April 12, 2012: Garvige Day!  Things Japanese!  Mailbag!

“Garvige day?”I asked.  “What’s garvige day?”

“Gar-vige,”Akemi enunciated for me.  “Garvige day.”

“You mean garbage day,”I said.

“Yes,”she confirmed as if that’s what she’d been saying all along.  “Garvige day.  Why?  How do you spell it?”

“G-A-R-B-A-G-E”.  I said the letters aloud as I wrote them in big block letters on the piece of paper.

She gave the word a quizzical stare and then, brow furrowed: “Gar-ba-ge-jy.”

“No.  Garbage.”

She threw me a suspicious sideways look as though I was trying to pull one over on her: “That’s not gar-bage.  That’s gar-ba-jy.”

I assured her: “No.  That’s garbage.”

She gave an exasperated sigh.  “I don’t know.  English so mysterious for me.”

And yet, even though she’s continually frustrated in her attempts to master the language, she’s come a long way from our first date when she could barely speak it at all.  Today, she can converse freely and is easily understood.  Sure, she makes the occasional mistakes and is baffled by the intricacies of the grammar – but, in all fairness, so am I (as I immediately discovered when she asked me to explain the rules of my mother tongue).  All this in contrast to me whose Japanese hasn’t progressed past the verbal skills of a polite Japanese three year old boy.  On the bright side, my hiragana and katakana has improved, meaning I can now read most of a Japanese menu – although it would admittedly take me the better part of the day to do it.

Still, we’re both trying.  Every day, I drop her off downtown where she takes one or two classes (conversation, listening, idiom), then head back home to study a chapter from my Japanese language book and translate two pages of manga.  I’m about to finish my first book (Baby, Please Kill Me) so Akemi surprised me with two new mangas –

April 12, 2012: Garvige Day!  Things Japanese!  Mailbag!
Gintama on the left and, on the right, strangely, some girl's Japanese baseball series.

Speaking of Gintama, we cap off every night by watching an episode of one of the most outrageously entertaining anime out there.  The nightly screenings help me improve my listening skills while also educating me to the nuances of Japanese culture…

We’re a mere 95 episodes in with another 150+ to go.  I take the occasional break to check out other anime shows as well.  We watched the horror-themed, Another.  While effectively creepy, suspenseful and engaging, I felt it ultimately collapsed under the weight of its own overly-complicated internal logic.

Mighty visceral and quite gory.  It reminded me of Gantz and Elfen Lied, two other titles I greatly enjoyed.  I’m also halfway through another reputedly graphic series, Deadman Wonderland, but have been disappointed with the heavy censorship.  Some scenes are so dark it’s impossible to make out what’s happening.  Disappointing.

Thanks to everyone who has weighed in with their book recommendations.  Keep ’em coming!


BoltBait writes: “Joe, what do you think of a story like this?  http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2012/04/12/foods-biggest-scam-the-great-kobe-beef-lie/  Is traveling to Japan to have real Kobe beef worth the trip?”

Answer: Thanks for the link.  A great read.  I look forward to the next installment.  Yes, I’ve noticed a discernible difference between the “kobe beef” they serve in North America and the real kobe beef.  Is the real stuff work the trip?  Well, let’s put it this way.  After tasting kobe beef for the first time in Tokyo, I was unable to eat regular North American steak for years.

jerem writes: “1) It is possible to see one day, Dark Matter in France?

2) Any revelation planned by Robert Cooper or Brad Wright, concerning the end of the arc story of SGU? How it should be end?”

Answer: 1) I believe you can get a digital copy here: Store | Dark Horse Digital Comics

2) Not that I know of.  Given the opportunity, however, I’m sure they would love to deliver their big reveal.  All they need is the green light from MGM.

Kathode writes: “Have you done a carrot ice cream?”

Answer: Not yet.  Great idea though.

cwilmanbunge writes: “Not that this isn’t cool, but is there at least a graphic novel for what the Atlantis movie would have been about, and SGU as well?”

Answer: In my upcoming visit with MGM, I’ll make it a point to ask them about the script for the Atlantis movie.

SISI writes: “Did you ever read Ready Player One?”

Answer: No but it is on my pick-up list.

Lewis writes: “Do any of them prefer any of the superhero flicks that Cookie has been watching?”

Answer: So far, no.  I have high hopes for Dark Man.

26 thoughts on “April 12, 2012: Garvige Day! Things Japanese! Mailbag!

  1. Hey Joe
    I got my Dark Matter Vol 3 & 4 today! My ‘new’ store is owned by the people who had the ‘old’ store and they managed to find a copy of 3 for me.


  2. Is that a drawing of Bubba’s rear end next to his signature? I’ve been scrutinizing that doodle, trying to discern what it could possibly be, and that’s all I’ve come up with.

  3. I hope you are writing down your list of things to ask MGM. It’s getting long.

  4. @ Kathode – that is an excellent drawing of a tooth. Bubba must have a dental appointment or needs a new tooth brush.

  5. I looked at my beagle and thought, “girl where are your shoes!? Why are you walking around barefoot?” Is that a symptom of something…like maybe I’m going to have a stroke or I’m insane? Just wondering how long I’ve got, until…you know.

    @ Deni – loving your daily dose of Riley pictures. Keep ’em coming.

  6. I saw in Barnes &Noble a whole section on Mangas.. is that a japanese series????

  7. *hugs for Akemi* Akemi…you are such a sweetheart! ^_^ I love how you are learning to speak English. 🙂 Keep it up hon. You’re doing fine. 😉

    My favorite manga is Love Hina.

  8. Just finished Dark Matter #4. Great series. Hope it continues in Comic form somewhere down the line.

  9. The “fun” thing about English… “Conversationally”, with few words one can, for the most part, be reasonably understood without insulting anyone’s ancesters or gods or whatever. “Written”, the Language is a melding of about probably 5 or 6 base ancient languages. Hence, the weird “spellings”. At least – thankfully! – we don’t have to worry about “genders”.

    It could be worse – She could be learning French!! [a language with 10 times more “exceptions” than Rules!]

    Assure Akemi, that MOST English-speaking people are really crappy Spellers and considerably lacking in grammatical-skills! Not to mention, under the misguided belief that “Spell-Checkers” actually work! — PEOPLE, *USE* a DICTIONARY!!

    Joe, have you ever played SCRABBLE with Her? It might work for Her as the Mangas work for You..?

  10. When my Brother’s girlfriend apologises for her English, I always reply, “Your English beats the hell out my Indonesian’.

  11. G’day Joe.

    I was wondering if you have any recommendations for English dubbed anime? While I don’t mind watching the occasional subtitled film I do prefer to watch and listen rather than read. I haven’t seen any anime for a long time. Not since Akira, Ghost In The Shell and a few others that had successful Western releases. I haven’t seen any TV episodic anime at all unless you count Battle Of The Planets (which was Americanised so much it hardly rates as anime anymore).

    I definitely prefer sci-fi over the more whimsical Studio Ghibli stuff that seems popular these days. And the gorier the better! 🙂

    So, do you or anyone else have any pointers?


  12. Yo, Joe

    When exactly is your visit to MGM? I cannot wait to hear what they have to tell you about the future of the SG series!!

  13. I think both of you are both doing great! I’m having all kinds of problems with the male/female words in Spanish. I don’t understand why using blanco to describe a female word makes it blanca. Spanish speakers out there, is that right? Sounds odd to me.

    I’ve read that English is the hardest language to learn. We have so many rules of grammar. Akemi can make herself understood and that is what counts. The rest she will learn with practice and time.

    I’m very impressed that you are learning Japanese characters! I would have to study each letter so closely, it would probably be faster to ask.

    JeffW: I thought of Amelia when I started reading The Race too. 😉

    Hubby and I had our 19th anniversary Tuesday but since the kid is out of town, today we are celebrating. We are going to try out a couple of eatery’s I’ve heard about in Downtown Memphis. Have a good day all!

  14. P.s. Das: Since we are heading to downtown Memphis, TN, we could use an armed escort. Interested in a job? 😉

  15. My neighbors sharpened their English comprehension skills with my mail order catalogs! Victoria’s Secret was a big hit.

  16. It’s great to learn a new language. I know a few words of japanese, but it’s just because they were from songs I heard in animes. (Inuyasha’s Fukai Fukai, for exemple)

    At least, she’s not trying to understand how to read french, wich is the worst for unintelligible ways to use spelling. And we have the genders, and accents. Most francophones don’t know how to spell and most of the spell checkers don’t work at all with french, it’s horrible. (except for Antidote, this one’s pretty good)

    Try saying this really fast :

    Si ces six saucissons-ci sont six sous, alors ces six cent saucissons-ci sont six cent sous.


  17. Sorry to say, but Cookie Monster wont be able to hold down his cookies for a few days after watching Darkman.

  18. A vowel followed by a consonant followed by a vowel makes the first long: mike, bike, cage, age. (Well with all things English, there are exceptions-I blame the French.)
    I picked up my vol. 3 and 4 of Dark Matter at my local comic store (the company distributor was away at the comic convention so vol. 3 was slow in arriving), and I think I have at least one new fan or reader for you.

  19. What’s strange about some girl’s Japanese baseball series? It seems more mainstream than some guy’s Japanese drift racing series.

  20. Great Gintama clip!

    Hang in there, Akemi! English really is a strange language to try to learn, but you have come a long way and you will master it.

  21. Another lol! You got me thinking of my friend Maiko (you might remember her from Supa’s New Year’s party circa ’05) who was totally confused about “mandarine, Mandarin, and mandolin”. Say them to yourself in a Japanese frame of mind and you’ll understand… 🙂

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