Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stockholm syndrome

So I was to Stockholm last week. Which was nice. It was a study-visit to the Institute for Oriental Languages at Stockholm University, just a quick couple-of-days drop-by.

We left Sunday the 20th, taking the ferry during the night. The beds were horrible and I got only a couple of hours sleep, but I survived. We arrived in Stockholm at some ungodly hour, and right as we stepped off the ship we had to hump all our luggage a couple of kilometers to and from subway stations, on our way to the hotel where we were to dump it.

Subway in the morning
Having disposed of our luggage, we headed back to the subway for more subterranean adventures. First we went to Stockholm University and checked out their stuff (campus, library, etc.) and tried some calligraphy.

Having done that we headed off to a street called Tegnér-gatan where there were a couple of Japan-related shops. I got some reading material (a book and a newspaper, not tentacle-porn), a writing pen (for practicing calligraphy... hopefully I'll use it someday, too) and some candy (Pocky). After that we went pretty much our separate ways, I tagged onto a group heading for some sci-fi bookshop, which turned out to be a wild-goose chase as we never got there. Hungry from all the walking we found a couple of others and went to this Korean place and got some eatin'. And that was pretty much day 1. Headed back to the hotel and the bed there.

Day 2 we went to visit a couple of museums, the Ethnological Museum and the East-Asian Museum. At the Ethnological Museum was a little tea-house that we got to see. Which was nice. In comparison, the East-Asian Museum was quite a let-down as they had a higher admission price and was crappier. They were doing some renovations and not all exhibitions were available. After that we were free to roam the town again. We wandered about a bit, eventually figuring food would be in order.

Sergel's Square. All the people there are drug-dealers
Having eaten at some mongolian thing, time was getting short and I finally figured I might be able to check out some synthesizers. So I headed for the nearest store, but it turned out that they didn't have any Juno-Ds or X50s. I got mad and punched the guy in the face. Ok, not really. Time was running out fast, and we had to get back and meet the rest of the people to get back to the ship, so I couldn't visit any other stores.

Finally, we had a little party on the ship, celebrating a pleasant journey. When I got home, I failed the test we had the following day.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Today I burned a pair of my brother's underwear. But that's getting ahead of the story a bit.

I'm leaving for Stockholm tomorrow, capital of Sweden, home of a lot more music shops than are in Vaasa. This means preparation, which brings with it searching for clothes to cover my otherwise naked body with, in order to spare others from the sight of my nakedness. During the process of searching, I came across an old pair of underwear belonging to my brother, discarded due to the being holy. You know, full of holes.

So they weren't being of any use, an idea was formed. Why not burn them? It's wet after the days rain and relatively risk-free... And so, after checking with all the authorities (that is, pa' and the bro'), it came to be that I stood in the yard burning my brother's underwear. That probably filled up the crazy quota for the month.

It's a bit exciting to be going; I am after all quite unused to travelling outside of the country... I think it's also a slight indicator of how I've grown: if this was five or so years ago I don't think I would've gone. I was way more timid then. Of course I'm still quite quiet and careful, but I've acquired a certain hang of just going with the flow and not worrying as much as I used to. Maybe that's what they call "growing up".

PS: I won't link to the Vankov Brothers space (in a post) until I've gotten the first vocal recorded and (sloppily) mixed. (Hopefully it won't sound too bad when run through a vocoder.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Potter, etc.

I don't really know why I watch the Harry Potter films as I'm constantly thinking of how different from the book(s) they are. I found the fourth for 5€ the other day, which I bought on an impulse. (Of course, since I hadn't seen the third yet I felt compelled to download it... I guess it evens out in the end.)

I always start feeling a bit queazy after having spent the whole day studying kanji. Perhaps it's just lack of fresh air, but I feel really sickened by it when I'm nearing the end of a ~400 kanji-session.

I am officially fed up with one of the music stores in town. I've been in three times in the last couple of weeks to try out Roland's Juno-D. First time they said that they just sold off the last one, sorry, but they'll get a couple by the weekend that are going to a school, come in then. Second time, sorry, they came and picked them up already, come back next week. Third time, sorry, they're in Copenhagen.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The cram

Clocking in at roughly six hours of kanji today. I feel I've gotten a little bridge-head in the seemingly inpenetrable shore of kanji-land. The test is still a couple of weeks away, but I'm incredibly relieved that I had the will-power to start cramming so soon, because with all the other stuff that needs doing there might not be time later.

I've talked about JFC before, but thought I'd talk a bit more about it since that's what has saved my ass so many times. More specifically, my way of using it. I usually set it to show the English meaning, and then I rehearse readings and writing/stroke order, with focus on writing (meaning it's whether I remember how it's written that decides whether I mark it as right or wrong). When I begin a new batch, I set it to duplicate missed cards with the default frequency of 20. This means (if I've understood it correctly) that the missed card repeats every 20th card. I do this so I'll really get it burned into my head. I continue the session until the number of remaining cards (that is, including the repeating missed cards) reach 3-5000, then I quit it and start a new session (once you've gone for a bit almost every card is a repeat, which gets a bit tiresome). I continue like that until I it starts taking too long for new cards to appear, and then I switch off "duplicate missed cards" and run through the whole batch (usually in one sitting). The missed cards are now just moved to the end of the pack without repeating, so once I've cleared all the ones I know, I hunker down and start trudging through the bottom of the pack.

Once that's cleared I repeat a couple of times until I can get an accuracy rate of around 80%.