September 30, 2009

Spida Ova Hea

There are spiders everywhere in Japan. I guess they are orb-spiders, which narrows the species down to a few out of, uh... *checks Wikipedia* 27000 species I could be seeing. The thing that annoys me about them is people don't clean webs up too often over here. For me, a well trimmed Japanese garden is ruined by webs, especially since I am so tall I always run into them.

September 24, 2009

Meta: Ren'youkei

Right, just thought I would drop a note that the link in the sidebar to The Foreigner is fixed. Though the original site died, The Wayback Machine has come to the rescue. The Foreigner is a great Japanese guide in that it teaches you all the technical terms for conjugations, among other things.
Hopefully next time I make a book review I will remember that the masu form is ren'youkei, not rentaikei*. Ha ha. You know how that goes.
*Disclaimer: Just because you know the Japanese word for a conjugation doesn't mean you can have a linguistic discussion with a native. It's like talking about a dangling participle with an English speaker. Still, it's good to know your stuff.

September 18, 2009

You will Believe a Bad Show can Fly!

Shibuya, Tokyo-- This display, depicting a man magically suspended in air, went up in front of Shibuya109, to get the word out that the first volume of the Heroes season 3 DVD is coming out in Japan. I think Heroes must be pretty kitschy for many Japanese people to watch, as nobody in it can speak Japanese quite like a native. Masi is close, but natives I watch with say there is something off about his speech*.

Does this mean a foreigner can never learn how to make their accent go away? People like David Spector would prove that it can be done, at the price of being struck with strange hair. Seriously, what is that style called? Anyways, odd follicles aside, one friend of mine said that when Spector talks, he gives the impression of being Japanese.

BTW, though I think Heroes is a bad show, I've seen every episode, so don't feel too bad that I ragged on it in the title of this post.
*But then again, his character has an intentionally odd voice. Yatta!

September 17, 2009

Dude, Where's My Mikoshi? Part 2: Dashi

The floats in this vid are called 山車 (dashi). Not to be confused with soup flavoring. Watch it in HD (or just press the fullscreen button next to the HD button) for the full experience.

September 16, 2009

Cute Kid Makes a Call

Man, maybe it's the change to autumnal weather, but I am totally not with it this week. Oddly, I never thought seasons could change one's behavior until the Japanese people tied me down and four seasons-afied me. Anyways, Nina is here to pick up the blogging slack for me.
The cutest thing about Nina is she actually speaks Japanese just as in the stereotypical corrupted syllables like one sees in cartoons here. Lot's of "s" sounds become softened to "ch" or "sh" sounds.

She's also bilingual, speaking cute English too:

September 10, 2009

Contest: Free Language Lessons

EDIT: The contest seems to have been won --big shock to me, I never thought somebody would be able to answer that question-- but you can still win it at other sites, as collected by Panda Head Man.

Panda head man has given me the power to offer one free subscription to Edufire, something that normally costs 29 bucks a month. Edufire is a place to learn languages via a skype-like interface. Sweet, right? So we are going to have a contest to give it away.

To be eligible, you must:
1) Have a blog
2) Promise to blog about your experience with Edufire.

To win, you must answer the following question correctly:
Do you want it?

Leave your answer in the comments of this post.

September 4, 2009

Advanced Rakugo: Manjyū are Scary!

A promised follow up to the Rakugo with English post.
This vid is in Japanese, so those who aren't studying Japanese, I'll provide a summary below the video. If you are interested in Japanese culture, you should know this particular rakugo act because it is pretty famous.

Summary: A few guys are talking about what scares them the most. One of them remains quiet until they press him, and he surprises them by saying that he finds manjyū (steamed dumplings with sweet-bean filling) very scary. They decide to play a trick on him and slip some manjyū into his house, which he begins to eat happily, and realize they've been duped. "Alright, what are you really afraid of?" they demand. To which he replies that he is very afraid of hot tea.
Seems like most people spell it "manjū," but I like consistent romaji.

Anybody know other famous rakugo that are important cultural references?

September 2, 2009

Rakugo with English

Rakugo is a comedy act where guys sit on cushions and make funny voices, playing schizophrenically divided roles to express an act as if they were many people in the story. There are other stage storytelling arts out there, one of which I will perhaps introduce next time, or maybe I'll introduce advanced rakugo. For now, enjoy this rakugo performance by Katsura Shijaku. Funny, his name is a homonym for wig...

the next part:

and finally:

September 1, 2009