17 August 2017 @ 11:58 am

Back when we started Mister Kitty we had a feature called "Found Sound" where we'd post a few music tracks every week, usually from some goofy record of cartoon music or celebrity novelty songs or promotional singles or kids records, something like that. After a while, the weekly grind of selecting songs, digitizing the songs, finding artwork to go with the songs, writing a paragraph about the songs, and posting the songs all got to be wearying, and we quit doing it.

I had no real idea how popular the feature was, but we got a significant number of emails and queries about the feature and if it was coming back, which was kind of a surprise to me. There are so many places on the internet full of wacky music, and so many people way more knowledgeable about music, that I figured people would just get their fix somewhere else. Seems that's not the case, or that our delivery of said wacky music is in some way pleasing or useful. Which is nice to know.

Even though we quit doing Found Sound, we still had a bunch of crazy music that we wanted to share, so when Shain started the Kickstarter for Element Of Surprise, we bought a mic and started doing a podcast. The main reason for the podcast was Kickstarter promotion, but it also gave us a chance to post a lot of the same sort of goofball music, interview our pals, and generally pretend like we were on the radio, like when we were 8 and got a tape recorder for the first time.

This week we posted the fourth installment of Mister Kitty's podcast LO-FI LANDFILL. I got to do a lot of fun audio mixing with this one, it's a fake telethon. I found a lot of live performances and mixed it with us pretending to be hosting a telethon, and I put in applause and phones and background noises. Give it a listen, won't you?

16 August 2017 @ 11:01 am
List of stuff I think is N2 level, as I find them. At N2 you can puzzle out probably anything in normal, modern, everyday-ish (not extremely poetic etc) Japanese as long as you have a dictionary.

• (Kabaneri): https://www.pixiv.net/novel/show.php?id=8192324

(Go look at the animelon list)
16 August 2017 @ 10:56 am
Here I'll link to / list things that I consider to be N1 level as I find them, since everyone needs reading practice but even at N1 we're still not at "native level" yet. N1 is essentially made up of archaic grammar, irregular or rare kanji usage, jargon, and extremely poetic stuff/flowery writing.

• 愛よ愛 by 岡本かの子: http://www.aozora.gr.jp/cards/000076/files/4554_15427.html

• (Kabaneri) https://www.pixiv.net/novel/show.php?id=7666616

(Go look at the animelon list)
15 August 2017 @ 09:31 am
We're all probably studying Japanese, right? So why doesn't anyone ever tell us the actual useful words for learners?? I'll start making a list here as I find them.

違い a difference (ex. in word usage: 何 の 違い what kind of difference?). when i want to know the difference between two different kanji i just write something like "熱 暑 違い" into google and see what comes up.
語源 word origin = etymology
読み方 "read-method" = pronunciation
動詞 move word = verb
複数 more than one (layer) number = plural
形容(詞) modify (word) = adjective
同義語 same duty word = synonym
辞書 word (compared to grammar) writings = normal dictionary
字書 letter writings = kanji dictionary (though i don't know if they have another term for it)
意味 meaning
さま (様) means the same as 様子 which is "tends to behave like; form", in the case of words: "tends to be used like, tends to mean".
ニュアンス nuance
外来 arriving from overseas = foreign/loanword. 外 is short for 外国 or 海外 and 来 for probably 出来.
略語 short(ened) word = abbreviation (ex. JD, JP)
熟語 a 2+kanji word where the individual kanji have almost exactly the same meaning (ex. 思想)
宿題 (at-)lodging (work-)theme = homework
試験 test-try(?) = exam
受[試]験 receive-try(?) = taking an exam
模試[験] imitation test = mock exam
授業 receive-knowledge work(?) = class lesson
卒業 ? = graduate
予習 pre-learn = study in advance
練習 ? = practice exercise (ex. listening drill)
復習 ? = review-study
自習 self-study (ex. study at home the material you learned in class)
習う learns (under someone's instruction; not necessarily a school-teacher)
勉強 study (not necessarily with anyone's help)
締め切り tie-up(?) run-out/cut-off = deadline
11 August 2017 @ 05:33 pm
...with Dr. Steve Brule? No, check THIS out, it's a comic book about CHECKS! Art by John "Cracked Magazine" Severin and text by the Federal Reserve Bank of NY!

Back when my brother and I were in middle school, our mom worked in the Community Schools office there, and she'd drive us home, so we had to hang out for an hour or so after school ended while her work finished up. Anyway in the school office there was a box, and in that box were some comic books, and I asked what the deal was, and I was told they were free educational comics and I could have 'em. So I took them all home. Most of them were Popeye Careers comics, but this one was the prize in the package, as far as I'm concerned. I love that great Severin art, half-realistic, half-cartoony, and while I don't know what a comic from 1971 is doing in a box of Popeye comics in 1983, I'm happy to have it and to share.

11 August 2017 @ 04:10 pm
For somebody who grew up in the Atari 2600 era and who genuinely loved spending the Saturday afternoon at the arcade pumping quarters into arcade games like everybody else my age did, I am not that much of a video game person now.

I had a 2600 and an Intellivision and a Coleco and a 5200 that didn't work and some other systems back in the 90s/00s when they were dirt cheap at thrift stores, but they have all since been sold (OK, I still have the 2600). I have the Nintendo that my brother bought sometime in the late 1980s; it still works and I use it to play import Japanese games for novelty value. I never really enjoyed game play on the NES. Never a big fan of the platformer games. This puts me at odds with the pop-cultural values of pretty much everybody ten years younger than me, lacking that deep love for Zelda or Mario or Megaman.

Anyways, I borrowed a PSX from Parker back in 2001 (?) and it was stolen, but I enjoyed playing those Medal Of Honor games on it. When we moved up here I bought a PS2 and I played a lot of MOH games and that Wolfenstein game, and I pretty much played those 2003-2008 games over and over and over, particularly when I was working third shift, I'd get home at 7am and play until 9am, then sleep until 6pm or so.

We have a Wii now, have had it for years. And I'm here to say that I have probably used it the most of any system I ever owned, and mostly because of the Wii Fit. Three days a week I have a 20 minute routine I go through that I've been doing for a couple thousand days now, that keeps track of my weight and gives me a baseline of where I'm at.

Back in October of 2011 I got the official speech from medical professionals that I needed to start actin' right; I was 85 kilos (that's 185 pounds). Shain and I started eating less at every meal during the week - we still eat "fun" meals & treats on the weekends, but during the week, portions are controlled - and I started eating less sugar and dialing back the carbs and I quit keeping alcohol in the house.

Anyway, having the Wii Fit was a big help in the "new healthy lifestyle"; "gamifying" the whole boring business of weighing myself, stretching, exercising. Some push-ups, some squats, a little running in place, nothing too crazy, a sustainable program that doesn't take too much time and can really show me what that second helping of Chinese food does to my weight.

My all time low was May of 2015 when I got down to 74.5 kilos - that's about 164 lbs. Right now I'm at 76 kilos (167lbs). I'd like to get back down to 74kg. After Thanksgiving I think I was up to 79kg, but I've been working my way back down. I have a pair of 34 waist Levis that I want to fit into and still be able to breathe, that's my goal.

I know they came out with a new Wii that isn't around any more. They came out with a classic NES thing that vanished. There's been a PS3 and a PS4 and a whole bunch of X-boxes that I've ignored. Most video games these days are either multiplayer things full of teens screaming obscenities at each other, or long, involved role-playing things that take five hundred hours to get through, and I want neither of those things. I still have the PS2 and I might just play some more games on it this weekend, if I'm not out riding my bike. But three times a week I'll be firing up the Wii and putting my little icon through his paces, that's where I'm at in the video game world.
10 August 2017 @ 05:06 pm
-Quit reading Paradise Lost. Not that the poetry wasn't beautiful--it was--but the moral philosophy got to be really fucking annoying. Milton definitely failed in "justifying the ways of God" to me, but then to be fair I 1) take things seriously and 2) am quite sure that there is no conceivable crime that could make someone deserve a literal eternity of literal torture (à la burning in a lake of fire). Ugh.

-Switched over to Herodotus for my morning reading instead, which is working out a lot better. I think we've finally gotten to the bit where the Persians are going to invade.

-Started working harder on Chinese. I found this Chinese Reading Practice website, and I've been working my way through the beginner material and it's a lot of fun (and I can tell I'm learning stuff too). (And the children's stories are pretty adorable.) Also, taking lusentoj's advice but applying it to 中文 rather than 日本語 (sorry, lusentoj :P), I've been watching the really awesome Chinese drama Nirvana in Fire, which I've already watched subbed in English, entirely in Mandarin. The show itself is really good, and beautiful; watching at the language I don't speak has been an interesting experience. So far it's mostly been getting better at recognizing words I do know, but there's also being a few new words I picked up, or combination of two words I knew but in a new way: e.g. 好 means good, 手 means hand, and now I've learned 好手, which means 'good hand' but also 'expert' or 'professional.'

-(Nirvana in Fire is available subbed in English at Viki, by the way. She says totally innocently...)

-(on the other hand I've been letting my Latin slide, and I really need to keep up with that. Maybe I should use some kind of habit tracking thing? Just to make sure I do it regularly?)

-Had a doctor's appointment about my wrists, since they're taking forever to heal. He sent me off to get an x-ray and a blood test, I guess we'll see how those go.

-Had my first ever massage! It was...fine. Man, my shoulders are really tight.

-My sister bought me some beautiful discworld art at Otakuthon! It's a scene with Sybil, Vimes, and young Sam, and it's got all kinds of details and the colors are really beautiful, it's great.

-Read the First Act of The Importance of Being Earnest with G, the friend I mentioned last time. He said he'd finish reading the rest of it later--we'll see--but I'm glad we read some of it, it's right up his alley.

-Finally went out and got some more of my favorite breakfast tea. So now I have some! Yay!

-Opened an email by saying "When shall we three meet again?" and then listing the weather forecast for the next week :P
Current Mood: accomplished
10 August 2017 @ 12:19 am
1. I've cleaned up the tags and fixed the profile, hopefully things are more organized now.

2. Remember that you guys can post too!! Post whatever you want!! How's learning going? What did you learn/read/listen to yesterday? Confused about anything?
09 August 2017 @ 10:48 pm
Okay, everyone hates kanji. Even Chinese people hate kanji (because in Chinese, every character has more or less only ONE pronunciation). And the dictionary definitions for kanji are really bad, so you don't know why x is also used for y which seems like completely different meanings to you. In reality kanji are pretty easy.

First off, each kanji only has 1-2, very rarely 3, individual pronunciations and/or meanings worth knowing. In most texts, anything more than those 2-3 pronunciations — or any rare kanji, or kanji not taught in school, even if it's standard pronunciation or actual common words, — will almost always have hiragana (furigana) to the side showing the correct pronunciation. Even usually in newspapers, which are the hardest things to read in Japanese (aside from archaic stuff). The exception is often really famous words, ex. certain place-names, but even those actually might also be written in/with hiragana instead. Stuff written for highschoolers and younger (meaning: most manga) will ALWAYS have pronunciations on kanji, even if they're super common kanji. (About the list of kanji people learn in school: by adulthood Japanese people have forgotten hundreds of them, but they know hundreds more that are outside of the list.)

Read more... )

Here below, I'm going to put a few very clear examples (as I find them) of why you NEED to learn individual kanji and completely ignore whatever your translation dictionary may say about the resulting compound.

Read more... )
06 August 2017 @ 12:08 pm
Looking closely at all of the similar pictures, Yomiko came to a realization.Read more... )
06 August 2017 @ 10:25 am
Mushi Production was Osamu Tezuka's animation studio and they produced a ton of works before - and after - going bankrupt! Check out this 1984 VHS of their 'Best Series' as described at Let's Anime!

06 August 2017 @ 10:22 am
Mushi Production was Osamu Tezuka's animation studio and they produced a ton of works before - and after - going bankrupt! Check out this 1984 VHS of their 'Best Series' as described at Let's Anime!

05 August 2017 @ 04:46 pm
The post was demonstrating the reason for its existence to the greatest extent. Read more... )
Current Mood: accomplished
05 August 2017 @ 10:55 pm
Most Japanese "phrases" are super clear and instantly understandable (stuff like "your work, your result = you've made your bed, now lie in it") but of course there's still many that aren't so clear. I've slowly started learning some, as I find more I'll list them here. Feel free to post your own!

詰め が 甘い、詰め の 甘さ = fuck-up. ex. "you're a fuck-up, you always fuck-up right at the last minute" — but it's slightly more polite than the english version (closer to "slip-up" in politeness, but still putting blame on the person). sounds like it should be 爪が甘い (and some people do write it that way) but it apparently comes from chess slang, where 詰め means checkmate, so "your checkmate is (too) weak" i guess.
念 の ため: "feeling's reason", just to be safe
役 に 立つ:"stand in(to the) role", be useful. "role" is the same as in ex. "we're playing the role of the fox, and he of the hunter".

苦労:ご 苦労 様、ご 苦労 さん "(You Mr.) Painful Work" = good job today! thanks! You can also put でした after it.
疲れる:お 疲れ さま、お 疲れ さん "(You Mr.) Become-tired" = same as above. You can also put でした after it.
今日は:こんにち は、こんにち わ "this day is", good afternoon!
今晩は:こんばん わ "this night is", good evening!
お 早い ござる:お はよう ござい ます "(your) early exists", good morning!

気(気分 mood):
気 が 早い "feeling is fast" = is rash about something
気 が 短い "feeling is short" = short-tempered (he's got a short wick)
気 が 遠い ?? I thought I saw this somewhere but maybe not.
気 が 遠く なる "feeling becomes distant" = passes out
気 が 付く "a feeling sticks" = notices something
気 が 入る "feelings go in", put effort into
気 が 難しい "feelings are difficult", difficult to please, grouchy
気 を 付ける "can stick to a feeling" = watch out!
気 を 失う "lose feelings" = pass out
気 を 落とす "feelings are dropped (by something)" = get disappointed
気 を 引く "draw feelings" = draw attention (引く is pull as in drag, pull a gun trigger)
気 に 入る "enter into feelings", (start to) like something, be pleased with something
気 に する "causes a feeling", lets something get to one, is bothered by something (short-term??)
気 に なる "becomes a feeling", worries about something (long-term??)
気 の せい: "feeling's fault", it's just (my) imagination
気味 の 悪い(きもい) "bad (to the) feelings", gross
気 安い "feelings are easy/cheap", too friendly. in anime i see this constantly used for BAD stuff, ex. "you're touching my butt" "you're trying to help me when i haven't asked", but i don't know if that's the normal connotation
04 August 2017 @ 07:15 am
Japanese doesn't "really" have plurals so when they need/want to specify, they add in extra words that make the meaning clear. For example, "a bunch/group of", "ten", "diverse types", "all", "every", "countless". Usually people feel confused about this, but we have the same thing in English.

In a phrase like "every dog has its day", we know we're actually talking about multiple (countless) dogs even though we're using the singular "dog". In "they said that's their hat" we assume "they" refers to one single person because probably multiple people aren't sharing a single hat. But in "they announced it on the news" we can assume multiple people because we're referring to the multiple people who work at the news station.

Read more... )