Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

December 19, 2008

how to learn kanji

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 2:03 pm

i have tried and tried to finish working through a textbook on basic kanji i received as a present from my old japanese teacher.  ok.  that is a lie.  i didn`t try to finish it.  its boring.  you`d have to pay me to finish it. 

and recently, i just said no.  i stopped.  i have given up on a learning style that just isn`t working for me.  i can learn spoken language.  cos i use it.  working through a text book.  forgetting kanji.  relearning them.  learning others.  not using them in my daily life.  its all a bit too much work. 

now, i have found a way to study kanji that suits me.  i just read what i want.  and if there is some kanji in it.  read it.  if i remember it, i remember it.  if not.  no prob.  but i am trying to understand the kanji that fits the context of my life …

by being my typical self.  just read what you like.  simple really.  it is amazing how many kanji i can figure out in japanese sex comics.  perhaps the simplicity of the subject matter helps – they aren`t exactly talking about philosophy, culture or rocketscience.  and its got boobs.  all kinds of them.  yes, tits are helping me to learn kanji.

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half-life

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:41 pm

i`m currently slowly picking my way through “half-life”.  if you don`t know half – life, here are the gory details.

its a videogame.  its a FPS – that means you see from the hero`s viewpoint, and you shoot things.  it tells the story of a scientist who has to escape from an experiment gone wrong, where both aliens and

*SPOILER

marines are out to get him.

SPOILER END

and it is 10 year`s old.  i decided to play this game because i was playing through the demo of half-life 2, and figured i would start right at the start.  after recently playing metroid 3, i`d kinda wished that i had played metroid 1 and 2 first, just to see how it has all evolved.  and after seeing parts of the very recent half – life 2, half – life 1 was pretty shocking.  did i mention it is a 10 year old game.  people were listening to C n C Music Factory back then … its a lifetime ago in general cultural terms, but in videogaming time, it is a couple of lifetimes ago.

where to begin … ummm, player movement.  whilst the buttons used for FPS player movement were figured a long time ago,  the character movement is so different from modern FPS`s.  the half life 2 demo, dude is walking.  half life 1?  dude is on a skate board … or one of the segway things.  and a really fast one.  other things?  more closed level designs.  different lighting systems.  blocky, blocky character models.   stupid enemies that can`t open doors, even when they should be able to.  hard, hard levels and a lack of guidance/nannying.  (wait up, that last one isn`t a bad thing).  you can`t even see the handle of the gun you are using (granted, you still can`t see your body in half life 2 …).

but then all that melted away.  i adjusted to the movement, to the graphics, to the character models.  i am loving being lead through this lovingly made game.  i think the company that made this game really does love the games they work on.  if it ain`t ready, it ain`t coming out yet.  team fortress 2 took 6 years to get out the door.  not many other companies can afford to take that long to get it right.  i stopped noticing the blockiness of the models and started noticing the creativity of the character design.  i stopped noticing the floaty, segway movement and just focused on the mazelike, creepy levels i have to survive.

its like i was a tech nerd who moved to a farming commune and then gradually adjusted to the older style lifestyle.

lucky for me.  i can look forward to mining past gaming standouts for as long as i want.  i have a feeling that i could really really get into the first fallout.  and its like $10 US or something now.  GOG has it.

December 15, 2008

a tale of three youngsters

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:56 pm

with all of these mad, mad games that adelaide has been playing, i couldn`t help but think

– how are the benches over in greece nathan?

unfair?  yeah.  he would have been expecting to challenge for significant bench time, maybe even some starts by now.  it sounds like he could have gone to stronger clubs, but he chose his club because it looked like the best situation for him.  but it isn`t happening yet.  and the challenge of proving yourself to a european team must provide some staring-into-the-depths-of-the-soul character building. 

but look at the games that AU have had recently – 2 games against bunkyador (appologies for the bad spelling), 2 against kashima, 3 against gamba osaka, a game coming up against al ahly of egypt … tough, high pressure games against very good teams. 

scott jamison must feel like a lucky guy.  in the reserves at bolton.  out of sight, out of mind.  and now being showcased throughout this run of games.  probably first choice left back for the asian cup socceroos.  i wouldn`t mind playing him in the full strength socceroos given dave carney`s recent form. 

i wondered a little bit, what if burns had stayed.  he was best on the park for his lat asian cup game.  would he have given adelaide something extra if he had been around for the latter games?  maybe, maybe not.  AU does have diego up in the final third, as well. 

bruce djite would have no such thoughts.  he has landed very very well and has gotten a stack of playing time, including starts. 

in soccer, recycling the ball is a key component of play.  you aren`t going to score with every attack.  perhaps one of the unexpected benefits of the a-league is that it gives younger players the chance to recycle their careers.  europe is tough.  sometimes good players go to situations that don`t work out and they need to recycle – come home and get some attention here.  jamison is.  nick ward is.  nick carle did.

gamba v adelaide

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:09 am

got home in time to see the most of the second half.  i missed the first 10 minutes or so i think.  but what followed was maybe 20 minutes of AU trying to stretch gamba without giving up another goal, then 15 minutes of pushing forward madly to try to get the win.  throughout, gamba seemed happy to stay deep and hit on the counter.  they were the team with a goal after all.

random thoughts – ummm.

the difference in speed of thought and fluidity of movement was easy to see.  every AU pass was a little slower, a little more obvious … when i first turned on (about the 10 minute mark) every AU pass was to a marked team mate, who wasn`t moving forward.  gamba could see the passes coming and looked quite comfortable.  gamba always had more time on the ball, and more passing options.  or at least it seemed that way.  eventually, adelaide picked up their speed of thought and stopped being so obvious, but it was a case of too little, too late.  they needed to start their push 5 or 10 minutes before they did.  easier said than done though when their opponents can hit on the counter as well as gamba can.

adelaide should have got more value out of travis dodd.  i didn`t see any of those powerful, dizzyingly quick runs with the ball that he is capable of … was it because he disappeared on the night, or did gamba just have him figured out?  i`m not sure myself.

i still don`t believe in luck.  i worry that to0 many of my countrymen do.  “with a bit of luck we could have won 3- 1” … no, no, no.  shooting is a skill.  a combination of technical skill and mental composure.  creating goal scoring chances and not taking them is not something to be applauded.

AU now has a very interesting match up against the african champions.  a less exciting, but more interesting match up than the red devils.  getting walloped by a disinterested man u or having a go at the african champs in a competitive match?  i`ll take the second one thanks.

if AU can push on and achieve something this a-league season, it`ll be (at least partially) because of games like these against better opponents.   they have shown mental toughness and good organisation to get as far as they have in the ACL.  they have had to play with quicker thought and more guile than you would need in the a-league.  and are better for it.    AU have seen what a really good team looks like, now the question is can they become one.

December 8, 2008

murder is entertainment

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:01 pm

okay, i just finished watching “ainori” , which translates as “love ride” maybe – a dating, travelling show.  and the first item on the late night news that followed was the apprehension of a suspect in the recent murder of a 6 year old. 

whilst i can understand that the family and classmates of the victim are going through one of the most shocking situations you can find, i don`t think it is headline news.  i think the fact that it is headline news is because people find murder stories disturbing, exciting and ultimately titilating.  titilating means “get your rocks off over” if you are wondering.  or something like that.  the same way people slow down when they pass a car crash – you wanna see it, but you don`t want to see it, but you want to see it …

murder stories are pretty common lead stories on news bulletin.  but what importance do murders have to most peoples lives?  is somebody getting killed because of another person`s choice to kill them more important than somebody getting killed in a car crash?  or a work accident?  or a cancer?  aren`t there more important things going on in japan?  the government has this mad scheme to give everybody money to kickstart the economy … they are doing that in oz too, aren`t they?  anyone ever hear about this thing called the economy?  when it sucks you lose your job.  or the environment?  we gotta live there. 

many in japan worry about safety … they feel that their country is getting more and more dangerous.  is this fear valid?  or is a sensationalist media that panders to people`s morbid curiousity giving people a viewpoint out of whack with reality.  the year by year murders per 100,000 citizens figures would give a good picture of this.  i`m gonna take a wild guess and say they aren`t that different to the good old days.  this is the 5th safest country on the planet, based on murder per 100k figures.  this ain`t south africa.  or brazil.  countries with real violence problems.  i accept that some recent murders are shocking – the guy with the truck in akihabara was pretty crazy – but the year by year murder numbers aren`t going up. 

if they are, i apologise.  and let me know where the 4th safest country in the world is so i can move there. 

to summarise.  murder is entertainment.  it heads the news bulletin because it is fun to watch.  i think you are all disgusting.  why can`t you all go look at boobs or something if you want some kicks.

December 6, 2008

not going to the nou camp – and that is fine

Filed under: Football, Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:03 pm

3 weeks till i go to barcelona with my girlfriend.  we arrive on the 22nd.  the last round of la liga matches finishes on the 21st.  barcelona is playing at home, and they are positively FLYING HIGH at the moment.  playing fantasy football – messi, eto, xavi, iniesta, hell, even henry … they are all playing well.  and knocking in goals.  they are doing stuff you see in videogames.  no not fireballs and laser sight, i mean football videogames.  fifa and pes. 

a year or two back i would have changed the dates on my air tickets and changed my reservations.  but i didn`t.  my thoughts about football are changing.  big time.  i used to watch the champions league fervently, and follow the form of arsenal fc.  a team from london.  and i loved to watch internationals between the world`s best nations.  but since the arrival of the a-league in australia, and australia`s entry into asia … i don`t care. 

going to a roar game (when i was in australia), enjoying the match day and the crowd.  i just couldn`t get excited about a team in england.  even though i am not in australia anymore,  i know i will be back later, and i want to see the game develop back home.  the standard can be awful.  and the issues are many (thuggish players, bad reffing, the corporate nature of “new football”).  but its ours.  is football only about watching the best?  i don`t think so.   a sense of community and connection still has a place in modern sports, no matter how commercial or global the game gets.  i want to see melbourne victory get cr0wds of 50,ooo regularly.  passionate fans who will support their team even if they lose.  or if they suck.  and i want to see the other a-league teams try to match the victory.  for support and for play. 

the same with internationals.  enjoyed the latest euro championships.  some amazing goals.  excellent play.  but i was on the edge of my seat while australia scuffed its way through to the second round of the asian WC qualifiers.  and this is a very workmanlike australia team.  we`ve actually gone backwards in terms of talent (no young harry kewell, no young mark viduka, paul okon) … but thats ok.  its still gripping.  its still my national team trying to get to the big party. 

i could go to the nou camp.  probably have a lot of fun.  but i wouldn`t REALLY be a part of it.  i`d clap, and enjoy it, but i don`t care if bacelona fc win lose or draw.  having tickets for a barca game would feel nowhere as good as having tickets for an Australia – Japan world cup qualifier.  and i do have tickets, and i am ver happy about that …

hoping to see a j1 or j2 match next year up in osaka.  i like japan.  i like seeing the j league highlights on a late saturday night.  there are two teams up there … ganba and cerezo.  i think i might take cerezo, even though they are a mid table j2 team.  takes a brave man to wear pink.  and ganba seems like the easy choice after how they killed off adelaide in the ACL.

December 3, 2008

no photos today

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 2:55 pm

cos it was just too lovely out there.  jumped on my bike.  went riding in the countryside.  guess it was about a 3.5 hour trip.  not really long (for cycling ninjas, that is) rode through quiet farmland, up and down hillside.  no-one is out there.  its just empty.  sleepy.  amongst all the green foliage, you get this really pretty smattering of red and yellow.  hey, for an aussie, where the trees don`t change colour, this is pretty. 

and i didn`t take any pictures.  i wanted to,but i figured i couldn`t do it justice.  the photo would suck in comparison to what i saw.  and its cold, so i didn`t really want to stop cycling.  stop = cool down.  i don`t like cool down. 

oh well.  another day that reminded me why i like living in the japanese countryside.  i have a lot of good days.  if i didn`t, there wouldn`t be any point being out here.

December 2, 2008

addicted to concrete

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:55 pm

my thoughts on this topic are changing. 

i now think that australia`s addiction to ripping out trees to plant crops and make new housing estates, and our overuse of water is just as bad as japan`s concrete addiction. 

also, the roads that i use to enjoy the japanese countryside are just as man made, and just as damaging to local fauna / flora, as the concrete banks i used to hate … so i feel hypocritical railing against concrete as i ride down a man made road …

still, the sheer greyness of a lot of the city can get to you.  even the beach towns near yokohama are slabs of concrete …

but here are my original thoughts following.

there`s a lot to like in japan

peaceful vibe, cheap booze, good quality food, cheaper cost of living, i could go on …

but god are they addicted to pouring concrete everywhere.

i was cycling in the countryside yesterday, and you pass so many concreted river beds, so many concreted hillsides, that you don`t see it anymore. and this is in the middle of nowhere.

i passed this 20 house village, and i think there was more concrete in its surrounding than there is in my hometime (which has 8000 people).

i`ll have to read one of those alex kerr books someday …

but the short story seems to be that construction companies donate money to political parties, who then return the favour by splashing out on huge public works projects … or the government uses huge public works projects to kickstart the economy … or some combo of the two. guess i will have to read one of those books on how it all works, but the end result is that you are surprised when you don`t see a river with a concrete bed.

December 1, 2008

portal – the orange box

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 10:55 pm

took me a while to get around to this one.  hadn`t tried pc gaming.  hadn`t gotten around to buying a ps3 or xbox (still haven`t). 

but eventually i bought some extra ram for my lap top so i could try the orange box set.  especially portal. 

so, portal.  one of the games of 2006.  gave companion cubes to the world.  glados and one of the hippest game theme songs ever.  its all been said. 

but a stack of my friends still haven`t played this one.  so it is worth repeating. 

the gameplay messes with your head.  in a wonderful way.  you are playing with impossibilities.  in much the same way as mario galaxy does.  the setting is stark and gives a sense of being a rat in a maze.  a very creepy feeling of being controlled.  very unnerving.  it has some of the best dialogue i have ever seen in a game.  just you and the computer.  and.  AND.  finishing the game and seeing the final credits role will be one of your favourite videogame moments. 

and yes, portal is 5 hours long.  but what a 5 hours.  go on.  if you haven`t tried it.  try it. 

ps. get it on pc and you can download bonus map packs.

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