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.)







(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.)








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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal
Daphne shares her ice cream with Joaquin.



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.







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!





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.



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.


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


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







Image © 2006 Jonathan's Japan Journal



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.


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.


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.



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


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?


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


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.


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







Recap time!

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


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.


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?


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.


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.)









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.






囲碁番組! | Go TV show


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


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






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 ...




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.


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.


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.



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.


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


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.


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.


I had a headache most of the day today.


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.


I ran into Daphne in front of Aeon today.


Schoolmate Brian Yamamoto is on to me! He'd better watch himself. Heh heh.


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.



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。



Not learning kanji, learning how they work

I've been studying here at the school since about one o'clock today and I'm nearing the end of my stamina. The topic that I'm studying today is that with which I have a love/hate relationship with: kanji. (Mostly love, though, probably.)

I have decided that the best way to get kanji to stick in my mind is to learn more about its mechanics, the governing systems behind everything. I think that the best source for this so far has been Wikipedia's article about Chinese character radicals. Even there is it written:

Learning to write Chinese characters, even the most complicated, means mastering the fundamental graphic components of characters and then learning which ones are used in particular characters and how they are combined. This is much easier than learning to write each character as a whole through pure memorization.

So I've been working on this approach for a while and have learned a lot already.

GMAN's Windows XP Japanese Input is a very useful guide to making the most of Windows's excellent IME.



I performed like crap this morning in Asama-sensei's class. I just couldn't focus and my mind was all over the place. But during the first break, Asama-sensei and I chatted for a bit and that helped raise my spirits and focus my mind a bit. During the fourth hour, I suddenly started feeling terrible and had to leave the class for a bit. I think that I just hadn't eaten enough lunch (I got wrapped up in conversation and didn't finish my McChickens). But the class was about a very, very tricky point that I ended up missing most of the explanation of. Not good.


After class, I had my final volunteer session at the kindergarten. I'm a bit sad to leave the kids behind but I got a nice photo of me with a couple of the kids and also a couple of presents from the kids themselves (a scribble and a foot-and-a-half-long paper spear-like instrumental).


After that, my classmate Lee and I went to the Go classroom and played each other for the first time. We are very well matched, it seems. My best move came in the opening when I set up a nice trap and capture some of his stones. (It even elicited an "Oooo" of pain from the two sensei that were watching, which was really cool.) The sensei gave us some tutoring as this point and I felt that because they interfered with the game, it wasn't "pure" from that point. After they left and we resumed our game on our own, Lee started taking a lot of my stones and, eventually, the victory. I have trouble processing when there's a lot of data to take in and I miss a lot. (This is a serious problem that's directly related to my frequent typos and mistakes on tests, I think.)


After that, I went to watch Cars with a bunch of folks from last term's K class and also special non-ex-classmate Chin-san (from I class), with whom I got along fetchingly. When I saw the trailer for Cars, I wondered how they'd make it engaging, but they managed to do so. That's Pixar for you. Kachow!

After this, we listened to Yo fervently praise everyone's Japanese, especially Daphne, who's, by the way, very smart. Really. She's very, very smart. Ask Yo for more details.





Shocked by Bikkuri Donkey

Man, my visit to Bikkuri Donkey (a nearby hamburg restaurant) just now pissed me off pretty well.

First, I didn't understand one of the first things that was asked when I walked in even though it was just a smoking-section question. He asked in a specific way that I hadn't expected. And he didn't understand when I answered because I was mumbling a bit. I think I'm losing confidence, as I've started talking a lot quieter recently, even in class.

Second, after dumping off my food, nobody came to check on me or to refresh my water for over 15 minutes, so I got up my own @#$% self and got some water from the nearby pitcher, which I hoped they'd be horrified by. Considering that the water glasses here are already too small, they need to keep up with this sort of thing. The size of most water glasses continues to be a thorn in my side.

But anyway.

I'm going to be up for a while studying. I took a nap when I got home today and lost a lot of time. I don't feel very rested either, so I think it was a mistake to take that nap. Well, ganbarimasu.




成績やアメリカの政治 | Grades and American politics


I hear a lot is happening in American politics right now, with some sort of, shall we say, voting going on right now. Rumsfield has retired, I heard from Daphne today. Fo' real? Well, America doesn't need him or Bush.



The first test's results came in today. On the writing test, I got 107 out of 115; and on the listening test, 24 out of 31. I would have liked to have done better but I concern myself a lot less with test results these days because they aren't an accurate measure of anything and are only Yamasa's placement tool, basically. I used to worry about tests a lot when I first got here, but now, not quite so much. I still aim to do well, of course, but as long as I'm passing well enough, that's all that's really important. Part of my problem, too, is that I always make a few stupid mistakes on test. Still, I'm aiming for another A at the end of the semester, so I have to be a bit careful.


I might be meeting a new English student today but I haven't heard anything from her so I suppose that I likely won't be.


忙しい男性 | Busy fellow








Hey, folks. Super Otou-sama in the house. I suppose you'd like to know what all that squiggly stuff up there means. Well, most of it is just going on about the grammar that we learned about today. In particular, we studied ways to express that something is one of various levels of hearsay and we had a lot of fun making interesting sentences about each other during class. (Hey, it was more constructive than it sounds.)

After class, I met with my new English conversation student, who's a kindly 58-year-old gentleman. He complimented me and said that my English is easy to understand and that I'm a kind person that's easy to get to know. (Wha—?) Well, shucks. His English is very good but he wants to improve a lot more. He's pretty much just the sort of student I've been searching out. And he treats me to nice drinks at the restaurants we visit. I might be meeting another new student tomorrow. I'm a busy man.

After this appointment, I went home to start some rice cooking and then went back to the school and sat in my former favorite spot on the second floor near the sensei's office. For some reason, it feels good to study there—certainly better than it does to study at home or in a classroom. It's nice to interact with passing sensei. And once, Hiroe-sensei happened by and I asked for his help with a problem. My classmate Alex was studying downstairs as well. He apparently often stays pretty late studying. Impressive indeed.






まだ勉強中。最近、Forest Radioというインターネット無線局をやや聞いている。日本の1970年時代や1980年時代の音楽が好きだから。今日、酒井法子の歌を聞いていた。今日、敬語選択授業の原田先生に言って、先生がびっくりした。よく会う渡辺さんといつかカラオケをする予定があるけど、僕たちは『青い兎』という歌を一緒に歌うつもりだ。

この meaning が doesn't exist

Right now, I'm studying for tomorrow morning's test.

Just now, I said something interesting to myself.

"This 意味 is ない."

I couldn't find a certain definition for "soutou" while checking an electronic dictionary, see.

My mind's a bit messed up.




I had my first one-on-one English lesson today. I had a pleasant chat session with a 58-year-old gentleman who wants to meet twice a week. And Thursday, I'm meeting a young lady who's interested in my English services as well.

But as for now, I'm worried about my test tomorrow. It's the first one of the new term, and since it took time for me to get used to the new method—or approach, if you will—I'm worried that I'm missing some details. Well, I'll be up late working. First, a bit of dinner, though.


Okay, so recently, capitalizing on a joke that somehow got created by my classmate Rhoda, I started being called "otou-san" (a respectful way to address one's father) occasionally. Last week, it changed into "otou-sama," which I think we all understand perfectly well. I actually updated the name card that sits on my desk to read such and Asama-sensei actually called me that once or twice after glancing at it in surprise. This week, I appended "super" to the beginning because ... well, if you know me, you know exactly why. So now I'm "Super Otou-sama." And on top of that, Takikawa-sensei took note of that and actually called me that during class. (Just tell me being addressed by your cute, shy sensei like that isn't a sweet deal.)









Nasty neighbor?

We had room inspections the other day. After mine, a group of a sensei, including Sugiura-sensei, gathered at the room next to mine. My neighbor wasn't home and there had apparently been some confusion over which key opened his door. During this time, I got to chat with Sugiura-sensei. She's pretty cool, I think.

When they finally opened it, no one entered. Apparently, a rancid odor was emanating from the room—one so bad that none of them dared to enter. I wanted to ask to smell it too but figured that it might be a breach of etiquette. Still, what the heck?

A brief and geeky aside

Right now, my schoolmate Brian is somewhere that I'd really like to be right about now. That bastard! Maybe I should have gone. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some Super Smash Bros. Brawl footage and play. But I've never been a convention type of guy and I didn't want to stand in lines all day. (Today's a national holiday too, so there are probably tons of folks there.) Still, it would have been an interesting experience.

Also, I read that a Tokyo museum will be using Nintendo DS'es as portable guides. That's pretty cool. And yes, I still want one of them suckers.






Recently, I and a couple of folks I know have noticed that I'm looking thinner these days. Hmmm. What to do, though. Maybe nothing, since it happens to everyone. I'm not starving myself or anything, though, so don't worry about that! But of course I'm not eating as much as I did in America either.