Saturday, October 29, 2005

I get up, I get down

For some reason unknown to me I've been feeling a bit down today. In theory I should be content, seeing as I have just had an exam today that felt pretty good (I might even pass this one on the first attempt!), and there's nothing on the horizon except for learning more Japanese, which I actually enjoy.

I thought that maybe it was the nagging feeling that I should stop living as a parasite and get a real job, but that's not really it (besides, that's always there). No, I believe what I'm feeling currently is the emptiness that comes from the lack of a relationship with another human. Not the kind of relationship you have with your family or fellow man, but a relationship you have with someone of the opposite sex (usually, as is the case for me) you feel attracted to. I suppose you should get used to not being in a relationship, and I guess you wouldn't really be able to miss something you've never known, but I think it's something fundamental in the human psyche that urges us toward coupling up, and if that urge is suppressed for long enough you start developing oddities and/or depression.

Oh well, back to studying kanji, I suppose.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

よろしくお願いします (Yoroshiku onegaishimasu)

This is one of the phrases that I have the most difficulty translating to another language. The first part, よろしく (yoroshiku), comes from the word 宜しい (yoroshii), meaning "good; OK; all right; fine; very well; will do; may; can". The second part, お願いします (onegaishimasu), meaning "please", comes from the word 願う (negau), meaning "to desire; to wish; to request; to beg; to hope; to implore".

The problem (for me) is when it's inserted into regular situations. It's hard to translate it in a way that it seems natural in the target languge (for those wondering, "target language" is the language you're translating to, "source language" is what you're translating from). In a way, it seems to me a pretty meaningless phrase, carrying no further meaning than to emphasize what has come before it, but it can also be used to imply a request.

Let's have a look at some translations of it.

This first example is from the drama-series "Great Teacher Onizuka". In this scene Onizuka first arrives at the school and introduces himself to the other teachers. The phrase is here translated as "I will be counting on your assistance, pleased to meet you." (Translation by Japan-TV Fansubs.)

This is Morning Musume appearing on the show Pop-Jam, with them meeting the person on the right for the first time, with him bowing, phrase translated as "Nice to meet you." (Translation by mpz.)

This is Morning Musume appearing on Utaban. They've appeared on the show multiple times in the past, so in this context it would be inappropriate to translate it as "nice to meet you", so this time it's translated as "Happy to be here", even though it's the same phrase in Japanese. You can also pay attention to how the older members (front line on the sides) don't bow as deep as the younger ones. (Translation again by mpz.)

From Morning Musume's new-years special, the spoken phrase is 今年もよろしくお願いします (kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu), translated in this context as "Please support Morning Musume this year!" (Translation by HPS.)

Leaving Morning Musume before you get the wrong impression, here is a scene from Utada Hikaru's "UH Live Streaming". In this context it's her staff she is speaking to, so presumably she is already familiar with them. I guess this would be translated as a request for co-operation on todays task, translated as "Good luck today." (I don't have the info on who translated it at hand, will update later. The DVD linked to earlier is not subtitled.)

The last one is from the drama "Long Vacation". In this scene the parent (left) is asking the piano instructor Sena (right) to teach her daughter (even though it looks like a boy), or "take her under his wing" so to say. In this context it's translated as "please treat her well." (Translation by Japan-TV Fansubs.)

As you can see from the above examples, it's a very context-sensitive phrase when you step out of the "meeting-for-the-first-time" instances. If you have access to subtitled material, it's good to see how others have translated the phrase and see which best suit the context you are trying to translate.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

先生のコト (Sensei no koto)

This is our teacher, Elomaa-sensei. He speaks god knows how many languages and is probably one of the brightest people in the country.

The picture is a bit old since nowadays he has a bit more of a beard going. There's a newer picture at Aino's blog, which I will take the liberty to crop and post.

Speaking of other blogs and our teacher, I found the blog of one of our 先輩 (senpai) at Livejournal. The way I found it is sort of interesting so I will force it upon you; I knew we had a teacher coming who was named Kimura. Wanting to find out more about this person, the first stop was the Japanese department at the University of Stockholm. There among the list of personnel you could find an image of Kimura Hiroko-sensei (who I found out is a woman). Google didn't turn up anything interesting, so next stop blog-search Technorati. Ugh, too many results to go through using just the Hiroko Kimura search-term, so let's try with quotation marks around it (making it search for that specific word sequence). Much better. First result: The Trooper, by Nanashi, who appears to be one of our senpai. Interesting...

And among the posts I find one with a lot of pictures! Cool.

But some weird comments...
vitsi, elomaa är ju hot!
Roughly translated as: "Damn, Elomaa is hot!"

Friday, October 21, 2005

Re: Weblog usability

Via Blogger Buzz comes an article on Weblog usability by some schmoe. Some of it is alright, but most of it you can probably ignore.

1 & 2: No author biography/photo.
You don't need this, and if your goal to blog anonymously due to governments not looking kindly to critical opinion it would even be highly discouraged.

4: Links don't say where they go.
Most browsers have a little field at the bottom of the screen that writes out the destination of the link. You could also actually make the text that is linked informative enough to not need any further description (like how I linked to the article itself above). Though the article on link titles was quite informative.

8: Mixing topics.
This depends of course on what you write about. Do you want to write about chocolate one day and what you thought when sitting on the loo the other? Why shouldn't you be allowed to do that? The ultimate question you have to ask yourself is "who are you doing it for?" Are you blogging for yourself or are you blogging for popularity?

9: Forgetting you write for your future boss.
This goes a bit in the same category as 1 & 2. If you write with the expressed purpose of appealing to your future boss, isn't that limiting your writing to only that which you think is publically acceptable? Will you be able to be honest with yourself (and in your writing) while attempting to promote yourself, and still write about everything you want?

10: Having a domain name owned by a weblog service.
Yes, very good for you if you can afford a cool adress like, but not everyone can (afford it). Having multiple weblog services also almost guarantees that there will always be someone that doesn't charge.

We now return you to your regular browsing. Get out of here.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The 7 types of bloggers

Maybe a mix between "The Everyone Else Seems To Be Doing It Type" and "The Smug Self-Centred Columnists".

Which one are you?

Edit: Looks like Kill All Blogs!-blog went to a premature death, but thanks to the Google cache I can resurrect the relevant parts:
7 Steps to Blogging Hell”

The Wretched Personal Blogger: This is the “my life is shit, I hate myself and I want to die” approach to blogging or the forlorn lovers. You remember the kind from school, brooding loners with an inclination towards the morose poetry of TS Eliot and hanging around cemeteries after dark. They hated you and your friends because you had friends and blamed their unpopularity on being misunderstood by society at large. They called themselves deep and meaningful. The rest of us just called them losers and tossers. Now they use the blogosphere like a counselling session and for depressing the rest of us with their glum navel gazing and posting dark lyrics from talentless Goth bands. Yes you did get one thing right though: your blogs are shit, we all hate you so please just fuck off and die a slow torturous death.

The Delicate Empathetic Flower: You know the ones, they’ve overcome adversity in their lives but are now so damned positive as a result. They’re in touch with their feminine sides and love everyone. They have a tendency to get sentimental but counteract this by posting current photos of the sky and telling us all about the great support they get from their friends and family. They are quick to hand out positive advice to others, which is so pathetically obvious you wonder whether it would have been better if they had been put down at birth. The only thing these kind of bloggers are useful for is helping to detox our systems with their vomit inducing posts. The Chris Martins and Gwyneth Paltrows of the blog world!

The Stinking Arty Farts: Generally fancy themselves as photographers or modern artists. They post photography every day of such meaningless subjects like their route to the bathroom or the dregs left at the bottom of their coffee mugs. They never have anything critical to say about anyone else’s photography even when, to the rest of us, it’s a stinking crock of shit. They generally work in the classified sections of newspapers or web companies but pretend they work on the art desks. Best way of dealing with these pretentious fools is to post a photo of a fresh dog turd and tell them their “art” inspired you.

The Smug Self-Centred Columnists: These are the wannabe newspaper columnists. Generally well educated and with a host of initials after their names. However, what they don’t realise are that these letters tend to form anagrams of words like “wanker” or “bastard”. They like to give their opinions on the news, politics and current events. Of course, the rest of us don’t take a blind bit of notice and visit the BBC or CNN for our fix of the news. They blog simply because everyone who knows the away from the net won’t have anything to do with them because they are the worlds biggest bores too fond of their own voices. Good fun to leave comments on their blogs asking for porn and if they get naked on cam.

The Oh So Bloody Funny Fool: Bloggers who think they are so amusing and are under the misconception they have an internet cult following. The reality is everyone is laughing at them rather than with them. Tend to litter their blogs with links to so called amusing anecdotes on obscure websites, generally because they can’t actually think of anything funny to post. They tend to be ageing graduates or ex 6th formers who still think the epitome of a “good laugh” is walking home after a night at the pub with a traffic cone on their head. Have a lot of spare time to blog as they tend to be “in-between jobs right now”. The truth is they are unemployable with their media studies degrees.

The Unsexy Sexual Blogger:
Often found lurking behind sexblogs with titles like ‘A Cum Whores Diary’ or ‘Spank Me Wank Me : Confessions of a Politicians Rent Boy’. Seem to think the whole world wants to read about their imagined sex exploits with badgers, vibrating toys and the quadriplegic in the apartment below. Truth is these bloggers are getting less sex than the rest of us because they spend every hour searching porn sites for photos to copy and paste. Their main ambition is to eventually seal a multi million-dollar book deal for their sexblog. Wankers!

The Everyone Else Seems To Be Doing It Type: Until a week ago they had never heard of blogs. They then heard about them on a daytime chat show and just had to have one. They blog for the sake of it and never, ever actually have anything to say. These are the internet equivalents of watching paint dry. Their blogs tend to be in diary type formats and are worth reading just to make us happy that we’re not them. We couldn’t give a shit about your children, your boring job or your fucking pets!
-Windscreen Fly, Kill All Blogs! (gone)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Why most webstores suck (somewhat)

This screenshot says it all.

Here we have the product info page for the re-issue of Boards of Canada's "High Score" EP, and according to the product recommendations, what have other people bought? Coldplay, (Swedish hit popband) Kent, (Swedish Idol-winner) Darin and (cropped out) Robin Williams. So not only are they expecting me to believe that other people who "bought" this yet-to-be-released re-issue, but the recommendations only brought up chart-topping artists.

I'm sorry CDON, but I can't suspend my disbelief enough to fall for that.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

"Anime and Learning Japanese"

Anime may get people initially interested in Japanese, but the article fails to mention what happens to these people after they start taking the courses. You can go to any Japanese program in the USA and you'll probably find that 80% of the JAPA 111 (or whatever the course number) students are there because they're interested in anime.

But how many of those people come back the next semester? Not many. Once you get into the upper level Japanese classes, most students are either Asian themselves or they have some genuine interest in the language. As the years go on, the classes get smaller and smaller.

So while anime may attract a lot of students to the Japanese program, they're also instantly turned away. Don't ask me why that happens though. But I think a lot of it has to do with false expectations about the difficulty (e.g., "KONICHIWA! I can speak Japanese because I watch anime! Ja~ne bakayaro. Kawaii ne").

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Yay. (Said with sarcasm.)

My letter to the editor was published. It was a bit surprising as I had included my little anecdote (though in a slightly different shape), and also stating that that would mean the letter itself would be illegal seeing as it described how to circumvent copy protection. Does this mean that the paper is also breaking the law as they are distributing the information further?

I've really become weird since I started reading Slashdot. Soon enough I'll probably start programming and grow a beard.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Beware: concerned citizen

I just wrote my first "letter to the editor", in reply to some random politician who's been drinking the corporate Kool-Aid.

More precisely, it was about that old thing. I tried to get my brother to care, but that proved to be an exercise in futility. Just as in Nazi Germany, nobody notices unless it's something that directly involves them. I suppose I'm not much better since I haven't really done much up to this point. Not that a letter to some backyard paper would do anything either, but at least it's off my chest now, and now I can go on with my plan to not buy any CDs by companies involved with the RIAA. Luckily, this does not include the soon-to-be-released new album by Boards of Canada "The Campfire Headphase"! Looking forward to it very much. I would rate their "Music Has The Right To Children" as one of the best albums in my collection (which says as much about my collection as the album, I suppose).

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Strange things on my mind

Sometimes I can come to some really strange conclusions/ideas. Usually afterwards I can't remember what line of thought it was that got me there.

Just now when I was sitting on the toilet, I started thinking of one time when the water pressure was so low that the toilet couldn't itself get water for flushing, so we had to go to the tap in the basement (where there was a little water pressure) and manually fill it. From that I started thinking of the old outside toilets ("outhouse" is the word I get with this) before there was running water and flushing the bowl. We actually have one of those on the yard next to a spot that previously used to be a wastepile, though understandably it's not being used any more. I remember once when a sunflower seed got into that pile of waste and it got really big. I thought that it was probably due to all the spillings there that it got all the nourishment and got so big... Then I started thinking that dead bodies also contain a lot of nourishment for plants and stuff.

And so I came to the conclusion that maybe that's where the custom of putting flowers on graves come from. That it wasn't done from the start, but people noticed that everything, including flowers, grew better on the spot where someone was buried, and everybody just started copying nature, putting flowers themselves on graves. Maybe Wikipedia has something on that...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

In the future, we are all criminals

Once, I tried to copy a copy-protected audio CD, but it couldn't be read by the computers CD drive. I used a piece of adhesive tape to cover the outermost track that was used to disrupt computer CD-drives and thus I was able to copy it.

According to a new Finnish law:
Possession of tools that allow circumventing copy protection mechanisms will be illegal. Even for personal use.
Do you own adhesive tape?