People's reactions to me changed a lot during the ~2 years I spent in Japan - like, incidents in which I was treated badly because it was visible that I had brain issues became much less frequent.

I think I just figured out how to read people and do "normal" vocal intonation better during that period. To some extent that was a biological developmental thing - I was still having hormonal upheavals more common to thirteen-year-olds throughout college, and my hallucinations had only just died down for the final time when I moved to Okazaki - but part of it was probably the foreign language immersion.

It's kind of like I got to re-do part of the childhood language acquisition/socialization process, but with better control over my sensory bullshit. In a lot of situations my intonation and facial expressions come across more naturally when I'm speaking Japanese than English, but the connections I was making helped with English, too.

Apr. 21st, 2015 10:17 am
*creates a fantroll named "Tanaka Corpus" whose typing quirk is that they speak only in sentences from the Tanaka Corpus*

Feb. 10th, 2015 10:47 am
I have a lot of anxiety dreams where I’m in Japan and have forgotten how to say basic stuff in Japanese. Last night I dreamed I was in Shinjuku and very upset with myself because I couldn’t remember 1) “shitsurei shimasu,” which means “excuse me,” and 2) “taiyaki,” which means “a fried pastry shaped like a fish and usually filled with sweet bean paste or cream.”

Also the plot of Battlefield Terra was going on, but I was more upset that I couldn’t remember about fish pastries.

Edit: You need to understand that Battlefield Terra happening in Shinjuku is an extremely funny thing to contemplate. Really, putting any emotionally-intense disaster narrative in Shinjuku is fucking hilarious. It’s too bad anime doesn’t take advantage of the absurdity of this situation the way it should.


*nearby, a man in a scarf awkwardly ignores this while evincing an intense and joyless preoccupation with some pastel macarons*

*also nearby: a wall made entirely of white plush pomeranian toys for some goddamn reason, it’s terrifying*
A friend has asked me to translate a koseki page for someone who's having immigration problems, and I have no idea what's going on with some of the word usage here. Could anyone with experience reading these give me a hand, or point me to an example?
I need a mean word for a socially and/or economically upwardly-mobile person. The text calls this "群民上がり". (That is stupid.)

This can be, like, a ridiculous-sounding Victorian word. It's being used in the context of one of those obviously-doomed anime societies where everyone's kind of albino-looking and wears winter colors.
You are stupid.

So I wrote a script that just uses popen to access the Windows command-line. Works for Python 3.2 on Windows 7 with the UTF-8 version of MeCab installed. Is very ugly.
And this will continue for the foreseeable future. However, Minekura's birthday was the 23rd, and for reasons that will become clear, I felt an obligation to share her post on the subject with the Anglophone world. Also, her pictures, and her font-size selections.

I was a lot looser with the translation than usual this time, as I felt that the tone of this particular post would not be well-served by my usual stilted attempts at technical fidelity. (But if I screwed up something important, tell me so I can fix it.)

For context, Kinoko-no-Yamas are an inexpensive sort of cookie-ish thing. They're hard and crunchy, and thus not something a person with an artificial jaw could easily eat.


Black Swan

On March 23rd, I turned thirty-seven (or something). I received a lot of good wishes on Twitter and on the cell phone site - thank you all. I'm a very lucky person. I'm doing my best to pay you back, bit by bit. I'm working on a thank-you picture for all the people who commented on the birthday project on, which will be ready in a few more days.

Anyway, I'd might as well treat this blog like a blog, and talk about my birthday!

Because the day fell during a lull in work, we decided to get together and have a party. I was excited. When we got started, the current youngster in the group (though she's been working with me since the beginning of Gaiden), Ringo-chan (not her real name), told me that she was going to make a cake.

We've experienced Ringo-chan's astonishing cooking skills many times in the past. For example, last Christmas, after informing us mundanely, "I'm going to make a chocolate house!", she proceeded to produce something resembling a set of chocolate ruins, a deep crevice torn violently through the center. Into this crevice, she had crammed three boxfulls of Kinoko-no-Yamas, which were held down by a chocolate Santa Claus to prevent them from escaping. It was hellish scene reminiscent of Auschwitz.

...Incidentally, I assume that she did not actually expect me to eat any of this, given the state of my jaw.

Read more... )
I am officially Intermediate in Japanese. There's a certificate saying so, so it must be true.

Perhaps relatedly, these have been the stupidest three days in the history of stupid days. Am considering hiding under the cats until the weekend. There are nearly enough of them.
Thanks to my excellent taste in fiction, I am just as capable of saying the following things as I was the day I left Japan:

"Even if you're not human, you're still capable of being killed!"

"I still haven't wiped the blood off from the last one."

"It will be as if this train had never existed!"

It is to be hoped, however, that none of this will be necessary at Mo's wedding. Is there a good book or website just for polite conversational stuff, without all the hyperbolic threats?
I did poorly on the vocab section, I think okay on the grammar, and fine on the listening. (Is the listening always really easy compared to the other sections, or have my two tries at the test been anomalous? It's not just my troubled relationship with kanji; it seems to use less complex vocab and grammatical structures than the other sections.

Relatedly, people laughed at some of the wrong answers in the listening section. I feel like it's a design flaw in the test that this happens.)

This is the first time that I've taken it that there has not been snow, and the first time that I've actually made to the test site in which I have not wrecked the car. (Which is to say, it is the second time that I've actually made it to the test site.) It is also the first time that my car battery has ever died for reasons that were not my fault. It chose to do this in an expensive hotel garage.

I fortunately was staying at the hotel on the campus where the test was being held, so my morning plans weren't dependent upon having a working car. Also, I discovered the problem several hours before the test, not immediately afterwards. I thus had plenty of time to stop panicking before my attempt drive out of Washington, DC in the dark (for the first time, obviously). I meditated, ate oatmeal, etc.

After the test, I talked to the garage attendant, who asked a campus security officer to jump the battery for me. This took a while, and it was the security officer's opinion that I needed to get the engine checked. I left about an hour later than I'd wanted to, but I made it out of the DC traffic without dying, which was my real goal for the evening. At one point three deer nearly ran out in front of me, which was not what I expected my obligatory near-accident to be. DC's geography is very weird.

While I was there, I went over to Dupont Circle and gloated over the destruction of the world's most unpleasant tea shop, which has been replaced by both 1) a shoestore identical to another shoestore that's just across the street, and 2) a much nicer tea shop which was nonetheless still wayyy too expensive.

I took the drive in two stages, and thus slept Friday and Sunday nights on [personal profile] thegeekgene's couch, conveniently located almost precisely at the midpoint between home and DC. I don't know how she managed to do that. Good job on college selection, [personal profile] thegeekgene.

On Friday night, I mentioned my plans to cut all my hair off in the hearing of one of her roommates, who promptly asked if she could have the clippings. She performs in burlesque drag shows, and had apparently been wanting to make some facial hair out of actual hair; my hair's nearly the same color as hers. I told her I'd ask the stylist about this, which I did, but the stylist didn't like the idea, feeling that my hair was not long enough for it to be practical for her to try and save all the scraps.

So, I did not help someone prepare for their drag act on Saturday, making Saturday pretty much like every day.

Today after I left [personal profile] thegeekgene headed off to DC herself, to Occupy Washington for a bit. Dad blames this on me, presence in DC evidently being contagious. She called a while ago to explain that she has found a place to sleep, is aware of tomorrow's weather forecast (bad), and has her blanket, coat, etc. She doesn't have a placard yet. Mom told her not to get wet and to remember to use her emergency credit card if necessary. (Is it entirely appropriate to bring your emergency credit card to an Occupation, I wonder?)
The JLPT's in a monnnnth oh noooo

There is no reason to expect that I will pass this time, and sufficient reason to expect that I'll do worse than before - I first took it shortly after returning from Japan, and I haven't really been studying recently. So, you know, this is a totally irrational thing to freak out about. The results are a forgone conclusion, I knew that when I signed up, I'm just doing this for self-testing purposes. But apparently I'm going to worry anyway.

I'm also apparently going to freak out about my follow-up MRI, and snowstorms. I convinced Mom we need a kerosene heater for this winter. I'm also thinking about ordering, like, some military rations or something.
I let Windows update itself last night, and all of a sudden EditPad and Notepad no longer display Japanese characters. OpenOffice is fine - it's only the programs that I actually voluntarily use that are broken. I don't want to translate crap in OpenOffice, it'll find some way to corrupt my hardcopies. I will look down at a volume of manga and it'll be all random Cyrillic characters.
*Dad is watching a college baseball game.*

DAD: Do you know who this idiot is who's doing the color commentary?

ME: No.

DAD: No, Sarah, come on, do you recognize his voice?

ME: No.

DAD: No! Listen to him! Just listen! You know who this idiot is!

*It's our previous president.*

ME: Why is Bush doing the commentary?

DAD: I don't know! I don't know why they - (*Bush says something.*) - shut up!

MOM: Well, he did once own a baseball team, dear.

BUSH: This guy's a freshman.

DAD: No, he's not! You're wrong! You're always wrong!

*Bush says something about "being prepared" that I didn't hear, apparently.*

DAD: Oh, yeah, you were real prepared for Katrina, weren't you, you butthead!


Also, someone on stackoverflow has solved the MeCab/C# problem!
Before I wade into stackoverflow with this, any suggestions? I'm trying to use the Japanese morphological analyzer MeCab in a C# program (Visual Studio 2010 Express, Windows 7), and something's going wrong with the encoding.

cut for many details )

Solved! Thank you, Cryovat and Tim Gebhardt!



Capture2Text will run OCR on a selection of Japanese text in an image and copy the results to the clipboard.

The big caveat is that, as far as I can tell, it always reads horizontally, left-to-right-then-up-to-down, meaning that you have to select columns of up-to-down-then-right-to-left text one at a time. So you can't use it to dump a whole page of text, but it looks like it'd be useful for finding a few unknown kanji quickly.

(I acknowledge that this is mostly important to me because I'm terrible at getting the Windows IME Pad to recognize my handwriting. I usually end up using my DS dictionary.)

My virus scanner keeps complaining about it, but that appears to be a false positive.
This is the last and longest of the three posts that went up on Minekura's blog on April 1st. As before, things I wasn't sure of are in gray text.

Cut for length. )
This is the first of the three posts that went up April 1st. It's mainly promotional stuff for the Gaiden OVA.

In this one, I'm including small versions of the pictures she posted, mainly because I think the last one's funny.

Cut for length and images. )
There are two other posts, but they're mainly promotional stuff, so I thought I should do this one first.

As always, stuff I wasn't sure of is in gray text; let me know if you have corrections.

The Pacific Coast Touhoku Earthquake (This post will stay at the top.)

To those who were affected by the Touhoku earthquake of March 11th, I want to extend my most earnest condolences. I pray every day that recovery can be quick.

When the manager of the cell phone site told me that people were worrying about me, I was embarrassed. My sense of balance was affected by the surgery on my head, so I was throwing up for three days after the major earthquake, but that passed and I'm fine.

...But more importantly, to those who lived in the seriously affected areas - I can't find the words. To people who are already desperately trying to keep things together, it seems unthinkable just to say something like, "Try your best!" Even though I'm a writer, I can't put together even an imperfect statement - I'm such a useless creature. It's pathetic.

I wish I could do something for those who haven't been able to get back to their normal lives because of the aftershocks, and those who are living in areas hit with nuclear problems - but in my condition I would only cause more trouble if I went to help. So for now I can only think of my readers and do my best at my own work.

There were a lot of Saiyuki and Bus Gamer towels sitting in a storehouse at work, which I got to send to a nearby relief warehouse. They may have been thinking, "Where did all these weird towels come from...?", but I won't feel embarrassed about it - if they get to people who need them, I'm happy.

- 2011-04-01 00:05

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The contents of this blog and all comments I make are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License. I hope that name is long enough. I could add some stuff. It could also be a Bring Me A Sandwich License.

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