May 27, 2009

Let's Yoji: 屍山血河

Yesterday I brought news of the Evil Dead Japanese musical. I can't help but wonder if the Japanese Ash will utter the word 屍山血河 (shizanketsuga) after carving a swath through some deadites. Tell us what the words mean before we kill you Clay! Okay! Time for the B-b-b-b-breakdown!
The breakdown for 屍山血河
屍 shi: corpse (an uncommon kanji)
山 san (rendakued to zan): mountain
血 ketsu: blood
河 ka (rendakued to ga): river (an older character than the usual 川)
collective gloss: mountains of corpses and rivers of blood
rank: super rare= impress your Japanese friends
alternative spellings: 尸山血河
alternative readings: しざんけっか

Though this yoji has little practical application, I find it cool. That first kanji, 屍, is found in some good words for us supernatural buffs. For instance 僵屍 (kyonshi, usually written in katakana because them kanji is teh hards) which is the word for Chinese hopping vampire. You may enjoy a post I did recently about the Hopping Vampire boom of the 80s.
Another cool word is 生ける屍 (ikerushikabane), meaning the living dead. I found a book named 生ける屍の死 (death of the undead) that looks promising; I'll tuck it into my wishlist for now in preparation for when my life gets resurrected from study hell.

Another cool yoji that shares the concept and this 屍 character is 死屍累々(shishiruirui).
The breakdown for 死屍累々
死 shi: death
累 rui: accumulate, trouble
々: kanji ditto mark
累々ruirui: in heaps
collective gloss: piles of bodies
rank: common enough to be understood
This one easy to remember because of how it's said. I think these days you'll see it used most in video games or to describe the reader count of this blog.

[J source]

May 26, 2009

Evil Dead the Musical in Japan!

As I am studying for the JLPT, I have not been going out lately. I am so tempted to make an exception for this show, which is running right through the day of the test. Maybe I could get a ticket for that night (July 5th) to reward myself for so bravely facing the horrors of the test yet again.

Ikebukuro, the Sunshain Gekijyou (Sunshine theater)--
Sam Rami's classic has been remade as a musical. Already a success off broadway, it has come to Japan too (6/25 through 7/5). Bruce obviously is out on this one, so the star is this pretty boy. You can speck tickets here.
[J Article]

Interestingly the Japanese title of the Evil Dead series is 死霊のはらわた, which translates to corpse guts. The third film in the series became--I kid you not-- キャプテン・スーパーマーケット (Captain Supermarket).

Since I seem to be addicted to embedding YouTube vids, here is a Japanese preview for the movie:

May 25, 2009

Full Collection of Schwarzenegger Japanese CMs

Marvel at 魔人V (Devil V, but v sounds like "booey" in Japanese), as well as in several cup noodle commercials. There are a couple movie spots and Jackie Chan thrown in for good measure.

Japanese Slang: S&M and... N?!

I knew I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to make a naughty slang post sometime. I'm just gonna lay a few terms on your lap and let you deal with the moral ramifications of your knowledge.

You probably have heard S and M. These are KY-esque* abbreviations. S means "sadism" and M means "masochism". Just like English, these personality types don't necessarily relate to anything dirty, and many people freely talk about who is an S or an M in public.

A slightly new term in this vein is ドN (do-en). The "do" (pronounced like "d'oh", not like the English verb) part is a derogatory prefix that means "totally". You can also say ドS or ドM. The N part comes from "normal." Together: someone who is extremely normal. How can one be extremely normal? Or abnormally normal? My head spins thinking about it.

Here's another thought: some people put themselves down by saying they are ドN. But you know what putting yourself down is in Japanese? 自虐 (jigyaku). But you know what that translates to literally? Masochism. "I'm not an S, I'm totally boring and normal," he said in a masochistic tone.

The most famous ドN I can think of is Hito Nami (who's name means "average person") from Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, who often yells 普通って言うな! (don't call me normal!) Obligatory video:

I may teach you some more naughty words next time.
[J reference]
* Other talk of KY and such is in this post.

May 22, 2009

Japanese Slang: Dekofuku

There is a lot of slang that has sprung up around fashion. Previously, we talked about Uniqlo (unibare), fashionalable pets (usanpo), lacking makeup (SPY) and even fail-hats (posharu). We also explored the world of dazzling girls and their diamond studs (agejyou and dekoru).

デコ服 (dekofuku) is related to that last one. As previously found, deko comes from "decoration." The second part of the word, fuku, means clothes. Huh. Sounds kinda like a swear word when it's in romaji like that though. Anyways, dekofuku a little different from dekoru in that while dekoru usually refers to little plastic diamonds applied to things by glue, dekofuku refers to things you attach to you clothes, like buttons and brooches. That way, you can customize every outfit even if it is old. In these times of worldwide economic crisis, dekofuku is seen as a very good way to save money and yet stay stylish.

Of course, the first thing I thought of when I read about dekofuku was "flair."

[J reference]

May 21, 2009

Muscle Wii Game: Golden Eggs Connection?

Looking at this commercial, I couldn't help but think this game has a few influences. Weird, slightly homoerotic bodybuilding games have a long history in Japan (Cho Aniki for one). But I can't help but wonder if they are riffing off of Golden Eggs what with the stolen protein, football-bodybuilder rivalries, and distinctive "Oush!" utterances. I don't think it's a bad thing at all to get inspiration from Golden Eggs though.

Below is not one of the Golden Eggs episodes-- I figure that you have probably seen those a million times anyways--but actually a CC Lemon add staring "It's a chest supporter!" Stefan and the gang. They also do Nisan commercials.

BTW, a macho man brought talk of CC Lemon to this blog recently, in case you missed it. If you wanna know more about the 細マッチョ (hoso-maccho: thin-macho) thing that guy babbles about, you need to see this CM.

May 20, 2009

Do I have Swine Flu?


Japan is Loud!

This is a vid of a man selling warabimochi from an truck and loudspeakers (kinda like an ice cream man in America) [via Yamato Logic]. It's gone douga-viral. Back when I made English lessons for our local cable in Saga, I remember that I used the word ぷるぷる (purupuru) to talk about our local delicacy, roasted oysters, but the guy in the van has mad purupuru skillz yo. As for the meaning of purupuru, well, it's hard to describe, but it's like soft-yummy-wobbly. And maybe juicy.

Along with politicians and the firetruck that drives by every night yelling at us to be safe, things like this combine to make the streets of Japan quite 煩い (urusai, meaning loud, annoying, "shut up!" and a load of other things). Due to a lack of insulation, I hear everything loud and clear. I made a video about the sounds of Japan a while back that you may have seen that is titled "Japan is Loud!"

Also, below is one of my favorite Japanese CMs, 日本人はうるさい! (Japanese sure are fussy):

May 18, 2009

Tears of Bubble-Bursting Joy

(click to zoom)
Passing by one of those machines where you buy little toys, I was stopped in my tracks by this image. It's an add for a toy that simulated bubble wrap. You can pop that sucker forever, and for some people, the joy that is felt is apparently tear-jerking. プチプチ (puchi-puchi) is the sound of popping I guess.
I was reminded to post this when I saw that Elysesewell, international model and documenter of lulz-filled Asia, posted another image from the same series at the bottom of this post. The product in that one is a box you with a tab you can pull forever. Even the cat cries tears of joy over that. I've seen some of the products in that post in Japan.

Here's another odd one. In men's magazines, they often post men that are ridiculously successful by following some ridiculous scheme. Sorry the resolution is a bit blurry, but the guy gets piles of money and women to grope, but still has wicked-yellow teeth. What really didn't come through in this photo of the ad. is the weird nature of the woman's eyes. Trust me, the ad was funny and scary at the same time. I think I was possessed by the add, because I woke up after going through a strange, fugue-like state to find myself covered in blood and money. Three days had elapsed without my knowledge.

May 15, 2009

Japanese Study Links Expanded

On the sidebar on the far right of my blog, I added relevant categories to help you study Japanese, under the "from this blog" heading. Choose your poison. I like Japanese slang quite a bit myself. Keep in mind all the News Pics articles are in English, but link to Japanese articles. But really, you don't need to study Japanese to enjoy the posts in most of those categories, methinks.

To Be Or Not To Be: Several Japanese Translations

The most basic things are the hardest to translate sometimes. Throughout the years, many Japanese writers have tried to tackle Shakespeare's most famous line.
Consider yourself a pro if you can catch each line in only one viewing.

May 14, 2009

Japan News Pic: Cryptid Snake on a Stick

Gifu prefecture-- Just like something out of the Simpsons, festive hunts for the cryptid 槌の子 (tsuchinoko, a legendary snake species) took place this year during Golden Week. The prize was 1,200,000 yen if someone actually managed to capture one of these beasties (alas not this year).

Later folks settled down to eat a very specially shaped 五平餅 (goheimochi, a type of mochi cooked on skewers and covered in sauce).
[link--visit the original Japanese article and see a pic of the Tsuchinoko Museum]

For those of you that enjoy reading Japanese, I really recommend this article. It has a very appetizing description. For those of you in Gifu-ken, an address is provided too!

May 13, 2009

Archery off the horse: Yabusame

This is a pretty entertaining experiment: take a horse-archery expert off the horse and put him onto different things, like trucks and speedboats, to see how he does.

Part 2 shouldn't be hard for you too find if you want to see how the roller coaster goes ;)

A little more on Anki developments

First I gotta point out, I forgot to elucidate on the "=" marks in the cards last post, so I went back and added that in.
Lately, I discovered that Anki has the option to add a field to type in your answers. I set the "reading" part of the card to be the one you have to punch in on my giant deck. You still have to rate your recall powers from 1-4.
As I really want to focus my studies, this replaces both Read the Kanji and iKnow for me for now. They both still have their merits, but I'm going to be focusing on Anki study for a while. The typing really helps give that extra edge for remembering (perhaps its the kinesthetic factor), much like circling the troublesome parts of a kanji help me to remember them. I also still say each answer out loud and type something for about everything to lock it all in.

Now if only I could find a way to speed up input. I am still averaging 80 to 100 new entries a day. Direct downloads from my brain would be nice...

May 12, 2009

Download: Anki Grammar Deck for 1kyu Study

Okay, after threatening to unleash a new anki Japanese grammar deck upon the world for a while, I have finally done it. I've learned a lot since the days when I wrote out those grammar lists that I put up on Google Docs. Every day we have quizzes at my language school and I take notes on usage and such. This deck is the culmination of that.

There are some things you need to know to understand how to use these cards though.
  • "f." stands for both "front" and "follows" For instance, "f. あげく" means "what goes in front of あげく?"
  • "nu." stands for nuance. Questions where I wanted to remind myself of how a grammar is used. It sometimes gets paired with "essay."
  • "essay" means, how is this used in the reading section of the test. Often, words direct you to look forward or back.
  • "__" means "fill in the blank". For instance in "noun__のに" the answer that anki is looking for is "な".
  • nouns and other parts of speech are sometime abbreviated (like "n"), and sometimes romajied from their Japanese words. Other times I wrote the Japanese linguistic terms, so you might want to already know what a 形容動詞 or a 修飾型 is.
  • Some of the questions are really simple things that I keep forgetting, sometimes the question and answer may be too mystifying. So feel free to delete cards you don't get or like.
  • if there are no special symbols or abbreviations in the question, you just need to give the meaning like a normal anki card.
  • Some cards ask you an actual question. ex: "Who do you usually talk about when you use ときたら?"
  • EDIT: I forgot about "=" signs. Those are looking for equivalent Japanese expressions, not English.

    I'd like feedback on any mistakes in the cards, via comments to this post, where others using the deck can see them. This is not a perfect deck; I may upgrade it a bit in the future.
    You may find a good grammar reference book handy while studying. I recommend this one:

    It has English, Chinese, and Korean explanations for all levels of the test. And it's an ALC product, so you know it's pretty quality.

    And here be the link to download the deck!
    EDIT: Or if you are savvy enough to sync with a shared deck, the ID seems to be a74a8f213db81f5d

    May 11, 2009

    Karaoke Practice: Tribute to Kiyoshiro

    The song known in the west as Sukiyaki is a good karaoke standby. The lyrics are pretty simple, and you can even find it in American karaoke machines (the romaji totally threw me off when I did it there though).
    During one karaoke party here, I selected what I thought was the song, but got what I think was this version.
    I did my best to compensate for the change of pace, and it was actually pretty fun. For those of you that want to master the basic version though, here you go:

    But back to that first link for a second. I turned on the TV this morning to see that Imawano Kiyoshiro had passed on. Seems like I have heard him a bit, but I'm not too familiar. Luckily Fushou Note has a couple of posts with collections of his works.
    Next time you are at the snack bar, or wherever you croon, raise you glass in tribute, and sing one of his songs. I also suggest that next time you are walking under a starry sky, look up an whistle the tune to this song.

    May 8, 2009

    Kyounshi (Hopping Vampire) Boom Classic Promo Vid

    Had an interesting day today at the school. We held a barbecue and later I introduced the Chinese students to some videos of my favorite Kung-fu practitioner, Sammo Hung. This led into my favorite Kung-fu movie, Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind, which then led into discussion with a teacher of the Kyounshi Boom in the 80s.
    So here is a video promo intended for Japanese people of some very odd Chinese flicks from that time and genre.

    The Narrator's comments are pretty funny. "The Hong Kong Highlander!" "Can you read this character?" "They do ecchi too..." "A car comes at us!"

    Now I must waste some time watching Mr. Vampire.

    Forced off the Train, the Passengers Walk Home

    Yokohama--Passengers were asked to hoof it when the train's breaks went wonky on the Yokosuka Line. [J source/bigger pic]
    As always, I do these posts to learn language, and there was some interesting wording in this one.
    立ち往生 means come to a standstill, but the 往生 part means death/giving up.
    Become unloose (緩まなくなり) confused me for a second, but I believe it means, considering the preceding words, that the breaks seized up. 
    One more interesting pic story; A burning snowman saying "あちちち" (hot hot hot hot!), but not a Japan story per say. Rather it is in Switzerland. Link.

    May 1, 2009

    Japan News Pic: Dragon Screen

    Kyoto, Keinin Temple-- What we see in this pic is actually a digital print applied to a sliding door. It's a recreation of the real thing from around the year 1600, printed out on Japanese paper. The title translates as "dragon figure". [original Japanese w/bigger pic]