Month: July 2008

Putting old addictions to good use

I noticed something this week that I thought was interesting. Last week I bought a couple games off of eBay – imported copies of Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger for the SNES. As soon as they came in Thursday morning, I examined them both to make sure everything was intact and all that. The following line of text was on the back of both boxes:


That may not mean anything to you just by looking at it, but you’re already well aware of the concept – it’s a suggested retail price of 11,400 yen, not including tax. I got curious as to what that would have cost back then and found a site containing exchange rates for each month back to about 1970. In March of 1995, when Chrono Trigger was released in Japan, the exchange rate was about 90 yen to the dollar. Do the math, and… this game’s MSRP in 1995 is $126. For one Super Nintendo game!

I guess the sands of time and Square’s love of remaking old titles are good for something, though – back about 10 years ago these games would still have fetched a stiff price on eBay, but I bought them for under $20 each just last week because the demand for that sort of stuff just isn’t there anymore. Oh well, either way that’s a bunch of cheap reading practice packed up in games I enjoyed the hell out of in English years ago. Right now I’m working on Final Fantasy V and I’d hazard a guess that I’m comprehending about 75-80% of the game’s text, which is a noticeable improvement even from just a few months ago.

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Test results, and the home stretch

Got the test back tonight, and I pulled through with a 93.125%, or 186.25 out of 200 points. Almost 4 points were lost due to stupid mistakes, and another 7 or so were lost to not realizing that several questions in one section of the test had two answers, and I needed to supply them both. So yeah, I could have had a 95% or better, but my ability to avoid stupid mistakes is going to need some serious sharpening first.

With that out of the way we’re down to the last four weeks of class. Eleven months ago I walked back into the classroom looking for language credits and what I ended up getting was something a little bit bigger than that. Computers were fun for years, and to some degree they still are, but now I feel fully confident I’m doing the right thing by keeping them limited to just being a hobby and pursuing other interests full-time.

I’d still be hard-pressed to say what I’ll be doing five years from now, but that’s fine.

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Another test down

This one was a full 200 points, 1/5 of the total for the quarter. The big item for this chapter was giving and receiving. As it is in English, the verb you use depends on who the subject is – you wouldn’t say your parents received to you a present for your birthday for example – but you also have to watch out for what situations call for what level of politeness, and that’s a study in Japanese society all on its own.

For example… you would use politer forms when referring to your boss at work:
Shacho-san ni biiru wo katte sashiagemashita
I bought my boss a beer.

Contrast with your friend:
Tomodachi ni biiru wo katte agemashita
I bought my friend a beer.

Your friend is socially on the same level as you are while your boss is a step up, so while you did the same exact thing for both people, and it’s worded exactly the same way in English, the verb changed in Japanese.

To make things a mess though, pretend you’re at some meeting with another company – now you can’t “promote” your boss, you have to refer to him more or less as your equal, or at least not as some revered figure you have to answer to on a regular basis:
Shacho-san ni biiru wo katte agemashita
I bought my boss a beer.

Either way, the good news is I think I pretty much destroyed that test. We hammered on that one chapter literally for a month and a half, and it got to the point where studying for the test almost seemed useless to me because the material had already been beaten to death.

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