Archive for October, 2006

The Installation Room For Emergency Escape Device

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Ainori Translations

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

So I’ve been promising to get on with my translations since last spring, but unfortunately I didn’t and I must apologize for it. Part of the reason is I’m busy with work (never less than 50 hours a week and often more than 60!), but what really refrained me from getting down to business was the fact that there are always a few parts that I’m not sure how to translate. Not being able to release a less than perfect translation, and not to mention the shame if I ever got caught making mistakes (yeah, yeah, yeah, so I’m an insecure overachiever control freak – bite me!), I sort of stopped working on them, and they just kept piling up, which in turn added to my demotivation. The problem is I didn’t want to put the burden of proof reading my translations on my colleagues, who are already extremely busy (work as a Japanese SHS teacher is INSANE), and I couldn’t meet my (almost) equally busy Japanese friends in a timely manner either. One more problem is that although all those Japanese around me could try to explain what I didn’t understand in Japanese, it didn’t necessarily make it easier for me to translate in English. Ainori’s participants coming from all over Japan and all walks of life do indeed often speak in their local dialects (not to mention an ever growing generation gap – sigh), which makes it even more difficult.

Now two things happened in te last couple of weeks: First, I realized that if I wanted to get my translations done in time (remember, I have to complete one every week), I’d have to be less picky about the final result, i.e. as long as I could convey the general meaning they would still be valid. Second, I found an English-speaking Japanese fan who accepted to help me with those little expressions I can’t figure out on my own.

Meet Umi, a Japanese girl living in New-York. Umi is an MA candidate studying continental philosophy, and a devoted Ainori fan. Some of you may remember her for leaving comments on my Ainori summaries. Anyway, I sent her an email a couple of weeks ago, asking her if she could help me with those more difficult parts, and she accepted to take time off her busy schedule to agree to my request. As a bilingual Ainori fan, Umi is more than perfect for the job, and the simple fact that she accepted to do this gave me an extra boost to work on my translations. ☆頑張るぞ☆Please make sure to visit her blog and thank her, she deserves it.

So, thanks to Umi and without any further ado, allow me to make a double release:

:-) Ainori #332 – Special treat for non-Japanese speakers :-)

:-) Ainori #333 – Special treat for non-Japanese speakers :-)

Ainori #334

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Ainori is a popular reality show in Japan, aired on Fuji TV on Monday nights at 23:00.

In August 2005, I discovered that Ainori was not only popular in Japan, but also all over the world thanks to Bit Torrent technology. I decided to write a summary of each episode, and do a translation of the weekly photo captions from the official site. What do I get out of this? I get to improve my Japanese, I get more traffic to my blog, but above all, I get the satisfaction of knowing many non-Japanese speakers all over the world can appreciate a truly unique reality show. Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to post any comments or questions you may have.

Ainori’s official homepage (Japanese only).
Current participants

Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts

Good News, people! It seems streaming videos of Ainori are still available on

Ainori #334


Holy cow, Batman, she said YES! Oh yeah, in a really unexpected turn of events, Junko accepted to go back to Japan with Tachi! Other things are happening, too. Sanchan is getting more confidence, and even went as far as preparing notes to engage in a conversation with Chaki. We finally got to see Yokomi speak more than one sentence, as he got into a meaningful talk with Yankumi. But first, let’s get into the specifics of the Junko/Tachi miracle.


Now that really went against all odds, and sea gull droppings may have made a huge difference! As we saw in last week’s episode, the situation looked bleak, as Junko mentioned that she would have liked to get to know Tachi better instead of rushing into a relationship, and that she was thinking of how she would turn him down. Just before Junko went to give her answer to Tachi, they showed the staff talking to her, asking her how she felt about the whole thing. She replied that if they went back to Japan together, it would probably be a lot of fun at first, but that she didn’t she themselves as a couple in the long run. Although she mention she couldn’t realize Tachi’s returning to Japan, it was pretty obvious what her answer was. I thought that was pretty weird, as the producers don’t usually give such spoilers, and I should’ve picked up on that. Anyway, Junko finally met Tachi, and he made his desperate plea again. He told her that if they went back to Japan together, he would take her to places she had never been to, and show her magnificent sceneries. She replied that when she joined the group, he was the one who was the easiest to talk to. However, she wrongly thought that he was in love with someone else (Chaki), and she wanted to be there for him more like a supportive friend. Now up to that point, it was clear that she was building up towards a refusal and an apology, but at the moment she started explaining that she was so surprised when he declared his love to her, some seagulls made their business all over Tachi. So much so that he had to interrupt her (the voice sounded different, was it the director’s?) and started laughing, informing the staff that he had droppings all over his face. Junko started laughing too, and helped him clean up a bit.

Now I’m sure this unexpected event broke the tension, and sort of “reset” the kokuhaku (love declaration in Japanese), as when they got back to their respective positions, he started talking instead of letting her finish. But this time, he told her that if they went back to Japan together, he would like her to come with him to Niigata, which is exactly what he couldn’t ask his ex-girlfriend/fiancée two years before, and the very reason they split up. He then kept looking at her with a big smile, looking proud that he finally was able to utter what he couldn’t before. It looks like that really got to her, because she started thinking, replied that she thought if they went back together it would be a lot of fun, stopped, whispered “What am I gonna do?”, and finally said, “I wanna go back to Japan with you”. Man, that was really a big surprise, and I’m convinced the seagull incident not only broke the tension, but also gave Tachi a chance to say what he might never have said if that didn’t happen. As he said himself, it was a miracle. This one definitely is my top five kokuhaku! Sweeeeet!

“I want you to come to Niigata” “I wanna go back to Japan with you”


Well, Sanchan finally decided to make a move, and invited a girl for the first time in his life. The one who had the honor was Chaki, and Sanchan even prepared conversation questions on a piece of paper. The worst part is he forgot the paper, and got stuck with Chaki, who was waiting for him to say something. Personally, I think Sanchan taking out a piece of paper and reading questions off it would have been even more awkward, as you can see from the questions:

1: How have you been lately?
2: Did you get used to this trip?
3: How is romance going?
4: How was your love life until now?

Not that they’re such unusual questions on a show like Ainori (participants ask them all the time), but from a piece of paper? Anyway, he was really nervous when he realized he had forgotten his notes, and apparently too nervous to even remember these simple questions. So he was silent until they moved to another spot, where they finally got to talk. They talked about how inviting someone can be awkward, with the the fear of rejection and all. Then Chaki asked him: “Who’s the first person you wanna see when you go back to Japan?”, to which he replied “I wanna be by myself”. Typical! I’m not sure if Sanchan is cut for this, but at least he started trying, which is good. I sure hope the Ainori experience will help him come out of his shell.

Yankumi Yokomi

Finally, we got to see the two forgotten participants in action! Well, we saw Yankumi interact with the others before, but never in this way, and Yokomi was like, “who?”, since he joined the group, so I think this is a big development. I think everybody was under that impression, and indeed it seems Yankumi has been worried that the male participants weren’t seeing her as a “woman”. Why with her being an ex-gang member and her special looks, I guess it takes a guy who’s into that type of girls. This is probably the reason why it took her so long to make a move, and it seems that conversation with Yokomi got her thinking about him. Not that he was trying to charm her or anything: he started by saying he was talking to the girls in turns – which came across as a bit rude. Indeed, he wasn’t talking to Yankumi for who she was, but just because it was “her turn”. When she told him he was the one among the boys who seemed most understanding of women, he replied he wasn’t, that he just had a tendency to see women not as members of the opposite sex, but as friends. She said he was trying to appeal to women with his attitude in general, and he replied he wasn’t trying to appeal to all of the girls (à la Tagamikun?), that friendship develops naturally. Yokomi added that he was saying frankly what was on his mind. He continued by explaining that he was more into foreign women, that he didn’t like girls with small noses. Well, Yokomi may seem rude and too brutally direct for a Japanese, but at least he’s honest, and it seems that side of him kinda got Yankumi thinking. Is she about to fall for him? We’ll see…

Next week, two new participants will join the group: a 19 year-old girl, and a boy apparently so cute the girls will have trouble identifying what his gender is at first glance! Can’t wait to see that! Then, an “unexpected development” between Chaki and Uekki, which should also be interesting.

:-) Ainori #334 – Special treat for non-Japanese speakers :-)
:-) Ainori #334的英文譯文 :-)



Squid Ink Flavored Manju

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

I’ve been in Japan for more than 8 years, and I still come across the weirdest food. This is a squid ink (I repeat, squid ink) flavored manju. Actually, it kind of tasted like molasses.

A Bad Monday Morning…

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

I saw this on my way to work this morning.
What a way to start the week…