A little update on Me

11 06 2010

Well, the past few months has been half filled with legitimate things to do and half filled with simple procrastination. As it stands now, I am in a new apartment at home, unemployed, taking some random classes, and overall doing not much else.

The new apartment is smaller than what I had before, but still bigger than the dorm rooms that I’ve lived in for the past 3 years. But with a lack of air conditioning it’s going to be a bit… interesting once the heat wave hits. And much to the irritation of my mom, I still haven’t unpacked and sorted out all my stuff a month after we’ve moved in. Although I can’t really help it, between my naps, the laptop and the TV, I simply have no time to clean up after myself… ;)

In terms of crafts, since lately the nights are pretty chilly but evenings are still warm, I decided to crochet myself a blanket that’ll smooth out the transition between my comforter and my summer blankie. Details and pictures to come soon.

I also made some pocket-sized notebooks to sell for Anime North a couple weekends ago so I’ll put pictures up for those as well.

Food-wise I haven’t done much. The new kitchen is smaller and so is the range and the oven. Last night I baked some bananas with chocolate inside and it turned out pretty nice (except using 75% chocolate made it a bit too bitter). I think I’ll get to know the new oven with something simple this weekend.

One thing I need to remember to do is to bring my camera with me when I go out because I’ve gone to a couple new restaurants that I want to review and revisited some as well.

Looks like this brief update turned out a bit long didn’t it?


Tea Shops Review 1

4 06 2010

Today I started doing what I’ve always needed to do but kept running out of time on: finding a place that sells good Earl Grey tea.

Ever since buying that really expensive earl grey at Afternoon Tea in Japan (about $2/bag), I’ve been craving superb earl grey here in Canada. But considering I know nothing about tea and I don’t do that thermometer and timer thing, I can only fumble my way through this all tea sampling thing. Regardless! I tried the earl grey from two shops with a friend today and here is my review!

50g bag for $5.50, free of tax (or included) and staples (staple-less stapler for the receipts).

Great scent, better than the Tetley crap you get at supermarkets but a bit… impure. It smells like there’s something else mixed in with the earl grey, a faint whiff of something that resembles preserved Chinese plum fruit thingers. The tag says the base is a Chinese black tea and has blue mallow blossoms and yellow sunflower blossoms as highlights.

Taste-wise, it’s okay. You can’t really taste (what I think is) the bergamot and there’s no bitter tea taste (that I actually really love). But it’s not bad for the price. Comes in a silver reseal-able bag with a label that describes the tea and some steeping instructions.

The Red Tea Box:
1 pot for $8.75, sit down tea. 2oz. bag for $12, paper bag then wrapped again in plastic. 1oz. tin for $9 (or something).

Because this had a sit down place we chose to have a pot instead of buying more leaves that’ll take me years to finish if I didn’t particularly like it. The smell again, was nice, and purer than Tealish. Leaves look to be pure tea (no flowers) and all they could tell me was that it’s a normal Ceylon for the base. The tea was just as bland but with more bitterness to it. I’m not too crazy about this one either.

The good thing is, they had some nice sandwiches in their Mad Hatter Sandwich Set ($25). The set included an Indian spiced chicken sandwich with avocado and romaine lettuce (I think, I’m not into lettuces) on raisin bread, chicken wellingtons with curry potatoes on it, carrot cake with berries on top, scones, banana bread, and.. some other cake/bread thing.

The amount was decent for the price but still a little pricey for afternoon munchies. The scones were definitely too sweet for the tea they served but it may just be me. Tea is served with milk and honey and tiny shortbread cookie squares. Decor is lovely but the dishes, utensils etc are very mismatched and confused.

Buy tea at Tealish if they have what you need, at least in terms of earl grey. But that’s not set in stone until I actually try the teas side by side one day. Go to The Red Tea Box for some dainty but filling munchies in the afternoon and don’t panic when you’re getting out of the bathroom (read the unlocking instructions under the knob).

I know the lack of pictures makes this a boring review but I didn’t think to bring my camera today so maybe next time.

Shops found through this, feel free to suggest others.


5 05 2010

I’m moving on the 9th so I expect that the earliest I’ll post anything remotely interesting will be a week after. But as I’m a huge procrastinator it might not happen.

I also realized that if I leave my Japanese textbooks at school… I can’t update that at all. Hmm…

Mothers say the darnest things

14 04 2010

My mother always complains that I say things that are infuriating sometimes, like telling a friend that I’ll tough it out like a real man when he told me to take shelter from the rain for a while or telling another one that he should be more manly like me… But this amusing but annoying personality factor has to come from somewhere right?

So I got home last night for a couple days of breather time between exams and when I saw my mom I was excited to tell her about the results so far from my work out…

Me: LOOK! I got skinnier, I’m pretty sure I GAINED weight but I know I definitely got skinnier because like, my shorts are looser now! *shows off tummy*
Mom: *looks at me for a long time* So does that mean your face is swollen?

I don’t know what to do with her sometimes…

But seriously, I don’t like how I’m gaining weight, getting fatter in the FACE but slimming down elsewhere? How does this even happen?

Japanese 003

11 04 2010

Sometimes I include things that aren’t strictly taught in the chapter listed but are relevant, like the negative form of asking a question.

Nakama 1: ch2 – Greetings & Introductions

Section II – ~は~ですか。

Affirmative – Noun は Noun ですか。
Alternative – Noun ですか。
Negative – Noun は Noun じゃないですか。

This is a simple question: Is noun, noun? The negative form is a bit weird to use. Normally when a question is in the negative it’s really like a confirmation of something you think is true: Are you not Suzuki-san? Anyways, just don’t use the negative question at this point.

すずきさんですか。 suzuki san desu ka. Are you Suzuki-san? (when asked to Suzuki) OR Is it Suzuki-san?
すずきさんはがくせいですか。 suzuki san ha gakusei desu ka. Is Suzuki-san a student? OR Are you a student? (when asked to Suzuki)

There are different ways of translating Japanese depending on who it was spoken to. The Japanese rarely fully refer to ‘you’ as ‘you’ because for them, vagueness is politeness. So even when speaking directly to Suzuki-san, the speaker will address the person by their name in a weird “I know you’re Suzuki but I’ll refer to you as if we’re talking about you in the 3rd person” type of way.

The alternative way of asking is a little brisk because it lacks proper structure. Or something like that. Normally when talking, you’d want to include as much extra info as possible because that’s just how the Japanese roll. So to say anything or ask anything in the Nounです form is a little curt. But, it’s not wrong, you can use it every now and then.

Affirmative – はい、そうです。
Negative – いいえ、そうじゃありません。

By the way, negatives almost always have the two ways of saying it: ~じゃありません and ~じゃないです. Sometimes you can only use one due to grammar rules but most of the time it’s interchangeable. As with above, you can just say a yes or no without the extra bit at the end, but that sounds as cold as it does in English.

Section III – relations using の

Bigger noun の smaller noun です。

I really can’t explain this clearly but when you’re talking about something ‘belonging’ to something else, whatever it is that belongs to whatever else goes second. This also denotes possession so the order is: possessor の possessed. The Japanese order for things always seems to go from big to small, vague to specific.

やまださんは____だいがくのがくせいです。 Yamada-san is a student at ____ university.
わたしのともだちはいちねんせいです。 My friend is a 1st year.
とうきょうだいがくのスミスさん Tokyo University’s Smith-san OR Smith-san from Tokyo U. Notice that without the ~です ending, this is not a real sentence.
わたしのなまえは。。。 My name is…

Section IV – question words

なん – what
だれ・どんなた – who/who(polite)
どこ・どちら -where/where(polite)
いつ – when

These words ask for specific information. Just replace the Nouns you don’t know of from the previous section with one of these question words.

すずきさんはなんですか。 すずきさんはがくせいです。 What is Suzuki? Suzuki is a student.
やまださんはなんのがくせいですか。 やまださんは___だいがくのがくせいです。 Yamada is a student of what? Yamada is ____ university’s student.
だれのともだちはいちねんせいですか。 わたしのともだちはいちねんせいです。 Who’s friend is a 1st year? My friend is a first year.
やまださんのだいがくはどこですか。 Where is Yamada’s university? (lit. Yamada’s university is where?)

どちらからいらっしゃいましたか。 Where are you from? This is a polite way of asking someone’s town/city/country/etc.
どちらからきましたか。 This is less formal than the above.
_____ にきました。 This is the way to answer. Never use いらっしゃいました when replying, it makes you sound very haughty in a bad bad way.

Don’t be shy to ask my questions if you have them!

Japanese 002

11 04 2010

Japanese is mostly learned through the ‘practical usage’ style where you learn things that will pertain to what you’ll have to use in life, unlike how French is taught in Canada. So before you even learn to count, you learn the basic sentence and some vocabulary fit for a university/college student.

Nakama 1: ch2 – Greetings & Introductions

いちねんせい – 1st year (freshman)
にねんせい – 2nd year (sophmore)
さんえんせい – 3rd year (junior)
よねんせい – 4th year (senior)
だいがくいんせい – graduate student
がくせい – student
だいがくせい – univeristy/college student
りゅうがくせい – exchange student
せんせい – teacher
ともだち – friend

せんこう – major
けいざいがく – economics
ぶんがく – philosophy
こうがく- law
けいえいがく – business admin

おとこ(のにと) – male (person)
おんな – female
わたし – I

Section I – ~は~です。

Affirmative – Noun は Noun です。
Negative – Noun は Noun じゃありません / じゃないです。

This is the most basic form of sentences: something IS something. “Desu” doesn’t translate well but it’s a polite ending to sentences and is present most of the time.

The order in which you say your nouns matter. My prof was always talking about the topic and the subject but I still don’t know which is which. My trick is, whatever you want to talk about will always be denoted by the particle “は”. Sometimes it’ll be denoted by “も” or “が” for also but that’s for later. You can also think of it the other way, “は” will always follow the thing you’re talking about.

わたしはがくせいです。 watashi wa gakusei desu. I am a student.
すずくさんはがくせいじゃありません。 suzuki san wa gakuseija arimasen. Suzuki-san is not a student.
Once we switch what gets followed by the “は”, the sentence changes in meaning the same way it does in English.
がくせいはすずきさんです。 gakusei wa suzuki san desu. The student is Suzuki-san.
がくせいはすずきさんじゃありませんです。 gakusei ha suzuki san ja arimasen. The student is not Suzuki-san.

“は” here is pronounced as “wa” but when you type it you must still type “ha” to get the proper hiragana to show up.

Japanese 001

11 04 2010

My Japanese exam is on Tuesday so I think I’ll review through posting on my blog. I’ll be going through everything I’ve learned so far in the 2 years I’ve been studying Japanese here so if anyone want to self learn they could use my review as a guide or something.

The textbook I use it Nakama, but we don’t go through a textbook per year since the Canadian university system is missing a chunk of hours compared to the States’. My review session is mostly done for me so it skims over the basics since I’ve gotten most of them down.

Nakama 1: ch1 – Hiragana

あ い う え お (a i u e o)
か き く け こ (ka ki ku ke ko)
さ し す せ そ (sa shi su se so)
た ち つ て と (ta chi tsu te to)
な に ぬ ね の (na ni nu ne no)
は ひ ふ へ ほ (ha hi fu he ho)
ま み む め も (ma mi mu me mo)
や ゆ よ (ya yu yo)
ら り る れ ろ (ra ri ru re ro)
わ を (wa o)
ん (n)

Nakama 1: ch3.5 – Katakana

ア イ ウ エ オ (a i u e o)
カ キ ク ケ コ (ka ki ku ke ko)
サ シ ス セ ソ (sa shi su se so)
タ チ ツ テ ト (ta chi tsu te to)
ナ ニ ヌ ネ ノ (na ni nu ne no)
ハ ヒ フ ヘ ホ (ha hi fu he ho)
マ ミ ム メ モ (ma mi mu me mo)
ヤ ユ ヨ (ya yu yo)
ラ リ ル レ ロ (ra ri ru re ro)
ワ ヲ (wa wo)
ン (n)