November 26, 2008


My friend has PDA device with a slick dictionary program. He can transfer files to his computer and auto-generate ANKI cards and he wants with it. He can also save words in various lists, one of which is called HARD MOFOs.
I have my own list kind of like this, made of my daily class mistakes, which I will blog about more in the future, but have mentioned a couple of times recently. There are many words that I have no problem with after input, and they are easily recalled when they show up. Then there are the sticklers. Really basic words that have been haunting me for as long as I have studied Japanese (about 3.5 years now). They show up every day in the deck. Sometimes I finally get over them with Heisig mnemonics (I remember things better when I have the kanji down) or other odd memory stories.
Alex shared some good ideas lately. I find his sentence thing works well, when I have the time to do it.

November 25, 2008

Guy Punished by Company, Has to Apologize at a Train Station

I am having a hard time hearing it here (I am in the school computer lab once again), but I gather that this guy was late to work ("I overslept" he admits), so he was ordered to go to a train station, get permission to apologize in public from the station attendants, and then loudly proclaim what was wrong with what he did.
I can imagine the conversation with the train attendant.
"You want to what now?"
"I need to do a public apology."
"For being late to work."
"Huh. Knock yourself out. I'll be over here, snickering, if you need me again."

November 23, 2008

When Fan Collaboration Goes Bad

There are many great fan works out there. But for ever one of those, there are ten works on*. Recently I ran across some a PDF of Spelljammer D&D characters converted to 3rd edition by fans. And then I knew I had to share the pictures...

Look out! Space crocodiles love to feast on those who have nonchalant poses!

Prepare to fight!

One distinguishing feature of the colossus race is their tendency to leave their pants unbuttoned to show off their waxed abs.

Click to zoom if you dare.
*Yes, I am indicating that everything on is bad.

November 22, 2008

Sentence of the Day

One possible translation:
While pounding mochi in a loincloth, I regrettably showed off my milky-smooth skin to everybody.

November 19, 2008

The Scottish Play Becomes The Japanese Play

Note on the title: It is bad luck for actors to mention the play MacBeth by name, so "The Scottish Play" is what they use instead. People who have perused my wishlist may have noticed that I like the Immortal Bard, and I have fond memories of seeing Romeo and Juliet adapted to an early American Spanish colony setting, so I was happy to hear that MacBeth has gotten the Japanese treatment:

All of the story and most of the original language are present, although John R. Briggs' adaptation throws in generous amounts of Japanese references that prove only occasionally jarring. (A handy glossary of words and place names is provided in the program.)

The three witches have thus become three "yojos," whose incantations are delivered in kabuki-like fashion. And when Shogun Macbeth (Kaipo Schwab) sends his assassins to murder Banquo (Ariel Estrada), they are, of course, samurai warriors.

Pretty cool. More info at the original article. Also, info on the theater/production group here.

[via One Big Japan]

So, about those decks

A couple people have pointed out recently that old decks I was offering were no longer online. Hosting services have a tendency to drop content if long periods go between downloads. I was going to upload again, but the thought struck me, and I have to say the thought has a valid point, that it is best to make flashcards your own. So, I am going to have to ask you to go here if you need a basic deck with all the JLPT words you need, and then customize it yourself.

Besides that issue, my decks are increasingly filled with my individualistic shorthand, especially now that I have switched to just studying the mistakes/words I didn't know in all my schoolwork. And what I don't know is quite a lot! I made this video, where I mentioned making 800 cards in one week. It has doubled since then. A large part of my cards go like this: "~ r". This means I just wanted to study the reading/spelling. Others go "f ~" or "~ f", which are questions about what usually goes in front, or follows a specific word, grammar point, or phrase. I also do "~ nu" to indicate that I just need the nuance of something, usually a grammar point. I haven't used my JLPT decks in weeks; they were just getting in the way of what I really need to study, i.e. my mistakes and sticky points.

So in conclusion, make a deck that works for you.

November 13, 2008

Operating Without a Brain

It's probably painfully obvious to you readers, but my brain doesn't work anymore. Since I came here, I've noticed my mind wanders at the slightest provocation, often into reminiscence land. This is a bit of a problem during the daily listening schoolwork. Also of late, I ran a few games of D&D and noticed that my brain could not recall ongoing conditions of the game (for which the players were not happy). Also, my simple subtraction speed is down; maybe I need to get a hold of Brain Training DS again.

As for my job, I've noticed my odd tendency to write the end of a word's letters before they are supposed to come has only gotten worse. This is quite annoying, as I am constantly erasing what I wrote a second before while the students look at me and probably roll their eyes. Do we pay this guy? Oddly enough, this writing problem doesn't extend to when I am typing, but in any case I think it is related to my concentration problem. I am not living in the now when I write; I am living in the future of the words and sentences.

The only thing I do seem to remember is Japanese (perhaps my brain has shifted all of its priorities to language acquisition), but like I said, those listening tests are worrying me. I think my mind may wander during the actual JLPT.

I'm going to try to find some ginkgo biloba and see if that helps my concentration and memory. Also, I have to give meditation a more serious try. I do it occasionally on the train when I have nothing else to do, but I think I need to make a point to do it each morning. For that matter, I need to bite the bullet and wake up around and hour earlier than I have been. The world is never going to adjust to my circadian rhythms.

Speaking of the brain and sleep, I recently heard on the Sixty Second Science podcast that our brains shut down in stages, and neuron clusters give up when they have worked hard. This may explain why reading Japanese makes me so sleepy. It may also explain why I am so groggy in the mornings; only part of me is awake, and begrudgingly at that. This morning, I tried something to wake up. I started counting to wake up a few extra brain cells. Then I started singing to wake up another section. Oddly enough, I chose the The Sound of Music song.

You know, I can't remember what comes after "Tea, a drink with jam and bread..." But I did wake up.

Weird Japanese Foods #2 Kouraikoujin

After drinking this, I lost all hair on my body.

November 10, 2008

Oh yeah

Occasionally, I will look around my surroundings and realize that I am the only white person in the room, and on top of that, a fairly stereotypical blond-haired blue-eyed one at that. It's a weird sensation, this remembering I'm a little different business, but it passes after a few seconds...

In other situations, I have started to feel that maybe I am blending in a little too well. Recently, I went to an izakaya and had the odd experience of being called onii-san (brother/mister) by a fellow customer. Then I was almost ignored when I got on the karaoke. What, no Oh! Look at what the foreigner can do!s? Outside of the usual interview,* and the master's fake American accent used to talk to me, I almost felt like one of the gang.

One of the reasons I had an interest in Japan is that I thought it was a country for and of quiet people, but that is another post.
* the interview: Where are you from? No, I mean which country? What part of America? I've never heard of that state, where is it? What? How do you say it? How long in Japan? Do you teach English? What do you think of Japanese girls? How's your sex life? Please give details. Do you know a foreigner I met 5 years back in Hokkaido? Do you speak Japanese? It's hard, don't you think?

If I am missing any, make a comment.

November 9, 2008

Asobi Seksu

Everyone who is down with romaji probably thinks this is going to be a scandalous post, but let me assure you, Asobi Seksu is merely the name of a really great band whose singer does both English and Japanese lyrics. I thought I would introduce them to you, so here is a video to that effect (actually just a fan video, but the song is golden):

November 6, 2008

Yes We Can

I want to come out with a message of support for our new president. I admire people with vision, as you may have been able to ascertain from my obsession with romanticism. I have never found Obama's words to have any hint of patronizing attitude nor condescension; he will work to make the USA better, and so should all its citizens.

If you haven't seen it yet, here his victory speech, complete with a transcription.

I am proud to be an American.

November 5, 2008

Rude-Polite Language

I've been watching Gyagu Manga Biyori a lot lately; It's fun to have in the corner of the screen while I study.
I've found the language in this episode pretty interesting; I started to notice that the rude disciple always uses "polite" language, while the master says things using sometimes rude terms, yet in a tone rather weak and beaten-sounding. I guess more than politeness, their language reflects their standing in relation to each other.

Anyways, you may recall my theory that in the future all keigo will become sarcastically used. Also of interest is the scene in Battle Royal when the girls realize that a poisoner is among them and their language goes from polite/casual to gangster in the space of a minute.

November 4, 2008

A couple new series

Here's life in Japan:

And my other new series, where I try strange new foods:

My Japanese is worse than I though; realized that as I watched it. Oh well.