Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Japanese particle no (の) in titles of songs, movies etc.

Every time you google the Japanese particle you'll get the same results. The possessive aspects of it are pretty well explained. But it bugs me that no one points out its other use, which is to show the title of piece of art, whether it's a movie or a song.

Here's two song titles:


If you were to translate these using the conventional way, it would make no sense.

"Of 1000 words"
"The payapaya of the kitten"

When is used in a title without a subject, it doesn't show possession. Think of it as an artistic way of naming things. So, the correct translations of these songs would be:

1000 words
Payapaya the kitten

I don't think there will ever be a direct translation of the meaning of this particular use of , but I hope this helps someone understand a song title better. Wish someone told me this when I was starting out :)

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Things that only Japanese/ Chinese learners will understand

Sometimes the absurdity of the situation is too much not to laugh. I was thinking casually the other day, how many times a kanji mnemonic started with:
A woman was sitting on a stool.. 
奴(やつ, guy)
致す (いたす) means to do
倒す(たおす), however, means to overthrow.

If your leader tells you to do something, it usually means to overthrow the enemy.
Furthermore, who can forget the classic elephant / phenomenon 象 that once you add a person in there becomes a statue. 像

I'm sure that if all learners got together we could produce a bible of jokes inspired by the sheer absurdity of the Japanese language.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Favorite albums vol.2- Synthpop, Electro, Vaporwave

Artist: Wolfsheim 
Album: Casting shadows
Genre: Synthpop
Year: 2003 
Peter Heppner's voice can easily be recognised. He was one of the duo that comprised "Wolfsheim", a German synthpop band. They made some pretty awesome tracks before going into a hiatus after this album. I keep coming back to this album so it's definitely on my top ten.
 I can't choose a favorite but since I'm in a Heppner mood (this isn't in the album) :
Artist: Kleerup
Album: Kleerup
Genre: Electronica
Year: 2008

Not much to say about this, except that I came across this album a night in 2010 during the summer, along with some other artists. I highly recommend it if you like electronic/ poppy stuff. His most used track is probably "with every heartbeat" which Robyn sings in. The track "until we bleed" is the song that made me like his music.

 Now the last part of this blog is going to be dedicated to vaporwave. Vaporwave is a fad that rose to "popularity" in the 2010s. Its main theme is 80s/ 90s consumerism appeal and aesthetics. Any kid of the 90s can tune in on this. While vaporwave includes other sub-genres, I mostly enjoy the chillwave aspects of it, and of course the 90s aesthetics , e.g. George Costanza and venetian blinds. Drinking coke and playing Sega Mega Drive in the sunset, the young and the restless, baywatch are all vaporwave-friendly . I made a playlist of half an hour that captures the mood and feel of what vaporwave stands for, at least to me. Enjoy!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Music compendium Vol.1: Sting

My little Sting collection

I got the idea some time ago to put some of my favorite artists here for archival purposes. I'll also add a little bit of info explaining why and how I came to like their music and other trivia. This is probably too personal-taste-ey for anyone else to care. However stay if you like music and are open to suggestions, huehehe.These are in no particular order and just off the top of my head. I'll probably add more as time goes by and if I'm not feeling overly lazy. ;0


When I was a little kid (I am eleven and what is this?) I used to watch TV all day long, especially MTV and that one other music channel that we had in Greece at the time. (Before MTV switched to a reality-based channel) So during that time they played Sting's "Desert Rose" video a lot, and it was etched onto my mind, up to this day. Everytime I think of Sting I think of him as he was in that video. Additionally, I used to play Tekken tag tournament a lot (understatement of the century) and Bryan was one of my favorite characters. Now, as we all know, Sting wears sleeveless vests a lot. He is kind of a sporty looking guy. So because it was around the same time, when I watch the "after the rain has fallen" video he reminds me a bit of Bryan from tekken, but I digress. He is at the moment one of my favorite artists. My favorite tracks are too many but I'll put a few of them here . I adore the fact that he can create music in seemingly any genre, from new jack swing to eastern music and kick ass while doing so. I LOVE artists that bring the west and the east together musically, and you'll see me speak of this junction again later in this series of posts.

Video 1: Shape of my heart.
"No women,no kids. That's the rules."

Video 2: Every breath you take
A classic. Imitated by many, second to none. 

 Video 3: Desert rose
The definitive Sting video.

The cinematography of the 90s and early 00s is mind-numbingly beautiful. They simply don't make music videos like that anymore. Or movies or music for that matter. It was a better world, a more innocent world for me anyways. 

End of part one! Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Intelligence, and its narrowly defined spectrum

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about intelligence? Einstein, his theory of relativity, maybe a person who won a Nobel prize in literature?
People's views on intelligence are very narrow. When asked who the smartest person who ever lived would be, most people would say Albert Einstein, or something along those lines. Newton, Euclid or whoever. The people I mentioned helped humanity and progressed civilisation in an unprecedented way, yes. But..that's a very narrow sense of identifying intelligence to me. There seems to be the convention of : Intelligence is always related to academia, people who always read books and wear glasses. Sure, that's ONE aspect of intelligence. What about other aspects of it? Like dancing. Or being funny. A musician . Why do most people use the word "intelligent" when books are involved?
The people that are most associated with being smart, scientists and numberphiles are one of the many aspects of the human intellect.

When a girl who was being fidgety at school and couldn't keep still for a moment was sent to the principle's office, he could have sent her to the school psychiatrist and have her labeled "a typical case of ADD" or , having an educated guess, could tell her mother to enroll her to a dance school, because she was born a dancer.
How many geniuses have we never seen at work because of wrong circumstances? That little girl who would have probably be told to "calm down" is now probably on Broadway, making millions of people happy with her natural gift. A physical intelligence, but one nonetheless.
The human definition of genius is so narrow that it's no wonder so few actually qualify for it, even if the word is thrown about so often these days. Like a plant that requires a very specific altitude and climate to fully grow, the human mind is also very susceptible to the era and climate it was born and brought up in.
The most famous people who have been called a genius have been called so because they were geniuses in a very specific way , in a very specific system. It is therefore very hard to meet those criteria when they are so finely tuned .
After all, you have to be IN the system, to be called that by someone. But to me the smartest person alive is probably someone in a remote place in a country like Moldova , who has never felt the urge to fit in any sort of label of intelligence that was very narrowly defined by others.
I think that true genius is undefinable by a title. It takes very specific talents to be a unanimously called genius in a world of very specific needs. True genius does not adhere to rules .
True genius adheres more to the idea of Punk than any other ideology out there.
The idea of being outside of the system.
Yes, Einstein changed the world, and Mozart and all those people did . But they didn't mean to. They just happened to be born in a specific socioeconomic environment and finely tuned by predetermined factors to become who they would eventually become.
The fact that they were so influential was due to them being in a system while also changing it in terms of going further than anyone ever before them did.
To me human intelligence has so many more ways of expressing itself other than academia. Just like the word artist can be used to describe a comedian, intelligence should be broadened and used in a multutude of other fields. It can come in many forms, as many as the human talents available in the palette.

It can come in the form of socially accepted criteria, and be universally identified as such, but it can also flourish without the need to be acknowledged by anyone. A flower in a basement flourishes just like a flower in front of the most widely visited baroque garden in Europe. It doesn't care, it doesn't need to be acknowledged by anyone. But it blooms all the same.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Determinism rambling

I don't believe in the same things  I used to believe in ten years ago. I won't necessarily have the same opinions a year or two from now. These thoughts felt much smoother while I was lying in bed thinking wether or not I should get up and start writing this entry on my laptop.

People's opinions have flaws in them. But it's their current opinion. Seeing the flaws in someone else makes me realize we all have flaws in our perception of the world around us.
But having an opinion is something we have to do wether we like it or not. They say sky's the limit, and technically it is, but the reality of it is quite different.

 For example, there is nothing stoping me right now from downloading the complete works of Descartes and downing them in one go. I won't ever do that though, because I don't want to. There is nothing stopping anyone from giving their heart and soul for the next decade by studying trout fishing or fabric processing automation in the 1800s industrial evolution era Britain. But they won't do that . Most of them won't. 
The best way I can prove my point is to paint the following picture with words :
You are a train that's going through life riding pre-determined railroad tracks. You didn't choose your parents, your education, your inclinations , the country and economy you were born in. The era , your genes and sex. You had no say in your appearance or what your favorite food is. All of those things were predetermined for you. This may sound a bit dark but the truth is, knowing that is liberating. 
Knowing your own limits , more of what you want in life is quite soothing. Why did I start writing this blog entry? I don't know. I know that I did start writing it though.
All I'm trying to say is that even though you play a small part in a big world, the possibilities of which aren't quite endless, it's not a depressing thought at all. 
You work with what you have, and all what you have is your mind . You are the conscious witness of your life. How people think they have free will is astounding. You didn't create the thoughts in your mind, you merely expressed them. But your knowing that you have no say in what creates your thoughts is liberating. You know that the thoughts are going to rise and fall in your mind, well let them do just that. You can watch from a third person view as the ebb and flow of the mind is unfolding.

Knowing the thoughts are pre-determined by factors that are not up to you allows you to choose more wisely from the multiple threads of thought that arise in your mind at any given moment.
In Japanese, there is an expression that means "To notice". (Ki ga tsuku) Translated literally, it means to attach your mind to something. (気が付く)
Multiple thoughts come and go , but which are the ones you want to attach your mind to ? Most people spend their whole lives thinking without realizing that they are thinking. It's not the thoughts themselves that are bad, but thinking without noticing that we are doing so.

Knowing beforehand that the thoughts are going to come anyway makes you better at evaluating and choosing which of them you want to expend your energy to.
Thus , you are more free in realizing that you're not free.
Determinism may be true, but realizing it can be a life-changing experience, transcending what is usually considered to be “free will”.

For Sam Harris.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Hideki Taniuchi

Hideki Taniuchi's music is amazing.
The chords at 2:26 "Kaiji Ost- Wish" and the bass onwards is out of this world. His music is etched onto my brain , wether I like it or not. After the DEATH NOTE ost , that was it. It still is one of my all time favorite soundtracks and musical compositions in general. Favorite Hideki Taniuchi track is "Kodoku (Solitude)" although in 2007 it was "Suiri (Inference)". Returning to my musical taste origins in 2013 I came across his band Shocking Lemon that I had overlooked before. While I think the DEATH NOTE ost is his best work; great moments exist in tracks like "Star Star" and did I mention his basslines?
The crying guitar sounds of "Kodoku" are reminiscent of post rock and the volume reminds me of shoegaze. The way he spaces out sounds is really great. Although he was arrested for a drug issue in '12 (It's ridiculous that people still go to jail in 2013 for substances they use on themselves while hurting no one) ,I hope he is well wherever he is now, and that he keeps making music after a speedy recovery. Best wishes !