Portuguese Mountain of Pain e…

Image result for portuguese ate mais e obrigado pelos peixes

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I’m finally done with ‘A espada da gruta’ and the Lemony Snicket book set at the carnival and now it’s time to level up. And I don’t mean going somewhere and asking new people the same few questions I asked the last people I met and the ones before that and…

The Lemony Snicket book was tough.

It took a few weeks and a lot of dictionary work but I got through it, and now it’s time for three other books at the same time.

Ate mais e obrigado pelos peixes [So long and thanks for all the fish]

Matadouro Cinco [Slaughterhouse Five]

Another Lemony Snicket book, the one at the school

I started with ‘Ate mais’ but struggled a bit as the writing is a lot more complicated than I remember the English version being. I should’ve known. There’s so much slang and random weirdness and huge run-on sentences in the story that reading it in Portuguese is borderline impossible.

The only saving grace is the fact that English and Portuguese have a lot of crossover vocab – without those I’d be lost. If I were reading the Chinese translation of this book, I’d be deep in Children of Tama territory, much worse.

As I was plodding through ‘Ate mais’, the Vonnegut book arrived in the post, a book I also believed, based on my reading of it 10 years before, to be quite prosaic in terms of writing style.

Wrong. Continue reading

Future Monogatari

Image result for naruto episode 216

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Google translate ga yoku nata

It’s true, two years ago it couldn’t handle idioms, now it changes ‘raining cats and dogs’ to ‘heavy rain.’

It speaks too

in a train tannoy voice

but it’s better than nothing.

Okay, I typed too soon. Google translate is still weak. I just tried something more difficult, an idiomatic phrasal verb, and it did not go well.

‘The killer took him out’ became ‘the killer brought him [somewhere].’

A bit harsh as there’s not much context to that phrasal verb. The killer could’ve taken him out somewhere, it’s not impossible and, far as I know, google translate is the sum of its programmed database, not intuitive AI, so I gave it a bit more to work with:

‘The killer took him out with one bullet.’

Again, it translated as:

‘The killer, with one bullet, brought him [somewhere].’

It’s interesting, how would you programme common sense into an online translator that has no experience of our perceived reality? To google translate, it might be completely normal for killers to take people somewhere while carrying a bullet.

Maybe the only answer is AI?

That or the elimination of all idioms from every language?

The next problem: how to understand an episode of Naruto. I tried last week, Episode 216, but the first scene was insanely fast. Even when I slowed the speed down to half, it was difficult to pick anything up. Or you can pick it up, but you don’t know what it means. Do children really understand this? Continue reading

Uesugi Kenshin vs Takeda Shingen

Image result for uesugi kenshin is a woman

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Two of the most well-known samurai daimyo of Sengoku Era Japan [the historical period between 1477-1600 when everyone bullied peasants and stabbed each other in the back] were

Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo Province

And

Takeda Shingen of Kai.

If you’re a human being, as soon as you start reading about any two rivals then you’re probably gonna pick a side. In this case, both Kenshin and Shingen were strategic thinkers and decent warriors, though it’s debatable how often they actually had to fight in any battles, and their overall record against each other in direct battle was either a no score draw or a Kenshin victory, depending on the sources. I think some historians give the 4th battle of K River to Shingen due to the fact that he lost fewer men, but this omits the point that the men he did lose included most of his generals, whereas Kenshin only lost ashigaru and a few stray tourists.

Tourists?

Some locals would grab a good seat on a nearby hill and watch the battle, which could backfire fatally if one of the daimyo was a creative thinker and decided to shift the battle to that hill

or if one of the archers was drunk.

Kenshin or Shingen?

If it were a film about the two of them, I would side with Uesugi Kenshin for several reasons.

He trained to be a monk,

He didn’t want to be a leader

He gave salt to Shingen when no one else would

And

He was the god of battle.

Shingen, on the other hand, was a bit of a twat.

Didn’t he have a secret group of women ninja spies?

Allegedly, yes. They were led by Mochizuki Chiyome and would embed themselves in towns and castles that Shingen wanted to attack at some point, usually acting as shrine maidens, prostitutes or talent agents to get the info their boss needed. Continue reading