As you may (or, more likely, may have not) noticed, things have been a little quiet in Kaminoge's small corner of cyberspace. Partly that's because not a whole lot has been happening lately - mostly the usual stuff, such as work, broken up with the occasional hike and time spent with my daughter. We've also been devoting our efforts to getting ready for Christmas, as in setting up the (artificial) Xmas tree, and buying and wrapping presents. But mainly it's because, instead of publishing new posts, I've been concentrating on the old ones. For you see (and you should, because you're reading this on Blogger), I've thrown in the towel on Sponge Bear. It's been a good run, and not to toot my own horn (but I will anyway), I did win a couple of awards ("You like me, you really like me!"), but the hassles of dealing with LiveJournal have become too much to bear. If it isn't the constant string of technical problems, it's the deluge of spam, much of it in Cyrillic, that floods my humble little blog on an almost daily basis.
So instead of focusing on what's new, I've been devoting much of my computer time to bringing this blog up to snuff. After a great deal of effort, and with thanks to Michael Turton and, especially, my old friend and coworker from my Tōkyō days (懐かしい) S.T., I was finally able to import my old blog postings from Sponge Bear to A Curmudgeon Abroad. I wasn't able to carry the comments and videos over, unfortunately, but the entries are intact, along with most of the photographs. Now I'm going through all of them, one by one, cleaning up the text and deleting things that are no longer relevant (or have gone missing over time). It's slow going, but my goal is to do one months' worth each evening, and I'm now up to September 2007. It's an exercise that's both fascinating and depressing - on the one hand, it's been fun going over the old photos, and watching Amber growing up in those posts. But at the same time, it's hitting home how much of a rut I've been stuck in for the past several years, and of how I always seem to be whingeing about the same old things. Do I really sound like a broken record? (Don't answer that, and you young 'uns out there please don't ask me what a record is.)
At the risk of exemplifying what's written above, here's a sign I came across this evening in T'aichung (Táizhōng) 台中:
The owner of this massage establishment (I hesitate to say "parlor", because this place seemed aboveboard) has gone for the trilingual approach, with the sign presenting the menu in three languages - Mandarin (not visible, but off to the left), English and Japanese. What's more than a little odd is the choice of hiragana 平仮名 for rendering the Japanese words. Why write ぜんしん when 全身 would be understood by any potential Japanese customers? Why use まっさーじ when a.) it should be written in katakana 片仮名 (i.e. マッサージ); and b.) you've neglected to include the part about feet (足 aka あし)? Then there's the use of えん, as in "yen" or ¥. Is the owner hinting that, while I need to pay NT700 (about $23) for a body massage, a Japanese visitor only has to fork over ¥700 ($9 or NT270)? A clear case of discrimination...unless the writer of the sign didn't know that 元 is pronounced as gen げん in Japanese. And, finally, just what the hell is a "Gua-sha" or かっさ? Now I wish I had included the Mandarin when I was framing the photograph.
Kaminoge - still as anally retentive as ever over things no one else would ever care about.