Leaving for the US: Best Baby Part II?

Makoto as a baby was so quiet we were worried*; we had heard the rumor babies were supposed to cry after all.

When he was about a month old, Yumi placed him on a pillow, she turned around, he rolled off, and all he said was a light, “aau.” (that’s a lowercase ‘aau’)  She was so amazed to hear him say anything.

On the airplane going back to the US, the 3-4 month old Makoto was extremely easy to handle.  He made not a peep.  After landing in Dallas (I think), the stewardess saw me holding Makoto in front of the ladies room (where baba and Yumi were visiting), and said, “The best baby!”

This time around, we do have a crying baby.  She cries when she poops; she cries when she is sleeply; she cries when she is hungry.  She seems to substantiate the rumors we previously heard about crying babies.  Will we get a ‘Best Baby’ compliment this time around?

We leave in the morning (Monday).  We will catch a train to Nagoya–a plane to Tokyo–and then spend the night in a hotel.  The next morning (Tuesday) we leave Narita Airport for Dallas and then finally Jacksonville.  I’ll write back here after we land.

* I expressed my concern to all my friends.  Finally, one friend just said, “Isn’t that a good thing?”

Reason #621 Why Online Japanese Translators make for Excellent Blog-Post Fodder

I  just received an email from someone asking a question on Youtube. Not unusual but he went to the trouble of translating his English thoughts into Japanese using… an online translator.

I won’t copy all what he wrote–since it was a private message (and a good question)–but the first line in the Japanese ‘translation’ was screaming, “I’m blog post fodder. Laugh at me!”

I skimmed the English paragraph before starting the Japanese.  This line (the first line) stumped me:


Looking at the English, I see that corresponds with, “Hi there!”

Literally, “Hi” and “there”

I was happy to see a confession at the bottom of his translation:

Translation via: Babelfish

Now back to reading the rest of the message…

Makoto versus the Korokke

Mommy was firmly on the side of the korokke.

A korokke is,  according to my dictionary,  a  croquette.   If that was as helpful to you as it was to me, let me just say it is a “deep fried something.” That something can be potatoes or sweet potatoes or other potato-like things.

Makoto wanted his favorite snack, Jagariko (discussed here).  Mommy brokered a deal where the jagariko would be released to Makoto’s custody if Makoto ate a korokke.

Here is, according to Makoto, Makoto fulfilling his end of the deal:

And here is Mommy trying to force the deal as she understood it while Makoto makes a grab for the Jagariko.

In the end, the korokke survived but the Jagariko did not.

Free Software from Casio for the XD-GP9700

Casio XD-GP9700Actually it is for any model in the GP or SP series and it is good until January 14th, 2009.

1) Register your dictionary here.
You have to enter the serial number on the back of the dictionary, your email, a password, and whether you want emails from Casio. Optional are your prefecture, Male or Female, Age, and type work.

2) Then go here and click on Download at the bottom

3) Enter your email and password from #1 above

4) Download the three files (click on 上記に同意する)

To install the software on your computer, you need to have the Library Loader (and you may want to get the Text Loader while you are at it so you can drop text files into the Casio). Download for Vista here and for XP, I can’t find a direct link, but I believe it is written in the manual (don’t have one here). (That being said, the download for the Vista Library Loader says it is for XP too… Maybe the Vista link will work for XP)

* If you use Firefox, hitting ‘open’ from the download box will result in an error. You have to right click and choose ‘Open Containing Folder’ and install from there.

NOTE: For instructions on installing the installer, please see here. The one big thing that you really should do is change the non-Unicode language to Japanese at least temporarily (see the link) – I didn’t do it on this laptop and the install failed… I’ll try again once I’m back in the States next week and have a real computer.  🙂

It looks like you can install the software on a mini SD card, but I don’t have one to test.

Using Furigana in Microsoft Word

I received an email from someone asking how to add furigana (small hiragana) over Japanese text on her computer.  I mentioned I do it with Word using the Phonetic Guide.  She only had Works and Works doesn’t appear to have the Phonetic Guide.

For those who do not want to spend a few hundred dollars to buy Microsoft Office, I believe the free Open Office software does allow the user to add furigana over Japanese.

Since I am only familiar with the Word way of doing things, this post shows how to add furigana over kanji in Microsoft Word 2007:


What you need is called ‘Phonetic Guide.’  Highlight the Japanese in question and press the Phonetic Guide button.

I don’t think the Phonetic Guide button appears by default in Word 2007, but here is how to add the Phonetic Guide quick click button:

1) Right click on the top bar and choose ‘Customize Quick Access Toolbar’

2) When it pops up, choose ‘All Commands’ (where the top hand is)
3) Find ‘Phonetic Guide’ and click on the ‘Add’ button

It now should appear at the top quick launch button bar.

The default furigana guess is pretty good.  It guesses what furigana you want, but you can easily change it.  Although you have to go word by word (you want to make sure the furigana is correct after all), it is pretty fast and easy.

The Perfect Home TV PC Media Center Thingy

I’m not sure if the correct terminology is a Media Center TV or a PC Driven Media Player (on your TV) or…, but I would like to basically have all my DVDs and CDs on a harddrive and access them with a remote through a menu on my TV.

My requirements are:

  1. A nice clean GUI
  2. Allows me to rip CDs and DVDs so I don’t have to get up and manually change discs–I’m not talking about illegally downloading movies, but it is silly not to be able to store bought DVDs on one’s own computer.
  3. Access to online content (TV shows, movies, music) to purchase

I’ve seen devices like the Mvix, and it looks very promising, but doesn’t help with #1 and #3 too much.

Basically the two major choices seem to be Windows Media Center (comes with every Vista Premium) or the Apple TV with iTunes.

As I understand it, I will need a third party program to rip DVDs for either choice.  Fine, but it would be nice if iTunes or Windows Media Player would automatically rip DVDs like they do CDs.

My main computer and laptop at home have Vista Premium with Media Center.  I also have an XBOX 360 which can stream content from my main computer to the TV.  I haven’t played with that feature too much, but because I have the components already, I’m leaning in this direction.

But I have a few purchases from iTunes.  Which makes me wonder if I should look into getting a Apple TV.  I pretty much stopped buying video from iTunes after I discovered I can only download content once.  That doesn’t seem very nice to me; especially since they limit the viewing of the content to a few computers.

Has anyone had any experience with either (or both) in regards to storing DVD content on your computer and streaming it to your TV?  How is the user experience and video/audio quality?