Day 78: W and Y Sounds.

Finally after almost a month I can say that I have memorised the first forty six characters of Hiragana, I could have done it in a more timely fashion were I not such a lazy individual; in stark contrast, considering that the rest of the characters either feature diacritic marks or are a coupling of two Hirigana it’s not entirely ridiculous to expect learning and remembering the rest to be an expeditious process. At least in my mind.

It’s far from the end of the journey though, in actuality it’s far from the start of the journey! I have to learn Katakana after I’ve got all of the symbols for Hirigana, then and only then can I begin to learn Kanji- I will be using the “Anki” app to supplement my education. Having said that learning the Kanji will be something that I do over a period of years, I’ll need to focus on the everyday symbols and most common language to make it a worthwhile endeavour.

With my plans laid bare I suppose it’s only right that I go on to display what I’ve learned today, and those symbols are.

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It would be fair to say that these are some of the ‘hardest’ characters I’ve endeavoured to learn so far, for some reason they just refused to stick in my mind and I had pronounced difficulties in remembering then, particularly “Wa” and “Wo”. Whilst I can recognize them now I still struggle to identify why I had such an arduous time learning them.

Other than that, today was pretty quiet, the weather didn’t permit me to go outside, especially since I left my rain coat at a friends house like an idiot, needless to say, forty mile an hour wind speeds and driving rain (LITERALLY raining sideways) wasn’t a combination that I wanted to walk anywhere in!

As a result I was housebound, hence the small post today- tomorrow will be better.

Until tomorrow.

P.S: Obligatory melon girl is obligatory.

Day 77: R Sounds

To whomever may be reading this I’m sure by now you will recognize the formatting of that title, yes, I have indeed been learning a little bit more hiragana. Today centred mainly around things beginning with R.

Whilst, writing this one day behind schedule, I can attest to the fact that I have successfully learned all of the sounds and their characters and am seemingly able to retain them with degree of ease I must admit that my studying for the day was in fact very sloppy. I didn’t sit down to read these characters, practice writing them out and then transcribe them onto flashcards in my usual manner (i.e: sitting in the quiet and studying)… I did it whilst playing games.

This isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, I absorbed what I needed to and I understand the phonetics and rules regarding the use of these characters, but I know very well that my self control is poor and I could have easily become distracted or at the very least disenchanted with my work.


 

Even now I find that I’m absent mindedly on Second life… I’m quite the slacker.


 

Of course not everyone Is blessed with a naturally brilliant work ethic, I know for certain I’m not one of them… at least not in my spare time; within the walls of a classroom I’m completely the opposite, I don’t slack off and I’m attentive- always the first one in the room with their hand up and the answer burgeoning past his lips. Such a teachers pet. To keep myself focussed on the work at hand I try to listen to music, it drowns out so much… not just sound.

Regardless, this didn’t happen today and I think I might have barely gotten away with it and I learned these characters.

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Plus a pretty swanky way to display them if I do say so myself.

Aside from this, today was really rather quiet and I even got to bed at a more reasonable time… two AM… baby steps.

Until tomorrow.

 

Day 76: Freemasons 2!

I awoke today at my usual, late, time of about four O’clock, something that is rapidly becoming the trend and is depriving me of precious time that could be used doing other things. Unfortunately I have also noticed that what I do get up at this time I tend to eat less as well and today is the perfect example; I got up at four O’clock, approximately nineteen hours since my last meal and still didn’t eat anything… I wasn’t hungry. I should be hungry.

In failing getting my appetite back I can always bulk out my diet with caloric supplements, there’s plenty of them around and if I toss a few spoons of the <Generic calorie powder> Into some fruit or milkshakes it should help balance it out. Though, let it be noted that I would prefer to just have my appetite back.

In other news, today I got a message back from the Freemason Lodge, a gentleman by the name of Paul Nash has viewed my application and I am now awaiting another response telling me the time and place of the lodge I need to attend for the next monthly meeting. Presumably I will be interviewed either before, after or during this meeting, an application that I dearly hope I pass.

It would be a nice treat to have gained entry to such a selective sect of genuinely pleasant people, especially since their whole ethos revolves around improving the lives of their common man. I know I don’t subscribe to all of their beliefs, but I believe that if I can help people by bending the rules a little… it’s for the best really. Some would call it deception to feign a belief in a greater being, but I would maintain that they have no right to deny me the right to help people and be part of this group based upon my atheist nature.


Atheism


 

After drafting my thank you letter and petitioning Paul with a few questions he sent me some materials that tell me a little more about the organisation, I’m grateful though I don’t know whether I’ll be able to read them all of not.

It was pretty late in the day by this point, definitely in the evening to say the least. For dinner I decided on something simple and pasta in tomato sauce fit the bill quite nicely- filling too. It went down pretty easily with a side of pork and beans… not the most advanced culinary fare but it’ll fill you up and do in a pinch. I even ate some cherry pie afterwards and I don’t really sport a sweet tooth.


 

Pasta

It was delicious I might add


As much as I’d like to report that what I did later in the night was that I made some warm milk and went to bed in a timely and respectable fashion… I can’t. I was up until about five AM in the morning on second life, trying to put off writing my blog. It’s nothing to be proud of, but I did get to talk to some people I haven’t chatted with in a long time, so I suppose I could validate it.

In any case it’s nice to have some feedback from such an esteemed organisation, and I hope to report soon that my interview was a success.

Until tomorrow.

Day 75: Shisha?

Today was slow as compared to yesterday, but we’ll start in the usual way. I woke up really late today, I mean really late, at half four in the afternoon, it was so late that the light was in fact fading already. The only reason this doesn’t really bother me is that I was planning on taking today off, taking it easy and going out for a few drinks with friends.

After getting up I got a shower and shoved a cottage pie in the oven, I had to have something in my stomach to drink on top off, all nights end badly when you’re drinking on an empty stomach. It went down pretty well and considering it only cost a measly pound was pretty nice, I’d eat it again, it was at the very least something to fill me up. With this in mind I finally decided to wander out into town; I hopped on a bus and travelled to a bar called “The Merchant”.


 

the merchant


The Merchant is a pretty classy bar, it’s not somewhere where you’re going to get silver service and Martinis served whenever you click your fingers but it’s certainly not a dive of a place either. It’s pretty nice, on the high street but despite this the drinks were cheap tonight, so we mostly stuck to cider and black. I had decided that I was out for the duration of the night, the last few times that we’d been out it had always been me who went home first, call me a wimp, but tiredness and alcohol always got the better of me.

Tonight, however, it didn’t, tonight I was the one who was most likely to be last standing and after we’d been duped out of a bottle of vodka on a pub quiz and one of our number had decided to retire for the night, myself and Bennett decided we wanted to try something new.


 

Shisha

Hookah pipe

A typical shisha pipe.


It’s perhaps more widely known by the term Hookah and it’s something that we’d never done before and since neither of us felt like continuing drinking we decided to roll the dice and go for a pipe. It was… novel- to say the least.

When we arrived I’ll admit it ‘appeared’ to be a somewhat shady affair, after Bennet had picked a flavour we were lead upstairs into a faintly lit room where the smoke hung thickly in the air, all of the curtains were drawn and there was quiet Arabic music playing in the background. In my eyes it could have just as easily been a drug den. (Is that racist?)

In any case we eventually got settled down and were passing the pipe back and forth; it wasn’t what I expected at all. I had expected it to be a harsh draw, the sort of sensation that one might experience when puffing on a cigarette, but it wasn’t like that at all! It was sweet and smooth, it tickled your throat at times but once you get used to it, it was fun. It’s such a social atmosphere and the whole way that the place is set up is very conducive to chatting with both friends and other people and best of all.

You could actually taste the watermelon!

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though, it has a downside.

The downside is the health risk. It’s fine to say that alcohol in any quantity isn’t safe nor is smoking a single cigarette, but what about a hundred cigarettes? It is estimated that one session of shisha is comparable to the nicotine and tar of one hundred cigarettes. That’s startling and more than enough to scare me.

I don’t know if I’ll do it again, especially considering that one hundred cigarettes a week is damn close to a pack a day! Shisha could be something that we do every now and again, perhaps once a month or so, but it certainly isn’t safe to be a weekly thing.

All in all, it was an enlightening experience and if immortality were a simply choice I might behave differently, at least in moderation I can minimize the health risks and enjoy my nights out for many decades to come.

Until tomorrow.

Day 74:Busy Busy Busy

Today was hectic!

The day, or rather afternoon started at two PM. I rolled out of bed, my body aching with what I can only assume was excessive restfulness? I mean…  I don’t really get it, but I woke up aching, so much so that the notion of going back to sleep was arguably as painful as sitting up was. Finally, I did actually roll out of bed and decided that I needed a shower, despite bathing the night before I still smelt of beer and cider, someone had put way too much pressure through the pipes at the pub. Not that I’m naming names, but it was probably the manager… Wellington.

After washing thoroughly I wandered downstairs to find that two of my friends had let themselves into my house, either I left my door open or Hannah picked my lock, again, not to point the finger, but she’s pretty damn good at picking locks. Friends out of the way I cooked some sausages and had a sandwich, well half of a a sandwich and the rest of the sausages- the bread was soggy.

Finally I decided that I would catch up with this blog and, in fact, was successful in this endeavour, we are now finally up to date and WILL NOT fall behind again! With this out of the way I took a small break and contrary to prior blogs I did not go on DOTA- I played “Heroes and Generals”.


Heroes and Generals

A suitably bad-ass logo


“Heroes and Generals” is a free to play WWII shooter based solely around the combat in Europe and Africa, there is no game play within the Pacific theatre. The three factions are the Allies (More accurately the Americans) the Germans and the Soviets, each of which has different gear, vehicles and aesthetics, all of which are balanced very well. The game is played in battles which, individually, contribute to the larger war as a whole.

The war is controlled by a comparatively small section of the player-base denoted as Generals who determine what resources should be diverted to which battlefields in order to buff the chances of a victory on the battlefield in which the Heroes actually play. Of course it all comes down to skill, but having a couple of dozen Tiger II’s on your side never hurt the chances of a win either.

After this I sat down and tried to learn some more Hiragana, today I learned ten symbols and we’re rapidly approaching the point where I need to start learning the symbols with diacritic marks. Hopefully that will be a more expeditious process.


Genki 1

My personal choice of Textbook.


With that down I retired for a few more hours and opted to play a few more games of Heroes and Generals, finally ranked up and then cooked some dinner, in traditional British fair I cooked another Sunday roast and trimmings… Not bad either I must add.

With this out of the way I decided that I would send an E-mail to the Japanese Embassy in London enquiring as to whether, pending my scores on JLPT tests and the outcome of my course next year, I would qualify for a scholarship. Hopefully the answer will be yes.


JEL

Lovely Georgian Architecture


Finally at the end of the day I’m going to lay back, relax and enjoy a cup of tea as I fall asleep talking to friends on Second Life.

Good night. 

Day 74:Wine.

I got up today at noon exactly, I do have a part time job to go to and no matter how much I loathe both the activities withing the job and the customers who I serve I can’t quit… yet. I do need another job, and realistically I don’t really care what it is (with a few exceptions) just so long as it pays more than minimum wage! I’m not exactly asking for twenty pounds an hour and my own office an assistant am I? Just something that gives me a little more bang for my buck.

…Oh and the fact that they haven’t paid me for two months is probably souring my mood as well.

So, begrudgingly, I went to my job and basically switched off for four hours, I work in a bar, it’s a standard student job and normally I wouldn’t complain, but… the people who run this shit show of a bar are basically brain dead. Never have I ever had any experience with admin work or organizing a workforce but i’m all but certain that I could do it better than whoever runs this bar!

I mean seriously, who tells your staff to show up at mid day (When the bar opens!) and then gets angry at you two minutes into the job because the pipes haven’t been run through. Here’s a thought, if they did their job, perhaps I’d do my job a little better too!

This, however, isn’t the real kicker, the real annoyance is the fact that I may be forced to take them to small claims court just for money that they legally owe me. The last time I was paid was on the sixteenth of November… It’s now the twenty third of January. This is unacceptable.

But after another unsatisfying day at work I went home and got a rather nice surprise, one of my friends had bought me a book on wine. This wasn’t one of those hoity toity books that seem to fuel the never ending self imposed elitism of the ‘wine upper class’ this book is actually pretty cool.

wine

Based almost completely on facts and on the basis that personal preference is more important than technique to the average wine drinker; unless you’re training to be a master sommelier this book really covers everything that you need to know.

Everything from the syntax of the stuff to actually tasting and discerning flavours is included.

It was a pretty good day in actuality, only soured by the fact that I had a particularly bad glass of wine to accompany the rather wonderful book.

Day 73: Small Changes

Perhaps it’s irony that I created this blog to help facilitate immediate changes to my life, perhaps I thought that documenting what I’m doing to actually improve my situation would somehow give me strength to actually do it- i was wrong. So perhaps it is irony that it’s only after seventy three days that I realise that the only way that I’m going to improve my situation is by small changes and hard graft.

Hard graft is, in reality something I’ve never had to do before, everything in my life up until this point has either been focused around academia (something which I found invariably easy) or has been an event that was otherwise out of my control… hard graft never really came into it. The truth of the matter is that…


I’m Lazy


It dawns on you slowly at first and It’s only through the analysis and critiquing of your everyday life, you notice that patterns emerge, and you only really do things when you have to… for the most part. It is changing though, I am slowly learning that if you want something you’ll do it at any time no matter how tired or awkward it is.

Nothing, in life, worth attaining is ever easy.

I can’t even begin to stress how true that statement is and it’s certainly not easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. The changes I am making are slight, but I am willing to compound my efforts and work my arse off in order to make the big changes.

I want to speak three languages, including my native English, German would be wonderful, it’s a business rich country and would certainly help me later in life but, perhaps more than that, I’d love to speak Japanese fluently, it’s a passion, I love anime, manga and their colourful culture (I hope that doesn’t make me a weeaboo).

I want to learn to play the piano well, I would love it, it’s such a grand piece of kit and is a marvel of engineering, both sound and material, and it requires such a huge degree of skill to play… It would be the feather in my cap in my eyes.

I want to be strong, muscular and fit! I’ve never really been musclebound and I certainly don’t ever want to become muscle bound, but sporting some more meat and having the vitality to actually pursue physical action would suit me down to the ground, I’m done being physically frail!

Finally, I want to know how to fight with my hands! Too often have I seen people pick on my friends on nights out and the resolution to that situation is a brawl at best and at worst it’s simply me putting myself between them. This has to stop, one day I will be beaten and I will be seriously injured, as noble an action as I have been told it is, I need to be able to disarm a situation without endangering anyone.

These are just a few in reality, but hopefully upon reading through these posts again at some point, this will serve as a note of where I was and how I have improved.

Day 72: Freemasons

Today was a rather odd day for me, in fact, today was really weird and I did something that I never thought I would do. Petition to join the Freemasons. I am aware that the general rule that they use is the “Ask 1 to be 1” edict, if you’re interested in becoming a mason all you have to do is know one… which is horribly difficult in the first place. Can you name anyone you know who is a Freemason? I can’t!

I do feel as though it might be a bit of a cop for me to petition the grand lodge for membership though, I do agree with many of their beliefs and edicts, though not all of them and I certainly don’t fit the criteria of believing in a “Supreme being” or a “Grand Architect”. Whilst I do believe in a collective effort, such as that of humanity, creating the idea of a proxy architect… I don’t think that this is what they’re really looking for.

The idea of the order sits well with me though, it focusses on self betterment and the betterment of the world through better men, couple this with the sense of kinship that I’ve been searching for for the longest time now and I would relish the opportunity to join.

 I may even be able to make a positive contribution.

Much of my day revolved around this application, it wasn’t really a large thing, but I wanted to make sure that I said the right stuff and omitted anything that might have otherwise hurt my application.

I know that this is, in reality a short post, but this was all that really happened to me today.

Until tomorrow.

Day 71: H Sounds

As has been the trend for the past three days, today I learned some more Hiragana, this time revolving around the starting sound H… with one exception- fu.

I woke up late, late even for me. Some time around four pm. I’m still having difficulty falling asleep, the dark is still unsettling me and it’s all because of that damn resurgence of panic attacks. I awoke and opted not to have a shower this mor… afternoon, having deemed it was a little late in the day for that I went downstairs and made bre… lunch.

Lunch was pretty filling, some porridge, coffee and, oddly enough, a pot noodle. Sometimes I have odd cravings, but sometimes they just work out so well! I would have never thought that noodles in chow-mein sauce would have complimented hot milky oats so well… but maybe i’m just weird.

Fish fingers and custard anyone?

After this I sat down and started writing out these five characters fifty times each and made flash cards to go along with them (which I now carry around in my wallet with me so I can brush up on the go).

  • Ha

ha

  • Hi

hi

  • Ho

ho

  • He

he

  • Fu

fu

After memorising all of these symbols I put down my studies for the day and tried to make some dinner, in the end I ended up getting a takeaway, lazy I know but certainly nutritious and filling, it was a nice end to a good day.

Until tomorrow.

P.S: Also, obligatory melon girl breast framing.

Day 70: T Sounds

Today was pretty productive, I didn’t get up early, but by no means did I get up late, especially by my standards. I awoke around noon and rolled out of bed straight into the shower, It was only a quick wash but it was enough to make me feel fresh and ready for the day.

So I took a wander downstairs and, unfortunately, it was around this time that I had my first magic moment; my panic attacks have been somewhat sporadic of late and I’m struggling to pin down what’s actually triggering them but they’re definitely affecting my sleep pattern, that much I know for sure.

It was a brief affair and it didn’t instil the usual dizziness that they usually do, in stead it made me feel rather queasy and it almost made me feel as though I was about to throw up… it’s a small grace that it wasn’t a full blown panic attack, but it’s not enough for it to be a small one, sooner or later I want them gone from my life. I’ll put some effort into talking with a therapist, perhaps consulting my GP for a pharmaceutical remedy as well.

After this rather unpleasant turn of events I set about making breakfast. Today it was little more than a ham sandwich and that was, in all honesty, really breakfast come lunch.

I readily dove right into my studies and learned the following five sounds.

  • Ta

ta

  • Chi

chi

  • Tsu

Japanese_Hiragana_kyokashotai_small_TSU

  • To

to

  • Te

te

These are what I learned today, though I think I will have to start learning more than five a day if I am to start making some proper headway, though an interesting point is that the character for “tsu” is rarely used due to the character for “su” also being read the same, instead it is usually used to denote double consonants.

Later in the day I had a small dinner, nothing special, I wasn’t really hungry and I couldn’t really be bothered cooking, so I mostly snacked through the day, it’s not a great habit to get into, but it’s one that i’ll try to actively work out of.

That was it for today, today was a good day.