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This coincides with my Japanese class' year-end project, in which we were assigned to compile a CD featuring audio clips, images, and movies describing a major building on the UVA campus. I had the privilege of working together with Keem-san and Carandang-san (a fine group if I do say so myself), and we chose John Paul Jones Arena as the subject of our project.
John Paul Jones Arena, or JPJ for short, is one of the more famous buildings in the UVA-Charlottesville area, despite being only about 2 years old. It's a top-scale facility for both concerts, having hosted such popular acts as Maroon Five, Justin Timberlake, The Police; and basketball games, with Sean Singletary and his teammates gathering their fair share of glory under its roof.
I feel like it should take a while to explain how we managed to complete our project, but it's actually a very short story. All three of us had been to JPJ enough to know most of its brief history, so we were able to compile a draft in no time. Keem-san and Carandang-san were especially impressive with their work in collecting photographs of the Arena, and while all three of us edited our script at some point and time, I think they took it upon themselves to make the most important corrections. Things went so quickly and so well that, at the time of this writing, we've already recorded our respective audio clips and need to meet only once more, on Sunday, to put everything together in proper fashion.
In retrospect, I feel like I was pretty lazy during this project, and probably could have done a lot more - but with the school year winding down, I'm feeling less and less motivated to do much of anything. I don't really even feel bad about our Japanese class being essentially over for the year, as I expect to see Sato-sensei and several more familiar faces next year in Japanese 202. (I'm taking the 11:00 section next year, by the way.) This is more like an intermission than an ending.
But what a year it's been. I'd try to summarize it all, but it would be too difficult - besides, this is the reason blogs have archives. Suffice it to say that, looking back, Japanese class has been one of the most positive aspects of my college experience thus far, and looking forward, it's likely to continue to hold that distinction. If that's the last important thing I ever say in this blog, then I'm satisfied.
If you press the "play" button, you'll hear a speech that I delivered in my Japanese class as a major graded assignment.
I'm afraid I'm always the sort to be harsh on myself - I can't say I really like what I hear, especially after I felt like I did so well on a similar project last semester. All I can notice are the times when I stumbled, stuttered, paused, and forgot.
I'm especially glad that I didn't ask Lam-san to record the questions that people asked about the speech later. I know for a fact that my replies were simplistic, poor, broken, and made use of far too many borrowed English words.
But as for the speech itself, I guess it wasn't ALL bad. I can't say that it was a total failure, because there are times when my Japanese sounds fast and fluent. I just really wish I could have kept that kind of proficiency throughout the speech, especially considering how much I demanded out of myself and how diligently I practiced beforehand.
中学校の時に私はもう日本の文かがおもしろいと思いましたから、アニメを見るのがはじめました。その時に私の一番すきなアニメのタイトルは「きどうせんしガンダム」でした。今もガンダム (Gundam) は私のすきなアニメです。だから私はよくガンダムのものを買います。
中学校の時に私ははじめてのガンダムを作りましたが、小学校の時からほかのモデルも作っていました。でも、中学校の時に作ったガンダムはとてもむずかしかったから、私はてちがい (mistake) をたくさんして、おわった時にそのガンダムがぜんぜんかっこよくなかったです。
さっきにこのしゃしんに出るガンダムデュナメス (Gundam Dynames) のモデルを買いました。先々週のエピソードでデュナメスの人気があるパイロットがしにましたから、デュナメスのモデルは高くて、とくべつ (rare) になりました。だから、今私はお金がありませんが、大じょぶです。このごろガンダムの中で、デュナメスが一番すきですから。
But I have to talk about something, right? So let's go with some lighter fare. Last night, some friends and I got together to watch some old videotape episodes of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that my friend Julie had discovered over the spring break. It was a healthy dose of nostalgia, for sure, but EVEN BETTER was the fact that it was still genuinely fun to watch. I feel privileged to have grown up watching such an awesome show.
We even had the Green Ranger Saga episodes. Anyone who remembers the original Power Rangers knows that those were the best.
On another note, I've been making good progress on this semester's speech draft. For those of my classmates who read my blog (I'm sure there are a few), it might sound a bit familiar, because it's definitely about Gunpla, the subject of my last post. I apologize, but lately I've been successful integrating elements of anime into my class projects, and I want to keep using this method.
But first, it's time to take a nap.
Despite my gloomy attitude in the previous post, I was able to get up on the morning of the 14th and convince myself that I should do something other than sulk this year. Besides, I had a skit to worry about, and until that was done I couldn't be bothered to think about anything else. Things got better after that - I bought some tasty homemade lollipops from a friend and had a laugh when some kids from Shakespeare On The Lawn crashed one of my classes to deliver a sonnet to someone. When I got home, I even discovered that some packages had arrived for me! The first one contained some new Gundam modeling kits, a gift I had bought for myself. The second was a package from home full of my grandma's oatmeal cookies. These tasted wonderful - I don't think anyone could possibly bake a better oatmeal cookie.
After that, I even decided to get together with some other friends and go to Applebee's for some late-night fun. It was a whole lot better than times in the past, when I'd just decided to stay home all day. Valentine's Day can still be rough if you're without a significant other, but I got by with a little help from my friends this time. *Beatles quote*
I kept it going on Friday, when I attended a housewarming party with another group of friends. We stayed up all night eating Chinese food and watching some great movies like "Shaun of the Dead" and "Pulp Fiction." And now it's Saturday, but I'm too worn out to worry about anything. At this point, I don't think there was a need for me to be as depressed as I was just a couple of days ago.
I still did watch Kanon, but unlike past years, watching anime by myself was not the highlight of the day. Turns out that Mai and Shiori were far from the best things about Valentine's Day after all.
Three years ago, I even got dumped just before Valentine's Day, ending the one and only time I ever had a girlfriend...
I don't know how to say this in Japanese, but Mai and Shiori might end up being the only good parts of my Valentine's Day tomorrow. The despair...
I mentioned Tokyo University in my last post, but in no way did I expect that I would receive a comment from a real live Todai student! Apparently this person is currently right here at UVA for graduate school, and apparently my Japanese made enough sense that he or she was able to figure it out - in fact, if I've read it correctly, he or she might've actually been somewhat surprised with my skill. A Todai student, surprised at me - how crazy is that? Even if I'm just flattering myself, it makes me feel good, and gives me a reason to work harder.
I suppose that the rest of this post is directed at that person - though since I wasn't able to decipher a name, I've been mentally referring to him or her as "Todai-san" to now. So, Todai-san, to answer your question: if I were to enter Tokyo University, I would of course continue to study Japanese - but more importantly, I'd like to earn a Master's or Doctorate degree from the Graduate School of Education there. It's always been a dream of mine to live and work in Japan as a teacher, and I think that getting a higher degree in Education from the best school in the country - one of the best schools in the world, even - is one of the keys to achieving that dream to the fullest. In the future, I don't just want to do my job well - I want to be the best. I think Tokyo University is the best school for someone with a philosophy like mine.
And even though I've never visited the school myself, all I need to do is look at pictures of the campus to realize it's a special place. That big clock tower almost seems magical to me - an opinion that may or may not be influenced by some manga that I've read. *laughs* So, I guess there's a romantic side to my aspirations as well. *grins slyly*
I hope Todai-san will read this post, too. Oh, and how's this for one last shock: I have an "A" in Japanese right now. Let's see how long I can make that last...
高校の時の人はマイク・バーさん(Mr. Mike Burr)でした。バーさんは私の一年の英語の先生でした。一番たのしくて、あたまがいい先生でした。バー先生のクラスに毎日おもしろい本をたくさんよんで、その本についてたくさんはなしました。バー先生は文学が一番すきでしたから、私はバー先生のクラスが一番すきでした。
Aah, the Japanese I know doesn't really do this justice, but my goals are to follow in the footsteps of the best teacher I ever knew, attend Todai for graduate school, and play some sweet Japan-exclusive games. Ask me sometime if you ever want to know more.
A little while ago, I was chatting online with Honya. He told me that he had been checking out 4chan and had found an amusing thread where users had made anonymous posts about their own ideal families of... anime characters. He had already made his own blog post detailing his perfect family and the reasoning behind it, and challenged me to do the same. So, after some deliberation of my own, here is my response:
Honorable Mentions: Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop), Kakashi Hatake (Naruto)
Okaa-sama: Haruko Harahara (Furi-Kuri)
Honorable Mentions: Haman Karn (Zeta Gundam), Sanae Furukawa (CLANNAD)
Rationale: This wouldn't seem to make sense at first. Haruko's an irresponsible, lazy, hard-partying maniac with an illegal scooter and a knack for guitar-based vandalism. But you know what? During those rare moments when her maternal instincts are showing, she's so sweet and moe that I can't think of anyone better for the job. That, and the prospect of all-night Guitar Hero sessions with "Mom" means Haruko wins - and she's tough enough to be an equal to Char, to boot. Haman's tough enough, too, but that would make for a military family (oh no!) and Sanae's just a little too sweet to be mixed up in all this.
Nii-chan: Renji Abarai (Bleach)
Rationale: He looks pretty tough on the outside, but Renji's actually got all the qualities you want in an older brother. He's hard-working and strong, and unafraid to stand up for the people or the causes he believes in. He'd definitely help me keep on the right path in life, and help me get out of any kind of trouble I might be in - and if you think I'm wrong, then take a look at the history he shares with Rukia Kuchiki, because he was practically a brother to her as well. Also, doesn't he look like he could be Haruko's son? No honorable mentions here because I couldn't think of a lot of "older brother" characters who were actually older than me.
Onee-sama: Rain Mikamura (G Gundam)
Honorable Mentions: Lynn Minmei (Macross), Tokiko Tsumura (Buso Renkin)
Rationale: While an older brother is someone who shows you all the fun hangouts in town and protects you from punks who make your life difficult, an older sister is supposed to teach you all the important life lessons and help you with problems at home and school. Rain has that kind of honest, dependable nature, and with her around, I wouldn't have to go to "Mom" and "Dad" for help so often. Rain's also pretty creative and tech-savvy, so I could depend on her to help me with that big project coming up. But don't think I'm just pigeonholing her into the "token older sister" role - she's got enough guts to take control of a Gundam and fight for what she believes, too. Minmei and Tokiko are close, but each lack an important trait - Minmei doesn't have enough resolve, and Tokiko would be hard to approach since she's pretty fierce on the outside.
Futago-no-Ani: Takumi Fujiwara (Initial D)
Honorable Mentions: Keitaro Urashima (Love Hina), Kaoru Kamiya (Rurouni Kenshin)
Rationale: Though I think Takumi's the best choice for my twin sibling, he'd probably be the black sheep in this family. Takumi's usually pretty aloof and doesn't seem to have many goals in life - he'd rather be staying out late and having fun, and he's always asking for the keys to the family car. So why is Takumi the choice for me? Besides actually having some kind of resemblance to me, and sharing my age, Takumi and I share a mutual understanding on one thing: the awesome power of a downhill mountain-road street race. Side by side in matching Toyota Sprinters, we'd easily be the strongest tandem on the downhill racing scene - and we wouldn't say a word about it to each other the next day. *laughs* Keitaro doesn't work because we'd just end up a pair of depressed underachievers together, and Kaoru doesn't stand out enough.
Imouto: Noriko Takaya (Gunbuster)
Honorable Mentions: Mahiro Muto (Buso Renkin)
Rationale: Noriko's not actually that much younger than me, but she still counts as a little sister. I'd be disappointed if my younger sister didn't work hard all the time to surpass me, so Noriko wins because she's got the drive to do that and more. Noriko's probably the hardest-working girl out there in anime, so in time our whole family could be proud of the way she achieved more than we could ever dream of. Plus, she's cute, and has some great tastes in music and anime (Van Halen and Totoro, hell yeah!) so "babysitting" her would be anything but a chore. Like Kaoru, Mahiro just doesn't stand out enough to beat out Noriko.
Otouto: Yuuno Scrya (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha)
Honorable Mentions: Son Gohan (Dragonball Z), Yahiko Myojin (Rurouni Kenshin)
Rationale: Never mind Rain, I'd probably be better off asking Yuuno for help with my homework. When your little brother is a child prodigy with an affable personality, mind-blowing defensive magic, AND the ability to turn into an adorable pet ferret, you've got it made. The easiest decision I had to make.
Waifu: None. I just haven't come across the right girl yet. I'm hoping I'll find one in Kanon, but it's okay no matter what because getting married is for chumps anyways.
Musume (adopted): Nanoha Takamachi (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha)
Rationale: I'll admit it, I'm protective of little Nanoha. I love to see her succeed, I hate to see her struggle, and when she breaks her armor/wand/self I always wish I could do something to help. If that can't translate into some kind of paternal instinct, then I don't know what it is. Later, Nanoha will make her adopted grandfather proud when she joins the Time-Space Administration Bureau and learns to cause mecha-scale destruction without actually needing a mech. Ah, that's a daughter to be proud of! No honorable mentions because there aren't any other lolis I'm willing to own up to. *laughs*
Honya told me that I'd surprise myself if I took this challenge, and I really did. Some of those characters came back from some long-forgotten archive in my mind and won the job outright, and even some of the honorable mentions would've made great choices. Rain and Haruko were especially surprising. I'm depressed that there's no one for the "waifu" slot, but I guess I'll just have to manage. I think I put together a pretty good family that might actually manage to live together - and that I'm sure I would enjoy living with in my own anime fantasies.
So, is anyone else gonna do this? Seriously, it's fun, and I want to see if there are any more anime fans out there.
Sato-sensei certainly didn't waste any time, picking up right where she left off last semester. I just finished writing my first assigned sakubun. I'm more frustrated than ever at our lack of learned vocabulary, however - my winter break, the subject of the sakubun, was pretty interesting by my standards, and I could've written a lot about it in theory. However, with the little Japanese that I know and am able to use, I could barely muster a page and a half. Pretty depressing.
Hopefully, however, I can keep the same work ethic that nearly earned me an "A" grade last semester, and improve my knowledge to the point where all these frustrations are gone. I'd also like to improve this blog if possible, maybe with some creative new formats, more posting in Japanese, and some non-class related articles as well. I'm kind of jealous of what my friend Honya's done with his blog, and if I had the know-how I'd want to do something similar to that. Not that anyone reads this thing anyway, but there ya go. It's a hobby. I need to research otaku culture and learn about something Honya doesn't - though that's easier said than done. I can't beat him when it comes to anime. *laughs* Maybe I should research idols, like a true fanboy. That might be fun...
I don't know. Just expect changes here soon if you pay attention to this little piece of cyberspace. I'll figure out the rest later - it's late now, and I need to get more sleep than I have been getting.