Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Season

Just wanted to pop in to give a quick status update as I've been rather negligent lately on the blog post front. It's been a busy year in terms of preparing for the holidays. I'm not exactly certain why, but it feels like I've done a lot more shopping this year than for Christmases past.

So I sat for the JLPT N1 at the beginning of the month. It was a little rough. I felt like my reading ability has improved comprehension-wise, but I ran out of time before I could finish the section. Guess I need more speed and endurance on that end. Given that I'm shifting to IT study mode, I'm not sure if I'll be working to take it again next year; will have to wait and see on that. I'll just need to be mindful about putting in enough time with Japanese media to make sure I don't lose what gains I've made.

I wish I could guarantee a lot more posts for the second half of this month, but what with Dragon Age Inquisition and Fantasy Life almost certain to come my way for Christmas, plus Suikoden and Suikoden II on my plate...well, it doesn't look too good, I'll be honest. That said, 2.0 of Ambition of the Slimes was released the other day, so I'll try to update the guide soon.

Anyway, that's it for now. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

皮切りにして: Cut the skin

A belated happy Thanksgiving to my American readers. I hope you had a wonderful day and hopefully a little time to relax!

Myself, I'm balancing the relaxation with an increasing need to study. On one hand, I've decided to change tracks and pursue IT. It seems to be a pretty lucrative field with a lot of jobs (as compared to just looking for Japan-related positions), and I've always liked computers. I'm hoping to get my CompTIA A+ certification early next year, but the study guide is 1400+ pages, so...yeah, a lot to go through.

On the other hand, I have no intention of abandoning Japanese. Refocus a bit yet, but I still may have a more serious go at translation someday. And with that in mind, I'll be sitting for the JLPT N1 again this Sunday. I don't feel adequately prepared, but at least I'm still working at it.

And so in the spirit of N1 study, I offer up this grammar point I!


I was going through my good ol' Kanzen Masters grammar study book when I came once more across this one. 皮切りにして (かわきりにして) - "to begin with."

Now I could just file that away and move on, but it I'm more likely to remember if I actually try to figure out the structure behind grammar points like this. Literally, this looks like "Cut the skin and..." And yet it somehow works out to "beginning with." There must be some interesting story behind this expression, right?

Cue the Google digging. Ah, results.

It seems this expression finds its origin in traditional Eastern (Chinese) medicine. Specifically, something called moxibustion. Huzzah for learning new English words, too!

Moxibustion is, apparently, in the same vein as acupuncture. Except instead of sticking people with needles, you stick them with burning, uh...sticks. And this can also be done in conjunction with acupuncture needles. Sounds relaxing, right?

That "being flayed" sensation means it's working.

Well as you might imagine, this can sting a bit. The expression came about because at the start of being moxibusted upon (I'm sure that's not the medical term for it, but please excuse this humble layman), one feels as if one's skin is being cut. Ouch. Hence "Cut the skin" came to mean "to begin with."

And now you know.

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