Nar3: Japan

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2004 at 8:18am by Brett.
(Monday, April 12th, 2004 at 9:18pm Japanese Standard Time)

This month has been the month of perpetual move in for the first years. Beacuse of this, the student organizations have been out in force. For the last week or so, each evening I have been visisted by at least 5 different groups wanting me to join their clubs or circles.

Japanese colleges, and general education system also, put high value on extracurricular activities--they count if not more than, at least as much as the grades you get. For that reason, some circles and clubs take things VERY seriously. (Band, anyone?) These organizations are not unlike frats in the states, only much more important.

Tonight, as I was finishing in the shower I heard this loud noise. Screaming, pounding, cheering. I was interested, and a little concerned. It sounded like a huge number of people were in the open area by the Oikoshi Community center, which is next to the showers.

I got outside and the source of the noise was immediately noticable. There was a ridiculous amount of people not IN the open area, but crammed on the steps that surround 2 sides of the 4-sided open space. They were, in fact, screaming, pounding, and cheering at something in the middle of the open area. ...(More)

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2004 at 12:48am by Brett.
(Thursday, April 15th, 2004 at 1:48pm Japanese Standard Time)

It's spring. People are coming out of the hibernation in their rooms, the grass and shrubs are coming alive with bugs, and the sky is filling with birds. Chirping, singing, shrilly little birds.

The Japanese crow is one of the most evil creatures ever gifted with the ability to cry. From the picture, you can't tell how large these things really are, and you certainly can't hear the nasty little buggers.

Each room in my dorm has a window--they were nice that way--with a "balcony" outside of it. I'm not exactly sure what the purpose of these are, as they're too small to fit a person on unless you're going to just...stand. Most people have taken to using them as a sort of storage place. But not me...

For about the last two weeks, my balcony has been the home of a couple of these karasu birds. Each morning, around 4:30 or 5, they come, sit on my balcony (which happens to be about 2 feet away from where my head is while I'm in bed), and they scream. They don't chirp, mind you, they SCREAM.

These birds fear nothing...especially the ones around campus. Just last quarter, they ...(More)

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Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2004 at 4:18am by Brett.
(Thursday, April 15th, 2004 at 5:18pm Japanese Standard Time)

I've just installed a bandwidth throttler to keep people from running us over our limit. If you get blocked from the site, and can't figure out why, send me an email.

Oh btw, if you download a lot of stuff (for instance, webcam pictures) that's why you're blocked.

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Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2004 at 12:10am by Brett.
(Monday, April 19th, 2004 at 1:10pm Japanese Standard Time)

A couple nights ago as I was trying to fall asleep, my mind started to wander. I was idly thinking about which classes I am going to take this trimester. Since I ended up in a higher-level Japanese language class that I had planned, my options for non-language classes were severely affected...but yay, higher level language classes.

So I was thinking about the Japanese language courses here, my time spent in Japan...stuff like that. I decided that I don't think I learned as much of the language as I had hoped. Being fair, though, Japanese is a hard language. Look at most other languages taught in colleges--by your senior year, you will have achieved near-fluency in most of them...especially the romance and Germanic languages. By your senior year if you study Japanese, you will probably be able to survive in Japan, but you will need lots of help from a native speaker.

I was thinking how much better it would have been for me to probably have lived with a Japanese family in a home-stay sort of setting. That got me thinking about the time spent in Kyushu with my relatives and my tutor's family. Then it just kind of hit me: I'm in Japan.

Aside from my ...(More)

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Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2004 at 11:42pm by Brett.
(Tuesday, April 20th, 2004 at 12:42pm Japanese Standard Time)

I need a haircut. It's long...very long...

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Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2004 at 6:35am by Brett.
(Friday, April 23rd, 2004 at 7:35pm Japanese Standard Time)

New class wrap up:

Intercultural Communication (AKA "The Boring Class"):
This class sucks. The topic is interesting, but the delivery leaves much to be desired. It's a two-period class, so that's 2 hours and 30 minutes of fun. I do homework in this class.

Japanese Grammar:
This is your standard Japanese grammar class. The teachers seem to be cool this quarter, and since it's a level higher than I expected, hopefully I'll learn a good bit.

AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! The homework for this class is the most time consuming, least beneficial homework I have ever had to do. It is the physical embodiment of "busy work". I was in this class last trimester, but dropped out of it to save my GPA. I was hoping it would be better since they totally revamped the system. Nice to know some things never change...

Japanese songs:
This class is really cool. It's a couple levels lower than what I'm at, but I'm not complaining. We listen to songs, then have a change to make our own lyrics for them. It's a fun, low key class.

Japanese TV Dramas:
This class MIGHT be cool. It's more work than one might expect from a "watch TV" type of class, but it's not pointless ...(More)

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External Help
Posted on Sunday, April 25th, 2004 at 8:47am by Brett.
(Sunday, April 25th, 2004 at 9:47pm Japanese Standard Time)

Most people don't know that this isn't the only web page I am responsible for. Aside from maintaining the main nar3 server with Jason, we also work on the Jackson City Schools website.

Before I left the States, I was asked to help redesign parts of OSU's slightly outdated and rather...urm...ugly Department of East Asian Language and Literature's Japanese home page.

I've uploaded a beta of what I have in mind...a rough draft, if you will...and I'd like some feedback from users that aren't me and that are picky in different ways than I am.

It is at deall.narnarnar.com.

Please keep in mind that:
1. This isn't a finished website.
2. The images aren't optimized.
3. The colors are web safe and degrade decently well. They are not the exact colors I wanted, but they work. Let me know what you think.
4. The menu at the top is "funny". I'm working on it, but open to suggestions on how to make it look nicer.
5. Yes the links don't ...(More)

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Posted on Tuesday, April 27th, 2004 at 7:30am by Brett.
(Tuesday, April 27th, 2004 at 8:30pm Japanese Standard Time)

I have scheduled for classes at OSU next year. Check it out.

There are 3 more classes that I may take that are not represented:
A bassoon class at 8:30 (required unless I can test out) on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Japanese Linguistics 680 (if my linguistics course meets the prereq) at 3:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Another class that may go up there is my Japanese language classes at 11:30...bet you thought that was lunch....hah! I don't know which level I'll be placed into when I get back, so I had to leave the spot for it open "just in case" I place into the level that's offered that quarter...

Fun fact: What you see on the schedule right now is a whopping 16 credits worth of class. It's fun to be a music major!

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Posted on Saturday, May 1st, 2004 at 7:33am by Brett.
(Saturday, May 1st, 2004 at 8:33pm Japanese Standard Time)

People (script kiddies) who think they're web page designers need to read this.

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Posted on Friday, May 7th, 2004 at 9:59am by Brett.
(Friday, May 7th, 2004 at 10:59pm Japanese Standard Time)

Yes I know...Long time no post. I hope everyone is faring well in a post Friends world...

What's been going on? A lot of...nothing exciting. Classes resumed. I'm taking a lot, and it's causing me to spend lots more time studying that I would have liked for spring, but thus is school.

I got my hair cut. Yay. Barber-san of Barber Party fame cut it. Actually, one of the sl^H^Hgirls from the party cut it first, then he fixed it. It's short. I got about..oh...6 inches or off.

He was talking to me, and asked which girl that came to the party did I think was the cutest. I...honestly couldn't remember what they look like, and just remembered OLD, so I said that the one sitting directly across from me. He laughed, and said "naruhodo" which means something like "Ah, of course" or "naturally". He told me she was 31, then said that before I go back to America, we should "asobu", which means "play" or "hang out", and is just general enough so that I didn't know what exactly he meant. Then he said "date".

I didn't want to be rude, so instead of saying she was old, I just said "I think I might be a little young," but he assured me she wouldn't mind. He even suggested ...(More)

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