Sunday, July 29, 2007

- don't cook rice in front of my ass -

the phrases that linger in my mind:
(1)*Sazae-san's tune* .. ikanaide, dakishimete, i can't say goodbye~..
(2)*melody of Sen no Kaze ni Natte* .. watashi no oshiri no mae de okome takanaide kudasai~..
(by Haranishi from the manzai-combi FUJIWARA)

i feel sad for not being able to share all my happy moments with the others because sometimes, nobody has the same experience as me. sniffles.

first of all, which ryuugakusei here watches Sazae-san and knows the "chakachakachan, chakachakachan, chakachakacha-cha-chan~" song?

and also, watches manzai shows?

and reads my blog, and recognises the entertainment value found in my first few lines of today's post?

what Fujiwara? Norika? no, that's Jinnai Tomonori's girl..... by the way if you were thinking of "Oubei ka?!" that's Taka And Toshi. and "Buyuuden" is Oriental Radio. "Lin lin lin lin~..." is Tiger Lee. who else.... lol "watasheewa Yogita Ragashamanan Jawadika desuu.." that's Tokui Yoshimi, the boké from Tutorial.

talk to the japanese? yeah right. i'm sure they'll give me the you-are-supposed-to-be-a-gaijin-why-do-you-know-so-much-about-japan face. i'm grateful enough that they accept me reading almost everything from Shounen Jump.

speaking of which i was happily harmonising with Mackey on Kobukuro's "Sakura", when suddenly, Tackey disrupted the peaceful moments, "Hey, why do you know this song?" why, is it a crime for a gaijin like me to know more japanese songs than you?

don't worry i'm not mad at anyone. we always talk nastily about everyone. as you know about my tsukkomi personality.

by the way, Mackey and Tackey are my classmates. small boys, they can't even drive o~hohohoho... by the way we have people with names like Kino (or Pino), Checky.. and a Paul and a Lu. no they're not foreigners. too bad we don't have a Tsubasa around. oh, and there's a Fuji and a Momo-san (in fact, 2 Momos in the volleyball class) in our class too. if you get what i mean *wink*..

as you can see by now, i am entirely distracted from my revision. yet again.

statistics have proven that i am most active in reading right before the exams start, or during the exam period. reading manga, not reference books, that is. this occurs every time, without fail. i was scrutinising the 74 chapters of Claymore to see if i've missed any tiny facts, a few days before my math and physics mid-terms.

then i started on Piano no Mori a few days before my finals began (because the movie was scheduled to be out at the same time as the Deathly Hallows). during the second (?) last week of July, i finished the 20 volumes (plus the latest chapters) of Gantz. that's because the anime was labeled "porn" when i wanted to watch it, so i thought i'd check out the manga instead....

nothing pornographic. if you don't count the girls who reveal their t**ts and a teaser amount of p***c hair..... and the m*st*rb*tion. and the r*ping (dead man r*pes long-neck demon, yo).. but that's not the main theme of the story!

right. i feel a bit disgusted for myself for typing out those unfamiliar words.

yeap. the day i conquered Gantz was the day that i fell. the next day was the day that i realised i made a BIGGGG mistake. unfortunately, i'm a person who doesn't know the meaning of "to regret".

in conjunction with the start of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni ~ Kai, i started reading the manga version. can't wait to spoil myself (though i'm already pretty spoilt by now, on the intellectual aspect), i read a bit of the "Kai" chapters, the "Solution" chapters if you translate it to English. and you'll find out that the author(s) have written the story in a very tricky way. "nothing's what it seems," as the saying goes. what confused me when i first watched this anime last year, is that i didn't know that the 4 arcs share the same characters, but they are not related to each other at all. AT ALL. it's just 4 possible incidents that could happened on those people.

it's like the theory of Schrödinger's cat. all of us have a body (an existence) each in different dimensions. eg.. in dimension A, i'm blogging. in dimension B, i might be sitting on the same chair, munching Pocky. whereas in dimension C, i might be revising my physical chemistry, on the very same chair.. these all occur at the same time. if i'm not mistaken.... heard this Schrödinger thing during physics tuition some 5 years ago, when i was still young and pretty in my pinafore. =p

okay i think after explaining something intellectual i'm finally motivated to finish up the last bit of the hydrogen spectrum and the rydberg constant, and start on Schrödinger's equations........


1) Sazae-san's tune - a comical, instrumental tune. haranishi added his self-made lyrics to entertain the audience.
2) Sen no Kaze ni Natte (I Am A Thousand Wind) - japanese song by Akikawa Masafumi which is based on the poem Don't Stand On My Grave And Weep. the original lyrics was "watashi no ohaka no mae de nakanaide kudasai (don't cry in front of my grave).." but haranishi modified it and it became "don't cook rice in front of my ass".
3) ryuugakusei - foreign student
4) boké and tsukkomi - the person who acts dumb and the person who criticise the dumb.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

- study time: summer eyes -

currently listening to - FREE (ERIKA)
mood - resurrected from the dead

had a lot of fun cramming all those math equations and solutions and physics theories into my head within 1 day by staying in the university library from 11am till 8 pm. on a cozy SUNDAY. it all started when someone came up to me, in my dream, and said, "hey, don't you have 3 tests on monday?" man, that was a nice wake-up call.

just joking. it didn't go like that.

i woke up in the afternoon on saturday and realised that i made a BIGGG mistake.

i have tests for both liner algebra and calculus, 2 weeks later. which is true. what's NOT true, is that we have tests for both LECTURE and TUTORIAL. so that makes 4 math tests and not 2. what's more amazing, is that the tutorial tests were conducted on monday, 2 days after i enlightened myself. so i had to make math my first priority when i get to the library on sunday, which i originally reserved for physics.

sitting for 5 tests in 2 days was really thrilling. you see everyone around you going "yabai, yabai" (but you knew that they said it because they can't get full marks, not because they're gonna fail the subject), while you yourself stay calm and cool (but actually you're *probably* one of the most yabai people in class).

anyway it ended. for now. i think i make my own life "interesting". old habit, can't be helped. =p


i've known about Natsume Souseki for a long time, but till now i haven't read any of his novels. even though i actually have "I Am A Cat", "Bocchan" and "Kokoro" at home... just like i've not read Murakami's "Norwegian Wood", "Dance Dance Dance" and "A Wild Sheep Chase" even though i have someone in the family who knows almost anything about him. tsk tsk tsk shame on you!

so i learned a bit more about Natsume Souseki during nihon jijou. apparently his pen name "souseki" came from a chinese/japanese idiom 漱石枕流 (shu-shi-zhen-liu/sou-seki-chin-ryuu) which refers to the act of a sore loser stubbornly refusing to admit that he's wrong. maybe Natsume-sensei wanted to tell the whole world he's stubborn?

what's more amusing is that when i showed the idiom to my mom, who's supposed to be very good in chinese, she gave me a blank look.

)('#$%&'("$)#('&T="#$%&'($##!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *gasp*

the second thing that i found out about him, was that he turned more neurotic (he was already neurotic before that) after one of his university students committed suicide.

Natsume-sensei was hired to become a lecturer in the former kumamoto university, to take over Lafcadio Hearn's (who was fired because a new policy was introduced: native teacher over foreigner teacher, even for english lessons) place as an english teacher. Hearn was very popular and the students didn't want him to leave, so when Natsume first came he wasn't that welcomed. one day he snapped and asked one of his students Fujimura Misao to leave the classroom if he wasn't interested in his lessons. and the boy left.

a week later (?) he threw himself into a waterfall.

and he wrote himself a suicide note. later, it became a tradition for some people to recite it (a poem) when they want to commit suicide..

(the tranquil sky, the long history,)
(i am trying to measure the magnificence of the two with my 5-feet-tall body.)
(in the end, does Horatio's philosophy worth anything?)
(the truth of the universe can be explained with only one word, that is, "incomprehensible".)
(i bear this bitter feeling in me, anguished, and finally i choose death.)
(here i am on top of the massive rock, having no worries at all in my mind.)
(i finally realised, that the great depression)
(is equivalent to the great happiness.)

direct translation ahahaha. you can find the *prettier* english version of the poem here -->

some claim that he killed himself because he was heartbroken (young boy.. wikipedia said he died at 18, but my notes say it's 16). but Natsume-sensei thinks that he died because of him.

the girl who broke up with Fujimura, married a researcher for mines, and their son later became a professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology.

eh? that's my university....


1) yabai - (i) (as an adjective) dangerous (ii) (as an exclamation) shit!! (iii) (reversed meaning) awesome!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

- study time: kwaidan 2 -

currently listening to - Water Me (BONNIE PINK)
thought of the day - why are japanese girls pigeon-toed (and yet they walk with heels)?

watched the order of phoenix on 14 july, after celebrating my friend's birthday in Chiba. learned 3 things: 1) you're not supposed to laugh at the funny scenes, or whisper or clap at anytime in the cinema; 2) you're not supposed to talk in the cinema even after the movie has ended, because japanese people are trying their best to read the english letters in the ending credits, and they do not wish to be interrupted (and they finally realise Daniel Radcliffe = Da-ni-e-ru Ra-do-ku-ri-fu after a decade); 3) you should not leave the cinema during the ending credits because it's rude.

damn those japanese girls. they stared at us throughout the entire show, especially when we giggled at the "hem hem" umbridge's appearance in the court, when we ooo-ed at the macho harry and ron, when we clapped at harry's "i'm sorry professor umbridge but I MUST NOT TELL LIES"............ finally they couldn't stand us chit-chatting in the cinema during the ending credits and said, "SHHHHHHHHHHH!! URUSAI!!!"

end of gossip. back to the topic.


the "Yuki-onna" (yuki=snow, onna=woman) is a kind of spirit that takes the appearance of a pale, beautiful lady with long hair. she appears on snowy nights and blends into the snow very well. according to wikipedia, "she sometimes wears a white kimono, but other legends describe her as nude, with only her face, hair, and pubic region standing out against the snow" (hmm.. that's scary).

Yuki-onna (author: Koizumi Yakumo a.k.a Lafcadio Hearn)

In a village of Musashi Province, there lived two woodcutters: Mosaku and Minokichi. At the time of which I am speaking, Mosaku was an old man; and Minokichi, his apprentice, was a lad of eighteen years. Every day they went together to a forest situated about five miles from their village. On the way to that forest there was a wide river to cross; and there was a ferry-boat. Several times a bridge was built where the ferry was; but the bridge was each time carried away by a flood. No common bridge could resist the current there when the river rose.

Mosaku and Minokichi were on their way home, one a very cold evening, when a great snowstorm overtook them. They reached the ferry and found that the boatman had gone away, leaving his boat on the other side of the river. It was no day for swimming, so the woodcutters took shelter in the ferryman's hut - thinking themselves lucky to find any shelter at all. There was no brazier in the hut, nor any place in which to make a fire: it was only a two-mat hut, with a single door, but no window. Mosaku and Minokichi fastened the door and lied down to rest, with their straw rain-coats over them. At first they did not feel very cold, and thought that the storm would soon be over.

The old man almost immediately fell asleep, but the boy, Minokichi, stayed awake a long time, listening to the awful wind and the continual slashing of the snow against the door. The river was roaring and the hut swayed and creaked like a junk in the ocean. It was a terrible storm and the air was becoming colder every moment. Minokichi shivered under his rain-coat. But at last, despite of the cold, he too fell asleep.

He was awakened by a showering of snow in his face. The door of the hut had been forced open, and by the snow-light, he saw a woman in the room - a woman all in white. She was bending over at Mosaku, blowing her breath upon him - her breath was like a bright white smoke.

Almost in the same moment she turned to Minokichi, and stooped over him. He tried to cry out, but found that he could not utter any sound. The white woman bent down over him, lower and lower, until her face almost touched him. She was very beautiful, though her eyes made him afraid. For a little time she continued to look at him. Then she smiled and whispered, "I intended to treat you like the other man. But I cannot help pitying you, because you are so young... You are a pretty boy, Minokichi. And I will not hurt you now. But if you ever tell anybody -- even your own mother -- about what you have seen this night, I shall know it. And then I will kill you... Remember what I say!"

With these words, she turned from him, and passed through the doorway. Then he found himself able to move again. He sprang up and looked out. But the woman was nowhere to be seen. Only the snow was driving furiously into the hut. Minokichi closed the door, and secured it by fixing several billets of wood against it. He wondered if the wind had blown it open, while thinking that he might have only been dreaming, and might have mistaken the gleam of the snow-light in the doorway for the figure of a white woman. But he could not be sure.

He called to Mosaku, and was frightened because the old man did not answer. He put out his hand in the dark and touched Mosaku's face, and found that it was ice cold. Mosaku was stark and dead...

By dawn the storm was over. When the ferryman returned to his station, a little after sunrise, he found Minokichi lying senseless beside the frozen body of Mosaku. Minokichi was promptly cared for, and soon came to himself. But he remained ill for a long time from the effects of the cold of that terrible night. He had been greatly frightened also by the old man's death, but he said nothing about the woman in white. As soon as he got well again, he returned to his calling - going to the forest alone, every morning, and coming back at nightfall with his bundles of wood, which his mother helped him to sell.

One evening, in the winter of the following year, as he was on his way home, he overtook a girl who happened to be traveling by the same road. She was a tall and pretty, and she answered Minokichi's greeting in a voice as pleasant to the ear as the voice of a songbird. Then he walked beside her, and they began to talk. The girl said that her name was Oyuki. She had recently lost both of her parents and she was going to Yedo, where she happened to have some relatives, who might help her to find a job as a servant.

Minokichi was charmed by this strange girl. The more that he looked at her, the prettier she appeared to be. He asked her whether she was married, and she answered, laughingly, that she was single. Then, in return, she asked Minokichi whether he was married or engaged, and he told her that although he had only a widowed mother to support, the question of an "honorable daughter-in-law" had yet to be considered, as he was very young.

After that, they walked on for a long while, without speaking to each other. But as the proverb goes, "Ki ga areba, me mo kuchi hodo ni mono wo iu" (When you wish for it, the eyes can say as much as the mouth). By the time they reached the village, they had become very much pleased with each other. Then, Minokichi asked Oyuki to take a rest at his house. After some hesitations, she went there with him. Minokichi's mother welcomed her, and prepared a warm meal for her. Oyuki behaved so nicely that Minokichi's mother took a sudden fancy to her, and persuaded her to delay her journey to Yedo. And so Yuki never went to Yedo. She remained in the house as an "honorable daughter-in-law."

Oyuki proved a very good daughter-in-law. When Minokichi's mother passed away, some five years later, her last words were words of affection and praises for the wife of her son. And Oyuki bore Minokichi ten children, boys and girls, and all of them were pretty and fair.

The villagers thought Oyuki a wonderful person. Most of the peasant-women age early, but Oyuki, even after having become the mother of ten children, looked as young and fresh as on the day when she had first stepped into the village.

One night, after the children had gone to sleep, Oyuki was sewing by the light of a paper lamp. Minokichi, watching her, said --

"To see you sewing there, with the light on your face, it makes me recall that strange thing that happened when I was eighteen. I then saw somebody as beautiful and fair as you are - indeed, you look exactly like her.."

Without lifting her eyes from her work, Oyuki responded, "Tell me about her... Where did you meet her?"

Then Minokichi told her about the incident in the ferryman's hut, and about the Yuki-onna that had stooped above him, smiling and whispering... and about the silent death of old Mosaku. And he said, "Asleep or awake, that was the only time that I saw a being as beautiful as you. Of course, she was not a human being, and I was afraid of her - very much afraid - but she was so pale!... Till now I'm still not sure if the incident was a dream or reality.."

Oyuki flung down her sewing and rose. Bending over Minokichi she shrieked into his face.

"It was I -- I -- I! Yuki it was! And I told you then, that I would kill you if you ever said one word about it! ... If it wasn't for the children, I would've killed you this moment! And now you had better take very, very good care of them..... For if they ever have a reason to complain about you, I will treat you as you deserve!"

Even as she screamed, her voice gradually turned thinner, like a crying of wind. And finally, she melted into a bright white mist that shuddered away through the smoke-hole...

Never again was she seen.


sigh.. shouldn't have copy-pasted from the internet. this translation's weird.. tried correcting many of the mistakes but i gave up.. and i thought i'd start doing my assignment after blogging, but i think i've used up all my power.......

so this is the story of the japanese spirit, Yuki-onna. it's a little similar to another japanese folklore, Tsuru no Ongaeshi (english title A Grateful Crane/The Crane Woman). scarier version? heh.. because the crane doesn't kill anyone she's just a crane without any special powers except for transforming and weaving..

okay i'm tired and hungry, and i have a physics assignment to hand in tomorrow. oh, and there's english test. this time it's more challenging than TOEIC because we have to memorise all the passages that we've read in our english textbook (you know, fill in the blanks. that's hard..), and write reviews about them, in JAPANESE.

man..... that's why japanese can't read "Daniel Radcliffe" in 30 seconds!!!!!!!!!!


1) urusai - literally it means "you're very noisy!". in this context it means "shut the fuck up!!!" =p
2) two-mat - 2 tatami mats. i.e. very small.
3) Yedo = Edo (former Tokyo).
4) tsuru (鶴) - crane
5) ongaeshi (恩返し) - the act of repaying a person's kindness. eg Ghibli's Neko no Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

- study time: kwaidan 1 -

currently listening to - Returner ~Yami no Shuuen~ (Gackt)
mood - ahh.. how can i live without air-con room..

had Nihon Jijou today. i like this subject, partly because it's not much of a "threat" (i.e. free credits, if you attend classes properly).. and i had the chance to really learn something about japanese history.

during the last few lessons we focused on Koizumi Yakumo and Natsume Souseki. Koizumi Yakumo, or Lafcadio Hearn, was the first foreigner who naturalized himself as a Japanese (and that's why he has a japanese name). as a novelist and researcher, he was the one who compiled several ghost stories which he heard from his japanese wife, and wrote the famous "Kwaidan". i've not read all of the stories, but i know "Mujina" and "Yuki-onna" are quite famous.

"Mujina" is an old Japanese term referring to the badger, and sometimes the raccoon dog (also known as tanuki) or the civet. in Japanese folklores, this creature is said to know how to transform and trick human-beings, just like the fox and the tanuki. and one of their special techniques is to turn into faceless ghosts...


The last person who saw the mujina was an old merchant who lived near Kyobashi, and it's been 30 years since he died. This is exactly how he told the story..

One day, late at night, as he rushed up the Kinokuni-zaka, he saw a lady squatting down by the lakeside, weeping silently. He was worried that she might throw herself into the lake, and he would do anything he could to help her and console her. He stopped. The lady was slender and finely dressed. And her hair was tied up like that of someone from a good family.

"Hello, young lady," he said while he approached her, "You shouldn't be crying like that! ... Would you please tell me what are your troubles? I'd like to help you if there's anything I can do for you," (he was a kind man, so he actually meant it).

But the lady kept crying - while hiding her face with one side of her long kimono sleeves.

"Young lady," he said again, with a gentle voice, "Now, if you'd please listen.. This is not the kind of place a young lady such as you should come in the middle of the night! Please don't cry! --- Please, tell me, how can I help you?"

The lady stood up slowly, but she was still crying behind her kimono sleeve, her back facing the merchant. He placed his hand on her shoulder quietly, and said with a pleading tone, "Young lady! --- Young lady! --- Young lady! .... Would you please listen? ... Young lady! --- Young lady!"

Then, the "young lady" turned around, lowered her sleeve, and stroke her face with her hand. Suddenly, the merchant realised there was nothing on her face - nothing, no eyes, no nose, not even a mouth!

The merchant gave out a loud cry and ran for his life.

He dashed up the Kinokuni-zaka. It was pitch black and he could not see anything in front. He ran, and ran, and ran - he did not have the courage to look behind.

Finally, from far beyond, the dim light of a lantern came into his sight. He hurried towards it. As he approached the source of the light, he found out that it was only the light from a yonaki-soba hawker. Then again, after experiencing that, any kind of light was bright enough for him. And any kind of person was good enough for him.

He staggered into the stall and cried, "AAAH! ---- AAAAHHHH!! ----- AAAAH!!!"

"Hey, hey!" the soba hawker yelled slovenly, "Hey! What happened? Were you slashed by someone?"

"No --- No one would slash me," the merchant was out of breath, "It's just .... AAAH! --- AAAAAHHH!!"

"You were just threatened?" guessed the hawker coldly, "By the oihagi?"

"Not the oihagi --- not the oihagi!" he was scared out of his wits, "She was there... A lady was there --- by the lakeside...... And, she showed me..... AAAHH! What she showed me, I just can't explain!!!!!"

"Oh, you can't? The thing that she showed you.. Isn't it something like this?" said the hawker, and he stroke his face with his hand - and his face, too, turned into an egg-like thing. Without eyes, nose and mouth.

And then, the lights went out.


yeap, this is how it goes. tried translating it directly from Yakumo's "Mujina".. so some parts sound really japanese im sorry...

apparently there's a "modern version" for this mujina story too, but i don't think i've read it before. i do know that this mujina thing came out in one of the famous Ghibli anime, "Pompoko". it's actually a story about raccoon dogs, but in the anime, these mischievous animals tried to threaten (??) humans by using the "faceless ghost" trick.

(to be continued..)


1) Nihon Jijou - usually referred to as Japanese Culture, but i think it's more than that (like history, current issues..)
2) Kwaidan : 怪談(くわいだん)。now in modern japanese, it's pronounced as "kaidan".
3) Kyobashi (京橋) - a place between Ginza and Nihonbashi. yeah the tokyo one, not the osaka one...
4) Kinokuni-zaka (紀国坂) - a slope named Kinokuni which is in Akasaka. note: same kanji as the bookstore kinokuniya =D
5) yonaki-soba (夜泣きそば) - soba (hawker) that runs at night.
6) oihagi (追剥) - highwayman/thief.