Monday, August 31, 2009

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood 21

After two weeks of painfully waiting for its release, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood 21 finally aired! (It did air a few days ago but I was swamped with moving to a new place)

Watch it here

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Manga Releases: August 2009

As August comes to a close, I decided to reflect on the chapters that came out/got scanlated of the manga I am following. At the moment it is a very Shoujo list since the Shounen ones I was following (Hunter x Hunter, D Gray Man, etc) seem to be in a boring standstill.

Skip Beat Chapter 144

We are still on the Valentine's day story arch-which has entertained us with Shou's gothic rendition of Kyoko and Beagle's "love affair."

Kyoko and Beagle being romantic

This chapter progressed the story by introducing Kyoko's birthday present to Ren. What made this present mysterious is the fact that Kyoko insisted that Ren open it when he is alone. Knowing Kyoko, it is going to be something super practical and unromantic. But we will just have to wait and see on the next release.

Kyoko tells Ren to open it alone

Kyoko tells Ren to open it at home

The comedic aspect of this chapter was when Kyoko was handing out chocolates to all her co-workers and explicity left out Ren. I definitely recommend reading it!

Read it here

Vampire Knight Chapter 53

Is it just me or has this story gotten incredibly dull? Things just went downhill when Kaname and Yuuki left the school. I am also not a fan of Yuuki's useless nature. Most of the time she sits around the house in pretty dresses, craving blood, and tripping around.

Why so emo?

In this chapter, Kaito is introduced as a teacher for the school. He is a vampire hunter and trained with Zero during childhood.

Kaito and Zero reunite

Did Zero just jizz in his pants?

There is a party with the Hunter Association and the Vampire Council. An old friend decides to attend the party in search of Yuuki. The chapter also ends with a bittersweet reunion.

Read it here

Other good reads this month

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Translation Party

While I was reading some Yankee kun to Megane chan, my very sexy friend Rachel showed me this online application called Translation Party. It takes an English phrase and translates it into the Japanese equivalence. It then takes that Japanese phrase and finds its literal English meaning. It alternates between the languages until it finds a translation that is literally the same in both English and Japanese.

I will be going to work today
I think it can work
I think I can avoid it
I think I can avoid it

I don't do very well at parties
I'm not very well at the party
My party is very well
I very much party
I have so many parties
I have many parties
I have many parties


I am the killer kitten who eats snake monkey.
I am a kitten killer snake eating a monkey.
I have a monkey eating a kitten killer snakes.
I have the kitten killer snake eating monkeys.
My kitten killer snakes are eating monkeys.
My kitten killer snakes are eating monkeys.

There are some phrases that have no equivalence. Furthermore, many phrases can be turned into the complete opposite of the original sentence (see party example).

Why it Works:

The Japanese language has a different sentence structure than that of the English language. Thus with the verb always going last, literal translations can change the meaning. Furthermore, the subject particle is normally assumed and excluded from the sentence. This can turn a 'I went to a party' to 'Went to party' if the 'I' was excluded since most speakers exclude the subject if it can be assumed to whom it is referring to.

Why not give it a try and share some interesting outcomes with me? This is an awesome way to improve your Japanese skills as well.

Play Translation Party

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let's Translate It: よつばと!

Here is the second installment of August's Japanese lessons. Today we will take a look at a raw page of Yotsubato!. I did some research and this came up as a good beginner manga to read in Japanese.

Yotsubato! Volume 1 front cover

Yotsubato! Volume 1 front cover


Here is a page from chapter 1 in the first volume. We will take each cell, state the romaji then translate it as best as we can. Please remember that I am learning with you. I probably won't get the translation at 100%. But as each of these lessons go on, my skills (as well as yours) will improve, raising the amount and difficulty of the context.

Pg 11 of Yotsubato! Volume 1

Click on the image to see a bigger screen


We will be going from right to left in an up down pattern. So Cell #1 will be the one on the top right, Cell #2 is the top left, cell #3 is bottom right, etc ...


Cell #1:

Jumbo: Have you been well?
Yotsuba: Ah! Stop it!

Jumbo: Genki ni shitetaka?
Yotsuba:Uah! Yameru!

Cell #2:

Koiwai-San: Where's Yanda?
Jumbo: He had some business come up. That guy is no good.

Koiwai san: Yanda wa?
Jumbo:A-aitsu you ga haittekara koneette. Aitsu dame dawa.

Cell #3:

Yotsuba: Jumbo, you've gotten bigger since I've seen you last!
Jumbo: Oh? Where did you learn that saying?
Koiwai san: Oh well. Jumbo will just have to do two people's worth or work.

Yotsuba:Jumbo shibaraku uchi ni mata ooki kunatta!
Jumbo: O? Doko de oboeta sono serifu?
Koiwai san: Maa ii ka. Jumbo ga futaripun hatarakushina.

Cell #4:

Jumbo: No way. Not happening. I'm not working like that!
Koiwai san: Please work...
Yotsuba:I will work!

Jumbo: Sonna! Goto wa nai! Ore wa hatarakanai!
Koiwai san: Hataraite kure...
Yotsuba:Yotsuba ga hataraku!

Cell #5:

Jumbo: Oh! That's great Yotsuba! Your dad is no good eh?
Yotsuba:My dad is no good!

Jumbo: O! Eraizo Yotsuba! To chan wa dame dane!
Yotsuba: To chan dame da!

Related posts:

Lesson 1: Translate the blog's title

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rainbow Roll as Healthiest Choice

A co-worker sent me an interesting e-mail containing an article in Men's Health magazine entitled The Ultimate Sushi Roll Selector

This page took the most common North American sushi rolls and graded them from best to worst in terms of:

  • calories
  • fat content
  • nutrition

The Winner:

At number one we have the Rainbow Roll with:

  • 476 calories
  • 16 g fat
  • 33 g protein
  • 6 g fiber
  • 50 g carbohydrates

Rainbow Rolls

Mmm Rainbow Rolls

It's a great food choice because the majority of the calories are unsaturated fat. This is the kind of fat that burns other fats in your stomach. The source of these heavenly fats is the fish and the avocado.

The Loser:

At the end of the list we have the Shrimp Tempura Roll. Its nutrition stats are:

  • 508 calories
  • 21 g fat
  • 20 g protein
  • 4.5 g fiber
  • 64 g carbohydrates

Shrimp Tempura Roll

Shrimp Tempura Rolls

Placing deep fried food that is heavy in starch into a roll of sushi defeats all health purposes. Though avocado is part of the roll, it is too small of a portion to balance out the saturated fat from the fried tempura.

See the rest of the list

Monday, August 17, 2009

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood 20

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood Episode 20 SUB

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood Episode 20

A less exciting episode of FMABH but pretty important to the plot. We learn that the body conjured during human trasmutulation was not their mother. This released all personal guilt in murdering their mother a second time. This also gave Ed more confidence about giving Alphonse his original body.

The most interesting scene to me was the premonition given by Hohenheim (Ed's father). He warns Pinacko that disaster will strike the small town and to vacate. Refusing to abandon the home of Ed, Al, and Winry, Pinacko decides to stay put. What Authority does Hohenheim have to say such things? He is such a mysterious character, I woudln't be surprised if he is the creepy mysterious father of the Homunculi (which has always been my initial hunch).

I guess every series needs their calm episodes to make climaxes that much more exciting

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Meloncholy of Furukawa Nagisa - Prologue

While watching some videos regarding Suzumiya Haruhi's Endless Eight, a striking parallel tickled my brain. As a laid back male protagonist (who holds the story's point of view) is surrounded by a group of loli-like high school girls with varying personalities, I can't help but think of another highly successful series called Clannad.

To perform a thorough and accurate comparison, I've decided to re-watch both series. As you may know, both have 2 seasons. To make matters worse, the order in which you watch Season 1 of Suzumiya Haruhi is crucial to how you interpret the story.

Process in depth:

  • Watch Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu in broadcast order and chronological order at the same time
  • Watch the new season of Suzumiya Haruhi (and the annoying endless eight) and compare it with the old season
  • Watch Clannad
  • Watch Clannad After Story
  • Publish process notes in a logical fashion

Now at the surface both series seem different enough. However, as I started watching Season 1 of SHNY, I was able to spot some not so obvious parallels between itself and Clannad.

Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu Intro Notes

  • Was named the most popular series of 2006 by Newtype magazine
  • Won the Animation Kobe Award for TV Feature in 2006
  • Originates from Light Novels
  • Manga has 4 adaptations while the anime has 2 seasons

Suzumiya Huruhi Group picture

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu group picture

Clannad Intro Notes

  • Ranked 1st in Bishojo Games in the October 2007 issue of Dengeki G's Magazine
  • Originates from a Visual Novel (interactive graphic fiction)
  • Has four manga adaptations and 2 anime seasons
Clannad group picture

Clannad group picture

Now that we have gotten our feet wet with a brief overview of both series' popularity and accomplishments, we'll look at each series in depth.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood 19

Well I was completely unaware that the 19th episode was translated at the same time. So I didn't end up watching it until Monday night. Since I didn't have the agony of waiting to affect my bias, I'm not sure if the effect was the same had I needed to wait. Overall still a good episode.

My favourite sequence

I see how you were deceived You like big breasts don't you I love them Big breasts!


As Elizabeth tries to escape the clutches of Gluttony, everyone's favourite Colonel comes to lend a hand. The concepts of Homunculi are introduced to this group and we even get a glimpse of Lust's philosopher's stone

What a coincidence

The location of the curls of her hair, her facial structure, the cropping, way too many things to point out on this great shot

Many times in the episode, the lives of several people were being tossed in my head as being alive or dead. Just as I became resolved in their death, they turn up to be alive.

Death status

  • Lust: Dead
  • Elizabeth: Alive
  • Roy Mustang: ??
  • Jean Havoc: ??
  • Alphonse: Alive
  • Barry: Dead

With the state of Roy and Jean up in the air, we are assured that Homunculi can be killed. On the other hand, we discover that Alphonse has a limited amount of time before his armour stops responding to him. The Episode ends with Ed facing his father

What a coincidence

I wasn't expecting this

Final Thoughts

I suppose I am leaving with a few feelings. Besides the well being of Mustang and Havoc, I also want to know why the Fuhrer did not interfere with the killing of Lust.

Until next week FMA BH!

Rating: 4/5

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood 18

After 2 weeks of mind numbing anticipation, the English sub release of FMA BH 18 finally hit the online scene on Sunday afternoon. Having not seen the original series, I was eager as hell to see the outcome.

my favourite scene

{My favourite scene)

Feelings prior to watching:

FMA BH 17 ended with the feelings of betrayal and surprise from Colonel Mustang. This series has been nothing less than tragically depressing since episode 1 - with people betraying your trust left, right, and center. Part of your conscious is searching for the goodness of mankind, which is my personal reason for coming back for more.

Evil Roy

Colonel Roy Mustang prior to doing the deed that made me hate him for 2 weeks


Don't read if you don't want spoilers!! At this point in the series, my hope in mankind pretty much deteriorated so it was an uplifting surprise to find out Colonel Mustang had an ethical backbone. Edward regains his moral resolve and things progress smoothly until those annoying homunculi rain on the parade.

Riza and Glut Angry glutScared Riza

Some epic screen captures

Final Thoughts

It was seriously a good episode. The creators really know when to place high and low points. There seems to be no limit on how cruel or mean a character or situation can be.

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Japanese TIO Permanent Hair Straightening

Ever since I was 14, my hair - and its tendency to curl about - always drove me nuts. I constantly wore it in a ponytail (or a half ponytail), to avoid its wavy powers. By the time I was 16, I was so fed up that I decided to cut it short. This lowered my annoyance with the stubborn locks, but the curly tendencies of my front bangs was a kind reminder that my hair was the boss.

5 years later, I decided to have a rematch with the undisputed champion. With my favourite hairstylist in hand, I was ready to achieve the straight hair of my dreams.

Prep Work

as an artist starts on a clean canvas, it is imperative that your hairstylist wash and dries your hair prior to the treatment.

To clarify:
  1. Shampoo twice and rinse
  2. Condition and rinse with cold water
  3. Lightly towel dry (use pats and avoid rubs)
  4. Blow dry with a round metallic brush
  1. As you sit in reverie from having your hair pampered, your hairstylist applies a chemical mixture with a soft bristled brush. A wide toothed comb is used to ensure an even treatment. If your stylist is not carefully coating layer-by-layer, I would get a new stylist.

  2. Leave the mixture in for 1 hour then thoroughly wash it off. This time, blow dry hair with the dryer facing downwards (make it as straight as possible; avoid 45 degree angles). Your hairstylist should now proceed to using a flat iron to straighten every strand.

  3. Repeat steps 2 and 3 but this time applying a silk serum prior to drying the hair.
Approximately 3.5 hours from the time i set foot into the salon, i finally won the war between me and my hair. There are just a few things I have to do.

  1. Avoid all contact with water for the next 72 hours. if the hair should get wet, use a flatiron immediately.

  2. Stay away from bands and clips. The key here is to keep the hair as straight as possible. Any bents or dents left by hair ties and bands will stay there for the next 6-8 months.

  3. Apply silk serum after every wash. Chemicals are terrible for your hair. So keeping it hydrated is a great idea - even if you didn't do the treatment and have dry or damaged hair.

  4. Blow dry it downwards. Don't towel dry your hair! If you are against blow driers, brush straight and air dry.
Though my hair is now slick and straight, a flatiron can be used to achieve a higher level of shine.

Overall, I'm happy with the results, I just need to get used to the way my hair frames my face. Thanks to my hairstylist and Japan for coming up with a miracle worker.

(before and after)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Funny Read: Making Out in Japanese

While I was in Up State New York mall last weekend, I stumbled upon an interesting book:

Click on the picture to be directed to the google book

As someone who took university classes in Japanese, the transition from uptight formal speech, to this more informal-slang type of speech was a surprisingly easy transition. This is obviously not a replacement for real classes since you are learning phrases and not the ability to coin your own sentences, but for a last minute quick helper, this is great!

Not only does it give a chapter on the 'Language of Love', but more useful, everyday encounters such as greetings and casual conversation.

If you are pressed for time to read a whole book, let me assure you that this book is thin and easy to carry around. If this does not sound encouraging, just click on the above link, read the intro, and you would have learned a great deal about the language already.

Rating: 4/5

(There were some things it did not state, like how some ways of talking make you seem lower in class, and I completely disagree with using anata for anyone but your husband/wife but otherwise, a very amusing hour going over the book)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Japanese Lesson 1: Translate the blog title

Today we will translate the phrase:

"I am not Japanese"

  1. If the subject of the sentence can be easily guessed, then leave the subject out of sentence. However, for translation's sake we will learn how to say I in Japanese (though a future blog will discuss different ways of saying 'I').

  2. To mark that 'I' is the subject of the sentence, we must use the particle は. Though the particle itself is pronounced as 'ha', when it is being used as a subject marker particle, it is pronounced as 'wa'.

    (watashi wa)

  3. The word Japanese is literally translated as 'Japan People' so there are two parts
    • Japan is presented by the characters 日本 (Nihon - which literally means land of the sun)
    • People is represented by the character for human 人. Placing it beside 日本, makes it a nationality (which can be done with all countries).

    (watashi wa nihonjin)

  4. The verb part is usually last in the Japanese sentence structure. The verb for 'being' (ex: This is a chair, I am a 4th year university student) is です. That is in its present, long form. To speak more informally, we leave it out.

    (watashi wa nihonjin desu)

  5. To negate the sentence, we must use the negative present form. That is じゃあありません (ja arimasen). In short form (aka:informal speech), it becomes じゃあない.

    (watashi wa nihonjin ja arimasen)

    or in more common speech
    (nihonjin ja nai)
By the end of this lesson, you should understand the meaning behind 'japanesejanai' and the witty fusion that was intended.

If you have any questions or corrections (I am fairly new at this language), leave a comment =D

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hana to Akuma (Flower and Demon) Volume I

The front cover of Volume 1

This week I started to read Hana To Akuma - a series created by Oto Hisamu about a high ranked Demon (Vivi) who runs away from hell and picks up a baby human girl (Hana) whom he finds on the street. The story begins when Hana is 14.

Initial Thoughts:

What do you get when you mix Sebastien Michaelis and Ciel Phantomhive from Kuroshitsuji? You get Vivi, who has Ciel's apathy, royalty and fashion sense, mixed with Sebastian's natural talent, dark mysterious aura and good looks.

Ciel and Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji

Hana is your typical loli heroine: naive, innocent, and persistent with an all encompassing love for Vivi. Besides from her love for Vivi, I am not getting much substance from her character, making it extremely difficult for me to like her.

There is also an incestuous nature about the relationship between Vivi and Hana: a father-daughter union turned romantic (think Lovesick). Though things seem to be on the gray line of parental and romantic, it is likely going to transition into pure romance in the later volumes.

Why it is doing so well:
  • Incest: there is somethiLoligoth dress from Delirium Clothingng about a forbidden romance between an adult and a teenager that peak the interest of so many readers. (ex: Lovesick, Loveless, Glass Mask)
  • Loligoth: the fashion sense displayed by Hana is very Lolita-goth, a current trend in Japan.
  • Perfect Demons: Popular anime series such as Vampire Knight and Kuroshitsuji have supernatural beings that have skills and physical features that surpass those of humans. They also bring along a dark aura, making themselves mysterious and just plain sexy.
  • Original twists: Though it takes successful vices from other anime and manga series, the most important aspect that is making this manga a hit among readers is its own original content. This is where other manga fail. They seem more cut and paste and less original.

Rating: 3.5/5

Related Posts

September Review: Faster than a Kiss

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I will be taking this time to outline what I hope to blog about in the future. Maybe as the name implies, I'm a little obsessed with Japanese pop culture (manga and anime specifically). I decided to put all the time I spend reading and watching into productive use by sharing my thoughts and feelings of recent and famous series.

This is great for:
  • Other 'Japanfanatics'
  • People who want to find out how a series is like prior to watching/reading it
  • People who want to hear other people's opinions on things they like
  • People who need to kill time
  • You?
On a more ambitious note, every two weeks I will be covering a Japanese lesson. This can be "Kanji of the day" or a page in a manga I am reading that we can translate together. Or a common english phrase that would be useful to know in Japanese.

I also play games now and then and may review those if they have anime/japan themes.

Matta ne!