宮本武蔵

samuraitrilogy_sm.jpg宮本 武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi was perhaps Japan’s greatest samurai. Mifune Toshiro, the absolute coolest Japanese actor of all time*, played Musashi in a trilogy of movies called ‘Samurai’ in English.

One of my earliest posts here was announcing I had started to read Musashi by Eiiji Yoshikawa (in English). I forgot to mention but I finished it a while back. I really enjoyed it.

The reason behind reading the book, other than being able to write a review on it at TJS, was so I could really enjoy the Mifune Toshiro movies that were based on it.

We rarely have time to watch a single TV show let alone a two hour movie, but I watched the first of the trilogy yesterday while Yumi distracted Makoto.

Many moons ago whilst at the university, I convinced my roommates to watch the trilogy. This was before DVDs so we had to watch it with an old, worn out VHS tape on an even older and more worn TV – it was color though! I remember my roommate (who was a large man) threatening me each time Musashi left Otsu crying. “Clay, this better not end badly. He better marry Otsu – OR ELSE” Yes, it had gotten personal.

Suffice it to say, I survived thanks to Mifune’s excellent acting abilities.

My thoughts as I watched the first flick:
1) Mifune Toshiro was in his thirties when he made these movies, but he is supposed to play a boy of 16 I believe as the movie begins during the battle of 関ヶ原. Still, it’s Mifune! So who cares?
2) Some of the nature shots are breathtaking. I was amazed at the beauty of many of the camera pans.
3) The audio was pretty good. Very often, when I watch old Japanese jidai flicks I really can’t understand much. I don’t know if it is the poor audio or just the stylized old-style Japanese, but I reluctantly have to rely on subtitles for some old movies. Not this one. It seemed very clear and easy to understand.
4) It’s Mifune!

* It’s a fact. Just as any one of the editors here at 1Nichi1Kai. Mifune Toshiro was da man.

居留守 for When the NHK Man comes a-knockin’

In my last post I mentioned a word which means ‘to pretend one is not home when one really is.’ Here it is:

居留守
i rusu

It starts with 居. This is the kanji behind the famous 「いる」 which shows existence as in:

犬がいる。
inu ga iru.
There is a dog.

You may happily go about your existence never knowing 居 is the brains behind いる’s unquestionable success. Very rarely does it make its presence known. It is like the proverbial woman behind every successful man. Hidden, but we all know she is the better half.

And to continue my ramble:

留守 is less glamorous but still quite important. Without 留守 we wouldn’t have these words:

留守番 rusuban Staying home alone; taking care of things
留守番電話 rusuban denwa Answering machine

I guess that’s about it. Maybe 留守 isn’t so important.

Anyway the 番 here means to watch and protect the house while everyone else is gone. We see this also in 番犬 banken – a watch dog.
番犬 & Boy

Now back to our practical use example. I’ll quote my earlier comment for background information:

This is especially useful for when the NHK ‘donation’ guy comes around. NHK is like the US’s PBS but people actually watch it and it has good, but often boring content. However, everyone with a TV is required to ‘donate.’

(居留守中バウトエルたち) irusu chuu bautoeru tachi The Boutwell’s pretending to be out.

バウトエルさんいますか?NHKの集金です。アンテナ見えますよ。テレビあるでしょう。
bautoeru san imasu ka? NHK no shuukin desu. antena miemasu yo. Terebi aru deshou.
Are the Boutwell’s in? I’m collecting NHK subscriptions fees. I see your antenna. Don’t you have a TV?

Of course we no longer have to fear the NHK man. We live in Florida.

Youtube Hits 300

Today I got my 300th subscriber at Youtube. Whohoo!

Well, it’s nothing compared to geriatric1927’s 44,466 subscribers, but I guess it isn’t bad since I started just a few months ago.

I won’t make any more videos or audio stuffs until I finish moving TJP to the new server, but please subscribe!* I always enjoy seeing the ‘so and so subscribed to your videos’ message. I can’t wait until I have the free time to get back to making short, stupid (but educational – I hope) videos. 🙂

This morning, I woke to a strange situation. First someone pulled into our driveway at 6 AM. We are usually up around 6:30-7, but at 6, it is still dark. I was awakened by the woman ringing our door bell. Dazed by the sleep still in my eyes, I peaked through the window to see who it was. I didn’t recognize the woman so I played dumb. ** The lady went to the next house and did the same thing. I hope she got what she needed, but it was odd to say the least.

Weird continues
Next, I turned on the computer to find out my websites wouldn’t pull up. Other websites came up quickly. Yahoo, Youtube, Google, etc all fine. But none of my sites would pull up (including this one). I then tried to go to 1and1.com (our host). Even that page wouldn’t pull up. I thought, 1and1’s entire network must be down! Unlikely.

I IMed a friend in Tokyo who reassured me all my sites were visible to him. I then called my sister who has a different ISP but lives in this town. She could pull them up. I tried different browsers, different computers, reset the cable modem and router and did an IPconfig /refresh to get a new IP. Still nothing.

I was pretty sure at this point the problem was with my local ISP’s (Comcast) DNS not being set up correctly or perhaps the problem was an overzealous spam blocker. But it was Comcast’s problem.

I called Comcast and got them to submit a ‘trouble ticket’ to a higher authority after going the common list of “Yes, I’ve tried that already.” After a few hours, it worked and I could begin my work day finally…


* To subscribe simply sign up or log into Youtube and click on ‘Subscribe’ at the top of my page:
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=thejapanshop
** There is a neat phrase I learned years ago in Japanese for pretending to not be home. I’ll remember it shortly and post it here. This is especially useful for when the NHK ‘donation’ guy comes around. NHK is like the US’s PBS but people actually watch it and it has good, but boring content. However, everyone with a TV is required to ‘donate.’

The Onion vs いじわるババア2

It was quite an episode today. As you may know we’ve been following the new Korean Drama on NHK (through TV Japan on satellite) called 春のワルツ haru no warutsu – Spring Waltz. (see NHK’s page)

First let me briefly go through the cast of characters.

ジェハ – the star. He is a famous piano player in Korea now. However, as a child he befriended a girl named the Onion only to end up hurting her because of his no good father.
The Onion – really ウニョン, but the Onion just sounds better. This is the little, sickly girl all grown up. She now works as a driver/secretary for ジェハ and company.
いじわるババア1 – pronounced ijiwaru babaa wan. This is ジェハ’s mother. Or actually adoptive mother. Or actually the woman who convinced her husband to pay off ジェハ’s unscrupulous father to desert them. What would happen if the world renown pianist ジェハ’s past is uncovered? Never fear. This いじわるババア will go to even greater unscrupulous means to make sure that doesn’t happen.
いじわるババア2 – pronounced ijiwaru babaa tsuu. Her ‘real’ name is イナ. イナ is a twenty-something conniving, mean-spirited old hag. She does have a reason for her いじわるness. As children, イナ and the real ジェハ were best friends and promised to marry one day. However unbeknownst to イナ, the real ジェハ dies tragically as a child. The distressed mother (いじわるババア1) becomes ill to death. In an effort to save his wife, the concerned father ‘buys’ a new ジェハ which makes her happy. For years they train him to be a pianist outside Korea. The grownup ジェハ returns to Korea and says he would like to pick up where イナ (Whom he had never met actually) and he left off. She discovered this trick two weeks ago and has quickly earned the nickname いじわるババア2.
フィリップ – This is the Australian who is in love with the Onion. We may see a rekindling of the relationship between the two after this weeks episode!

Now that’s done, let’s get down to business.

In this episode the Onion finally learns ジェハ is really the boy she knew as a child. ジェハ’s real father appears suddenly, but none would be the wiser had いじわるババ2 not stuck her nose into things.

いじわるババ2 makes a ploy to forever crush her adversary in love. In front of Philip and the Onion, she lurches forward and plants a big, wet smooch on ジェハ’s chops. What happened next no one really knows. Perhaps for dramatic effect, the video editors decided to reduce the speed 1/10th of the original. Or perhaps ジェハ simply stood in shock, but the kiss was very long*

The Onion runs crying. Philip finds her and consoles. ジェハ searches for her with no luck until… everyone meets together for the dramatic climax. By a one in a million chance – ジェハ’s real father, The Onion, Philip, ジェハ and The Onion’s family meet. ジェハ tells his father who he really is. Philip and The Onion overhear and the rest of the story… is saved for next week.


* The kiss, which I predicted mere seconds before the said event, lasted well past the five second unrespectable mark.

いじわるババア ijiwaru babaa – mean-spirited old hag (Note: This isn’t too polite in Japanese.)

~にうるさい

Let’s take a look at using うるさい urusai to mean ‘fussy’ or ‘choosy.’

うるさい’s usage isn’t limited to ‘loud’ as in the level of volume only, but it is also used to mean ‘shut up!’ and as today’s post shows, ‘to be fussy about something.’

Notice the pattern is usually:
(what is being fussed about) + に + うるさい

服装にうるさい
fukusou ni urusai
to be fussy about one’s clothes

彼はコーヒーにはうるさいです。
kare wa ko-hi- ni wa urusai desu.
He is very particular about his coffee.

This can really be about anything. You can be fussy about your sake, food, manners, fashion, bottled water and so on.

And from the Genius J-E (on a Canon V300):
彼が計画に最もうるさく異議を唱えた
kare wa keikaku ni mottomo urusaku igi o tonaeta
He was the loudest against the plan.

And I hear this from Yumi a lot:

いちいちうるさいなあ
ichiichi urusai naa
Stop nagging me!
(Said when someone nags you about doing something or when someone goes into great detail about a minute matter when it isn’t necessary.)

His, Her, His or Her, Their or Its

His or Her?

Yumi bought a book by Supernanny Jo Frost called Supernanny by Jo Frost. Thumbing through it reminded me of a discussion in an English class I had at the university. The topic was about what gender should be used for the third-person singular pronoun when the gender of the people involved is unknown or mixed.

What should we use for the following sentence?

A) Everyone had his grammar book.
B) Everyone had her grammar book.
C) Everyone had his or her grammar book.
D) Everyone had their grammar book.

‘Everyone’ is a singular indefinite pronoun (for a list of singular and plural indefinite pronouns see the bottom of this Wikipedia page). This means A and B and C are alright but D is a grammatical no-no.

A is sexist.
B is reverse discrimination.
C is downright silly.
and D is ungrammatical.

I just go with the traditional A. It has worked for a thousand years and I am not aware of a single case where using ‘his’ caused any physical harm to a ‘her.’

To further validate this usage, I have yet to receive a single death threat from a feminist grammarian.

But just to help you make an informed decision on this most important topic, This site is pretty good. The writer (he or she?!) states ‘his’ should be used. However for the gender conscience, the writer (he or she?!) recommends one of two options:

1. Use the phrase his or her. It is a little awkward, but OK.

Correct: Is everyone happy with his or her gift?

2. Rewrite the sentence using a plural pronoun or antecedent. Plural personal pronouns in English no longer distinguish between masculine and feminine.

Correct: Are all the people happy with their gifts?

Wikipedia has this to say about the tendency to throw traditional grammar to the wind so as to not offend:

At present, singular indefinite pronouns cause one of the most consistent deviations from Standard Academic English. Writers from all backgrounds, will tend to use plural pronouns to try to refer to those singular antecedents like “someone,” “somebody,” “no one,” “everyone,” “anyone,” “nobody,” “anybody,” and “everybody.” For instance, while the sentence: “Everybody had their matching towels,” may sound better than: “Everybody had his or her matching towel,” the second sentence is considered Standard Academic English because of the singular nature of “Everybody.” More and more, a dual singular-plural function for these pronouns is becoming second-nature in spoken English.

I’m starting to think we should just use ‘its’ and offend everyone equally!

Back to Supernanny. I’ve only read a little bit, but it looks like she has a sneaky but brilliant solution to this problem of problems. She simply alternates between ‘his’ in one paragraph and ‘her’ in another.

For example:

“After a child has taken his first step, things will have started to get even more interesting. He will have been launched like a NASA probe into a whole new stage of mobility.”

The very next paragraph has this:

“From now until around three years old, your child is officially a ‘toddler.’ She’s no longer a baby, but she doesn’t have anything like the skills, physical, mental or social, that she’ll have by her first day at school.”

I could go on with many more examples, but I don’t want to spoil the plot for you.

If you have a second, please post a comment letting me know what you do. His, her, his or her, their? Let the reader take up its keyboard and comment! (no offense intended)

Scholarship Opportunity from Hashi.org

I got this from Atsuko Irisa today. I don’t know much about their organization, but it may be something someone reading this may be interested in:

Hashi.org Offers $1000 Scholarship for Study in South Korea or Japan
(DEADLINE: August 15, 2007)

Contact: Atsuko Irisa, Hashi.org, (415) 335-7386 info @ hashi.org. Hashi.org
223 River Street, Suite B Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Hashi.org, a nonprofit focusing on education and cultural exchange, is accepting applications for its Travel Scholarship. The deadline is August 15th, 2007. The second of three $1000 scholarships is being offered in
2007 for an American citizen interested in international cultural exchange opportunities with either South Korea or Japan. Hashi.org is also giving away scholarships to citizens of Japan and South Korea to participate in these opportunities. Travel scholarships are offered on a competitive basis and are need-based. Decisions are based on the applicant’s essay which should clearly explain how the scholarship would be used. The scholarships could be used for a variety of overseas programs such as those offered on http://www.hashi.org, including, but not limited to: home stays, student exchange, volunteering, work, etc.

For information and application: http://www.hashi.org