Open Up – It must be in the Genes

This morning we awoke to Makoto prodding Yumi with an:

あけて!あけて!Akete! Akete!

We were puzzled what he meant. 開けて! of course means ‘open (up)!,’ but open what? The door?

しばらくしたら・・・ After a little while…

After a little while, Yumi realized Makoto meant:

おきて!おきて! Okite! Okite! (Get up; wake up!)

This made more sense.

This reminded me of going to summer camp as a child.  We boys had crowded into a tent to tell scary stories late one night.  The stories weren’t scary enough to keep me awake, though.  While nodding, someone asked, “Clay, are you awake?”

Apparantly, I was dreaming about going to the Trading Post down the trail to buy some candy and soda.  I said, “I’m open.”  They were laughing about that the next summer.

Must be in the genes.

iPopcorn – Undocumented Uses for your iPhone or iTouch

When my sister got her iPhone almost a year ago, her parents-in-law (with mere mortal cell phones) used to joke, “Can your iPhone get us a drink?” or “Make your iPhone change the channel.” or “Let’s see if your iPhone can swim.” Of course “iPhone” was said with a little sarcastic drawl.

Well, it probably can’t get you a drink and it certainly can’t swim (I know, I tried), but here is a video showcasing what must be a new app from the upcoming July 11th update. Enjoy:

Beginning Japanese Phrases Podcast #5 Up!

I finally got this podcast series into iTunes! If you search ‘Learn Japanese’ in iTunes it will pop up (not first of course 🙂 ).  If you like it, please subscribe using the RSS feed button to the right (that is the feed just to this beginner podcast series).  Or you can subscribe in iTunes!

Here is the grand opening of #5:


Today’s podcast will review a few food names and then we’ll learn a new sentence construction. First listen and repeat after each food name.

ハンバーガー hanba-ga- Hamburger
ピザ piza Pizza
スパゲッティー supagetti- Spaghetti
パン pan Bread
カレーライス kare-raisu Curry and Rice
フライドポテト furaido poteto French Fries
お菓子 okashi Snack

Last time we learned how to say, I want to eat pizza:

ピザが食べたいです。 piza ga tabetai desu. I want to eat pizza.

Here’s how you say, I like pizza.

Just replace が食べたい with が好きです。


I like hamburgers.

I like spaghetti.

I like bread.

I like Curry and Rice.

I like french fries.

I like snacks.

Kiiro, Ao – Ready, Set, Go!

We were driving home from buying Makoto some new toy cars.  Yumi’s mother was driving and Yumi was ‘backseat driving’ in the front passenger seat.

Seeing the upcoming light turn yellow and sensing her mother’s intention to make a run for it, Yumi yelled out, “kiiro!” (Yellow).  Yumi’s mother hearing the panic in Yumi’s voice slamed on the brakes. After a minute, Yumi yelled out, “ao!”*

After a few rice paddys, Yumi’s mother slowed to a stop at a stop sign intersection.  Immediately Makoto from the back seat yelled out, “Kiiro!” even though there was no signal light.

We laughed and the car started to move.

Makoto then yelled out, “Ao!”

…I guess you just had to be there.

* In Japanese a ‘green’ light is really ‘blue.’

I'm only a Carrot! Stop Laughing and Watch TV.

There are many joys to be found from living in Japan. Low crime rate, friendly cashiers, and the thrill of being in the land where both Kitty-chan and Godzilla (the kawaii & the kowai) can happily coexist are three such examples.

But indisputably the greatest joy can only be… watching bakabakashii Japanese television.

Dave Spector, an American personality with remarkable Japanese skills, told a story I just had to repeat.

The story went something like this:

Apparently there was a foriegner who came to Japan. Not having much money he did his bathing at the local 銭湯 sentou. Of course at a sentou, one must disrobe. He was annoyed with how day after day his fellow Japanese bathers would stare and occasionally laugh at him.

After a while it was time for him to go home. Gathering his courage and nominal Japanese skills, he went to the sentou. Standing up in front of the snickering bathers, he proclaimed:


The bathers laughed even harder.

boku I
ただ tada just; only
にんじん ninjin carrot

“I’m just a carrot, I tell ya!”

of course he wanted to say 僕はただの人間です! boku wa tada no ningen desu! I’m only human!

憧れのKindle Just got (a little) Cheaper

No doubt the recent price drop move by Apple encouraged Amazon to lower their Kindle price, but unfortunately they didn’t lower it much.

Apple $400 -> $200 ($200 lower!)
Amazon $400 -> $359 (not as much lower!)

I am still infatuated with the idea behind Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, but I’m not convinced dropping $40 will make people rush out to grab one.

(if Amazon happens to be listening) how about keeping the Kindle at $400, but throwing in $100 worth of ‘free’* ebook purchasing power?

I don’t know what Amazon’s take is on each e-book sale, but I imagine it is close to 50%.  If that is the case, Amazon’s real-world cost for offering $100 of ‘free’ e-books is only $50.  This is pretty close to current lower price point AND it gives the consumer a much greater real-world value.

That being said, if I had plenty of money AND plenty of reading time I’d snap this up right now.

* “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” – Milton Friedman