水曜日, 5月 23, 2007

Wanted - Japanese Car

My old man has just traded in his old Mitsubishi Delica, a great 4x4 imported from Japan.

To replace it we are interested in the Nissan Cube, but as you can see, the prices are quite high in the UK. Anyone interested in trying to buy one in Japan for me and export it?


月曜日, 5月 21, 2007

...and no tag backs...

Hmm, seven things I'm willing to reveal here?

1. I apparently look like Hugh Grant - this has been a regular comment from people I know and those I've just met met since I was about 19. Sadly, I've never dated anyone that looks good in a pink cat suit. Frankly, neither has Hugh or anyone else. Pink cat suits are inherently a bad idea.
2. My last words to my Mother as I went through the gates at Heathrow were "Don't worry, I won't come back with a Japanese wife or anything silly like that." No, indeed; I came back with much more than that.

3. I used to play basketball and sucked for five years at school when I played with Tony. But I was taller than him so it was occasionally possible to stop him. This pic documents the county championship winning team of '93. Tony, as our mascot, sits front centre; I'm trying to psyche the camera man out in the number 10; Ian (6) and Ed (9) are subjects of posts by Tony and I bumped in to Joe this week - pretty much one of the first times since this picture was taken... Owain (13), Mike (11) and Graham (12) are MIA.

4. I secretly still like to go skateboarding at the age of 30. This is frowned upon by parents and associates as deviant behaviour so when I have meetings with clients I throw my deck in the back of the car, finish up when I can, then skulk around playing fields looking for shapely bits of of plywood or concrete.

5. Bristol Japan Club is Bristol's premier venue for people in Bristol who are interested in Japanese culture. Most people who go there probably have no idea what my connection to Japan is - my wife never, ever goes. I used to sell Japanese books there, mimicking my love of Good Day Books, but I lost money on the venture.

6. I read the Guardian. I have to keep this secret from my parents, who would doubtless be offended at the soft-bellied liberalism this implies.

7. I was border-line narcoleptic at uni and slept on a speaker in a night club, on the stairs in halls, in the hallway, in a shop doorway, in a park, in the library, in lectures, etc. This was a serious medical condition you understand and not in any way related to consumption of alcohol.

水曜日, 5月 16, 2007

The ドラえもん conundrum.

Why is Doraemon spelt like that?


Notice that? The name uses both katakana and hiragana. If you don't read kana, notice how the first two characters are angular, the other three more rounded.

Weird. My local expert hasn't a clue. Any suggestions?

火曜日, 5月 15, 2007

Formality saves me!

Taking a leaf out of Tony's book I reached for Doraemon #1. Sure enough, we have a copy. In fact, as far as I can tell, there is not a home in Japan that won't have a copy of these books chronicling the adventures of the earless robotic cat from the 22nd century! They bloody love 'im.

Still, I ploughed on, for most part dumbfounded by the casual language until on page 36...

Someone's, what? Boss? Landlord? Has come by and Nobita-kun has been sent for biscuits. He offers up some animal crackers he finds in his room.

You don't need to be able to read Japanese to tell that Nobita's mum isn't so happy (I reckons she's saying "What's this? What are these biscuits?"). The best bit is that the gentleman, polite as the situation demands, is using the kind of textbook Japanese I've come to know and, well, if not love exactly, at least get a functional understanding of. He's saying "It's okay, I love these biscuits."

36 pages in and at last my starchy, stiff collared Japanese gets a break.

What's also interesting is that alone here 大好き (love - lit. "big like") gets a kanji rendering, while "I" and "what" are in kana. I would presume this because big 大, is learnt early on (it's a man with his arms outstretched, see?) as are 女 and 子, woman and child, that form 好, the root of "like". So the word for love is learnt ahead of self or what just because it is easier to learn (the other kanji being 私 and 何).

What is rather less clear is why the other kanji I have recently learn, 世界, world, and 世紀, century are presented in kanji when they are clearly more advanced (rank about 200 on the list I've been using).

It's this seemingly arbitrary arrangement that has caused me to struggle with the learning in GTO and ラブヒナ as my patchy kanji mean long tracts are impenetrable - I might have the vocab, but I can't read the kanji, or it takes me ages to associate a string of kana with the right words. Still, either way, manga kicks JBP ass!

日曜日, 5月 13, 2007

East/West Perception

Not sure this really fits on here to be honest, but it is fascinating.

Apparently Asians see the world in a different way to Westerners, according to this article from some science website I never heard of.

In summary, Asians pay more attention to the interrelatedness of things, while Americans of European extraction(the actual subject it seems) are more interested in bold features. This extends to conscious description of an image as well as studies of eye movement. Amazing.

May have greater relevance to Learning Rocks frankly, but I like this site.

火曜日, 5月 08, 2007

Building a Japanese Environment

Over on Learning Rocks, my "professional" blog, I have been following the "personal learning environment" thread that has been going around blogs on the same subject.

There have been a few points of view, but the settled opinion of a PLE is the space you build yourself, online in the most part, to help you learn. With Learning Rocks, extensive use of Google reader on elearning blogs, joining in on Wikis and various other bits I do every day constitute my "PLE" with regards to elearning.

However, with Japanese it is proving more difficult. What I'm keen to try to do is find a community of other learners who blog about their experience of struggling with the language. This I seem unable to do. Tony's blog is a perfect example, for although he alludes to his learning and has blogged about it explicitly, it is a small part of his oeuvre. Tae Kim, whose Guide is one of my favourite learner resources, is an intermittent writer and at a very high level anyway.

I could rejoin the forums at JPod101, but I never found them as useful - they are not a place for reflective learning; newbie questions and boasting are the norm.

So, if you know of any blogs that add to the mix and discuss the pleasures of learning Japanese, please let me know and help me build my J-PLE.