Shun’s Visit and Lent Update

So Shun left yesterday after his 8 day visit.  He came in the 19th, and after a slight delay causing him to miss his bus to Auburn, he got here at about 7:15ish.  We had a lot of fun together, and he cooked Japanese food for me (even though it was actually Chinese if that makes sense).  Among the things he cooked was Hoikoro (pork, green onions, cabbage); something I can’t quite remember the name of but involved a spicy sauce, green onions, pork, and tofu; yakisoba; and traditional Japanese spaghetti (noodles and then a type of fish egg).  It was all very good!  He also brought some Japanese snacks, but I have to wait until after Lent to eat those.

We didn’t eat out too much until his last two days here.  We went to Chappy’s, Alpen Cafe, and Mikata’s.  Thursday was the first time I went to Alpen Cafe (German food) and I thought it was pretty good.  I ended up getting Jager Schnitzel (fried pork with a mushroom gravy sauce), red cabbage, and cucumber salad.  Chappy’s is always good, but Shun had never been there before.  I think he liked it.  Mikata’s we’ve both been to before (for sushi) but some of my friends wanted to eat dinner there, so we went.  It was pretty good, our chef was really nice, but having Shun there made me realize just how little of the food is actual Japanese food.  I mean, I know it wasn’t really, but I don’t know, I guess I never thought about it too much outside of well it’s Americanized Japanese food.

Of course we did more than eat food, heh heh.  Of course we didn’t get to do as much together as I hoped either because I had a Lit. paper due that Monday, a German test and Lit. midterm Wednesday, and a German essay on Friday, so a good amount of time was spent studying.  But we did go see Shutter Island on Thursday.  It was really good and I plan on doing a review after I see Crazies and Alice in Wonderland so I can just do three all at once.  I showed him Sweeney Todd, which he seemed to enjoy although he thought it was kind of depressing.  We did some shopping.  We jump roped (and let me just say, he is really good at it) and walked around Conway for a bit.

Yesterday, Torie and I took Shun to the airport (in Atlanta).  I’m really glad Jessica let me borrow Thomas (her Tomtom) as well, I’ll get to just why in a minute.  But Atlanta airport was huge, and it was quite pretty too.  We got there a bit early and had some tea and talked to a random guy at the cafe for about 15 minutes.  He was nice, but it was out of the ordinary for me and Torie heh heh.  Then Shun had to go so we took him up to security and waited until we couldn’t see him anymore.  After that Torie and I decided to go to Tomato (Japanese grocery store).  Thomas was trying to be confusing as hell, but there was no way I could have gotten there without him heh heh.  Then we went to the mall there and walked around for a bit and ate some Chinese food.  We came back to my place, took a nap, I made Torie her first grilled cheese sandwich, and I made myself some Natto and rice.  Later some friends, a chocolate bar (I did not partake), and Zombieland was involved.  It was fun.

The last little bit I want to add on this post (you’ll have to excuse the length, but I haven’t written for awhile) is about Lent.  I’m more than a quarter of the way through and things are going well.  Last night was a bit tempting, but I was okay.  I’ve mostly craved french fries.  I decided pudding is not off limits, but it’s a special treat so I’m not going to eat much of it.  The only weird thing that has been happening though is that I keep having dreams where I break my Lent.  It’s weird… but that’s the extent of what has happened so far.

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A Little Compare and Contrast

As most of you know, I am learning two languages as of right now (German and Japanese).  And if you didn’t know, grammar is my favorite part of any language.  I don’t know why, but I find it really fascinating how the language is actually structured.  Anyway, I was doing a bit of thinking today on these two languages along with English.  Just a few similarities and differences is all.  It would take forever to list all of them.

The first difference I really thought of was a difference between all three languages, which is the direct object (word that receives the action of the subject).  Each language has a different way of distinguishing the direct object from the subject.  In English, it totally depends on word order.  The direct object comes after the verb.  Take the sentence, “The boy threw the ball,” for example.  It would make no sense to an English speaker if it said, “The ball threw the boy,” because we would interpret it as the ball doing the action of throwing the boy.

In German, however, the object can, and often does, come before the verb (which means it starts the sentence).  While there is some structure to the word order in German, it is not as important because they rely on different cases (different forms of their nouns you could say) to show subject, object, and direct object.  So in German the sentence, “The ball throws the boy,” would make perfect sense because the ball would be in the object case (or Akkusativ case).  Once upon a time English did have different cases, and we mostly see evidence through that with our pronouns (I, me, and mine, etc) and who, whom, and whose.

In Japanese, word order doesn’t matter as much as it does in German and English.  In Japanese the function of a word depends on the particle that follows it.  The particle は (pronounced wa) marks the subject of the sentence, which usually is at the beginning of the sentence, but doesn’t have to be.  The direct object is marked by を (pronounced o) and usually comes directly after the subject.  They have no tense and will still be able to pick out the subject and object even if they are not together or at the beginning of a sentence.  But a Japanese sentence (using our example) would be something like, “The boyは the ball を threw.”

One of the aspects of all three languages that is similar and I find most interesting is negative words.  I know not all negative words have an -n in them, like あまり (amari), but there are a lot of -n’s when sentences are negated in some way.  In English it is no, not, never, negative, etc.  In German it is nein (no), nicht (not), nie (never).  In Japanese it is in the conjugation of both verbs (ex.食べれto eat) and adjectives (ex.おもしろい interesting),  食べません (tabemasen; to not eat), 食べない (tabenai; informal to not eat), おもしとくない (omoshirokunai; not interesting), おもしろくなかった (omoshirokunakatta; wasn’t interesting).  I kind of want to take a linguistics class and see if there is any reason the -n sound appears in so many negative forms.  I don’t know why it seems to be this way or if there is any correlation at all, but I want to look into it more.

So I think this is a long enough post for today and I’m sure if you are reading this you probably don’t care nearly as much as I do, but I what can I say?  I’m a nerd who loves her major and minor heh heh.

Lent

So I’ve only done Lent once before back when I was 16ish.  It was a success and I didn’t really have plans to ever do it again (because I’m not Catholic and it is a lot of work to give something wonderful up).  But well, I was talking with a friend and we got on the subject and we decided to both give up junk food (and soft drinks for me, fast food for her).  I’m going to plan out all the off limits and okay foods.  This is really more for my benefit than anyone else’s, but if you want to play along, feel free.

Of course all soft drinks (caffine free or otherwise) are off limits 100%.  But like last time, this will exclude unsweentened tea (maybe occasionally a mix of sweet and unsweet, but no sweet tea by itself), coffee, and chocolate milk.  The reason chocolate milk is excluded is because it will get me through rough times and it is milk so on a technicallity it’s okay.  I don’t plan on drinking it often though.  Hi-C and other fruit punch drinks that are loaded with sugar are also off limits, as are icee’s.

The obvious elimination of food stuffs is chocolate, potato chips, pizza, and popcorn.  Things that aren’t limited include pretzels, crackers (excluding Cheezits and the like), and trail mix.  Smoothies are also okay (and is what got me through the last time I did this).  French fries are still a bit up in the air, but I think I won’t eliminate them 100%.  And I say that because I will allow sweet potato fries.  I think I’m going to stay away from normal french fries and go for roasted potatoes or something of that nature when I want a snack.  Foods that are generally bad for me anyway but are technically meals (with the exception of pizza) are fine, but I still want to try and limit that intake, even though it will not be a part of my Lent.

So it’s going to be a long 44 days without my junk food, but I need to break my bad habits.  I think next time I go to the store I’m going to invest in some frozen fruit, a blender, and chick peas.  Yeah, that sounds good heh heh.

It is February 15th

Not that you need a reminder on what day it is, I’m pretty sure you’ve gotten that figured out by now.  Today I want to write a note with substance, because that’s what I do every now and then.  I just wanted to talk about some of the things we’ve been learning in history class that I have found interesting.

Over the past few days we have been discussing the wave of New Imperialism in the 18oos and 1900s along with the relationship of the core (industrialized West) with the periphery (nations that were then considered backwards).  Of course there are many theories to the cause of this exploitation, most known is probably Lenin’s (the core exploits the periphery because it has run out of proletariat to exploit in its own country and is the last step in the demise of communism).  And well, there are several economic as well as security reasons.

But that’s not what I find interesting.  Well, actually that’s not what I find the most interesting.  I knew all this before taking a class on it.  What I find interesting is how the colonized people reacted to their situation.  Of course some openly resisted, but there was another form of resistance as well.  Colonized people, slaves, Native Americans, etc. who were forced to accept their fate would put on two faces.  One face they would show to those who were exploiting them.  They would not complain from their condition out of fear for the consequences.  Take slaves for example.  They would fear being beaten if they didn’t cooperate, so of course they would say they enjoyed being a slave.  However, one can see little bits of their second face (the face they hide from their exploiters but share when they are together) when they would do things like purposely break tools, or when they created their own language.

All of this made me wonder how it applied to the world today, and I know I’m bringing up a touchy subject for some people.  But mostly what I have thought about is the war in Iraq.  Of course we see all these news reports of people smiling and always thanking our soldiers.  But we also hear day after day about our soldiers getting attacked.  Don’t get me wrong, I support our soldiers, but I don’t always support the wars that are fought.  I don’t know all of the details behind why we are at war in Iraq, but what I do know is that the United States along with some other European countries do have a history of exploiting West Asian countries (see my early posts on facebook concerning Iran) for oil.  I don’t see it as a fact that we are exploiting Iraq, but I do see it as a possibility.

Anyway, enough of the random things that make me go ‘huh?’

V-Day (My take, again)

I know I haven’t been making regular posts as of late, but honestly, I haven’t had much time to do something worth writing or time to collect my thoughts to make a meaningful post.  Here’s hoping soon I can?  Maybe?  heh heh  So tomorrow (technically today) is Valentines/Single Awareness day.  I don’t really have too much to say concerning this holiday, but I seem to be hearing a fair amount of complaints on the day, so I decided to post my random thoughts.

I sort of miss the days back in elementary school when we would go to class and everyone would give everyone else a Valentine.  The free candy was awesome, and the dorky cards were cute.  I remember always saving my favorites for my best friends (because this was during a time when boys still had cooties).  I also kind of miss the presents from my parents (yes they gave me Valentine’s presents), because again, free candy, and it was really yummy!

But surprise surprise (and this is heavy on the sarcasm Torie) I was a very awkward tween/teen, so I didn’t get any Valentines presents from boys until the 9th grade when I had my first boyfriend.  It was sweet, a rose and a stuffed animal.  Up until this year he has been my only boyfriend on V-day, but honestly, I don’t really care.  As you can see from most of my experiences with Valentines Day and the fond memories I hold from it, it’s all about candy for me.  Yes, I know it is supposed to be a day of love, but honestly, if you love someone, I think everyday should be about love, not just one.  You can celebrate how much you love each other on May 23 just as easily as February 14.  And, because I know some of my guy friends read this, it will be a surprise (bonus points) on any other day.

No, it’s not Valentines Day that I really look forward to, it is really the day after.  This was especially true for me all those years I spent it single.  The trick is to wait for the candy to go on sale, heh heh.  I’m such a fat kid on the inside.  Anyway, my plans for tomorrow don’t differ much from my plans Friday and Saturday.  I’m going to get up, complete studying and homework, go to work at 5.  Come home and fall in bed and hope that I can get up in the morning for my test at 8 o’clock… I should have asked to work a morning shift…

Foreign Language Education (my take)

I made a status update on facebook yesterday on the topic of my German homework.  For those of you who care (or can speak German even though there are probably some mistakes…) I’ll post it.

Heute war die Hausaufgabe sehr interessant. Ich habe gelesen, dass Leute in vielen osteuropäischen Ländern Deutsch lernen muss. Ich denke, dass Americanisch Kinder andere Sprache zu lernen brauchen. Vieleicht Spanisch oder Chinesisch.

Translated that is something like Today the homework was very interesting.  I read that people in many East European countries have to learn German.  I think that American children should learn another language.  Maybe Spanish or Chinese.

When I was growing up, I always remember bugging my parents about learning another language, especially French.  You know, this was the mid 90s so there were several Muzzy commercials on and I have always thought it was neat when people knew how to speak another language.  Not to mention how easy it is for a child to pick up a language.  The short of it, my parents never really gave me the opportunity to learn French, so I moved on.  They did at one point somewhat encourage Spanish, but that was in high school, and admittedly, I’m not a big fan of Spanish even though it is a very important language.  My school also never required a foreign language until high school, and that was for the honor students.  But my high school forced Spanish on us (because that was the only foreign language class offered), and most of us hated it.  I think that in the United States, we don’t emphasize the need to know other languages, and I think there are a few reasons for this.

One, We are a big country with only two also big countries on our boarder.  One of those countries (with the exception of Quebec) happens to speak English but I think teaches both French and English?  I’m not sure on that, but I’m thinking both are taught.  To our South is Mexico, which of course speaks Spanish.  But we don’t view Mexico as a country we should learn the language of.  Just ask most Americans what they think of Mexican or South American immigrants speaking Spanish and you will probably get something to the effect of, “They come to our country, they should learn our language!” Of course I don’t think this is a fair remark but I won’t go into why on this issue today.  Mostly I will just say that it’s not fair for us to judge them on their language and not even attempt to understand them.

Sorry, I’m getting off topic.  In Europe though, most children are required to learn another language in elementary school.  I think part of the reason why is European countries tend to be small and Europe tends to have several languages.  I mean, look at Switzerland (it has four commonly spoken languages: German, French, Italian, and Romanian.)  They almost have to know other languages and the need is emphasized (Austria teaches English at age 6, Germany at age 8 or 9).  Here we are used to everyone speaking English and we don’t feel the need to branch out.

So as to what languages I think it is important to teach (or at least offer) children.  I think Mandarin Chinese is the most important just because China is a growing world power and controls a significant portion of US currency.  I also agree that Spanish is important because we have so many immigrants.  I think Hindi (Indian) is important as well because we are outsourcing many jobs there and they too are becoming a world power.  I’m not sure how many people share my sentiment on that though.  I also think that Japanese (and I’m not saying this because that’s my minor or because I’m very interested in their culture) is important because they also own a good amount of US currency and are a major world power.  Those would probably be my top four choices, but and emphasis on the first three.

Oh, and just a fun fact for those of you who don’t know, Mandarin Chinese (not English) is the most spoken language in the world.  Heh heh, I know DORK!!