My Best Teaching Is One-on-One

一対一が僕のベスト

Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.

当然、先生方と共同レッスンも、特別レッスンの指導もします。

But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.

しかし、僕の一番意味あると思っている仕事は、講義が終わってから、
一対一と
個人的にその課題の勉強を応援することです。

It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.

まあ、コンピュータプログラムにすると、得意先の方に出来上がった製品を体験させるようなことと思います。
役に立たない製品はまだ製品になっていないと同様です。

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Google Recommends, I Don't

Several years back, a friend of mine told me I should buy into Apple's iOS -- invest in enough Apple equipment to start developing iApps.

Google, he said, was the new Microsoft.

I knew he was right, I knew Google wouldn't stay a true friend of Free Software forever. Really, the writing was on the wall, plain as day for all to see.

Google did not want to invest in the fundamental research that would allow a true Unix-style login on the Android devices, and that meant they had to prevent the ordinary user from getting root. They had to keep you from getting the power to perform even rather rudimentary administration tasks for Android devices.

Lot's of other blue-sky, sure. Anything that might eventually by piped into a profitable revenue stream. Guitars and wild parties? No problem.

But this rant is not about the difficulty of getting root on your device.

Well, Google did not ask me whether I wanted their recommendations in my youtube feed.

Wait.

They didn't even ask me if I wanted my youtube app to start getting push content -- a "feed".

I don't want a feed of any sort. I am plenty capable of feeding myself, thank you. I definitely don't want their recommendations.

In point of fact, all of their recommendations so far have been completely off-base. And they will. Just like almost all the ads we see on TV have nothing to do with us, really. People reaching out to touch our pocketbooks, that's all.

I don't want to live in an information bubble -- especially not of Google's making and selling, even as the cost of a free account.

I guess that's the crux of the matter -- "free".

Can I afford to go to an ad-free paid account? I'd prefer to run my own servers, really.

But the cartels of "content", of course, think they would just as soon have me freeloading, so that they can push their ads at me and tap my pocketbook.

(Which is so empty it echoes. Makes a pretty good drum. Heh. Tap that drum. I still don't like the music.)

Seems like you can't escape the gossamer chains (bent metaphor, yes) of the influence of moneyed interests.

That's not what money is supposed to be for.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Adobe Wants Me to Trust My Passwords to Intel, and Google Agrees

I'm thinking I want to amuse myself by looking at Google Translate's results for a test question.

I go to Google Translate, and Google warns me that Adobe Flash is old and says some function has been blocked.

Now it still shows me their translation results, which aren't too bad this time.

Anyway, I go to Adobe's websitse to check on updates.

Adobe wants me to install Intel's True Key password manager when I download the new update.

It's not just an option, it's a recommended option. The checkbox is checked: "Yes! I will install True Key by Intel Security and resolve my password handling burdens." (my translation from Japanese). I close the page and open it again and it's still there and still checked by default. Any way I come to that page, it's still checked by default.

Still checked by default.

Adobe really wants me to trust Intel with my passwords.

(The Japanese text, if you are interested, is 「はい、True Key by Intel セキュリティをインストールして、パスワード管理の負担を解除します。」 )

If I'm not paying attention when I download the update, I'm going to install True Key and effectively give Intel's software all control over my passwords.

Oh, and, by the way, every effort I make to get that page to display in English is mutely refused.

I show the front page in English and come here and it's still Japanese.

I remove "jp" from the URL and it rewrites the URL and puts it back in for me.

I explicitly type "en" on top of "jp" in the URL and it rewrites that, as well. Okay, okay, okay, language vs. country.

So I type "us" over the "jp" and try that. But that "Page Does Not Exist". (Ergo, they think that, if the country is not specified, it must implicitly be the US -- by defaults built into the website design.  Typical US-centric snobs. ;-/)

Good thing I'm fluent in Japanese.

Oh, hey, I'm fluent in Japanese. I really don't need AdobeFlashy web applications to amuse me with their really bad translations. (Erm, well, this time it wasn't so bad. Bad, but not that bad. And it translates for me anyway, so I have no idea why Google thinks I need Flash for that page. Well, probably, Flash smooths out the event handling with images or something equally inane and arcane. As if Javascript/Ecmascript events are not enough by themselves.)

It's not enough for Adobe to push McAfee Malware software on me, even though the school has Virus Buster licensed and installed on this computer already.

Draw your own conclusions.

But I don't appreciate the hard sell, just so they can pretend to be trying to overcome the security nightmare that is Adobe Flash.

(Fix Flash, Adobe, if you know how. If you don't know how, hire people who do. No, I'm not interested.)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Thoughts on Personal History and Social Networking

[JMR201611191729:

You know, I'm not sure I believe anything I've written here.

And I'm not sure I want the person who inspired this post to read it. I think it's almost true, but not quite. But, having written it, I'm not sure I want to simply erase it.

Which is why I wanted to complain about social networking for exposing me to memories that I still -- apparently -- haven't completely dealt with. But even that is not necessarily a bad thing, because I do have to eventually deal with what really happened and what didn't and what I haven't yet set completely aside.

]

Sometimes I wonder whether all the social networking stuff is a good thing. It consumes a lot of my time and doesn't seem to make me any more money. But that's not reason for disagreement with SNS.

[JMR201611191736:

Well, I guess I don't wonder, really. What I posted today over on my political blog -- most of the SNS generates mostly noise, people shouting and tweeting and twittering, making mountains out of molehills, and not very many people really listening. And it becomes yet more excuse for people behaving unreasonably, and even criminally so.

I want to take a stab at doing it the way I think is right, but, for now, LinkedIn is the closest I've seen, and getting a little better at a time. Which, relative to the present post, is a little ironic.

Google+ also gets close, in a different way.

I should post about it again, but it's a really detailed subject.

]

The other day I came across a former girlfriend's profile on LinkedIn. No big deal, really, it happens all the time.

[JMR201611191757:

That is to say, it happens all the time to other people. Not so much to me. In fact, this is the first and only time it's happened to me to this point. And I may have gone searching more than just come across it. I'm not sure.

I have gone searching for people I know, or used to know, in the past -- mostly when I'm tired at work and need to be doing work and don't want to be doing work, and need something, anything, to keep me awake and keep the adrenalin flowing.

]

However, when we broke up, she told me I shouldn't contact her anymore.

I thought at the time we should remain in contact and just be friends. She thought otherwise.

[JMR201611191801:

This much is supposed to be true, and I can't say much more than that without treading on her stewardship.

]

We had moved too fast, really.

Yeah, we had some sort of chemistry, and we shared an interest in electronics and computers and religion. But we hardly knew each other before we shared our first kiss. I don't think I ever knew what her favorite movies were, nor her favorite books. I do know she liked to share her breath freshener with me, and I did not exactly care for all that minty sweet stuff.

[JMR201611191803: 

I have no idea how true the above is. It seems true, but it also seems too convenient, and seems not to describe what I was feeling for several years after.

]

I had entertained hopes that we could be the Pierre and Marie of software. Was (am) I an incurable romantic?

[JMR201611191806: 

I think this was true. At least I remember thinking things like this.

]

We got engaged even though we had no real basis for friendship. It turned out to be kind of painful to try to establish one.

[JMR201611191807: 

How can anyone ever have a real basis for beginning a courtship, friends or not?

Still, it would have been nice to have been friends first, to have explored our common interests (we did have a few) before we got our egos and fears about courting tangled up in what we believed about each other.

]

We were going different directions, she with her 8085 and me with my 6809, she with her MS-DOS and I with my OS-9 and Unix.

[JMR201611191810: 

I think I remember thinking things like this also, although I might, had I been more experienced, have been able to negotiate a little more interest from her in the 6809 if I had been able to show a little more interest in the 8085 and Z-80.

I was definitely too attached to Motorola processors, but I had good reasons.

How a company like Motorola managed to come up with the two best microprocessors of the '80s is a puzzle. Even the ARM CPUs are only about halfway there, and headed the wrong direction. How Motorola wasted the business opportunities with their CPUs is not so much of a puzzle. The markets of this world never know what to do with really good things.

If I could have distanced myself from my personal entanglement in the war between really good and good enough for yesterday, I might have been able to discuss electronics with her in a way that she wouldn't have found, well, scary.

On the other hand, having broken up with her, I should have quit trying to justify her opinions. I should have dug into my the projects I ended up leaving hanging out to dry. At least, if I had done so, I would be a lot closer to financially solvent now.

]

The battlefield in the house probably would have reflected the parallel war in the market had we married. Some people enjoy that. I don't.

[JMR201611191821: 

This may be the most ridiculous thing I have ever said.

Husband/wife relationships are always battlefields. It's not good, and it doesn't justify either of them thinking power is a replacement for love, but marrying two people who would not have problems negotiating their differences would be, well, to borrow a phrase from Japanese, 勿体無い (mottainai).

Sure, you need commonality, but without the differences there is no dynamic, no energy, none of the creativity that is the whole reason for relationships in general and marriage in particular.

The real question was whether there was enough interest in each other there to keep us engaged with each other. And she convinced herself there was not, and I could not convince myself it was within my stewardship to disagree with her on that subject to her face. Or I was not able to put my ego at enough of a risk to do so, which was another problem.

]

Well, there were no hard feelings. The first cut, as the song goes, was the deepest for a while. It took me a few years and a lot of dating to leave the memory of my fantasy of how I wanted it to have been behind.

And to realize I wasn't so much in love with her as with that dream of being able to be a creative team with my wife in the professional world as well as at home. And to admit that she was never into that dream at all.

Seeing her picture on her profile still awakens some distant echo of those old dreams.

[JMR201611191806: 

Hard feelings? What are hard feelings. There were a lot of hard feelings for several years, which I kept trying to hide myself from.

After she got married, after I talked with her mother one last time to be sure she that she really had, I was able to begin to really accept that much of what drove my interest were dreams from before my childhood that I had to let go of.

(How many times has God told me in so many words that the hardware and software I wanted to create are just too good for this world -- would give bad people way too much power?)

I can't blame her for sensing that.

I expect, when we cross to the other side of the veil, we'll remember that we were friends before we came to this world, and that she was trying to get me to give in to the restrictions God put on me about that back then, too. If that is the case, I suppose it would have been a bit unreasonable to ask her to put herself at the kind of risk she would have been in, nursing me away from that.

In comic book worlds, yeah, girlfriends of superheroes do that kind of thing for them.

In the real world, we are all superheroes, and we are none of us superheroes, except for Jesus Christ Himself, who was so much more than a superhero.

And yet, my wife, for all that she is wrong about so much, is doing exactly that for me now. And it is putting more stress on her than she deserves. And I keep forgetting that and demanding she be superhuman when I think I need her to be.

(It's only fair that she be wrong about so much, since I am, too.)

]

I have since decided that a broken heart is actually a good experience. It helps you to realize that the things you set your heart on are all ephemeral. It's important to feel deeply about things, but it's also important to be able to let go when you learn that there are more important things.

And it's important to be able to separate what you wish were real from what really is real.

[JMR201611191843:

Okay, I think I got those two paragraphs right.

]

Should I have LinkedIn ask her if she wants to establish a social networking connection?

I think not. I can't think of much we could talk about. [JMR201610310109: And I don't think she'd appreciate it. ]

Some parts of the past are best left in the past, even if modern technology would allow us to do otherwise.

[JMR201611191845:

But I'm going to have to think about this carefully because there are more than two people involved in this game. Spouses and children are not uninvolved, and I have to get settled on the issues that she forced me to start facing some thirty years ago, or I'll never be able to provide for my own children's spiritual needs. And my wife's.

And I may have trouble continuing to make enough money for food and rent for myself and them, as well, because part of why I never made myself permanently employable is precisely my lack of desire to deal with a world that doesn't meet my ideals. And I seem to have reached an end to the workarounds I have used until now.

I suppose LinkedIn is not inherently evil, anyway.

]

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Selling Twitter

I noticed last night that rumors are going around about who is and is not likely to buy Twitter.

Google? What on earth would Google want with Twitter? Google has goggle+, hangouts, etc. They are doing Twitter the (more-or-less) right way already, and they have no particular need of Twitter's customer base.

The brand name, and that's about it, but would it be worth anything close to the asking price to Google?

Yahoo?

I could see that. Maybe. But they would have to take a very cautious organizational approach about integrating it with what they already have, while taking a very aggressive approach about re-developing the technology.

Re-developing the technology, not just bringing it in. The user interface seems to be somewhat valuable. The technology substrate, not so much.

Would I buy Twitter if I had the money?

I would need the asking price, enough money to maintain it somewhat better than life support for about three years, and several hundred million more for skunkworks projects to develop a useful infrastructure too hang the brand on.

Infrastructure?

To make Twitter a first-class ISP: connection, website and blog hosting, mail, for starters. And, because I think basically every ISP in existence is falling down on the job, I would add private subdomains, static IPv6 address blocks, and other no-brainers that are missing in the current market.

And offer a branded open source mail client or two, to help the customers get free of the Microsoft Outlook that is such a restrictive point of view.

Oh. And, of course, offer a branded custom Linux OS and a branded BSD derivative, along with direct support for general open source OSses.

Not just offer it to the customers, but actively encourage them to switch from the current market-leader-which-needs-not-be-named. Gotta attack the underlying problems in our information infrastructure.

Basically, the only value Twitter would have for me is the brand and the customer base.

Of course, I don't have access to that kind of money.

(Billions of dollars?

That's not real money of the same sort that I pay rent with.

It's a proxy for value in a different dimension, and I don't exist in that dimension. Don't think I want to, for all the wars that go on in that dimension.

Sure, re-doing our information infrastructure and doing it right this time would be fun, but I'd first have to find a way to protect myself from the warfare.

War is stupid, and not for making people happy, even if the weaponry is money instead of bombs.)

(Not for making people happy == hell, okay?)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Epiphanies about Violence and Lies while Stack-diving at a Junkudo Bookstore

Did a little reading in the stacks at ジュンク堂 (Junkudo). I had gone to buy a book for my mother-in-law -- 道場洋三 (Dojo Yozo)'s latest book 『おはようパーソナリティ道上洋三の山あり谷ありダイアリー』(Ohayo Personality Dojo Yozo's Diary with Mountains and Valleys or something like that).

Finding that, I decided it'd been enough years since I'd gone stack diving at Junkudo, and I made my way into the deeper environs.

Books from members of the entertainment industry.

"Soft" porn next to that. (Collections of pictures of famous people, mostly female, generally including some nude and/or partial nude shots. I suppose they think they are baring their souls to their fans.)

Business. IoT is all about business. You can tell that by the fact that so many of the books on IoT are in the business section. That means that it's all basically smoke and mirrors. But we knew that.

Great opportunity to sell ARM processors.

Wish I had a million dollars to develop the low-power CPU I want to develop. I could quit my current job and at least get a series of simulators (in C) put together with assemblers and Forth interpreter bootstrap/monitors, and then implement real processors in some form of programmable logic. (Wire-wrapped LSI would be great fun, too. ;)

And maybe have them built in time to ride the tail of the IoT wave into actual use.

(I'd start with a re-worked 6809, and then build 16 bit and 32 bit versions of the thing. All would have DMA and MMUs. Multiplication, division, and floating point would be synthesized, but the CPU would have special writable microcode so that the synthesized instructions could run at higher speed than main memory. The central feature would be specific support for dual stack architectures, separating the return addresses from local variables for safety and speed -- with special use specific caches between level one cache and the processor, ... daydreams.)

Novels. Maybe someday some of the novels I am writing or plan to write will be among those. Maybe I'll even be able to do some writing in Japanese, or translate my own works. Someday.

Self-help books.

Books on math and other academic subjects.

Hobby books. Lots of hobby books. Japan is a great country for hobbies, although, with all the overtime they work on average, it's hard to see how they have the time. (It isn't just the フリータ (friita) who are doing hobbies. (Freetimers, a term derived from free lancing, but indicating people who work odd jobs and part time, just enough to get by. I could almost be called a friita.)

The usual travel and cooking.

Up to the third floor. (This is in the store in 堂島 (Dojima)).

Whoa! Linux books and other books on free/open software technologies outnumber Microsoft technology books!

Bittersweet. The Free/open software world has been at least partially re-purposed by Google and Red Hat and Oracle and, soon, Microsoft. (We could say that Apple co-opted free/open software, but they have been a bit more circumspect in their admixtures, at least some of them, than Google.)

Foreign novels.

I got lost in re-reading The Girl on the Train.

Very poignant picture of relationship/domestic violence, and how it is so often just one step short of serious crime. And so often that one step is not enough separation.

I think one of the characters in the book said something about the relationship between violence and lies.

I found the ending of the book a little unsatisfying. The surviving primary protagonist is fighting her own feelings of guilt. I would have preferred the author had given her and her rival both a chance to come clean. It would help them end the chain of violence, and the self-defense defense would not have been injured by a more complete telling of the events.

Well, anyway. It's not my book.

I dug a little in the foreign novels, across from Harry Potter and such, and found that Johnathan Livingston Seagull is back in print. New edition. Part four restored.

The new part four definitely does complete the book. I had always felt it was incomplete.

But I'll admit that it would possibly not have been as popular had part four been in the first printing.

I bought a copy. My brother's copy that I read when I was in my teens is, well, in my brother's possession. And I want it available in the house, should my children decide to read it.

Like all things humans write, the allegory has limits, but it does speak to our innate desire to find and create meaning. And, even if filtered through the allegory, it speaks to the reality of our eternal nature.

It's easy to get a little high reading it. Maybe that was why, when I got off the train at my station, I was having an epiphany about violence and lies.

They go together.

Liars tend to be violent. Violent people tend to lie.

Truth is said to be hard. Beating your head against truth is one of those recurring memes.

But the real violence is done by lies. And there is a reason for it.

Truth doesn't need external support.

Lies do. And the usual external support for lies is -- bravadaccio, bragging.
Violent activity.

You knew that.

I knew it, too.

Maybe it was the being high on Seagull. Things seem to have so much meaning when your high, even if the high is natural.

(Natural highs are not all that hard to get to, if you keep yourself open to your own emotions. No need for drugs, including alcohol or even the lesser drugs.)

But the epiphany is worth pointing out.

If you find yourself recognizing that you are too violent, try to figure out where you are lying to yourself. Then quit lying to yourself.

If the truth seems hard, that is actually an illusion. Maintaining the fiction is just that much harder, incurs just that much more violence.

Truth seems hard sometimes, but untruth is more violent in the end.



Friday, September 23, 2016

Grammar Rules in Japan

Yeah, it's one of my pet peeves -- a hobby horse that I probably should not be riding.
[peeve => しゃくの種、じれ、腹立ち]
[hobby horse => 木馬、棒馬 ride => 十八番を出す]

But my daughter is burning her candle on both ends, and in the middle, working on her homework. This is not healthy. I can't be specific here. If I say what it's doing to her, she'll be even more upset with me, so I'll just note that these are not theoretical health issues.
[burn one's candle on both ends => 深夜も早朝も努めて無理する]
[theoretical issues => 理論上つまり実世から離れた問題]

In all of this, she says she has too much homework to read any of the English books I suggest to her, like The Wizard of Oz. You know, these are the very books that would teach her, naturally, the patterns she is so trying so hard to memorize as rules.
[naturally => 自然に]
[memorize as rules => 法則として覚える]

And to what purpose?

One example of what she wakes up at three in the morning to study:
両親か祖母かどちらかが授業参観に来ることになっています。
Either my parents or my grandmother (_______________________) my class.
And the answers she's supposed to choose from include
  1. visit
  2. has visited
  3. is visiting
  4. are visiting
At the risk of running afoul of the intellectual property police, I've copied that exactly. (If I let "Intellectual property" issues limit my ability to be specific here, all I can do is let off steam, and that helps no one.)
[at the risk of => 危険犯して]
[run afoul => 引っかかる、問題に絡む]

Did you get the "right" answer?
  1. Nope. "Visit", in plain form, would be an expression of a rule or custom.
  2. Nope. Of course not. The Japanese does preclude past tense.
  3. Yep. This is the one the book declares correct, by the "nearness" rule.
  4. Nope. See, (3), above.
My responses:
  1. This is not really precluded by the Japanese, although I could suppose they tried really hard. It needs more context to rule this one out.
    (And maybe they should have said, "parents' day class", really.)
  2. No argument, except that the use of Japanese demonstrates my point about context. 
  3. Nearness. Sigh. See below.
  4. Ibid. Mind you, many Americans would expect the parents to be the ones coming. In Japan, a grandmother is more likely to come than both parents, and about equally as likely as either parent alone.
[context => 周りの状況(前後の言葉や文章、文脈)]

The nearness rule is not absolute.

Determining the number of compound subjects is only trivial when it is trivial.
[number of compound subjects => 複合主語の数]

That is to say, it is not always trivial. This one is not trivial, and if they are going to include it they should discuss it more fully.

Some experts insist that "either" should be treated as singular when one of the options are singular, which would also produce (3) above.
[treat as => としてあつかう]

But others recommend emphasizing the expected option. (Native Japanese may still expect the grandmother. Hah.)

The teachers whose opinions I respected the most recommended avoiding the number problem:
Either my parents or my grandmother will be visiting the parents' day class.
This has the extra advantage of implying the reason for stating the option, that the decision of which should come has not been made.
[avoid => 避ける、回避する]
[has the advantage of => 得点になる、いいところがある]
[stating the option => 選択肢を明白にする]
[the decision of which should come => どちらが来るかを決めること]
[the decision has not been made => まだ決まっていない]


"Is/are visiting" would be more natural without an option in the subject.
[without an option => 選択肢なし(の場合)]

For all sorts of reasons, "will be visiting" is much better than any of the options given. But it is not discussed, because it would distract from the number issues they insist they must become pedantic about.
[for all sorts of reasons => それぞれの訳を考えて、そもそも]
[become pedantic about => ルールについて細かくなる]

(I'm imputing a motive. That's an error in logic. I know.)
[impute a motive => 人の動機を勝手に決める]

Which brings us to the real problem. Japanese non-native authors are trying too hard to make up examples of obscure grammar principles that should really resolve themselves with experience. No native English speaker except specialists care about this kind of rule.
[should resolve themselves => 自然と解決できる]

Moreover, making the decision of which to use requires consideration of style, and style should not be taught and tested as if it were grammar.
[style のことを言葉上の身振りとしましょう。]

The reason Japanese speakers of English get so hung up on number is because they don't have enough experience reading native English prose -- prose like The Wizard of Oz and other such books that I have bought for my children.

This "textbook" is just chock full of disconnected examples like this of esoteric (and not exactly uncontested) grammar rules that the students are supposed to be memorizing for the tests. All those examples in an assigned textbook constitutes a huge weight in homework.
[constitutes a huge weight => 巨大な重圧をなす]

That weight of homework prevents her from studying real English.

Again I have to ask -- To what purpose?

The college entrance tests are a one-shot trial, and she has no desire to go to a top-name school that takes only the top one percent. Those tests would be meaningless to her if it weren't for peer pressure.
[one-shot => 一度のみの、使い捨て]

She could be reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in English, but, no, she has to memorize the rules in this book instead.

Here is the problem I see with such books: there is no connection between all the examples. It's disconnected prose. There is no way to have context for it, and therefore there is no way for the examples to have any real meaning that the students can remember.

If they were seeing these examples elsewhere, then they could remember the meanings (to a certain extent). But they are too busy to get the context.
[to a certain extent => ある程度]
[too busy to get => 忙しすぎて手に入れられない]

They are too busy to get the very context that they need to remember what they are studying.
[the very context they need to remember => 覚えるに不可欠の文脈]

What would I suggest instead?

Well, I'm not getting very far with it yet, but I'm trying to re-write a Japanese traditional story called "Woman of the Snow" as a longer story with a more satisfying (meaningful) storyline and ending. (That is, satisfying and meaningful to me. Heh.) If I have the time and strength to do it, I'll annotate the way I have annotated this rant.
[not getting very far => まだそれほど進んでいない]
[satisfying and meaningful ending => 満足して納得できるできるオチ]
[the way I have annotated this rant => このわめきのことばに注釈を打ったと同じように(ただし、時間がないのでこの投稿の注釈は結構手を抜いている。ごめんね。)]

The level of annotation and the level of prose could be adjusted for the students -- I could write a version for elementary students, another for junior high school students, and another for adults.
[level => 度合い]

This is the kind of thing the Japanese students need as textbooks.
[the kind of thing => のようなもの]
[as textbooks => 教科書として]

The best way to understand a target language is in context. The way these books of nothing but examples present the examples without context is sufficient reason to discard such books as textbooks.
[understand in context => 周りの状況や言葉があって理解する]
[books of nothing but examples => 例文以外になにもない書物]
[sufficient reason to discard as => として手から外すに十分な訳]

This is not strike one, it's an infield fly in pro ball. By my rules, it's out of there. Send it to the dugout. If it doesn't go willingly, eject it from the game.

I go too far. These books are, I suppose, better than nothing. If only they were optional, that is, they would be better than nothing.
[better than nothing => なにもないよりはまし]
[If the were optional => 随事だったら]

My rules don't rule.

Grammar rules in Japan.

Deep sigh.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Yamato Nadeshiko (Nadeshiko Desukara)

Asahi Broadcasting's radio drama, Nadeshiko Desukara (ナデシコですから), had an arch over the last week or so that I wanted to comment on.

I added some to the rant on Japanese language listening materials where I mentioned the program. Since I posted that rant, I have discovered the concept of Yamato Nadeshiko (大和撫子), the Japanese ideal wife.

That is, I discovered that the concept had a name.

So I now understand what the radio program is all about, I suppose.

By the way, there's a blog for the show, which will help with getting some of the cultural background worked out.

And while I'm here, I'll note that, for the past week or so, the show has been especially oriented towards extended family in Japanese culture. And the last couple or three days has been oriented towards the stylized romance of the perfect couple.

In America, Yuuichiro's mother would be a stereotypical overbearing witch of an interfering mother-in-law. Borderline harassment. Maybe grounds for divorce.

In Japan, her type is said to be a mother-in-law who cares, teaching her very patiently how to be Yamato Nadishiko, the ideal Japanese housewife the authors seem to have named her after.

Not all Japanese families are like this, but if you think you want to marry into Japanese culture, you must prepare yourself for it. Figure out, if you can, your significant other's attitude towards this level of functional integration, and assume that your attitudes won't get the sympathy you expect, ever.

If you can't deal with that and you aren't yet married, seriously consider backing out.

For instance, in the 49th episode, Youichiro finally suggests moving away from his parents. An American husband would have built the new couple's house at least an hour away from his parents house in the first place. At least, a smart husband would have. We learned our lesson from the Bunkers.

In yesterday's episode (54), Nadeshiko confessed to her brother-in-law that her motivation is to be, essentially, Yamato Nadishiko, the ideal, not Youichiro's wife. Sure, this is in the context of her decision to forgive Youichiro of his supposed infidelity, but, even that forgiveness, at three months into the marriage, is in keeping with the ideal.

In today's episode, he tells her she doesn't have to stay up making his lunch for the next day. This is after his giving her an early birthday present in yesterday's episode.

(That present was what he had sought help in choosing from a young, pretty, member of the office staff. And he and the staff member were seen by Nadeshiko's friend. Which led to Nadeshiko thinking he was having an affair.)

So, today's episode -- It's one in the morning.

She opts for being the perfect wife and making his lunch, the aisai bentou (愛妻弁当、 loving wife's homemade lunch) that she makes him every day.

I don't know what the Japanese man prefers in such a situation, but I think the average man thinks nothing of the price of buying lunch.

Maybe some western men would have preferred the aisai bentou. I think I would have preferred my wife to be sleeping beside me. Sure, I like food. My wife is a wonderful cook. I appreciate the homemade lunch. I'll appreciate all the day's she made it for me even if she never makes me another.

I prefer the time we can spend together, even it it's just sleeping time.

Somehow, I have to figure out how to explain that to my wife.

So little time together, especially in the Japanese world of service overtime being common sense, and the foreign worker having to bring the work home because he has to compete that much harder.