Wednesday, October 26, 2011

AKB they ain't: Ayaman Japan

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I think I first heard of/saw this group on Salaryman's blog (he would feature a band like this). The three women form  あやまんJapan (Ayaman Japan), and they sing silly, kind of dirty songs.

Apparently they started off as a group of party organizers, made an appearance on Fuji TV, and then broke into the music scene. It looks like they only got started musically (professionally at least) in 2010, so they've only released a handful of songs.

Yoshie's father hates them and she thinks they're kind of annoying, but I choose to be amused by them. Sure, they're not producing the highest level of art here, but their songs are kind of fun and different, if not catchy. And at least they're not another cute, innocent, generic J-pop group.

Here are two videos of what I believe is their original breakout song, 「ぽいぽいぽいぽぽいぽぴー」("Poi Poi Poi Popoi Poi Popi"):





Here are the lyrics with an approximate translation. As you can see, mostly a mix of nonsense and sexual references; basically just making fun of pop songs.

Here's one of their later songs, which starts off more subtly but then gets quite kooky (and for those of you who know what AKB48 are, yes, I think they are making fun of them):



Update: AKB48 is a large, ever-changing girls pop group (pictured below). I have a lot of problems with AKB48, but that's a story for another post. Below are a picture and video for reference, so you can compare with the more Ayaman Japan parodic video above.

Flickr/Youngelectricpop




Update 2: This one is much more blatantly making fun of AKB (it seems this post has taken a turn in that direction):

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Snickers CM

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Just wanted to share this video I saw over at Japan Probe - a Snickers "You're not you when you're hungry" commercial, a la Japan. Nice.



I'm not familiar with the actress, but I like the touch of English thrown in there. Adds to the flavor.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Level 2; and the kanji for poo!

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So my JLPT results never did arrive. I guess they got lost on some clerk's desk or wedged under a conveyor belt somewhere between here and Tokyo. None too eager to make an international call, I asked Yoshie to ring up the Test Center and find out what the deal was. The guy she spoke to said they mailed my test results out, but could remail them if they never arrived. So we had them sent to Yoshie's place and they arrived just last week.

I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but I passed, and now I am officially JLPT N2, which I'm sure is more useful in terms of being able to put it on my resume than anything else. Now I must continue to battle to keep my Japanese up! Well, no other way than using it as much as I can...

I'm going to take this opportunity to transition into poop. Yup. I noticed today that Yahoo! Japan has an article up about pandas; specifically why they have the bowels of a carnivore yet 99% of their diet is bamboo and bamboo grass.

Aren't you glad I didn't go with a picture of poo?
Now I'm not a huge panda guy (nor dolphins nor penguins; so sorry) but this did pique my interest, so I had a look. And I'm glad I did. Not because I found out why they don't eat meat (ultimately the article says they don't know why), but because I got to see the kanji for feces, which I don't see all that often. It kind of strikes me as one of those kanji you and your buddies might try to learn as a freshman in college studying the language, because wouldn't it be funny to know the kanji for "shit."

As you may be aware, くそ is an oft-used expletive that's comparable to "crap," "shit," or "damn" in English. The more clinical ふん, "excrement" or "droppings," shares the same kanji:

糞 (くそ,ふん)

Apparently this is also the kanji for King Richard III? I guess because "third" rhymes with "turd?" Anyway, yes...the kanji for poop. Another grand offering to my readers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Understanding "Ore"

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Recently we subscribed to TV Japan at my house so that I can try to keep up with my Japanese a little better (or combat the inevitable decline a little better, anyway). I don't watch TV a whole lot, but now when I do, I try to get a little J-語 in. Probably watch a lot more Japanese TV now than when I was living over there, ironically.

Anyway, a while ago I had this kids show on and had a realization about the use of the first person pronoun, which I've talked about in the past. I realized that I still don't completely get it, and I don't know if I ever will.

I refer to myself as 僕 (boku) in most circumstances, unless I'm trying to be especially polite or respectful. This strikes me as kind of a softer and maybe a little more...I dunno, sensitive (?) way of saying "I" or "me." I think doctors and professors and guys like that might be more likely to use 僕.

On the other hand you have 俺 (ore), which is the pronoun of choice for all your tough guys and your dudes who are trying to sound masculine. Despite being the more "masculine" of the two (Yoshie once called me 男らしい) for using it, I've also been told that lots of guys start using it when they're little boys. In other words, there are plenty of males who use it when they aren't that tough or masculine but just want to come across as such.

Oh yes, the kids show. So I was watching this show with a bunch of people dressed up like animal mascots, and noticed that the cow (who has the voice of a little boy) kept referring to himself as 俺 (ore).

Pretty dang far from badass.
So while I understand the basic feeling of each of these pronouns, I think there's still a lot of nuance that's escaping me. Maybe one day?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

J-Word Play #21 (Answer)

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Has it been a week already? I need to get my post back on...

So last week's riddle was:


楽器が得意なトラってなんでしょうか?
(がっきがとくいなトラってなんでしょうか?)



Special kudos this time to Xiaolin, Makoto, and Cocomino!
To the rest of you, keep trying!