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VonPeterhof’s log - 旅立ち’14, Yürükler’15+

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kraemder
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 Message 41 of 158
15 February 2014 at 6:30pm | IP Logged 
vonPeterhof wrote:



When I went to the office to pick up the certificate, I also handed in my application for those lectures on the methodology of teaching beginner-level Japanese I mentioned before. While the only official requirements on applicants are an age of at least 17 and Japanese ability of at least N2, I'm still seriously doubting if I have what it takes. With my extremely limited experience in actually speaking Japanese, participating in discussions about teaching methods will be challenging, to say the least.



Somehow I don't think you'd have any problems and it would work out really well. I hope you get accepted and can post about it.



vonPeterhof
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 Message 42 of 158
16 February 2014 at 11:40am | IP Logged 
Thanks for the encouragement, kraemder! They'll likely inform us about the decision in two or three weeks. If I do get accepted, I'll definitely post about my experiences, but I don't want to get my hopes too high for now.



vonPeterhof
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 Message 43 of 158
21 February 2014 at 7:56pm | IP Logged 
So I checked out the listening preparation book, and the impression I got is that the listening section has changed quite a bit between the two editions of the test. One of the types of tasks given in the book involved answering questions based on the relative locations of objects in a picture. The book (designed for both the old JLPT1 and JLPT2) explicitly states that tasks like this will definitely come up on the test, but I don't recall anything like this from the actual N2 and N1 tests I took (I took the N3 too long ago to recall anything specific). I also didn't see any practise for the long talk task, which is the most challenging part of N2 and N1 listening. So I guess I won't be using the listening book either.

I've managed to stick to my column reading schedule, although I only managed to read Asahi's 天声人語 column. It's pretty challenging reading, both in terms of vocabulary and cultural references you're expected to get. Most of the time Nikkei's 春秋 column appears to have somewhat more accessible content, since it doesn't seem to rely on literary references as much, and its content tends to be more in line with my interests and professional background. Next week I'll read 春秋 exclusively and see which of the columns works better in developing my reading skills.

I don't think I've mentioned this here before, but I've also been reading a book on the grammar of Classical Japanese for the past few months. I've mostly been doing this out of linguistic curiosity rather than a real desire to get into classical Japanese literature, but now I've decided that it's something I'd like to branch out into at some point, so I've started mining the book for example sentences to put into an Anki deck. I'll keep it to a minimum to prevent myself from getting distracted from modern Japanese too much, but I don't think interference should be an issue. If anything, certain expressions and grammatical patterns inherited from Classical Japanese would only get reinforced.



vonPeterhof
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 Message 44 of 158
23 February 2014 at 8:20am | IP Logged 
Finally wrote that brief lang-8 post about my job. Had to look up nearly all the professional terms that I've used there. I've sort of put my business Japanese studies on hiatus while rethinking my preparations for N1, but it's probably a good idea to keep them up in order to have some more practical uses for my Japanese. Right now the thought of my office getting a phone call from a Japanese bank and my boss asking me to handle it both excites and terrifies me, since I would probably just have to resign myself to English after a few feeble attempts at discussing the matter in broken keigo.
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vonPeterhof
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 Message 45 of 158
27 February 2014 at 5:14am | IP Logged 
Last night I got an email informing the attendees of the teaching lectures about a venue change and the rescheduling of the first lecture. I guess that means that I'm in! The start has been moved from the March 10 to March 12, so now I have a little less than two weeks to cram some education- and language acquisition-related vocabulary so that I don't make a complete fool out of myself. Re-reading that recent thread about classroom teaching methods should also probably be helpful.



vonPeterhof
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 Message 46 of 158
01 March 2014 at 2:34pm | IP Logged 
I was thinking of making the lyrical analysis exercise that I made back in message 19 a monthly thing. Unfortunately, due to a ridiculously stressful week at work and having to take a train to Saint Petersburg on Friday night I didn't manage to do this until the end of February. Oh well, maybe I'll do two in March to make up for it.

Anyway, thanks to fabriciocarraro I've been thinking about Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人) lately. Specifically I've been thinking about its first opening, a video whose popularity on its own has reached memetic proportions and inspired numerous remakes. The song, 紅蓮の弓矢 by Linked Horizon, appears to be very difficult to translate, since there are wild differences between the various fan translations of the lyrics I've seen around the web. I guess I'll try to make one of my own.

The opening line is in German, and for months before the official lyrics sheet came out the fans transcribed it as "Sie sind das Essen, [und] wir sind die Jäger!" ("They are the food, [and] we are the hunters!"). Then it turned out to actually say "Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind der (sic) Jäger!" ("Are you(pl.) the food? No, we are [of] the hunter[s]!"). The translation excluding the parts in square brackets corresponds to "der Jäger" being nominative singular, while the version including them represents it being genitive plural. Either way, you can probably tell why many fans still prefer to sing the misheard line.

踏まれた花の 名前も知らずに
地に堕ちた鳥は 風を持ち侘びる

Some translations, like the one in the video I linked to above, treat the two first lines of the song proper as two separate sentences. I see no reason to do so, especially since the ず negative form doesn't appear to be used to end independent sentences in modern Japanese, outside of fixed expressions.

Without even knowing the name[s] of the trampled flower[s]
The bird that has fallen to the ground pines for the wind

That seems to be a metaphor for the show's theme of choosing freedom over captivity, regardless of the benefits of said captivity. The flowers that the bird trampled having fallen to the ground don't interest it one bit, since the ground isn't where it belongs.

祈ったところで 何も変わらない
(今)《不本意な現状》を変えるのは 戦う 覚悟だ...

According to my JLPT1 grammar guide, the ~たところで form from the first line is equivalent in meaning to ~ても ("even if"). I've seen some translation talk about a literal "place where we prayed" instead. As for the second line, the word in the parentheses is what is actually sung, while the words in the angular brackets is what it says on the lyrics sheet (Linked Horizon are pretentious like that). To minimize ambiguity I'll use the same punctuation in my translation.

Even if you pray, nothing will change
What will change (the now)《the undesirable status quo》is the resolve to fight

屍踏み越えて 進む意志を 嗤う豚よ
家畜の安寧 ...虚偽の繁栄 ...死せる餓狼の 「自由」を!

First a few linguistic notes:
-The word わらう (to laugh) is written with the kanji 嗤 rather than the more usual 笑. The former kanji gives it more of a meaning of "to sneer" than simply "to laugh".
-The よ at the end of the first line in this case serves to call out the "pigs", as an archaic Japanese equivalent of the vocative case.
-The word 死せる seems to be a bit problematic to translators. Some of the translations I've seen translate 死せる餓狼 as "dying starving wolves", but most of the uses of the word 死せる that I've seen in other contexts seem more consistent with the meaning "dead" rather than "dying" - most notably 死せる魂, the title of the Japanese translation of Gogol's Dead Souls. Since the word 死す appears to be archaic I consulted my Classical Japanese grammar, and it turns out that -eru is the attributive form of the perfective tense suffix -eri, which indicates an action whose result persists in the moment the speaker is describing. In other words, Classical 死せり/死せる = modern 死んでいる.
-To continue with the Classical Japanese theme, I suppose one could interpret the を at the end as an exclamatory particle rather than its more common direct object meaning, but that would probably be a stretch. It's more likely just a command/request with the operative verb left out.

That part is probably the hardest to translate, since that second line is the one least resembling a complete sentence. The prevailing interpretation of the second line (not just among foreign fans) appears to be that the peace and complacency are being contrasted to freedom, and that the singing character(s) choose the latter. However, I've also seen translations (e.g. the one here) that seem to imply that that the speaker is wishing death on the "pigs" and thus using the word "free(dom)" ironically. While the square brackets do sometimes add that nuance in Japanese, to me it seems more likely that the former interpretation is correct, as it reinforces the idea of choosing the struggle for freedom over complacency, even if you end up starving to death like a hounded wolf. I think the brackets are there just for emphasis.

O pigs who sneer at the will to step over corpses and advance!
Peaceful as livestock... living in false prosperity... [We choose] the freedom of wolves starved to death!

囚われた屈辱は 反撃の(嚆矢)←嚆-< だ 城壁の其の彼方 獲物を屠る(Jäger)《 狩人》
迸る (衝動)《殺意》に 其の身を灼きな がら 黄昏に緋を穿つ--

←紅蓮の弓矢-《《

Yes, the arrow pictographs are also in the sheet. The whole thing is 中二病 as hell. Anyway, 囚われた屈辱 ("the humiliation of being captured") is a reference to probably the most iconic (and memetic) line from the manga and anime. 嚆矢 (こうし) is an arrow with a whistle attached to it that was used to signal the start of a battle. Metaphorically it may refer to the start of something.

The humiliation of being captured marks the beginning of the counterattack. Beyond the ramparts, [there is] a hunter slaughtering his prey.
His body being burned by a surging (impulse)《intent to kill》, at dusk the scarlet will be pierced by the crimson bow and arrow.

Now that I think of it, the sentences in these lines are also structured a bit weirdly. The verbs being placed before the nouns usually makes them attributive rather than active, thus making the second and third sentence just describe the hunter and the bow and arrow, respectively, rather than focus on something actually happening. What's more, 其の in the second line could just as easily mean "your" rather than "his". I'm afraid I don't know enough about colour symbolism in Japanese to tell if the juxtaposition between 緋 (scarlet) and 紅蓮 (crimson) means anything. The only thing dictionaries tell me is that 緋 can be used to mean "blood", but I'm not sure what "piercing the blood" would imply. Maybe in this song the "awesomeness" of the imagery trumps all considerations of actual meaning after all :p

Phew, that was quite the wall o' text! I guess I'll leave the updates on my studies till tomorrow.

Edit: also, yay 500th post!

Edited by vonPeterhof on 01 March 2014 at 2:36pm



vonPeterhof
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 Message 47 of 158
04 March 2014 at 5:20am | IP Logged 
On this fine morning, having yet again woken up with lots of effort and suffering after less than five hours of sleep, I've decided it's time for a radical measure - as of today my Core 2000 and Core 6000 Anki decks are suspended indefinitely. I do believe that I'm at a point in my studies where I should be able to get enough reinforcement for the more common vocabulary through regular consumption of native material, but my main reason for doing this is the desire to make my sleeping pattern at least a little bit healthier. With my current workload I have to stay behind after the official end of the working day for up to two hours almost every day, and this doesn't look like it's going to improve any time soon. Then, after I get home and have my dinner, I don't go to sleep until I'm done with my Anki reviews, which is usually around 2 AM. I'd probably get through them faster if I didn't watch anime or other videos at the same time, but that would probably suck the last bits of enjoyment out of my life. By far the largest contributor to my Anki workload is the Core 6000 deck which averages about 50 reviews per day - a far cry from this time last year, when it was more like a hundred, but still enough to keep me awake for a pointlessly long time. The Core 2000 deck doesn't get anywhere near that daily amount, but there's no point in keeping it unsuspended if that's the one with the more common vocabulary.

In addition to being able to go to bed earlier, I should also be able to put more work into developing my N1 grammar and vocabulary deck. Besides, maybe with more sleep my productivity at work will improve and this nightmare will end a tiny bit sooner.
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kraemder
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 Message 48 of 158
06 March 2014 at 5:52am | IP Logged 
I find it hard to believe over achievers like yourself manage to learn so much and yet get so little sleep. I've
read how sleep deprivation makes students perform in class as though their IQ were lower. It would seem
you have IQ to spare. Glad you're cutting back though.



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