Thursday, March 26, 2015

My first (book) translation credit

Forest Sprite David the Gnome

I'll admit, I tend to be a bit critical of TV programming these days. Sure, there are some great shows, but there's also a lot of crap. Thanks, reality TV. I also don't think very highly of kids' shows, and that's an opinion I've heard echoed by my peers. "They just don't make shows like they used to."

People my age reminisce about cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, GI Joe, He-Man, Doug, and Rugrats, to name a few. Just between us, I've done back and rewatched parts of some of those shows...and a big part of our feeling have to do with nostalgia. And when we were younger, we watched those shows through our children-eyes. If I were a kid growing up today, maybe I'd love SpongeBob.

Anyway, regardless of objective quality, one of the shows I remember most fondly from my early childhood is David the Gnome. From what I recall, it was a cartoon about this gnome who lived in the forest and would ride around on his pet fox, helping out gnomes, animals, and other creatures. There were trolls, talking beasts, and magic; pretty cool for a show aimed at little kids. A quick YouTube search shows that all of the episodes are actually available to watch there. If that's still the case when I have a family, my brood will without a doubt be getting a taste of my childhood.

Apparently the show was adapted from a book, and was originally created in Spain. The English version starred Tom Bosley, who some of you might remember as the dad from Happy Days.

According to Wikipedia, there was also a Japanese dub that ran on NHK briefly in 1991 and then on Sun Television in 2003. Unfortunately I can't find any clips of the Japanese version online, but that's still pretty cool.

FYI, the Japanese title is 「森の妖精ノーム」, which means something like "The Gnome-Sprite of the Forest."

Image Source

Thursday, March 19, 2015


This is a discussion we've had before, though long ago. Portlandia nailed a similar issue.

Please. Watch:

Don't call yourself an otaku.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

All this Candy

As you may well know, I like me a good mobile game. That said, I never got into Candy Crush Saga. Maybe I'm too much of a game snob? Perhaps that's it. Candy Crush is for casual gamers. "Cassies." Or maybe I just have very specific tastes when it comes to match-3's. If there are no swords or goblins, I'm probably out.

So it should come as no surprise that I haven't played the latest chapter, Candy Crush Soda. Well, that's not entirely true. I played it on Mint's phone for about two minutes on some nefarious mode with ever-expanding, evil chocolate. Needless to say the chocolate was no match for my wiles.

Anyway, I was watching some recent Japanese commercials on YouTube and discovered that Candy Crush seems to be a hit over in J-Land, too. At least enough so to warrant ads on TV, which I've never seen in the US.

Here are two from the series. I'm not sure if they've all been aired around the same time or have been staggered.

In the first one, the sitting dude asks the fairy dude what the difference is between Candy Crush and Candy Soda. He is met with silence.

In the second one, the sitting dude is like "You're the Candy Soda fairy, right?" The fairy dude confirms that to be the case. Dude 1 then follows up, "So then how come you can't tell me how to clear stage 40?" The fairy dude then apologizes.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ogre up your heart!

One interesting byproduct of being multilingual (or perhaps of just being at a certain point in your language studies) is that sometimes you'll just hear or read something and matter of factly wonder how that translates into your other language(s). Not because it's of any consequence, and it may just be a passing ponderance. If you're anything like me, though, it's a fairly common thing.

I was in church the other day and the responsorial was "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

Harden not your hearts, eh? Pretty cool phrase. I wondered what it was in Japanese, but was in no position to look it up. So I forgot pretty quickly. But I have remembered! Providence?

First off, a little research reveals that the passage of interest is from Psalms 95:

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
    as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,

Righto. Let's look up the Japanese!

8 あなたがたは、メリバにいた時のように、また荒野のマッサにいた日のように、心をかたくなにしてはならない。

The Japanese uses a literal parallel - 「心をかたくなにする」。 But this appears not to be the only way to translate the expression. ALC, I summon thee!

One of these in particular is pretty interesting! 「心を鬼にする」

「鬼」is a somewhat versatile word that can mean anything from "goblin" to "ogre" to "demon." Here we have it in verb form, which I've never seen before. So this expression is literally something like "Make your heart ogrish." Ogre up that heart!