they are not. は is for topics and specificity. が is for "subjects" (fishy terminolgy, but what can you do) and introducing new information.

へ is usually "towards". In the same manner に is often "to". で is likely "at" or "by means of" .で differs from に in that it indicates a location at which action takes place (mnemonic: "I did it at de place").

I-adjectives can conjugate like verbs, cause they secretly are verbs. Verbs in their tai and nai forms become essentially adjectives (i-adjectives). So あそこに行きたい means "I want to go there" in Japanese and English, but also sort of means, "there is a want-to-go-type of place" in Japanese. This sort of thing is an weird difference between the two languages.
Also, when describing feelings and the like (in the sense of "this makes me happy") it is usually i-adjectives that seem to be used, as opposed to how English speakers personalize their feelings, making the speaker the subject. Essentially you say "this is a happy ~" instead.

All you need for a correct Japanese sentence is a verb. The verb always comes last, and everything before it can be in any order as long as all words are still attached to their particles.
The copula (read: linguistic equal sign) is also a verb Japanese, and it conjugates like one (with some irregularity), and can function like one at the end of a sentence. It's a word that indicates existence. です is "=".
ある and いる are used for existence. Verbs don't need copulas behind them (compare to English: "I run"), which is why a verb alone is a complete sentence.

The masu form is already polite and a verb, so it doesn't need desu to the point where desu isn't even used in masu using sentences--excepting the past negative (ありませんでした which is a caveat necessitated by masu not having a negative past tense cogitation).

I-adjectives don't need copulas (because they are verbs) but you can add です behind them to be polite. Copulas are often tacked on to add politeness (in these situations they have no grammatical function). だ is not polite, so it doesn't get attached to i-adjectives. If you add でございます、you have to conjugate the i-adjective a little (as in おはようございます).

If you wanna sound pissed, ad な to the end of a dictionary form of a verb (this means ”don't do that verb!").
Men use ぜ and ぞ instead of よ, while women use わ before よ. This wa and the honorific o are actually elegant, beautifying speech, and for some reason they are considered polite, and mainly used by women. Men can use わ, if they are really rich princes, or speaking kansai-ben.

Japanese people learn their own language in very different terms and have a hard time explaining it to foreigners. Perhaps this is why they think their language is the hardest on earth. But in actuality, Japanese is a very simple language. Learn verb and adjective conjugation, especially the te form and you are in for smooth sailing. Consult with the marked language resources linked on the right menu bar of this blog for more info and elucidation; I especially recommend Tae Kim's guide. I also recommend downloading Firefox and adding the Rikaichan plugin. Also, get a nintendo DS and buy 漢字そのまま.
I edit this post from time to time --Jan 23rd, 2009

November 30, 2006

In a world filled with spam mail, one man will take a stand...

From the people who brought you the "dood, I can get your thing 3 inches!" comes a spam mail in the form of a suspenseful preview, mixed the most amusing gibberish you can imagine.

He calls this team - which includes Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine and Rogue - the X-Men. And have yet another one over on DABU too. She has left him more than just a piece of paper, and more than just one problem, along with a daughter he never knew he had. She dreams of becoming a first class international flight attendant and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that her dreams come true.
Discusses some of the common database problems that may occur.
Magneto, believes that the only way peace can be obtained is by conquering the human species.
The new Microsoft site!
Based on the book We Were Soldiers Once.
Two worlds will go to war for honor and power.
Now, some time after it has ended, a woman and a man recall their unusual affair in separate interviews. The stakes are raised as friends double-cross each other and true motives are revealed.
With this threat approaching, the only hope Xavier's dream has is to prevent Magneto from achieving his goal. and Young by Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway.
and Young by Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway. And for love, a nation will burn to the ground.
and Young by Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway. Enlisted for a dangerous covert mission, he must combat a clever, organized, and ruthless enemy far beyond the scope of his experience. To humanity, their existence is no more than a whisper of a myth. All sessions are free to attendees.
NET Framework remoting, and a leak occurs in the async handles and the server sockets. and Young by Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway.

November 26, 2006

I guess I'm getting there...

I've started to dream in Japanese. I can't remember enough to know if it was correct Japanese, but still.
In Japan, you will meet a lot of foreigners that are linguistically snobby, who will shoot you down for not saying something in perfect Japanese. The snobbiest remark I ever got from one of these kids was, "don't even try," while I was trying to ask a woman to order us a cab and searching for the words to use. I let that one slide at the time cause the guy was drunk, but that type of stuff ain't cool.
But there are plenty of people that know tons of stuff about the language and never show off. Those are the type of people I hope to emulate.

November 12, 2006

Mac vs PC in Japan

Remember those Raamens fellas that did the net-famous sushi vid? Well, they are back, and bringing the Mac vs PC ads to Japan.
The Japanese version doesn't seem to have the problem the American commercials do; the PC is arguably more charismatic and loveable in American commercials (d'oh, shouldn't have gotten such a cool commedian to play him, Mac overlords), and the Mac in America is a bit of a douche. Anyways, enjoy, the same thing, only different...

It's Sunday Night

And that means a few things:
Have to say good bye to the girlfriend for another long week.
Have to wonder what I will teach tomorrow.
Get to laugh at the dubbed movie of the week, where they dub movies from Hollywood into Japanese. This week it's Diehard 2.
Regret over loss of sleeping opportunities this weekend. When will it come?

To wit, the days are just packed.

November 11, 2006

Re:IOU one picture dump

not that anyone was bugging me about it, but here is that picuture dump. Expand to catch em all!

October 30, 2006

(Say it like Frankenstein's monster) Maaatt Daaamon!

notes from the party

A full trench-coat, suit jacket combo that a Dr. Who costume encompasses is very hot. I was soon reduced to just the shirt.

A Japanese girl can get drunk off of 4 oz. of smirnoff.

Japanese are too embarased to wear Halloween costumes in public.

Cat-ear costumes are the choice of women the world over (anyone remember the episode of The Office that made fun of that?).

My girlfriend, upon seeing a mutual friend dancing dirty with a girl that was not his girlfriend, started to beat him with a magical wand and saying, "No! No! No!" This may have been the funniest thing ever.

October 28, 2006

Yes, I know...

But in the malaproprous words of Billie Shakespear, "Comparisons are odorous."

October 26, 2006

Boy gets trapped in vending machine

A story too good to keep to myself. The boy eventually freed himself with a screwdriver.
Speaking of mischefous kids, a couple students, a boy and a girl, were outside my house yesterday. I heard them due to the fact that Japanese houses are made out of a substance not unlike cardboard--yay! I get to freeze to death come winter!-- and I invited them in for a couple minutes, rather than have them subject me to the "pin-pon-dashyu" (doorbell ditching). Ultimately, I'm not sure this was a good idea, seems like crossing a professional line to have students in one's house. And I worry that they will want to come back again to see my "男らしい" ("manly") house and bug me when I want to nap. And lets not even go into how it's okay to open someone's front door in Japan and walk in.

October 23, 2006

Saag vid and The Dhammapada (which I always think is damn-panda in my head because I am an insensitve slob)

It was very beautiful, much better than a simple internet video can render, but I hope you enjoy it!

Mark linked to the Dhammapada, and I started to read it again. I am really lazy about this whole hippster-Buddhist thing. Anyways, I just thought I would give you a taste of its wisdom.
The mind is the basis for everything.
Everything is created by my mind, and is ruled by my mind.
When I speak or act with impure thoughts, suffering follows me
As the wheel of the cart follows the hoof of the ox.
The mind is the basis for everything.
Everything is created by my mind, and is ruled by my mind.
When I speak or act with a clear awareness, happiness stays with me.
Like my own shadow, it is unshakeable.
"I was wronged! I was hurt! I was defeated! I was robbed!"
If I cultivate such thought, I will not be free from hatred.
"I was wronged! I was hurt! I was defeated! I was robbed!"
If I turn away from such thoughts, I may find peace.

October 20, 2006

exploiting cuteness to get your blog hits 101

This is my girlfriend and her dog. I taught them the American game of hiding your face and confusing dogs, which may be endemic to the North American continent. I'm not sure.
Video blog time again, with more cute dog!

October 16, 2006

Yan-san and the Japanese people

If anyone studies Japanese long enough, they will probably encounter a certain set of videos from the eighties. So I commented on an entry concerning these videos on the Japanese! Japanese! blog. Imagine my suprise when the foreign star from the eighties responded. I'm probably the only one that thinks it's cool but...
Bought a Mac. Hopefully I can recover the data from my PC, which had a fried CPU. The mac is fast, so hopefully, I won't tax it like I apparently did with the PC.

October 12, 2006

4 shrines of various sizes

So I finally took my usb adapter to school to upload some pics of my favorite thing in Japan: shrines! These are various pics from four shrines I visited recently; two of them with obvious hurricane damage. I met a priest at one. He had a spot that looked like a bruise on his shaved pate, so I tried to ask him what it was. Like many Japanese people, he ignored my passably functional Japanese and answered the question he thought I should be asking, when I asked, also in Japanese, if he got hit on the head during the hurricane, because he seemed bruised. "I am a Buddhist-priest." He said in English and walked off.

As usual, the pictures continue after you jump to a full post

October 11, 2006

strangers in the night

I had a full weekend. Karaoke in Kashima that cost way too much. Festival in Nagasaki. Visiting a lonely park in the mountains that had lots of playground equipment but no children to speak off. Attending to a small mountain shrine whilst dodging fallen bamboo trees that didn't weather the last typhoon. Providing the battery to start a stranger's motor cycle in the middle of nowhere. But for most of the events I was kicking myself for being shy in a land of shy people.
Then last night I walked along the cement barrier that keeps the sea at bay. I was startled to find a woman there. I said "good evening" and went a bit off. The moonlight reflecting on the water was like a dream. I wished someone was there to share it. I guess the woman shared it, though she was some fifty feet distant. As I left, I felt sudden panic. What if that woman was committing suicide? I mean I'm weird, so I do things like go look at the sea at night. But do Japanese people do that too?
So I debated with myself over whether I should go back. I pondered what to say in Japanese. すみませんちょっと変な質問けど。。。たしかにあなたは自殺つもりですか something like that...

In the end, a groundskeeper started to ask what I was doing, and I told him that there was a woman by the sea. He grumbled and walked in her direction. I walked the other way.

October 6, 2006

Even batman needed a buddy for company

As the hopeless romantic, I have often thought I was quite comfortable being alone and brooding. But I think I have reached my limit. And I don't really have anything to brood about, except why I've been feeling sick and irritable lately. The answer came from a teacher that I have a small rivalry with (in the Japanese sense where your rival is your friend). Anyways, I mentioned to her that my throat hurts every day. No doubt that is mostly allergies, but she suggested stress, and a light went off in my head.
"But wait," I said. "I am a 暇人 (person with lots of free time)!"
She, being the good rival that she is, shot back with, "You're lonely." Then she walked off. I realized she is right. That I am tired of being the only foreigner in town and only seeing my girlfriend on weekends. That I am tired of 社交辞令 where Japanese people make friends with me for a night at the izakaya or wherever then lose interest in me because they have their busy lives to lead and I am Mr. Freetime. And it does stress me out.
I need friends my age, that I can see on more than just weekends. People that are free like me. I'll have to brood over what to do about all of this...

October 5, 2006

Can you really pray for peace?

Thinking about it, I see a problem. People have free will. The only true way to achieve peace is to change the wills of aggressive people. But that would violate free will.
For that matter, is praying that the hearts of our enemies will be softened a prayer in vain for something that cannot be done?
edit: I guess I should also leave open the question of whether we have free will. What about it, my Buddhist and Wickan and Pagan friends? Free will, prayer, changing people from evil to good through wishing/praying?

October 2, 2006

♪It's saag it's saag... it's taste make your head a'splode!

(I thought of spicing up the post with a picture, but google image search only yeilded things that looked like poo and corpulent women)
So I took my isolation from good Indian food into my own hands and made saag, which is an indian dish not unlike curry, and accompanying naan bread to scarf it down with. I'm not all that experienced dealing with peppers though, so it turned out really hot. I mean mind-numbingly hot. I took a bite, and my next door neighbor spontaniously combusted hot.
I loves me some hot, but in my old age, I find that heart burn is becoming an issue. Anyways, tonight, I am going to try to make pumpkin saag. I'll see you in the burn ward; I'll be the guy with gauze being packed into his butt.

Edit: Japanese pumpkin saag is very good, and sweet.

September 30, 2006

Internet cafe

So, about a year ago, I made the $1.80 post, if I recall correctly, where I got tricked into staying at an internet cafe. This time I am here by choice, and it's much better. I danced/took care of sleepy until about 5 and then made my way here. These places are great! Showers, massage chairs, internet, manga, dvds, and drinks all for about $15. The downside, I have to find a way to sleep in an office chair; all the sleeping rooms were taken.

September 28, 2006

Night mare

(dreamlike, but this one actually happened)
I've been hungry lately. I don't know why, but I can't get enough sustenance. So I was wandering through town under dim starlight, looking for the next yakitoriya of the night or whatever. Then, out of the darkness... hoof beats.
I looked to my left and, under a barely opened garage door, I spied a horse's muzzle.
I uttered "heee?" lowly, in Japanese, a word of disbelief and bemusement. The horse seemed to want to come to the outside world.
Then I noticed the boots, complete with spurs. Someone was standing next to the horse. The boots kicked angrily at the horse. The muzzle disappeared. The scene was so weird, so dark, so quiet, and so unexpected, that I starred for another thirty seconds. The muzzle came down again, and pushed against the opening. The boots kicked again. The impatience in the kicks told me that their owner was not a nice person. Then the boots were joined by a knee, and hands dropping to the ground. I was walking briskly away, and never saw the face coming out to scowl at me, by the time it came into view under that door.
Who keeps a horse in a garage? In Tara? And aren't spurs for riding?
Anyways, if you want a quick and engrossing mystery webcomic, I suggest Fleep . It will only take you 15 minutes.

September 25, 2006

I still got game... right?

At some point I turned 26 last week. There was little fanfair, but a nice message on the answering machine. The next day my girlfriend turned 24. I wanted to give fanfair, but was blocked by the after-work-party. We finally got together on the weekend and spent some time together over Indian food.
I would threaten to get angry at anyone who forgot about my birthday, but turning 26 makes you realize life is too short.
I'm off to water-aerobics at the senior center now...

September 18, 2006

I survived

Well, my computer is still randomly shutting off for indeterminate periods, and my modem cable randomly snapped, but this weekend I couldn't have a computer anyways, because a typhoon knocked the power out. I'm at the junior high, helping to clean things up. So this blog may be slow till things get normal. But I'll leave you with the knock-knock joke my girlfriend made up after I taught her how this distinctive joke-form works (joke after the jump to fullpost):

Mai: Knock-knock
me: Who's there?
Mai: You need to lose weight!
*punches me in the stomach lightly*

September 15, 2006

What sushi sees

Did you ever wonder what life is like on a conveyor belt at a sushi restaurant? Well...
Also, this was already linked to long ago, but it's so good...

September 13, 2006


Sometimes I ask Japanese people if they like the rain, cold and fog. They invariably answer no. But I do, and so I honestly respond when they invariably ask me in turn.
There is something about the feeling I get on rainy or cold days; it's hard to put into words. That sit in your house and drink hot chocolate laced with nutmeg, as you play chess (these days go is the game of choice) and maybe watch a scary movie kind of feeling. The autumn leaves being crushed under-foot, and rotting old shrines, covered in tenacious moss, as the mist obscures the mountains kind of feeling. I love it. It's part of the reason I was attracted to Japan. Many people think of this as a hot place, but I think it's at its best when it's cold.
I do my best to tell this to Japanese people. They seem to agree. But that's probably just politeness.

September 12, 2006

Aw crap

The computer shut off suddenly last night and will not even consider turning back on. The blog may be a little barren for a while...

September 10, 2006

Shinto stuff (media dump)

The shinto festivals have been everywhere this weekend. Today, the oni-mask boys were drumming it up in front of the fish mongers' place. They finished by marching inside, no doubt to bring prosperity. As they stopped and ocha and juice was offered to them by the wife of the monger, I realized that the scene was an interesting reflection of Christmas carols.
Sitting under a waterfall is called Misogi(禊). It's quite a rush. I wanna do it around here.
I went to the giant shrine in Kashima (Yutoku I believe?) yesterday. As I was exploring around, I found an old path, littered with fallen trees to suggest it wasn't the way to go. Being tall, I equiped myself with a branch to swing back and forth to preemptively knock spider webs out of the way. But I was stuborn as usual, so I didn't turn back until the warthogs. I was pretty suprised when I saw them. Most wild animals leave long before you get there, but I somehow got an entire family of warthogs in view. Knowing how dangerous they can be I did the only thing I could: I started to wip my spider web branch back and forth as fast as I could, making a swishing sound. It payed off, perhaps because as I suspect, animals instinctively are afraid of that sound. Or it may only be domestic animals that fear the sound and I only got lucky. In any case, I am not gored and here to tell the tale. And the 山が生きている.

Many pictures after you expand the post.

These should have been posted last photodump

A couple more movies:

This one is from the Kind of Thailand's birthday in Bangkok: