12/31/2007

Brrr

It's pretty cold today. And I'm outside in my three layers of clothes and gloves seeing all these young girls in shorts and skirts, and I can't help but wonder, again, how they're not cold. Especially with the biting wind. I remember that I talked with Yo about that on our first radio show almost exactly one year ago. Hm.

12/30/2007

陣内智則

陣内智則って知ってるんだ?俺はあいつのコメディのスタイルがめちゃくちゃ好きなんだよ。

ってわけで、陣内智則のビデオをYouTubeで検索して見ていたところだ。下に気に入ったやつが用意してあるので、どうぞ見てみてね。



ええな。

小学校教科書クイズII

たった今、ほぼ30人の芸能人を集めて小学校の教科書から取られた問題に答えさせる『小学校教科書クイズII』って番組を見ている。一年生レベルの問題からスタートしたんだけどさ、その低いレベルでも僕がびっくりするほどの間違いがあった。

5人が「『出』って漢字は何画?」を間違えたし、「『まちがいにきずく』と『まちがいにきづく』とどちらが間違ってるか」とか、「『弓』は何画?」(16人も間違えた!)とか、「『とおか』と『とうか』とどちらが『十日』の正しい読み方か」とか、僕さえできるかなり簡単な一年生むけの日本語についての質問を間違えた人が案外多かった。本当にびっくりした。

この間の出会った日本人のおばさんとの話が思い出された。「現在の日本人は日本語を正しく使えなくなっている」って。(そのおばさんは特に「全然大丈夫」のような表現が嫌いだそうだ。)それがそうかどうかは僕には何とも言えないけど、アメリカ人も同じくらいだと思う。

でも、「区」という字の書き方とか、「音色」とか、いろんな役立つことを習ってるので、このクイズ番組はいい勉強になってるよ。

12/27/2007

日々

自転車のチェーンが折れたので、一昨日修理をしてもらいにASAHIに行った。途中で、友達のシカさんに会って、横断歩道の青信号を待ちながら二人で話した。性格のいいシカさんとの話のおかげで元気が出たので、ASAHIを出てから、彼女がバイトをやっている、であい屋台に食べにことにした。でも、その前はASAHI。

ASAHIで僕の自転車に合うチェーンがなかったから、自分の自転車を預けて自転車を借りることになった。その自転車は小さいけど、乗れないことはない。金曜日までのことだから、明日戻しに行く。

その一日中僕は一人っきりでいろいろなことで悩んだり落ち込んだりしていたけど、であい屋台のシカさんとミキさんのおかげでいい夜を過ごすことができた。ミキさんに二人のサラリーマンに紹介してもらって、4人で食事したりカラオケで歌ったりしてメチャメチャ楽しかった。ミキさん、ありがとうございました!これからもよろしく!(歌いにそのバーへ行くからね。)

でも、その夜、自転車に乗って帰ろうとすると、かぎを見つけなかった。僕が借りている自転車のかぎをどこかに落としたみたいだった。チクショー!って思いながらであい屋台の地面を探していたけど、結局見つからなくて歩いて帰った。心配していたけど、次の午後、太陽の下でまた見たら地面にあったんだ。よかったー!

この間三河おっさんと一緒に『レミーのおいしいレストラン』を見た。素晴らしかった、あれ!さすがPIXARだ!まだ見ていないならどうにかして見てくれよ!(笑)その後、一緒にカラオケに始めて行った。二人とも下手糞だったけど、すごく楽しかった。(面白いことに、三河おっさんがロックソングを歌い終わったら僕は「私のお墓の前で泣かないでください」って歌い始めてすぐに笑われて「空気を読んでよ!」ってからかわれた。僕らはそれをたくさん笑ったんだな。)

最近、あまり元気がない日があるけど、友達のおかげでいい日々を過ごしている。

So ... where have I been lately? Here and there. I've been kind of lethargic and behind on everything imaginable, really. I'm catching up, though. All I'm saying above is that my bicycle chain broke and so I'm temporarily borrowing one. I lost that bike's key for a little while after a fun night singing karaoke, but I found it the next day on the ground nearby. Also, I saw Ratatouille with Mikawa Ossan the other night, and it was as excellent as I'd been told it was.

I'll be in touch soon.

12/22/2007

Term seven clear!

Thursday marked the final day of my seventh term here. Not sure what to say that hasn't been said before. I'm really feeling the loss of friends at school recently, especially with the losses of Joaquin and On.

The ceremony was actually shorter than usual, which was a surprise considering that classes go all the way down to Q now (as opposed to N, which was the lowest when I got here). It's interesting being on the opposite side of things now. A year ago, my friends and I were in the lower classes and the first half of the ceremony was what I cared about (though I always turned an ear to the upper classes' folks to see how good they were). Now, everyone I know and care about is (or, were) in B and A classes and so we wait to the end. Which I think makes the entire process more interesting. Anyway, after that, we went out to eat at an all-you-can-eat restaurant at Wingtown. Sano-sensei and Sugiura-sensei joined us.

After that, I went to karaoke with my friends Ou and Panda (the latter of which is leaving soon—sigh) and Homasse and, for a while, Ohya-sensei, the school's resident otaku. It was my first time spending much time around her and, yup, she's as fun to be around as I figured—and she can sing surprisingly well, too. (We sang the old classic "Cotton Hankerchief" together. But you can't understand the awesomeness of that, though.) But I got pulled away when I found out that my friends Bell (who's already left Yamasa but remains in the region) and Yora (who's also leaving, @#$%!) were there too. Bell and I are old singing buddies, and I've been waiting to hit karaoke with Yora for months now. Good timing and great fun.

And now my final term lays before me. World eight.

アミゴの帰国

今日、朝0520時に家を出かける。去年4月から一緒に勉強してきた、兄弟みたいな友人のホアキンを見送りに岡崎駅に行く約束をしているから。いよいよスペインの帰国だ。

静まり返っている岡崎駅でホアキンとの最後の向い合っての話。その話が続くと、ひしひしと予想外の悲しみを感じている。

0545時の名古屋中部国際空港に向かうバスが来た。

切ないそのサヨナラ。

手を振りながらバスが消えるいくのをかすんでいる目で見つめている。

Hasta luego, mi hermano. またどこかで会えるに決まってる。 ¡Es verdad!

12/21/2007

死んでねえよ

ごめんなさい。最近、学期末活動とか個人的な事柄とかで忙しいものだけど、消えてないっす。

Sorry for the recent inactivity. Between the end of the term and other personal matters, I've been pretty occupied. Please stand by.

12/18/2007

カタカナ語はインクリースする一方

今日は、いよいよ最後のテストだった。今回こそいい点数を取れるように頑張ろうと思いながら、うまくいくかなと心配していた。でも、最近改善した勉強方法のおかげで、問題は特になかった。(ただ、作文は問題になった。だって、国際化と国際理解についてどう思いますかって突然質問されても簡単に答えようにないんだし。)この試験はどうやら今学期の一番いい試験だと見なしている。

試験の後、佐野先生にとても面白い『世にも奇妙な物語』という番組のエピソードを紹介していただいた。ストーリーの内容は、外来語をたくさん使う男性社員が居眠りから起きたら「外来語を使ってはいけない」という日本にいて、外来語を使わずにしなければならないという話だった。主人公が外来語を使うたびに、叱られたり持っているものを落とすほど周りの人をすごく驚かせたりした。ファックス・OHP・ホッチキスじゃなく、電話複写・文書機・紙綴じ針という言葉を使わなきゃ困った。ドーナツという言葉さえ和菓子になったほど厳しかった。ビデオの結末は言わないけど、本当に面白かった。

この授業で現代の日本語には外来語がどれほど浸透されているか、はっかりわかった。もし外来語をなくして残っている日本語は本当に日本語とは言えるかな。もちろん、外来語に左右され始める前に、前代の日本語もあったけど、そんな日本語は現代では足りないような気がする。特にパソコンとかインターネットなどに関する言葉がないと困るんじゃない?ある程度、「電話複写」みたいな漢語ができるけどな。さあ…複雑なもんだなあ。すまない、独り言しちゃって。

日本語をもっと深く考えさせる、そういう授業がとても好きで、もっとやりたい。(最近配られたアンケートにはそう書けばよかったのに…)

(ところで、「インクリース」というのは、増える(increase)という意味をする、僕に適当に作られた造語。いつか実際の言葉になる可能がないんじゃないと思えるな。)

Jumping into the realm of spaced repetition software

So I've been hearing about a method of learning called spaced repetition lately. The gist of it is that you study individual facts and, the better you can recall a certain fact when quizzed on it, the less often you study that particular fact. The result is that you're spending more time studying unknown material and only getting occasional reminders for things you've already gotten down pat.

The person to bring these systems to my attention was Khatzumoto. Frankly, it seems to be a decent system for building vocabulary. However, I think that it's also important to do it right to maximize efficiency, so I've spent some time thinking about (1) which software to use and (2) how to design my question-answer cards for it. (There are premade decks available, but I have found each one unsuitable—usually because they are chock full of English. Bad.)

As for the software, there were three big choices: Mnemosyne; Khaztumoto's own version optimized for cell phone usage, Khaztumemo, and Anki. I toiled with this one, but I've gone with Anki for the time being, as it seems to fit my needs best. It's still a young program, but it can be run portably (off of my external hard drive) and has a nice online component as well that syncs with your local deck. (In fact, I don't believe that the software is even necessary.) The software is a bit RAM-heavy and not the speediest sometimes, but you can't have everything.

As for my cards, I've decided up the following setup: The question is just the word on which I'm being tested; the answer section holds the readings of kanji words, brief definitions (often in just Japanese, but sometimes with both, if neccesary), and then good representative example sentences followed by any necessary notes about usage. For definitions and example sentences, I use WWWJDIC, the Japanese-Japanese dictionaries (大辞林 第二版 and デイリー 新語辞典+α) at Goo Dictionaries, and Eijiro at SPACE ALC.

Most of the words that I've got in my dictionary (over the past couple of weeks, I'm up to over 500) are words that I encounter in class. Thus, my intentions include not only the vague goal of building my vocabulary, but also the concrete goal of doing better in class as well. I've been using this software for several days now and I can say that I've seen a definite short-term improvement, and I managed to breeze through recent quizzes and this morning's test in a way that I've not breezed through one in some time. Which is quite nice, yeah, but do I know these words? Can I remember to use them? Can I at least recognize them in conversation?

To some extent, yeah. But it's only been a few days that I've been using this method, so I can't gauge yet just how effective it is. For now, however, I'm pretty pleased. It certainly beats the pit of near-inactivity that I have been falling in recently.

Of course, the hardest part about things like this is keeping up with it.

Check out the discussion about this post and SRS'es in general at Tae Kim's site too!

12/17/2007

温泉とパーティー | Onsen and party

あっという間に時間がずいぶん経ったな。すまなかった。学校やら台湾から来ていた友達との遊びやらで忙しかったもんでね。でも、面白い話がある。

それは、僕はやっと温泉に初めて行ったということだ。

友達5人と一緒に近くのある「楽の湯」という温泉に歩いて行き、仲良し3人と入り、日本の有名な温泉を体験した。短く言えば、予想より気持ちよかった。面白いことに、電気がついている風路に入ったんだけど、電気のことを知らずに入ったので、水に座ると流れてる電気を感じて「な、何だ?背中が引きつってるのか?」とやや心配した。その感覚って面白い。

Sorry for the disappearing act, there. Just one of those weeks. However, I have one interesting to share: I finally experienced the Japanese onsen. I went to a nearby place called Raku no Yu with five friends and hopped in (yes, entirely nude) with three of my good friends. Now that's bonding.

There was one pool with an electric current running through one part of it and when I, without knowing about said current, tried to sit down in it, I thought that I had a cramp in my back. I sat there for a minute or so but, despite the pleasant combination of water and electricity, I was getting weird feelings in my metal-laced bionic spine and hopped out. I want to try it again, though.

明日も試験。ったく。でも、今週が今学期の最期なんで、最期の力を出し尽くしたい。

Yet another test tomorrow. But it's the last one of the term, so I'll give it that old college try.

There was a get-together on Saturday evening with a small group of Yamasa-ites for the sake of those leaving at the end of this term (that is, this week). This party included DS basic-arithmetic battles (which were quite dominated by Joyce, though I was able to beat her once) and open-pot cooking. Interestingly, the party picked up again yesterday evening, and this second part was held at my place. It was the first time any party's been held in my room and it was pretty cool to host it. (We even had a Kaku Call. Heh.) Joyce cooked up something for us called Tāngyuán (湯圓), which is eaten on the coldest day of the year in Taiwan, if I understand correctly.

ヨウ、メロディー、さよなら。次の会える機会を待ってるぞ!

12/12/2007

作文:自分が外国人と意識するとき

この間、作文試験を受けた。僕が頑張って書いた作文をちょっと編集してここに書き込むことにした。テーマは「あなたは自分が外国人だと一番強く意識するのはどんなときですか」というのだった。

日本人でないアジア系の方は、日本人と似ている体と顔の特徴で日本の生活を送れるのを時々羨望してしまいます。なぜなら、私が長身の黒人なので、アジア系の方と異なり、どうしても目立ちますから、見つめられるのが非常に多いからです。ただ存在しているばかりで、人目につきやすいという日本の生活をしています。ある方はそういうふうに見られるのあまりに嫌ですが、私が思うように、人間というのは普通と異なるものを見かけると、ついに見つめてしまいがちな存在であると認め、気にしないようにしています。

しかし、「自分が外国人だと一番強く意識するのはどんなときか」と聞かれると、それは意外にも外見的なことでなく、言語的なことです。レストランで欲しい食べ物がうまく注文したり面白い映画の内容をスムーズに叙述したり日常会話が上手にしたりできないときには、私にとって最も辛くて「私はやはり部外者だね」とひしひしと意識します。

私はいくら外国人に見えても、日本語が上手に話せれば人間関係がうまくいけるように信じているので、そういったコミュニケートできなかったという経験をきっかけにして日本語力を高めようと私なりに精一杯勉強しているのです。


というのです。前半と比べれば後半は少し短いかもしれないけど。

Straight-up geekery (for my friends)

The word for "instrumentalization" actually popped up in class yesterday briefly. When I looked up the Japanese word for it and that popped up on my dictionary's screen, after wondering just why that class was heading, I thought of you guys back home. It was a moment. And the actual term "chidori" popped up yesterday. Another moment. And let's not forget about Akatsuki park right near the school.

That is all.

テストと話と似顔絵など

Today, there was another once-a-term school-wide placement test. Except for those of us in A class. Bwah ha ha! Sorry, but I've been waiting a while to be in a position to able to say that. Actually, the placement tests (which, as their name implies, is a factor in the next term's class placement, though not as heavy a factor as said name implies) aren't so bad—certainly nothing like the JLPT, in all its unholiness. They are good practice, in a sense. But I generally look at tests as review sessions anyway.

昨日、ある事情で僕は昼ご飯を食べなかったけど、食べなかったばかりに体力が足りなくて午後の会話テストに失敗してしまった。(先生とテープレコーダーの前で何もスムーズに言えなくて切ないもんだった。)でも、会話テストと違って昨日の作文テストはいつもよりうまくいったと思う。言いたいことを頭の中でちゃんと整理して書けたから。

Today, after class ended, I decided to go to the post office ATM and pull out some cash before heading to Seiyu for some foodstuffs. However, on the way to the ATM, I ran into no fewer than three very kind Japanese ladies that I know and haven't seen in a while—one after another and right in the same spot, at that. First, one stopped me and we chatted for a bit; then the second also approached and the three of us talked; finally, as soon as the first two left, the third one (the one I'm tightest with) pulled up in her car and invited me to karaoke tomorrow. (However, since my former classmates Yo and Melody are returning to Okazaki tomorrow, I likely won't be able to go.) It was nice, is all.

2時間目の授業が終わっているとき、あるクラスメートに「似顔絵は描けますか」と聞かれた。正直に「いや、できない」と答えたけど、描いてみればどうならかなと思って、教室の前に立っていらっしゃった黒田先生をあるプリントの裏面にこっそりを描いた。先生に見せる機会がなかったけど、せっかく描いたからアップロードすることにした。

F'real?!

The other day, I went to Fukatsu, a nearby used-CD store and was watching a trailer from the latest Harry Potter film, which is now on DVD. There were Japanese subtitles on it and I was pretty amused to see that when Ron exclaimed "Blimey!" in one scene, it was translated as マジで? ("f'real?!").

There was another scene where the new strict teacher on the Hogwarts campus, during class, cried out "This ... is ... a ... lie!" and the subtitles read "嘘です." Talk about not conveying the spirit of the scene. (Though, yes, of course, you can hear the intended inflections and such. I'm just saying it was funny at the time.)

12/10/2007

Music corner update

お待たせしました!ミュージックコーナー更新を発表します!音楽をアクセスするサイトがダメになったかと思ってたけど、結局大丈夫みたいだ。そういうことで、いよいよ新しい曲が入っているよ。今回はどの曲でもアメリカの昔の素晴らしいモータウンのやつだよ!よければ聴いてみてね。それに、おまけとして下に昔の日本の曲、酒井法子の『ノ・レ・な・いTeen-age』、そのビデオも(なぜか)用意してある。

I finally updated the Music Corner over there. I thought that I wouldn't be able to use that site anymore but I fixed the problem and loaded the corner up with some good old-fashioned Motown(-like) classics. There's also a short, classic Noriko Sakai clip below, for no other reason than that I like posting music-related videos with these updates.



(僕が今週のしゃべり場わいわいラジオ放送をすることになっている。)

Results of the second test | 第2試験の成績

バットジョンToday we got the results of our second test (from last Thursday) back. Things on the written test went as expected: I screwed up the sections that I expected to (I didn't really study except for the night before, see) but passed. Surprisingly, though, my listening test results were outright fantastic. Everyone's were, though, so it probably just means that this test was particularly simple. I am, however, rather weak with lists of numbers—especially those with decimal places—as I missed a couple of simple problems where I just had to right the numbers down. But when I hear sequences of numbers like rokujuunitenyon, it takes time to sort it out in my head. It's the same with telling time and especially so with large numbers (because the numbering system is different). I need more practice with numbers. But I was pleased to actually receive a very good grade on a listening test. It doesn't happen too often.

I intend to kick butt on the last test.

今日、第2試験の成績をもらった。筆記試験は予想通りまあまあだった(前の夜しか勉強しなかったもん)けど、意外にも聴解試験はとてもよかった。そんなの久しぶり!平均点数は同じくらいだったから、多分今回の試験がそんなに難しくなかったように示していると思うけど、なんといっても嬉しい。最期の試験に頑張るぞ。

12/09/2007

School's first integrated prom

Wow. In Ashburn, Georgia, high school students attended their school's first integrated prom. Yeah, true pioneers in the field of interracial relations, these folks. I mean, it's good that progress of some sort is being made, but where have these folks been for the past forty or so years? I guess it's easy to forget that progress hasn't been equal across the nation. This article—it's almost surreal. I'm also amused that there are apparently only two races of folks at this school.

12/06/2007

Norton Fighter | ノートンファイター

This rather made my night.
これってさ、気に入ったんだ。





They did a good job on it, I think.
よく作られたんじゃないか?

(I think the icing on the cake, for me, is that I wouldn't let Norton's software anywhere near my computer.)

English posts vs. Japanese posts

A small tidbit: since I starting adding language tags to my posts a few months back, I've made 163 posts in English and 161 in Japanese. Things are pretty even on that front, it seems.

That is all.

桑田佳祐の「ダーリン」

一晩中明日の試験のために勉強していてとても疲れた。でも、寝る前にさっきテレビで見た歌を紹介したいと思う。桑田佳祐の「ダーリン」という歌。僕はこの歌のスタイルがとても好きだ。

I've put in a true cramming session tonight, but before I collapse into bed, I want to post this video of a song that I just saw performed on TV this evening. I'm pretty fond of its sound.


もし上のムービーがなくなったら・・・


じゃ、寝ちゃう・・・

Update: He sings this song (link dead) too? Okay, he's officially on my "like list" now.

12/05/2007

またテスト | Another test

明日、またテストだ。クラスのいつも通りのテストだけど。だから、今夜勉強しなきゃならない。

Another test tomorrow—this time, a standard class test. Looks like I'd better study well tonight, as I need to do well on this one.

12/04/2007

スマブラのライバル

僕はニンテンドーの『大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ』(スマブラ)というゲームからがとても好きだよ。僕の今までの一番好きなテレビゲームだと言えるほどかもしれない。だから、僕のニンテンドーゲームキューブをアメリカから持ってきたわけ。このゲームを楽しむに、1人だけではなく、2人以上が必要だけど、岡崎に相手はあまりいない。最近、クラスメートのホアキンが相手になってくれたけど、数ヶ月前に僕のスマブラのライバルがいた。その友達と勝負を山ほどしたものだけど、彼は僕の連勝が嫌いだったかアメリカに帰国してしまったんだ。

その友達はこのブログを読んでいるけど、ここに出る勇気があるかなあ・・・

お父様再誕生!

今日はすごくよかった。能力試験がやっと終わったからか、元気に授業を受けることができた。昔のやる気が改めてわいてきて気合を入れながら勉強に楽しく頑張れた。いい感じだなあ!授業が終わっても教室に残って勉強することにした。(久しぶり、それは!)僕が学業に飽きたと思っていたものの、結局その面倒くさい試験に影響され過ぎたように、今の僕は思っている。でも、試験の影響だったとしても、やはり僕自身も悪かった。その気持ちを乗り越えられるように努力を絶えず入れていれば、僕はもしかしたらそんなに調子が悪くならなかったかもしれない。だから、ある程度自分のせいだとみなして、省みながら反省しているわけ。じゃ、これからは精を出していきたいぞ!

あっ、そうだ!左側の絵のことだけどね、僕に渡した漢字総合試験の紙に、こういうものがくっ付いている。小松先生のプレゼント。(笑)

12/03/2007

JLPT level 2

So ... the JLPT is over. 能力試験はかなりうまくいったと思うよ!

A group of us gathered at Okazaki Station at 7:50(-ish) to be greeted by various sensei who had come to see us off, including Sano-sensei, my main sensei. (I swear, one day I'll find a way to translate 担任先生 into English without making it sound like I'm in sixth grade.) A ton of Yamasa students hopped on the 8:03 express to Toyohashi, which is two big cities over. There was some beautiful mountains in view on the way. In Toyohashi, we moved from JR and crammed into smaller train that didn't even have an automatic ticket-taker and headed three stations down. (I heard that it was hard to find the college where we'd be taking the test, but it was ridiculously simple, and the train basically stopped on the sidewalk right outside of the college.)

We were guided to the proper building by ladies holding signs along the various paths. The surroundings with quite beautiful, what with golden leaves scattered about the ground. It's really feeling fall-like recently.

I went to the room that I was assigned to and found that my assigned seat was in the very front row. Sweet. Yamamoto was in the room room as I was, but he was in the very last row. The most surprisingly thing to me was that about 90% of the test-takers seemed to be Chinese and Taiwanese folks. There are a lot of Taiwanese folks at Yamasa, but this was really something.

The test was remarkably similar to our tests at school, which, of course, makes perfect sense. First were vocabulary and kanji. This was my strongest section, though I made some mistakes (登山 as とうざん, misidentifying 生徒). I probably missed about five or six of these. Next was listening, which is not my strongest area. It went decently well, I think, though I know I missed a few. After lunch was reading and grammar. By about this time, I was feeling pretty exhausted, and the ten minutes that they make you wait doing absolutely nothing before each section starts only made this worse. The reading was pretty dense stuff and I didn't figure out all of the questions before time ran out, but the grammar will certainly save me on this section.

So I pretty much fully expect to pass, barring a ridiculous fluke. But I have to wait until February to find out.

After the test, a group of us went to hang out together in Nagoya. I very rarely go to Nagoya so it's always like a little treat for me to go. (Seriously, maybe I've gone about six or seven times?) Unfortunately, plans were fuzzy and we ended up just standing around Nagoya Station (pictured) for quite a while. I was tired and began feeling quite anti-social, so since our actual dinner appointment was shoved over an hour later (by someone who later abandoned the party, at that), I decided to just wander off on my own for a while.

I went to the bookstore up on the eleventh floor (above the station) for a brief time, then wandered around aimlessly for a while before (after almost, almost, just heading back home) heading to Sakae, where I was meet everyone. I sat near a fountain and entertained myself by watching some episodes of Futurama on my iPod. Oh yeah—I got an iPod. But more on that soon. The point is, Futurama really helped to put me in a better mood, so I went for yakitori with everyone.

We were there for three hours. One classmate had specifically planned to drink herself until she could forget about the test entirely, but I don't think she quite made it there (at the restaurant, at least). I also got to see Herve, an old schoolmate of mine who's got a good job and a nice girlfriend and is living pretty well in Nagoya it seems. (A bit embarrassingly, when it was time to calculate who owed what for dinner, I used my calculator and, without thinking, calculated it with tax down to the yen and, when it was my turn to thrown my money into the pot, I just turned the calculator toward Yamamoto to show him how much (504 yen) as I dug for coins. My drink-to-forget classmate called me a tightwad, and later, my friend M Girl laughed at me and said that I shouldn't do that. It was pretty funny. I was jus' tryin' make things convenient, man. But, yeah, I am a tightwad here because I'm not spending my money. I'm looking forward to not being so poor next year.)

And that's about it. I spent basically all today at home, since the school was kind of enough to give us the day off. But I have a test Thursday, unfortunately, so I can't quite rest yet. Consarn it all. But as for today, the most constructive thing I might have done is beat the Fire Temple in Ocarina of Time. That is in part, though, because I've had a pretty bad headache for most of the afternoon and evening.

Foreign exchange student in a drama, huh?

There's a family drama about (or including, at least) a Hungarian foreign exchange student on right now. I wonder if the actor's really Hungarian—I don't know the accent that well. I don't like his acting, though. I've been wondering if there are any dramas with foreigners in them. Maybe I should star in a drama myself someday. ('Cause it's juuuuust thaaat easy.) This show is pretty silly, like I think most dramas are, but one point for the short Uno scene.

Update: Actually, I think this is a movie, not a drama. Whatever the case, it's really pretty silly.

12/01/2007

いよいよ能力試験 | Advent of the JLPT

明日の朝、いよいよ豊橋で日本語能力試験を豊橋で受ける。

僕は一番難しい1級でなく2級を受けることにしたので、試験に落ちる可能性が低いものの、どうせ受けるなら自分の将来のためにいい点数を取れるように僕なりに全力を込めて頑張りぬきたいと思っている。

1級じゃないからといってあまり勉強しなくていいというわけじゃない。不合格する恐れがあるので、今日初めて図書館で文法の本を復習しておくことにした。そういった復習をするのは久しぶりでとても役立ったと思う。いろいろな人は「お父様なら1級ができるのに!」と、僕の日本語力不足を知らないかのように言ってくれる人は最近多いけど、力を抜くどころじゃないと僕は思っている。もし不注意で失敗したら、どれくらい恥ずかしいことか。



Tomorrow is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

I'll be taking the level 2 test (instead of the harder level 1) so I should have no real trouble actually passing, but I'm not going to take it easy. Many folks have been saying that I should be taking the level 1 test, but that's still a bit beyond me, I think. Whatever the case, this is, academically, by far the most important thing I'll do here in Japan, so I intend to go to the testing site tomorrow and throw myself into the test with the intent to destroy it. As best I can, I'm gonna annihilate that wretched test. (Now that I think about it, tomorrow ought to be quite the catharsis for me.)

So ... I'll be in touch soon.

11/27/2007

またCDを買っちゃった

I almost forgot to write it, but I purchased three used CDs for about US$2.70 on Thursday.

書き忘れるところだった!先週の木曜日、中古CDを3枚買った。3百円で。

MISIA: Singer for Singer
MISIA: Mars and Roses
Toshinobu Kubota: La-La-La Love Thang

広瀬香美の1,2枚もあったけど、もう持っているやつだったから、買わなかった。

重箱読み

さっき、残高という言葉を教わったところだけど、僕はその語彙を初めて読むとこの字を特別に思った。

なぜならば、残高という言葉は音読みの「ザン」と訓読みの「たか」を合わせた字だから。こういう字もあると既に分かっていたが、多くないせいかあまり見るチャンスはない。ちょっと調べたところ、こういう音読みと訓読みを合わせた字は「重箱読み」と呼ぶということがわかった。

他に、工場(コウば)、役場(ヤクば)、台所(ダイどころ)、団子(ダンご)、番組(バンぐみ)、本棚(ホンだな)、派手(ハで)、残高(ザンだか)、金星(キンぼし)、反物(タンもの)、雑木(ゾウき)、音読み(オンよみ)、という言葉も例として出された。

面白く思ったさ。

漢字選択授業最終回 | The end of my kanji class

Yesterday was my final kanji class with Komatsu-sensei. I love kanji classes and Komatsu-sensei's was quite good and suitably entertaining. I rather wish that there were more opportunities to study kanji here at Yamasa. Fortunately, I can take the same class next term, though, of course, it will cover different kanji. Unfortunately, the sensei will almost certainly be different.

We also had our final big test yesterday and I scored a 49 out of 50. I was surprised at how quickly I blew through the test. The only thing that tripped me up was the character 延. Never again, you 8-stroked octopod fiend, you!

昨日は今学期の漢字選択授業の最終回だった。僕は漢字を勉強するのがとても好きで、小松先生の授業は本当に役立って楽しかったのだ。ヤマサではもっと漢字を教える授業があるといいな。来学期もできれば同じ授業を受けようと思っている。(同じといって勉強する漢字も同じというわけではないけど。)残念ながら、違う先生が来学期の漢字授業を教える可能性が高いと思われる。

昨日が最終回というわけで、総合試験を受けたんだけど、意外に速くでき、50点のうちに49点を取った。間違えた一つの字は「延」だった。今後、気をつけておき、絶対に二度としないように!

(ありがとうございました、小松先生。)

11/26/2007

Big ol' weekend update

The problem with waiting a few days to post is that, invariably, notable events that I'd definitely like to put here end up slipping my mind and the final post ends up being a flurry of cut-and-dried "here's what I did" sentences with the little interesting bits missing. Kind of like this one.

Reunion

My former schoolmates Yo, Rhoda, and Shuu came back to town for the weekend. Yo, my classmate and radio partner of one year, was only here for one night and the next morning, so we didn't get to talk too much; and, unfortunately, I missed out on a luncheon with him and on seeing him off at the train station, which I was very disappointed about, but I did get to talk with him on the phone for a minute or two before he left, at least, which I was grateful for. Later on Saturday evening, I had yakiniku with Shuu, Yamamoto, Joaquin, and M-Girl, which was quite enjoyable. But everyone's already left again. It was interesting: when those three were here, the atmosphere of the Yamasa of one year ago returned and it really made me feel nostalgic for those good old days. (After getting home, I stumbled into another get-together that my downstairs neighbor was having and discovered that he owns Super Mario Galaxy, so I'll be getting a bit of hands-on with that sucker soon, I expect.)

School and the JLPT

I stayed home from school on Thursday and Friday. When I stayed home on Thursday, I intended to go Friday, but I forgot that, on last Friday, everyone was going to do a mock JLPT test. I wanted no part of that and just opted to stay in again. (However, I should have gone because, apparently, the alternate classes that they had for non-test-takers was apparently fairly interesting. But I forgot about that class altogether.)

I have immense dislike for the JLPT. A lot of this is for the reasons that Ian Lewis stated a while back. But also, I greatly dislike how so much of my study time at school and outside of it has been coopted by it. I came here because I wanted to study Japanese, not, unlike many folks, because I needed to pass the JLPT. (Originally, I didn't intend to take it at all, but I figured that it might be useful to me for certain reasons and decided to take it after all.) When there is something like the JLPT in front of me, it kills my desire to study. I think that the JLPT has been looming before me and that I can't escape it (its influence at school is thick) is a lot of the reason that I've had trouble getting much desire to do schoolwork recently

So, that the test is this Sunday is a source of some happiness to me. I very much want it behind me. Then I can study again without caring about some stupid test.

Taiko with Hanadaiko

On Sunday, I went to play taiko with Hanadaiko, a local taiko performance group. I was just expecting to watch and be allowed to play a little bit. But when I was picked up by the lady who is possibly the head of the group, she immediately gave me a sheet with rhythms written down on it and, as she drove, instructed me on what I was going to be doing. As we practiced the rhythms by tapping our hands (me, on my lap; her, on the steering wheel as she drove), I realized that I wouldn't be just sitting around after all.

We arrived at the practice area, an isolated place near the outskirts of the city, and got down to business. I, apparently, am not too bad for a beginner and they seemed pretty pleased with me overall. They didn't go too easy on me, as whenever I held the bachi incorrectly, I was corrected. Also, it turns out that one of the fellows in the group works with another acquaintance of mine, and so we'll probably head out together at some point.

The day was a success and they seem to want me back pretty soon. Maybe I'll go once or twice a month to, as we say in the business, have a jam session.

Today

And today was fine. I read the essay that I needed to last night and went to school determined to have a good day. And pretty good it was. I'm sitting next to my man Joaquin this week, and it might be the final time that I can since he'll be heading back soon and I can't talk him out of it.

11/22/2007

千の風になって

秋川雅史の詩を基にした『千の風になって』は人気がある歌だね。歌詞が分かりやすくても、とても感情に満ちてて意味深いんだし。だから紹介したい。

Surprisingly, this song is one of the most popular songs of the year. It's "Sen no kaze ni natte," or, "Become a Thousand Winds," by Masafumi Akikawa. It was adapted from the poem "Do not stand at my grave and weep" (which is also the first line or two in the song). I think it's pretty cool that a song like this has such popularity.



なんて美しくて。

You can find the original English version of the poem at The Poetry Library.

11/21/2007

Sketches and go | スケッチと囲碁

DSC08685I've been doodling a lot more recently, so I hope to get some more of those silly little sketches up here. Not really taking many photos, though. (I was pretty upset to have forgotten my camera when I went to the dance performance the other day.)

最近、スケッチをしているから、その絵をアップロードして、ブログをちょっと飾ろうと思っている。でも、なぜか写真は撮っていない。

Also, I've been playing go online with my old rival, Lee, again. We've played five matches so far and, at the moment, he's ahead 3-2. (I was pretty pleased with myself in our previous match, though. I played a pretty solid game.) Not playing much recently has weakened me some, but I'm getting back into the groove. I've not been able to attend the go class much recently, so it's nice to be able to play like this.

今週、天敵の囲碁ライバルの李さんとインターネットで対局をやり始めた。今までの5局で、李さんは3対2で勝っている。(なのに、僕はこの間いい対局をやったんだ。)最近、囲碁を少ししかやっていないので、僕の囲碁力が少し弱まったような気がする(もともと弱かったのに!)けど、前の(ある程度)できる状態に戻れるように頑張っている。最近、囲碁教室へ全然行けなくなっているから、オンライン対局はいい感じ。

文字のばらばらの英文[硬]

英語を勉強されている方はこういった英文をご覧になったことはございますか。

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are. The olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef, but the wrod as a wlohe.


あなたは読めますか。普通の英文と何が異なるかお分かりですか。ただ、それぞれの単語の文字の順番がかわっていることなのです。極めて読みにくいかもしれませんが、意外にも母国語が英語の方にとってはこの文章をかなり簡単に読めます。しかし、順番がかわっていてもなぜかスムーズに読めます。文字の順番を正しく整理しますと、下記の通りになります。

According to research at Cambridge University, it doesn't matter what order the letters in a word are. The only important thing is that the first and last letters are in the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without a problem. This is because we do not read every letter by itself, but the word as a whole.


お理に適いますか。

さまざまな普及されるうわさをきちんと調査し、事実を暴露するSnopes(スノップス)という信用できるウェブサイトがあります。Snopesによりますと、Cambridge大学が文章に書いてあるそういった結果を発表していないかもしれないとのことですが、ともかくこの面白い文章を紹介させていただきたかったのです。

以上です。

(こんな文章ってさ、かてぇ!)

11/20/2007

Weekend wrap-up (now with more Ocarinas (but not cowbells)!)

And now, for something I've not done in a while: the multi-day update.

Friday



After classes, I received about ten Nintendo GameCube games from a classmate who is, apparently, deeply into his PS3 these days. Included in the bundle were The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (including the Master Quest), The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Metroid Prime (which I own back home), Pikmin, Spyro, and Enter the Matrix. And two memory cards to boot. Right before the JLPT too. I am now gleefully playing Ocarina of Time.

That evening, I went to karaoke with a couple of friends. I got picked on because most of the songs that I sang are sung by females (as can be expected, Kohmi Hirose and Hiromi Iwasaki were highly represented) and didn't fit with the rock-loving folks that I was there with. But anyone who knows me knows that I sing whatever I like and makes me feel good.

After that, was my introduction to Ocarina of Time.

Saturday



I was invited to go to Kourankei on Saturday by some friends this year (I've been before), but I had a previous engagement to attend an international dance program. Come Saturday, I wasn't in the mood to go but go I did, expecting that I'd show my face and head back after a couple of hours. I ended up staying for the whole time, from 1:30 until about 5:00.

I was treated to dances from Japan, the Philippines (they performed the Tinikling), Hawaii (real hulas are pretty smoothing), and Bali (this one was pretty interesting, and looked something like this one).

However, there were also a couple of Ocarina players that performed and ask for volunteers. I was considering going up to play when I was singled out from the audience by the emcee, a lady that I know. No one else was volunteering, so I figured, "Why the heck not?" and hopped on down to the stage, received a quick lesson from one of the players, and, well, played the Ocarina.

(Anyone who knows me knows where this is going.) She taught me one scale, from C to C, and I'm thinking, "I've got to try to play something good here!" (Here it comes.) And, lo!, am I not playing Ocarina of Time up in here? (There it was.) Most unfortunately, though, I could not fulfill my geek quota, as I hadn't learned any of the songs in the game yet. Tsk. But I was able to dish out the first few notes of the only other song that I could think of and easily play: the Mario Bros. theme. Heh. (Sorry, but I'm just that kinda guy, and I couldn't think of any "serious" songs that I could play.) After my performance, the emcee asked for my impressions of playing the ocarina. In Japanese, I said, "As I expected, it was tough. But interesting" into the microphone. Or something like that. And I took my seat.

After that was a taiko performance. This was performed by Hanadaiko, a group whose members I've actually met and practiced a bit with a few months back, and I was surprised to see them come out. One of them saw me and waved, and then they began their performance. They're good.

I stuck around longer than I had planned in order to speak with the group members again. We caught up with each other and they invited me to join their practice this Sunday afternoon. Sweet! They joked that I'm their newest member. At the least, I shall call myself an unofficial member of Hanadaiko.

Come next Sunday, I'll be bangin' them drums, I'll tell you what.

Sunday



I wrote that I'd be going on a road trip with Mikawa Ossan. Yeah, about that ...

We got a late start and, by the time we finally met up, we figured that we'd do better to postpone the trip and just hit grab a bite to eat, hit a few electronics stores, and watch a movie or so. Well, we did hit a few stores (including the Kimball recycle shop, which I haven't been too in ages and where I purchased my six-dollar color printer), but we ended up distracted by an old PS game called Momotarou Dentetsu 7. Mikawa Ossan was determined to get me to play, and while I was hesitant at first, I have to say, it's pretty entertaining. (Here's an nice overview of the twelfth installment in the series.) It's a batsu game, basically meaning that whoever's in last place gets punished, mainly by this little guy (Bonbii) that follows you around only to screw you over continually. (And don't get me started on his super form. Lordy lordy ...)

Monday



Monday? What happened on Monday? Oh, right. Ocarina of Time happened. Pretty standard day, basically.

Today



This evening (after Ocarina of Time), I met up with Yamamoto and we went to Wingtown's bookstore, where I almost—almost—bought both a great kanji book and a fantastic book all about Japan (history, present, culture, etc.) written in both English and Japanese, side-by-side. Oh, how I struggled with that decision. But, in the end, I decided to exercise restraint. For now. First is the kanji book, though. It's summary-style presentation is just what the doctor ordered.

And that's the gist of the past few days. (Please ignore the typos for now. I must sleep.)

11/19/2007

Late to school but a nice day-ender

I had trouble getting out of bed this morning (a few times) and ended up missing the first three hours of class today. (And, frankly, at times like this, when you have one of the rather dreaded honbun classes, it's all the harder to get up. Though I actually wanted to go to this morning's.) I don't like sleeping too long, though, because it usually screws me up for the entire day. Fortunately, though, I was able to shrug off most of the resultant lethargy and had a pretty good day.

One of my sensei gave me a surprising compliment as the end of the day today. She complimented my Japanese as whole and basically said that she thinks never heard me even make a mistake when speaking. Wow. Of course, this is simply because I'm in one of her classes for the first time this term and we still haven't spoken all that much, as, I can assure you, there are absolutely plenty of mistakes in my speech (they are evident enough here on my blog) and I accused her of exaggeration. Still, even though we just met, we do talk and joke around a fair amount, and it was still pretty cool to hear her say something like that and, apparently, mean it. Of course, this also means that I'll be making a big and stupid mistake the very next time that I speak with her. Such is the way that things work.

I'm reminded of when a friend of mine recently made a comment that I could handle some difficult Japanese because I was in A class. My reply was, "Man, all that means is that I know how much I don't know." How true.

11/18/2007

Quick note: ROAD TRIP!

Be happy for me, for the reason that I've not posted in the past few days is because I've been out doing stuff. I'll update you soon, though. For today, I'm about to head out on a road trip with Mikawa Ossan. Catch you soon.

11/14/2007

帰国決定発表 | Announcement

私はいつアメリカに帰国するか本気で考えたり両親と相談したりした末、とうとう決定されました。ここでその結果を発表させていただきたいと思います。

私は・・・来年の3月末までヤマサで勉強することになりました!

今、気持ちはいろりろあります。「帰るしかない」と思い込んでいた時、アメリカの生活を思い出し、その生活のいいところを改めて考え始めましたが、結局まだ行けなくて、やや悲しみも感じています。しかし、その反面、私は岡崎の生活を2年ほど最期までできるようになり、もちろん極めて嬉しいです。現在は一生の生活だからです。今後、さらに楽しい生活を過ごしたいと思います。(でも、もう一学期勉強するなら今学期の成績をもっと意識して頑張らなければいけません。)

わがブログを読んでくださっている皆様、これからも宜しくお願い申し上げます!



So I've been thinking very heavily about when I'll return to the America—at the end of December or at the end of March. I've thought long and hard about it and, finally, a decision has been reached.

I'm going to stay here until until March.

My feelings are pretty mixed. On the one hand, I was pretty sure that I'd be returning home in December and was looking forward to being back with my friends there and getting back to certain aspects of my life; but on the other, I'm glad that I'll be able to stay until the end, for the entire two years. This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal, after all. (But I'll have to be more mindful of my grades this term since I'll be here for another. Ugh.)

So many thanks to those of you who continue to read this blog.

Uh ... yoroshiku onegai shimasu?



To you guys back home in Houston (you're all still readying this, right?): Sorry for the delay (though I guess it's less of a delay and more of sticking to the original plan, really). I miss you greatly, though. (Think about visiting me at some point!) And I can't believe you'll be playing Brawl without me. My heart is broken. And I'll be thirty in January too ... I wanted to be with y'all when that happened ... (T_T)

11/13/2007

どうしようか締め切り接近

困ったな。

明後日までに、いつアメリカに帰国するか学校に教えなきゃいけない。でも、年末に帰国しようか、それとも3月末にしようか、なかなか決められないんだ。本当に決められないものだ。

これから、学校での勉強より独学したほうが個人的に効果的なように思う反面、最近自分の生活がもっと盛り上がっているし、もう少し岡崎に残っていたい。もちろん、今の岡崎の生活で独学の勉強ができないことはないんだけど、ヤマサで勉強できるのは僕が両親のすねをかじっているから。だから、そのお金を無駄にしちゃダメだと思う。休学して来日したから、帰国してとうとう卒業すべきだろう。新しい仕事もそろそろ探し始めなきゃ。(日本で英会話以外のいい仕事を見つけられる自信は、まだ大学を卒業していない僕にはないし。)

すまない。話がもつれちゃってね。

実は、感情に左右されないように客観的に考えると「やっぱり帰国するがいい」と思う。永遠に岡崎にいられるワケないし。帰国しなきゃなんないだろとは、論理的に理解はできるけど、心には納得がいかないって感じかな。

でも人生というのは、時々しかたがないときがあるものだね。

11/12/2007

わかる | Wakaru

分かる・解る・判るという「わかる」という言葉は三つあるけど、何が違うかずっとわからなかった。今一つの学生なので、調べるのをいつも忘れちゃうもん。だけどさ、たった今やっと調べたところだ。ある解説は『「解かる」?「判る」?「分かる」? - 教えて!』というページに書いてある。で、もう一つの気になっているところは、どうして日本人はよく「わかる」をひらがなで書くというのだったけど、少し考えてみると、どの漢字を使えばいいか選ぶのが面倒くさいからって気がする。

There are three ways to write "wakaru," the Japanese word for "understand," using kanji. For some time, I've been wondering what the difference is between them and, also, why everyone seems to write it in hiragana. The former question I found answered in a Goo question forum. As for the latter, perhaps it's a bit of a bother to worry about? (This seems to happen sometimes in Japanese.)

11/11/2007

ものすごく太りすぎている

辞書に載っている例文。
An example sentence from a dictionary.

ベスは言い返しましたが、お母さんは彼女にものすごく太りすぎていると注意しました。
Beth protested, but her mother reminded her that she was incredibly fat.


僕は面白いと思ってさ。
Just thought it interesting.

WINGTOWN Adventures

今晩、一人で最近できたWINGTOWNというショッピングセンターに行ってきた。僕はモールに興味はあまりないんだけど、いい本屋も入ってるって聞いてたから、見に行くことにした。かなりスタンダードな本屋だったけど、テレビゲームも売ってるし、いい雰囲気だったな。面白いことに、天井に引っかかっている風船を取り戻そうと梯子の上に立っている男の子と梯子の隣に立っているお母さんを見かけた。どうしても腕が短すぎて、男の子は風船を取れなかった。なので、僕は近づいて「手伝いましょうか」と言ってみた。お母さんはびっくりしたかのようにスマイルして「お願いします」と顔で指示して、僕は手を出して風船を取って男の子に渡した。(梯子は要らなかった。)お母さんは「ありがとうございました」とお礼を言うと、僕は「どういたしまして!☆」と笑顔で答えて、ブラウズし続けた。(やはり、この僕の第一任務は日本の子どもを助けることなのである。[笑])

So I stopped by WINGTOWN this evening, the new shopping center nearby. Everyone's been all, "You haven't gone yet?!" and I was curious (it seems to be wildly popular for some reason), so off I went. Pretty standard mall, but I heard that the bookstore was pretty interesting, so I decided to wander around it for a while. Interestingly, at one point, I saw a young boy on top of a ladder reaching for a balloon that had floated off to the ceiling. Try as he might, he couldn't reach it, so I approached him and his mother and asked if I could give them a hand. His mother smiled and indicated that, yes, that would be quite welcome. So I reached up and plucked the balloon and handed it over to the young lad. His mother thanked me and, with a "you're welcome," I continued browsing the store. Another saved child.

NHKの雑誌コーナーに寄って初めて「囲碁講座」という雑誌を見た。日曜日の「囲碁の時間」という講座番組で毎週見せられるものだから、なんかお土産として買いたかったけど、結局買わなかった。だけど、新しい広瀬香美の中古CDを買ったぞ!実はね、NHKの上級英会話の雑誌は僕にもいい勉強になるかもしれないような気がした。だって、英文の隣に日本の翻訳を出してくれる雑誌は日本人にもアメリカにも役立つように思うし。あっ、岩崎宏美の去年に発売されたアルバムを見たけど、彼女はまだ歌っているのを全然知らなかったよ!そのアルバムをちょっと聴いて「いいな」と思ったけど、僕はお金がいくらあったってCDを買うのに3千円を出せない者だ。あれって、ぼったくりじゃない?!

I know that the amount of English on this blog has been dwindling. I'm aware of this and am considering it. ^_^; I just tend to write in whatever language I feel like writing in at the time, and since there's been a lot of Japanese blog-related activity recently (both online and off), I've been gravitating in that direction a lot. Sorry. Stick with us, folks.

パーティータイム!

昨日はいい一日だった。

朝ごはんを羽根食堂で食べ、そこから近くにある行ったことのない公園で『忍たま乱太郎』の漫画を読んだ。で、読みきると、自転車に乗り、Book-Offの南店に第4巻を買いに行くことにしたが、いい天気を満喫するために直接に行かず、わざわざ遠い道を走って行き、入ったことのない本屋に寄り、また本を買ってしまった。(80円しかかからなかったからさ。)今回『放課後の音符』と『「さよなら」が知ってるたくさんのこと』という本。後で、寮に帰り、夜まで友達と喋ったりホアキンというクラスメートとゲームをしたりした。

夜は、山本がPeppersというレストランでを行ったパーティーだった。山本はPeppersでヤマサの友達のために何回もパーティーを行ったことがあるが、今回初めて山本の会社同僚もある知り合いも誘ったので、外国人も日本人も集まって一緒に交じろうというパーティーを行うことにした。

どうなるだろうね?パーティーは参加者は、希望通りに交じって一緒に楽しく喋ったりしてくれるか、それともみんなが外国人と日本人との二つのグループに別れて過ごしてしまうか、かなりの心配だったんだって。だけどさ、結局無事にうまくいった。参加者のみんなはグループに別れずに交じっていて、すごくいい雰囲気だった。

行くところ、僕は自転車に乗り、ホアキンともう2人のスクールメートと一緒に行くことになっていたのだが、その3人はPeppersへ道が分からなく、僕は3人を連れて行った。30分遅れたので、Peppersに着いたら、パーティーはもういい様子で始まっていた。入ると、「あ、ジョンさんだっ!」と入口の近くから男の人の声がした。見ると、金曜日の夜に会った山本の同僚だった!いいスタートだね。

パーティーでいろいろ面白い話があった。なぜか「カッコイイ」と褒められたり、「ガールフレンドはいる?」と聞かれたり(いないけどさ)、「ジョンさんは何のハーフなの?」と聞かれたり(僕ってさ、ハーフなんかじゃないけど、そう見えるみたいだね)した。あっという間に終わり、同じ場所に座っていなく、いろいろな人ともっと話せばよかったとやや後悔しているのだが、すごく楽しいパーティーだった。

ありがとう、山本!

吉澤ひとみ・食べなされ

吉澤ひとみは、僕が今見てるクイズ番組の英語の質問に一門しか正しく答えられなく、一番低い点数を取ってしまった。彼女は英語が上手な親友のアヤカさんに再び英会話レッスンを受けさせてもらったらいいかもしれない。(笑)

もう二人の芸能人は「食べなさい」を尊敬語に変えれば「食べなされ」になるように答えた。そんな日本語あるものか?!

11/09/2007

またであい屋台と面白いエンカウンター

今晩、またであい屋台に行って、このブログを読んでくれている店主のミキさんと台湾料理を山本と食べた。僕が驚いたのは、僕のクラスメートもそこにバイトをやっているってこと。で、彼女は料理が上手だということが今夜わかった。(笑)さすが!

今夜、ミキさんから本を3冊ももらった。『今日は明日の昨日』・『5年目のハイヒール』・『話ことばと日本人 日本語の生態』という本。特に『話ことばと日本人』が気に入りそうだ。ありがとう!

日本人とのエンカウンターもあった。二人の18歳の日本人の女の子が隣の席に座りに来て、ミキさんはその二人と話して、僕と山本に紹介してくれた。それだけじゃなく、二人が帰ろうとすると、ミキさんはこのブログを読んでもらうようにお願いしてくれた。面白~い!(ありがとう!)

山本が家に帰ったけど、僕はもっとそこの雰囲気を味わいたくて、しばらくそこに残ることにした。そうすると、あるおじさんが近づいた。ミキさんのおかげで、そのおじさんと会話ができた。おじさんの話はかなり分かりにくかったけど、とても優しい人だと思う。その話が続くと、僕はビールを一杯ごちそうしてもらうことになった。僕はビールをめったに飲まないタイプだけど、日本ではビールを飲みながら仲がよくなることが多いとよく耳にするから、こういうシチュエーションが現れると、必ず飲むようにしている。ありがとう、おじさん。

その後、山本は会社の同僚と東岡崎で食事することになったけど、その同僚は岡崎に住んでないか、自転車が岡崎にないので、僕は自分の(愛車の)自転車を貸してあげることにした。ダイソーの前で会った。そこが面白い話の生まれ。

お互いに紹介したら、僕はこう聞かれた。「あの・・・黒人さんですか」と。

「えっ?・・・うん、そうですよ!」と答えると、山本の同僚はびっくりして、実際に黒人に会うのは初めてだって言った。本当か?!

やっぱり、こういうものは日本にあるんだね。代表的な外国人がいれば白人だろうと僕は思う。僕みたいな黒人は白人よりも少ないしね。僕はなんか黒人の代表としていたような気がしたね。(笑)いい印象を与えることができたと思うけど。

話が続くと、彼は「You are very cool」と言ってくれた。僕の返事は「どうして女性に言われないな」と。

11/08/2007

であい横丁

今晩、山本と岡崎駅前の最近できた「であい横丁」に食べに行った。

昨日、山本は一人で行って、いろんな優しい店主と話した。特に、ある店主さんは山本に「ヤマサで勉強していますか?」と聞いたら、山本はもうヤマサを終了して岡崎の会社で仕事をしているように答えた。そうすると、その店主さんに、「ジョナサンの日本日記のジョンさんを知っていますか?」って聞かれたそうだ!

え~~!

山本は「はい、ジョンさんを知っています。実は、ジョンさんのアパートに行くところですよ!」と答えた。そこで、山本は店主さんに本人の僕を連れて来るようにお願いされた。

山本は僕のアパートに着いてこの信じがたい話をすると、僕はびっくりして「ウソ!」と言ったけど、「本当だよ!」って山本は主張した。一般の岡崎人が僕のブログを読んでいるのは面白く思った。もちろん、その人に会いたいから、今夜、挨拶をしたり食べたりに行った。山本が言ったとおり、その店主さんはすごく優しい人!もう長い時間でこのブログを読んでいるんだって!ありがたい!優しいうどん屋の店主さんとも話した。いい感じ!

であい横丁には「期間限定の屋台村」という叙述がついているので、時間があるうちによく食べに行こうと思っている。外で食べられるし、なんか日本的な雰囲気だし、面白い。

【個人的なメッセージ:このつまらないブログをいつもご覧になっていて、ありがとうございます!料理も美味しかったですよ!これから、宜しくお願いします!】

Amelia Amami?

I just saw a commercial in which Yuki Amami announced that she's going to play Amelia Earhart in an upcoming program. That's ... something. (You might recognize Amami's name from the dramas The Queen's Classroom and The Queen of Enka, both of which I have blogged about.)

11/07/2007

岩崎宏美のメドレー

今日、岩崎宏美の演奏を紹介します。今回の演奏はいろんな曲を含んでいるメドレーです!僕には、この年齢の岩崎さんは一番よく見えますが、声はいつもどおり素晴らしいですね。

This is medley clip from Hiromi Iwasaki from several years ago.



ミュージックコーナーはアップデートしてあります。今回の曲は、80年代と90年代からの懐かしい曲です。

I've updated the Music Corner with six songs that I've chosen just because they make me feel nostalgic for the good ol' days.

11/06/2007

擬態語・擬音語についての発見

さっき、日本語についてのいい情報が目の前に浮かんできたよ!ってゆっかさ、インターネットの検索でパソコンの画面にこう現れた。

「り」で終わる副詞について質問します。
「こそこそ」「ぱくぱく」「ひょこひょこ」「ぽちゃぽちゃ」
などの言葉を副詞にすると、
「こっそり」「ぱっくり」「ひょっこり」「ぽっちゃり」のように、
最初の部分「こそ」「ぱく 」「ひょこ」「ぽちゃ」の間に小さい「っ」が入って
最後 に「り」がつくものがあります。

また、別のタイプは、「のろのろ」「ふらふら」「きらきら」が変化して
「のろり」「ふらり」「きらり」という副詞になり ます。
繰り返している部分がひとつだけで、最後に「り」がつくというパターンです。

また、別のタイプは、「ふわふわ」「のびのび」が変化して
「ふんわり」「のんびり」と変わるものです。
繰り返している言 葉の間に「ん」が入って、
最後に「り」がつくというパターンです。 【日本語Q&Aより(Q28)】


このパターンを知らなかったので、読むとスゲィー!って思った。やっぱり、こういう言葉は日本語のもっと難しいところの一つなので、覚えようにもなかなか覚えられないヤツが多いね。でも、こういう並べ方を見ると、もっと分かりやすくなるんだ!

衣装だこと!って

さっき、面白い文を読んだ。「なんてすてきな衣装だこと!」って。この「・・・だこと」を見るのは初めて。面白いな。

11/05/2007

This term in a nutshell

A while back, someone left a comment asking me why I haven't gone over my sensei and classes this term yet. Well, no particular reason, I suppose. Here's a quick rundown.

As most of you should know, I'm in A class now, and it's headed by Sano-sensei. She was one of the sensei in my class when I first arrived here last year and was studying in M class. However, we've not studied together since then, outside of an elective class or two. She seems quite pleased with my progress since then. (Even though it doesn't feel that I've come that far, I suppose, like Mikawa Ossan says, that if you compare my recent Japanese posts to older ones, there is some difference to be seen.) Unfortunately, our studying together comes at a time when I've quite thoroughly tired my studies at school (though, oddly enough, I haven't come to dislike them), so I'm not approaching everything 100%-ish like I used to.

The other sensei that I study with are Sugiura-sensei (last term's B class's tannin), Kuroda-sensei, Tabata-sensei, Aiba-sensei, and Kimura-sensei. All but Sugiura-sensei are newcomers for me but I have no problems with any of them. Because this is the term of the JLPT, each week we have special classes dedicated to aspects of the JLPT.

All of the elective classes I'm taking are centered around the JLPT level 2 test: vocabulary, kanji, listening comprehension, and reading comprehension. The sensei for these classes, respectively, are Onda-sensei (I ... think), Komatsu-sensei, and (Yamada) Aya-sensei for the final two. It's my first time studying with any of these ladies. Aya-sensei, together with Kumazaki-sensei, actually conducted my entrance interview when I got here, but I've not even once studied with her, so I'm glad to have a chance. She's got a great atmosphere to her. Komatsu-sensei is awesome and teaches a great kanji class and has fun with the sometimes ridiculously elaborate stories because the development of individual characters.

So yeah.

Oh. Our class is a mix of last term's remaining A class students, those of us from last term's B class, and one person from C class who skipped a level. I'm fortunately in with Joaquin (a.k.a., Neo) who I started with all the way back in M class. We're the only two folks remaining from that class (Densetsu no M class). There have been protests from other classmates that want me to remain until next March, but I fear that, even though it was my original plan to stay on until then, I don't have about term in me.

So it's a pretty good term. Outside of my general exhaustion, things are pretty good.

Test one ... not the best ever ...

Today was our first test and it is likely my worse performance on a test since enrolling here. It's not that the material is that hard or anything (and not to say that it was easy). It was mainly four things that led to this, I think: (1) My studying has gravitated more and more from the school curriculum to more individualized study. Which doesn't bode well for tests at school. (2) I'm studying less—in part, because I'm on a very much needed semi-vacation. (3) The piercing headache that I had all day yesterday. That rather threw my will to study straight out of the window. Tsk. (4) I am so through with tests. What I mean by this is that it's tough to summon the mental will and energy to put into tests by this point. Even I've become a bit wagamama recently. I don't think that you can study here this long and not become so.

However, the classes after that went swimmingly well.

This evening, I went to a new schoolmate's house for dinner. He actually contacted me through my blog expressing an interest in go, and we had our first match last Friday at the weekly go class. I'm already out of practice and played a pretty weak game and lost (I totally let him dominate the board—too defensive) but I think we're at roughly the same level, which is pretty cool.

Light rain today.

11/04/2007

北岡崎のバーベキュー

今日、頭はガンガンしてる。痛っ!

昨日、スクールメートのホームステイお母さんが北岡崎で行ったバーベキューへ四人の友達と行ってきた。岡崎駅へ歩いて、初めて愛知環状線に乗って、改札口のないちっちゃな大門駅で降りて、そこから車で連れてもらって山の中のバーベキュー場に着いた。

バーベキューの参加者はほとんど日本人の若い夫婦で、8歳以下の子どもも多かった。僕は相変わらずちょっと緊張してたけど、みんなすごく優しかったから、相変わらず無駄に緊張した。(笑)子どもとも仲よくなり、一緒にたくさん遊んでた。特に二人の8歳の女の子とね。一人の子は年齢のわりに英語が上手だから、僕たちは少し英語で話さされてね。そうすると、もう一人の子に紹介されて一緒にバーベキュー場の遊び場で遊びに行こう!って誘われた。

行くと、サスケという障害物がある訓練場、つまりobstacle course、だった。僕はその場所を「忍者訓練場」と呼んでたけど。しばらく三人で遊んでいたけど、だんだん他の子どもたちも大人も遊びに来てけっこう楽しかった。

バーベキュー場に戻ったら、4人と鬼ごっこをしたけど、僕は走りながら逃げようとしてる山本という友を触ろうとすると、急傾斜で滑って転んで、手と右ひざにけがをした。今でもびっこを引いてるんだ。その後、野球で打者としてボールを全力で打とうとすると、プラスチックのバットを壊しちゃった。一本のバットが二個になるほど割ったんだ!恥ずかしいな~。(笑)

あるハイライト:僕が座って休みながら、ある男の子は僕のヘッドホンに気づいた。子どもたちを楽しませるために、僕はヘッドフォンを耳に入れて、こう歌い始めた。

「がっかりして めそめそして どうしたんだい?
太陽みたいな笑う君はどこだい?」


って。「忍たま乱太郎」のテーマが流れてくるなんてどういうことか?!

僕はその歌を全部知ってる(とほほ)から、全部歌いきり、すごい盛り上がってもらった。(「抱きしめながら」と歌いながら、声を低くして化け物のように子どもたちを掴もうとした。「キャア~!」と笑顔で叫ばれた。[笑])

家まである家族のワンボックスカーで連れてもらったけど、帰る途中、すごく頭痛が始まり、今でも続いてる。ったく!

実は、明日、一回目の上級試験があるから、今日勉強したかったんだけど、頭がすごく痛いから、まだ始まってない。勉強する気になれない。でも、しょうがないので、勉強してみる。(やっぱり、最終日まで待っちゃいかん!)

あっ、そうだ!今日、ジャズフェスティバルがあるんだって。山本に誘われたけど、頭とひざのせいで、行かないことにした。(ハ!なんて今日かわいそうだね。)でも、試験の勉強より昨日のような活動が日本語を身につけるのにいいと思うから、心配はそんなにしないぞ!

Summary: Yesterday, I went to a barbecue held by the mother of the host family that a friend is living with. Everyone was quite friendly and I became buddies with a lot of the young kids too, especially two 8-year-old girls, one of whom spoke surprisingly good English. They took me to play on this pretty awesome obstacle course, which most of us ended up going through. Then a few of us played tag, during which I fell off a slope and landed a bit badly on the ground and hurt my knee and hand. I then proceeded to break a plastic bat while at bat during a very small baseball game. Man. Unfortunately, I got a terrible headache on the way back, and it persists even today. It has killed any chance at productivity today, it seems, but I have a test tomorrow. Ah well. Yesterday was great fun and the best kind of studying anyway.

カラオケ

書くのが遅いけど・・・先々週の月曜日、Tahhyというネット友達に初めて会ってカラオケに行った。僕と同じ、Tahhyさんは1970と1980年代の日本ポップが好きで、岩崎宏美をはじめ、それぞれの歌手のヒットを一緒に歌った。Tahhyさんのほうは僕よりずっと歌が上手だけどさ。でも、僕には歌いながらその歌の歌詞の読むのはいい勉強だった。やっといろいろな曲が何を伝えようとしてるか、その意味がわかったと思う。(特に、マドンナのララバイ。)

で、一昨日、お世話になってるおばさんたちと一緒にカラオケに行ったんだけど、僕はTahhyさんといろいろな歌を練習したから、だいたい僕の演奏はうまくいった。僕がそんな古い歌が好きなのに皆さんはとてもびっくりした。

10/31/2007

Yamanote Halloween Train brouhaha

Seems that a large group of folks (primarily foreigners) flooded a Tokyo train and held themselves a Halloween party for a while and caused quite a ruckus, as I understand. Apparently, it's a yearly ritual—a ... lively one, judging from the videos of last year's party. From what I've seen of it, I can say that I find the whole thing moderately repugnant.

この間、ハロウィーンのために、200人以上の人(主に外国人)が東京の山手線の電車に乗って騒いだり飲酒したりして、まるで車内でパーティーを開いたようだ。(一人は蛍光灯を外して電車をしばらく停止させたそうだ。)このイベントは年ごとに行われるらしい。僕が思うに、周りの乗客にもJRにも迷惑なんじゃない?交通機関で開かないでほしいな。

10/30/2007

またUbuntu

先週末、UbuntuというLinuxディストリビューションをインストールした。去年6月にもインストールしたけど、フィーチャー不足だ、という気持ちでアンインストールした。でも、新しいバージョンがリリースされて、今回こそインストールして改めて使ってみようと思っている。でも、インストールしてインターネットのアップデートをしたら画面に関する問題が表れた。週末中、この問題を解決しようと頑張っていたけど、結局できなかった。昨日の夜、遅くまでインターネットでいろいろ調べていた。ミッドナイトになると、画面の問題はまだ解決されていなかったから、さらに気になってたまらなかった。なので、朝2時までに休まず、調べながらいろいろな解決方法をしてみた。面倒くさかったけど、やっと2時ぐらいに画面はOKになって、僕は早く寝た。でもさ、朝の授業を2時間もサボった。(ごめんなさい、黒田先生!)

明日、ちゃんと9時に学校にいるけどね。(笑)

10/28/2007

3冊ゲット

今日、遅い朝ごはんを羽根食堂で食べた。帰る途中、ある古本屋に寄って本を三冊も買っちゃった。


  • 角川新字源という漢和辞典【七百円】
  • マディソン郡の橋(日本語の)【百円】
  • なめないでね、わたしのこと(作家:内館牧子)【百円】


漢和辞典 その1特に漢和辞典を手に入れたのが嬉しい。ずっと欲しかったもんだし。漢字の特徴などはもちろん、一般的な語彙も書いてあるので、いい語彙の勉強になれると思う。『マディソン郡の橋』は英語でさえ読んだこともなく、この有名な本を日本語で読んだら面白いだろうと思ったというワケで買った。帰国したら読もうってさ。『なめないでね、わたしのこと』というのはちっとも知らずに買うことにした。だって、少し目を通したら読みやすく見えたし、百円しかかからなかったんだ。でも、さっきインターネットで調べてみるとこういう叙述が出てきた。

あの「男の涙」に心揺さぶられ、大学生の大人びた一言に感心すれば、13歳の赤裸々な性体験に驚愕。会見能力のないスポーツ選手に唖然としながら、よれよれの服を着た自分に深く反省する……。毎日の生活で覚える「違和感」や「怒り」、そして「希望」を、包み隠さずユーモラスに描く、読めば気分が爽快になる本音満載の痛快エッセイ51編。【Junkudo Book Webより】


どうなるかな。

安い本を買うのなら、古本屋に限るね!

Summary: I bought three books from a secondhand-book shop today: a kanji dictionary (at last), a Japanese version of The Bridges of Madison Country, and some other book that looks to be not too much of a pain to read. I'm especially pleased about the dictionary, though. I've been wanting one and figured it'd be cheaper to do so here in Japan.

Thoughts about studying Japanese (by a hungry man)

I still haven't eaten today.

So I've taken a closer look at the blog of Khatzumoto, All Japanese All The Time, and, frankly, I'm pretty impressed with what I see. Khatzumoto taught himself Japanese via his own intensive method, without the aid of schools, and the results seem to have been phenomenal. His blog is largely dedicated to helping other folks in their own language studies.

It got me to thinking about my own language progress, especially in relation to school. Khatzumoto seems not to be the biggest proponent of school-based training. Though, to be honest, even though I'm here and enrolled in a school, I'm not either. I'm not really the sort of guy to last in school a long time, I've learned from my experiences both here and at college back at home. Over the past few years, and even more over my time studying here, I've come to appreciate the advantages of self-education.

Which is part of the reason that I'm wondering if studying here was a good idea. My conclusion is that I can't say how good it might have been, but it certainly wasn't bad. Just not the most efficient way of getting things done.

I came here to Japan for more than just learning Japanese—for more personal emotionally and psychological reasons as well. Looking at it from that viewpoint, this trip has been a moderately sufficient success, I'd say. In the sense of learning Japanese, it's been ... I guess, a pretty good success. I think that Yamasa is a pretty good school, but it's still a school and suffers from the inherent limitations of that. To make the most of being here in Japan, one must take advantage of the social possibilities of being here as well. I'm not very social, though, and have failed to maximize that possibility. What a waste. My Japanese—especially speaking ability—has suffered because this, too. But on the other side of things, actually being here has given me many experiences that have helped me understand Japanese culture more than I might otherwise have.

But life continues and I'm left to consider my future. I will continue studying Japanese on my own in America as I (sigh) complete my university studies, but I expect that I'll be able to do so with a renewed fervor and energy and that that is when I can really expect some results. Reading about Khatzumoto's experience of becoming, apparently, quite fluent in his home country (I think he's American) kind of relaxed my fears about my Japanese getting worse once I get back home. Obviously, it's up to me what happens. And I don't intend to let my Japanese ability dry up like many do. (Shoot—no time like the present to reinvent one's study methods. For one, I need to focus less on grammar, like at school, and focus more on straight communication.)

Unlike Khatzumoto, however, I have no burning desire to actually live here, though. I mean, I like living in Japan, but it comes with its own set of up and downs just like living in America does. I'm pretty open as to where I live, but I suppose that, if I had an even choice, I would choose Japan, though. I do like it here. (But I do not think that I want to work here. But I can worry about all of that later.)

For now, I need to eat. (Breakfast.)

Masami Hisamoto

I've been noticing how Masami Hisamoto is everywhere these days. (I've seen her on three or four show just in the past 24 or so hours, I think.) Apparently, she is rather popular. I rather like her myself because she's not your standard young, pretty, squeaky-voiced idol but a middle-aged, average-looking, Osaka woman—a nice variation from the standard.

久本雅美はテレビによく出るのに気づいた。かなりの人気者らしい。僕が久本さんが気に入ったのは、彼女はいつもの若くてかわいくて声の高いアイドルじゃなく、外見的に普通の中年の大阪人だから。いいバリエーションだと思う。

Mario Galaxy on TV

I saw my first Super Mario Galaxy commercial on TV yesterday. (Twice. Still looks great.) It's apparently going to be released here on the first of the month. And here's me without a Wii. Actually, I've been somewhat wondering if I would want to buy a Japanese Wii when I get one so that I can play Japanese games. I likely won't buy many games anyway, so even if Japanese games are a bit more expensive to obtain in America, it might not be a huge deal. Ugh, Nintendo's annoyed me with their insistence on region-encoding.

In other news, the rain of the past couple of days has stopped. It was a nice change since we haven't gotten much rain recently, but as the same time, it does kill one's mood to do anything.

10/26/2007

さいご

Chemistryといういわゆる男性デュオ歌手は「最期の川」という歌を最近出したけど、「Saigo no Kawa」とローマ字で書かれているのを私は見ると、「その言葉は知らないけど、Saikiと読むんだろう」って思った。でも、辞書を引いたら、やっぱ「さいご」って載ってた。面白い。

八百屋

この間、『八百屋』という言葉についての授業が行われた。なぜ『八百屋』になっているか、という質問が聞かれたら、私はこう想像して、昼休みの間にホワイトボードにこう描いた。

Image © 2007 Jonathan's Japan Journal
読んでいたエッセイの筆者は桜井という人だ


うけた? (Oh yeah!)

Good end to a bad week | よくない周のいい結末

Yesterday was, emotionally, a pretty terrible day for me, the climax of an increasingly unpleasant week. But, fortunately, today was quite a fine day. I needed it too. I'm really feeling the effects of the year-and-a-half here in Okazaki, I think. I like my life here and people in it, but I'm really reaching the point where I'm looking for it to end as well. Kind of. I knew this would eventually happen, though. It happens, in some form or another, to all longterm folks, it seems.

昨日、僕がかなり暗い気持ちに満ちている今週のクライマックスに達して、しばらくの間精神的に疲れきった。授業の途中で家に帰ったくらいだった。しかし、後で先生にも友達にも相談に乗ってもらったし、結局気分がよくなった。今日は楽しかくて気持ちいい日で、嬉しい。もう僕が来日して一年半以上も経って、今の生活に飽きているかな。お金のない生活を送っているので、旅行もあまりできずにずっと岡崎にいるのはダメだね。(というか、もったいない!)それに、ヤマサは日本語の勉強に極めていい学校だけど、やはり僕は独学に向いているようなきが改めてする。しかし、こう感じているその反面、岡崎に残っていたいような感じもある。複雑だね、人間の気持ちは。

10/24/2007

Notice of existence

It's quiet here on this blog this week thus far. I'm just really, really exhausted this week, but feeling otherwise fine. Everything is proceeding pretty well out here. I'll have more to say later, though. Right now, I'm pooped.

10/21/2007

Good start

Well, after a hectic week of illness and various things that I had to do, this week looks like it'll be better and quieter. I started it today with a fun lunch with some friends, and then by watching Batman: Mask of the Phantasm with a friend. Sweet. I intended to catch up on some studying today, though, which I didn't do. Hm.

However, I'm dead tired at the moment and must get to sleep. Expect to hear from me more this week.

B&D's surprise

Today, I went to B&D, a somewhat nearby drugstore, and, right next to five-packs of MDs, I saw the plastic wrapping of what was apparently some sort of media, but it was shaped oddly and I couldn't place what it was. So I picked it up to get a better look at it.

It was a cassette tape.

Dang.

10/17/2007

PSA: It's a koban

As has been obvious recently, I keep up with the latest news about Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Today, a somewhat interesting snippet caught my attention at the end of the post that Meowth would be making its comeback (since the original) in this game:

Huh? That definitely appears to be a coin on its forehead, but what do you suppose they call it in Japan?

Maybe if you check the Japanese version of Smash Bros. Dojo you can find out... [original]


Of course, I check both versions of the site out everyday (for Japanese practice and for checking for differences in information), so I pulled up the Japanese version.

ん? ひたいについているのは“小判”だろうけれど、
海外ではなんて言われているんだろう。

『スマブラ拳』の海外版を見れば、わかるかも?? [original]


My good deed for the day is to tell you that this coin is called a "koban" (小判). But I'm not sure what they're going for with getting people to check other versions of their site, since the contents are the same (except, I guess, for rare musical variances).

  The More You Know
==========★

10/16/2007

学校を休みまでしたんだ

頭が痛く、体がだるい。なので、今日学校を休むことにした。今日一日中、頭がパンパンでしょうがない。ったく!

The feeling like crap continues. Stayed home from school today.

Jamie Foxx was in town. "Wow!"

So apparently Jamie Foxx came to Japan recently. And if you go by the clip below, a lot of what he did was make noises.



I'm quite amused at how the emcee declares his eventual mimicry of three words worth a "Wow!" and also how, oddly, he seems to make a loud, high-pitched "ah sou!?" right before that. (What was that?)

10/15/2007

An annoying day

I felt like crap all day today. My head hurt so I couldn't speak well or concentrate on class, and my new seat in the back corner of the classroom sucks—just a long day. This week looks pretty busy for me, too. I hope things work out.

今日一日中、元気じゃなかった。頭痛もしてるし、今週の教室の隅にある席も好きじゃないし、日本語もあまり話せなかったし。今週は忙しそうだけど、大丈夫かな。まあ、何とかなる。

「適う」の定義

I just found this sentence at WWWJDIC (in EDICT) when I looked up 適う.

「適う」をWWWJDICというインターネット辞書で引くとなんとこういう文が出てきた!

いびきにかけては、スノーさんにかなうものはいない。
When it comes to snoring, no one can top Mr Snore.


Ooookay then.

お、覚えておく。

10/14/2007

模擬能力試験とその結果

今学期の初日に日本語能力試験の模擬試験を受けさせられた。びっくりしたが、頑張って試験を受けた。で、木曜日に試験の結果を見ることができた。私の結果を見ると安心した。合格したが、それ以上、それぞれの問題セクションの点数は平均以上で、順位は1だった。でも、400点のうちから309点だけ(合格は260点以上)をとったから、気を抜いてもいいというわけではない。気を抜くどころか、むしろ309よりいい点数がとれるように勉強をするべきだ。目的はないとダメだからね。

We were made to take a mock JLPT test on the first day of classes last week. It was quite the surprise, but I did my best on it and managed not only to pass, but to score above the average in every category that I was scored in as well. Still, I'm not satisfied with my score of 309 out of 400 (260 and above is passing), so I'll be working to raise that some. Gotta have a goal, right?

10/13/2007

永遠にお父様

今学期、私のクラスでジョンという男の人がいるので、授業中に区別するために、私は「スーパージョン」、もう一人のジョンは「ジョン」や「普通のジョン」と呼ばれることになった。今まで、いつも「ジョン」か「お父様」と呼ばれてきたものを。でも、そういって「お父様」というあだ名が消えたというわけではない。授業以外、私はまだお父様と呼ばれている。

変だろう、このあだ名がこんなに好きになったことが。しかし、そう呼ばれるに伴い、だんだん慣れてきたものである。

二人のジョンがいるなんて面倒くさいものだが、仕方がない。

『勇気100%』

私は来日してはじめて、『忍たま乱太郎』というアニメを知った。アニメを見ると気に入って漫画も読み始めたのだ。(現在三冊目中。)子供向けの『忍たま乱太郎.』のどんなところが好きかというと、主人公の冒険も面白く、言葉遊びも多く、かなりいい雰囲気があるという点。その上、私もいつかこのような漫画を描きたいという機密秘密の夢もあるということで、さらに好きになるワケ。

今日、理由もなく、このシリーズのテーマソングの『勇気100%』を紹介しようと思う。古いバージョンも新しいバージョンもあるのだが、皆さんはどちらがいいかな。

So I'm interested in the animated series "Nintama Rantarou." It's an old series here in Japan, having been aired for several years now. I've been buying the manga at Book-Off (I'm on the third volume, and at only 105 yen apiece, they're quite a deal) and it's the only manga I'm reading right now (not that I'm really interested in manga or have read much at all). I think it's a pretty amusing series—lots of wordplay and silly jokes and a good atmosphere. It's pretty fun. Thus, I figured that I'd post two versions of the opening song—an old one and the newer one used today. Which do you prefer?


光GENJIのバージョン



Ya-Ya-yahのバージョン


山田先生の顔の2Dから3Dにの進化は面白いと思う。3Dアーティストはよく作ったものだ。

Pretty cool how Yamada-sensei's face was kept in for both versions. The 3-D was done pretty well in the newer video, I think.

カラオケに行くたびに、『勇気100%』をカクさんと歌ったものだが、カクさんはいなくなり、これから一人で歌うしかないようだ。(泣)

ところで、ミュージックコーナーはまたアップデートしてある!テーマは特にないのだが。懐かしく覚えている曲というテーマと言えるかもしれないが。

By the way, folks, the music corner's updated! There's not much of a theme this week, though. Maybe just stuff that I fondly remember.

10/09/2007

For the fans of Smash Bros.

For you folks keeping up with the daily news about Super Smash Bros. Brawl, today's Kirby update included a small musical bonus at the end of the Japanese version of the site. It's music from DS cooking software that I've actually heard at Aeon before. The arrangement that I heard there was simpler, though. I like the tune considerably.

Let me also comment, for the record, that, after a comparison of the English and Japanese Snake clips presented a few days ago, I'm pretty dissatisfied with some of the translations and voice acting in the English clips.

憧れのレドモンド?

こちらはマイケル・レドモンド(Michael Redmond)というプロ囲碁棋士。レドモンドさんは、欧米の初めての九段に昇段した方もさることながら日本語もすごく上手い。囲碁も日本語も上手なんて私は憧れの人がいればレドモンドさんにきまっているだろう。(笑)

This is Michael Redmond, a professional go player from America. Not only is he the first Westerner to become a nine dan (the highest professional level), he speaks fantastic Japanese as well. Shoot, I hope I can manage a bit of that myself someday.


NHK囲碁トーナメント放送解決


今学期、囲碁相手がいないようだが、今日ある友達が囲碁にの興味を言い表したから、私の希望が叶うかもしれない。でも、それにしてもライバルになれないだろう。しかし、ライバルの李さんとインターネットで囲碁対局ができる。その日を待っている。(李さんのいえば、先学期末に李さんをからかうために私は小さな漫画を描いた。せっかくだからね、ご覧くださいね。)

Ever since my go rival Lee left Yamasa, I've been left without a go partner. However, today, a friend of mine actually expressed interest in the game. (Boy, she's gonna regret that soon enough! Heh heh.) Still, without a true rival, it's not the same. Fortunately, I can still play Lee online. I'm looking forward to that. (Speaking of Lee, I made a short comic at the end of the last term to pick on him a bit, and so I might as well share it here. Take a gander.)

これは意味がないが、面白く思った…というか…
This ... well, there are no words. But I kind of liked it.



以上

10/07/2007

The last first day | 最後の新学期初日

Tomorrow is the first day of what is likely my final term here at Yamasa. I'm kind of anxious about how things will work out, but they've always worked out fine before, so I'm not too worried about it. Unless the school pulls a fast one on me, I will be in A class. Man, what a ride. Wish me luck!

明日はボクの最後の学期(多分)の初日。クラスのことはどうなるか気になるけど、毎学期何とかうまくいくので、心配はしてない。ボクが入るクラスは上級で多分Aクラスだと思う。じゃ、今学期こそ頑張ろう!

No URL で Search!

You know, in Japanese commercials, instead of displaying URLs, companies encourage viewers to search their company's name in a search engine. And they have what seems to be a standardized graphic for this purpose: a search field with the company's name, and a search button right next to it, the whole thing looking just as it might look on a regular computer screen. That's an interesting difference between the two advertising cultures. I wonder why they do this. I suppose it's easier for people to remember the company's name than what might be a complex URL. (I'm sure search engine companies like this arrangement, at any rate.)

天地無用ってTenchi Muyoのこと!

今日、南公園の近くのBook-Offに『落第忍者乱太郎』という漫画(『忍たま乱太郎』のアニメの本編)の第3冊を買いに行った。(その前、AEONの近くのBook-Offへ行ってみたんだけど、探してた漫画がなかった。)そこにいた時、本棚の漫画のタイトルを何気なく見た。そうすると『天地無用』と読んでびっくりした。だって来日する前にも、そのアニメのことを知っていたけど、いつも『Tenchi Muyo』として知っていた。日本語で読むのは初めてだった。「あれって日本語で読めるんだぞ!」と満足に満ちた。それがつまらないことだとはわかっているけど、そんな小さなモーメントは学生として大切なのじゃないかと僕は思う。

I had a moment a while ago when I went to Book-Off looking for volume three of Rakudai Ninja Rantarou. As I was waiting to talk to a salesperson, my eyes glanced to a random manga on the shelf and, when I read the four kanji that comprised its name, I found that it was Tenchi Muyo, which I've known about forever, but I had never seen the kanji before. I don't know—just being able to read that was a pretty nice feeling. Despite being a pretty distinct feeling, though, I'm at a loss as to how to explain it, though. So I'll leave it as "pretty nice." (Bleh.)

ところで、天地無用という表現の本当の意味を辞書で調べたところ。実際の意味があると知らなかった!

By the way, I just looked up the Japanese name in the dictionary and was delighted to learn that it has a real meaning, apparently: "this side up." Amusing thing to slap on the side of book cover. (Too bad about the actual contents, though. Har!)

Banks | 銀行

Did you know that Japanese banks are only open on weekdays and only until three o'clock? That's one of Japan's most inconvenient facets of daily life here, I would imagine. I can't imagine why they do that.

いったいなんで日本の銀行は平日の3時までだけ開いているかわからないが、ものすごく不便だろうと思う。

10/06/2007

最後の学期休みの金曜日

目覚まし時計をあわせなかったせいで、昨日12時半に起きてしまった。私は寝すぎると一日中あまり元気じゃないタイプだから、昨日起きたらちょっと怒ってしまった。でも、残っている昼間を楽しく過ごすように、この付近の古本屋に寄って類語辞典を買ったり、朝ごはん(というより昼ごはんかな)を気に入った羽根食堂で食べたりした。その後、あるスクールメートに私のノートパソコンを使うように頼まれ、4時から2時間ほどその友達と一緒にいた。彼女はスーパーマリオのゲームに興味があると言っていたから、一緒にニンテンドーの30分くらいやった。最高だった、それは。それから、あまり何もしなかったんだ。昨日、寝すぎたから今夜の寝る時間を少なくすることにした。

10/05/2007

Without Japanese ...

The know, sometimes I'm forced to realize that some folks who study here are not as interested in Japanese as others are and that they won't continue studying when they returning to their own country. That's kind of frightening because I can only communicate with some of my friends in Japanese, and if they forget that, we'll pretty much unable to communicate. That would suck. Fortunately, most folks here seem to have at least a basic grasp of English, which is a good back-up.

10/04/2007

Bat-fish?

From a list of Batman quotes from the '60s series:

Robin: "Where'd you get a live fish, Batman?"
Batman: "The true crimefighter always carries everything he needs in his utility belt, Robin."


What, now? There are some really great lines on that page. That Batman was preachy but had some good nuggets as well.

Badminton

From an English class today:

Me: ... and I like badminton.
W: Eh?
Me, clearly: Badminton.
W: [lost]
Me, in Japanese: Badominton.
W: Ohh!
[entire class falls out]

10/02/2007

夏川りみの「涙そうそう」

Bikenglishさんのブログで、夏川りみの「そうそう」という曲をすすめてもらいました。私がその曲をYouTubeで探して聴いてみると、すごくきれいだと思い、ここでも紹介することにしました。この曲はご存知ですか。

At Bikenglish's blog, the song "Nada sousou" by Rika Natsukawa was recommended to me. When I looked it up at YouTube and listened to it, I thought it was quite beautiful and decided that I might as well go ahead and put it here on my blog.

And without further ado:



ところで、右側のミュージックコーナーはアップデートしてありますよ。今回の感じはだいぶ異なるでしょう。

You might also notice that the music corner has been updated as well.

10/01/2007

A glimpse at English's place in Japanese

Among the most interesting facets of Japanese is how English words are used in Japanese, as a chart discovered at What Japan Thinks somewhat illustrates. "Grade up" means "upgrade"? "Reform" means "renovation"? Nutty stuff. But there are so many words from English that sometimes, when I forget or don't know the proper Japanese word, I can try saying the English word in katakana-speak and it's understood. Convenient. But if English isn't your native language, English-derived words (written in katakana) are a serious pain. (That's our revenge for kanji. Heh.)

9/30/2007

Return of the electronic dictionary

I'm quite pleased at the moment. Allow me to explain why.

Several months ago, I borrowed an electronic Japanese dictionary (a Sharp PW-7000—an excellent dictionary) from a Japanese acquaintance of mine. She said that I was free to use it for the duration of my stay in Japan. I was pleased and I've enjoyed using this dictionary over the past several months and have found it extremely useful.

When I got it, I could barely find my way around its functions, but I've learned how to use it quite well. I've also began the slow move from using the English-Japanese dictionary to using Kojien, the Japanese-Japanese dictionary because the definitions of words are quite superior. However, Kojien is chock full of difficult kanji, so there are limits, of course, to my understanding of it, so I'm not yet prepared to cut the English-Japanese strings just yet. (Interestingly, that they can read Kojien with almost no problems might be the largest reason that I envy the Asian students' inherent proficiency with kanji. I love reading Kojien and being able to do so is one of my biggest goals in studying Japanese, I think. (That's right, Sharkbait, here I am lookin' to read the dictionary again.))

But the thing is, it was used when I received it, and my further heavy use of it has degraded its buttons to the point to where, recently, I became unable to either power it on or off. And only those two buttons were affected—the on and off buttons. The only way to use it was to hit the reset button with something pointed and then wait for it to auto-power off when I was done.

Weak.

So I began worrying that I'd have to plop down some money to get a new one. I actually tried prying it apart once to see what I could do, but I reached a point where I didn't feel comfortable ripping it apart anymore (since it wasn't mine) and gave up. The other day, I explained the condition of the dictionary to its owner and she said that she'd give the dictionary to me permanently.

Thus, armed with my fresh ownership rights, tonight I pried it open and removed the keypad and, after some testing, found that the problem was actually with the pads on the back of those two buttons and not with the circuitry. Cleaning them didn't help. So I thought for a few minutes and rummaged through my main desk drawer for something that I might be able to use as alternative pads and, luckily, found a couple of those small anti-slide pads that you put on the bottom of objects. I tested them and they fit the bill perfectly. They had an adhesive on the back of them, so I attached them to the back of the on and off buttons and put everything together again and found that everything worked just right. I can now power my dictionary on and off with no problem. And the buttons are quite (even unnaturally) firm to boot. (I did, however, knock the cable for the sound loose. Which I don't care at all about, fortunately.)

I feel quite satisfied about the results of all of this. Not having a reliable denshi jisho is a real pain sometimes.

So ... I now own an electronic dictionary. Excellent. The model's a few years old and, by modern standards, it might be a bit bare bones, but it's quite solid.

9/27/2007

公園での勉強 | Studying at the park

今日の午後、近くの公園で2時間ほど勉強した。人はサッカーを練習していた一人しかいなくて、静かだった。でも、私が勉強しながら二人の若い男の子に話しかけられて短い話をした。子どもの話はわかりにくい!だけど、外国人でも話してくれたね。

Today I studied for a couple of hours at the park. There was only a guy there kicking around a soccer ball for a while, but a couple of young boys arrived and trotted right up to me and said hi, so I briefly chatted with them. Pretty quiet week, over all.

9/26/2007

Chalkboard

I'm about to head out to teach an English class. Which reminds me of this shot that I took of our chalkboard a couple of weeks ago or so.

Image © 2007 Jonathan's Japan Journal


A student of mine was trying to convince me that the sentence would be better as "Yeah, but I think I wore out her welcome." While I can see where she's coming from, most folks say "my," I believe. Anyway, things got a bit complicated on the board.

9/25/2007

一人での静かな一日

静か。私の寮に誰もいないかのような静かさ。待たずに洗濯機を使えたし。いい感じ。午後中掃除していたが、掃除していたといっても完全にできたってワケじゃない。だって、ほこりに進入されつづけていて掃除をする気になかなかならないんだ。ほこりとの戦争を勝てそうにない。だけど、この言葉を打ちながらドアも窓も開いているんだ。私のアホ。

日本語能力試験2級に申し込んだが、今日、試験情報パンフレットを見ると1級を申し込むべきだったと思った。2級に受かるのには400点で240点以上が必要だそうだ。今の私なら少なくても240点が取れるだろうと思うから、挑戦して1級の試験を受けたくなったが、もう1級に申し込めないし、1級を受けてみても落ちたら何ももらえないから、この考えをほうっておく。私なんて1級に合格できるワケないし!でも、来年1級の合格を目的にして勉強しよう!

もう夜になったので、これからドアを開けっぱなしに過ごすワケないね。蚊が入ると困るから。