I believe I’ve spotted mikan in translation while reading Yasutaka Tsutsui’s collection of short stories Salmonella Men on Planet Porno:
“You know,” said my wife as I made for my sixteenth tangerine. “We could do with a new television.” (80)
16 tangerines sure seems like a lot, but when you realize that it’s mikan, it doesn’t seem so bad. I can and have eaten quite a few in one sitting…I’m not sure about 16, though. I wish mikan were well known enough to translate them as is into English.
T-minus two weeks and counting until the release of Haruki Murakami’s new novel 1Q84! To commemorate the occasion, I’ll pick up a copy of the book on Friday the 29th and then liveblog it all weekend. For those of you who don’t read any Japanese, maybe this will give you a little taste of the reading experience. You’ll probably have to wait a couple years for the translation. I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum: this will mostly be an exercise in extreme Murakami fanboy-ism.
This one confuses a lot of people, and it frustrates the hell out of me when translators are unable to take a step back and realize that the villain/whoever is not pulling up on his/her ママチャリ and giving the bell a ring. It’s tempting to translate バイク the way it sounds, but it is not in fact bike or bicycle – it’s motorcycle. A quick Google Images search confirms that there are no hits for anything even slightly resembling a 自転車 in the top hits. Remember, when in doubt, plugging a term into Google Images is a useful way to see what is associated with the term.
Thanks to next-gen game consoles, the Internets, and really comfortable couches, arcades have gone the way of the dinosaur in the US. Sure, there is still the occasional arcade game, but these generally play secondary roles at movie theaters or shopping malls. There are very few “game centers” especially compared to Japan. Street Fighter 4, probably the most anticipated arcade title in a while, wasn’t even released in arcade form in the US.
Because arcades are so popular in Japan, and because the games and game-related material (manuals, installation guides, etc.) still occasionally get translated, it’s important to know the word 筐体 (きょうたい), which refers to the housing in which the game resides. Companies generally prefer that this gets translated simply as “cabinet.”
After a week in New Orleans and a short but extremely satisfying 24-hour stop in Washington DC for moules frites and connecting with close friends, I’m getting ready to board the plane back to Tokyo.
Trips home every now and then are really important to learn a second language fluently. I have spoken almost zero Japanese during my stay with the exception of a quick Japanese lesson last night. (「ズボンには、魚があります。」 “There is a fish in my pants.”) Whenever I get back to Japan after a trip like this, I always feel slightly more aware of the Japanese I use. Lengthy immersion does have its benefits, but it does not afford the chance to step back think about your Japanese critically. If used correctly, the re-immersion process provides a chance to firm up basic grammar points. I’m sure my vocab has probably taken a hit, but hopefully I can use the next few days to solidify my fundamentals.
Screw Mardi Gras. Jazzfest is the time to visit New Orleans. The city is still overrun with tourists, but there isn’t a total shutdown of roads and buildup of trash during Jazzfest (except for in/around the Fairgrounds).
Yesterday, I witnessed the Watermelon Sacrifice near the Fais Do-Do Stage:
Madness. Love the kid’s face plant into the watermelon at the 1:24 mark. Read more here and here.
I’ll leave you with some crazy locals. This house is a block from the Fairgrounds, and this is at around 7pm, right when everything was finishing. It’s hard to make out in the video, but there are bubbles coming from near the door.