Link-O-Mania: Mostly Japanese Websites — Blogs, Think Tanks and Some Inspiration

So, I thought I was having…what’s the word…hot flashes? Feminine itching? A dry spell? When I realized I was just taking mean comments to heart. They got moderated: people who say such mean things about Mati from Captain Planet shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet! He took the crappy power bullet for all the ethnic minorities! Anyway, I came across some really interesting sites you might want to see. About half are in Japanese, so we’re still on topic.

  • うさぎさんの毎日/The daily life of Little Miss Rabbit. It’s a blog. Written by a friend of mine. So, more shameless plug than anything else :) . She told me she’s worried the content is too “mundane”; I told her we can’t always limit our discussions to what’s in 論点/The Issues.
  • This article by Joel son of Spolsky. Suddenly I feel bad about all those 0.1%-funny-99.9%-offensive jokes I’ve made in the past. But it’s a great article about getting things done even when you feel sluggish and useless and like you’re not really progressing, filled with insight like this: “Maybe this is the key to productivity: just getting started.” Read the whole for deeper insight.
  • 国立国語研究所/The National Institute for Japanese Language (“Nigel”). I had never even heard of these kids until yesterday, but already I’m officially in love with them. They publish these cool reports with suggestions for Japanese replacements of unnecessary foreign words. And, seriously, as obsessed with words like “コンプライアンス/compliance” so many Japanese companies seem to be nowadays, don’t they really just mean 「法令遵守」? Hopefully I’m not a purist, but when you have one of the most powerful neologism-generation systems ever created by mankind at your disposal, why ignore it just to pretend you know a foreign language and/or are importing a foreign concept when you don’t and you’re not? Rhetorical question. What I love about the 国立国語研究所 is that they’re not in any way denying the value of foreign words; they freely admit the freshness and vitality they can bring; they’re merely redirecting towards sensibleness — away from the descent into katakana absurdity that passes for so many business documents trying to sound “catchy” and “with it” (when the motivation is positive), or (when the motivation is negative) actually trying to break laws by obfuscation: replacing a term for something that is 一目瞭然 clearly illegal or unpleasant when in kanji, with a foreign word in meaningless, emotionally neutral katakana. Nigel take a constructive approach; avoiding blanket condemnation, they identify the prime offenders and actually propose simple, effective solutions. I mean, “パブリックインボルブメント”/public involvement? WTF? 「住民参画」, foo! Anyway, the fact the Nigel exists is a very healthy precedent, and good for the lymph. Take a look at their reports: they’re very well written and easy to read.
  • While on the subject of good writing, here comes Uncylopedia — the Japanese edition. And their collection of autologically bad articles on bad (i.e. hardーto-follow) writing. I almost died of laughter In fact, after I get done writing this, I’m going back for some more chuckles. They also had this hilarious disclaimers. 「超フィクション」(笑). “The contents of this article are entirely fictional, although some of what is discussed may be factual, making this ‘super-fiction’, if you will”. Feels like that guy Alfred E. Tennyson’s famous blog post about half-truths.
  • The fact that I haven’t already linked to Sushi and Seduction is a crime. Shame on me! The author, Emergency, is the man now dawg. And he’s the proud parent of three of the most amazing articles ever written. In one, he readies, aims and crushes with his bare keyboard all those crazy, negative, limiting beliefs that prevent so many people fulfilling their Japanese potential; he’s really dug deep and brought into the glaring light of day, all those irrational, nonsensical, unmaliciously racist beliefs [“but those people are just smarter! Their brains are designed for rote memorization! I read it in Mein Kampf!”] people cling to when it comes to Japanese and other Asian languages. But Emergency was just getting warmed up! He then comes out you with the positive beliefs that will help your Japanese self quickly grow big, strong and healthy. And just as a roundhouse kick, he gives his introduction to learning kanji. Keep an eye out for his family-oriented, hand-drawn illustrations that help you understand each article better.
  • Glowing Face Man shares his insights on English and why you can’t whine about other languages if you know it. This ought to shut up some whiners for a while.
  • Finally, I know I’ve put this up in some form before (indirectly), but that was to a sub-site. This is the main TBS Radio Podcasts site. They have some great podcasts up there, and it’s not limited to news/comedy/politics and general silliness. They also have at least one science podcast up there — Science Xitalk(サイエンス・サイトーク) — that I’m actually listening to as I write this, so check it out.

And we’re done.

  22 comments for “Link-O-Mania: Mostly Japanese Websites — Blogs, Think Tanks and Some Inspiration

  1. Rob
    October 12, 2008 at 13:55

    Perfect timing for this post, I just came across this flash geography quiz game. It’s good katakana practice because you have to read quickly before time runs out. I also learned that my geography sucks big time.

    www.gamedesign.jp/flash/worldmap/worldmap_jp.html

  2. October 12, 2008 at 18:05

    Nice one! The ‘Katakana English’ drives me retarded!! I think I’m going to start misusing and mispronouncing Japanese…. Oh wait. I already do!! :)

    Re; the bad comments – don’t let them grind you down man. For every 1 hurtful comment some tool sends you because they’ve got nothing else to do, there’s 20 nice ones that people don’t post because they’re busy learning Japanese and having a life, so don’t stress it.

  3. David
    October 13, 2008 at 03:21

    I love reading those articles about the English language. They are very insightful to things I already know. But, they draw those comparisons to other languages and make my task of learning Japanese that much more viable.

  4. Chiro-kun
    October 14, 2008 at 00:09

    パブリックインボルブメントって…..おいおい

  5. David Ross
    October 14, 2008 at 19:24

    That’s a cool game Rob. Really shows how bad my geography is though!

    Anyone else know any Japanese flash games that are helpful for reading/vocab practice?

  6. Chiro-kun
    October 15, 2008 at 00:13

    www.gamedesign.jp – Its the same site which has the geography game on it

  7. sam
    October 15, 2008 at 10:59

    WOrd!

    Thanks for finally putting this up, I’m listening to one of those podcasts @ teh 仕事(今)

  8. Dazyrue
    October 15, 2008 at 20:26

    Sushi and Seduction: does anyone actually read it? Those pics are REALLY distracting!! ha ha -_^

  9. October 16, 2008 at 06:12

    Khatzumoto,

    have you visited this website yet? www.iknow.co.jp it works really well with your 10,000 sentence method of study, in fact, they are in the process of getting 10,000 sentences with audio up on the site… it is pretty freaking awesome, give it a try ^_^

  10. October 16, 2008 at 18:18

    I listen to TBS radio’s “Day Catch” news summaries program every day and it’s really good. Even though they speak so fast their pronunciation is really clear so you understand what’s going on. But I don’t have a link because I use Windows Media Player to access it. Just search for TBS or something…

  11. Rob
    October 17, 2008 at 11:44

    @Hashiriya

    Thanks for the tip on the Iknow site. It is pretty sweet. I think it’ll be good to use as a supplement to regular reading/SRSing. Best of all it’s free.

  12. October 18, 2008 at 20:21

    @Rob, yeh iKnow rules man… i personally prefer it over anki… it feels more like a game when you use it ^_^ they are getting a lot more stuff on there recently and the advanced stuff should be out by the end of this year ^_^

  13. October 20, 2008 at 02:15

    Khatzumoto-

    Thanks for linking my site. It’s an honor to have one of my posts linked by you and heralded as great, inspirational posts. I have to say that your blog is one of the best and most inspirational sites I’ve ever encountered. I hope that I can have the same influence over people, just in a slightly different arena.

    Keep up the awesome work and I’ll see you in Japan!

    Emergency

  14. October 20, 2008 at 03:52

    Forgot to mention-

    The “hate comments” and all that other jazz you get are just natural indicators of your success. I delete copious amounts of negativity on my blog as well from people who don’t get what I do. It used to bug me, but now I just shake my head and realize that I’m doing what I love, nothing else matters.

    That’s when you know you have succeeded. No one has done anything great without facing plenty of opposition. As my wing often says: “Let the losers talk the bullshit.”

    頑張って

  15. Moo
    October 20, 2008 at 06:45

    I’ve visited www.iknow.co.jp too! In the short time I used it, I think I learned more words in comparison to studying in other ways. It’s great!

    I have a question for you: Do you think it’s bad to learn another foreign language at the same time as Japanese? (Or just learning multiple foreign languages simultaneously in general.)

    I’ve also taken up learning Korean in addition to learning Japanese. Korean grammar is similar to Japanese grammar, so I often compare the uses. Some things I remember in Korean because I can relate to them in Japanese. I think, oh that’s like this! But I also remember certain things because they are DIFFERENT from Japanese. In a sense when speaking Korean, I will sometimes think of “what would I say in Japanese?” instead of thinking of my native English. XD I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing though hahaha.

    Up until recently, I wasn’t able to write a very long paragraph in Japanese. But just the other day I was able to sit down and write out a rather long blog entry in Japanese(4 paragraphs or so). When I had finished I was surprised by how much I had written, without thinking too much and without using a dictionary!

    So I wonder, could learning another foreign language be helping my Japanese!? And in a sense, I wonder, are they both helping me learn the other?

  16. Ryan
    November 5, 2008 at 06:25

    What about the Uncyclopedia article on katakana?

    ansaikuropedia.org/wiki/カタカナ

  17. matt
    December 5, 2008 at 14:12

    the tbs podcast link is gold! thanks so much.

  18. May 19, 2009 at 05:00

    Hey Khatzumoto-

    Love the site, and can’t thank you enough for all your awesome insight. It’s really changed my life and helped get my Japanese to a whole new level.

    Anyways, I’ve moved my blog from wordpress to blogger, and wanted to let you know that some of the links have changed.

    “Limiting beliefs” link is now found at emergencynampa.blogspot.com/2008/09/i-not-asian-limiting-beliefs-about_13.html
    “positive beliefs” link is now found at emergencynampa.blogspot.com/2008/09/destiny-beliefs-that-will-help-you_17.html
    “learning kanji” link is now found at emergencynampa.blogspot.com/2008/09/master-japanese-writing-system-in-2_28.html

    When you get a chance, please change your links so there’s no dead ones and keep up the good work!

    Best,
    Emergency

  19. Mallory
    June 27, 2009 at 01:21

    Are blogs a good place to gather sentences to put into my SRS?

  20. cabjoe
    June 27, 2009 at 10:26

    @Mallory
    I would think so. Very often blogs are written in a spoken, informal style so they can be a very good source for natural sounding sentences.
    Another source I’ve found recently is

    komachi.yomiuri.co.jp/

    It’s like an agony aunt site. People write posts about problems they’re having in their life and others respond with advice. It’s great as a source of Japanese as it’s used in normal daily life

  21. July 6, 2010 at 19:47

    The whole site is good for reading practice, and has all sorts of japanese kids learning games. A LOT of katakana and hirigana, not a lot of kanji The link has a typing game for either kana or romaji, your pick. It also tests a little low level kanji just in site navigation. Overall pretty cool if you have no problems using a kids site>w<

  22. Josh
    April 27, 2012 at 02:26

    I know this is a way old post, but as a headsup, the link to ‘Nigel’ appears to be broken.

    All the best! Your articles are a fantastic pick-me-up.  

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