Incoherent Thoughts

~意識の流れ~

8/31/08 03:20 pm

Was greatly amused while learning kanji today. Came across a phrase, 牛歩戦術 [gyuuho senjutsu]. If you read the kanji literally, that means 'cow step war jutsu'. xD It bothered me so much that I had to look it up. Turns out it means 'snail's pace tactics'. Note to self: 'snail's pace' is actually 'cow's pace' in Japanese.
Well, it was in a list of words related to politics, so in that case the phrase would refer to 'walking slowly when voting in Diet to delay proceedings'. Note to self: Japanese politicians apparently walk like cows when feeling particularly mule-y. xD
[/amused]

NaNoWriMo is approaching again. It's about the time I've traditionally started thinking of plots and settings and character backgrounds, but...I'm not sure. The last years have been quite disastrous for me, on the NaNo front. And while this past year has been better for writing than the two before that, I still haven't written much at all. Maybe I'm just not meant for writing anymore. .__.
Still going to try, I think. NaNo is one event in the year I wouldn't miss completely, not for anything. Even when my inspiration and motivation both disappear somewhere along the first week (or, like last year, on the second day), the participation is an experience I don't want to lose.

8/2/08 10:53 pm

Hmm~ Good day. =D Just practiced playing the guitar, mostly (needs moar finger strength and coordination. Practice, practice, practice...). And I've started up practicing kanji daily again (I'd forgotten it for a while..I think after the release of My Life as King? =D;), so that's good too. And I ordered a bunch of stuff I've been wanting for a while, mostly assorted manga and books.
And Crisis Core. In English, because I suddenly got bored of debating it in my head, and I'm impulsive like that (I think I'll be able to finish FF2 by Tuesday when it arrives, so that'll fit in perfectly). The voice actors will not match what's in my head, but there's always online video for the Japanese voice actors...in fact, I've had all Crisis Core cutscenes in Japanese downloaded for quite some time. Haven't watched them though, as I don't want to spoil myself for the game.
And I haven't had a Battery for two days now, so all's well. =D; (besides the headache, that is)

Now, sleep. D34d, I am. Mostly due to the headache.

7/19/08 10:58 am

Each time I read something new and interesting from the 20th Anniversary Ultimania File 2, I'm more and more glad for buying it. I started on the Final Fantasy III section, and when I reached the part of it describing the world, I was quite surprised to find..population counts. For all the cities. =D Then there's also the area measurements in 'C/M' (which is apparently a unit for measuring areas in that world) and main industries (as a result of looking up that particular word, I now know such useful words as 'product' and 'industry' in Japanese xD; 工業 [kougyou] and 産業 [sangyou], respectively)

Saronia is big. Each of the sections of the city is as big as any given town or village in the world by itself. Each also has different industries they concentrate on. =D; SW has 627 people, industry is 'product', I'm guessing it means they concentrate on..well, production. SE is the biggest of the four, has 1,357 people, but no main industry. NW is 242 people, and since it's the section with the library, you can guess the main industry.. and then there's NE, 575 people and commerce. At 2,801 people in the city, it's the biggest place by far in the entire world. (as if the size on the overworld didn't give it away.. xD;) If you consider that that's the biggest city in the entire world and that most towns have only 500-ish people...yeah, small world. Just the same problem as with Gaia from FF4, everything's kinda too small if you trust the official numbers. Baron's said to be the biggest country around, and even that is listed as having only 3,500 people. Not to mention Damcyan with its 700 people, or tiny little Fabul with its 300...

By the way, I skipped ahead (damn my curiosity, I couldn't resist) and checked which games have population counts listed. Turns out it's only FF3, FF4 and FF6. Boo...

As I suspected, I now have this insane urge to start FF3 again. Not good. D: Although I'm considering booting up my last game and completing more of the game, mastering jobs and getting the best spells (that I...missed buying 'cause I went straight for the last dungeon. Oops) and such. =D;
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5/21/08 08:35 pm

Chapter 4, day 64. Yay.

Rambling about My Life as a King again )

Seems that today will be the first day since March that I won't study Japanese. I very much doubt I could concentrate on that. Unless of course the wiimote runs out of batteries again (I somehow managed to lose one of my second pair of rechargeable batteries, so there's only one pair right now..)

MLaaK icon, I needs it.
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5/10/08 01:24 pm

Been a while since I've mentioned DS美文字トレーニング, hasn't it? Well...I've now gone through the kanji mountain once (3099 kanji! w00t!). It turns out that there's a 'backside' to it, too, where you have to write them all over again, this time without any kind of guidelines. Fun. =D It's doing wonders to my writing skills (I never go forward until I get more than 90 points out of 100), not to mention that those kanji I've already studied otherwise get some much-needed revision. This second time up the mountain, I've already gone through all the kana and the grade 1-3 kanji.

Since I finished the basic training, I've been doing the kanji mountain thing, the Words of the Day section and some words from the Free Practice section every day. In other words, I'm studying an average of 10-15 words/phrases per day, plus 50 or more kanji that I don't bother to check the meanings of if I don't know them already. The words and phrases I always check if I don't know what they mean. This is making my Japanese skills get better pretty damn fast.. Although most of the words and phrases in the Free Practice section have been the kind of polite words and phrases that you don't really see that much in manga or anime, so I can't practice them all that well. I should try to come up with a way to practice those ones..they're needed, too.
From the words about half are useful in some way (some days the Words of the Day section gives me themes like haiku or names of old (now disappeared/changed) cities and towns..I'm not about to memorize something like that) in any given day, and of those I remember afterwards half or more depending on what mood I'm in when studying. Of course, not counting the words and phrases I already know into that. All in all, that's not too bad a result.

Almost every day I come across some really useful word(s) that I've come across numerous times before but due to too many unknown words, haven't bothered checking them. Like today, 調子 (choushi). It's one of the more frequently used words in 美文字トレーニング itself ("That's good, keep up like this and you'll be an expert in no time!" *rolls eyes*). The meaning is 'tune', 'tone, 'vein', 'manner', etc. The meaning wasn't too hard to figure out from the context, I just didn't know how many ways to translate it there actually are..and of course, didn't know how to pronounce it since I hadn't bothered checking it. Will remember it now.
The good thing about Japanese is that for every word like that you memorize, you learn one more reading for kanji you had no idea how to read before, and can later apply that to other unknown words. Sometimes, it turns out those unknown words you merely didn't know how to write in kanji, and you're already familiar with the meaning. It's fun discovering things like that. =D

5/7/08 08:14 pm

Haven't done much anything today.. studied Japanese and updated a single page at waff. Yay. xD; Trying to get around to doing pages for all FF3 characters since I finished with the FF2 ones, but haven't managed that yet.

Read some interesting things in the FF8 Ultimania. Mostly about the history of the world, it has sections for each country, but also noted that Lunar Cry actually refers to...you know, crying. Since it's known as 月の涙 (Tears of the Moon) in Japanese. Huh. I'd always thought it was cry as in 'cry out'.. =D; Now the scene where the moon appears as a huge eye makes much more sense.
On a similar note since I remembered it now, Iifa Tree from FF9 is romanized/translated as Tree of Eva in the FF9 Ultimania. I wonder if that isn't a reference to Eve (as in Adam and Eve), since I can't think of any other Eva in mythologies, especially in connection with trees. (if you didn't get it, 'iifa' is just a straight romanization from the Japanese word for it, イーファ. It's pronounced pretty much the same as 'Eva')
Just by the way, getting more Japanese guides to entertain myself with. The shop I ordered them from didn't have them in stock, but I should be getting them towards the end of the month. I wonder what fun little tidbits I'll manage to uncover from those... a FF4 world guide, the Crystal Chronicles World Ultimania, and Tactics Official Complete Guide. =D

5/6/08 05:43 pm

I can sing again. Gods, it feels so good. It's been so long..! Hopefully I won't get sick again anytime soon, that was pure torture. You never know how much you love something until you can't do it, huh..

I finally got around to re-reading Vampire Knight. Yes, I'm really slow with getting things done. Anyway, I didn't notice the last time around how much Ichijou/Shiki there is! All I noticed about Shiki was his apparent relationship with that pretty girl vampire I can't remember the name of right now. But that scene at Ichijou's birthday party in epi 5 (it was in the manga too, but as I wasn't too familiar with the characters the last time I read through the early parts I didn't pay attention) made me sit up and take notice. I've kept an eye on those two this time around, so it's more apparent, I guess. It's kind of sweet. =D
Second time reading through the series, and I still can't decide whether I prefer Zero/Yuuki or Kaname/Yuuki as the main pairing of the series. Yuuki is so attached to Zero..but then there's Kaname who's always been there, who's always watched over her, and then there's the (very spoilery) past. Both are very much justifiable. (although I guess I lean towards Kaname, as he's the type I usually prefer)

...earlier, when I watched episode five..it was some time after the middle of the episode, when I noticed I hadn't had any difficulty at all in understanding what they said for a while, and things went all awry. That's what I get for suddenly starting thinking like that, my ability to understand just flies out of the window. xD; Thankfully it didn't last too long.

4/12/08 09:41 pm

So late already.. But due to having only a couple hours of sleep before, I slept for around..15 or 16 hours. x___x Today I've just been doing my standard stuff. Reading news, learning to write kanji, and then continued reading 遥かなる翼. I'm on page 100. =D;; Going a bit slow, but it can't be helped I guess. There are times when I try to read faster, but after a bit of that my mind just refuses to accept it anymore, that I could actually read Japanese and be fast about it, and all the kanji and kana become incomprehensible scribbles for a while. *sweatdrop* It'll come with more practice, but for now it's a bit annoying. This same thing happened when I was starting to read books in English, and then the letters at least were familiar...
(plus I have this slight difficulty finding the right line to continue reading from, since the lines are vertical and go right to left. Funny, I never considered that a problem when reading manga..)

Oh, to those people that didn't know it yet, FF4 DS was slated for US release this summer. Can't remember the exact date, but it's there. :P The press release didn't mention any extras for it.. usually they're mentioned in the initial press release if there is any. So maybe there won't be, for this game.
Pochikas are called Whytkin in English. xD; And Decant Abilities became Augment Abilities. Whytkin is nice enough, but Augment Abilities? Bah.

It wasn't in the press release, but I also heard that the Summons will be Eidolons this time around...I wonder if that was just a rumor?
In contrast with English and its many names for them, in Japanese they're always just 召喚獣 (shoukanjuu) or 幻獣 (genjuu). 召喚獣 is the Summon (/'summoned beast') part. 幻獣 is more 'illusionary beast', and that's the word used in FF4 (even though Summoner is still 召喚士 (shoukanshi)). It was also used in Revenant Wings for Yarhi, and it's Dagger's Trance command in FF9 (which is Eidolon in English, in case you didn't know. Personally, I think they chose the word Eidolon because both her Trance and normal command translate into the same word (=summon), so they needed a different word for the actual beings and the act of summoning). Probably others too, but I haven't really paid that much attention/have never seen them referred to in Japanese.
This is just one more example of how different translations over time have needlessly complicated the Final Fantasy multiverse in English. As time passes by, different translators translate the same word in different ways, and thus the general English-speaking audience takes them to be different concepts/spells/monsters/etc. In Japanese, this problem doesn't arise, and the continuity is preserved.
At least they haven't messed up the Summon/Eidolon/Aeon names too badly, after the first couple translated games. The spells are another matter indeed. Those are a complete mess. *sighs and shakes head* Even now, when things were finally looking up for a while and they translated the spells directly, they've started introducing new fancy words as spell names. FF12, I'm looking at you. 'Vox' indeed...that manages to both ignore the original word, and the -na line of spells that cure status effects. Or Syphon! It's really Aspir, and has been all the time in Japanese. That particular one used to be translated as Osmose all the time, and that I didn't really have any trouble with..why change it, after consistently having it the same for so long? Now it's been known with all three words in English. D:

4/10/08 02:10 pm

An interesting thing happened just now. Remember the order I placed at Amazon.co.jp? Well, no wonder the shipping&handling was so expensive.
I was just on my way to buy some food when I got a call from some courier service, saying I had a package from Japan. =D; A special delivery of mail? In Finland? From Japan? In three days? Wow. I shall wonder about that cost no more. (usually I pick a rather cheap option of promised delivery in a week or two and sometimes no tracking even. My games usually cost me around two or three euros in shipping&handling)
Although I'd still prefer if there was a cheaper option available. I couldn't see any other option in the order form, and even the FAQ stated just that one price for international orders. Will just have to make sure to order more stuff in one order in the future. 4,000 yen, really now... x__X

So, what did I order? Two books in the Final Fantasy XI novel series of course. I looked at the French version offerings at Amazon.fr, and noticed that they'd apparently changed the fifth part's release date to...last December. And that it wasn't available at all other than from non-Amazon sellers, and they only shipped within France. So I got bored of this eternal question of what language I should buy the series in and just switched to Japanese.
Although to be honest, I did skip the fifth and sixth parts of the series in the vain hope that I can get them in French sometime soon. You see, there are several different storylines within the series. Parts 4-6 are of one group (and are in fact a trilogy within the series, Sword of Protection Books I-III), and parts 1-3 and 7 are of another. Even though time passes between books 3 and 7 (and one of the group's members appears in 4-6) I figured it should still be understandable enough even if I skip books 5 and 6 for now.
...the only problem is that part 8 starts another trilogy of the second group, the one that appeared in parts 4-6. Oops. Forgot to take that into consideration when ordering these books. =D;;

Talking of the series, its latest part, Happy Gift (..yes, it's really called that. Well, ハッピー­ギフト, but that's the same thing), was released on the 29th of March. It's the 25th part in the series...

Anyway, I'm not too certain how I'll do with reading these books. I've never tried reading something as long as a whole book in Japanese before. It somehow doesn't bode well that I had to resort to a dictionary just to understand the title of the 7th book, 遥かなる翼... I mean, I was familiar with both words, I just didn't know what 'haruka' was in kanji, and didn't remember what 'tsubasa' was (trust me, I can remember it now). Even in the title of the 8th book, 騎士の誇りI, I had to consult a dictionary before understanding the last word (hokori/pride). This does not bode well at all...
I guess I should think of it as a good thing. More practice is always good, right? =D;

3/28/08 02:08 am

Sigma Harmonics looks interesting. I like the look of the main charas. Kurogami Sigma hits many weak points, oh yes he does... *___*
(SE, please..stop churning out games like there's no tomorrow..I don't have time to play them all.. ;___;)

I have a feeling that I've learnt a lot in the past day. About kanji, I mean. I even went ahead and did today's exercises already... (I've gotten quicker. Already went through most common radicals enough times to know how to write them and apply to a new kanji) Hopefully I can now keep my hands off DS美文字トレーニング for the rest of the day and do something else, too.
...there's this section that gets new content every day that you complete at least one daily exercise. It tells about how kanji were originally formed, the pictures they're supposed to represent. I have a feeling I won't be missing a day for some time, that stuff is interesting. =D
There's also a list of what kanji the hiragana came from, and other interesting tidbits having to do with writing.

Read scripts of FF4TA from prologue up to chapter 2..so Kain did show up! Although very briefly, for now. And the situation got worse than I expected. Not getting spoilery here, but...something I didn't quite expect happened. Maybe it's just the uncertainty, that's making things look rather bleak.
Heh, there was a Palom/Luca reference. You know, in the ending of FF4? =D Not to worry though, feisty little (now 22 years old, so not so little anymore) Palom isn't settling down anytime soon. I suspect he's too busy having fun in Troia.
Can't wait to get to know what happens in chapter 3. But if past chapters are any indication, the release is still half a month away...and then it'll take some time before it's transcribed.

3/27/08 03:56 am

I'm suddenly up at a time like this again. How did this happen?

One thing I managed to ascertain was that DS美文字トレーニング takes a lot of time and effort. I spent hours on that thing. I barely managed to complete the exercises of one section before the day changed...and then I had more exercises to complete. And I still don't know what that other section holds. I did a few of today's before getting too tired to continue, so maybe I'll actually finish in time to take a look at it today.
I've even learnt to settle for the second-best grade instead of the best in all. Drawing the kanji so many times that you'll get it almost perfect is too time-consuming. (the thickness of the line doesn't depend on how hard you press. It depends on how slow or fast you draw it. Getting full points on a kanji means you need thicker lines, so you have to write slower)

...I still have a fever. A rather slight one, but...it's getting closer to seven days now, that I've been sick. It's getting really, really, really old.

Found a translation of a FF4 設定資料集, a world and background guide basically. It has some rather...surprising information. (long live Gilbert VII? All hail the great Sage Minwu? Visit Troia, with its irresistable tourist attraction?) Go read it, and you'll know what I mean. xD; (makes me want to get that FF4 world guide I meant to get a little while ago)
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3/26/08 05:10 pm

My DS美文字トレーニング arrived today. =D Woke up to the mail arriving and was testing it out soon after. And then..suddenly it's this late and I haven't even caught up with my RSS feeds. Oops. xD; It kept my attention rather well, I'd say.

Initial thoughts )
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3/18/08 01:55 pm

Oh, they already sent my DS美文字トレーニング! =D It's a kanji-training program(/game) for the DS. They still had several days to go before the deadline they promised for sending it..
The difficulty of writing on the DS is secondary. What I really need are the instructions that thing has. The stroke order, the little hints of what position each radical should be in compared to the others, how rounded the corners..stuff like that. Since I don't really have a teacher available, this is the second best option, and much needed. I don't want to end up with horrid handwriting. D:

Maybe one day, I'll buy one of those DS kanji dictionaries. A lot cheaper than actual dictionary gadgets, that's for sure. :P (plus paper dictionaries are both unwieldy and unpractical)

I keep getting distracted from reading Le Chant de la Tempête... I've managed about 50 pages or so, have less than 100 left. =D; Now I'm getting worried if I'll remember the beginning of the book clearly enough to summarize it well, it's been a long time since I started, after all...
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3/11/08 09:11 am

I seem to have found a really useful kanji. 原 (GEN, hara). At first I took note of it since it's used in a lot of place names (since it's part of words like 'field', 'plateau', 'wetlands', 'steppe'...all used a lot in RPG place names, naturally), then I noticed it's used in tons of other useful words, too. Like...atom! And aboriginal. And apparently 'original concept', or something like that. It seems to be in anime credits, no wonder it felt so familiar. All I'm wondering now is why I had never looked it up.
As a side note, the surname of one of the charas in Clannad has it too (春原 (Sunohara) if you were wondering). I doubt I'll forget this kanji, with this much usage.

Oh, this all started from me realizing how long it's been since I've actually studied Japanese instead of just using it and looking up the most critical parts for understanding, so I finally poked around my dictionary/kanji drilling software and devised a new list for myself to learn. It got quite...long. And it's weird, but the half an hour I drilled myself on their meanings I only got two of them wrong. Maybe there was more kanji there than I thought that I was already slightly familiar with. Ah well. I'm bound to run into some major troubles when trying to memorize all the readings, so the time I spent creating that list wasn't really wasted. Plus it never hurts to go over the words many times, strengthens memory of them quite well.
I should start looking up grammar, too... I think I've started to forget some of the rules I'd already learned.
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3/4/08 11:15 pm

Been watching Saiunkoku Monogatari (彩雲国物語, and I still have yet to look up the kanji that read 'saiun'. It bothers me that I know how to read a word but I have no idea what it consists of) since yesterday, when [info]jyuukoi mentioned it in an entry. Turns it it's really very good. =D
Although I do consider the first eight episodes as better than it has been since that. Up to episode 24 now. Nevertheless, it's entertaining enough. The people are pretty and fascinating, and you can never have too much political intrigue in a story.
It's a bit surprising that years actually go by in it. Usually anime seems to be stuck in en eternal timeless place, or then move in time about at the same pace as it's shown on TV. This one...what has it been since the beginning now, well over one year anyway. It has a tendency to skip whole months between episodes. This is certainly a new experience.
I wonder if I should look up any fanart and/or fanfics. People in this one seem particularly..pair-able. Maybe it's the setting. xD

I tried to write this entry in Japanese at first, but was once again slapped in the face by my inability to actually communicate effectively in that damn language. I need more practice, just understanding it is not enough...
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