I finally managed to see John Wick: Chapter 4. It only came out in Japan in September, six months after it’s initial release. In the newsletter this month, I give some impressions and analyze one specific subtitle that reminded me of the importance of collocations. Check out the newsletter for the definition of collocation in both English in Japanese and some good resources, although there is a spoiler warning because I spoil one major (minor?) aspect of the movie.
I have a spoiler warning on the podcast this month as well. But you can listen to the first part at least, which addresses other content. Including:
– The nerds have won. Congratulations.
– Was Sekiro inspired by Automatic Eve?
Send any questions for future episodes to howtojapanese at gmail dot com!
In the newsletter this month, I took a look at 非外来語のカタカナ表記 (non-gairaigo katakana notation), which is a complicated way of saying “katakana used to write words that are normally written in kanji or hiragana.” I found a very interesting paper on the phenomenon that’s worth a read if you’re interested.
The main idea is that the visual aspect of katakana can be used to provide extra-linguistic nuance to a sentence. I looked specifically at スミマセン, which is usually written as すみません.
This reminded me that there’s an even more casual alternative: ずびばぜん (zubibazen). This is the way that すみません would be pronounced if you were sobbing profusely. Searching on Twitter is one of the best ways to find examples.
Like this mother who is apologizing for breaking a promise to not drink until after her son’s sports festival at school.
I spoke about this and more on the podcast this month. Give it a listen!
Ahoy! Here’s the podcast, kanjilubbers!
This month I’m talking about the message behind the message, inspired in part by my high school calculus teacher, Dr. Collins. Check out the newsletter for more detailed content about the excellent conjunction それが, which is a very efficient way to express the subversion of expectations.
And here are the tweets from Yuta that I mentioned in the podcast. Pretty interesting food for thought!
I remember vividly learning how to use んだ in Japanese. My third year teacher did a section on storytelling/explaining, and she had us tell different stories over and over again using んだ as a sort of emphasis/explanation when we were setting up some of the details of the story.
This んだ is actually のだ and it has its own dictionary definition. I wrote about it in the newsletter this month and discussed it on the podcast. I found some examples from Murakami (more of which I’ll be looking at during Murakami Fest next month).
These aren’t the best examples. I need to track down some examples from more argumentative/formal writing where the のだ really helps clearly present a conclusion based on a set of reasoning, but I think these examples will help get you into using this pattern both in written and spoken Japanese.
If you’re not already using んだ in your spoken Japanese, I think it’s one of the easier ways to sound natural, but knowing exactly when to deploy it and what exactly does can be very subtle at times. Let me know if this helps!
I have such good memories of the Fourth of July 2021. It was a perfect day in Chicago. Clear and warm but not hot, and when the sun went down there was a crisp breeze off the lake. For dinner, I walked over to The Bar on Buena, a local restaurant with a mix of American food and Mexican food, a solid selection of local taps, and a surprisingly deep bourbon list for a neighborhood spot. I ordered a BLT and a Surly Helles, a seriously bitter Pilsner. Beer memories are always illusive, but for whatever reason I remember Surly Helles so clearly.
After the sun went down, I biked over to Montrose Harbor and then north along the lake, watching families grill and set off fireworks. I stopped around Foster, lay my bike in the grass, and sat down to watch the end of the big fireworks display someone was firing off.
Then I called it a day and biked home.
I didn’t really push it. I remember wanting to wake up refreshed the next day so I could start working on the new materials for the Japanese program I was starting. It was the start of the last school year I’ll ever have, and I had that same giddy excitement that I’ve had almost every year. So much potential. So much new. So much to learn.
This giddy energy is a helpful way to start projects like a new course of study, but they generally take more to sustain. Somehow I managed to keep this particular project going for nearly two years. I wrote about this in my newsletter this month, and talked about it on the podcast, which I’ll be trying to keep up monthly as an audio accompaniment (not a direct transcript of) that newsletter.
Give it a listen, like, and subscribe!
It took me two months, but I finally got through my review of The City and Its Uncertain Walls. Here are my thoughts. The review itself is online over at Medium. And I added a few more additional nuggets over at Substack, so give that a read as well.
To give the old TL;DR, it is not a good book, unfortunately.
Good God, that’s Murakami Haruki’s music!
街とその不確かな壁 (The City and Its Uncertain Walls/The Town and Its Uncertain Wall) launched today in Japan, and holy moly, it’s a wild one. I read the first two chapters and then rapped about it for 20 mins on the podcast in three sections: spoiler free, loose suggestions about content, and spoiler-palooza. Take a listen!
It’s the final podcast before publication of the new Murakami novel! I go over some Murakami vocabulary, predictions I have for the novel, and some comments about potential connections with Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
Here are the links I mention:
This week is the third part of my look at Murakami’s complete bibliography. See my Google Sheet version of all this information and follow along with the podcast at this link: bit.ly/MurakamiBibliography
This week is the second part of my look at Murakami’s complete bibliography. See my Google Sheet version of all this information and follow along with the podcast at this link: bit.ly/MurakamiBibliography
Here are the links I mention in the episode: