esmenet: Fuu, Mugen, and Jin, all doing that ridiculous peace-sign-over-eyes pose (*dorky pose*)
Eek, I have already fallen behind on my (already postponed) December memeage! Lately all I've been doing is hiding in my room & knitting, idk.

Monday's topic, from [personal profile] maat_seshat: reading in Chinese/Japanese & habits/opinions thereof!

My Chinese and Japanese are not actually that good -- I read somewhere that once you get to a certain point in language learning, you no longer have a language learning problem -- you have an adult literacy problem. And I think that's true, because I keep picking up novels in Chinese or Japanese and reading them for a bit and then going '...this is too hard' & going off to do something else, even though I know just pushing through and reading as much as possible is the one thing I can rely on to help me improve.

For Japanese novels (as opposed to manga) the one thing I can read with decent success is Murakami, because he favors short sentences and doesn't use that many difficult words, unlike most of the novels I really want to read (e.g. Twelve Kingdoms).

I actually find Chinese novels a bit easier to read, because Chinese sentences require you to hold fewer things in your head at once, so it doesn't matter as much if I miss a few words. Chinese YA novels can be HARD, though, because they do use a lot of difficult words & slang. On the other hand, they have titles like 'The Interdimensional Music Maniac Union', which make everything worth it. (And I will admit that a lot of them put the hard vocab up front, b/c they're explaining the backstory, which is cool but also a big hurdle to jump at the beginning of a novel.)

I will say that reading both comics and novels in Japanese & Chinese has made me much less sympathetic towards translators. It would be very easy to do a better job than most of them are doing! (Even professional translators -- just look at the huge botch job TokyoPop made of the Twelve Kingdoms novels.) However, it's also given me plenty of respect for Chinese translators of foreign works: I've found the Chinese version of Invisible Cities just as beautifully incomprehensible as I would expect, and Howl's Moving Castle is so far matching just the flavor I remember from the original.

(Sidenote: subway bookstores in Shanghai are AMAZING, particularly if you're feeling like some foreign philosophy/politics/literature in translation. Lots of good stuff; the one at Line One's South Shaanxi stop has a whole shelf of Italo Calvino, a bunch of Banana Yoshimoto, and I picked up a copy of Edward Said's Orienalism as well. I found it much better furnished than the nearby English-language bookstore, though of course everything was in Chinese.)

All of which is to say that I don't think I've been reading widely enough in either Japanese or Chinese to really develop different habits than in English, except for getting intermittent rage at bad translators when I'm reading something unrelated, and I'm really curious to see what habits I do develop.

--And that I should have bought more books when I had the chance, goddammit.


This post is part of the Delayed December Post Meme. Ask me to post about more things!
esmenet: Jin, with the caption "I AM SMART" (I AM SMART)
If anybody asks me whether or not I can speak chinese, I'm gonna have to ask them if their definition of 'speak' is 'can discuss the differences between objective and subjective viewpoints at length' or 'knows how to say 'socks'.'

(hint: only the first one applies to me)
esmenet: zhao about to kill the moon, with text "SO ANGRY I COULD PUNCH A FISH" (so angry i could punch a fish)
I hate Chinese, I hate it I hate it I hate it SO MUCH. It makes no sense to me! At all! I've been studying it for two years and I still couldn't give you the slightest clue as to the way any of it works. EVERYTHING IS CONFUSING AND I HATE IT ALL.

Finals tomorrow & Sunday. Yeah.

...Look, all I want is something that explains, preferably but not necessarily in English, how all these grammar things and expressions that I'm supposed to have learned work. That. Is. All.

(reminder to burn offerings in honor of Jay Rubin, Tae Kim, and every other person who has ever expended significant time & effort to make any part of Japanese understandable to me)


--but for serious Japanese is probably easier because all the weird stuff is in conjugation and particles while I couldn't even tell you why Chinese is hard.
esmenet: Aang saying "Why yes, I AM made of awesome." (why yes i am made of awesome)
Okay, so I finally translated some more of that Utena audio drama! I also made a transcript of the first half if anyone wants it, though I'm pretty sure some of it is wrong because my Japanese is not super good.

In which Utena attends a student council meeting and interesting (read: hilarious) things happen. )
esmenet: Jin, with the caption "I AM SMART" (I AM SMART)
Subjects the JLPT wants me to know difficult words about: money, business trips, office politics.

Subjects I actually know difficult words about: flowers, injuries, war, and poetic movements.

I was alright for grammar, though I think L2 may be easier for me than L3 whenever I get around to taking it. Maybe they will ask me about Heian-era poetry, or something else I actually know about! But even with the two-hour drive to Chicago, it was actually kind of fun and I'm a bit sad I won't be seeing most of my fellow testees again. There was one older guy who could have gone for World Championship of Flirting With Teenage Girls And Not Being Creepy, moustache and all.

And also, the 'going to Chicago' bit of it reminded me how much I love love love cities. I spent the whole day in a couple rooms and hallways of the university, so I didn't get to walk around at all, but NGH. *_* Even just looking through car windows, I got the feeling cities always give me. So many shops, so many houses, so many people, so much history. Every 'fantasy realism' book or mystery novel or anything that takes place in a small town or on a little island, you go to a big lively city and you can imagine the same amount of stuff happening on every block. There's just something—it's basically magic. God I love cities.
esmenet: Mugen with his sword on his shoulder, from the opening of Samurai Champloo. Text reads "Live what you love." (live what you love)
Nice things that happened today:

It kind-of-rained-kind-of-didn't, and it wasn't terribly cold or windy, so everything outside looked beautiful and was perfectly pleasant if one happened to have a coat.

I am learning things in my Chinese class that my Japanese class didn't get to until the second semester! (Admittedly this goes both ways.) I now know how to say someone is doing something rather than that they do it, and just today we learned a) how to say someone said something, and b) basic time descriptors (when x was going on, y happened).

Symphony concert! Sometimes I get really worried about being out of tune/behind/ahead, but even though I that did happen a few times today, it was glorious. The best way to listen to orchestral music is to sit right in the middle of the musicians. (I think this may be why I like performing in an orchestra better than by myself; if I'm in the orchestra then I'm there to help and to listen, if it's just me then I feel like I'm playing for people, which is sure to ruin everything.) It's a real rush, and bits of the pieces are still echoing in my head. ENTIRELY INCIDENTALLY, Jonathon Daly is a pretty amazing cellist.

During the break I was all by myself, because everyone else went off with their friends and I am no more than mildly acquainted with any of them, but then on the way from the band room to the stage I had a tiny conversation with one of the wind section girls, and then after the concert I had another tiny conversation with a guy who may or may not have been a brass player, and then a longer conversation with one of my fellow second violins and also a little bit of hanging out with my stand partner and some of his friends. So, um. Yay, I am not fated to be all by myself in a crowd of teenagers just because I didn't go to high school?

And I've been been thinking of going into languages and linguistics for quite a while now, but some stuff the harp soloist said reminded me just how cool the idea of making instruments is. Maybe something to look into.

I have decided pretty clearly on the title for that Harry Potter fic with all the girls! It's one that's been hanging around my head for a while, marked 'possibly for Dean/Hermione queerplatonic hijinks' so I'm glad to have something semi-definite to use it for.

[personal profile] littlebutfierceguessed me as the creator of zir Kaleidoscope gift! I, of course, refuse to confirm or deny.
esmenet: Azula raising her eyebrow and giving a sidelong look (*raised eyebrow*)
I have lots of THOUGHTS and FEELINGS about everything, and have been torn between "You should post them! Get them out of your head and into the interwebs where someone else could be entertained!" and "No, definitely not! Your thoughts and feelings suck, self. Keep them quiet at least until they're coherent, srsly." But tomorrow I am packing for the NINE-HOUR DRIVE TO KANSAS and FOUR AND A HALF DAYS OF NO COOKING AND NO VIOLIN. Which I forwent practicing today in favour of making dinner, oops. So, since I refuse to depend on crappy hotel wifi unless I really have to, here are some of them.

I hate long car trips. Hatehatehate. I can barely sit still long enough to watch a movie most of the time, and I get a general bleeeeaaagh feeling if I'm confined too long even in a big house with my own room where I don't have to share anything or put up with people if I really don't want to. And this one does not even contain any cousins at the end of it. (Plus I'm skipping my weekly-ish friends meet-up that is the teen library group.) NO FUN, WORLD. NO FUN.

On the other hand, it will force me to focus on novels and history and languages, things which I can have on hand when there's no internet, for at least nine hours total and probably more. Yay, learning things! I've been having sort of a block on novels lately, so maybe this will break that a bit.

Knowing some Japanese is kind of frustrating right now. It's like, I know stuff! But not enough to understand the things I want to read! :| Oh well, it'll get better if I keep practicing. And it's kind of interesting when I'm just starting Latin and Chinese, because with Chinese you get the fun of "Hey, I recognize that hanzi! But I know it's absolutely not pronounced jou." And with Latin, you get the fun of "Yay, easy pronunciation! No extra alphabets! Wait what conjugating nouns WHAT IS THIS MADNESS."

I am going to end up packing All The Language Books tomorrow, I just know it.


Okay, pretty sure Keima (of The World God Only Knows) is asexual. SO MANY NAKED GIRLS. SO MUCH LACK OF SECOND GLANCES. I can't think of any fic to write for this manga, but I'm sure it would be amazing. (Possible KHR crossover?)

I wanted to talk about Utopia of Homosexuality, but it looks like that'll have to wait until I have more sleep and mental distance. I have mixed feelings, by which I mean the manhwa's premise is cool but the execution made me acerage. (Finally, a chance to use this Azula icon! Sorry, lj-ers.)


Lady Gaga's new album has been growing on me. I don't quite know how I feel about it, but I think overall it's better than The Fame Monster. The lyrics are pretty good, and it's all so catchy! I think it was worth the extra money for the deluxe edition just for the Born This Way remix (despite my problems with that song).


I am utterly failing to find Korean counterparts of things like Nurarihyon no Mago or Pandemonium and Parade. This is probably because I'm not looking hard enough, but dammit I could really use some. And I need to go look at that map of the Avatar world so I can figure out where to put alter!Korea. And what to call it.

Ho hum.

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esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)
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