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April 2008 Archives

Okay Boys and Girls! It's time for another SaruDama Japanese Language Lesson. (SJLL!!) Today we'll explore some basic Kanji. woo hoo!!

If you need, be sure to check out the prior SaruDama Nihongo Lessons.

Today's lesson consists of the following eight kanji:

Okay Boys and Girls! It's time for another SaruDama Japanese Language Lesson. (SJLL!!) Today we'll completely delineate the hiragana system and explore some usage.

If you need, here is Lesson 101

First, a note on vowel pronunciation. These pronunciations (througout any/all Japanese language) ALWAYS remain the same, so please keep them in mind. (Ie. memorize them)

Okay Boys and Girls! It's time for the FIRST SaruDama Japanese Language Lesson (SJLL!!) brought to you by, well, me.

First off, let's focus on the name of our task. In other words, how do you say "Japanese Language" in Japanese? The answer is Nihongo (ni-hon-go). We call that pronunciation and writing system ROMAJI since if utilizes only Roman characters. And that's cheating.

You can correctly "spell" the word nihongo like this ??? or this ????.

If you can aesthetically sense or recognize a difference between the appearance of these two versions, you are well on your way of distinguishing amongst the three (3) writing systems of the Japanese.

Birthday [Baasudei]

Genre: Horror
Author: Koji Suzuki (1998)

review in one breath

This is the final of Suzuki's four books dedicated to the Ring saga. It is a collection of three stories, each involving an exploration into the situations and plights of three female characters mentioned elsewhere in the other novels. One of the three tales was the basis for the film "Ring 0: Birthday", and as a whole, the collection provides a satisfactory and reflective conclusion to the very detailed and complex world of Suzuki's Ring narrative.

Loop [Ruupu]

Genre: Sci-Fi Apocalypse
Author: Koji Suzuki (1998)

review in one breath

Loop is the third novel in author Koji Suzuki's Ring Trilogy and presents a wholly unexpected and mind-boggling conclusion to the horror tale's trajectory. It is set in a Post-Sadako era where a newly identified genetic virus which is decimating the world's population. We follow Kaoru Futami, a young medical student, as he follows a confusing set of clues which may hold the key to understanding and perhaps defeating the deadly viral pandemic. In consistent form, author Suzuki combines the intricacies of biological evolution with visionary science fiction to explore the origin and implications of the original Sadako's cursed video tape.

Incident at Blood Pass [Machibuse]


Genre: Yojimbo Samurai Tale
Director: Inagaki Hiroshi (1970)

review in one breath

A rogue ronin samurai is hired by a mysterious man to travel to a snowy mountain pass and wait for further instructions. Along the way he rescues an abused maiden who asks to accompany him until he reaches his destination. Once there, the samurai encounters a hodge-podge of seemingly innocuous local characters who unbeknownst to him are plotting a major ambush of an official caravan soon to pass their way. This is the last of Toshiro Mifune's "Yojimbo" films.

Nightmare Detective [Akumu Tantei]

Genre: Gloomy Psychic Crime Horror
Director: Tsukamoto Shinya (2006)

review in one breath

Tokyo police are baffled by a series of grisly deaths which at first glance appear to be obvious suicides but after further investigation have all the earmarks of homicide. Eyewitnesses to some of the cases report that the victims violently killed themselves in their sleep while screaming for help. When it is discovered that each of the victims had phoned a mysterious individual known only as "0", a detective calls the number only to soon thereafter die a gruesome self-inflicted death in his sleep. At their wits end, the cops ask the help of a bedraggled psychic said to possess the ability to enter people's dreams.

Spiral [Rasen]

Genre: Japanese Horror, Dark Science
Author: Koji Suzuki (1995)

review in one breath

Spiral is the second of author Koji Suzuki's four Ring-related books. It follows a relatively brief period in the life of medical examiner Mitsuo Ando, from the day he performs the autopsy on Ryuji Takayama (from the first novel) to the full-blown unleashing of the Ring Virus into the world. This is another page turner in Suzuki's highly readable and engaging storytelling. It offers a complex and riveting unveiling of the darker powers and intent behind Sadako Yamamura's video tape curse of the original novel.

Dai-Nipponjin [Dai Nippon Jin]

Genre: Traditional Kaijuu Deconstruction
Director: Matsumoto Hitoshi (2007)

review in one breath

Masaru Daisato is a 4th generation Japanese superhero. His father, Grand Father and Great-Grand Father before him had protected the Japanese Islands from ultimate destruction at the hands of various monsters (kaijuu) rising from both land and sea. Unlike his ancestors, however, who were nationally heralded as beloved heroes and were often invited into the Imperial Palace, Masaru's personal life is in shambles. He is divorced, has little income, and in the eyes of many contemporary Japanese is far less spectacular than the historical hype suggests. The film Dai-Nipponjin is a documentary following Masaru's mundane daily life and superhero responsibilities in an effort to understand the man behind the legend.

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