lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 ...where I'm skeevily trying to pick people up.  

I don't know why this always seems to happen in the language CDs I'm learning from, but here I am on lesson seven and I am already asking:

Me: Nani ka nomumassen ka? (Wouldn't you like something to drink?)
Her: ii desu ne (Sure / it's okay) Doko de? (Where at? Basically: where should we go?)
Me: Watashi no tokoro de.  (my place.)

What the hell, language tape!  I am NOT THIS KIND OF GIRL.  

And I am not kidding you. Pimsluer is teaching me to ask, "At my place?" BEFORE TEACHING ME HOW TO ASK "at the restaurant?" Restaurant is literally "restaurant" in Japanese. It's a borrow word. Sure, you have to kind of say it in a Japanese accent, but C'MON!  Also, I'm apparently a little rapey, because the next conversation goes:

Me: Nani o nomumasu ka? (What would you like to drink?)
Her: Ah... so desu ne... wakarimassen. (Hmmm, let me see.... I don't know.)
Me: Wakarimassen ka? (You don't know?) O-sake? Biiru? (Sake? Beer?)

I can not believe I'm like, "You don't know?" What kind of jerk am I? Am I really shaming this nice woman about her being hesitant and indecisive? Then, I'm pushing the alcohol!??!  Why not kouhi? (coffee) Or o-cha? (Green tea, which, like sake, gets an honorific 'o' in front of it.)

On the other hand, I'm certainly learning all the super casual interactions and, because this method really seems to works for me in terms of how I'm learning and the amount of repetition, I'm remembering everything.  I was talking to a friend of mine who is also studying Japanese and she told me her flashcards are all very "Your company is very efficient!" and other such business-like transactions. I told her that I'm clearly studying to be a frat boy to her salaryman.  Suddenly I had this wonderful image of the two of us in Japan: me, trying to hustle the women on the train, and her, brokering the deal with Nissan.  She can get us reduced rates at the hotel; meanwhile, I'm making small talk with the receptionist at the hotel.... 

Weirdly sort of suits my personality. I mean, I hope I'm not rapey, but you know the sort of super-pushy aggressively overly friendly sort.. that's me.  As I told my friend, I already talk to strangers on the train. This isn't that far off. :-)

So what do you say? Watashi no tokoro de nani ka nomumassen ka?  (Wanna have drinks at my place?) 
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Two things.

First, Mason and I watched "GODZILLA: King of Monsters" on Sunday night. It was Mason's first ever black-and-white show, and he was very weirded out by the lack of color. "Is it going to be like this through the whole thing?" he wanted to know after the credits. "Can we get this in color?" I, being a parent, felt compelled to regale him with "back in my day" stories of how I actually grew up with a black-and-white TV, which we kept well into the 1980s, which I watched while walking to school, up hill (both ways!), with wolves chasing me AND we had ONLY THREE CHANNELS... and we liked it!

But, what struck me about GODZILLA is how much untranslated Japanese is in that film. There are, in fact, several scenes in Japanese WITHOUT SUBTITLES. Then, of course, are the badly dubbed bits you all remember... where the heroine is clearly speaking Japanese and, instead, this ridiculously 1950s housewife's voice comes out of her mouth. Very strange.

What I'd also forgotten (never known?) was how awesome the story gets when we leave behind the stupid American, Steve Martin, and follow the story of the mad scientist, his fiancee, and her lover. Oh the angst! The mad scientist even gets an eyepatch (which goes very nicely with his white lab coat)!! The lover is a naval officer, but clearly of lower class origins. The fiancee is torn between duty and passion!! She should stay with the man that suits her class and station, or go against convention and marry the other, though low born, who is heroic and handsome!? Luckily, the scientist twigs to their secret affair after he tries to brain the lover who has come to ask for the secret formula in the name of the government, in order to destroy Godzilla. They get in a fight because the scientist hates that his invention is so horrible and destructive, in fact, he swore his fiancee to secrecy... but Godzilla's stomping of Toyko and the prayers of the children melt his hard heart! So he teams up with the lover, and makes a daring and cunning plan to go to the bottom of the ocean where Godzilla is sleeping and release his oxygen eating bomb! But Godzilla awakes. Someone must stay behind and release the bomb at just the right moment. Knowing that in Japan there is no other way out for the fiancee, the mad scientist sacrifices himself at the bottom of the ocean, and radios up to the lover, "You have my blessing. Be happy together."

Tears in my eyes!! Wow, the drama!

For a 1950s film in Japan, I have to say it had a lot of what I love about Anime in it. Cool monsters! Awesome superpowers -- Godzilla's freeze/exposive breath. Eye patchs! A wildly angsty story involving a love triangle, complete with rivals who have to work together in order to save the universe.

Though, I did have a moment where I yelled out "SEE! This is why we need better language tapes!" Early in the movie, when we're still following the stupid American, he's at customs. A friend helps him through, and I even understood a bit of the conversation in Japanese because it was almost verbatum from the language tape, except what happens?? I'll tell you what! "Could you step out of line for a moment, sir?"

I was all, "Vindicated!" And, then when Gozilla rose out of Toyko harbor I'm thinking, "if only I had the Japanese to express my horror at this moment!" If I could only say in Japanese, "What is that rising from Tokyo harbor?"
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Yesterday, Mason and I managed to "hit the slopes" for a little while in the afternoon. It actually snowed (and stayed,) so we had to venture out to attempt a little sledding. The hill at the Country Club is awesome because it's steep enough that I'm not sure how necessary snow really is... a slick piece of cardboard would probably work just was well in the summer time, if you know what I'm saying.

In the evening, we went to Kuk Sool Wan. That, as usual, was a lot of fun. I'm setting a couple of goals this year, and one of them is to finally really GET the tornado kick. Luckily, we worked on it last night. Then a couple of friends and I went out for coffee, which was a real treat. Grown-ups! Granted, they were the sort of grown-ups with which I could fannishly go on about Bleach with, but hey, that actually works for me.

Speaking of which, I'm planning on attending Anime Detour for the first time this year. Listen, when I jump into a fandom it's with both feet, damn it! Sadly, Bleach is really kind of old school for a lot of people, so I'm not sure what I'll have to talk to anyone about. Still, it should be fun to go. Perhaps I can try out my rude Japanese.

So, yeah, I've been meaning to post about the further adventures of "John Learner" the hero of my language tapes. I picked up these Japanese language tapes at Half Price Books, and started trying to learn polite Japanese while driving in the car (they're cassette tapes). The author of the tapes decided that it would be a good hook to have a kind of story happening in the background. John is in Toyko to meet up with his college chum Toro and to negotiate a business deal with his company. (This is 1984, everyone is in Japan on business). John has the sort of adventures you might expect on a language tape. He has to go through customs, take a taxi to the hotel, check in, etc. A long the way, he learns to say "hello (polite form)" and count to ten.

The other day, I'm driving and half-listening to some simple phrases, "I want coffee" and "I would like tea." And, then out of the BLUE, John says, "I want to live." I nearly swirved off the road! John!!! What's going on???

I suspect he's preparing to say something like, "I want to live in Toyko," but he never goes there. He just WANTS to LIVE.

So, now on my list of things that I really want to have on a language tape is a whole series of misadventures, because really, when you're in another country, especially one where you don't speak the language, things NEVER GO SMOOTHLY. The time when you're really desperate to know how to speak the local tongue is usually when your bag is missing or the hotel has lost your registration. So, I'd like to record a sort of "flip-side" to the John Learner tape in which poor John arrives in Tokyo and the first thing he hears from the airport officials is, "Could you step out of line, sir?"

And things go badly from there.

I was thinking it would even be fun to have a scene where the taxi driver dumps poor John in the crappy neighborhood and demands extra money before taking John to hotel. John, having wasted his money bribing officials to let him in the country, decides to tell the taxi drive to stuff it... this is where the tape will introduce the listener to all sorts of rude Japanese while John tries to get back to the hotel in one piece.

"Don't shoot! I want to LIVE!!"

You'd listen to a tape like that, wouldn't you?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Yesterday, after I picked up Mason from school, I had a sudden burst of memory. At one point Shawn had bought me a copy of JAPANESE STREET SLANG. I dug through the house and discovered that, yes, we still had it, and it was still as wonderfully silly (and potent!) as I remembered it.

I also realized there is pretty much NO WORDS that are repeatable from BLEACH. A phrase that was translated, "What's that?" Really = "What the f*ck is that?"

lydamorehouse: (Default)
Hey, hey, it's release day.

Today is the day that ALMOST EVERYTHING is officially out. So run like headless chicken to your nearest bookstor and buy sixteen thousand copies. After all, you don't want to miss out on the exciting conculsion to the Vampire Princess of St. Paul series, am I right?

I have a feeling that the choice that Ana makes between all her various boy options is going to disappoint some fans. But, you know, I also (as usual) didn't REALLY expect this to be the final book, though at least this time I was more aware of the possibility while writing, so I'd hoped to let her bounce around a lot more before seeming to settle.

Anyway, if you've read the others and are following along, see what you think.

In other news, at HalfPrice Books the other day, along with Manga, I bought a "How to Speak Japanese" series to listen to in the car as I drive from place to place. I'm sure I'm one of a thousand Anime fans who thought this was a good idea, but it *is* startling how many question forms I already recognize. Not that I can repeat any of them yet... but if someone asks me "What is that?" in Japanese I would recognize the question at least, even if I had no response.

I'm actually always baffled by the fact that language courses don't start by teaching you how to say, "I'm sorry, I have no idea what you just said," or "Can you speak slower?" or even, "I need a translator. My Japanese is very bad."

I took French in high school for several years (as well as college) and the only thing I can say with any amount of accuracy after all that time is one of the first phrases we learned: "Open the window," (Ouvrez la fenĂȘtre).

This is a ridiculously unuseful thing to know how to say. In the two times I have been to France I never ONCE had the opportunity to use it. I remember trying to brush up for my last visit and encountering textbooks which had me learning to say things like, "The cat is under the porch," and I remember thinking, "Oh, yeah, that'll be helpful for the week I'm in Paris. Because, you know, the first thing I'm going to do is lose my cat under the porch!"

But, at least during the 1980s people traveled to Japan a lot, so I'm learning how explain to Customs Officers that I'm in Toyoko on business (which I won't be) and how to have a pleasant conversation with the taxi driver about the weather and the popularity of certain Japanese cars in America. Honda! Toyota!

What I wish (and it probably exists somewhere in the universe) is that there were a fan guide to speaking Japanese. I want to know how to say, "Oh god! Look at the size of that monster rising out of the harbor! Is that Godzilla? We're all going to die!(polite form)"

One of the reasons I think that would be helpful is that there are certain things the language tapes are never going to teach. For instance, Mason and I started repeating a phrase that we heard a lot that had been translated as "damn" or, occassionally, "shoot." Shawn suggested that before we go shouting it in public maybe we ought to know EXACTLY what it meant. Well, a simple trip to "How to swear in Japanese," revealed that we were actually repeating the s-word. Which explains a LOT about the reaction I get when I tell people that Mason and I are watching Bleach together....

Unlike fan translated episodes, Netflix/Adult Swim has santizied Bleach to the point that...well, the FCC doesn't revoke their license, and an eight year old has nothing to fear -- even when encountering the rude folks in the 11th division barracks. Though even *we* recognized that probably "Screw you" wasn't PRECISELY what got said at one point.

What this means, however, is that when we run out of subtitled Bleach episodes, we won't be able (as I first thought) to go to the fan sites and pick up where we left off. Probably, we'll have to start reading the Manga.

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