Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Getting a Cellphone (And Other Miscellany


Well, today I woke up and ate breakfast real fast. After that, I went to Obirin for a one-time job -- Obirin was interviewing for a new Japanese-teacher position. I get the feeling that my impression of a good teacher and the interviewers' impressions of a good teacher are different -- I was enthusiastic about the one man who went; he was very expressive, energetic, and could also speak in, as far as I could tell, near-flawless (and I mean it when I say 'flawless') English. Of course, I was told by the interviewers when I expressed that I thought it was good that he spoke excellent English, that "there are some people who wouldn't want to hear English here." I countered with my belief that if there is a problem, and the student doesn't understand in Japanese, and the teacher cannot tell them what is going on, then the teacher has failed to be effective. So I got paid around US$30 for 4 and a half hours of work, after taxes were taken out. *sigh* taxes. Speaking of which, I am technically required to pay Japanese and US income tax. However, what is Japan going to do next year when I don't pay? Have the US extradite me for failing to fill out a form that would require them to repay me the 5 dollars they took from me from the only reported income I made in Japan?

Suzuki-san's stuff today - I taught and made Y6900, which comes to just about US$69. I'm saving it.

Well, today I went to Machida to shop for a cellphone. I bought one. It's awesome. I don't know how to use it. It's not bilingual. It's only in Japanese. ACK!

But hey, at least I know how to turn it on and off. And I know how to take pictures with it as well. I signed up for the cheapest plan they had: Y2000 a month (US$20). The cancellation fee if I cancel within a year (of course I will, I'll be going back to the states in 6 months-ish) is -- get this -- Y3000 (US$30)! How cheap! In the US, cancellation fees run in the hundreds of dollars to the best of my knowledge.

I now need to get an SD card for my cellphone. Then I could store more pictures on my camera. But why would I actually need it, I don't know. So I probably won't buy one. The phone comes with a USB cable to connect the camera to my computer!

More on the features when I get it all figured out. Haha. In other words -- not for a loooong time ^_^.

In other words, this is Kyle Goetz, posting this article for today, and going to investigate the phone more.

Oh, I just saw my first Charlie Chaplin film (The Immigrant) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Peace out.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

New Job and New Paper and New Words

Just an update of what's been happening the past coupla of weeks -- not much.

I have a job now, making around 23 USD an hour, working right now 3 hours a week but it will bump up to 5 hours a week soon. I'm working for a guy named Suzuki. So I'll give you a rundown of the first day of work -- Tuesday. I taught three "classes". The first was a one-on-one with this 30ish lady named Naoko. Her English was OK; I was teaching her the meanings of words like 'believable' and she was studying the relationships between noun-verb-adjective that have the same root -- such as 'believe', 'belief', and 'believable'. Next came three people who were pretty much beginners to English. Of course I still spoke English with them, but it was nice that when they would chat in Japanese I could hear what they were saying, and when they'd pause and say 'what could _english_word_ mean? could it mean _japanese_word_?' to themselves in Japanese, and I'd respond back, "Yes, that is the meaning." The final class is supposed to be two people, but Tuesday they were both sick, so I spoke in English with my employer's high school daughter for a while -- about her favorite movies, music, etc. She was surprised that I knew Azumi (あずみ), a recent Japanese movie with Aya Ueto in it. Additionally, we both struggled to remember the name of Zatoichi (座頭市 - sit,head,market/town), a recent movie with Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano (北野『ビート』武 - kitano "biito" takeshi). Then I got paid around 100 USD (I helped him out a bit online over Christmas break before the new year) and left, completely stunned at my quick income!

I have a Japanese Electronic Dictionary (電子辞書 - denshi jisho) now. It's a Canon G50. I recommend it to anyone looking for one. I bought it 150 dollars cheaper than retail! It even draws the kanji for me in case I don't know the stroke order!

So yesterday, I bought a case for it, so it doesn't get scratched or otherwise ruined. I bought a burnt orange one in honor of my home university -- the University of Texas. It even looks like a faux leather.

Anyways, I'll be coming home for a month (Feb 10 - Mar 10). I'm going to eat so much mexican food! Well, maybe I'll eat in moderation, so I can stay in the shape I am in now -- around 150 lbs and feeling great! Tennis club (Amuse Company) is fun, and the people there are nice, as long as it's not the weird ones.

So I am going to start a bit of a blog for foreigners trying to learn about American humor and culture. I am working on my first entry right now -- the entries will be weekly, following my viewing of the current Saturday Night Live episode. I have a friend here that I introduced to SNL (his English is great), and I was inspired by that to start writing here, because I realized that many people might view a few SNL skits and think they are making fun of foreigners, when many times they are not; the sarcasm is lost when crossing cultures.

My paper is due Monday for Japanese Literature. I'll make sure to get the full-text online for my three papers after the class ends -- my paper on how "new things make new people" with analysis of Tanizaki's Naomi (痴人の愛 - chijin no ai - A Fool's Love), the balance between society and the self with analysis of Oe's A Personal Matter (個人的な体験 - kojinteki na taiken - a personal experience), and the study of a typical shounen (少年 - few years - young male) story arc and archetypes found within, with analysis of Akamatsu's Love Hina (ラブひな - rabu hina) -- the current paper.

Well, I'm goign to go now, and work some more on the paper! Wish me luck! Oh, and if you have an RSS reader, you can receive updates to my website using the URL

Oh, and some interesting vocabulary:
Prep School (elementary all the way up to get you into a certain university) -- エリート・コース - eriito coosu - elite course
slide (playground) - 滑り台 - suberidai
achievement test - アチブメント・テスト - achibumento tesuto

jumprope words:
criss-cross maneuver (cross hands in front of body but keep jumping rope) - あやとび - ayatobi
backwards jump - 後ろとび - ushirotobi
double-jump (twice under your body in one jump) - にじゅうとび - nijuutobi

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Couple of interesting things:

shakai no mado (window of society) -- unzipped zipper, equivalent to "XYZPDQ" in USian English.

also nothin like seeing a 1st grader waiting alone for the bus with a cellphone in his hand!

Monday, January 10, 2005

NaNoBlogMo for Japanese Practice

I stumbled upon a NanoBlogMo (blogs for National Novel Writing Month -- november) that was in Japanese with English translation. The author's native languages is Japanese, but it's good Japanese practice, I think. The blog is here

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Finished Last Christmas

Well, I just finished watching Last Christmas, the Japanese drama that was HUGE this Christmas season. Wow, it was good.


warning warning!!!

--begin spoiler stuff WARNING WARNING WARNING

And you know how when you (this is for you Americans, especially) are faced with a foreigner with a thick accent, and you get told something like, "This is my wife, Yuki," in that accent, it kind of seems more like some non-human saying it? Well, of course it's a human, but feels less real than if another American had said the same thing with their American accent? Well, I don't know about you, but I think I've felt like that before, without really noticing it...

Until I watched the end of Last Christmas, when the lead says, in English, to some friendly Canadians, "This is my wife, Yuki." I had this weird out-of-body experience where something that had always seemed one way to me, seemed completely different. I had this dichotomy of a foreigner saying something that seemed rather...factual...and less emotional, to all of a sudden it feeling like it was full of emotion, since I had just grown with their characters for 11 episodes, AND I speak their language now, as well.

That's all I have to say about Last Christmas


Sunday, January 02, 2005


This doesn't have anything to do with Japan, but I really found this story awesome.

basically some kids were cussing and pissing their parents off, being generally bad, so their dad was like "whatever you don't get christmas presents" and AUCTIONED THEIR THREE NINTENDO DSes OFF ON EBAY!

Yasukini Shrine

I want to go to Yasukuni Shrine and hide a tape recorder so I can narrate to it what all is written there. It is a shrine that honors the war dead of Japan. In Japan, death absolves your crimes. However, in Christianity it does not. Nor in Chinese belief, from what I understand. So when the Prime Minister visits this shrine, which also honors war crimes and war criminals for "doing what was necessary for the sake of the Asian region" or something to that effect, there is a problem in my opinion. is the English homepage for the shrine. Read some of the texts that are posted on the page. Avoiding the war crimes by saying that Westerners had come to Asia and occupied as well. From what I've heard, the Rape of Nanking/Nanjing is completely overlooked, and the war in Asia in the 30s and 40s is completely cleaned up to look less brutal.

Just thought I'd post this, after learning that Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) will be playing the lead character in Memoirs of a Geisha (dir. Steven Spielberg), who is Japanese set near the time of World War II (before and after and during). This upsets me, as it is a period piece that will fail from the get-go to be realistic in my eyes, because I can see that she is not Japanese. I apologize if what I am saying seems racist, but it's the same thing as if Zhang Ziyi had played in Cold Mountain as a Civil War hero. It just isn't believable.

That being said, I will still see the movie.
\Kyle Goetz
BS Pure Mathematics, BA Japanese 2006
The University of Texas//Obirin University, Japan

Using M2, Opera's revolutionary e-mail client:

Saturday, January 01, 2005


one other thing i have neglected to mention but really should...

i'm not an employee of skype, but rather a VERY hardcore user

i use it exclusively to make phone calls and that is how i can afford to call my gf everyday...probably just 1.20 USD an hour (but getting more expensive as Euro-USD rates change)

you can make a skype-skype call (to another skype user) for free and the founder of the company has said this will always be so

you can make skype-landline/cellphone, called "skype out", phone calls for very little price, depending on where the landline/cellphone-user is located

here's a link, it's very handy program click and it's also available for Mac,Windows AND Linux not to mention PocketPC as well

and right now they have a donation site up for UniCef, etc, for the victims of the tsunami(s)

the chicken we had for christmas

New Observation About "Allergies" in Japan

I don't think my hostmother believes in allergies. She gives me food. Tells me it has shrimp (海老 ebi) in it and says "but it's only 1 piece, you can eat it. I say, NO I HAVE AN ALLERGY. Her: Eat it. It's not that much! Me: NO, i have an allergy i'm not eating it.

i don't think she was happy that i repeatedly refused her in front of her son's family, but she should have known i'm not going to eat something i've told her maybe 20 times over the course of my 3 months here that I'm allergic to.

-_-;;; I don't understand her. She also tried to convince me that i only get sick because i look at the shrimp's eyes and guts while i eat it...i'm like "no, we cut those off before cooking in's not that"

oh well...i'll just keep avoiding the food and hope she doesn't try to get me to eat it w/o telling me there's shrimp inside...not that i think she'd do that

oh yeah i just had sake (酒) for the first time and boy it tastes like cotton in your mouth and then you smell like rubbing sucks...i don't understand how anyone could like it

Catchup Entry

first thing's first, the thing that finally got me offa my lazy butt to write the month-long needed update!

YAHOOO!!! I can do what I've wanted to do for a month or so now...ever since I saw Umarete wa Mita Keredo (I Was Born, But..)生まれては見たけれど I have had the idea that I should take public domain Japanese films and translate and put them online. this would of course be legal, be fun, help spread japanese culture, AND would be nice to put on my law school admissions...but i assure you this is NOT the reason...altho i knew that i wanted to put 'translator' on my apps somewhere, and this is how i can do it by being fully truthful and not streetching anything at all, which is good...cuz i don't wanna stretch anything

Two important points for me about Japanese Copyright Law:

1) Cinematographic works, as well as works authored by corporations where the individual author or authors are unknown, are protected for seventy years following publication (or seventy years following creation if the work is not published).

2) Neighboring rights apply for fifty years after the work is performed, transmitted, or put on sale.

This refers to films, and as Umarete was released in 1932, DEFINITELY all time has expired and now it's in the public domain in all but actual words, since public domain is not referred to in Japanese copyright law...

ok so now i can translate the work and torrent it!! w00t!!

so i'll be working on that during spring break i guess...all that is left now is to borrow a copy of i assume the VHS from a professor and ghetto it over onto my laptop to work on...actually that's about 30 GB so really i should make myself a copy somehow and then rip it when i get to my desktop back in the states...i should work on the translation until then...and of course if i understand how it gets handled, and that an author always retains authorship rights, my name will legally be attached to the translation (so i get recognition) while at the same time release my translation into the public domain...which i assume i'm correct about...otherwise someone could take a work of shakespeare and claim he wrote it on his own

oh wait, this is supposed to be a blog about studying abroad in Japan...silly me ^_^

now for the update of things that have happened

so i went to japanese bathhouse (onsen 温泉) and i was so friggin flipped out cuz i mean...naked in public?? that's pretty freaky to me and my self-conscious self...
so i showed up at Zabon ざぼん(the sound you make when getting into the water...God japanese people have sound effects for EVERYTHING! i saw a drama the other day with the sound of the sun setting into the sea:

i can hear it
hear what?
the sound of the sun setting into the 'zyuu zyuu zyuu' (which can also be transliterated 'juujuujuu' which is still of course incredibly friggin ridiculous ^_^ note: this translation comes from #jdrama@efnet

anyways back to the bathhouse

so i had some curry rice (kareeraisu カレーライス) and then we went off into the bathhouses..of course separated by sex...not all hostmother's son said that you can find unisex nude bathhouses, but they are all populated by old women (which i assure you sounds even funnier when it's said in japanese like it was)

then took off my glasses which made things much better as now everyone was a blob of skintone instead of having a face, and therefor being a person in my view...they were just a blob to me after that, so i wasn't shy lotsa the japanese guys just wanted to talk to me since i was american

anyways, then my hostmother's son got me to try this one hot-bath chair...i sat in it thinking, since there were no jets at this one, that he assumed i was a wimp and needed a place without hot water i sit and i feel these little prickling feelings...then i realize HOLY CRAP when i read what the sign for the seat says and i get up REALLY fast and leave...電気風呂 (denkifuro - electric hot bath) -- i was being shocked by the place! sucked!!!

so yeah then i went in a sauna where it was 89 C (that is 192 F for my fellow americans) and only lasted like 5 mins or so before i had to heart was pounding so hard i thought i was going to die -_-;;; but japanese ppl apparently could handle it quite well! i am in awe

so yeah then rested a bit more, then left

another interesting experience is that i finally had octopus (TAKO 'tako') to eat and it tasted like chicken, funnily enough (ironically?) was fried and it had an 'i know this taste from somewhere' feeling to it

so i just had Christmas too...i was watching a drama called Last Christmas with Oda Yuji's pretty neato and info be located at's Info about the show

i got loot, but that is neither here nor there about hostmother gave me some socks and her family was here to celebrate too...and i've mentioned some stuff about christmas eve on my blog already...i'll post a coupla pics soon to the site from the 26th (when we actually celebrated christmas)

also, i was in a christmas play here in my hostmother's church...granted i had 2 lines but it was still fun...i was a biblical scholar to king herod...i'll see if i can dig up a picture from someone at church to put up here sometime...but i doubt it...they're mostly old and prolly don't have digital cameras...i know my hostmother doesn't ^_^

so final years...i'm one of the 1st time zones to hit 2005 and it was snowed new years eve here for the first time since i came! i played a leeeetle bit but not much, as i had to go shopping for food with my hostmother (many -- most?? -- businesses are closed for multiple days -- at least 3 -- after new years so we need food to last through those days) then settled in at 7 pm to watch Kouhaku (紅白 -- red and white) which is a competition between male and female teams of popular singers from the past year...the women won this year (i think that sucks, as most of the women performers this year were not very entertaining -- boa was not very entertaining, some of the female enka was but not much, gotou maki and matsuura aya were not that entertaining, morning musume blargh)

4 hours and 10 minutes later with 0 commercial breaks, it ended, and me and my hostmother sat up watching ppl on tv getting ready for the new year at various shrines until it hit 12...then literally i said "happy new year" (明けましておめでとうございます -- akemashite omedetou gozaimasu) then said "good night" (お休みなさい -- oyasumi nasai) then went up to my room

so that is everything caught up to now

peace out until i have some more to write about ^_^