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.)