I live in Tokyo now but most of my friends and family do not. The main idea here is that I can tell these people about interesting things that happen and are seen.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I've Been Trying To Learn Hiragana


How do babies put up with having to learn to read? I mean, they cry if someone breathes on them. How could they ever have the patience to learn they letters. And yet it happens. This thought alone sustains me as I try to learn hiragana.


As regards the blackhead-removal-nose-strips.... they are unremarkable. You put them on your nose for about ten minutes and then rip them off and there is some gunk on them. A man's nose reveals scant difference to the naked eye. Afterwards, my nose was extremely itchy and I spent an embarassing amount of time rubbing and fussing at it, no doubt rapidly replenishing whatever pore-blocking oils and detritus as may have been removed from my nose skin ("nose skin"?). Replacing the divots, in golfing parlance. I was thinking about doing Before, During, and After photos but I suddenly developed a sense of proportion - I mean: what?

Furthermore people have informed me that blackhead-removal-nose-strips are scarcely a phenomenon unique to Japan. Perhaps they are more prominently advertised here, but they are a trusty aid to people who are vain about their noses worldwide. Anyone can know about these things without my help.

What has been gained here, save an intense itchifying of my nose. Let's forget all about it.


Anonymous ShagPile said...

That's about the only time you'll ever hear Mike Whitney and Prince discussed in the same sentence. Mike Whitney is a god. I remember him and Craig McDermott staving off defeat at the MCG by holding out a rampant Hadlee led kiwi team in the late 80's. (http://www3.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1980S/1987-88/NZ_IN_AUS/NZ_AUS_T3_26-30DEC1987.html)

Steve Irwin I didn't have much time for though I still found his death saddening. Apparently he was great mates with John Howard. I wonder how often John Howard goes snorkling?

Anyway I was sad until this little snippet from the New York Times made me giggle:

Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called ''Ocean's Deadliest'' when he swam too close to one of the animals, which have a poisonous bard on their tails, his friend and colleague John Stainton said.

Gotta be careful of those lethal poets.

Wed Sep 06, 05:26:00 AM PDT

Blogger Murray said...

"Ocean's Deadliest" huh.

I feel it's inappropriate to say "what did you expect".

As regards Mike Whitney, I wasn't so much thinking of the heroic cricketer as the referee of "Aussie Gladiators".

Yes, I know they're the Mike Whitney, but there is a difference in dignity to be observed.

Wed Sep 06, 10:09:00 AM PDT

Blogger sandy said...

I remember reading some theory about there being a critical period for language learning in which we 'set' our grammar parameters as children, so when we grow up and try to learn another language, switching to a different grammatical system is like smoodging our brains with word-bricks. Also why Mowgli and his ilk were doomed as they comprehended only the grammar of the wolf!

So learning new languages as an adult is a far more difficult endeavour than doing so as a baby. (Also you don't have people threatening to smack you if you don't enunciate properly.)

But what I really wanted to say is that there is a comic of Rock'N'Roll Nightmare, and it is made of happiness (and METAL!!!).

Thu Sep 07, 01:27:00 AM PDT

Blogger Murray said...

eh, what it is Zardoz, good to see you hovering around.

I remember that there is a critical period for kids to learn how to speak... I don't know if there's anything equivalent for reading though. Grammar is definitely part of this initial acquisition process, but the main thing I am complaining about here is that I can't remember which characters are associated with which syllables. I think that's something everyone's got to learn by rote.... even stupid little babies.

I could natter on for donkey's about the Chomskyian theory of language acquisition because I found it very interesting when I learned it, but I'd rather trawl through that Stupid Comics site.... ill hook up, Sandy-San!


Thu Sep 07, 09:37:00 AM PDT

Anonymous Jeremy said...

Man you complained so hard I thought you must have been talking about Kanji. My eyes read "hiragana" but my brain said "he must be talking about kanji else he would have just learned the alphabet in the time it would have taken to write this complain post".

Just remember that one of them is supposed to be a dude holding a rake and the other one is sort of like a fish, you will be fine. Just be glad you're learning a language with a phonetic alphabet. I went to all the trouble of learning Urdu writing and then found out they don't use any ding-dang vowels so you have to know what the word is to begin with anyway.

But that doesn't matter because I haven't learned any Urdu anyway because everyone speaks English and because all the enthusiasm for Pakistani culture that I can muster goes into not punching people in the face when they vex me. The same is likely to go for Hindi, though if there are many menus which are written only in Devanagari I will make the supreme effort and refresh my memory of the alphabet which I learned in Nepal.

As for babies, I do not remember learning to read but if it was anything like the other times in my life where I was called upon to do work I suspect it would have involved much of crying and rendering small objects around me airborn/rent in sunder by my tiny, angry, lazy fists. You will recall this behaviour pattern from our time at Vodafone.

Sat Sep 16, 07:54:00 AM PDT


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