8/29/2007

一級文法の中間小試験の結果

意外にも(日本語能力試験)一級文法の選択授業の小さな中間試験に満点をとった!テストの前、あまり勉強しなかったので、合格できるか心配していたけど、なんとなくしたみたいだね。安心!

I managed to pass my JLPT Level 1 grammar class's small midterm test with a perfect score. I didn't really prepare for it so I was worrying about whether or not I could pass it, but I managed to pull through with flying colors. Whew ...

8/28/2007

また短い!

今朝、授業が始まる20分前に起きちゃった!また目覚め時計がなってるのを無視したようだけどね。(とほほ!)だから、何も食べずに急いで学校に飛んで行って2,3分しか遅れなくてよかった。

今晩の皆既月食のことは、さっぱり忘れちゃったんだぁ!楽しみにしていたのに!チクショーッ!

疲れてる~!

8/27/2007

Lunar eclipse in store | 皆既月食

It seems that there will be a lunar eclipse here tomorrow.
明日は皆既月食だそうだ。(面白い漢字だね。)

8/26/2007

大したことがなくてもいい土曜日

今日、三河おっさんとのんびりに行ってきた。5時半に岡崎に戻ってきたら、西友に買い物に寄った。出たら西友の前にある交差点で同じ寮に住んでいるクラスメートに出会ったけど、一緒に帰ろうとすると、囲碁教室にたまにいる優しいおばさんにも出会った。クラスメートに「先に行ってね」と言って、そのおばさんに挨拶しに止めた。

しかし、三河おっさんをからかうために、僕は前に僕の左手の後ろに「碁」という字を書いといた。(これはあるジョークに関係あるけど。)まだ書いてあったので、おばさんはこの字を見たら、びっくりしたように「感心だわ!」と笑った。僕はからかいのつもりを恥ずかしく教えたら、「このように会話ができるなんてうれしい」と言ってもらった。まあね。

今晩、友達にあるホンコンのホラー映画を寮で見に行ってね!って頼まれて言ってきた。かなり面白かったと思うけど、名前をもう忘れちゃったみたいでね。

8/24/2007

全力少年

最近、スキマスイッチの「全力少年」が好きになってる。ある友達は応援団というニンテンドーDSを持っているけど、この曲も入っている。なんか二人の雰囲気がよさそうなんじゃない?

テストとカラオケと映画 | I blame "Ultraviolet"

今日、会話テストも作文テストも受けた。ちょっと心配していたけど、期待していたよりもうまくいったので、安心した!会話テストは二人チームに分けられてやった。僕のパートナーは、去年4月の初級レベルの頃から一緒に勉強しているネオという仲間だったから、スムーズにできた。

授業が終わったら台湾人の友達4人とカラオケに行った。僕はいろいろなジャンルの歌を歌った。広瀬香美とか、(とくにカクさんと)アニメのテーマとか、アメリカの歌とか。歌ってさっぱりした。終わったら友達の寮で映画を見に行ったけど、あまりにつまらない映画だった。

This evening, I watched a movie with some friends. It was a film named Ultraviolet and it was absolutely terrible— one of the worst films I've seen in some time. It was so bad, I could practically smell the funk from the movie.

So about a third of the way through, even though I was enjoying the fellowship, I decided to leave. I live right around the corner, so it was just a short hop back home. After a few minutes here, I figured that I'd return for the end of the movie, so I walked back over. I entered the apartment expecting to see the four of them sitting there in the dark, as they were, but only one of them was there watching. The owner of the apartment was conked out on his bed, and the other two were gone.

Apparently, everybody fell asleep and everything just fell apart soon after I left. This greatly amused me. The movie was seriously that bad.

Not "easy," 簡単!

The other day, when I didn't have a lot of time to finish some exercises during class, I wrote "easy だった" on my worksheet and the sensei (I forgot who) called me out on it as she walked around the room perusing everyone's sheets. "Jon-san, what's that?" she asked, knowing full well what it was. Well, I'm sorry, but in the heat of the moment, it's kind of tough for me to remember how to write 簡単 (how ironic)! Of course, I could have at least written it in hiragana, but I was just thinking in terms of saving time at that moment.

It was a pretty amusing little experience.

8/23/2007

雨男じゃないけどね

今朝、雨が降っていたけど、止んだ。僕は雨がかなり好きなタイプなので、もっと降ってほしいな、とちょっと嘆いてた。でもさ、天気予報を見たところ、今晩雨が降るそうだということがわかった。いいね。僕にとって。

8/22/2007

新鮮な王子じゃなく

2週間くらい前に、僕はウィルスミスに似てるそうだという話が学校であったのを書いたんだけど、その話はそこまでじゃないよ。

十年くらい前に、ウィルスミスは「The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air」というアメリカのコメディテレビシリーズに主演していた。文字通りに訳すれば「ベルエイアのフレッシュな王子」のような言葉になるけど、そういってもわかってもらえるわけがないだろう。90年代にアメリカで「フレッシュ」という言葉は若い人に「かっこいい」という意味として使われるようになってた。ってことで、番組の名前は「ベルエイアのかっこいい王子」という意味なんだ。

僕はウィルスミスと似ている話が流行っているので、僕のネームカードに「新鮮な王子」と冗談っぽく書いて囲碁ライバルの李さんに見せた。彼はカードを見て僕を尻目をかけて「ペンを貸してね」と頼んだ。僕は、もちろんいじめられるところだったのがわかったけど、どうやってか好奇心だったし、ペンを貸した。

こう書かれた。

不新鮮な玉子って?!


「不新鮮な玉子」って?!コノヤロウ!(笑)

公園では勉強もハクチョウも

先週末、久しぶりに近くの公園で勉強することにした。日本語能力試験2級を受ける人向けの完全マスターという本などを持って自転車に乗って公園へ行った。その公園の池の隣の階段の上に座って勉強していた。そこから景色がいいというワケでね。

ハクチョウ the swan


そこのハクチョウ。

Teaching English is more than just imparting words

Today, I led my weekly English class and we briefly discussed gestures, which of course—not by my doing—led to the gesture being unveiled by one of my students. I've never seen a group of middle-aged ladies so excited about flipping the bird while exclaiming the prerequisite phrase along with it. They learned it from the movies, see.

(Hey, B. Yamamoto, give you one guess who started it and ran with it. Ha!)

8/21/2007

Okazaki Igo Matsuri (Festival)

Last Sunday, I went to Okazaki's first-ever go festival, held at Ai Plaza Okazaki, a fine hall near Minami Kouen that I never even knew existed. I didn't really know what to expect, but I was able to attend free of charge, thanks to an acquaintance somehow involved in the organization of the event.

I was told to arrive at Okazaki Station to catch a bus at eight o'clock. I wanted look pretty good, so I wore my new vest and shoes and, if I may so say, looked pretty spiffy. I hurried to the station on my bike, but arrived at 8:02 only to see a bus driving off. "Nooooo!" I thought, but there was a second bus right behind it that stayed behind. I jogged over (not realizing that a classmate saw me from her bus) and boarded the bus. It was empty except for the driver, who sat in his seat up front. I decided to use the opportunity to get my Japanese juices flowing and sat near the front and started up a bit of a conversation with him. It was nice but I'm a poor conversationalist with people that I don't know and share no known interests and such with, so there were some gaps. Later, the driver left the bus and another gentleman boarded and sat in the seat across from mine and started chatting with me. He was sort of mumbly and, thus, rather difficult to understand, though.

So anyway, the bus departs and, within ten minutes, we pull in front of the plaza. I was expecting to see a couple of schoolmates that usually frequent the go classes on Friday, but they apparently didn't show, so I was on my own for the entire day. I was pretty disappointed about it for a while. I was hoping to go with my rival, Lee, but he had just returned from climbing Mount Fuji the previous day and was too wiped. I don't know—when I do things like this alone, you really appreciate how nice it is to be able to do it with someone.

第一回のおかざき囲碁まつり1Fortunately, while standing around, wondering just what I should do, my acquaintance appeared and got me in for free. I took a seat in the auditorium (almost no one but older guys) for the opening ceremony, which, oddly enough, began with a taiko demonstration on the stage. After this, a few greetings and then the introductions of the pro players that were visiting: Naoki Hane, Kaori Aoba, Yuki Shigeno, Kim Hyun Jung (she was Korean?!), and Yukari Yumezawa of Hikaru no Go fame.

第一回のおかざき囲碁まつり2After this, the introductions ended and those present for one of the three classes being offered headed out, leaving the rest of us to watch two matches between two pairs of elementary school students. At first I wasn't interested, but once I found out that they were dan-level (meaning that they could crush me with almost no effort) and that Hane and Aoba would be doing a joint commentary throughout the game, I decided it would be better for me to stay. (There was a chance to take a picture with Umezara and I thought about skipping out to catch that, but I decided to just watch the game and get what I could of the commentary. The picture would have been a nice memento, though. But little did I know that another memento would come my way.) The first match was good but I decided not to watch the second match and to get out and explore the hall a bit.

第一回のおかざき囲碁まつり3After some wandering, I ended up observing some games in the highest-level class, A class. I hadn't realized that this was possible, so I figured it'd be pretty interesting. It was something. As soon as I walked in, there was a quite a powerful atmosphere. I've seen scenes like that in Hikaru no Go, but it was my first time seeing a room full of people playing go and a crowd standing over them staring at them play. The games were pretty high-level, as expected. I noted the use of timers in these games. I've never played with a clock before, personally, and seeing one used (outside of anime) was a first. Surprisingly, there were a couple of kids in there too: one in his upper teens, and another boy around 12 or so. One thing that I like about go (though it's not an exclusive quality) is that someone's age has almost no bearing their strength. You've got elementary school kids and you've got old guys who are equally scary.

第一回のおかざき囲碁まつり4After the round of A class matches that I was watching ended, I headed outside and visited a room littered with various go-related books. I glanced over a few, then sat to get off my feet (my new shoes are pretty nice, but they aren't the most comfortable) and read some Hikaru no Go (in Japanese, baby!).

Once I was done, I left the library-like room and peeked in a room filled with children. There, Umezawa was teaching the basics of the game. I think that one thing about her success with Hikaru no Go that might be a double-edged sword is that she's the one that is probably made to work the most with kids wherever she goes. I hope she likes 'em.

第一回のおかざき囲碁まつり5As I watched, a lady came up to me and asked if I spoke Japanese. ある程度。 She explained that I watching the children's room (duh) and that I could play freely right down the hall. She escorted me down to a large room where I could finally play if I wanted to. I was mulling this over (I was feeling kind of shy about it, actually) when I noticed a huge glut of folks congregated around something in the front of the room. "Okay, I'll bite," I thought and walked up to investigate. There, Kaori Aoba was playing four games at once with visitors. Again, I've seen this sort of thing in Hikaru no Go, but it's something to see in real life. She bounced from table to table glancing at these very complex positions and making quick plays. But that's not the impressive part. According to Hikaru no Go (which apparently has a pretty realistic representation of how the professional go world works), pros will sometimes try to win training games like this by exactly one point, or at least by a very small margin, so that they don't crush their amateur opponents too much and to give themselves a greater challenge. I'm sure positive that that's what she was doing, but she lost one or two games and I suspect that the losses were related to this.

After the four-games-at-once event wrapped up, I bought some bottled tea. This was when something weird happened. A Japanese guy came up to me and asked if I speak English. I hesitantly replied yes. He then beckoned me over to a table across the room. (He said something, but I don't recall what except that it was a request for me to do something.) I figured that there was a foreigner there that they wanted me to explain the basics of go. At least, that was the impression that I got. But there sat a man—Japanese or Brazilian or both or other, I don't know—who told me, in very broken English, that his stomach and his head hurt. Oooookay. He said that he took medicine but that it didn't help. "What do you expect me to do?" is what I thought, but "How long have they been hurting?" is what I said.

"Three years," he said.

What the freakin' heck?

I told him that she should possibly go to a hospital and that there wasn't anything that I could really do to help. He thanked me for my kindness and I departed. It was pretty weird. He seemed a bit slow, actually, so I ... shoot, I don't know.

第一回のおかざき囲碁まつり6Anyway, after that, I headed back to A class again to see what was happening, then I returned to the large auditorium for the closing ceremony. Man, those six or so hours flew by. And I hadn't played a single match.

I sat near the back, since they were still in the middle of a some other presentation involving a man playing a violin. (Uh-huh ...) Once that ended, the gentleman sitting in front of me turned and started chatting with me suddenly in Japanese, which was pretty cool. We chatted for a while actually and it was my great Japanese success of the day (heh), as it went remarkably smoothly. We later switched to English and he revealed that he used to teach English years ago. He was kind.

Then, just before the closing ceremony started, some folks came around and handed everyone slips of paper with numerals written on them for a raffle that they apparently planned to hold. Soon thereafter, the ceremony began and they handed out various prizes to the best performers in the various classes. They started the raffle and a number of folks from the audience of about 200 folks or so went one-by-one to collect their gifts. "Boy," I thought, "it'd be something if I was called and had to walk all the way down there in front of everybody."

After a couple of minutes, my number, 228, was called.

第一回のおかざき囲碁まつり7Before going, I verified with the gentleman in front of me that I had understood the number correctly and then began the long walk to the front, laughing to myself along the way. The announcer was Yuki Shigeno and when she saw me coming, she asked me through the microphone where I was from. "Amerika desu!" I called out to her. She then said something else and I got my present, held it up to the audience in a sort of half-wave sort of gesture, then returned to my seat. In the envelope I received was a notebook for recording interesting characteristics of the matches that I play. Not sure if I'll use it or not, but it makes a great souvenir.

With that, the day ended and I headed outside. Just then, most of the pros exited and headed toward their nearby taxi. I nodded and smiled to them and then hopped on the bus back to Okazaki Station, where my bike was.

So all in the all, a rousing success I think. It's pretty cool that it was the first such event that they've ever had. I'm a part of history over here, baby! It was nice to be in an atmosphere where everyone had an interest in Go, to watch high-level games in person, and to see the pros at work. It was fun.

8/20/2007

短い話

今日、おかざき囲碁まついについて聞きたかったけど、眠いし、まだ宿題があるので、明日にする。お楽しみに!

8/19/2007

今日は、おかざき囲碁まつり

これから、おかざき囲碁まつりを行く!ほら、僕が出るFM岡崎からのお知らせ!でも、僕の囲碁のライバルは行けないんだって。くそーっ!なんかさびしい。(笑)

I'll soon be leaving to visit the Okazaki Igo Festival. Should be something. Too bad my rival Lee can't accompany me. Oh well.

8/18/2007

浦島太郎っていうか…

これ、いい聞き取り練習になった。なんか浦島太郎みたいな話なんだけどさ、ちょっとかわってるんじゃない?

You want some listening practice? Here's your listening practice! (Now with Chinese subtitles.)



こんな早口なんてすごく聞き取りにくいんだからな。(これもかなり面白かったと思う。

Good ol' Texas

"Bill Nye Boo'd In Texas For Saying The Moon Reflects The Sun." Pretty sad. Anyone who'd do that to Bill Nye the Science Guy just ain't right.

New clothes | 服GET!

My parents were kind enough to send me some new sneakers to replace my ridiculously-ratty old ones that I brought with me from America. (Ain't never worn sneakers out that hard before.) And as a bonus, I got some new shirts and a vest as well. Sweet! I've been thinking that I wanted a new sweater too.

僕の親は、新しい靴を買って岡崎まで送ってくれた。ってことで、アメリカから持ってきたぼろぼろにした靴は、やっとはかなくてもいいっていうワケ。でもさ、靴だけじゃなく、3,4着のシャツも1着のチョッキも送ってもらってスゴイだな!新しいチョッキって欲しいなあって最近思ってたんだから、親子テレパシーがあるってことかな?(なんて電波なやつみたいな話だろ!なんちゃって!)

8/16/2007

中田島砂丘へ

今、ラジオ放送の準備中だけど、疲れちゃった!

そういったわけでね、昨日の日帰りについて書こうと思っている。(ちょっと急がないとダメだけどね!)

中田島砂丘1昨日の午後1時に、お神輿祭りで会った日本人の知り合いに会って一緒にThe Meshiyaというレストランに食事に行った。(そこで一回食べたことがあったけど、羽根食堂みたいな感じだった。)食べながら、どうしようかなと相談して車で静岡県の中田島砂丘まで行くことにした。僕は静岡県へ行ったことがなかったので、楽しみにしてた。文字通り、静かだった。

中田島砂丘5中田島砂丘っていうのは、ちょっと砂漠みたいな場所だけど、入口の反対側になんて海があるんだ!僕は父と同じで、海が好きなタイプで、波音を聞いているとさっぱりするね。後で、弁天島の鳥居も見に行った。きれいだね、そこが!

浜松にちんちん電車もあるなんてすごい!さすが、交通機関の全世界チャンピオンだけあってなんだってあるじゃん!

後で、岡崎の行ったことなかった中華料理店で晩ご飯を食べることになった。

この日帰りってさ、本当に楽しかった。

じゃ、これで準備を続けなきゃ!

(写真はこちら.)

こ、今週?! | This week?!

僕が明日ラジオ放送を担当することになっているのを昨夜知った。そういうわけで、準備でかなり忙しいんだ。来週だって思い込んでたのに…。後でまだ書くからね。

I'm a bit busy with the preparations for my radio show tomorrow afternoon. I thought I was doing it next week, so I'm running around like a chicken with my head chopped off trying to wrap everything up.

8/15/2007

くらがり渓谷 | Kuragari Keikoku

昨日、4人のクラスメートとくらがり渓谷という場所へ連れて行ってもらった。自然がいっぱいで、すごかったと思うよ!川辺で話したり川で遊んだりしてとっても楽しくてさっぱりした!写真をいっぱい撮っちゃった!ちょっと見せてあげるよ。

Yesterday, I went to a nature-filled place about an hour outside of Okazaki named Kuragari Keikoku with a group of four classmates. Not too much to say except that it was great fun and pretty relaxing sitting near the water and chatting with friends. I uploaded a few shots to Flickr.

でも、今すごく眠くて…

8/14/2007

Thoughts on "Heroes"

I just now finished the twenty-third and final episode of the American series Heroes, a show about a bunch of superpowered folks and their plight to save the world.

It's apparently massively popular in the States. I actually attempted to watch it several months ago, but was turned off by it in the first half of the first episode because the characters annoyed me far too much. But after a classmate praised it highly said that I could borrow her DVD of the first half of the first season, I figured I'd give it another go, not expecting to like it.

Basically, it's better than I expected and fairly deftly written overall. It's pretty good. But there are a number of serious problems that hold the show back from greatness. Not the least of which are the series's characters, too many of whom are pretty stupid people. For example, take Peter Petrelli, a pretty vapid guy who believes that he can fly and practices by falling off of buildings. (He's kind of like a knock-off of Neo from the Matrix trilogy, but much more stupid and annoying.) Also, there's Claire Bennet, a teenager who's depressed about her quick-healing abilities (wha—?) and spends far too much of the show making silly decisions and complaining about not being normal and living a normal life. Then there's time-travelling Hiro, the most popular character whom I was guaranteed to like. Well, I can see how he was crafted to be well-liked by the masses, but his arc mostly got on my nerves (and the way the show handles his powers is less than stellar). There were some more interesting characters, though, such as Mr. Bennet, an undercover servant of a secret organization which he is secretly betraying to save his own daughter.

I related these qualms to a good friend and here's what he had to say, which I think hits the nail on the head:

That's the problem here, though: not that the characters are inhuman, but that they are relatable archetypal versions of pretty much the most shallow, stupid kinds of people available. Since we are so alien to these people, we can't relate to any of them and find them absurdly stupid and unsympathetic.


Yeah.

Also, the show is very sloppy with things sometimes. Invisible people are walking down the sidewalk in New York City, talking, bumping into to everyone along the way, and absolutely no one bats an eyelash? Not buying it. Folks disappear from right in front of other people on a crowded sidewalk and no one notices? Yeah, no. Lots of small things like this. I can't quite accept some of the abilities—radioactivity, seeing the future, flight, time travel—as genetically-based either. In the over-the-top world of, say, the X-Men, I can; however, this show tries to present a pretty realistic view of the world and it doesn't quite jive well enough.

Apparently the show will be picked up for five seasons, meaning that they intend to run it into the ground. I don't intend to watch anymore unless I hear some seriously rave reviews about future seasons.

I'd probably give it a 3.5 out of 5.0. Pretty good but with significant room for improvement.

(Exhausted. Not very proofread. Less than usual.)

Ain't he just the cutest thing?

To my friend whose dream just came true:

8/13/2007

Okazaki's fireflowers

(Geek alert!)

Someone asked me this just a little while ago:

この前の岡崎のfireflower見た?すごくキレイだったね☆
[Did you see the recent fireflowers in Okazaki? Weren't they gorgeous?]


The writer intends to ask about fireworks. The Japanese word for fireworks, 花火, is derived from kanji that mean "flower" and "fire," so she apparently just forgot the actual English word and figured it would work like this.

Well, it works for me, as I'm sure some of you understand.

Quite pretty indeed.

Sony MDR-A34, farewell my friend

My precious Sony MDR-A34 headphones aren't working anymore—specifically, the right ear stopped working and I can't seem to fix it. This saddens me, as they are excellent earphones which fit my needs almost perfectly. I want to find another pair but I'm not sure how to obtain one here. I checked eBay and found a pair there, but there's no shipping here. There's a similar model, the MDR-A35G S2 Sports, which looks pretty nice too. Hmm ... どうしよう

In the meantime, I have a backup pair, the Sony MDR-W014, which came together with my sports MiniDisc player from a few years back (when I had money!)—but they rather suck. And I'm something of a stickler for good, rich sound of a certain level. I've gotta find some new, inexpensive earphones. But I won't buy any without trying them first, so purchasing in the traditional way is rather out.

{sigh}

8/12/2007

二回目の盆踊り | Bon'odori number two

僕はまだ生きているんだ。

I live!

先週のテストが終わってから休んでばっかりいる。インターネットもあまりやってないし。疲れているけど、いろいろな友達と楽しい休みを過ごしている。

Since last week's test ended, I've been relaxing. Hard. But I've been hanging out with various folks and having a good deal of fun.

土曜日の夜、岡崎のシビックセンターで行われた盆踊りに行った。僕にとって今年の盆踊りは2回目の岡崎での盆踊りだった。多くの友達が行かなかったから、僕は一人で行ったんだけど、祭りの現場でいろいろなスクールメートと日本人の知り合いに会って一緒に楽しく踊ったりして過ごせた。僕は最初から最後までずっと踊ってたんだよ。ダンスが超下手で好きじゃないんだけどさ、盆踊りを踊るのはとても好き。でも、僕の

Yesterday, I went to my second bon'odori at the Okazaki Civic Center. I went alone since most of the folks I know weren't going, but I ended up meeting a number of schoolmates and local acquaintances there. The performances were interesting and the dancing was quite enjoyable. I suck at dancing and don't care for it, but I find the bon'odori dances and music and atmosphere inexplicably alluring, and I danced from the opening until the end. It's really one of those uniquely Japanese experiences. It's funny, because you dance to everything from traditional songs to even things like "Tarako Tarako Tarako."

Image © 2007 Jonathan's Japan Journal
夏休みの演舞【写真をクリック!】
A dance at the festival (click the photo for more)


明日は予定は特にないんだけど、火曜はクラスメートと車での日帰りで、水曜は最近会った日本人の知りいと遊ぼうっていう約束になってる。休みの間、閉じこもってはいたくなかったから、こんなにいい休みができてよかったと思う。

I'll be chilling out tomorrow, it seems, and then going on a day trip with some classmates on Tuesday and meeting up with a Japanese buddy that I've met recently on Wednesday. I didn't want to spend this break just locked up in my room, so I'm glad that things are ending up so nice for me.

俳句「 夏祭り 踊ったりして 気持ち良い 」

8/08/2007

明日はテスト | Test tomorrow

明日、かなり大事なテストを受けるんだ。正直に言えば、ちょっと心配している。だって、学期2回だけテストを受けるし、中上級の文型や語彙なども難しいからね。でも、心配だといっても、合格できないっていうワケじゃないよ。今晩、よく復習したら大丈夫だと思う。

Tomorrow's our first test (of only two) of the term and, honestly, a bit worried about it. Not that worried, but definitely a bit concerned about how it'll go. As long as I pass, I'm fine, as my biggest concern is being able to enter the advanced-level class next term. Other than that, grades aren't too big a concern. Still, always nice to make a good showing.

8/07/2007

Batman nostalgia

Recently, I've been watching some Batman: The Animated Series in my spare time. Man, that was a good show. Still is. I remember watching this show back when I was a teenager. Good times.

8/06/2007

「悪」と「良」

悪:今学期の一つ目のテストが今週の木曜日に受けるんだ。
良:来週、週末はもちろん、月~水曜日も休校となっているんだって!

8/04/2007

Okazaki fireworks festival #2: a bust

Due to a series of circumstances, I'm not going to the summer fireworks festival after all. I was there for about 20 minutes of it, actually, but left and returned home for the evening. So no pictures. A shame, though, to be here for two such festivals and not get to see much of either.

However, the smooth jazz stylings of George Benson shall act as salve to my soul:



Yeah, that's the stuff.

Update, 8:38 PM: Well, a bona fide thunderstorm has started. Thunder, lightning, the whole works. On a personal level, I sure am that I came home, but it must suck righteously for the everyone there. (A lot of folks didn't have umbrellas and it didn't look much like rain before.) So the festival wouldn't have worked out anyway, I guess.

Those rained-out folks need some George Benson. (See above.)

Update, 8:56 PM: Hey, the rain stopped. Maybe there's hope for the festival yet. George Benson certainly thinks so.

Japanese news turns to some guy

My question is, just why?
僕がお聞きしたいのは、一体なぜ?っていうのだ。

ウィルスミス | Will Smith

僕はウィルスミスという有名人に似ていると言われる。特に、最近聞いている。主にアジア人がそう思っているようだけど、欧米人は「似ていない!」と言う。アジア系の学生にも、日本人の先生にも言われる。だから、教室のネームカードに「ウィル・スミス」を書いた。しかし、囲碁のライバルが「ス」をつけたので、「ウイルス・スミス」と書かれている!(右にウィルスミスの写真だけど。)

So Asian folks think that I look a lot like Will Smith. The Westerners don't think so, but the folks from the East here think so, from classmates to sensei. Perhaps I should go on variety shows and mimic him and use that as a stepping board to an entertainment career. (See: Puchi Bruce)

8/03/2007

2回目のおみこし祭り | Mikoshi festival, year two

今夜、去年の同じように岡崎のおみこし祭りに出た。去年は外国人のグループで旗をふってだけいたけど、今年は日本人のグループに入って太鼓を叩きながら踊らなければならなくなった!僕はダンスできないし、練習時間も少なかったので、心配していたけど、何となくなった。で、テレビニュースに出る可能性もある。ウィルスミスみたいな人なら、それは僕だよ!(笑)

やっといろいろな日本人に会うことができた。日本に住んでいるのに、なかなか日本人と会わないので、会えてよかった。で、特にある男の人と友達になりそうだと思う。なんてうれしいことなんだ!日常生活ではあまり日本人と話すチャンスがないので、自分の日本語は通じるかとか、生日本語は聞き取れるかとか、よく心配しているけど、今夜はほとんど安心できた。通じたから。聞き取れたから。何回も僕の日本語についてほめてもらった。「15ヶ月くらいの勉強でこんなにしゃべれるなんて!」とか、「発音は日本人らしい!」(ショック!)とか、こういうことは何回も言われたんだ。もう少し自信を持ってきた。

疲れているけどなぁ~。

Tonight, as I did last year, I appeared in Okazaki's mikoshi festival. But this time, instead of joining an international group, I was able to join a taiko-based Japanese group. This was much more enjoyable. More work too. Last year, I was able to just walk and wave a flag around; but this year, I had to actually dance a choreographed routine and play a miniature drum—with almost no practice time. I was kind of worried but things worked out well, I think.

Also, tonight was a great social success for me. I finally got to meet some folks from the area and it looks I'll be making friends with a guy around my age, which is quite nice. Despite my living in Japan, I don't get to speak with Japanese folks too much, so I worry about my Japanese not being "good enough" for conversing. However, a lot of that was washed away tonight, as I had almost no problems communicating with everyone. Plus, my Japanese was consistently being praised—and it actually seemed quite sincere. I don't know—it really feels like I've made some progress.

Also, I was recorded by a TV camera, so I might make the evening news.

But, man, I'm pooped.

8/02/2007

オーーーーレだ!

新しい遊び物を見つけたようだけど。(笑)

大事な試験を二つ

今年こそ、日本語能力試験を受けることにした。来日してからずっと「絶対に受けたくない!」って思っていたのにね。だって、主に試験のために勉強していれば勉強が面倒になる可能性がボクにとっては高いと思うし。でも、日本で働きたいって気持ちがあふれてきたようだから、受けたくなくても受けちゃおう!ってことになった。2級を受ける予定なんだけど。「1級を受けたらどう?」と言われたことがあるけど、それはボクにまだまだだよ!

ところで、三河おっさんは漢検を受けたがっているんだけど、ボクにも一緒に受けようと誘ってくれた。(別のレベルだけど。)2000円しかかからないから、受けるべきかなと思ってるんだけど、漢字にあまり自信を持っていなくてさ。で、人名用漢字も出るそうだし。

さ~、考えとく。

(なんてオーディオバージョンもあるのか?)