Haiku reflections on Japan, Snapshots of Japan

After the Storm

After the Storm – 

another hit from the

class Kore-eda?

There’s a film out at the moment called ‘After the Storm’ starring Hiroshi Abe and Kiki Kirin which is meant to be really good.   I’d go see it only it’s not available anywhere near me.  I might have to head to another city to see it so we’ll see.   It looks like one I’d add to my ‘Films worth a look’ list.   It’s another one by Kore-eda whose films are nearly always about family ties.

Haven’t studied any Japanese in a few weeks.  I think I just got to a level on Renshuu that I had to think ‘Oh well where do I go now?’   I went to another part of the site that specialised in kanji but found myself going over old ground, really basic old ground so was not very motivated to continue it.  I like to copy a lot of sentences from it which have new terms in them, or certain grammar structures I want to perfect, into word files according to theme and then I try to go back to the Word files once in a while to look over what I’ve learned – I’ve pages and pages by now per theme (politics, business, sport, food/drink, household, etc.) – to review them.   Well, good intentions and all ….  I don’t usually have the time.   Still, it’s good to give something a break now and then so you can return to it with a clear mind.

One or two files that are really handy at the moment are the politics and war files considering the antagonism coming from NK towards Japan and the new leader in South Korea.  Another is my weather and climate file since firstly Japan has such a wide range of weather conditions and catastrophes and secondly since the climate is more important than ever and not just because or since that clown in the White House pulled out of the all-important Paris agreement.  Boooo!! 馬鹿だよ!

Any thoughts on this?  I look forward to hearing them.

Slightly edited – 3/6 – to add haiku and other additions to main text.

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Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Itami update – Taxing indeed!

Sometimes the sequel

to a film just ain’t worth the

effort of watching

Well, I watched A Taxing Woman and as expected, it was very good (earning Miyamoto a Best Actress award at the Japanese Academy Awards in 1988) with great performances by both Miyamoto, the ‘taxing’ woman of the title and Yamazaki, the tricky person she’s after for taxes, yet comes to respect and like (a feeling that’s more than mutual).  Who would think a film about a tax inspector could be so riveting!!  Not me.  There are some pretty comical scenes exaggerating the power and excitement these tax inspectors get in catching tax evaders.

However, I’d be very reluctant to recommend the sequel A taxing woman returns which I decided to watch straight after because I had just discovered a sequel existed (and I was doing nothing else). This time she’s going after a religious cult mixed up with the Yakuza (like the Yakuza aren’t challenging enough!) and there are some very distasteful scenes in it.  I turned it off after a while as I couldn’t watch anymore.  Even the first scene is hard to get past.  You could say it was taxing to watch.  It’s almost an insult to the original to be that distasteful (even though it’s the same actress and same director – I’m a bit disappointed people!)

I was wondering what the マルサ of the Japanese title referred to.  It’s slang for the tax inspection agency.  She does mention it herself when her boss decides they need the assistance of the national inspection agency (they’re just regular auditors working for the local tax office) to which she then gets promoted to working with, but I couldn’t see the linguistic connection.  Wikipedia put me right.  I’m a linguist by profession so this need to know something like this is obsessive.  I’m not a human dictionary after all and nor would finance /tax be an area I’d be in a rush to translate so I wouldn’t know it through my work either.  Anyway, サ/査 comes from one of the words for inspection (調査・ちょうさ) and マル・まる which is circle represents the circle beside the 査 kanji, two kanji  〇査 (ok, symbols as the circle’s not a kanji but you get my drift) which the tax inspection agency use side by side in their official seal. I like how it translates in English to ‘(a) taxing woman’ as to the people she’s after she’s rather taxing as she won’t get off their case but likewise it’s ‘taxing’ work for her to deal with such people, however smoothly she does it.   Exciting knowledge to have I know(ok now I’m just being sarcastic) – but you’d never know when you might need it.  Just don’t get caught out on your taxes in Japan and you won’t have to. But if you want to translate finance/tax (yawn!), it’s good to know anyway.

Don’t forget to watch the original though – it really is very good.

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International or other matters

Sinkholes

Sinkholes in Japan

Sinkholes wreakin’ my study

What’s with the sinkholes!

 

What a shock the people hanging around Hakata station in the Hakata ward of Fukuoka city must have got earlier this morning (Japan time) when a giant sinkhole started to form in front of the station.   15 metres deep, 27 wide and 30 long it looks huge.  Nobody was hurt.   I just hope it doesn’t get bigger.  These sinkholes have been appearing around the world lately and are a bit of a mystery.   It’s no surprise it happened in Japan, given the country’s geological sensitivity.

Speaking of sinkholes, Memrise seems to be disappearing down a sinkhole of sorts lately.  Their update remains the same anytime I log into take a look… ‘… progress may not be recorded blah blah blah’.  This is what happens when you over-complicate a website that started out in a fairly simple format.  Having the access to contribute to a course is great but not when the whole site is down and you can’t do anything to help.  Thankfully, there are other sources I can access to enhance my Japanese.  www.renshuu.org is another great site I use. Hurray for hassle-free learning.

Things are looking tight over in the US with people going to vote for their 45th president.   Of course Americans have a lot of other people to vote for as well, as senate positions, to give one example, are being contested as well.  What a headache but it’s worth voting. Politics is really being upended over there with this not so dignified run for the presidency.  Though Hilary C has gotten herself in a bit of trouble and is not seen as very likeable, she is still  unquestionably more capable than that orange-skinned oaf who would only create another sinkhole, a political one. She has the international vote of confidence as well, despite her mistakes (though I suppose with the lack of choice….). I think she should be given a chance and maybe she will turn things around.  Who knows.

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