Friday, September 11, 2009

One crayfish, one bowl, seven months.

Most likely Procambarus clarkii. For reference, the bowl has a diameter of 16cm (about 6.25 inches). And just in case you're wondering, the crayfish spent those seven months in a 29 gallon aquarium, not the bowl.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ainu and Sioux

(Here is a simple 3D drawing of the way the shed was put together.) Impatient with my progress on the shed (in light of the decreasing time available in which to complete it), I returned to the drawing board looking for a simpler means to building a structure for outdoor storage, while trying not to compromise my core aesthetic ideals. The first thing that could be simplified is the complex joinery in a Norwegian trestle frame building. For while the way the joints lock together is beautiful, the cuts take considerable time and energy to get right. On original longhouses, whether constructed by Vikings or Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, the construction was much simpler than trestle frame buildings- it was possible to build them such that no more than two logs met at any joint. So I tried this, but after erecting the first post and beam unit, I soon found that without careful measurements the posts would not stand plumb and square. Though not too critical, the combined error of all the posts together seemed to present a problem. I needed a faster solution. I returned to another alternative construction method I learned about from the Ainu four months ago. Instead of posts supporting the beams, I could use tripods. This is how the Ainu built their houses, and as I learned later, it is also the foundation of most tipis, such as those used by the Sioux. If I lash three posts together, I create a tripod. If I set out four tripods and lay beams across them, I create a shed roof. A tripod requires only rough cuts, and can be put almost anywhere. Shelving, and hooks for tools, could easily be mounted on walls that do not bear the full weight of the roof. I could also make a reciprocal frame roof for the shed, or add two more tripods and make the shed a hexagon shape... there are lots of possibilities. Overall, this seems the most expedient solution. Still, the question remains, can three angled posts bear the same weight as a single vertical post? I will find out.

100 words in Japanese

After reading that five hundred words is the minimum needed for basic communication, I wanted to learn which 500 words are the most important, or frequently used, so that I can focus on learning those first, then move on from there. At the local bookstore, I found a book by Boye De Mente that claimed to contain "100 key words" in Japanese. Here they are:

Words 1-10:
Good Morning おはよう ございます
Good Afternoon こんにち は
Good Evening こんばん は
Thank you very much どうも ありがとう
Pardon me, excuse me, I am sorry, thank you すみません
Please (after you) どうぞ
Please ( - give me) ください
Water みず
I わたし
I (formal) わたくし

Words 11-20
to me わたしに
my, mine わたしの
we/our, ours わたしたち
am, is, are です
am not, is not, are not で は ありません
was, were でした
was not, were not で は ありません でした
name なまえ
what なん / なに
you/ your, yours あなた
(two additional words, a typo in the book):
an American person or American people 
a Japanese person or people

Words 21-30
who/ whose どなた
this これ
that それ
he, she, him, her/ his, hers あの ひと
message メッセージ
when いつ
where どこ
yes はい
Yes, that's so, that's right そう です
no いいえ

Words 31-40
to go (plain) いく
hotel ホテル
to eat たべる
food, meal しょくじ
Japanese food わしょく
Western food ようしょく
to drink のむ
like (be fond of, love) すき
to receive, accept いただきます
(it is) delicious おいしい

Words 41-50
to meet あう
what time? なんじ
To be, have (for objects) ある
how much いくら
high, expensive たかい
cheap, inexpensive やすい
to do する
good (fine, acceptable) いい
which (of two) どちら
which (of many) どれ

Words 51-60
small, little ちいさい
large, big おおきい
number one, most いちばん
to send, mail だす
here ここ
to stop (come to rest). To stay (overnight). とまる
To wait まつ
to come くる
to buy かう
shopping かいもの

Words 61-70
money おかね
to have もつ
to call (out to someone, call a taxi, etc.) よぶ
telephone でんわ
to write かく
to be able to do, can do できる
today きょう
tomorrow あした
English えいご
Japanese にほんご

Words 71-80
how many いくつ
to need, want いる
to understand, to know, to be clear わかる
number/ numbers ばん / ばんごう
one person ひとり
two persons ふたり
three persons さんにん
four persons よにん
time, hour じかん
minute, minutes ふん / ぷん

Words 81-90
morning (AM) ごぜん
afternoon (PM) ごご
taxi タクシー
subway, metro, underground ちかてつ
train でんしゃ
station えき
near ちかい
Bullet train しんかんせん
hot (weather and to the touch) あつい
cold (weather), to feel cold さむい

Words 91-100
cold (to the touch) つめたい
coffee コーヒー
milk ミルク
rain あめ
snow ゆき
to fall, come down ふります
sick びょうき
doctor いしゃ
to walk あるく
far, distant とおい

Special Set Phrases:
Welcome! いらっしゃいませ。
I'm home! ただいま。
Welcome back (home)! おかえり なさい。
I am intruding. Excuse me. おじゃま します。
I have intruded. I have bothered you. Goodbye. おじゃま しました。
Excuse me. I'm sorry. しつれい します。
Sorry for disturbing (bothering) you. しつれい しました。
I receive, accept (the food, drink). いただきます。 (duplicate of word 39 above)
It was nothing. おそまつさま。 
Thanks to you. Thank you for asking. おかげさま で。
Thanks for all your hard work. Well done. ごくろうさま でした。
Please (do something for the speaker). I beg of you. おねがい します。 / おねがい いたします。
Please (do something for the speaker) (very polite). よろしく おねがい します。 

Common Everyday Expressions:
How are you? Are you well? おげんき です か。
I'm fine. And you? げんき です。 ...さん は。
The weather is fine, isn't it! おてんき は いい です ね。
Just a moment, please. (polite) しょうしょう おまち ください。
Just a second! Hang on! (informal) ちょっと まって。
Don't mention it. You're welcome. どう いたしまして。
Pleased to meet you. はじめまして。