May 31, 2008

How to Study Japanese: Japanese Tools Online

So here's the links for things mentioned in the videos (the sidebar I mentioned is to your right as we speak).

Get Rikaichan at this site. You will need to download its dictionary separately. I also use the names dictionary. Usually shift switches on the fly between dictionaries and kanji details.

You can join Lang-8 here.

Download Anki here.

You can download many kinds of Anki decks here.

The audio links I mentioned are here.

Firefox search engines can be found at Mycroft.

Bonus for ya: All the 1kyu grammar terms are explained in my own poor words here. A few 2kyu grammar explanations can be found here And my general advice for taking the JLPT can be seen here.

A great way to have Firefox with you wherever you go is to use the USB-drive version from Portableapps.
Need to know where something is or have a suggestion for what else is good to use to study via computers and internet? Leave a comment.
And finally, my only other video on studying Japanese: What Books to Read

Please spread this info if you found it useful!

I have ongoing Japanese-related themes on this very blog. Here they are:
# Sign/Ad J
# J Slang
# J News w/Pics
# J Vids
# Karaoke
# J Commercials
# Let's Yoji!

Japanese Listening aids and other links

I am moving or deleting a bunch of Japanese links from the sidebar, but you may enjoy these.

Listening Aids
Nihongo Juku
Japanese101◎ The best Japanese podcast. Incontestably.
Real World
MP3 Japan
Osaka-ben◎Takes the time to write out the regular Japanese so you know how Osaka-ben is different. Moved to study feeds.

Language links
翻訳 Exhaustively good, but I just don't use it anymore; I have custom searches for this. If you try it, you will find the second search bar on the page more useful. Confusion like that is one of the reasons I'm dropping it.
Kanji Cards
Kanji Drills
Japan Forum
Gaijin Pot
Karate Terms
Quirky Japan

In case you used them...

Certain links are now gone from the sidebar, but here they are in this post, for posterity, or in case anyone was using them. I really do recommend the readings; you're not likely to find a link to the works of Clark Ashton Smith elsewhere on the web.

Occult Texts
Clark Ashton Smith
Edgar Allen Poe
Arthur Machen
H.P. Lovecraft
Lord Dunsany

Non-cthulhian stuff
Sacred Texts

Daily Portal Z
Midnight Eye
Same Hat!

ESL Teaching
JET Programme
Genki English

May 29, 2008

RSS options

First, the basic feed for The Hopeless Romantic is here. Well, actually a few of them are, ready for the feed reader of your choice; just click on the one you use when you get there.

Okay, if you are wondering what RSS is and why it can make the internet better for you and how it will help you keep up with the blog, you need to watch the video in the middle of this post.

More RSS options after the video!

What is RSS?

I know a lot of people out there, particularly moms, that don't know about RSS yet.
Okay, RSS is basically a code sent out by participating webpages that lets you know when said webpages have updated. Just watch this video to see how it works (so easy!)
Once you've got that grokked, choose a RSS reader. The best one is probably Google Reader. If you have a google account, you already have google reader. I also recommend using Firefox because if a site has a feed, you know right away and can just click to add the feed to your reader or even bookmarks.
Clear as mud? Well I hope you enjoy using this to explore not just my site, but also the whole web.
The following links are not part of this blog, but they are related to me...
・The feed for my world famous Youtube vlogs is here.
・My Twitter is here.
・I have a shared items feed, powered by Google Reader (see the "what is RSS?" section if you are confused by this), but basically, if I find something interesting on the web, I will share it through this, and maybe write a little commentary. The shared items page is here (ninjas!), and the feed is here.
・There is a feed for all the Japan blogs I follow (but don't write myself) here.
・And all the Japanese language blogs I study can be subbed to here.

About the Hopeless Romantic

After four years, I've finally gotten around to introducing the blog properly here.

That's me, Claytonian. Actually I only look suave as I do in that picture due to the sexy lighting.

This blog started in 2004 as an mundane outlet for my lovelorn broodings in college. I embraced the pathos in life's beauty, and became The Hopeless Romantic. The one and only. Eventually, I got better. Well, by better I mean grouchier and older. It's called maturity. But I still have enough idealism (read: stubbornness) to keep the Hopeless Romantic title.

Now (as of July 2005 thanks to a now ended stint in the JET Programme ) I live in a land where "Hopeless Romantic" doesn't have a very adequate translation (though I have heard the word ロマンチスト). Anyways, yes, I am in Japan. There are ninjas, and yakuza, and giant monsters and nouns that we don't pluralize sometimes because they come from another language.

Things that are great about Japan: conveyor-belt sushi, used manga and video game stores, kimonos, tatami, odd movies, and instant celebrity wherever I go for being the tallest guy around.
Things not so great: discrimination, heat, cold, car taxes, and bureaucracy.

I plan to stick around for a while yet; soon I will celebrate my fifth Japanniversary.
I recommend looking at the archives if you want to see what makes me tick, but here are some of my favorite posts:
The revelation post
An interview with a shlocky horror movie's star
The best EQ test ever, coded by me
My first Birthday in Japan

May 22, 2008

Quick! Korea ideas?

Alright, here are the pictures from the video for your blowing up picture needs, or, as we had to say in graphic design class, enlargement. We don't blow up in GD, that's for amateurs.

May 21, 2008

This is Your Brain on Japanese Drugs

This is the one and only warning against drugs I have seen in my time in Japan. Kids usually have one of two things on their pencil cases here: swastikas or marijuana leaves. The teachers have no clue what it means; I've asked. They don't seem concerned at all when I tell them the meaning. Whatever, crazy foreigner. There also never seems to be anything like assemblies where a guest comes and explains why drugs are bad, m'kay. I could be missing such events though. I did see an old man come to talk to the children about the bomb at least. Oh and there was "what to do if a crazy guy comes to the school" and fire preparedness days. But anyways, teachers seem more concerned about cell phones than drugs. If someone gets caught with a cell phone, there are days of meetings about it.

May 15, 2008

Just like that, Japanese

So apparently I can speak Japanese this week. Quite a few people have commented on this. It's odd though, because I haven't had any sub-piphanies lately where I go, things have been going well in the language department. Jolly good (I think with the voice of an English Police inspector). I think all my learning is mostly established at this stage and the main things I am missing are vocabulary and diction.
Speaking of which, なり is an odd grammar item. It's supposed to go on the ends of dictionary verbs to mean "as soon as x happened, y did too". But one can't say "飛行機に降りるなり、熊を見た。" I don't know why, I was just told it's not used that way. But "(北海道に)着くなり、熊を見た。" is okay. Why?
And なり... that's an odd one outside of this construction. Near as I can tell, it is a form of である, and ties further into the relationship between な and だ that I have been exploring lately. ずる verbs have also been keeping me up at night, but that is neither here nor there.
I've got the Friday crazies. These are when I get gradually sleep-deprived as the week goes on and go a little crazy by Friday. Usually this manifests as doodling on the board during downtime and trying to make jokes in Japanese, mostly pun based. Today, I put the crazy energy into a really good worksheet. I make awesome worksheets; that is my reason for being apparently. I am supposed to be memorizing the kanji from my new book for school this summer, but the energy doesn't like to be focused that way. Blog away then. Jolly good.
Friday energy is problematic on days like today. Days we call Thursdays.
I threatened to relay news of my adventures with "aくん". Let me just say, I have become increasingly obsessed with conveying the most basic English grammar (the kind both native speakers and non-natives don't get for opposed reasons centering on familiarity) during my tenure here--it's kind of a shame that there is a limit to the JET experience, because we get really good about thinking about how to talk about English after a while and then they bring in a new person the next year and they're like, "what is a past participle?"-- So yeah, a-kun is a cute little mnemonic I came up with to use in class. I explain the rule, "aくんは名詞が好きだ。めいしって何だ?..." And so on. Then I bring in anくん。"anくんは 'a,i,u,e,o' の音が好きだ。" But it is one thing to remember a grammar rule, and quite another to remember to use it, as my chagrined teaching ears will tell you. Which begs the question, when ears tell things, do they grow little beady eyes (I suppose eyes aren't necessary but let's not have the poor ears be blind) and mouths, or possibly use the orifice they already have for projection? A mystery for the ages... somehow I feel like a joke about listening and asking are the same word in Japanese would be appropriate here, but I am very serious and cannot be bothered with such a trivial matter. Obvs.
Take that and treasure it, old bean.

May 11, 2008

Mother's Day: The Movie

There is some jerk in this video not taking this solemn day seriously; he must have a patient mother.

May 6, 2008

Average salaries in Japan part II

Last post I laid out some salaries that I found in a book at the local family mart. It's now updated a bit (the only one I was really off on was the cop; holy crap they are really rich!). I also picked up these salaries today:

Doctor: 1,100 man. Bit lower than an American doctor I think.
Professor: 1,130 man.
taxi driver: 300 man.
manga-ka: 240 man. Another secret dream job disappoints.
writer: 330 man. Yet another secret dream job.

The book may be enjoyable to read; I found the Japanese was about right for my level. Each entry seems to be, "you may think it's easy to be x, but actually..." It was also fairly cheap, but I was more interested in the scary stories collection to its right (-_^)

May 5, 2008

Average salaries in Japan

Updated corrections in bold!
As a JET, I make 3,600,000 yen before taxes (360 man in the local lingo).
Today I read a book in a conbini that layed out the average salary of many types of jobs. Let's compare (I tried to memorize the figures as best I could so I may be off by a bit, but as you can see I can hardly afford to be buying books on my salary).

Average teacher pay (junior high): 740 man. And they get bonuses. And they live with their parents, so life is practically free. Downside: No free time and you are basically a replacement parent.
Average cop: Something like 780 man I think it was. Not bad for bike wranglers.
Average talento: A mere 280 man. Crap. That is my secret dream job. And they work so hard it seems!
Average hostess: 450 man. Does it make up for the liver damage?
Average stripper: 470 man. Probably not worth the extra 20 man a year to go from entertaining guys as a hostess to entertaining guys. And I imagine you get stuck with a Nigerian boyfriend that always borrows your money. I'm just saying there were a lot of Nigerians working for the strip clubs in Roppongi; there's gotta be a lot of hardworking Nigerians with real jobs outside of that area.
Director: 280 man. No wonder Takashi Miike makes so many films.
Farmer: 420 man. Probably not enough, seeing as I have never met a farmer without a family.
Translator: 360 man. Crap, that is my not-secret dream job.
Ramen restauranteur: 450 man.
Soba restauranteur: 800 man. Who knew the kings of the noodle industry were soba dudes?
Public servant: 700 man. Ironically, one of the easiest jobs in town is the highest paying. You have to pass a test to get in though, and maybe know some people who know some people.

Tomorrow I promise to go out and double check the numbers and maybe add a couple more.
Check completed; but I missed the pages on hostesses and strippers on the second go around; I was furtively scribbling notes and worrying about how it looked to the store people, so I kinda flipped through fast.

May 4, 2008

Why my hashi are not your hashi

My hashi: chopsticks one takes with them to eating establishments to avoid using disposable ones and thus give the environment a break.

My hashi is a Japanese term. At first I was very happy that everyone seemed to be using English when I pulled mine out. "O! Mai hashi!" they would say, and praise my environmentalness--I even got a couple Japanese people in on the whole taking hashi around thing. And a trend seemed to be sweeping the nation: not of actually using the things, but at least knowing the word "my." The English teacher in me was cheered.

After a while, I started to catch on that the meaning of "my" had been lost on the general populace, despite it being a very basic word taught in 7th grade. "Oh! Clay! My car?" they would say as I got out of a vehicle.
"Uh, yes." I would say.
"Oh! My home, Clayton?"
"Well it's my home..."
"Clayton! My jitensha?"
"No, that's mine. Do you see? Mine. Not yours. My bike. Not my bike. D'oh...."

And so life has become a bit of a "who's on first" joke in this county.
The true cause of the "my hashi" boom:

May 3, 2008

Ma Ma Mawasu! Wii Fit

There is a hairy belly in this video. It was neccissary. You have been warned. Thanks to Zara for the little neccissary gif.
btw, A Softer World has the same problem as me.

May 2, 2008

Pusan from Fukuoka: Should I stay or should I go now?

Not a calendar person. I can't emphasize that enough if I say it eight days a week. So Golden Week has once again caught me off guard. I may be able to manage passage on a ferry to Korea, even now, but have no idea if I will find things like lodging and food that doesn't bark (the rest of the country's food looks pretty good though).
And then there is the dumb cat. Dumb cat got a leg gash and has to be given medicine. Old man takes off dumb cat's no-lick satellite dish collar. I lecture old man. Old man doesn't believe me. Old man is untrustworthy substitute human. Simple present-tense sentences come out of keyboard. So can I find someone to take care of this cat? This is basically my last chance to go on vacation for a long time what with the move coming up.
My other options include a major study holiday. So many books to get through. Not just textbooks, but manga and novels. Maurice gave me about 50 manga volumes. My aunt bought me an entire Yu Miri collection of novels. I could turn off the internet and just study for five days. I could. Will I?
One last nagging thought: Wii Fit will yell at me when I get back.

May 1, 2008

1kyu grammar explanations done

I finally finished translating my big book of grammar. You may have previously seen it in a blog post, and that post is completely updated, but you can just view the full list here. If someone really wants to, I can create a duplicate list and put them on as an author so that they can add corrections and example sentences. But I am moving on; this list is gonna be copy-pasted into my Anki deck, and I am going to take Alex's wife's advice and memorize the original book (plus do all the workbook problems).
日本語は大変な試しでなくてなんだろう!See, you would already know what that means if you were reading the list right now.
Edit: Slightly edited it a little to make some things clearer.
Also: I did this for a few 2kyu grammar things too last year, but that list is incomplete and likely won't be completed (I know the grammar, so don't want to back-track).