Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Here is a grammar structure that I can't find a good English translation for. Perhaps the 3 readers who frequent this blog might help me shed some light on exactly what I'm looking at here:


"If you drink alcohol more and more you will get drunk, so you shouldn't drink too much."

That's essentially the translation, backed up by my super-slick wifetionary. However, I told her as I'm writing here, I don't get a clear translation from the 〜ば〜ほど structure. It's kind of rubbish to me.

Yes I can memorize changing the first verb to the conditional, adding ば, then changing the second to the plain form and add ほど. That part is easy. The tough thing is getting a better translation of the term than 'more and more'. This is going to wear on my nerves day in and day out.

Surely there is something more eloquent out there? Perhaps some readers could help out with comments?

I want an iPhone =(

I really really really want an iPhone. I hope that once the SDK goes live (SOMEtime this year guys...) someone will port my favorite Firefox extension to the iPhone (my fav is Rikaichan)

I also want a kanji practice program like I used to have on my PDA. But more than just drawing the kanji correctly and having the program give me the thumbs up, I want to be able to search by kanji drawn.

"Make the program yourself!" you say... if only... if only...

Here's looking forward to the iPhone SDK, the 3G version which will run on HSDPA and I'll be able to use on cell towers in Japan, and the unlimited family plan so I never worry about minutes again!

Monday, February 04, 2008


Today's interesting lesson has to do with increasing and decreasing.

My wife and I were trying to figure out the different between 減少、増加、上がる、and 下がる last night. In English:

減少: decrease
増加: increase
上がる: increase (go up)
下がる: decrease (go down)

Note: There are other words for increase and decrease in Japanese - but we're focusing on these four today.

Neither of us could really figure out a good explanation for why some things use 上がる and some use 増加 and vice versa. We though about it for a tick, and then I came to this conclusion:

When the subject is singular and the value increases or decreases: 上がる・下がる
When the subject is a singular word composed of many items and the value increases or decreases: 増加・減少

Here's the break down:

Temperature is a singular thing whose value can increase or decrease. You could say:


Because it will be Spring soon, the temperature will rise.

Population is a singular idea composed by the number of citizens in a given location. It's one from many. So you would say:


Recently, the population is decreasing.

My wife agreed this is the likely distinction. It's possible that some more highly educated scholar has already come to this conclusion and written a dissertation on it somewhere. If so - laud his brilliance. For the lay man, I wrote a simple blog entry about it so students who don't spend their time in the dissertation section of their university's library can pick up on this important distinction.