December 28, 2008


Hey, did you know this is my 993rd post? Let's hear it for wasting my time online! And yours as well, come to think of it.
Any ideas/requests for my 1000 post? Maybe I will finally start my new video series with that one... speaking of which, people on the tubes really seem to panic when one speaks in a different language. Also, I broke the viewfinder on my camera, so I need a new one of those if I ever want to take a decent picture or video again. I wonder if I could buy the parts myself...

December 25, 2008

Loney Chrimmas

Well, I guess it's Christmas. I don't have any plans for it it really. On Monday, I went to the school to give the teachers Christmas apples and they roped me into cleaning high places. But then I got to sit in on their end of year cleaning new years party thing. Then they gave me a huge thing of left over sushi and told me I had to eat it by the next morning. I did my best; right now I am trying out frying the expired sushi to see if it will kill me or not. That's how I roll. I spent the next day at a mochi-smashing event of a student, and the night at a Christmas party with some other students. At two separate events, I mentioned the waitress at each respective place was cute and so with some conspiritorial J friend help, I got two email addresses. I don't know how that will play out, but I bet I won't get any dates for me.
So tonight I will teach a group class and probably come home and remember it's Christmas again and be a little lonely.
Miss you, everyone.

December 12, 2008

Game Nanpaing

Yesterday a private student told me that I was the best teacher she has had. Let me lay out my system: Each month, I choose an article. It gets discussed on the third week, but the first week is discussion questions about the same topic, and the second week is vocabulary that comes out in the article. The last week is more discussion, and in the case of a big class, a possible debate or something.

There are two classes where I just do free talk with beginners. They are obviously not made to do articles. But I am considering starting homework, because the teacher in me can't stand to see people not make progress.
I have been stopping foreigners in the street to ask them if they game. It's not like in America where you can go to any old hobby store and get ten willing nerds, who have lots of free time because they live with their mothers, to join you just by mumbling "THAC0". I am considering going to a web sight named something like "Japan Friends" where I met people before and asking if anyone wants to polish their English via D&D. They can learn useful words like eldritch, arcane, and ichor!

This game nanpaing has netted me a couple friends (and a fridge!), so I don't regret it. It is a lot like asking a stranger for a date though, which kind of reminds me of my college days. The people on my floor in the dorms, because they were totally awesome, started "The Pimpin' Club" to build strategies to meet girls. The first assignment was to ask a girl out. I was the only one that went through with it, and the club broke up soon afterwards.

Around that time I started sitting with girls I didn't know in the cafeteria. It was so awkward, but I did get a friend out of that too. Even fell for her for a while; it changed my life. But this post is too long and pointless now, so I'll just recommend: Don't be afraid to meet people.

December 10, 2008

Anaphylactic Infringement

Hmm, the guy on my peanut cream looks familiar...

Stop Getting Poor on Me!

I am worried that as the world's economy goes down the drain, my students are going to start eyeing me and say, "do we really need this guy? Let's just have get-togethers for free." Yes, the deep, dark secret of free-lance group teaching in Japan is it is just a social event. Did anybody do the homework? Read the article? Do you study English everyday in order to actually improve? No?... Well, time's up, can you all still afford to pay me? I work hard for the money, buy some of them don't work so hard to give it to me. Oh well, their prerogative.

Speaking of financial matters, my electric bill shot up from 20 to 70 bucks. I may invest in slippers and more blankets. I thought of building my own kotatsu, but realized that as this is not much of a do it yourself nation, I would have trouble finding the heating elements on their own.

Also, I am trying to diet a bit, which means I have to cut myself off from dollar store chips. Oh, kimchee Cheetos, I will miss you so, and your cheapness most of all.

Well, all this money talk is a good enough intro to show you an article on frugal shoppers at Reuters. How they managed to spend only about 100 bucks in a month on food fascinates me.

Cute Little Nazis

Oh dear. I've blogged before about how Japanese people sometimes don't get that what they are doing is incredibly offensive, especially when it comes to the Nazi thing. I remember one time going into the "weird-cool foreign stuff" store and seeing a display of Mein Kampf complete with a flag that had a swastika, skull, and S.S. lightning bolts, as if it was just one more cool thing you could get into.
So the girls in this video, well they don't really surprise me when they show ignorance, or cheerfully do a Hitler impression at the end.
The hair pin was classic too; only a Japanese girl would think of making Hitler into another cute character.

[tanks to TokyoCooney]
EDIT: The girls had to appologize, or at least their company did.
ALSO EDIT: Here are some cute cosplay Nazi photos. What? Yeah.

December 7, 2008

It's Done, Time to Prepare for the Next One

Today the JLPT came and went, and it was worse in some areas, and easier in others, than I was expecting. Didn't pass I imagine, but as I didn't expect to, I don't feel too let down. I've seen that the Chinese intarwebs already has copies of the questions online. And let me complain that the katakana question this year was a cruel trick on us.

Anyways, how did you do? I have seen certain friends' blogs go silent or erratic in the last month or so, and I imagine the test has something to do with it. My 対策 for the next few months is to read a lot to build up my reading speed and maybe check out to get better at hearing the words I mostly already know in a written context; I am still waiting for the internet man to finally come and hook me up before I can use such a site.

December 4, 2008

Sentence of the Day: ましてや

Least of all, could it have been that my fancy, shaken from its half-slumber, had mistaken the head for that of a living person.

I didn't make this one up, ALC and Edgar Poe did. At first I was confused, but I think this is kind of like the さらに sense of まして... but it's a little odd. And Edgar, use a question mark next time. Sheesh.

Bonus note:や makes it stronger.

The American Akira (Coming 2011)

This is what would happen indeed. I think this actually a reference to the upcoming live action movie
Oh yeah, You forgot CANADA!
[tanks to Brett]

Surprise Squid

I guess I didn't look hard enough at what I was buying. I just thought, hey 2 bucks for a few octopuses. Then I found the beaks. And the extra limbs. And the tendency to pop out purple slime.
I guess even I, epicure of weird foods, can still be taken by surprise pretty regularly in this country. Raw squid is something I've somehow not had yet; it seems different from the white ones at restaurants that still move. Perhaps one is a cuttlefish and the other a squid?

Needless to say, I ended up throwing away a lot of too-gross-to-eat bits.

December 3, 2008

Life is Good in Japan

As I walk down to the little market (such cheap food!) I encounter many little treasures. An old woman with a poodle in a baby satchel on her back. Two other dogs of a breed I forget (boxer?) that go crazy when they see me. My little clothes washing place. A small garden/tea house. The woman comes out, wondering if I am a customer. "Oh, it's just that it's beautiful, so..." I say bashfully. I notice on my way back that there is a small basin out in front of the soba shop, and little silver fish are swimming within.
A simple walk to get a drink, and all these reminders: I'm glad I moved here.

Stray Cat

It hasn't come back

December 1, 2008

Umeboshi-tuna Sandwich (Weird Japanese Foods Series)

Just so you know, I totally fixed the spelling errors 30 seconds after I posted the previous entry, but for whatever reason it didn't take. I'm just saying, I may not be able to spell, but give me credit for using a spellchecker!

Well, I Can Still Laugh at Least

The results of the last school-run fake test are in, and unsurprisingly, I am not going to pass this year. I am getting between 50 and 60 percent on everything. My American upbringing wants to call this total failure (though an "F" still passes 2kyu), but I do have to concede, well, I came this far at least.

If I can't pass during the special test session in July, I will be bummed. I wish I had gone for 2kyu this year, having been in the 2kyu-1kyu class for the last few months, I know I could pass it without any problems, and at least have that on my record, but I had to make the decision on which to take very shortly after coming, and was foolishly optimistic at the time to boot. There is just so much in 1kyu: Kanji, synonyms, homonyms, spoken language, written language, nuance, trick questions (I'm looking at you, listening test) etc. Too much for me.

Anyhoo, perhaps unwisely, but then again, perhaps to some effect, I often have some Japanese shows playing in a little window while I study. Lately it has been Jubei Chan 2, Gyagu Manga Biyori, and what ever movies* I pop in to spice it up, all on infinite loop. I think it may be good listening practice; I am picking up more things all the time that I didn't notice before.
But recently, because it came with a friend's USB drive which he sold me, I watched Age of Heroes. Some pretty CG visuals, great intro song, but the queen or whatever she is, has a bit of a wardrobe issue for me:
Those spikes are... And your henchman's eyes are way too small for his face...
and she is not the only one. Hey lady, you are, uh, missing something...
You may have to zoom...

In the end of the series, the leader woman finally changes outfits, but...
Overall, kinda teh suck anime. I want to make a list of anime that are good for people not into anime (I could arguably be such people), so maybe in a future post you will see that.
*The Keep and The Flight of Dragons both seem to be movies I can watch repeatedly, I think because the voice of James Earl Jones and the synthesizers of Tangerine Dream auditorily sooth me.