12/31/2006

The end of 2006 | 2006年末

Well, this year has just about come to an end. One year ago, it didn't seem likely that I'd be able to spend most of 2006 in Japan, yet here I am. I'm slowly making progress in Japanese and I hope to continue doing so. I miss my parents and friends back home a lot, though. I'm looking forward to my mother's probably arrival here in late March, though.

今年がもうすぐ終わるから、今年の日本でされた生活を振り返って見ている。一年前、「ジョンさんは2006年の4分の3を日本で過ごす」と言ったら、信じなかったかもしれない。でも、なのに、ここにいて海外生活中だね。ゆっくり日本語で進歩している。両親も友達もとても会いたいけど。母が三月末に日本に来るかもしれなくて、楽しみだ。

Here's hoping that the next year will be good for all of us. Catch you soon.

来年もうまくいくといいと思う。また来年!

12/30/2006

Mr. F


I call this bloke Mr. Fantastic. You see him on escalators, encouraging people to use their elasticity to hold on to their bags tightly.

僕はこのかいた男をミミスター・ファンタスティックという。彼はみんなに荷物にぎゅっとつかまるようにしてもらいたがっているようだ。

Thanks, Mr. Richards.

OkazakiJapan

My schoolmate Julien is shutting down his blog, he says. Well, what a shame. But he plans something for the future. Well, thanks for a nice ride, Julien!

ジュリエンというクラスメートはブログするのをやめることにしたそうだ。残念。でもウェブサイト更新のアイディアがあるそうだから、あのウェブサイトはまだ生きているようだね。今まではありがとうね。

See You, Space Cowboy.

12/29/2006

Today: "Shaberiba Waiwai"! | 今日、『しゃべり場わいわい』!

今日、新しい『しゃべり場わいわい』がはじまる予定になっている。最近までのスクールメートのスラさんとススさんが作った番組が続く!クラスメートのヨウさんとかなり面白い番組を作っておいたと思う。

今日の放送情報

  • 日時: 今日の午後3時
  • ステーション: FM岡崎 76.3FM
  • インターネットで聞いたり見たりできる。
  • 前の放送も聞ける。今日の放送を聴けなかったら、いつでも聴けるよ。でも音楽が入っていない。


聴いて楽しんで応援してください~!

The new "Shaberiba Waiwai" (which, I suppose, literally means something like "Chat Place Noisy") starts today at three o'clock Okazaki time. Were continuing what our classmates Susu and Sura started for us a month ago and I think we've created a fairly interesting show. Of course, if you don't speak Japanese, it might not be as enjoyable. But you're sure to know some of the songs!

Broadcast information (this line rhymes in Japanese: "housou jouhou")

  • Time: Today at 3 PM Okazaki time, midnight Houston time
  • Station: FM Okazaki 76.3 FM
  • You can listen and watch via The Internet
  • You can listen to old broadcasts too, but the music is excised.


Listen, enjoy, and support our endeavor kudasai.



番組はどうだったの?みなさんの感想は知りたい。終わり意外、うまくいったね。終わりの間違いは僕のせいだったと思う。ごめんね、ヨウさん。YAMASAの学生課からいいお便りをいただいたね!来週の金曜日も聴いてください!インターネットで放送には音楽がなかったと思う。音楽がなかったら、番組は本当にもっと面白くないから。

Well, how was it? I'd like to hear your thoughts. Except for the ending, I think it went pretty well. That ending was my fault, I think. Heh. Well, I hope you'll tune in next week. Even if you can't understand the Japanese, you can listen to the fine music we'll select. I don't think that the Internet broadcast included the background music, and without it the broadcast sucks even more, so if the archived version doesn't include it, I'll upload an MP3 of the broadcast. I mean, it was bad enough with the music. Without it, it's just a tragedy.

12/27/2006

Just a short break | 小さな休みしかない!

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been fairly busy working on the radio broadcast this Friday, vacationing with Mikawa Ossan, and feeling a bit ill. Updates (with a number of photos) coming soon, though.

最近、静かですね。ごめんなさい。金曜日の放送の準備をしたり三河おっさんと旅行したりちょっと病気になったりしてて時間があまりない。でも新しいポスト(と写真!)はすぐ出てくるよ。

On a side note, 2and2.net, a site that I used to use for image hosting, has gone belly up so a number of the images from my older posts have disappeared. Alas.

12/23/2006

YouTube Japanese Disney dump | 「もう待てない、あの日!」

Thanks to Elddonnemar for this find:
このビデオを見つけてくれたのはElddonnemarという友人だ:



It's been too long since I saw this movie. I absolutely loved it when it came out.

この映画を見たのは久しぶりだ。封切った時、何回も見た。大好きだったから。

But this video only led me to waste a lot of time looking at other such movies. It is my duty to inflict some of these upon you, dear readers. Suffer! Suffer!!



I can't even remember the last time someone licked me like that. {watching cautiously for Willem-san}



In the YouTube comments section for the above video, there was some discussion about why they're singing about the sky instead of saying "a whole world." One submitter suggested that doing it literally, "新しい世界" (atarashii sekai), results in too many syllables, which is true. However, that's why Morgan Freeman created two categories of kanji readings in Japanese. If you use "新世界" (shin sekai), then it's just right, I believe.



好きな歌。ディズニーの声優ははっきり歌うから日本語が分かりやすくなる。 And, yeah, Disney's Pocahontas has still got it, after all these years. Dang, girl.



That one's for my cousin.

Okay, okay, that's enough. I won't even mention the DuckTales and Gummi Bears themes I found. Or The Fox and the Hound vid that took me back so far. I have got to see that one again.

Bonus: And you thought Donald Duck could be tough to understand before!

Japanese emoticons

There's an interesting list of Japan's most often-used emoticons for perusal. I've seen some of these and have been confounded by them more than once. Now that's using Unicode! Stuff like this is important for study too, see. I like that Japanese emoticons are vertically-oriented.

By the way ... 「emoticon」と「smiley」っていうのは日本語で「顔文字」という。 But we studied that at school already, now didn't we? We in J class studied it with Takikawa-sensei a while back.

ヽ(´ー`)┌

12/22/2006

Pooped

I spent the entire day saying farewell to friends and at various sites bearing the conglomeration of my associates. Right now, I just got home and I'm pretty tired, so a proper post (and replies to e-mails) will have to wait until the tomorrow!

今日、ずっと友達に「さようなら」と言ったりいろいろな友達が集まっていた所で遊んだりしていた。家に帰ったばかりで、疲れている。適当なポストやメール返事は明日まで待たせちゃう。ごめんね。

Love letters

Today, after our last test, we wrote love letters in class. It was a pretty cathartic for me, actually. And it was a competition to see who could write the best letter. The letters could be real or fake. As soon as I started writing, I could only think of writing, as much as I could, in the style of Smoove B, whom a friend of mine introduced me to a few months back. (I mean, how seriously can you take an assignment like this anyway?) I didn't really dedicate mine to anyone because of its over-the-top, vaguely Smoove B–like nature, but it was pretty fun to write.

A good deal more happened today, but that'll have to wait until tomorrow or the weekend.

Update: My Smoove B style didn't win me any of the top three places. I guess Japan just isn't ready for Smoove.

12/20/2006

No TV for me (yet) | まだテレにに出られない

Alas. My TV appointment has fallen through, as they chose some other person. Well, it's a bit disappointing but I do feel rather relieved at the same time. My level of conversational Japanese probably just wasn't at the level they desired. Ah well. What I'm really looking forward to is my radio debut on Friday of next week! And so are you, I hope!

東海テレビの方の話によると、他の人になったから僕は『ドランキュ!』に出られないそうだ。残念だね。でも残念でもとても安心だ。僕が選ばれなかったのは会話能力はまだ弱すぎるからかもしれないと思う。じゃ、問題ない。来週の金曜日からのラジオ放送のほうが大切で面白そうだと思う。一緒に楽しみにしよう!よろしく!

学校では囲碁が不可能

学校のコンピューターで囲碁が打てない。Javaってないから。打てばいいのに!打たせてー!

囲碁と言えば夕べインターネットで強い相手と初めて打った。あの人はこのブログを見たことがあるそうだから、僕に囲碁の勝負をやるのを誘ってくれた。でも本当に強いから僕が頑張っても全てのテリトリーが取られちゃった。クヤシイー!でも勝負の後、すばらしいレヴューをしてもらった。1時間もかかっていい勉強だった!それは今までの一番役に立つ囲碁教育だと思う。

12/19/2006

Earthquake upon awakening

I felt pretty bad during the fourth period of class, so I came home and took a nap. A few seconds after I awoke, a moderately small earthquake hit. It was rather disconcerting.

Television? Me? | 本当のテレビのジョンが出るかも

Okay. Something pretty interesting happened today. I was invited to be on a comedy television show that's broadcast throughout the Aichi prefecture.

今日、とても面白い出来事があった。愛知県のテレビ東海の『ドランキュ!』という番組に出ることを誘ってもらいました。

You see, during lunch, I decided to warm my lunch up using the first-floor microwave. I don't think that I've never done this before—maybe once or twice sometime. But I ran into a certain person from the Student Services Offices and, after a bit of chatting, I was told that a television show by the name of Drunkyu wants to recruit a Yamasa student for an episode of their program.

昼ご飯の時、なんとなく1階の電子ランジをすることにした。電子ランジの前で待っていながら、ある学生課の職員(しょくいん)と話しかけた。あの人に誘ってもらいました。『ドランキュ!』はゲストとして番組に出る機会をあげるために、YAMASAの学生を探しているそうだ。

My biggest concern, by far, is my conversation ability. The people on these types of shows speak ungodly fast and I already have trouble with conversations at normal speed. But it's not a live broadcast, I discovered, so that's a relief. I very frankly shared my concerns but was assured that it was probably just fine. But I still have to be approved by the show's producers, so nothing is definite quite yet.

一番大きな問題は日本語会話能力だと思っている。コメディー番組に出る人はいつもすごく速く話しているから。でも生放送じゃないからちょっと安心した。あの学生課の人にこの悩みを説明すると、「多分大丈夫だt」と言われていた。でも番組のプロデューサーに認(みと)めてもらわないと。

This evening, one of the producers called me and chatted with me for almost 15 minutes. The subjects of conversation were basically self-introduction types of things and I was able to understand almost all of what she said. I think that it went extremely well, and even if I don't get accepted, I'm proud of that call because it's pretty tough for me to understand telephone conversations.

今夜、プロデューサーが電話してくれて、15分で僕と話していた。内容はほとんど自己紹介のようなことだからそんなに分かりにくくなかった。うまくいった感じている。認めてもらわなくてもあの電話の会話に満足している。電話の日本語は本当に分かりにくいと思っているからよ。

The producer said that she'd give me a call, so now it's just the waiting game. Things seems fairly hopeful, though. This, combined with my upcoming radio with Yo with next week (did I mention that it's a two-person gig?), could help get me a place in broadcasting someday. Which would be nice. By the way, the time of the broadcast is next week. I can't figure out the time, though. (What the heck does Wednesday from 24:35 to 25:00 mean? Early Wednesday or early Thursday?)

また電話してもらう予定だから待っている。運がよければテレビに出るよね。ちょっと信じられない。もしかしたら、この機会とラジオ放送により、日本で有名人になるかもしれないね。ハハ!しかし本当に放送に興味がある。ところで、これは来週の放送と言われている。

12/17/2006

やっと、オヒラクのみなさんと話にFM岡崎へ

久しぶりにFM岡崎のスタジオの前へオヒラクゴキラクを聞いたり尾平さんたちと話したりしに行った。長時間が過ぎちゃって本当に疚しい。ご、ごめんなさい。最近、毎週金曜に前のクラスメートとのパーティーの予定ができてしまって…。友達がみんな疲れているから一緒ゆっくりするのは大切だと僕は思ってる。

昨日、尾平さんと紗与子(さよこ)さんとゆきこさんと毎週聞きに行くカズキさんと話していた。話がなかなか分からなくて恥ずかしかった。1人と会話をするのはたくさんの人と会話より分かりやすいと思う。でも会話の状態によってそれも下手だね。オヒラクのBBSで「来年、頑張って会話を中心に日本語能力を強めていきたいと思います。自分の言いたいことをはっきり言えないことはつらいからです。」と書いた。あきらめられない。僕の下手な日本語を耐え忍んでもらえれば時間がかかっても上手に日本語を話せるようになるはずだ!

みなさんと話している間にどんな女性が好きのか僕に聞かれていた。はやく日本語で説明するのは難しく感じてたからバカな答えを言っちゃった。でも、それなら本当の答えは何?さあ、全てを説明するのは時間がかかるかもしれない。それに言いにくい。でも…面白くて頭がよくて楽しいユーモアのセンスがある女性かなぁ。性格は一番大切だね。しかし、容貌もかなり大切なんじゃないか?

Took the weekend off | 週末休みをとることにした

Friday night, for the first time, I ended up playing Super Smash Bros. Melee all night long with my buddy and Smash rival Alex, who'll be returning to America in a week, and another guy. Alex and I very much chanced into each other in front of FM Okazaki and we decided that we should act whilst time remains. We started around 12:30 or so and the time flew by and so I didn't even get home until 5:40-ish. How unlike me. (But Luigi pulled through, of course. For the first time, I actually maxed out the character-selection screen KO count at 255. I had no idea that happens. Oh, Melee, you continue to surprise me, don't you.)

Because of this, I felt like crap all day on Saturday and got absolutely nothing done, including relaxing. I was like a zombie. Around 9 PM, I finally decided to go somewhere, anywhere, and ended up at Aeon, wandering around, stopping by stores selling books and musical instruments. I ran into my buddy Hiroko as well, who was engaged in some part-time work, which was pleasant.

昨日、一日中全然元気じゃなかったから、昨夜9時ごろにAEONへ行くことにした。本屋と楽器の店へ彷徨(さまよ)っていた。また、アルバイト中の友達に出会って一緒ちょっと話していた。

それからSEIYUの隣にあるハネ食堂というレストランへ食べに行った。この間、アレックスというアメリカ人の友達とあそこで食べた。あの時、店に入ったら、すぐ広瀬香美の「甘いお話」っていう新しい歌が流れ始めた。「あっ!この歌、この歌手、大好き!」ってアレックスさんに言った。長時間あそこで食べていなかったから、気持ちがよかった。でも、昨夜も入ったら、すぐあの歌がもう一度流れ始めた!店員のおばさんとおじさんはとても優しくあいさつしてくれたから、僕のそばにいたおばさんに面白い状態を教えた。そうですか!って。運がよさそうだね。

「世界で一番遠くまで
ぎゅっと愛の電波につかまって
24時間 更新中
Love and kiss and talk together
とろけそうな 甘いお話」

店員はすごく優しかった。おじさんは「大きいですね!身長は何ですか。」と聞いたけど、僕はちょっと忘れちゃった。でもすぐ思い出して「百八十五センチです」と答えた。実はそんなに高くないね。店を出る前に、「これからここで食べに行きたい」とおばさんに言った。本当によかった。店員もやさいいし、食べ物も高くなくておいしいし、音楽もいい(笑)・・・

Okay, so all of that was about the fact that a new single, "Amai ohanashi part 3," by who is probably my favorite Japanese musical artist, Kohmi Hirose, has twice in a row started as soon as I entered a nearby restaurant that I've not been frequenting enough in recent months. I'm pretty fond of the place and, I tell you, that coincidence doesn't hurt things.

So after yesterday, I focused on getting out of my apartment for a while as soon as I could. I stopped by a certain CD rental place named Fukatsu where, a few months ago, I bought a certain MISIA CD. I searched for a while but couldn't find any Kohmi Hirose CDs. But then I noted how the albums were arranged and found the appropriate section and found four of her CDs, three of which were 100 yen! The fourth was 300 yen, which wasn't bad at all, but I decided to wait on it. Best of all, when I checked out, I got a discount and got those three CDs for 90 yen! Ninety freakin' yen, man. After walking out, I went back and got that fourth CD (no discount on that one) and ended up with four excellent-quality CDs for less than 400 yen. Nice.

今日の一番大切のは家の外で気持ちがいいことをすることだった。だから、久しぶりにフカツというCDやビデオレンタルショップへ広瀬香美のアルバムを探しに言ったことにした。見つけるのには時間が少しかかったけど、やっと4枚があった!1枚は300円で、3枚は100円だった!すごいよね!100円のCDを買うことにした。でもレジで割引があるのを教えてもらって、あの3枚は全部90円だった!信じられなかった、それ!出てから、もう一回入ってあの300円CDも買った。4枚のCDを400円以下。やっぱり日本はいい国だね。ハハ!

So after that I bought some paper towels from a drugstore-like store that my classmate Lee introduced me too and returned home feeling pretty good. Oh, and I watched most of a Go program on NHK earlier. Didn't understand much of anything but watching was nice.

今日、NHKの囲碁の番組を見た。番組のみなさんが何を言っているか分からなかったけど、見るのは面白かった。

12/15/2006

インタービュー

この間、杉浦先生の授業は図書室で行われた。その日、学生はペアである先生にインタービューをすることになっていた。学生の数は奇数(きすう)だったから、だれかが1人でしなければならなった。僕は手をすぐ上げた。僕なら1人でするのは気持ちがいいから。

杉浦先生は6人の先生の絵をホワイトボードにはっておいた。僕が知っている先生の絵は2枚あった。それは羽田先生と夫馬(ふま)先生。最近、夫馬先生に分からなかった日本語の文法とか教えていただいた。でも先学期中、羽田先生に教えていただいていたし、羽田先生にあまり会えなくなっちゃったし、羽田先生にした。

一番難しいのは質問を作ることだったと思う。時間が足りなかったから、つまらない質問しかなかった。また、敬語を使ってみることにもした。多分それはミスだった。会話はなかなか上手じゃなかったから。でも、久しぶりに羽田先生と話す機会があって、よかったね。ありがとうございました、羽田先生。

ところで、羽田先生の笑い声はすごくかわいいんじゃないかと思う。失礼ならすみません、先生!

最後の会話1選択授業:アルバイトを探せ!!

木曜日は最後の会話1選択授業だった。6人しかいなかった!(ヨウさんは出張中だったからOKだったけど他のみんなはサボったみたいだよね!)のせ先生にチャレンジをいただいた。いろいろな先生は図書室に集まって待っていらっしゃった。クラスのみんなはペアで図書室にアルバイトを申し込みに店長の役を演(えん)じていた先生と話してみることになっていた。アルバイトの広告は複雑だったし、知らない漢字も多かったし、少し緊張していた。先生が選んだパートナーはカンさんというクラスメートだった。1回一緒にアサインメントしたことがあるから仲はもうかなりよかった。

3人の先生と話さなければならなかったことになっていた。僕とカンさんは好きな広告の店を選んだ。先生は杉浦(すぎうら)先生とにえ先生とのせ先生だった。一番厳しく面談した先生はのせ先生だった。でもカンさんはすばらしいパートナーだったから、かなりうまくいったと思う。

今学期の会話選択授業はとてもよかったと思う。ありがとうございました、のせ先生。先生の性格がとても好きだから、また教えていただけるとうれしいと思う。

Go with sensei | 先生との囲碁

I played a fair amount of Go today. Nobody could make it to the Go classroom today, unfortunately, so I went by my own dang self to practice. But when I arrived, the sensei (why can't I remember his name?!) said that he would play me. Finally!

今日、囲碁は相手はみんな忙しかったから、1人で囲碁を練習しに囲碁教室へ言った。着いたら、先生と囲碁の勝負をやらせていただいた。やっとー!


Long story short, I, as black, was crushed. Into the ground. And jumped upon. Even with a handicap of 9 stones, I lost by a whopping 145 moku. I ain't ready for the big boys yet. But it was a nice match and I learned a fair amount. He played me to measure my ability. (Hope it wasn't too lacking for him. Heh.) And after the match, I got a private tutoring session. Giggity!

全く負けた。置き碁(おきご)でも145モクで負けちゃったよ。僕は上手な相手と強い囲碁をやるのはまだできないもんだよ。先生は僕がどのくらい強いか計るために囲碁を打っていただいた。でもいい勝負だった!また、勝負が終わってから、いい説明やアドバイスをしていただいた。

When I got home, I was still in a Go mood, so I played three games online. I won two and lost one (that was my first game on a 9x9 board).

家へ帰ったら、まだ囲碁を打ちたかったから、インターネット囲碁を打ってみた。3局のうちで2局を勝った。でも負けた相手は僕よりもとても弱かったと思う。

On the radio

Well, I ended up on the air today though I didn't expect it. For reasons of internationality, I believe, Susu and Sura wanted English at the beginning of the broadcast. After Susu tried to tried the text that someone has prepared, I read it to coach her a bit and was instantly recruited to be on the air and read that. Sweet. My voice and reading were highly praised. I went on the air (three sensei came to watch the broadcast, too) and read the following:

Welcome, everyone! It's time for Shaberiba Waiwai! On today's program, we have two students from Okazaki's Yamasa Institute: F class's Susu, from Taiwan; and A class's Sura, from Korea. On today's show, we'll be featuring a look at the Japanese dining experience and a view of Japan through foreigners' eyes. So sit back, relax, and enjoy!


It was immensely well received. And apparently, in the main office, there was impassioned clapping as well. I am pleased.

今日、以外にもラジオ放送に出てきた。ススさんとスラさんは英語の前置きを入れたかったけど、英語があまり話せないから、ちょっと困っていた。イントネーションを聞かせるために、僕がはっきり読んでみた。すると、「カッコいい~!声もステキだし、放送に出てくれ!」と言われていた。ほめてもらったから、「いいえ」と言えなかった。でも、出たかったから、うれしかった。

横沢(よこざわ)先生と原田先生と小嶋(こじま)先生はススさんとスラさんを見に来てくださった。スタジオの前に座っていらっしゃった。ヨウさんも僕の隣に座っていた。読んでから、たくさんほめてもらったよ。アナウンサーになるかもしれない。

12/14/2006

Internet Go: it begins | インターネット囲碁が始まった

During the weekend, I tried my hand at Internet Go for the first time. The game didn't go well at all, as, for some reason, I played quite terribly the whole game against somebody about as green as I am (or so it was said), but it was an interesting experience. I think I'll be trying it out more often.

先週末、インターネット囲碁を初めてやった。相手のレベルが同じぐらいなのに、勝負は全くうまくいかなかった。それなのに、いい勉強になった。もちろん、負けてもいい経験だと思う。もっとやりたい。


For those interested, my stats are tracked at the site.

勝負の記録があるよ。だけど、今はちょっとかわいそう~

実力試験の結果 | Proficiency test results

I got the results of my Proficiency Test back and the results were pretty good.

今日、昨日の実力試験の結果をもらったが、けっこうよかったじゃないかと思う。


Vocabulary | 語彙93%
Particles | 助詞95%
Connectors | 接続93%
Form | 形式100%
Writing | 作文100%
New Approach first half | 『ニューアプローチ』前半95%
Average | 合計96%

But I'm not totally pleased because I missed one question that I should have gotten correct (why don't I ever listen to my gut feeling?!) and I also made a really stupid mistake (@#$%!) but all in all, I'm pretty satisfied. It was a good (and much needed) boost in confidence for me. Tests aren't that important in terms of actual progress in Japanese, but it still feels good to ace 'em. And they are not totally without merit. Plus, we've taken this test before and, for the first, I was able to answer the whole thing confidently. It's great to be able to see one's own progress. Especially in a term in which I've felt rather half-dead.

バカな間違いが1つあった。(”よんだことができます”って。バカーッ!)正しくない答えを思い返して選んだ問題もあった。でも満足的な気持ちを持っている。自信もちょっと増えたし。全てのカテゴリーは、今の授業のレベル平均以上だった。どのくらい日本語が上手に話せるようになったのか、テストで計れないと思うが、合格するといつも気持ちがいい。このテストはもう2回受けたことがあるが、今回自分の進歩を初めてはっきり見られた。先生のおかげだ!それは…気持ちが❤だよ!

かんじをおぼえるのは・・・ | Remembering kanji these days

日本人は漢字を書く能力が減ったそうだ。よく言われている。それはコンピューターがよく使われるようになったせいだそうだ。先生も時々間違えたり漢字をはっきり覚えなかったりすることもある。大変なことだと思う。コンピューターって、もちろん役に立つ機械(きかい)だけどね。使うのは漢字を覚えるのによくないかもしれないのに、インターネットにはたくさん便利な漢字訓練ウェブサイトがあるので、いいところはよくないところより多いんじゃないかと思うよ。

While we're trying to learn kanji, Japanese folks are forgetting how to write them themselves due to today's increased interaction with computers. The sensei at school occasionally runs into problems as well. Computers have made the learning process a bit harder in that sense, but they make up for it with, you know, the bloody Internet and its oodles of useful kanji-training and Japanese-education content.

"Oodles"?

The break between classes | 授業の前に休憩を

I'm sitting the school's computer lab right now. My primary classes have finished and I have my final elective class of the term in about twenty minutes. I am incredibly sleepy right now, though. Not really exhausted, as I usually am these days; just out and out sleepy. I hope that I can put together some coherent thoughts for this final conversation class.

今、学校のコンピュータールームに座っている。今日は今学期の最後の選択授業が残っているが、20分に始まる。すごーく眠いから眠りたいが、できない。時間も足りないし、今日の会話授業も複雑で難しいかもしれないし。

会話ばかり | Conversation aplenty

今日、会話試験がある。たった今思い出した。また、最後の会話選択授業で会話試験、というかチャレンジもある。選択授業のテストのほうは難しそうだと思っている。アルバイトを探すアサインメントだから。複雑なんじゃない?

We've got a conversation test today that I just remembered. And later, I have a conversation test, or rather, challenge in my conversation elective class. I think the latter looks to be more difficult, as it's a part-time job–finding exercise. Complicated.

12/13/2006

Proficiency test | 実力試験

I just finished a school-wide proficiency test. At the end of every semester, we take this test. As I understand it, it has nothing to do with our grades or even our class placement. It's a where-are-you? type test, I think. I was the first in the class to finish, which rather made me uneasy, but I feel that I totally aced that test. There were only two questions that tripped me up. This was good for my self-confidence. Now I'm just taking a break and listening to some Kohmi Hirose.

たった今、YAMASAの毎学期ごとに受けなければならない実力テストを終えたばかりのだ。学期の成績にもクラスプレイスメントにも関係がないらしいだから、どういう目標に受けさせられたかあまり分からない。でも前の実力テストより今回のほうがよかったと思う。自信はちょっと増えたみたい。今、コンピュータールームでは広瀬香美の歌を聞きながらタイプしている。

12/12/2006

自転車の事件と今日の授業

I overslept this morning, so I quickly got dressed and dashed out of my apartment. I hopped on my bike and headed out to the sidewalk and nearly had a collision with another student who was coming down the sidewalk. (You can't really see around the corner.) We both stopped quickly but I turned to the left at an odd angle and ending up falling off of my bike onto the pavement. Ouch. The other guy got off his bike and attempted to help me, which was nice. The whole thing was pretty much my own fault. I hopped on my bike and headed to class.

今日寝過ごして朝ごはんを食べられなかった。急いで服を着て家を出た。自転車に乗ってアパートの歩道に出たら、どこからともなく自転車に乗っていた学生が速く近づいた。ぶつかりそうだと思ったからすぐ止めてみた。でもそうしたらぶつからなかったけど自転車から落ちちゃった。足に怪我(けが)をしたけど折りよく大怪我をしなかった。相手は自転車を降りて手伝ってくれたのはありがたかった。僕はまた自転車に乗って学校へ行った。

I was a bit late and the morning's vocabulary quiz had just started when I arrived. The weekly schedule I'd received from Hiroe-sensei said that the test would be on chapter ten's vocab, and that's what I studied; but the schedule posted in the room said chapter nine, and what's what we were tested on. But I never ended up taking the test.

ちょっと遅刻しちゃった。着いた時には今朝の語彙(ごい)クイズが始まったばかりだった。先生にいただいたメールの時間割によると今日は10課の語彙クイズと書いてあったのに、教室のかべにはってある時間割はなんとなく9課の語彙クイズと書いてある。ボクは10課を予習したから、少し心配だった。

As I sat, I examined my sore leg and found a small but moderately nasty-looking wound on my shin. I got a bit of blood on my white socks as well. Hiroe-sensei let me go down to the first-floor Student Affairs Office, which I received great medical attention from Kawakita-san. The wound is still a bit sore (especially when I stand), but it's feeling better, thanks in part to Kawakita-san.

でも座って足の脛(すね)の怪我を見ると、血が少し出たのに気づいた。廣江(ひろえ)先生に学生課へ行かせられて、親切な川北さんに大切に医療をもらった。まだ少し痛んでいるけど痛みはほとんど薄らいだ。川北さんが医療をくれたおかげだね。

The first two hours of class otherwise went smoothly. (I played around a bit too long at one point near the end when time was short, thus breaking my own time-wasting rule. Tsk.) We learned some interesting stuff.

1時間目と2時間目の授業はうまく行った。(僕はちょっと遊びすぎちゃったのに。自分のルールを破った。)役に立つ文法を教えていただいた。

The third and fourth hours were a bit special because we held a class debate in the library with Watanabe-sensei (with Hiroe-sensei coming to watch). Last week, we were divided into groups of three for the sake of today's debate. One of my teammates was not present and the other poor guy was feeling like crap, so my team basically consisted of one and a half people. Our three-person opponent team came highly prepared and beat us in basically every possible way, I felt, but still we managed to tie at three and three. (I smell pity in the air.) They were quite good.

It didn't help that we were assigned random topics. I was forced to argue against the existence of television, basically. In Japanese, of course. I couldn't get into it and my arguments were pretty much all pathetically weak and could be (and, indeed, were) easily deflected (right and left, I tells ya). A few folks complimented my speaking but I feel it was pretty bad. Plus, I was largely making stuff up as I went, so it was choppy.

3時間目と4時間目の授業はちょっと特別だった。今日、Jクラスのディベートが図書室で行われた。広江先生も見にいらっしゃった!実は、ちょっと大変だった。先週3人のチームに別れたが、そのままで論じた。1人目のチームメートはいなかったが、2人目のチームメートはあまり病気のように元気じゃなかった。ほぼ1人で頑張って論じていたのに、論敵(ろんてき)のチームは僕らより準備を正しくしておいたから、その3人はすごく強かった。聞いていたクラスメートが買ったチームを決めたら以外にも引き分けだと発表された。多分「かわいそうだなぁ」と思っていた人がいたかもしれない。3人の論敵のほうがとてもよかったよ。

After the debate, the mood turned a little bit dark because many, if not most, folks, including me, felt dissatisfied with their speaking ability. Watanabe-sensei was a bit worried as well. The exercise had some benefits but largely made a number of folks just lose confidence in our speaking ability. But then, Yamasa is not for a school for a speaking ability. Yamasa is about cramming grammar and vocabulary in your head and preparing you for the JLPT, a test which I rather despise and have little interesting in taking.

ディベートの後、ほとんどのクラスメートは気分がちょっと暗くなった。渡辺(わたなべ)先生はちょっと心配がっていらっしゃった。「私のディベートの話があまり上手じゃなかった」とみんなが感じているとボクは思う。ボクもそう感じる。でもチャレンジとしてしたね。いい勉強になったけど、ちょっとみんなの自信が減ったかもね。

The sixth hour of class was my last Kanji 3 class. We had a large comprehensive test that our sensei said nothing about too. Fortunately, I did well on it. I missed four questions, barring stupid mistakes. Though the class has ended, I have still-undone homework that I must turn in by tomorrow. Argh.

6時間目の漢字3の選択授業は最後だった。今日は大きいテストはあったけど、先週、先生が何も言わなかったから、みんなをびっくりさせちゃった。しかし、テストはなんとかした。4つの問題の漢字を思い出せなかったけど。まだやっていない宿題があるから、最後の授業が終わったのにボクにとって授業が終わっていない。つらいよね。

12/11/2006

立石先生が戻ってきてくださった?!

先週、ヤマサの前の道を歩いていた時、ある日本人の女性が近づいていた。「あの人・・・知っているかな」と思い始めた。よく見たら気がはやくついた。春学期の立石(たていし)先生だった!へぇー?!すごくびっくりした!立石先生はボクのことをすぐ思い出してくださった。立石先生は6月からヤマサを休んでいたが、来学期からまた日本語を教える予定だそうだ。やっと立石先生と話せるようになった。

先生、もう一回よろしくお願いします!

敬語選択授業が終わった

今日の原田先生の最後の敬語選択授業だった。あの授業がよかったと思う。原田先生に教えていただいたのは初めてだった。先週、日本語教師になるために勉強している女性を六人ぐらいがクラスの学生と話しに来てくれた。面白い経験だった。

敬語選択授業は大成功だった!ありがとうございました、原田先生!

修正:忘れちゃった!原田先生に聞いたんだけど、もうすぐボクが大好きな広瀬香美という歌手は名古屋でコンサートを行う予定だそうだ!チケットは多分高すぎるのに、もっと知りたい。今「GIFT」という歌を聞いているので、コンサートのことを思い出した。

Classroom horseplay

Sometimes during class, we're made to write example sentences to test out new grammar or vocabulary that we've learned. Invariably and without fail, many of us end up writing comedic sentences about each other. I think it's pretty good for keeping things interesting and for keeping the spirit of the class up. But I know that at least one student apparently dislikes the proliferation of the practice, complaining a bit about the 'comedy routine.' Which gets me to thinking.

I think it's important to mess around a bit sometimes to keep things from getting too heavy and dry. But at the same time, we honestly do get a bit carried away sometimes. I remember thinking to myself a few times that things had gone a bit too far off-track and that we needed to get back to business. There is a lot of information to cover, and I actually do get irritated when the horseplay starts taking up a lot of time. Interestingly enough, I think that it's probably we Yamasa old-timers that are main instigators, though, which, I think, says something in of itself.

But, you know, you sit in these classrooms every day getting your head stuffed with never-ending easy-to-forget information and you're going to go a little bit stir-crazy. Gotta have some fun but gotta keep things in line, too.

12/10/2006

Today, on a very special game of Go

Last Friday's Go match was particularly special. For one, it was Lee and I's first real Go match, played to the end according to the proper rules. Second, Kaku, Yo, and even Brian Yamamoto came to watch. Third, Kaku played against the sensei! Fourth, Yo finally played some Go! Well, let's start with point number one: my match against Lee. But first ...

金曜日の囲碁勝負は特別だった。まず、初めて正しくやり方でリーさんと囲碁をやった。また、カクさんとヨウさんと山本ブライアンさんは見に来てくれた。でも、カクさんは囲碁先生と囲碁をやった!後で、このポストにもっと日本語を加えるつもりだ。今、ちょっと疲れちゃったから・・・

Jon vs Lee: The First Real Game



Lee won nigiri (the who-goes-first decider) and so went first as white. (Note: Apparently, black is supposed to go first. Oops.) Exercising what I learned from last week, I stopped thinking about capturing stones and began thinking almost solely in terms of territory. This shift benefited my game greatly (which makes sense since it's how the game is supposed to be played), as I was practically invincible for the first half of the game. (Well, as invincible as someone with no experience or training can be.)

We started our first battle in my lower-right corner. I was fighting as one is supposed to, for the corners first and the other edges second. I think I was doing fairly well.

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


From there, we spread to the west. I managed to entrap a large (and beautifully symmetrical) group of white stones (as seen in the middle of the photo below), which solidified my holdings quite well. I was keeping the bottom edge of the board safe.

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


The battle spreads north, still heavily under my influence. I was pwning, as they say. I was pretty pleased with my strategy. Lee would go for a stone and I would use "strategery" to sacrifice it to secure a larger area elsewhere. It felt pretty good to have a pretty good hold on the board.

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


However, the midgame is where I always, always begin to fall apart. You have to watch a lot of areas at the same time and I miss something everytime, so I began to worry, but I felt that I had a secure enough hold on the board such that I didn't need to worry too much. Plus, I was also watching the game between Kaku and our (part-time) sensei to my left. (More on that later.)



And thus, I goof up. I make a very sloppy move that allows Lee to capture upwards of one dozen stones at once on the north edge of the board. Man, that really hurt. With that one move, the game became much more even as white's influence spread across the board, a nigh untouchable wave of scorn and malice!


I let that happen. I was a fool. A fool, I say! Lee set me up very well there. Well done indeed. That will teach me to take things even a bit lightly, for even a moment. There were so many stones for him to take that I even offered to help. (That was pretty funny. And I did help.) From that point on, I paid more careful attention.

And finally, here's the final board before the victor-deciding counting began. I was quite worried. Lee managed to secure a lot more of the board than I had expected.


And here's the board after the counting-rearrangement phase:


Black managed to win by 11 moku (territory spaces, basically). I was pleased to have won but I still kicked myself for the glorious victory I might have attained had I not been the fool. It was a very good game, though, and I left pretty satisfied with it. The first half of the game was mine and the last half of the game was Lee's. He really turned things around. As expected of my rival.

I wish I had a kifu (a written record of the moves made during the game) because I'd like to make an SGF file of the full game.

Kaku vs. Sensei



As Kaku, Brian, and Yo sat watching our game and chatting a bit, the Go classroom sensei (who's name I forgot!) came in as he usually does to watch Lee's and my game's progress. He usually stops by for a few minutes at a time, but that day, he had some extra time and invited Kaku to play with game with him. I even haven't done that yet! Chansu! Kaku was reluctant to play but we told her that it'd be a good training match. And I think it was.


Brian had to leave but Yo stuck around and watched. But when the sensei had to leave to do some work, he asked Yo take over for white. Oh ho! Mister "Yeah, that's the same move that I was thinking of!" Yo finally played some Go!


Eventually the sensei returned but he told Yo to kept playing, so the match changed to Kaku versus Yo (with Yo, of course, coming in with a huge advantage, but it was just a training game anyhow). This was around the time of my huge mistake so I was concentrating more on my own game at this point. But it was the first time that there were two games going on at once on a day when there was no actual Go class. It was quite enjoyable.

Now ... I want to play against Yo as well. And since Kaku and Lee haven't played yet, that might be doable. Actually, I want to play the sensei too.

Getting artsy with Pizzicato Five and Hisashi Tenmyouya

I've heard a fair amount of Pizzicato Five's musical works and I'm pretty fond of it. I found a video of them performing "It's a Beautiful Day." I also found a bunch of their videos at YouTube. They're a bit weird, I must say.

I'm not a big traditional art guy or anything, but I find Hisashi Tenmyouya's work to be quite likable.

何が書いてあ~るの? What's written there?

だれが…?! Who did this?!

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal
I really, really like [Jon], but because I'm shy, I can't say anything.


残念だけど、ボクがウェブサイトで作った冗談だ。 It's just a little joke from a little website that I stumbled upon. (Or is it?)

12/09/2006

Grammar nerd time: subtleties

Several days ago, we learned an interesting grammar construction: -garu, which is used to express the emotions of a third party. It feels rather bizarre, I think, in part because you can only use it for third parties—not yourself and not your audience.

On a tangentially related note, I plugged a couple of sentences using this grammar into Excite, my favorite auto-translation service, to see how well it'd perform. (I do this sometimes because I find it interesting for some reason.) Here's the result:

The two sentences were:
1. 彼はあなたに会いたくながっていますよ。
2. 彼はあなたに会いたがっていませんよ。

Both sentences were translated as "He doesn't want to meet you." While they not incorrect, certain nuances that I noticed between the two were dropped. Here's how I'd literally translate these, just to magnify the differences:

A. He is in a state of wanting not to meet with you.
B. He is not in a state of wanting to meet with you.

It's just a shuffling of the word "not" but there is a subtle difference there, as example A indicates that he actively desires not to meet with you, whereas B simply indicates a lack of a desire to meet. In other words, sentence A is an active negative and sentence B seems more neutral. At least, this is how I interpret this.

It's, of course, a bit much to expect a free online translator to pick up on and express something that subtle. It just crossed my mind. But I'm not sure offhand how this difference can be expressed naturally in translation. ("He wants not to meet with you"? It's quite understandable, I think, but I don't know.)

夫馬先生に助けていただいた

今、学校で勉強中。廣江先生に質問しようと思っていたために2階の先生の部屋へ行った。三人の女性の先生が座って話したり働いたりしていた。入ってきたのに、先生は気付かなくて話し続けていた。

「あの~、すみません。」と言ったら、夫馬(ふま)先生という先生をちょっとびっくりさせちゃったが、みんな笑った。「今日、廣江先生はいらっしゃいますか。」今日、休みだって。そっか~。でも夫馬先生がボクの質問を答えるのを買って出てくださった。質問は2つあった。1つ目は「によって」と「により」と「で」の意味についてだったが、2つ目は「つつある」という表現についてだった。説明はすばらしくて分かりやすかったと思う。「本当に助かりました!」

でも、夫馬先生がボクの質問を答えてくださったことって、今日の2回目だったのに、まだボクが名乗り出ていない!失礼~。

12/08/2006

What's the world coming to? Where's the drive?

I'm playing truant for a few minutes. Yup, class just started but I'm sitting here alone in the student computer lab stalling for time. I was a bit late already, and all that's waiting for me upstairs if I rush is a kanji quiz that I forgot to study for. So I took a slightly slower-than-normal route to class, listening to music and enjoying the cool weather.

I fear the next two hours won't be the most enjoyable due to the terribly dry content, but alas. After class, I have a radio station appointment (viewing only, probably) and then a Go match with Lee. After that, they will probably be some late-night "smashing" as well.

Well, time to head up.

Update (10AM): It's ironic that the subject that we're discussion is drive today, as I have a complete lack of it. I'm actually not feeling so hot today, I think I'm starting to get a bit sick in the throat, and I didn't have time to eat breakfast. Thus, I'm conversing my energy (no good to get totally ill around the third hour) and playing bump-on-a-log today. Though it probably doesn't seem like it to those in class, I'm in a fine good. I expect that the class will become less dry from here as we begin to discuss facets of the grammar from the textbook's essay. Actually, I guess that about the same amount of dryness, but it's dryness that I'm far more interested in.

Update (11AM): Nope. No good. The lesson was dry and, with my motivation at an all-time low, I opted to sit and doodle, as I am wont to do (though I've gotten much better at it). Despite trying not to look too out of it, I was called on three times, though—the first two times back-to-back. I was not searching for the answers in the essay as I was expected to (outside of a perfunctory effort) and the entire exercise only served to slow the pace of the lesson. I appreciate what she was trying to do, but it wasn't happening today. I don't really like it when bump-on-a-log students slow things down like that, so I feel a bit bad about that, buy, hey, Brian Yamamoto himself said that everyone's allowed a bad day sometimes, so I'm going to coast through this one.

You know, I miss Minna no Nihongo. New Approach is too geared in a direction that I'm not particularly interested in going in and that's affecting my drive. Today, I've just been feeling particularly rebellious, but it's been affecting me day-to-day too. My hatred of academia, which I mentioned before, is seeping back in and I need to get it checked with the quickness, see. But for today ...

Update (12PM): Okay, I think I've gotten myself recentered here. Funnily enough, I think that the moment that did it was when Hiroe-sensei asked if we knew what the word "tameiki" means and, to help demonstrate, I let out this extended deep-from-the-soul sigh. I think it actually helped a considerable amount. I ended up holding the face for a while too, partly because of real frustration and partly to add to the moment, if you will. I think I was able to let loose about 30% to 50% of the anti-movitation that I'd held until that point. Good thing, too, because I came that close to skipping the fourth period altogether.

Right now, it's lunchtime. Once I put something in my stomach, I expect to feel better and perhaps a bit sleepy, as the winter-like weather is in full effect.

Update (2PM): Well, I made it through. The day gradually brightened for me, fortunately. Though, I suppose, the day wasn't really dark before. But oh well. Now I can look forward to my radio station appointment and my match with Lee. And later on, I've got a Wii party appointment. I would like to make to the radio station, really. After that expect that there will be "smashing" of the "brothers" sort, if you get drift. It'll be "super," see. Sorry.

12/07/2006

Radio update

Okay, I don't know what is going on anymore. Now, according to Yo, apparently I'm not going on the air tomorrow but am going with Yo to observe Susu and her friend. This is becoming maddening, as I don't know what's going on. But I'm going to be prepared to be on the air anyway. (After all, we did a mike test.) At the very least, we should be on next week. And the stuff about my own show is still quite solid, as that came from the station's general manager herself.

12/06/2006

ラジオのジョンが生まれる予定(修正) | Gonna be on the radio today! (Update)

今日、ボクがラジオに出る予定になっている。FM Okazakiの予定だよ。スクールメートのススさんは自分の新しい番組を作って、今日から始めるそうだ。ボクはクラスメートのヨウさんと一緒ゲストとして参加する。放送が面白いはずだから、ぜひできれば聞いてください。3時半に始まるかもしれない、でもちょっと分からない。

Apparently, I'm going to be on the radio today. On FM Okazaki, that is.

A schoolmate, Susu, is having the inaugural broadcast of her new program today. I volunteered to be a guest a couple of weeks ago. That was pretty much the last I'd heard of it until Yo contacted me last night:

[21:48] ヨウ: jon
[21:48] ヨウ: don't forget, tomorrow
[21:49] Jonathan: ...
[21:49] ヨウ: we have a radio party....
[21:49] ヨウ: in Okazaki FM
[21:49] Jonathan: What?
[21:49] ヨウ: pm 3:30
[21:49] Jonathan: Radio party?
[21:49] Jonathan: I don't recall hearing of this.
[21:49] ヨウ: ya...susu san will be the host tomorrow
[21:49] ヨウ: for 30 mins
[21:50] Jonathan: I see.
[21:50] Jonathan: You're going too?
[21:50] ヨウ: of course
[21:50] Jonathan: え~~ ... I hadn't heard of this!


So Yo and I shall do our best. I hope that I can get a copy of the broadcast. It aims to be a comedy classic, even if it's for all the wrong reasons.

Update: There was some miscommunication. Today was just a trial run. The real broadcast will be on Friday at 3:30 PM (which should be 12:30 AM back in Houston, for the record). We weren't broadcast, but we sat in the booth and practiced. The show is going to be run by Susu and her friend, and Yo and I will be guests, possibly for the next three Fridays. But it seems that this opportunity will likely branch into me having my own radio program for 30 minutes per week, as Susu and her friend will soon be leaving the school. More on that later. By the way, you can listen to and (kind of) watch the broadcast on FM Okazaki's live feed page.

修正:訛伝【かでん】だった。今日は練習だけだった。本番は金曜日の3時半だよ。すまない。ボクとヨウさんはゲストとして出る予定。多分次の3週の金曜日に出る。楽しみにしてね!その後、ボクの番組になるかもしれないと言われているよ。後でもっと説明する。それに、FM Okazakiのライブ中継で聞いたり見たりできる!

Basketball tournament #2 | 第2バスケットボール大会

There's another basketball tournament coming up next week. That was fast. Well, after the disaster that was the previous tournament, I think I'll sit this one out. Plus it's cold now. But I plan to go watch.

来週、バスケットボール大会が行われるそうだ。はやいな!でも、前の大会に出て下手すぎちゃったから、今回出ないつもりだ。それに、とても寒くなった。とにかく、見に行くつもり。

12/05/2006

これとThat

来週、渡辺先生の授業ではディベート大会が行うことになっている。第一印象(いんしょう)は「グループワークなんて、嫌だ!」ということだったが、だんだん面白くなってきた。今、来週のディベートに楽しみしている。

だんだん元気が出しにくくなってきた。毎学期末はいつもそうだね。今学期をあきらめていないけど、来学期の勉強仕方をもう考え始めた。今学期のはじめは本当につらかった。前の授業仕方と比べると、中級の勉強は全然違う。新しい方法に慣れるのはたくさん時間がかかっちゃった。次の2週間の休み、大切に復習したり準備(じゅんび)したり予習したりするつもりなのに、ゆっくり休むことも大切なんだ。ボクの状態はだんだんよくなってきていそうなんじゃないかと思う。

A student got hit by a car the other day. He was on his bicycle in front of Daiso and an elderly lady drove out of the parking lot right into him and knocked him off of his bike onto the hood of her car. He sustained only minor injuries, apparently, and didn't even bother to obtain her contact information. His glasses broke but he had a backup pair. He said that it was partly his own fault for, I suppose, not paying enough attention. You have to pay attention, that's for sure. He was sore, but I don't believe that his play with the Wii he bought the day before was affected too much. NOTE: This student was not Brian Yamamoto. Repeat: not Brian Yamamoto.

Speaking of glasses, I need some new glasses.

新しいメガネを買ったほうがいいと思う。

The lack of space for graves is said to be a big problem in Japan. Personally, I feel that gravesites are not the best use of land, especially in a place as hideously jam-packed as Japan is. But, alas.

At last! Currently, my mother intends to come visit me this spring during my two-week spring break, if you will. And she wants to go to Tokyo too! I'll finally get to see Tokyo. I'll tell you, this kind of spurs me to improve my conversational abilities, as I don't want any problems when we go. I want smooth sailing. And to prove, of course, that my parents' help is being put to good use. And I've got to introduce her to everybody here too.

やっと~!母は来年の春休みの間にボクに訪問(ほうもん)しに日本へ来るつもりだそうだよ!それに、東京へも行きたいって!ボクはやっと東京へ行く機会(きかい)があるようだね!うれしい、うれしい~!このニュースを聞くと、日本語進歩をぜひ続けていきたい気持ちが強くなる。旅行中に問題がないようにするため。また、両親にボクがもらった応援が無駄(むだ)じゃないのを教示(ひょうじ)するため。知っている人にも紹介したいよ!

今日の発表できなった授業で作った例文は:
「ヨウさんは昨日一日中お酒を飲んでいたために、
 仕事を辞めさせられることになったらしい。」
それはいけない、ヨウさん!

三河おっさんはよっと新しいブログポストを作った

12/04/2006

Requested post translations (with bonus typos!)

There was a request for an English synopsis of a trio of Japanese posts that I made a few days ago and I said that I'd do it. I did the one the about the trip to Kourankei and added a blurb about my final JLPT 2 level class, but I didn't do the third one because I'm really tired right now and the focus of it is just me whining about my weak conversation ability and such. The English is pretty dry and probably full of typos, but if I hadn't done this right now, I wouldn't have done it. Sorry about the delay.

It's a bit tough having a readership that consists of two separate languages sometimes. But don't worry: I won't write anything important in Japanese only.

Now ... must sleep.

Go in Houston preparation and Go software | ヒューストンでの囲碁と囲碁ソフト

I recently ran into someone named Oenava at a Go discussion board and, when I checked out his blog, I discovered that he's a Houstonian about my age in a local Go club. Looks like I'll have a place to play Go when I get back in late 2007 or 2008. (He likes photography too.)

Also, I'd like to look into obtaining some Go software. AI Igo 2003 looks pretty good. But there's an interesting-looking GBA game too, based off of Hikaru no Go. And if and when I have a DS, I can play it portably.

最近、Oenavaという男性にインターネットで初めて会った。彼はヒューストンに住んでいる囲碁が好きな人だそうだよ。いいな!帰国してから、もう囲碁の相手がいそうだね。

その上、囲碁のコンピューターソフトが欲しくなった。AI囲碁2003がやさそうなんじゃかいかと思う。でも、面白そうな『ヒカルの碁』のゲームボーイ囲碁ゲームもある。DSを買ったらこのゲームをどこでもできるね。

No stupid Wii puns from me, thank you

The other night, I had a finally chance to play with the Nintendo Wii. I don't have any time to write too much about it, but I don't really have much to say either. It was awesome. Most of the comments that I've seen online about it pretty much sum up how I feel about it pretty well. Everything worked swimmingly. And importantly, it was fun.

We played Wii Sports and the new WarioWare collection of minigames. As I've read, the bowling in Sports is pretty spot on (I lost by a couple of points to Kaku) and rather eradicates the desire to visit an actual bowling alley, and the boxing is tough to control. WarioWare was quite delightful. I did pretty well, too. (A ninja character within it actually used "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu," which wildly surprised me. I guess it's not confined to Naruto.*) All in all, it was indeed great party fun. Especially amusing was Kaku, who was bouncing and jumping all over the room, swinging the controller wildly. Gabe and Tycho would have approved.

I'm most looking forward to Super Smash Bros. X. Oh man, yeah. I'm pleased to see the Wii doing very well. I think it will be good for the industry.

Anywho, the party was a get-together for the sake for those brave folks who took the JLPT yesterday. I didn't take it. I couldn't pass level two right now and that's the lowest level of any real meaning. Plus I rather despise the JLPT (and tests in general, right now) and am not inclined to take such a troublesome test for little to no reason. Next year, though, I'll have no choice. I hear that Hiroe-sensei met everyone at the train station to wish them well. Good show, there. If I'd been in Okazaki Sunday morning, I'd have liked to do the same.

* And speaking of Naruto, just what the freak is with the anime filler ending next spring? Pathetic. Really, just sad. And a noticeable amount of material in the manga has been lame as well recently. Alas.

Godzilla vs. Barkley

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


The match-up you've been waiting for.

12/03/2006

Nagoya, Star Trek IV, Goodfellas, and nabe with Mikawa Ossan

I ended up spending most of the weekend with Mikawa Ossan. (Poor, poor me.) He was off to Nagoya yesterday for some shopping and invited me to join him. We've never been to Nagoya together before and he said that he'd show me some cool places too. So we met at Kanayama and we visited a number of stores and, for the first time, I stopped by the Kokusai (International) Center, where I posted an ad for a Japanese-English language partner on a whim. I saw a Wii display too.

After that, we decided to return to Mikawa Ossan's bachelor pad and he decided that he would make something called "nabe" for dinner. I recommended that we rent a movie as well, since he was making this "nabe" thing into quite a nice-sounding meal. We ended up renting and watching Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and The Goodfellas (after warming up with the first episode of The Goodfeathers from Animaniacs). Both movies were quite good. Though I'd seen ST4 before, it was better than I remembered. (Mikawa Ossan agreed.) The Goodfellas was pretty awesome. I regretfully admit that I've not seen The Godfather yet, though, so we'll we be rectifying that soon. And the nabe was delicious!

It got quite late so I just crashed at Mikawa Ossan's place, where I am current typing this. I need to get home so I can get some studying in this weekend. Though, to be honest, I think I need more spirit-lifting and refreshment than I need studying.

Which works out, see, because tonight, a schoolmate is having a little together for the sake of those brave souls who attempted the JLPT, and I'll be showing my face there tonight. Looking forward to it.

12/01/2006

Go a no-go | 囲碁なし・・・

I didn't get to play Go today after all. My two rivals are both taking Sunday's JLPT test and wanted to study. Shoot. Well, during the fourth hour of class, I got so tired that I could scarcely see straight, so it's all right. I took a nap.

やっぱり、今日は囲碁を打てなかった。だって、2人のライバルは日曜日の日本語能力試験を受ける予定なので、勉強したかった。でも、4時間目の授業で、急にとても眠くなっちゃったから、大丈夫だった。昼寝した。

広瀬香美の離婚 | Kohmi Hirose's divorce

この間、児島先生に聞いたんだけど、僕の大好きな広瀬香美(ひろせこうみ)って歌手は主人と離婚したそうだ。僕は有名人についてニュースに大抵興味があまりないのに、面白いと思っていた。ジョンさんはチャンスがある!って先生が言った。アレッ?そ、そうなんだ~。

The other day, I heard from Kojima-sensei that Kohmi Hirose, one of my very favorite singers, divorced her husband. Generally, I don't care about celebrity news but that was fairly interesting, I suppose. Then Kojima-sensei added that now I have a chance with Hirose. Er, well, yeah, I see ...

11/30/2006

Punctuation

The other day, I asked Hiroe-sensei about Japanese punctuation because, since I arrived here at Yamasa, I've seriously heard barely two words about it at all. Even my textbooks don't have anything to say. His answer was fairly shocking: there are basically only two rules. These are:

1. Use periods.
2. Use the comma between conjoined sentences (...が、...)

Other than that, it just depends on the person writing and on common sense and flow of the sentence.

Man. Well, that's one less headache, at least.

Playing Go with Kaku: the first match

Today, I played Go with my classmate Kaku for the first time. I discovered the other day that she played Go everyday for six years when she was an elementary school student and she was quite happy to come play with me today. I told Lee, who I normally play against, about her today and he was totally shocked. I was so excited before the match that I could scarcely pay attention to the final hour of standard class. How strong would she be? Unfortunately, Lee couldn't come to watch today, but Yo was able to. (Daphne came for a little bit as well.)

Finally we arrived at the Go classroom, set up, and began our match.

Jonathan vs. Kaku: Round One


Playing black, I was able to start out strong, like I did last week.

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


I quickly made two strong formations in the lower right corner. At this point, I figured that I would probably be able to take it a bit easy after all. She complimented me several times. But then ...!

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


Kaku caught me being sloppy in the upper left and captured three of my stones and her first territory as well. It was a wake-up call. Indeed, as the game progressed, she became stronger and stronger and began capturing more and more areas. It was all coming back to her! She made me get serious. And worried. It turned into quite the war. Here's how the final board looked:

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


We started at the lower right, moved toward the lower left, then to the upper left. I captured most of the lower half of the board but she ending up dominating the upper left and center strip because I focused all of my energies on the upper middle, an area that Kaku owned and seemed untouchable but that I eventually won. The upper right was mine as well.

Toward the end, the main Go sensei started checking in on us. He's a kind upper middle-aged gentleman who gives Lee and me advice from time to time. In the middle of a game, I generally prefer that he not interfere in the middle of games since his advice, while helpful, changes the flow (or perhaps, the purity) of the game. But today, his appearance was extremely welcome.

You see, we've been playing Go incorrectly all of this time. Just a bit. We thought that you couldn't play within an area surrounded by the enemy's stones when, in fact, you very much can but it's generally not recommended to do so without good reason. Well, shoot! And you don't always need to take the enemy's stones to have them count in the end. And on top of that, we've been determining the winner of games totally wrong. Lee and I always just went by whether it seemed black-owned areas or white-owned areas seemed more populous. Wrong. To determine the winner, you have to rearrange things a bit.

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


I've seen this sort of thing before but had no idea how to do it. I saw it done and I still don't, really. Just a bit. But what seemed to be a tie game to me before turned out, somehow, to be my victory by 58 moku. Apparently, my large area in the upper middle and right helped a lot even though I'd thought that it wasn't worth it. (Shoot. Now I wonder who actually won those games I played with Lee until now. Well, it's unimportant.)

Kaku played quite admirably, and I didn't do too shabbily myself. I pulled off some pretty good strategy, I think. When I play Go, I'm half-experimenting because I wonder what will happen in this case or in that case. Today, when there were occasional delays, I was just dying for the next move to be made so that I could see the results of various ideas, especially when I was fighting for the upper middle.

I like Go.

Kaku wants to play a lot more, so it seems that I have another Go partner. Next, I've gotta get Yo playing. He seems to be learning a lot just by watching.

Update: I'd like to thank the fine folks at Go Discussions for helping me to figure this out. I posted a question about this game there and have received some very useful responses. One particular interest was this image that the poster "oenava" created using one of my images above:

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal
RED dots are dead stones; PURPLE dots are Black's points;
the YELLOW dot is neutral; and GREEN dots are White's points


Looking at this, I can much better understand what happened and how I was able to win. Killing those white stones in the upper middle, something that I fought hard for and sacrificed area in the left middle, turned out to be a very good move after all. I am pleased by this. I can't wait to tell Lee all of this and play against him again. But maybe I'll let Kaku and Lee play today. But can I sit there just watching the whole time, though? ("Oo! Lemme do it, lemme do it!" Heh heh.)

11/29/2006

日本語能力試験2級文法選択授業最後

今日の日本語能力試験2級文法選択授業は最後だった。あの試験が今週末だから。いい授業だったから、残念だ。今年、僕は2級を受けないが、日本語では特に文法に興味がなんとなくあるから、2級文法の選択をとることにした。役に立ったと思う。

今日、とても面白い文法を勉強した。「っけ」ということだった。すごいよね、これは。多分聞いたことがあるが、全然分からなかっただろう。

ありがとうございました、小嶋先生。また先生に教えていただけるようになるといいと思う。

その時に:「お名前は・・・こ~・・・小嶋先生でしたっけ?」

(English synopsis: I'm just going on about this day being the final class of my JLPT level 2 grammar class. I thought it was interesting and helpful and I like Kojima-sensei a lot.)

テストの後で

今日のテストは惨事(さんじ)だった。書くテストは最後まで大丈夫だった。最後のセクションの4番目の質問に起こらせて、その時から集中できなかった。聴解テストも残念だった。書くテストの怒りがまだあって、本当に難しかった。でもラジカセの前に座っていたので、会話の人の声が初めてはっきり聞けた。それはよかったが、テストの内容では分からなかったところがだんだん多くなったし、話をなかなか覚えられなかったし、会話が複雑(ふくざつ)で長くなっちゃったので集中できなったし、つらかった。

残念だけど、あまりかまわないようにしている。一番大切なことはほとんどの教えていただくことを覚えていたり使えたり頭の中によく置いておいたりすることなんじゃないかと思う。ミスもまだ多いし、忘れちゃうことも多いし、日本語の能力はまだ弱いし、自信にあまりよくないね。でも、だれだって試験に失敗したことがある。試験に失敗するのに、それは日本語が下手だと表されていないと思う。関係があるが、そんなに強くない。テストはパズルみたいんじゃないか?

しかし・・・日本語を中心に自分のことを大切に考えたほうがいいじゃん。僕は聴解は問題だと思う。今、それを考えている。実際に、今学期中、いろんな問題ができたが、ゆっくり考えて直す時間やエネルギーはあまりなくなってきた。スランプみたいだね。大丈夫だ。確かに、「あきらめたい~」気持ちがある。でも、僕が死ぬまでに、しちゃダメだ。それは変かもしれないのに。今までは7ヶ月ぐらいしかないね。

ああ、長くなっちゃった。もう遅い。それじゃ、また!

香嵐渓へ!友達と!

土曜日、たくさんのスクールメートと足助町の香嵐渓へ行った。バスで行くことにしたので、午前8時に12人ぐらいの人が集まって自転車で一緒に東岡崎駅へ行った。距離は分からないが、行くのは1時間ぐらいかかった。僕のクラスメートのホアキンさんに隣に座っていた。ホアキンさんと話す機会はちょっと少ないから、たくさんしゃべっていて、楽しかった。バス内の外人はちょっとうるさかったけどね。うるさすぎるようになると、ダフニさんにしかられるかもしれないようになった。よくできた、ダフニさん。ヘヘ。

The other day, a large group schoolmates took the bus to a famous (and not too far) place named Kourankei to look at the fall leaves around the mountain and river. I sat next to Joaquin on the bus and we had a nice long conversation for the first time in a while.

でも、バスが香嵐渓に近づき始めたら、道が込んでいた。ダフニさんや山本ブライアンさんとヨウさんが急にバスを降りて、歩道を歩き始めた。僕も降りて歩きたかったが、バス運転手はドアを閉めてゆっくり続けた。どうしようかなぁと思っていた。その3人を見て、歩いたほうが速いような気がした。それに、バスの中は本当に暑かった!それで、物を集めてバスの前を行って運転手に「私もこちらで降りさせていただけませんか」と聞いてみた。Jクラスの先生はいらっしゃらなかったのに、当時先生がなんとなくうれしくなったかもしれないと僕が思う。ところで、運転者は降りさせてくれた。敬語大成功!!(先生と言えば、Jクラスの瀧川先生も別にいらっしゃったのに、出会わなかった。出会えばよかったのにね。)

As the bus neared Kourankei, the road got crowded, so Joaquin, Daphne, and Yo got off the bus and just started walking up the road. I wanted off too but I was a bit slow and the bus driver closed the door, so I asked in the most polite way if he'd open the door for me as well. He found himself unable to resist me.

僕は香嵐渓へ行ったことが2,3回あるので、かなり知っている。でも、紅葉(もみじ)を見に行った人が大勢(おおぜい)いて、本当に新しい経験だった。もちろん、紅葉が多くて、きれいだった。ヒューストンには山も全然ないけど、日本へ来てから、山がとても好きになった。たくさん色の葉がある山って、すばらしいんじゃないかな。

I've been to Kourankei two or three times but that was during summer time when there were no fall colors and no people, so it was a pretty new experience. I've come to really like mountains a lot.

でも、香嵐渓以外って車がなければ何があるの?僕たちなら分からないので2時ぐらい岡崎へ戻ってきた。でも、帰るのは2時間かかってしまった。それに、知らなかったおばさんに隣に座っていた。でも、すぐすやすや寝た。10回起きたのに、毎回もう一度すぐ寝た。聞いた話によれば、本当のスクールメートが寝ていた。僕はね、バス内にとても寝やすい。

We only toured the fairly small main area before deciding to head back. I slept the whole way back, except for waking up a good 10 times because I was worried about missing my stop (as if the others wouldn't have woken me up).

岡崎に着いたら、みんな別れて色々場所に行った。僕はヨウさんと山本ブライアンさんとダフニさんとローダさんといいインド料理を食べに行った。山本ブライアンさんが連れて行ってくれたが、着いたら、1回そこで食べたことがあるのを思い出した。いいレストランだといい始めた。僕は胡桃(くるみ)ナンだけにした。おいしかった、それは!レストランの名前を忘れちゃったのに、もう一回そこで食べに行きたい。

After this, Brian, Yo, Daphne, Rhoda, and I ate at an Indian restaurant in town. I'd been there before once and like it a lot. I ordered the walnut nan, a new item, and it was delicious.

最後に、以下の写真はあの日の一番面白い写真かましれないと言われている。

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal
ダフニさんはホアキンさんとアイスクリームを分け合ってあげた。
Daphne shares her ice cream with Joaquin.


以上だよ!

11/28/2006

PSA: cheating

Just FYI, the Japanese word for "cheating" is cunning—or rather, kanningu.

Love and Berry comes to DS

You know that princess-y video game that you often see young girls rabidly slamming on the buttons on at Seiyu? That game, Love and Berry, is coming to DS, reports 4 color rebellion. This was a good move by Nintendo, given the apparent ferventness of girls' adoration for this game. There were reportedly over one million preorders for it. (If you visit the site, check out the amusing comment by Ebina-Nick.)

I just thought it was some dumb grocery store game. But I was wrong, as it's some dumb grocery store game on the Nintendo DS.

Which I still don't have, for the record.

11/27/2006

たくさん勉強

たった今、家に帰ったところだ。授業が終わってから、英会話の学生と一緒にAEONのフェスタガーデンという食べ放題レストランで食事したりしゃべったりしていた。学生にごちそうしてもらった!ありがたいことだったから、授業の時間を少し延ばしてあげた。

学生と別れたら、学校へ戻って、二階のベンチに座って、ずっと宿題をしていた。そこに座ったら、いろいろな先生が会えるようになるから、いい勉強になるかもしれないと思う。でも、渡辺先生からの先週の宿題を全く忘れちゃった!遅く出しちゃって、何回も謝った。本当に、バカな間違いだった。何となく、渡辺先生の授業ではバカな間違いがたくさんあって、僕があまりよくない学生と先生が思っているはずだ。

今晩の勉強をしている時、廣江先生に「しなければならないことの重大を考えて、順番にするの("organization")は日本語で何と言いますか」と聞いたけど、僕が思っていたよりも難しい質問みたいだった。廣江先生と羽田(はだ)先生と小柳津(おやいず)先生が一緒に相談して「計画性(けいかくせい)がない」に決めた。ありがとう、先生。

羽田先生と言えば、何か面白いことがあった。羽田先生が近づいてきたら、左手の薬指の指輪に気がついた。「先生、もうすぐ結婚する予定になったんですか」と聞いた。でも、本当は違う。普通の指輪と言った。羽田先生はきれいだから、もしかしたら薬指に指輪をしたらあまりナンパされないようになるかもしれないね。(笑)

小嶋先生に聞いたんだけど、最近Yahoo! Japanで広瀬香美(ひろせこうみ)の歌がダウンローダしたりできるそうだ。そごいだよ。是非、ダウンロードしてみたい。ところで、小嶋先生が近づくすぐ前、広瀬香美の歌を聞いていた。「甘いお話」はステキだね!

佐野(さの)先生に悩みをつい少し伝えて、いいアドバイスをいただいた。その後、僕が「マツケンサンバⅢ」という歌を聞いていた時、ちょっと座って踊り始めると佐野先生が通って、見ちゃって、ちょっと恥ずかしかった。でも、その歌をきくと、つい踊り始める。歌の名前を教えたら、先生がびっくりして、笑い出した。面白いって言った。それは、ありがとうね。

夫馬(ふま)先生にも質問を答えていただいた。夫馬先生にはまだ教えていただいていないのに、「推測」の読み方を教えてくださった。多分、先生の部屋に戻ってから、廣江先生に「あの変な学生に質問をされてしまいました」と言ったかもしれない。(笑)

今週の水曜日、今学期の二つ目のテストがある。ちょっと復習するといいかなぁ。でも、それは明日する。今、とても疲れている。

Notice

You know, the other day in class, we had a brief a discussion on e-mail etiquette. Hiroe-sensei asked which kind of subject line everybody preferred, something like "Notice" or "Notice: Tuesday's meeting moved to Thursday," and half of the class said that they preferred the former, even in a business environment. I was horrified. There's certainly nothing objectively wrong with such a thing, but if someone sends me an e-mail with a subject line saying just "Notice" outside of a casual environment, I reserve the right to smack you upside the head.

11/26/2006

Oops

I just realized a while ago that I prepared for the wrong lesson for a while today. Shoot. Well, when we reach lesson 11 next term, I'll be set.

酒井法子・・・テレビ・・・しまった!

I apparently missed seeing Noriko Sakai on TV today. I am displeased.

今日の午後、酒井法子はテレビに出る予定だったが、たった今知ってしまった。

CX 「あっぱれ!!さんま大教授」
放送日≫11月26日(日) 13:10~13:35


くやしいー。

「おなか、すいてる[の[か]]?」

中級の日本語学生へ、

30分ぐらい前に、「おなか、すいてる?」と「おなか、すいてる?」と「おなか、すいてるのか?」についてJRefというフォーラムで聞いたの。役に立つかなぁと思えば、ちょっと見てね。(説明は英語で書いてあ~る。)

11/25/2006

廣江先生とクラスメートのヨウさん、相談中

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


『ピタゴラスイッチ』という子供の番組を知っていれば、分かるはずだ。ハハ~!

11/24/2006

Menkui, Go, and Asuke

Most of the first hour of class today was sooooo dry and boring. But fortunately it picked up after that and ended up being a fairly interesting day.



This appeared in class today during a second-hour game. This is immensely amusing because Mikawa Ossan just explained the second option, menkui, to me just last night on the phone and so I was able to score a point. Thank you, Mikawa! Ha! Sometimes the universe just comes together, y' know?

My game with Lee today went well. The opening was terrible for me, as I allowed him to get two strong territories on my lower-right side. But I followed up with a large area at the upper-left. The game proceeded very well. We're well matched.


僕は白。Leeは黒。 I played white. Lee played black.


Not bad. Though we kind of proclaimed it a tie, I think that he got a slight lead over me. (He played black.) Thing is, this match was exciting—for both of us. I can totally see why people get into this game so much. The strategy and suspense was quite a rush for both of us. The disappointment of losing an important stone and the thrill of capturing an important stone—there's something there that I've not experienced in a board game before. Plus, I learn a bit each time. It's fun trying out new strategies and seeing what works and what doesn't.

囲碁を打つのは本当面白いと思う。今日、もう1局を打って、楽しかった。僕は白、Leeさんは黒だった。エキサイティングゲームだった!Leeさんは実に強い。それなのに、僕はあまり弱くないよ!1時間以上打っていた。石がたくさん置いてあるようになれば、とても複雑になる。それは一番難しいと思う。囲碁はすばらしいゲームなんじゃない?相手の石をとる気持ちも、相手に石をとられる気持ちも、特別な経験だろう?もっと打ちたい。もっと強くなりたい。

Well, tomorrow, a fairly large group of us is taking a trip to the town of Asuke tomorrow. I've been with Mikawa Ossan a couple of times before, when there were no people around; but this time, the fall leaves will have attracted tons and tons of people, so it will be more beautiful and much less tranquil, I imagine. Takikawa-sensei is actually going with her boyfriend, she said, so maybe we'll run into them. That'd be fun.

明日、スクールメートと足助町の香嵐渓へ行く予定になった。三河おっさんと2,3回行ったことがあるけれど、明日は紅葉を見に行った人が多いだろう。今回の経験は違うはずだ。瀧川先生も行くそうだから、先生に出会うかもしれない。出会えるといいね。

By the way, I asked Hiroe-sensei about Japanese punctuation today after class. There's been nary a word about it since we got here. He said that, basically, there are no set rules outside of the period a couple of comma cases. Other than that, it's personal preference. Now, maybe he simplified that for my sake a bit or something, but that's pretty interesting. But it's about what I'd figured as well. Still, whenever I see "、、、" I just can't help but cringe a bit inside.

Homeless attacks in Okazaki | 岡崎での路上生活者襲撃

Schoolmate Brian Yamamoto points me to a Mainichi newspaper article about youths who are attacking homeless people here in Okazaki.

スクールメートの山本ブライアンは毎日新聞の記事。岡崎市では、中学生か高校生に路上生活者が襲撃されたそうだ。

11/23/2006

授業に間に合わなかった | I was late for class today

今朝、0858に起きちゃった。両親に電話が鳴らなかったら・・・。授業を20分遅れちゃった。初めて!

I woke up at 8:58 this morning. I only woke up then because my father happened to call. I was 20 minutes late for class this morning. The horror!

One more day under a cold, gray sky

It's cold and gray day. Kimochi ga yoku nai ne.

Today, we played a bingo game and I won the prize, a box of candy mushrooms. I won by means of strategy, the same strategy that I'll use to beat my classmate Lee in Go tomorrow after class. (Third time's the charm!) Toward the end of the assignment, I noticed that the little grid representing a bingo board that Hiroe-sensei had drawn on the whiteboard reminded me of a Go board, so I took one of the round black magnets on the board and placed it on the board. Lee followed suit. Eventually, we got a nice little setup going.


Thanks for the shot, Daphne.


After class, I looked an English conversation book that my classmate Kaku bought at Daiso the other day. Very interesting, to say the least. From these books, Japanese folks learn such useful phrases such as "You are too stupid!" and "Will you ask me out on a date?" and "Star Wars directed by George Lucas" [sic] and "I get really excited when I watch soccer on television" (maybe a little too, my friend). There was one more good one, probably the best one, that I'm forgetting. I'll update this post with it later. Update: Got it. "You good for nothing." [sic] If there was an ellipsis, maybe ...

Later on, I played basketball with Daphne over by Aoi Hall. We saw her playing by herself from the fourth floor balcony of Yamasa II and I ran over to get some shots in. Andy joined us a bit too. Man, I can't believe how much I suck now. I guess ten years without touching a basketball will do that to you.

In my conversation class, we were asked one-by-one to offer a decent example of consoling or encouraging someone. As Nose-sensei went around the room, there were pretty typical answers. But for some reason, this is what I ended up saying: "I believe in you, and so no matter how difficult is, don't give up and continue walking this long road!" Of course, I said it a wee bit dramatically. You know how I am. It went over well, though. Nose-sensei said that it was like a scene out of a movie, but because of that, it could feel a bit "cold" to the one I'm speaking to. But it was fun doing that. Have I mentioned that I took acting classes back in the day?

今日の会話選択授業ではのせ先生は慰めたり励ましたりしている例文を言わせた。学生は「ガンバレ!」とか「大丈夫!」とか表現を言っていた。僕はね、「あなたを信じているので、大変でもあきらめないで、この長い道を歩き続けてください!」と言った。おかしいなぁ。のせ先生は、俳優みたいな話し方だったので、相手に寒く感じるかもしれないって言ってくださった。気をつける。楽しかった。

Right now, school-bullying–inspired suicides are a national problem in Japan. I rather feel sorry for the teachers at this point.

11/22/2006

14-Year-Old Mother

I'm watching the drama 14-Year-Old Mother right now. Zoe informed me that it was on. It's my first time watching it though I've heard of it. The biggest thing I noticed is that it's got my boy Namase Katsuhisa in it. This joker's in, I swear, like half of all the popular dramas that air.

I think I might download the raws for this drama and give it a watch. I suppose I'll download the available subtitle files as well to verify my understanding.

オーストリー and Japanese kids' supposed unhappiness

From Japanese blogger Mari:

It's very difficult for me to understand this. I hope it makes sense to you. The Commercial Section of Austrian Embassy in Japan released an official statement that they will change the phonographic writing of Austria from オーストリア(Austria) into オーストリー (Austry) in Japanese. Why? Because people confuse Austria with Australia in the southern hemisphere、they said.


Oookay.

Also, according to one survey, young Japanese folks are the most miserable in the world. (I can believe it.) Young Indians are the happiest.

アンケートの結果によれば、世界中の若い人で日本人は一番うれしくないそうです。皆さんはどう思いますか。

おはよう~

たった今、何となく早く起きちゃった。なんでって聞いたも、答えが来てくれない。それで、「いいよね」って思った、ベッドを出た。もちろん、一つ目の活動はEメールをチェックすること。

11/21/2006

ローダちゃんは大人になったらしい~

今日はクラスメートのローダちゃんの誕生日だそうだね!
ローダちゃん、2X歳になったのは、おめでとう!
特別な日なので、ビールを7本以上飲んでもいい。

Recap time!

Okay, I've been a Wii—er, wee bit quiet recently. Here's a little something to bring you up to date:

Saturday



I attended a concert organized by the Okazaki International Association and held at the Okazaki Civic Center. The performers were as follows: a piano and clarinet duo; two Yamasa students, Gabrielle and Noriko, on piano and guitar, respectively; a harmonica expert with his wife on piano; and a pianist. Gabrielle and Noriko (who sang as well) did very well. I was pretty impressed with them. The song that Gabrielle composed was quite beautiful.

The absolute highlight, though, was the harmonica player. This guy was amazing. He was a Japanese guy but he had lived in America for some time and spoke excellent English and wasn't going back and forth between English and Japanese the whole time. He brought along about a dozen harmonicas, which were set on a little table right beside him. He played many interesting songs of varying natures and could make his harmonica sound like a violin or a mandolin and spent most of the time playing two harmonicas at once and, at various times, played two at a time from a set of three to five, switching several times during the song.

As I sat there watching him, one word to describe this popped into my head and, even now, it's the only word that I can think of to accurately describe his performance: he was pimp. Now, that's not how I generally express myself and I'm not sure that there is precedent for using that word as an adjective like that. Yet ... that gentleman and his performance were straight-up pimp. Awesome.

The lady after him was just as engaging, I felt, though others disagreed. She played the piano and sang. Her performance and her music was very much in the style of musicals, so of course I rather ate it up. Her voice was very strong. I liked her songs a lot.

So after the performances, we were crammed into a small room for after-concert snacks and conversation. It was ridiculously crowded in there. There was a long series of tables taking up most of the room, and as people took food, they stood in front of the tables as they ate, blocking others from the food. Man, that was the most annoying thing. That, and I didn't feel like speaking Japanese that evening. I was in one of my unsociable moods. And of course, I was forced to speak to the musicians. Like I had much to say to them. "This is Jonathan. His Japanese is very good" was how I was introduced, but it sure wasn't that night. It was embarrassing and frustrating.

I decided to leave with Brian, Yo, and schoolmate Chin. But I lingered around a bit too far and ended up being trapped as a guitarist introduced himself, rather making my exit a bit difficult, since I was standing very near him. By the time he was done, I found that those three had already left me behind and headed for home. Cold, man. So I sat outside for a new minutes wondering what to do. Ultimately, I decided to head back inside and stick around.

Best decision of the night.

I got back inside and spoke a bit with one of the younger Japanese folks that I kind of know, and that helped me relax a fair amount. Soon thereafter, the party started wrapping up and I helped rearrange the room into its standard conference room appearance. I got a lot of leftover food—ham, crackers, orange juice, lettuce, rice, and more. Sweet.

After that, we went to karaoke. Watanabe-san and I finally got to sing Noriko Sakai's "Aoi Usagi" together. I sang a variety of songs, from Madonna (not my selection, but I joined in) to MISIA to Kohmi Hirose (I think she's my favorite singer) to "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin (if you know me, you know that I put my heart into that one, and my performance was very well regarded, I'll have you know). It was quite good.

Sunday



Nothing. I chatted with my friends back home, including Shark Bait, who needs to know her face more often. It rather breaks one's hearts not to be able to play on the Wii together with them. Of course, Twilight Princess isn't exactly a party game. But watching my friend Eien Kunan play games is always entertaining.

I also saw my first Go and sumo programs. But I wrote about that, didn't I?

Monday



Yesterday evening, my class, including four of our five sensei, got together for dinner at Festa Garden, a buffet restaurant in Aeon that I ate at once at the end of my first term here with M class. In terms of seating, we were essentially broken up into two groups. I was lucky enough to be seated with the ever cute Kaku to my left and highly adorable Takikawa-sensei to my right. Unfortunately, the view to the front was less than appetizing, but you can't have everything, I suppose. Only Asama-sensei and classmate Attila didn't make it.

Speaking of Takikawa-sensei, I have to relate one story. During dinner, we began talking about Halloween costumes and little green men, mainly in bad Japanese, of course. (This conversation was comedy gold, by the way.) Daphne and I start talking about costumes and I start a sentence by saying that Halloween is a day on which you people don't wear normal clothes. Takikawa-sensei whips toward me with this look of surprise and mild horror. "You don't wear clothes?!" she asks incredulously. She asks this with such earnestness and Takikawa-ness that the humor value is multiplied a good two- or three-fold. Daphne's all like, "I don't know about your Houston Halloweens, but things are a bit different in California." Poor Takikawa-sensei is just falling apart from laughter (as am I) and probably embarrassment as well. If you know Takikawa-sensei, you know what a priceless moment this was.

Everyone's been going on about how I'm from space too. (I think it's a ruse by schoolmate Ultraman Tik Ka, who actually is from space.) By the way, if you look up the word for alien in some electronic dictionaries, the definition is "alien; little green men."

J class photo


Update: Also, I accompanied Kaku to get her bike and we returned to the nearby bike area to find that everyone had already left ahead of us. Well, fine! Kaku and I enjoyed a nice ride back and even stopped at Seiyu for a bit of shopping. After escorting her home, I too went home.

By the way, I felt very good all day Monday. That hasn't happened for a while. Usually I burn out by the end of the school day, but I actually felt better and better as the day went.

Today



Well, today was a pretty good day. I woke up at 8:48 this morning and still managed to make it to class on time. I'm so awesome. I was helped out by the fact that we met in the first-floor library instead of our fourth-floor classroom. This was because we had our first speaking test today. I wasn't all too worried about—in part because I'm worrying a lot less about tests recently (due to their lack of meaning in the big scheme of things and accurate skill-measuring capacities) and in part because speaking tests aren't a big part of our grade anyway—and managed to do fairly well, I think. Good enough for me, at least.

So ... that's about it.

(Except to say that I want a fiber drink.)

11/20/2006

足助観光協会など

来週、友達と足助町の足助観光協会へ行く予定です。三河おっさんと2,3回行ったことがありますけれど、初めてクラスメートと行けるようになりましたね。楽しみです。

明日の夜、Jクラスの先生と学生はみんな夕食を食べに行きます。それも楽しみですね。

「以心伝心」と「一期一会」

YouTubeにアップロードしてあるNHKの「くらしの漢字」という番組を観たところです。トピックは「以心伝心」と「一期一会」という日本語の表現でした。いい勉強になったんじゃないかと思います。長時間結婚している夫婦はよく以心伝心でコミュニケートできますね。

11/19/2006

Ka-chow!

A surprising amount of Japanese-speaking folks have found my blog by plugging in "ka-chow!" in their search engines. I shall now briefly attempt to explain this term, from the recent Pixar film Cars, in Japanese to these poor souls.

ジョナサンのとつげき英会話!

ピクサーの「カーズ」という映画を観たことはありますか。あれば、「Ka-chow!」という表現を聞いたでしょう?それは、分かりましたか。実際には、この言葉は無意味で、本当の英語の言葉ではありません。更に、別の英語の言葉に似ません。「カーズ」で謳い文句として使われました。その上、チック・ヒックスというキャラクターの「Ka-jigga!」という表現も同じですよ!しかし、「Ka-jigga!」はなんとなく「Ka-chow!」より気持ちがよくないようです。チック・ヒックスと同じようですね。


良い勉強になったら、ぜひ言ってください。

不満足です

僕は日本語能力進歩の焦りと不満をコントロールしなければいけないのです。

囲碁番組! | Go TV show

ワーッ!テレビの囲碁テレビ番組を見つけたばかりだけど、見ているところだ。プロの勝負。

I just found a Go television show and I'm watching it now. It's a pro match.

修正:もう終わった。今、「carry」と「bring」について教えている番組が放送されている。日本語学生にも役に立つそうだ。

Update: It's over. Now there's a show teaching English on. I hear that these are useful for us Japanese students too.

11/17/2006

今日の囲碁の一局

今日、授業が終わったら、囲碁教室へクラスメートのリーさんと打ちに行った。クラスメートのヨウさんも見に来てくれた。勝負は1時間もかかった。はじめには、僕の白石が強かったのに、リーさんの黒石なんてだんだんつよくなっちゃた。結果は僕はリーさんにまた負けちゃった。でも、リーさんは一生懸命戦わなかったらね。本当に楽しかった。僕はね、「今まではテストだった!来週から、スーパーお父様として打ち始めるぞ!」って言った。その上、見ていたヨウさんは「ワーッ!スーパーお父様の囲碁のやり方は複雑(ふくざつ)だが、すばらしい!」と思ってくれたかもしれないよね。

これから、先学期のクラスメートの山本ブライアンのアパートへ遊んだり食べたりしに行くところだから、ちょっと失礼するね。

11/15/2006

At school until late, but not 'cause of detention (this time)

Just got back from school. Yes, it's almost eleven o'clock. After classes, I came home to rest, eat, relax, and catch up on a few e-mails, then I returned to the school around 8:30. It's nice studying here late because it's totally dead and you get to talk to the occasional sensei as well. (Now that's conversation practice.) Tonight, I sat next the stairs on the first floor, which gave a few sensei a shock (especially Yokozawa-sensei, who was typing on his cell phone as he walked down and didn't notice me). Boo.

I intended to stay a bit longer because I've yet to prepare for tomorrow's classes, but I was forced to leave by some older guy who was shutting down the place (though a couple of sensei, including Hiroe-sensei, were still around). I thought he'd asked me to turn off the lights when I was done, but he'd asked me to wrap up by the time he was done and seemed a bit upset to see that I wasn't packed up when he was ready to go. I was a bit annoyed at this and at him a bit, but outside, I apologized to him Japanese-style and he softened up and asked where I was from. Ah, a good place, he said when I answered. Be careful going home, he said amicably. Well, that ended up good.

My neighbor is leaving soon and is apparently wrapping up a fairly loud get-together next door. It's rather annoying having all these SILAC folks talking outside my door but I'll just chalk this up as us getting even.

What foreign country would you like to visit?

I just discovered the results of an interesting little questionnaire entitled "What foreign country would you like to visit?" Italy is popular and America is especially popular with the boys in that class. Hm.

More toilet-related goodness

Last night, I discovered that Yamasa's first floor restroom has a western-style toilet with a heated seat. I've said it before and I'll say it again: happiness is a warm toilet seat.

Yeah, I'm going on about toilets again. But it does seem that Yamasa students like to blog about toilets ...

11/14/2006

勉強だけの一日

疲れている!夜10時までYAMASAで一階の教室で一人で勉強していたから。初めてだった。実は、楽しかった。それに、よくて、役に立つ勉強だった。電気を消して暗い教室で勉強していたので、教室の前を通っていた人は僕があまり見えなくて、2回廊下の電気を消してしまった。「あの、すみません。」

Man, I'm pooped. I studied at school until about 10 PM tonight so that I could be and feel more caught up on everything. It was quite enjoyable. I sat in a darkened classroom and studied alone. Many people didn't even see me and a couple even tried to turn out the lights in the hallway outside, which left me totally in the dark.

ある時、渡辺先生に宿題を出しに先生の部屋へ行って、敬語を使う機会だと思った。それで、よござわ先生に「渡辺先生はもうお帰りになりましたか?」と聞いた。よござわ先生はびっくりして、僕の敬語をほめてくださった。うれしい!

I went up to the sensei's office once looking for Watanabe-sensei or Hiroe-sensei or any other J class sensei but they were all gone. I asked Yokozawa-sensei if Watanabe-sensei had already gone home, but I used keigo and he seemed pretty shocked and pleased by that and complimented it as well. Sweet.

別の時、教室から外で困っていた学生課の川北さんを見た。ビルの後ろにある自転車乗り場が狭くて、自転車がとれないようだった。速く外へ手伝いに走った。この話はあまり面白くないけど、走り方は面白かったから、これを書いた。じゃ、僕だけわかるはずだ。

Later in the evening, I could see Kawakita-san of the gakuseika trying to dislodge her bike from the amalgamation of bikes outside the classroom that I was studying in, so I rushed outside to help her. She apparently lives close-by. How convenient. You wonder why this is worth mentioning? Well, the way in which I dashed to assist her was quite amusing. But you had to be there.

おやすみ。

11/13/2006

Random thoughts

You know, furigana very often seems to be on the words that I do know and missing from the words that I don't.

よく分かっている言葉にはふりがながついているけど、よく分からない言葉にはふりがながあまりないように気がついた。クソッ!

Today, all we did was cover a whole lot of grammar and vocabulary. I loved it. It was just nonstop.

今日の授業では、ずっと文法と語彙を勉強していた。とても好きだった!とまらなかった!

My English student is very happy with my lessons but wants to decrease them to once a week instead of twice because of another weekly appointment that's popped up.

僕が英語を教えている学生は、レッソンが好きだが、1週間2回より1回にしたいと言った。別の予定ができてしまったそうだ。

After my English lesson today, I returned to school and talked with Brian and Yo for a little while, then I obtained some help regarding today's lesson from Takiwaka-sensei for a little while.

英語の授業が終わってから、YAMASAに戻って、ブライアンさんとヨウさんと話していた。その後、瀧川先生に今日の授業について質問を聞いて説明していただいた。

I had a headache most of the day today.

今日の授業、ずっと頭痛がしていた。

Today's keigo class was enjoyable. Rhoda to the left of me and Andrea to the right. I did the group work with Andrea so it was very enjoyable.

今日の敬語授業は楽しかった。左にクラスメートのローダさんが、右に友達のアンドレアさんが座っていたのに、よかった。

I ran into Daphne in front of Aeon today.

イオンモールの前で、クラスメートのダフニさんに出会った。

Schoolmate Brian Yamamoto is on to me! He'd better watch himself. Heh heh.
友達の山本ブライアンさんは、何かに気がついたようだ。気を付けたほうがいいなぁ。ヘヘ。

11/11/2006

Navigated by the cooking software ads

For some reason, I'm entranced by the music in the Nintendo DS Cooking Navigator ads. There's a kiosk at Jusco that plays about five of these commercials in a row and ended up half-hypnotized by it and longing for more each time they ended. (Well, the commercials were quite entertaining too, as is the software.) It's like a drug. An aural drug. That you get for free. Even online.

土曜日の手話の番組

今、手話を教えてくれるテレビ番組を観たところだが、観ると興味がなんとなくたくさん付いた。どういう意味か、考えはじめた。もしかしたら、日本語がやっと上手に話せるようになったら、手話の勉強を始めるかもしれないと思う。子供の頃、母とアメリカの手話を少し勉強した。まだ興味がなくならなかったようだね。この番組の練習をしてみて、面白かった。

番組は「みんなの手話」という。今晩、第6回の「僕はカレーが食べたい いい?」というトピックだった。「僕・私」や「カレー」や「食べる」や「~たい」という意味の手話を教えてもらった。

その上、その番組の後で、短い「ワンポイント手話」という番組も放送された。「分かる」とか「~しやすい」とか「みんな」とか「そう言われます」という表現を教えて説明してくれた。

やはり、土曜日の夜9時の番組は手話を勉強するのにけっこう役に立つようね!