Monday, March 23, 2009

Personal Aspirations in J-Pan, #4

As my first year studying Japanese comes to a close, I shall consider, one last time, the goals I set out at the beginning of the year.

Goal #1: Be able to have a simple conversation with my sister entirely in Japanese. I am now able to pick out many more Japanese words than I might have expected. I can even, to a very basic extent, pick up conversations of Japanese people as they pass. I passed a Japanese couple on the way to school last week, and I knew every word they used. (Granted, it was only a few seconds of conversation.)

Goal #2: Play through a dialogue-intensive Japanese game, and actually understand it. I still don’t quite feel I have a handle on the kanji to handle a text-heavy, plot-heavy Japanese video game. However, my ability to read hiragana is just fine, and there’s a lot to be said for context. Also, I can pretty much always figure out what every katakana word means in the Japanese games I’ve tried playing, as they’re almost exclusively taken from English words or names. My theory is, the Japanese love English culture, and frankly, I think we love theirs too.

Goal #3: Watch a Japanese cartoon, with no subtitles, and actually understand it. Not only is language still a bit of a barrier when watching these cartoons, but I think culture is too. I can usually figure out what’s going on, but some of these Japanese cartoons are pretty weird. I like them though, particularly Doraemon. Grave of the Fireflies was also really good, but it made me want to cry, probably because I have a little sister of my own.

Goal #4: Apply to the JET Programme, and teach English in Japan. As I stated earlier, I got rejected by the JET Programme, but I now have a TESOL United certificate instead. At this point, I’m thinking of looking for work teaching here, in the city first. I may continue on in my Japanese studies next year, or I may not. To be quite honest, I am not particularly attached to the idea of teaching in Japan anymore, but I still might.

Goal #5: Write a short story in Japanese. Aw crap, I still haven’t started. I keep forgetting about this one. Actually, we have a free writing session in class tomorrow, so unless there are particular subject restraints, perhaps I can write it then.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Black Hole Girl

To me, your love is like a big black hole,
A force that pulls towards a loveless void.
If I’m a lonely spacecraft on patrol,
You treat me like a lifeless asteroid.
I’ll orbit one last time your sightless snare.
In awe of your event horizon’s might.
I’ll probe for any signs of life in there.
But nothing comes back out, not even light.
I longed to see that light of yours for years.
And with you watch the music of the spheres.
Now I must go, or be crushed by your core.
While I’ve still fuel, I need to go explore.
I know someday you will become a star,
And then, I hope I won’t have gone too far.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ask Doctor Blackheart

This month, a local newspaper is running an advice columnist competition, and I thought seeing as I kept an advice blog for an entire month, that I’d be up for the challenge. They post a new question every day at midnight (Eastern Standard Time), and readers are invited to post their answers. The winner of the competition get a one year contract with the paper. I don’t think I need to tell you that this would be an amazing job, at least for a guy like me. Thus far, I’ve submitted six entries, one for each of the six most recent questions. If you’re so inclined, feel free to check out some of my answers to these questions.