Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Spring Fever

Walking home today, you could really feel spring in the air. Everyone had spring fever. People were out in shorts, skirts. Walking across campus, I came across a group of undergrads kicking a hackey-sack around. We've had some nice days before this point, but they always felt "ominously" nice, like you knew the next snowfall was just lurking around the corner. But it is almost time to get my bicycle out again (no seat-stealing episodes this year, thank goodness - the bike is currently on our balcony, safe out of harm's way). I'm even going to dare to say it: Spring is finally here!

Friday, March 24, 2006


Slightly delayed, this week's Japanese word is a simple one, but one important to Japanese culture and likely to come up now and again in discussions of Japan.

(o)tera = temple, Buddhist in nature

The prefix o here used is an honorific one, designating politeness and the importance of temples in Japan. It is not necessary, but is often used. Other common examples of using the o prefix are osushi (only occasionally used) and ocha (cha being the word for tea; here, the o is in fact almost never dropped).

Not to be confused with shinden which is the word used to indicate a mere "house of worship" (ie., non-Buddhist), or komekami, the temple where headaches occur (ie., the side of your head).

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Livin' in the (no longer) Wild, Wild West...

In today's Aren't There Better Uses of Taxpayer's Money category*, apparently Texas has begun arresting drinkers for being drunk, before the afore-mentioned drinkers have even had the chance to leave the bar and become a public nuisance or other form of danger to the public safety. Apparently this is really what was meant by the Bush administration when they talked about "pre-emptive strikes".**

I don't really care how drunk these guys were (or weren't), I just think this is dumb.

*Also cross-listed in today's The U.S. Never Ceases To Amaze Me and Goin' To H*LL In A Handbasket categories.

**For more commentary, see metafilter.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

You're $@!- HOW -#%! old????


As the Japanese would say: Rebecca no tanjōbi wa nijū-ichi [22] san-gatsu [March] desu.

As Julie would say: I'm still younger than you. :)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

uten / unten

There are two Japanese words this week, thanks to the fact that I am not yet very good at deciphering spoken Japanese. In class yesterday, one of my classmates said something to the effect of, "Watashi wa uten suki desu," instantly sending me into a flurry of "jisho o yonde imasu" (reading my dictionary) in order to figure out what he had said. Ahhh, he likes uten - "rainy weather." Nice. What a great sentence. Kind of poetic.

During the class break, however, it turned out that Devon in fact was not particularly a fan of rainy weather at all and that what he had actually said was, "Watashi wa unten shite imasu" - that he is able to drive a car (or to operate a machine, depending on the exact context in which the statement was intended to be made).

So, the Japanese Words of The Week:

uten = rainy weather
unten = operation of an automobile or machinery; with the verb form being unten suru.

Wakarimasen ka?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I'm not listening!

La la la, I can't hear you ...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The guilt stops here...

I have been recently accused (mostly in email) of not updating this blog often enough to satisfy the insatiable curiousity of my readers ... a number of whom, I feel obliged to add, do not in fact have or maintain blogs and so are clearly unaware that, in most people's lives, blog-worthy events do not happen everyday (we cannot all be as prolific and interesting as Rebecca, for example).

I obviously need a hobby or something. I'm not going to get married anytime soon, nor have a baby, so those kinds of keeping-your-blog-frequently-updated-events are out of the question. Maybe I need to travel overseas again. Yes, that sounds ideal, but I'm afraid I'm not in a position to divulge further information on that topic at this current point in time ... however, STAY TUNED (hehehe - see? now I've suckered you all in to continuing to read my blog, at least for a little while yet*).

In other news, the weather seems to be finally turning the corner here in the nation's capital. Yesterday, it was about 6°C, giving some of those giant piles of snow a chance to melt a bit. It was a gorgeous mild day and as I donned my sparkly green scarf (a fashion, not for-warmth, scarf) and my jean jacket (yippee!), I actually entertained the thought that Ottawa might not be so bad after all. (A common misconception held by many people who have just suffered through yet another Ottawa winter.) Anyway, Randal and I celebrated by going to the National Gallery of Canada. Neither of us had been in ages (him about two years, and me about seven!). I had to go see the exhibit on Norval Morrisseau, an influential, and pioneering, Canadian First Nations artist, for my Art History class. Anyway, the exhibit was great - it is apparently the first at the National Gallery dedicated solely to a First Nations artist - and while I am not overly familiar with this style of art (though my mother owns a number of items obviously influenced by it), I was really impressed by the exhibit (and now have to figure out what aspect of it I shall write about for my 2500-3000 word essay which is due in a few weeks - yikes).

Today it rained for the first half of the day, reducing those snowbanks even further. I really feel no sadness in saying goodbye to winter - that either makes me a perfect Canadian, or an unusual one, I'm not sure which. We took the dog for a walk toward the end of the day, resulting in our little white fluffball being completely black on his underside, so Randal gave him a nice long bath upon our return, and now he smells GREAT (Rion, not Randal...though Randal does smell nice too). Like vanilla and roses, with a dash of fresh puppy ... mmmmmmm.

Anyway, that is all. In other updates, you will note I have added a number of features to the blog's sidebar over the past week or two. I have also added a few reviews to pixxiefish in the stacks as well as modified somewhat the layout there. And for those who persist in claiming I don't update the blog enough, hopefully you have noted that I have added quite a few photos to my Flickr account over the last month or two (and a good number of Malaysia photos in the past two weeks). So there.

* Because I am terrible at keeping my own secrets, here's a hint: pixxiefish in the sea may be going over the sea to a land of plenty that starts with "J" and ends with "n", but pixxiefish will not know anything for sure until April or May, so please be patient - she will let you know as soon as she knows.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Welcome to the first Japanese Word of the Week! Or, as I like to call it "Konshuu no Nihongo"*...

This week's word is particularly appropriate since, despite a number of recent claims that this winter has been a mild one, I have been wearing momohiki ("mo-mo-hee-kee") on an almost daily basis since mid-November. Hopefully, with the impending arrival of spring (any day now!), my momohiki-wearing days are almost over.

I actually couldn't find momohiki in my trusty Japanese-English dictionary. Perhaps it will be in the new edition, due out in September 2006 (pre-order yours today!). No, this week's nihongo was learned thanks to the frequent emails that I receive from the folks at J-List, your one-stop shop for Japanese items - you can find the original email, dated February 24, here.**

Anyway, without further ado, momohiki is the Japanese word for "long underwear", an item that most Canadians likely consider to be an integral part of their winter wardrobe (at least those who live east of coastal British Columbia). I think I'll be able to use that one a lot.

konshuu = this week
nihongo = Japanese language (nihon signifying Japan and go as a suffix which means word or language)

**If you're wondering what might be worth ordering from J-List, allow me to suggest the oh-so-cute-and-of-course-essential Domokun, national broadcaster NHK's fuzzy and loveable mascot (and what I bought Randal for his birthday last year). ...If you're really curious (and you should be), you can find more on Domokun here.