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Karen pointed out a funny thing to me tonight:
Many Japanese people mistakenly say 'Toront'
instead of 'Toronto.'
You may not know this, but Japanese has a
tremendous number of English loan words in
its lexicon. Of course most of these words
are pronounced with a strong Japanese accent.
For example, the Japanese word for neck tie
is neku tai. This is not so surprising, it happens in
every language. English has over 10,000 French
loan words, most of which we don't even recognize
as French anymore, words like 'royal', 'important,'
With one exception (the letter 'n'), every
Japanese word ends in a vowel: either A,
I, U, E, or O. Consequently, it's very difficult
for Japanese people, at least at first, to
pronounce English words that end with a consonant.
No matter how hard they try, their brains
always want them to add a vowel to the end
of the word. So, for example, a Japanese
speaker of English might pronounce the word
'book' as 'buku', or 'hot' as 'hoto.'
You can generally gage the level of English
fluency of a Japanese person by how well
they pronounce the consonants at the end
of words. It is a matter of degree. Most
speakers will add a very subtle vowel sound
that would be easy to miss unless you were
paying attention. The really great English
speakers will cut out the vowel sound entirely.
All of this is of course well known to Japanese
people themselves. They know that they tend
to add vowels at the end of words where they
don't belong. They know that they say 'Nu
Yoku' when they should be saying 'New York';
they know that they say 'Bankoku' when they
should be saying 'Bangkok'; and apparently
many of them believe that they say 'Toronto'
when they should be saying 'Toront'.
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Here I am, back up online again. Thanks for
The saga of the lost laptop didn't turn out
as badly as it could have. The people at
work weren't especially concerned about it.
The secret server-access codes that were
on the laptop can only be used within the
local network, so whatever thieving piece
of subway slime that has my computer right
now will not be able to hack into our client's
site. Also, and this is the best part, I
didn't lose as many photos as I feared, though
I still lost a lot.
To be more specific, I lost all of the pictures
that I took in June and July. That doesn't
sound like a lot, but believe me, it is.
They were all really good pictures too. Because
I've begun to use up ridiculous amounts of
storage space on my computer I've had to
become much more selective in the pictures
that I save. Many of those pictures were
also taken especially for the print gallery
(i.e., prints for sale) that I'm putting
together, so that might have to get pushed
back yet again. If you're one of the people
waiting to buy a print, don't worry, they'll
be available soon.
A computer is a wonderful thing, but
it's just a basket waiting for all
No new pictures today on Hunkabutta. I'm
The problem is that I've lost my computer.
Actually, I lost my company's computer. Bummer, eh? I left it on the subway
when I was switching lines.
I changed from the Shinjuku line on to the
Hibiya line and left it on the Shinjuku line
car. It was in my knapsack. We were on our
way home from a fireworks viewing party at
an onsen (public bath) and I was really tired.
We've been trying to get it back ever since,
but we haven't had any luck. I'm not too
hopeful. I also lost all of my camera
accessories, though not my camera. That's
why I can't show you any new pictures. I've
lost them. I do have most of the older, crappier
ones backed up on CD at work, but I still
lost a lot, and most of the best ones too.
I can't even download the pictures that I
have on the camera right now -- I don't have
the USB connector cable.
They're not going to be too pleased down
at the office. It's a really expensive notebook
computer, an IBM Thinkpad X20. The real problem,
however, is all of the top-secret company
info on it. I was working on an application
this past week that is used by one of our
largest clients -- a huge Japanese music
industry commerce web site. Of course I had
all of my software set up to access the server,
my FTP (file transfer) program and all that.
Well, now, whoever has my computer can go
in there and wreak havoc on the site. Just
imagine if you found a computer on the train
that allowed you to get unlimited server
access to eBay or Amazon. Scary huh?
Wish me luck.
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Today's pictures are all from the same
laneway near Shinjuku station: Yakitori
It's a ridiculously narrow alley that runs
parallel to, and just below, one of the raised
train tracks near the station.
The alley is lined with small restaurants,
each tucked into a tiny nook, often only
seating five to ten people.
Most of the restaurants sell barbecued meat
on bamboo skewers, kind of like kabobs, and
that's where the alley gets its name: Yakitori
means roast chicken.