A bit old but ... | ちょっと古いけど・・・

Check it out!

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal

Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal

These photos are from cultural event on May 28 that I was unable to attend. I just looked at the pictures recently and thought I'd share a few. There was also a sword-dance fellow, of whom I have a short video.



カマキリとがまごおり | Mantis and Gamagori

Now with English! Sorry, I was rushed earlier. I also lost my original post and had to start over, which further killed my desire to write a lot. I seem to have made a lot of typos in my Japanese as well. Tsk.


Yesterday gradually became a good day.


During the afternoon, I sat outside at the top my stairs and read a book on Japanese. Mikawa Ossan let me borrow it a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't had the time and the energy to crack it open yet. It's a book about Japanese idioms and set expressions. It's useful for being able to speak naturally.


When I was done reading, I glanced toward the bottom of the stairs and saw a praying mantis on one of the steps. But I've never seen one before and didn't know what kind of bug it was. (I suspected, of course.) They exist in America too, but you don't see them in Houston. It was quite interesting. While I watched it, the mantis stopped and craned its neck all the way back so that it was staring right at me. It surprised me and had a fairly dramatic feel to it, since only its head moved.


It was like this:


"Are you ... looking at me?" Interesting. After ten minutes of watching it, I noticed that it was going to park itself on the railing for a while, so I ran to get my (borrowed) digital camera and took some photos.


Yesterday evening, I got a phone call from Eri. "Let's drive to Gamagori!" she said. Heck yeah! We met at a nearby bookstore and headed down south. I had a great time. We talked and laughed about a lot of stuff. Even though Eri's driving is a bit frightening, it was fun. But even though we went down to Gamagori, we didn't get to see the ocean. Well, we'll just have to do again, won't we? There's no choice! But thanks, Eri.

土曜日の晩、一緒に「Monsters, Inc.」を見る予定だ。絵里は見たことがない!それはいけないね~。絵里が「Monsters, Inc.」が好きなはずだよ。センスがあれば・・・。ハハ!

Saturday, we're going to watch Monsters, Inc. together. Eri hasn't seen it! That's not cool at all. I'm sure she'll like it. If she has any sense ... Ha!

I'm out.


My afternoon out and about | 出歩いた僕

Ah, I'm feeling pretty good (and tired) right now. I went for breakfast at the Seiyu McDonald's (two McChickens), where I practiced kanji a little bit. Then I rode down to the AEON shopping center for a while, just to be out of the house. (I played the piano, a bit of NSMB, and bought some long-desired lip balm.) After that, I went to a small park that I like to study at but haven't been to in about a couple of months. Unfortunately, there were many mosquitoes so I didn't stay too long.


What I do and don't do

I hate being asked what my hobbies are. Because I don't quite know what they are.

I often state photography, but I don't often go shooting these days. All of my recent work is just casual shots at outings with friends. I should really get back into that a little bit, especially since I have a digital camera at my disposal now.

I'm interested in computers to an extent as well, and I spend a good amount of time on mine, but I don't feel that it's really a hobby. Additionally, I don't play games often at all, despite the appearance that I might present sometimes. (I just have a strong affection for a few series.)

I don't really watch television. When I was younger, I watched a lot. But in recent years, even here in Japan, I don't watch it. I think I should watch more television here for Japanese practice, but ... I don't know. Too, I like animation as an art form, but am not interested in watching most anime. At all.

I like studying Japanese, but in the past several months, it's become more of a job for me than anything. I'm essentially a college student and I expend so much time on my studies at school and on homework that when it comes time to relax, studying Japanese doesn't come to mind.

I like sketching but that's a very casual thing that I do sometimes. If I had a scanner, maybe I'd draw a bit more—I don't know. I just enjoy doodling sometimes.

I guess I haven't had the time or the energy to get into anything over here. Now I have the time to do more but the energy—or rather, the motivation—is still a bit lacking. But when I'm not doing something, I end up doing nothing, which I really don't enjoy as much as I would like to think I do, nor is it very mentally healthy.

Here in Japan, normally, almost all of my life revolves around going to school, studying, and doing homework such that, when that's all taken away, as in during this two-week break, I think I'm kind of left as too much of an empty husk of a person. Right now, outside of studying, I have nothing to do in my life. I have some appointments coming up tomorrow and on Friday—and I hope to soon have a couple of English students too, which will help in the long-term.

But right now ... I think I'm ... a bit bored. I've changed.

I just need to get out of this apartment, that's all. First, I'll eat breakfast. And then, go somewhere. If it's not raining as it has been. I used to spend a lot more time outside when I first got here. I need to return to that. It's good for the mind, for the spirit, and such. Being so mentally exhausted day after day and just coming home and plopping down has ruined whatever good habits I had. I'll just have to be dragged out of these bad habits kicking and screaming, I suppose.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

jeKai on moji

I found an interesting web page about written Japanese. There's a lot of useful information for the learner of Japanese (and potential such ones).

Kanji is such a beautiful system but is so very much more complicated than a language needs to be for its root goal of communication; thus, it is the eternal hurdle in Japanese literacy. Still, my goal is to be above average in regards to literacy and kanji ability. I hardly think that to be so overwhelming, as long as I don't overdo it.

But underdoing it, too, will lead to disaster.

Maybe I should go practice ...








Recap of the past few days

Alas, the vacation is in full effect.

Image (c) 2005, 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal

It seems to be customary that I begin running out of gas about one month before the end of the term. I took yesterday and today to essentially do nothing, which always leads to a mixed bag of results. Right now, I'm listening to Sade and about to reply to some overdue e-mails. But first, let me offer a brief recap of the past few days.


I went bowling with a large group of schoolmates in Anjo City. We bowled three times and my scores were 126, 104, and 139. (On the final game, I beat my bowling rival, Brian. Ha!) After this, we returned to Okazaki and had dinner with a few of this term's sensei. Quite pleasant, that.


This was the final day of class. We had to present a speech before our class in the morning, so the night before, I'd cobbled one together. Thing is, it ended up being two typed pages long. This for a five-minute speech. Hmmm. So the next morning, I opted to go last so that I could adjust my speech's length as need be. I ended up going second-to-last but that was sufficient, and I managed to express most of what I intended to within a slightly long but appropriate length of time (I think).

Following this, we played Jenga with our companion class, just as was done last term. And just like last term, my group's pile defied the laws of physics and never fell. Boo-yah!

Next, we congregated in Aoi Hall for the presentment of certificates to returnees. Our group's returnees were Marie, Yan, Aki, and Zaya. Following this, we went out to eat at a nearby restaurant. I had tonkatsu—delicious.

Following this, I had to return to Yamasa with Yan, Tik Ka, Zoe, and Aki because we had an appointment: we were volunteering at a Japanese kindergarten for the first time today. We'll be doing this five times in total. It's only for 30 minutes, so I figured it would be a good experience for me.

We met at the school and walked down the street. The kids—all four- and five-year-olds—we gathered in the school's auditorium. We had already visited the school and had been assigned classes, so I headed to my class, the Ajisai class of four-year-olds. Reaction to me were a bit mixed, but everyone soon warmed up to me.

We were to present a self-introduction to the kids and we were told that bringing photos would be a good idea, so I constructed a slideshow presentation and took my laptop. The kids crowded around as I showed them photos of Houston trains, the Space Shuttle, The White House, American money, and a little English. The auditorium was extremely warm, the kids were all on top of me, and I had a hot laptop on my lap. I was dripping with sweat.

But after this, we guests were instructed to take a seat on the stage. We were to presented with two dances: one by the four-year-olds and another by the five-year-olds. The four-year-olds did a very cute dance but it was really the five-year-olds that brought it home with their complicated dance to the Japanese version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast's "Be Our Guest," which I'm quite the fan of. Their dancing was surprisingly advanced.

Following this, I went to yet another volunteer assignment—this time at a middle school. The assignment was to chat with a few students for an hour—thirty minutes in English, fifteen in Japanese, and then fifteen mixed (me in Japanese, the kids in English). Though I was honestly really nervous about it and also didn't want to volunteer anymore time after signing up for the kindergarten affair, I'm glad I ended up doing it. It was very enjoyable and a good experience for me. I was assigned a group of four kids but one was absent with a cold, unfortunately. But I'll seeing them two more times.

After that, I was free. That night, though, I went to FM Okazaki to listen to the broadcast and had a really good time. It was Ohira-san's night off but he showed up anyway and ended up giving me a confection from his recent trip to Shikoku. They want me on the air a little bit for their one-year-anniversary show in a week and a half. Should be interesting. Also, they played a Kohmi Hirose song the other night. Sweet!


I spent the latter half of Saturday with someone I've starting spending time with recently. Very pleasant indeed. It's kind of tough to get the time to be together ...


Spent the day chilling with Mikawa Ossan. We drove to Handa City and found a very interesting shop selling all manner of figures and games. I aaaalmost bought a $4 Game Boy Pocket and some game for the heck of it, but decided to save the money. But I saw a lot of Japanese game systems that I had never seen before. (I also played New Super Mario Bros. for the first time in a while. Ha!) But basically, Mikawa Ossan and I shot the breeze all day.


Did very little during the day. (Tsk.) Went to my schoolmate Andrea's house for some lighthearted discussion and a bit of Mario Party action with a few friends. She cooked a mean ... whatever it was. And I helped. You should have seen me mincing those mushrooms and that lettuce. Bam!


Today, I was hoping to be more productive but did little except figure out how to refill the minutes on my cell phone. I was a bit proud of that, since it required a bit of effort and kanji research.

So, yeah, that's about it for now.


二学期も終わった | The second term ends


This term ended on Friday and I got an A! Whoo! I've finished studying Minna no Nihongo I and Minna no Nihongo II and next is New Approach, which lacks English and many kanji readings. (Ulp.) Right now, my head and my body are tired, so I plan to take it easy.


More to come in the next two or three days.


Tonight, I was talking with my friend here in my room until one in the morning, at which point my neighbor to the right of me banged on the wall quite loudly. Looks like, for once, I was the bad neighbor. It brought the evening to a very quick end. I might apologize tomorrow.


I decided not to bother to apologize after all since my neighbor was a bit of a jackass for angrily banging on the wall like that instead of asking us to keep it down politely, which I think would have been an appropriate action for my first infraction. Water under the bridge, though. I think it's a new neighbor, actually.


Tomorrow is the end of round 2 | 明日は今学期の終わり

Tomorrow is the last day of class. I have a lot to do tonight, including writing a speech, some leftover homework, and preparation for a bit of volunteer work at a nearby nursery school.



Yamasa's bike lot is dirt

Why doesn't Yamasa have its large bike and parking lots paved? Do you know how bloody annoying it is to have to wade through the mud to park or retrieve your bike? Or how difficult it can be to get your bike to stand up in the mud?

I should mention this to somebody because it's really annoying sometimes.


今日始めて敬語の勉強が始まったよ。勉強の前に、羽田先生は敬語がそんなに難しくなくて、安心したほうがいいと言ってくださった。先生が言ったとおりに、本当に難しくなかった。もちろんもっと難しいところがあるはずだけど、no problemだと思う。

Today, our study of keigo (the upper eschelons of Japanese politeness that have driven many a person to the brink of madness, they say) commenced. Before beginning, Hada-sensei said that keigo really isn't all that difficult and that we should relax. And, sure enough, it was just as she said. I'm sure much harder keigo is out there, but it's 大丈夫, I think.


It was raining profusely this morning but I was quite surprised when it stopped suddenly. A typhoon came nearby and then passed us up. Fine by me.


「It's raining cats and dogs」いうエクスプレッションは聞いたことがありますか。アメリカでは時々聞けます。「大雨」という意味ですが、「雨のふうに、空から猫と犬が降っている」という文字通りの意味です。例えば、「ワー!大雨ですね!」は英語で「Wow! It's raining cats and dogs!」という言い方がありますが、ちょっと古めかしいので、当節あまり言いません。しかし、そうなのに、アメリカ人はみんなわかります。





The last K class test | 最後のKクラスのテスト

This morning, I have my last test of the quarter. I'm a bit worried about some of the vocabulary, but I expect it to go fine. Except perhaps the listening test. The difficulty of those tests seems to jump around more than House of Pain. (Oo, I know I didn't!)


Image (c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal

An empty train.






It's tough being tall in Japan sometimes | 時々、日本で背が高い生活は大変

Image (c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal

Today, I hit my head quite hard on the top of my door frame. That was about five hours ago and it still stings. Yeah, I totally slobbered like that, too.




Since moving to Okazaki, I often see a nearby store named "洋服の青山." I soon understand "青山" ("aoyama," the name of the store, literally meaning "blue mountain") but I didn't understand "洋服" at all—how to read it, what it meant ... nothing.


However, by means of my kanji and reading classes, I recently came to be able to read it. As I was riding my bike the other day, I saw the sign and immediately, without effort, was able to read it. I was totally shocked. So suddenly, I understood! ("So that's what it says!") Pretty cool, that. "洋服" is pronounced "youfuku" and means "western clothes."


Today, even though I'm really sleepy, I must study kanji for tomorrow's term-end big test. But before that, I'm thinking that I'll take a nap. I've got no energy right now.


Internet connection speed test

I ran a speed test on my Internet connection.

I do have a pretty good connection, I must say.

On this topic, I found an interesting Ars Technica article about the state of American broadband.







みんな、ぜひFM Okazakiを聞いて。オヒラクゴキラクは金曜日の晩。


Thoughts on "Love Generation"

I started writing this review a couple of months ago when I was watching the Japanese television romantic drama "Love Generation." It sat fallow for some time, but I guess I'll post so that I can delete this text file. One thing that watching the show gave me, though, is that I discovered that the lead actress did some singing, so I downloaded some of her PVs.

Well, here's the review:

"Love Generation" is a really annoying but somehow likeable show. It's a drama set in Tokyo about two stupid people that supposedly fall in love. The beginning of the series was actually pretty enjoyable. One of the series' strongest points, I feel, is the interaction between the two main characters, Teppei and Riko, who are generally fun to watch. But once they start getting together, their relationship disintegrates into stock drama issues, the sorts of relationship problems that only utter morons could ever have.

This is the kind of show in which, when the guy is confronted about various wrongdoings, he stands there in silence like a nimbus when just a few simple words could improve the situation if not fix it outright. Thing is,Teppei even does this when he's not actually guilty of anything. The idiotic "just communicate!" moments are present aplenty and are a sign of not-so-good writing. Which is a shame, because I do like watching the characters and their interactions when they're not arguing like children over some ridiculous trifle.

But unfortunately, they fall in that routine about halfway through the 11 episodes. It's just too drama-ish. (There's even an OMG-I-just-realized! scene in which Teppei runs across town in a mad rush to catch Riko before she does something undesirable, which, in this case, is hop on the bus out of town. And, of course, Teppei arrives just as Riko is about to board.) I stopped watching after the episode 8, in which Riko walks into Teppei's apartment just as he is kissing another woman, because I was fed up with them, but I decided to finish the series. About halfway through episode 9, I began watching in fast-forward (I had subtitles, so I still followed the gist). I just had to know what would happen.

The ending was largely dissatisfying. How much so? Well, Riko, who has already sworn herself to Teppei and who "can't see anybody else" but him, promises to stay with Teppei no matter what, even if he should hit her. (I've forgotten the exact wording used in the translation, unfortunately.) But then, it was already established how neutotic she was previously. And the last visual in the series is a wedding photo. The pandering is way too obvious. But that's what I get, I suppose.




I just got home.


Everyone was totally dead in class today. Me too. I began feeling bad, came home during lunch to nap, and almost decided to stay, but I chicken out and went back. It's good that I did, though, since today was our last reading elective class. I'm kind of disappointed about that because it was a good class. Sorry, sensei. Class wasn't boring. The spirit is just tired.


But after class, everyone went out for a "sayonara" party for those among us who shall be leaving soon.


Finally, I did karaoke! Even before coming from America, I wanted to do karaoke in Japan.

帰国しなければならない友達はヤンさん・マリエさん・アキさん・ザヤさん。この4人の女の人のために、12人ぐらいの学生と4人の先生が一緒に行って、歌った。ちょっと高くても、本当に楽しかった。僕が歌ったのは、酒井法子の「青い兎」・サンボマスターの「世界はそれを愛と呼ぶんだぜ」・ はっぱ隊の「やった!」(マークさんと)・Norah Jonesの「Don't Know Why」・ Little By Littleの「悲しみを優しさに」・ココナッツ娘の「常夏娘」・ 11WATERの「BE ALL RIGHT!」・そして、最後は三河おっさんの大好きな「アルゴリズム行進」。歌って、おどって、笑った。それで気分がよくなった。

The returning folks are Yan, Marie, Aki, and Zaya. For the sake of these four, about 12 students and 4 sensei went out and sang. It was a bit expensive, but I had a great time. The songs I sang were Noriko Sakai's "Aoi usagi," Sambomaster's "Sekai wa sore wo ai to yobun da ze," Norah Jones's "Don't Know Why," Little By Little's "Kanashimi wo Yasashisa ni," Coconuts Musume's "Tokonatsu musume" (Mark knew it—ha!), 11WATER's "Be All Right," Happa-tai's "Yatta!" (oh yeah!), and even "Algorithm March" (it was the last song). I sang, danced, laughed, made a fool of myself (I did the 11WATER dance because I like those moves, dang it) and ended up feeling pretty good.


The most important thing to take away from tonight: people from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mongolia sing karaoke very well.


The second most important thing: Americans aren't so good.


Marie didn't sing (boo!) but Yan, Aki, and Zaya did. (Yan was surprisingly good. Who'da thunk it! Joking, joking. Kind of.)

でも先生も歌ってくださった! | But the sensei also sang!

(c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal





(春) 創造ね 春の子どもだ これからも
(夏) 夏なのに さむい思いも まだあるね
(秋) すずしい日 おちばであそぶ やめないな
(冬) あたたかく なりたいしかし できなそう



Post-test trauma | テストの後で、つかれた

This morning's test went well. Very well, as a matter of fact. We took a very similar test at the end of the previous term and I couldn't do much more than maybe two thirds of it, but this time around I completed the whole thing and definitely got over 90% right on it (I think). Yeah, baby!


The number of people with DS'es in my class jumped to four recently. I'm just sayin'. 最近ニンテンドーDSを持っているクラスメートは4人に増えた。

(c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal

In further fulfillment of Zoe's request, another wedding photograph taken during my time as a wedding photographer in America. Sometimes I really miss those days.



Placement test in the morning | 朝のプレイスメントテスト

I have an important test tomorrow: next term's placement test. I need to do well on this to ensure that I move up a complete level again. I'll be righteously unhappy if I slip and have to start from the middle of this book, but I really doubt that'll happen. I'm just gonna play it cool.








Back to preschool | 幼稚園へ!

Today turned out to be a right fine day, it did. Yup.

It started out with a bit of hiccup, though. At one point, I became frustrated with one facet of Yamasa's method of teaching, but upon reflecting on things, I realized that my problem was not with Yamasa but with academia in general. I grew rather disillusioned with it during my time in college back in Houston and the feeling returned for a while today. Sometimes, institutionalized learning can really be a bit too ... stringent, I suppose. But as for today, the feeling passed as I reminded that we were reviewing several lessons for our upcoming test and that I really like these reviews.

Today's review was good. We did grammar and listening practice. I made my usual couple of errors on the written test, but otherwise did fine. The listening practice was interesting. A few weeks ago, Zaya, the school's sole Mongolian student, complained (rather vehemently and abruptly) during class about our previous listening method. On test days, we only get to listen to the questions once, but during in-class practice, we were listening to the questions several times. Zaya don't play that and we all agreed that, indeed, listening to the questions once and then reviewing after that—and thus, emulating the testing method—would be more beneficial. So today, for the first time, that's what we did. Except for one section, which I botched completely, I did well. Good work, Zaya.

After that was Hada-sensei's class. In the parlance of today's online world, she won the Internet today. What happened had nothing to do with the Internet but nonetheless, she won it. It's really hard to explain why what she did was so hilarious because you'd have to understand the in-class dynamics to really get it, but take my word for it that it was great.

The gist of it is that today we began lesson 47 in our textbook—a lesson that has some somewhat troublesome grammar. To aid us in our understanding, she brought in some visual aids, which consisted largely of our classmate Brian's head attached to cartoon bodies and told of how it was ten years in the future and he had started his own company. (See? You really just had to be there.) The climax of this were two fantastic pictures which I am working on obtaining a copy of in order to post here. We'll see if I succeed.

So anyway, after class, I went to a Japanese preschool. ... You see, I kind of signed up to volunteer at a talk to the kids there. It happens five times for 30 minutes each time. As those who know me well are all too aware, I'm not at all the sort to volunteer for this sort of thing. But it happened.

I was pretty nervous about it and had had several second thoughts about it. Today we met with the caretakers there, though, and now I feel just fine and am even looking forward to it. The classroom that I've been assigned to has 28 four-year-olds. Wow. Looks like all that time photographing children back in Houston was mere practice for this. I have a handler, though, it should be fine. Her name is Noriko and she's a born-and-raised Okazakian. I think we'll make a good team.

Now ... I need to go shopping. I have nothing but rice in here right now.

(c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal










(c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


A recent sketch.
I don't know why he's saying "heat."
I don't know who he's looking at.
I don't know for what purpose he wishes to fight.
But I like this sketch. Even though it's not all that good.

JLife recycles heads

There's this magazine that appears at school named JLife and I noticed something really weird about it a little while ago: faces of the multi-ethnic cartoons on the cover are recycled every month. That is to say, each month, the characters' faces are exactly the same. (The only difference I've seen are that the direction that the apparently-Hispanic character are looking was changed once.)

JLife covers have the same faces each month.

It's a bit bizarre, I think. But one delightful little gem came out of this. While I would imagine this to be unintentional, the idea that the stereotype exists here as well is quite amusing.

自転車、どこ? | Dude, where's my bike? (Sorry)




I rode my bike to Okazaki Station yesterday to go meet Mikawa Ossan in Kariya. In the evening, he was kind enough to give me a ride back home. Simple enough, right? Well, today I wanted to go to Circle K but when I went downstairs, I couldn't find my bike. "Was it stolen?" I thought, but upon thinking about it, I remembered that my bike was still at the station. Great.

So I had to walk all the way to the station to get my bike, and I rode my bike all the way to Circle K. Even though it looked a lot like rain, only a little bit fell, fortunately.

最近、ミュージカルが好きな友達が日本語の「CATS」というミュージカルのサウンドトラックのMDをくれた。英語を「CATS」のサウンドトラックが大好きだから。とも面白いと思う。僕もミュージカルが好きで、うれしい。それに、「CATS」のビデオカセットと「The Phantom of the Opera」のDVDを貸してくれた。どうもありがとう!見たい、見たい!

I recently got the Japanese CATS soundtrack as a gift from a very cool recently-acquired friend. I'm a big fan of the English version, so listening to it has been a treat. I haven't actually seen the play itself, but I was also lent a couple of videocassettes of CATS and a Phantom of the Opera DVD as well. Sweet! Looking forward to seeing them.


バスケットボール下手さ! | Basketball report!

The game went as expected. That is to say, we sucked.

Actually, I sucked. My teammates were pretty good, but I was just all over the place, leaving vitals holes in our defense, doing this wrong and that wrong. It was terrible. But, hey, I warned them beforehand. I warned them! It didn't help that we faced one of the strongest teams in our (one) match either. Still, I think we only lost 10 to 8. If someone with experience and knowhow and talent had been in my spot, perhaps the team would have won. The team was stronger than expected, really.

I wish that there had been a one-on-one tournament. I didn't like having to worry about tripping over and bumping into so many people and I don't know anything of even the basic strategies of the game. (Well, a couple of things only.) And we were playing against folks who obviously play a lot.

After the match, we shooks hands with the other team. I told them that they'd done well ("よくできた!") and the girl on their team almost fell out. I guess she wasn't expecting something like that. It was kind of funny. Hey, it was all for fun, right?

After that, there was a bunch of watching other matches, including Hada-sensei's team. Some students also apparently recruited Fuma-sensei, the tallest female sensei here—perhaps the tallest sensei period. Good thinking. I hear from class L that she's pretty cool and funny.

I honestly forgot who won the tournament, though. Some three-person group ...

But most importantly, my glasses didn't get broken, my back didn't sustain any injuries, and I still have two working eyes. Actually, my back was kind of sore, but that was expected. I've become an old man.

A group of classmates went out afterwards, and I really wanted to go, but I had a prior commitment with another buddy of mine. Well, we're all going out Monday evening, so it's all right.

While I was at the court, I ran inside a couple of times to play the piano that's in Aoi Hall. A female upperclassman by the name Haku, I think, stopped by and I played a part of one of the few songs I still remember from the old days when I played and also a short diddy that I wrote a few years ago when I entered into a song-writing phase. Happily, I made a pretty sweet chord combination that I'd like to use.














Well, I got drafted into a three-on-three basketball tournament that the school is holding tomorrow. Should be interesting, as I haven't played since I was in high school, having stopped after a very close encounter with disaster concerning my right eye. (I became rather paranoid about my eyes since.)

My teammates are my classmates Tik Ka (our fearless leader, whom I've been calling "Tik Ka-taichou," "taichou" meaning "commanding officer") and Andy. Our team has a name but we had a lot of trouble coming up and agreeing on one and ended up choosing some general name that we've probably all forgotten.

After the game, I intend to be playing Super Smash Bros. Melee with Alex, my new prey—I mean, smash buddy.






Handling e-mail

One thing I'm still struggling with his handling e-mail in a timely manner. Back in America, I was almost always pretty punctual about replying, but since I got here, I'm become progressively slower and slower. I'm not used to be being this busy or somewhat consistently mentally fatigued. (Well, maybe "fatigued" is a bit strong, but I am often fairly mentally exhausted.)

Whenever I come home, my motivation to do anything just flies out of the window, which is why it's 10:00 PM but I've done nothing but eat, read Naruto, and reply to some e-mails. In my defense, I was working at school until almost 6 PM, but still. Oh, and I did laundry tonight.

I like to use the school's computer sometimes, but it's an awkward solution for me. I take my laptop to school sometimes but the wireless connection is very unstable for me and, plus, I'm trying to study after class while I still have some genkitude in me.

But, hey, I'm making efforts.

"Gaston, you've got to pull yourself together!"








Got up early today and feelin' fine. Let's hit it!


Yesterday, we had a class in which we, in four groups, selected omiai (an arranged meeting between two people with the intent of marriage, if things work out) participants for Hada-sensei and Hikosaka-sensei from a group of papers that we were given. In Hada-sensei's case, everyone agreed on the same person except for ヨウ, who chose a rather odd person. Oy, that guy ... (Just kidding.)

(c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal

Right now, some puppets, with a human on piano, are playing Beethoven's "Sonata Pathetique." I like this piece.

今、テレビの人形は一緒にベートーヴェンの「Sonata Pathetique」を弾いている。この曲が好き。


Soon, Princess Kiko will give birth. Whether it's a boy or a girl is apparently quite the question 'round here.


Ubuntu uninstalled

For the record, I recently removed Ubuntu from my laptop a few days ago after installing it a few months back. It's a pretty good OS but I just can't do enough with it to make it worth keeping and worth sacrificing the gigabytes for. As much as I dislike it, it's still too much a Windows world.

But I do still kind of lust for a Mac sometimes ...



Blogger's been fairly slow recently, hasn't it?


Today's speaking test went well, I think. The topic of the conversation was my need to enter the hospital for a month and asking my neighbor to watch over my dog. The usual speaking test is a one-on-one with the sensei, but today were paired with classmates instead. And it was video recorded at that!


Before the test, K class (my class) practiced with the folks from L class. It was quite enjoyable. After the test, I played "Mario Kart DS" with Yan again. But today ... I lost a match to her! Well ... congrats! Well done indeed. But I won't lose again!




(c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


(c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


(c) 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal


最近の出来事 | The events of late


I felt terrible this morning but ended up feeling wonderful this afternoon. I was just like a dead person in the morning, all through Arai-sensei's class. Lately, there have been a lot of social events, see. Thursday evening, many of us went out to eat with a classmate who's returning to America this week (maybe tomorrow). Friday night, I ended up staying up late until four in the morning, and it was the same on Saturday (another get-together for Lee). Rough. This weekend, I'm not doing anything. It's only Monday and I'm already exhausted! I didn't even do my homework.


Friday was a great day. First, I played "Mario Kart DS" with Yan from L class (who's a friend from last term). It was her first time playing but she was quite good. After that, I found out that a friend at school plays "Super Smash Bros. Melee." (I recommended that we have a code: "Boy, it'd be great if this watch had a game on it. Then it'd be a game and watch.") Once we found that about each other, we immediately went at it on Student Village's sexy widescreen TV. And thus was the legend of Luigi etched into the record. It was great fun, but, man, staying up everyday like this has been rough.





A kanji to remember

Deep inside someone else's wife

I'm really sleepy and had to read this one twice at first. As you might imagine.