P.D.Q. Bach

Way back in college a friend introduced me to P.D.Q. Bach. For those who haven’t heard of this particular son of Johann Sebastian Bach, allow me to explain.*

Professor Peter Schickele has made it his life’s work (four decades) to educate the public about Bach’s most forgotten son. A tribute to musical history, Professor Schickele has recorded several albums reconstructing what P.D.Q.’s music would have sounded like.

Sadly, despite Professor Schickele’s work, many scholars openly doubt P.D.Q.’s existence citing a total lack of historical record.

P.D.Q Bach died on April Fool’s Day – April 1, 1742. R.I.P.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=howtowowinjapa&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000H5U5MG&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrTonight I had dinner at my parent’s house with a few of their friends. One friend is a musician (organ and piano). For some reason P.D.Q. Bach came to mind – I don’t know why since I had long lost my treasured CD (P.D.Q. Bach on the Air) during one of my moves – but it did. I asked him if he had heard of it. His eyes lit up and told me all about a DVD his students had given him called “We have a Problem.” Naturally, it was done in Houston. He pardoned himself, drove home, came back a few minutes later with the DVD and we watched most of it. Makoto had to go to bed so I didn’t get to see all of it, but it was hilarious!

This is supposedly P.D.Q. Bach’s official site, but it doesn’t seem to load tonight.

*Of course the good professor is just pulling our legs (and our ears). Learn more about him at Wikipedia’s site.


It has been a while, but I just completed a new video. I’ve spent much of my free time recently working on the new TJP, but I really love making videos. I am far from good at it (yet), but I am learning. In the process, I hope some of the videos are useful.

Today’s video is on learning to tell the time in Japanese:

It assumes the viewer knows how to count in Japanese. That will be my next video project!

(BTW, if you Youtube, please consider subscribing! I love to see the subscriber count go up. Right now it is at 379. I have a short term goal of 500. Then 1000. Then… World Domination. Ok Just kidding.)


Just wasted (half empty) – invested (half full) – seven minutes and fifty-two seconds watching a video on Youtube. The video editing was well done; the Japanese pronunciation… not as well done, but five stars for giving it the ole college がんばれ! I’m sure in a year or so, they will be ペラペラ.

Seeing this video with an American and Italian speaking Japanese reminded me of a rule I had while in Japan. I tried my best to spend time with non-English speaking friends – or at least people whose first language wasn’t English. That way we could practice off each other without the fear of making a fool out of ourselves – hey, we’re both learning. (Un)fortunately my closest friend was an American. This meant defaulting to English often. I guess it was therapeutic to speak English once in a while.

I hope these two will continue to make videos showing off their language learning journey. They certainly got the へぇー down pat!


First, sorry for not posting so far this week. I could tell you all about how I was kidnapped by aliens and forced to eat natto whilest, and at the same time, listening to rap music, but the truth is I was hoping to finish a video I was working on yesterday before posting. Well, it’s Monday night and the video is only 70% done. I’ll try to post it tomorrow.

Mahalo is a new human-powered search engine site launched a mere two weeks ago. It is probably unlike anything you’ve seen before. What’s a human-powered search engine? Search results written and organized by real, live humans – guaranteed to be free of alien influence.

Mahalo is a human-powered search engine that creates organized, comprehensive, and spam free search results for the most popular search terms. Our search results only include great links.

Learn more…

I heard about them on a computer/technology podcast a month or two ago, but their grand opening snuck up on me.

Anyway, one of our videos is embedded on their ‘How to Speak Japanese‘ page. (See second video from top) However, TJP wasn’t one of their links. Anyone want to suggest it?

Adobe CS3

Problems installing Adobe Illustrator CS3 on Windows XP Pro

I’ll try to stick with Japanese topics, but I thought I’d share this just in case it helps ‘the next feller’.

A few months ago I decided I wanted a quality video editing software. I was torn between Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere.* I decided on Adobe because the $1200 suite would not only give me Premiere, but upgrade my CS1 Photoshop. It would also give me Illustrator, Flash and a few other programs that sound cool, but I would never use. The suite was actually CS2 but with a free upgrade to CS3 when it came out.

CS3 came out about a month ago but I finally received it yesterday. No problem – I know they had a backlog of orders to ship!

I ran the install and two hours later – bam! – everything was installed! Wait… Illustrator didn’t install. What? All other programs installed without a hitch. But for some reason Illustrator failed.

As you can see it gives loads of help.

Undaunted, (I decided not to daunt) I rebooted the computer and tried to install just Illustrator. Same thing.

Slightly daunted, I pulled the big guns – Google! Turns out many people have had trouble installing CS3. If you have problems, you are not alone. I tried all the suggestions: boot with minimal items loaded, changing the screen to VGA, uninstalling everything, reinstalling everything, etc.

In short, I stayed up past my bed time and woke up at 6:30 just to bang my head on the monitor.

As a desperate measure, I did the unthinkable. Yes, even though I am officially a ‘man’ I called to ask for directions.

I was on the phone for 71:09 minutes. At thirty minutes on hold, a nice tech named Allen said hello. Here is the procedure for anyone having trouble.

* If you have tried everything and something still will not install, put aside your manliness and call tech support.
* But first, if you don’t already have one get an FTP client so you can send them your error log. (They will tell you where the log is.)

Here is the reason for my error:
The System account does not have full access rights to the.svg and .svgz registry keys.

I don’t like it when I have to Telnet into my server. I don’t like it when I have to mess with my computer’s registry. I don’t like it when my hands get sweaty. But thankfully, it was easy.

Bottom line:
If you are running XP Pro, bought CS3 and it won’t load Illustrator, try this. (copied from there):

Give the System account full access rights to the .svg and .svgz registry keys.

Disclaimer: This procedure involves editing the Windows registry. Adobe doesn’t provide support for editing the registry, which contains critical system and application information. Make sure to back up the registry before editing it. For more information about the registry, see the Windows documentation or contact Microsoft.

1. Choose Start > Run.
2. Type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK to start the Windows Registry Editor.
3. Navigate to the following two registry keys:
4. Right-click on each key and set the rights for the SYSTEM account to Full.
5. Close regedit and install Illustrator.

It worked for me. Of course fighting this ate up the last half of yesterday and the first half of today, but I hope this little post will somehow help the next guy (or gal).

* Just on the off chance someone is wanting Vegas or Premiere and is nice enough to click through – Amazon link!

Grammar Point Revision #2

Here is another installment from the revised Fast Track Japanese Grammar pages. Again, the goal of the series is simplicity and simplicity. Please leave any comments or questions!

Making questions か

Making questions in Japanese is easy! — REALLY! Usually you can change a statement into a question by just adding a か ka to the end!

アメリカ人 です。
amerikajin desu.
I am an American.

アメリカ人 です か。
amerikajin desu ka.
Are you an American?


* ka is added to the end of statements
* Word order is not changed as in English
* In Japanese (see above example) the ? (Question mark) is not required (optional)
* Just like in English, the last syllable goes up in intonation
* In spoken Japanese sometimes the ka can be dropped if you have the upwards intonation at the end. But for now, let’s stick to using the ka

Question words

By mastering these question words, your conversational skills will be much stronger!

いつ itsu – when

いつ きました か? itsu kimashita ka? When did you come? [lit. when came?]
どこ doko – where
どこ から きました か? doko kara kimashita ka? Where did you come from? [lit. where from came?]
どうして doushite – why
どうして きました か? doushite kimashita ka? Why did you come? [lit. why came?]
なぜ naze – why
なぜ naze? Why? [used in the same way as doushite]
だれ dare – who
だれが きました か。 dare ga kimashita ka? Who came?
何 nani – what
なにを買いましたか。 nani o kaimashita ka. What did you buy?

You can do a lot more with 何, see later lessons.


Even with the question word a か ka is used. (Except in casual spoken Japanese)
The question word is at the beginning, but after the は wa if there is one.

あなた は  だれ  です か?
anata wa dare desu ka?
Who are you? (the question word dare is after the wa )

Blog Stats Improving

Technorati is a site that categorizes and ranks millions of blogs. I’ve been watching this blog’s progress closely. A little over a month ago our ranking (among all other blogs ranked by Technorati, was a whopping 1,357,685. That means 1,357,684 other blogs are more popular than this one. Amazingly today’s ranking is 308,341 which shaves over One Million blogs off the charts. Wow.

Similarly, since last month 1nichi1kai.com’s authority has gone from 4 to 21. Authority means some other blog links or talks about this blog.

Normally I would be thrilled about this. The problem is, the ‘popularity’ is artificial. Take a look at the technorati page for this blog’s reactions (posts on other blogs that mention this blog).

At first it looks great! But a closer look shows most of the blogs that link to us are automated spam blogs.

Here is the progress report from the past month or so:

Authority: 4
Rank: 1,357,685

Authority: 8
Rank: 781,839

Authority: 21
Rank: 308,341

I have a long way to go, though. Many blogs have Authority over 1000! But it is a start. I’m just not sure if I’m happy about how it got there. I’d much rather see blogs linking to me like this:

“Wow, you have to check out this really cool blog about… well, I’m not sure what it’s about but he talks about Japanese, Makoto and Korean Dramas and… well, just go see it yourself!”

UPDATE: Our Authority just went up: 8-21-07 4:35PM EST

Authority: 27
Rank: 236,176

Grammar Pages

About a year ago Paul_b did a lot of work on the grammar pages at TJP. (See here) He expanded (and corrected when necessary) my old pages. Thanks to Paul for all the hard work! I hope we will see you around soon!!

一石二鳥 isseki nichou – Kill Two Birds with One Stone
Well, I am working on updating my old grammar pages to get ready for the new super-duper TJP. I thought I’d post a few tidbits here considering 98.6% of my creativity is being spent on the TJP 3.0 renovations. The remaining 1.4% just isn’t enough to produce something interesting for folks to read in this blog.


Watered-down, understandable, bite-sized grammar helps. Perhaps by knowing these basic Japanese grammar points, you will be able to communicate in Japanese limited only by vocabulary and guts! Of course this list is a simplified grammar, and is meant to be only an introduction to the grammar points presented.


The sentence order is different from English. In English we use Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) but in Japanese it is usually Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) – observe:

ENGLISH I eat bread.
JAPANESE watashi wa pan o tabemasu.

Don’t worry! It isn’t as bad as it seems. You will get used to it.

Then I started working on the next entry which was about the dictionary form versus the -masu form. Reading through it, I realized it needed more explanation. Here is a quick intro to the three verb forms in Japanese:

In this lesson we will look at recognizing verb groups. All verbs fall into one of three groups. The verbs in each group (except the irregular group) are conjugated in the same way. Before you are able to conjugate, however, you must recognize which verbs are related to which verbs.

A Prelude…


  • The irregular group only has 2 verbs!
  • The rest are not too difficult to master
  • Verbs are fun! Well sort of…
始めましょう! Let’s begin…

KEY SENTENCE: Please repeat several times:

kita, mita, katta
“I came, I saw, I conquered!”
(Caesar’s Famous Line)


来た kita (came) -> 来る kuru (to come)
見た mita (saw) -> 見る miru (to see)
勝った katta (won) -> 勝つ katsu (to win)

NOTE: The た ta form is the simple past for all verbs. (We’ll look at that in another article)

In order to understand which group the verbs are from, we look at their respective dictionary forms. These 3 verbs represent the 3 types of verbs :

来る kuru (irregular verbs) Group 3
見る miru (~ru verbs) Group 2
勝つ katsu (~u verbs) Group 1

– Keep this in mind and move on!

Just like in English we know that, “I goed to the store.” is wrong, you will get a feel for what’s correct in Japanese in time.

NOTE: There are only 3 basic verb groups. Learn to recognize them by repeating them…

1) The ~u Group (group 1 verbs): -u: ends in -u, but not -eru or -iru (with few exceptions)
Also called 五段動詞 godan doushi or strong verbs (not important, but it may be helpful when reading grammar books)

書く kaku – (to write) ENDS IN k U
話す hanasu – (to speak) ENDS IN s U
泳ぐ oyogu – (to swim) ENDS IN g U
買う kau – (to buy) ENDS IN U

This is the 勝った katta 勝つ katsu group!

2) The ~ru Group (group 2 verbs): -ru: ends in -eru or -iru
Also called 一段動詞 ichidan doushi or weak verbs

見る miru – (to see) ENDS IN IRU
食べる taberu – (to eat) ENDS IN ERU
教える oshieru – (to teach) ENDS IN ERU

This is the 見た mita 見る miru group!

3) The irregular Group (group 3 verbs): There are ONLY 2 verbs to worry about.

する suru – (to do) This is the most important verb! But, alas, another day.
来る kuru – (to come) Another very useful verb!

This is the 来た kita 来る kuru group!

kita, mita, katta
“I came, I saw, I conquered!”

How NOT to Ask for a Link

I get a lot of link requests by email for TheJapanesePage.com. The sad thing is 99% of the email requests are spam – or I consider it spam since they are obviously automated and impersonal. I’ll explain below but here is this morning’s email with sensitive information X’ed out:

I appreciate the work at your

I am interested to list your website on the homepage of my PR-3 site:
Your link will go under “Recommended Resources”.

In return, can you please add our following link on your homepage or any related page on your site ?
Where it may help your visitors.

Title: Hair Styling
URL: http://www.xxxx.com/hair-styling/index.html
Description: We hope to provide all the necessary information and tips about hair styles.

Let me know once the above link is added, and I will link back to your site within 24 hours.
Also, we would be happy to link to you first if you reply to this email.

Note: Please do not add our link on links page or links directory.

Please consider it as spam if you have already received this mail.

With Kind Regards
John xxxx

Now doesn’t this just say, “I’m feeling lazy today so I will download a 30 day free shareware program that will automagically grab URLs from Google and spam, I mean, email the respected webmasters. Yeah, that is good time management.” The end result is an email that screams ‘spam’ and asks to link his site about hair care with my site about learning Japanese. Hmmm…

Tony at TJP has a favorite saying

As I often say — if you don’t have the courtesy to take the time to write properly with proper grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation, you are showing that you don’t think we are worth your time and effort.

So what kind of time and effort should we put out on YOUR behalf, then? In other words, if you so clearly disrespect me, I will not bother helping you.

Well said and applicable here too. I have to sort through hundreds of emails a day – most of which is spam. On a typical day, I answer 20-30 questions by email (without the aid of automated software) and probably spend 2-3 hours JUST doing email throughout the day. If you don’t respect my time, why should I respond?

TJP has a button that says ‘Add a Link.’ If the requester truly ‘appreciated’ my site, all he would have to do is click on it to be added to the links page. Of course he would have to be a member, but since he ‘appreciates’ my site, I am sure this means he is a member in good standing.

Please consider it as spam if you have already received this mail.

Wow, how incredibly considerate.

Occasionally I get real emails from real webmasters starting a real Japanese language related website. Unless it has no content (yet), I usually immediately link to them to help them in Google ratings. I like helping people get started. But do I like people who impersonally spam… ah, no.

春のワルツ & 大いなる新人

Here’s this week’s report on the Sunday Korean drama.

– 春のワルツ
Finally Philip (poor Philip) tells The Onion the truth about お兄さん. Far from being a cold hearted monster who left her alone after her surgery as a kid, it was he who actually saved her life. He allowed himself to be ‘adopted’ with the condition his new parents would fund the surgery. Later, he was told by them a little white lie – that she died during surgery.

After finding out the truth, The Onion decides she loves チェハ and all is honky dory – so it seems.

However, いじわるババ2’s reporter friend spills the beans and the rumors of who チェハ really is spread quickly.

The episode ends with a reporter at the press conference (記者会見) asking, “Are you ユン・ジェハ or are you イ・スホ?” He answers with, 「すべて話します。私は。。。」 and the teasers for next week begin.

– 喰いタン
In further developments, the actor who plays the lead in the サラリーマンNEO skit 大いなる新人 was in a comedy/drama called 喰いタン – The Eating Detective.

This is the description from Wikipedia’s entry on サラリーマンNEO about 大いなる新人 (the great new guy):


The story is about a 22 year old just out of college who enters a company. The problem is he doesn’t look 22. In fact he looks more like 60. He has the appearance of a 部長 (buchou head of a department) and not a new employee. This 22 year old uses his looks and demeanor to ‘save the day.’

大いなる新人 is great. Here is a clip: