Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why Me?

So, since my Japanese studies have continued fairly well, a few days ago, I decided to go down to the local library and see what books they had available.

Hint: not much.

Now, you might ask yourself why I would go to a public place like this when I could just order books online.


Reason 1) buying things requires money

I don't know if you have kids, but apparently, this whole Christmas thing is kind of a big deal to them.

They actually expect presents.

Unfortunately, this means I am far to poor to waste money on luxeries like new books.

Or food or clothing.

Since libraries let you take books for free, it seemed like a smart idea.


Reason 2) People aren't allowed to talk

It's a whole building designed on the basic principle that you have to shut the hell up.

I love that.


So, I ask the librarian if they can get me any books on Japanese.

She, in turn, looks at me like I asked her if I could remove her appendix with a rusty spoon.

As if I would have asked.

She searches her system and finds a library with a series of books called, I'm not joking, "Japanese Book."

That is their actual title in the system.

The librarian decided to call the other library to discuss an interlibrary loan. After several minutes of one old lady trying to explain the problem to another old lady, I thought I would intervene.

I asked her for the phone and asked the other librarian what the books were about.

OtherLibrarian>> They're Japanese books.

Since I had already figured that part out from the title, I asked what they were actually about.

OtherLibrarian>> I have no idea.
OtherLibrarian>> They're in Japanese.

Where's a rusty spoon when you need one?

This lady had a set of random books in Japanese and had no clue what they were about.

Out of curiosity, I asked her to send me a random sample. This is really a fool's errand as I only know a pathetically small amount of kanji, but I figured I could translate the kana sections.

Today, I received one and I was having trouble translating the title.

Se...

Seka...

Sekando. First word was Sekando.

Obviously, a very complicated Japanese word. I immediately, typed it into Google and searched a Japanese-English dictionary.

Second.

It means second.

How anti-climactic.

The next word was giving me some trouble. It began with a symbol that didn't actually fit into the katakana alphabet anywhere.

I asked some linkshell friends if they had any idea and someone mentioned it was used as a V sound since there was no letter for V in Japanese.

Makes sense.

So the next word is...

V...

V
ā...

V
āgin.

Wait...

Sekando V
āgin.

Second Virgin.

I opened the book and started flipping through the pages. Each chapter began with a picture.

An artsy picture of a naked woman.

Apparently, the other librarian picked a random Japanese book to send me and somehow managed to choose the Japanese equivalent of the Vagina Monologues.

How does shit like this keep happening? I'm not even making this up.

I really wish I was.

Instead, I'm stuck here with the only book ever written in Japan that included naked women, but was still uninteresting.

And didn't involve tentacles.

Why me?

4 Comments:

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Kenny said...

No tentacles? You got hosed.

 
At 12:04 AM, Blogger RSS adder said...

hosed indeed...

 
At 5:13 PM, Blogger Inju said...

No tentacles? Now that's disappointing. Cuz I like them tentacle actions :P

 
At 7:12 PM, Blogger semele said...

I speak a little and can point you in a good direction if you're interested.

There's a set of videos on the net somewhere (You Tube?) called Yan Can. They used to show them in my Japanese class. It'll teach you about culture, basic conversational vocabulary, and customs. All through the adventures of dorky Yan, an American living in Japan.

There's a set of books called Learn Japanese by Young and Nakajima-Okano. You can get them on eBay pretty cheap. They're older but it doesn't matter. They're college texts. There are 3 volumes, each exponentially harder than the last.

You can download a free program called Before You Know It (I think its BYKI.com) which uses the same system as that expensive Rosetta Stone. And you can probably find Rosetta Stone's Japanese version on a torrent somewhere.

I highly recommend you learn the alphabet first. Its 46 characters, but once you know all 5 vowel sounds, you can read/pronounce anything that's written in the English way (called Romaji) - like much of the Manga you might find at your local porn library, apparently. From pronounciation, move on to lyrics and vocab.

Try this lyrics too - its the song from Kingdom Hearts, Distance.
http://www.lyricsmania.com/lyrics/utada_hikaru_lyrics_3135/distance_lyrics_9695/distance_lyrics_112412.html

 

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