Tag Archives: japanese

[Info] Stuff I’ve Translated

8 May

So for my first post-A to Z post, I thought I’d write about something a little different. For those of you who just started following from my posts during the A to Z challenge, one of my jobs is translating Japanese to English. I have worked on a number of projects ever since returning to the States from Japan in 2008 and interpret at a couple of conventions every year, but now that I’m translating simulcasts, I also have a regular assignment pretty much every week.

With all the NDAs and such, I’m never sure what I can share, but here are a couple things I’ve worked on/am working on that I’m officially credited on already elsewhere on the Internets:

Wolf Children

“Wolf Children” is about a mother taking care of her half-wolf, half-human children. It highlights struggles she goes through that are both unique to her situation and that are universal for all mothers.

This is a lovely movie for all ages by Mamoru Hosoda, sometimes called the “spiritual heir to Hayao Miyazaki.” I know I worked on the movie, but honestly, I enjoyed it more than some of the recent Studio Ghibli offerings…

One of the highlights of my trip to Japan last year was visiting the house that the house in the movie is based on:

Just watch it–but don’t forget the tissues! 😉

Available on DVD or Blu-ray/DVD combo or to stream on Amazon Instant Video (English dub, I think) to buy or rent.

Space Dandy

Space Dandy is… a dandy in space… Or so the tagline goes. It’s an irreverent space comedy by the creator of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. There are zombies, penguins, giant robots, and references to Dr. Who, Office Space, and Groundhog Day, and a ton of other pop culture.

There’s a lot of mature content in this show, and it’s kind of a hit or miss depending on how high your tolerance is for fanservice and episodic comedies. (Warning: There’s a restaurant shaped like a boob that’s a Hooters parody in the first episode and a boob monster in the third, so if that’s not your thing, you might want to skip this.)

You can watch it dubbed in English on Cartoon Network on Saturdays (check your local listings for showtimes), or watch it subtitled for free on Funimation, Animax (Asia), Madman (AU), and Wakanim (UK). The first season is currently being rebroadcast before the second season starts in July.

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[X] X-men: Misfits #1 by Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman

28 Apr

I’m shaky on X-men canon*, so I can’t speak for how closely this version follows it, but what was surprising for me was how well it adapted into a manga. If it hadn’t been for the names and the setting, I would have thought that it was just another regular reverse harem (one girl with a lot of guys) manga.

In fact, I kept trying to read from right to left and getting confused because since this is an original English-language manga, it reads from left to right. There were also a lot of Japanese sound effects mixed in with English sound effects. I’m used to the Japanese ones, but it’s definitely made for people who are used to reading manga, not traditional American comic books.

I actually didn’t realize it was a reverse harem when I picked it up (since I mainly got it to fill the “X” spot for the A to Z challenge), but with there generally being more male superheroes than females, it kind of makes sense. I’ve just never seen anyone else work that angle before, so that was interesting for me.

I think I liked it as a retelling of a familiar story (like how I like fairy tale retellings), but as a story, the main character annoyed me about as much as other reverse harem main characters (a lot). It’s obvious who the good guys and bad boys are, and of course the main character has to go for the bad boys before she can settle down with the good guys, but I just don’t have much patience for those kinds of stories.

There was potential for the second volume as (according to the preview) it starts to stray from the reverse harem story into a more typical daily life at school story with the introduction of another girl to the cast, but that wasn’t enough to make me want to read it. Which is unfortunate because I really enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s original graphic novels, Smile (which I almost used for “S”) and Drama. So, I’m not surprised that the second volume was cancelled, but it sounds like the cancellation had less to do with the content and more to do with Marvel asking for a lot of money for their franchise and people pirating the book.

Although critics seemed to enjoy it for its “newness,” for me, it just felt like another typical shojo-esque story. Overall, it was an interesting addition to the world of X-men, but not really my cup of tea.

X-Men: Misfits #1 is written by Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman with illustrations by ANZU.

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter X.

 

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*I’ve watched all the movies and a lot of the animated series when it was on TV, but for someone who likes to read as much as I do, I’m very auditory and do much better with TV and movies than with comics. (See my note above about how I get easily confused with comic book layout.) This is true for both English and Japanese, although I read tons of webcomics back in college and like to collect comics and manga for series that I like… I tend to treat manga as tools for language learning rather than reading material. (Also, looking at my notes from that post, I seem to always be doing the “X” posts last minute. ^^;)

 

 

[K] Kids Web Japan

12 Apr

(This was first written for my Materials for Tweens class.)

Kids Web Japan is a bilingual website for kids maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The main content available in English and Japanese, with some pages translated into French, German, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, and Chinese. The English and Japanese sites look like they are regularly updated with news, while the other languages seem to contain informational pages (including some news pages) translated from the main site available in the other languages. There are more pages and games available in English than in Japanese, as the English site contains language lessons and other content that would not be as applicable to children who already know the language. This review will focus on the English version of the site.

Tweens interested in Japanese culture can find information about the daily lives of Japanese children and learn about different customs and traditions in Japan that they may have only seen in anime or manga. There is also a column called “What’s Cool” that has articles about current trends in Japan.

In addition, there is a series of language lessons covering basic conversational Japanese and grammar, with games and articles about the Japanese language to reinforce these lessons. There are also other games and trivia quizzes to test their knowledge of Japanese culture, online storybook pages with Japanese folktales, and recipes of traditional Japanese foods to make at home.

Children of Japanese descent born outside of Japan can also use this site to learn about their heritage and practice reading Japanese at the same time. Tweens of all ethnic backgrounds will enjoy reading about the deeper aspects of Japanese culture that they may or may not have been exposed to through Japanese media.

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter K.

[D] Drawing from Memory by Allen Say

4 Apr

(This was first written for my Materials for Tweens class.)

Award-winning author and illustrator Allen Say wrote Drawing from Memory, a half-narrative, half-graphic novel about his childhood in Japan, where he first started working on his artistic skills. Richly illustrated with both photographs and drawings in different styles, the narrative focuses on his relationship with his art and with his teacher, Noro Shinpei. The different styles used throughout the book may feel disjointed at times, but readers will enjoy the little mini-narratives in the comic strip asides and in his commentary.

Although this book is set in Japan, it deals with struggles that many Asian Americans face today while following their dreams, including the cultural stigma of becoming an artist. Tweens may also be familiar with his picture books, which have earned him a Caldecott medal and honor. This book was a 2012 Sibert honor book.

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter D.

[X] xxxHolic Vol. 1 by Clamp

27 Apr

In the first volume of xxxHolic, Kimihiro Watanuki, a high schooler with strong spiritual powers, walks into a strange shop that grants wishes. He ends up working for the owner of the shop, who goes by the name of Yuko, in order to have his wish to get rid of those powers granted. While he’s working at the shop, he meets a few of Yuko’s customers and watches as she grants their wishes. Some parts are creepy, and the customers are kind of “monster of the week”-type stories, but Yuko is sarcastic and cool enough and Watanuki plays the grumbling assistant well enough for the series to be entertaining. Clamp’s art is amazing, as usual, especially their designs of Yuko and her various outfits.

The manga was localized by Del Rey, and the translation generally stays true to the feel of the original Japanese (at least what I remember of it). There one or two places where the English didn’t quite flow right, and one place where the Japanese characters were left in unexplained (they were translated right after, but it wasn’t clear that the next line was the translation), but I am probably just being picky because I work in the industry (though on the anime side mostly, these days). There were also some uncommon Japanese words that were left in untranslated and romanized that seemed like they would have been confusing to non-Japanese speakers, but there were notes in the back explaining everything. I’m not used to reading manga in English and I wasn’t paying enough attention to the table of contents, so I didn’t see them until the very end, but it seems like something readers used to reading Del Rey manga would figure out sooner.

The first thing I saw when I opened up xxxHolic was that it crossed over with Tsubasa (another manga by Clamp) volume one. Even though I’d read xxxHolic volume one before in Japanese (and seen the anime, where I remember the crossover), I’d forgotten that the crossover happened in the first volume of both. I happen to own the first volume of Tsubasa (Reservoir Chronicle) in Chinese, and when I flipped through, I saw that I’d stopped reading right when the crossover with xxxHolic started. I’d bought the first two volumes in Chinese on a trip to Taiwan during college, when I was taking Chinese and wanted to practice reading, but I hadn’t even heard of xxxHolic then, so I think I had gotten too confused and stopped in the middle of the first volume. (I’d gotten them because it was the sequel to Cardcaptor Sakura, which I liked from watching “Cardcaptors” on TV. I owned a bunch of the DVDs so I could watch the Japanese versions, but Tsubasa was so different that I thought I’d gotten a Chinese rip-off at first…)

The crossover doesn’t happen until the end of volume one, so I picked up where I left off in Tsubasa after I finished reading xxxHolic. My Chinese is super rusty, but with my newfound kanji knowledge from learning Japanese (my Chinese had been better than my Japanese when I bought Tsubasa, but now my Japanese is way better) and more context from the xxxHolic anime and manga, I was able to get through the crossover scene in Tsubasa and understand more of what was going on than I did before. I still prefer the original Cardcaptor Sakura series to both xxxHolic and Tsubasa, but at least xxxHolic is funny. Even though Tsubasa is the direct sequel to Cardcaptor Sakura, it’s really serious, so I’ve never liked it as much as the other two.

Anyway, all this to say that while the story of the manga wasn’t new to me, it was my first time reading it in English. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I don’t read a lot of manga in general, and even less in English, but since I’d been requesting so many books for my youth literature class anyway, I thought I’d add the English version to the queue and give a proper review.

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter X. (It took me so long to get through the Chinese that this post is pretty much written in real-time, i.e., not scheduled in advance, but posted at exactly 27 minutes after midnight because it’s Day 27 of the challenge.)

[U] Umbrella by Taro Yashima

24 Apr

(This was first written for my History of Youth Literature class.)

In Umbrella by Taro Yashima (1958), a little girl, Momo, who is impatient to use her new umbrella and rain boots finally gets to use them on a rainy day, and through this experience, she becomes a little more independent. These parents of the 50s are supportive of the main character, parenting in a gentle but firm way. The mother seems to be the main caregiver and the father looks like he works outside the home in the illustrations, although it is not mentioned explicitly in the text. It is very much a “normal” small nuclear family, but it also happens to feature a Japanese American family before race became much of an issue in children’s books.

I loved the brush paintings in this book and the mini Japanese lessons that are given on each page (like how the kanji for Momo 桃 means “peach” in Japanese). It’s a deceptively simple, sweet story that was a Caldecott Honor Book.

The book was written for the author’s daughter, actress Momo Yashima Brannen of Star Trek fame, and her brother was Mako Iwamatsu, whom I probably knew best as Aku from Samurai Jack. Taro Yashima also wrote and illustrated the book Crow Boy (1955), another Caldecott Honor Book, which I remember reading as a child. Roger Pulvers writes about the family in this piece: Two Generations of Japanese and Japanese American Artists: Activism, Racism and the American Experience.

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter U.

[Aria] アリアの旅 p3

14 Nov

(Scroll down for English. Continued from page 2. Start from page 1. Other pages can be found here.)

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行けって、どこへ?

子供の頃の夢は、
パパの会社を世界一にすることだった。

今でもそう思う。

パパは社長だったから、ある意味、
現代のお姫様みたいなように育てられたかな。

とりあえず、平凡の人生ではなかった。

でも、会社の受け継ぎのために、
毎日勉強で忙しくて、
「お金持ちのお嬢さん」でもなかったな。

パパに息子がいなかったから、
私に全部を託したって感じだった。

妹の方がお嬢さんっぽくて甘やかされたかも。。

羨ましいとかって思ってなかったけど、、

ひとりぼっちになってしまった今は

ムリだとわかってても

ちょっとでも甘やかされたい。。。

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Go? Go where?

As a child, I dreamed of making my father’s company the best in the world.

I still feel the same way now.

Since Daddy was the president of a large company, I guess in a way, I did grow up like a modern-day princess.

I didn’t lead a normal life, anyway.

But I was so busy studying every day to take over the company that I didn’t lead what you would call a “charmed life” either.

Daddy didn’t have any sons, so he entrusted me with everything.

I guess my little sister was the one who got to be spoiled.

Not that I was jealous or anything…

It’s just that now that I’m all alone,

even though I know it’s impossible,

I want to be spoiled a little, too…

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Nanowrimo Day 13 update: 35,053 (8 days ahead!)

[Aria] アリアの旅 p2

11 Nov

(Scroll down for English. Continued from page 1. Other pages can be found here.)

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

そんなわけないでしょ?

だって、名前も違ったし、お姫様でもなかったし、
家族も全員生き生きしてたから。

双子の兄に覚えがないのはあってたけど、
最初からいなかったからだけでしょ。

代わりに、童話の中にまったく出てこなかった、
7歳年下の妹がいる。

いた。

そう。

この童話はヨゲンみたいで、

私が16歳になった日に、

家族を失った。

「行け、アリアーー」

母の最期の言葉だった。

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

As if I could be the princess?

My name, my life, everything was different, and everyone in my family was alive and kicking.

I have no memory of a twin brother, so that part was the same as the story, but that was probably just because he didn’t exist in the first place.

Instead, I have a little sister seven years younger than me who doesn’t show up in the fairy tale at all.

I *had* a little sister.

Yeah.

The fairy tale was actually more like a prophecy.

On the day I turned 16,

I lost my entire family.

“Go, Aria–”

These were my mother’s last words.

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Nanowrimo Day 10 update: 27,545 (6.5 days ahead, but I have to write a little more outside of write-ins if I’m going to finish by my goal of Nov. 18…)

[Aria] アリアの旅 p1

10 Nov

Here’s the first page of the Japanese cell phone novel adaptation of my 2011 NaNovel. Enjoy!

(I originally wrote this in Japanese, but you can scroll down for the English translation. There should be a trackback at the bottom of each page linking to the next page in the novel. Other pages can be found here.)

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昔々、遠くの国で、お姫様がいました。

生まれた時から、天空のように輝いてて、
『アリア』と名付けられました。

そのお姫様に、双子の兄がいましたが、
幼い時に、二人は離れ離れになってしまいました。

お姫様は兄のことを忘れ、
立派に育てられました。

でも、ある日、悪い魔女が現れました。

お姫様の家族に恨みを持ち、
宮殿にいた人々を全員殺害しました。

生き残ったのは、アリア姫だけでした。。。

子供の頃から母によく聞いた童話の主人公が、

まさか、

ワタシのことだとわかった時に、

最初は冗談だと思っていた。。。

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a beautiful princess.

From the time she was born, she shone like the bright, blue skies, so they called her “Aria.”

The princess had an older twin brother, but when they were very young, the two became separated.

The princess grew into a beautiful young woman with no memory of her brother.

However, one day, an evil sorceress appeared.

She held a grudge against the royal family, and so she arranged for a massacre at the palace.

The only one to survive

was Princess Aria…

My mother often told me this fairy tale as I was growing up,

but I never thought

that the princess in the story

could be me.

When I first found out, I thought someone was playing a joke on me…

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Nanowrimo Day 9 update: 21,948 (4.2 days ahead, but I’ve been saving up for a six-hour write-a-thon and haven’t written much on my own…)

Last day of school!

15 May

Japanese lesson for the day: お疲れ様でした (otsukare sama deshita)

It means “thanks for your hard work,” or literally something along the lines of “you must be tired” (I’m not entirely making that last one up–“tired” is 疲れた or tsukareta).

It’s what Japanese people say to each other at the end of the work day, or when they complete a big project. I loved saying this at the end of the day when I worked in Japan (and when I worked for a Japanese company in the States). It was so nice to have that acknowledgement of the work you did that day. For me, it was a nice separation of work and home, but I’m sure that wasn’t the case for most of my Japanese coworkers.

Still, this is how I feel right now. I’m in the last 15 minutes or so of my first semester into my MLIS (although I was pretty much done with my last assignment by the end of the weekend), and I’ve been telling myself otsukare at the end of every big project I’ve done so far. I still have work, and freelance work, and I have stuff scheduled in for pretty much every day of my break between semesters, but I am definitely ready for a break from school. I may even get some reading done! 😀

A quick note for A to Z: Thanks for all of your comments and congrats on the reflections post! I’m already preparing for next year!