• General,  Language Learning

    Japanese Language Learning & A Workbook Score

    So I’m learning Japanese. Have been learning Japanese? I took a few years of Japanese in high school and have been dusting it off in recent years as I’ve gotten more into Japanese media. It’s going okay! (Except for my ability to write, which is very bad after 15 or so years of disuse!) I know enough to hear some nuance that gets missed in English subtitles sometimes, and I can sometimes struggle bus my way through JP-only games (Clean Dishes, my love…)

    Anyway, after doing some research, everyone seemed to recommend the Genki Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese (textbooks). I visit a local thrift store with my dad every week and have been lowkey on the lookout for these books for years, and I finally scored one! A couple weeks later, I got the workbook, too.

    A photo of a Genki I Japanese language workbook

    Actually, I ended up with two because I fucked up the first time and bought a workbook with ~50 pages torn out, whoops. There’s some writing in the new one, but between this one (whose writing I can erase) and the blank one (with 60 pages missing), I think I’ll be alright.

    Anyway, I got all of these for around $9 total, which is still miles better than the $60ish it costs on Amazon. Sweet.

    Today I fell down a rabbit hole of learning the kanji 触 after hearing 触れたい over and over again while playing Dramatical Murder. Preserved for posterity, my very bad handwriting:

    A photo of a sketchbook page with kanji practice and Japanese-English word definitions on it

    I mean to buy a genkouyoushi paper notebook to practice my kanji, but for now it’s getting shoved in my sketchbook.

    Did you know that the intransitive verb for “to touch” (fureru) is a homophone for the intransitive verb “to go mad” (fureru). I thought that was neat. I keep thinking about it.

    Also, in Mandarin, 触 is pronounced chu. I would like to learn to read Chinese at some point, considering how far down the danmei rabbit hole I’ve fallen. My friend told me it might not be such a bad idea to learn both languages concurrently, since at least it’ll stop me from getting locked into any one reading for kanji/hanzi. Either way, I’m enjoying myself.

    A surprising number of people have had the reaction, “No you won’t!” when I tell them I’d like to learn Chinese, but one of my friends reminded me of this very great meme. The time will pass anyway! Why not! At worst, you’ll end up knowing a few more things that you didn’t know before. It’s not like I’m in a hurry.

  • Research

    Library score! Exciting!

    So I went out for a soda and came back with an enormous stack of books; what else is new? BUT I’M VERY EXCITED. Check it out:

    A stack of 6 library books about Song dynasty China, ancient Japan-China relations, and sex work

    I’m excited for literally all of them, but I’m especially interested in Ambassadors from the Islands of Immortals, which covers China-Japan relations during the Han-Tang period, which is a little before my blorbos but nevertheless seems like excellent background! Shigeru, who also appears in Winter Sun, is from Japan, which would be going through the Kamakura period during that time. Which would probably mean that if he was in Lin’an, it would be as an ambassador.

    Also very excited for Cities of Aristocrats and Bureaucrats, which seems to be about infrastructure and city planning in the Tang and Song dynasties— finally, an answer to my question JUST HOW BIG WAS LIN’AN IN ITS HEYDAY ANYWAY? Weirdly hard to figure out? Because modern-day Lin’an is Hangzhou, which is a prefectural-level city and so is… not exactly a city in the way San Francisco is a city. It is Lorge. Like 6,495 square miles large.

    You have no idea how much time I spent down the rabbit hole scouring the internet for this information. I looked up maps. I did math. Ultimately, I settled on the answer “roughly the size of Manhattan”, but I’m extremely excited to find out if I was right.

    The other books are just generally useful for this project or background reading for other things I have percolating. Do I actually need to know about the sex trade in Kamakura Japan? Not really, but I’m curious, and all background is helpful background, right?

    Chicken is a little relevant for a different project revolving around a sex worker that I have shelved right now, but that’s… a whole other thing.

  • WIP Wednesday

    WIP Wednesday: A Ship to Lin’an

    I already (sometimes, when I can get the courage) do WIP Wednesdays elsewhere, mostly on Discord and occasionally on Twitter. Since I’m trying to make a place for myself here, maybe I will start doing it here, too.

    Here’s a bit I’m currently working on from a still-untitled book. It takes place in 1200 Lin’an, China (today Hangzhou) during the Song dynasty. In the timeline of my books, it’s set around the time of The Witchblood Heir, when the black and white fey courts in the West have been established.

    The main character of this book, Laurel, shows up for the first time in Winter Sun, the 3rd book about Nice—which means he lives to be very old indeed. I liked him so much that I wanted to write about him even more, which of course meant learning about where he came from. I’ve been enjoying this project very much, although the heavy research has been stretching me in interesting and challenging new ways. So far I’m about 43k into this project.

    Anyway! Without further ado, the snippet for today:

    “Sleep,” Li Qiuyue says then, as though she’s just remembered that Laurel is still a child and needs rest. Her severe expression softens but only to become a little bewildered, as though she’s confused by this. “We’ll get to the capital soon. You should rest if you’re tired.”

    “But I’ve already slept so much.”

    “Are you tired?”

    He feels the deep exhaustion in the heart of him, the weight in his bones. It’s true that he’s more tired than he has been in years, and he nods slowly.

    “Then sleep.”

    Laurel has forgotten some of this conversation as the years have passed, and he will forget many more. These words, however, have imprinted themselves, indelible upon his mind—Li Qiuyue’s picture of a fair world.

    Maybe it was the way that she said them. There was a weight to her voice, as though she was condemning the world. There was a heavy, burning look in her eyes, as though she was seeing and judging all that she could see.

  • General

    So long and thanks for all the fish, Twitter?

    So Twitter is dying! El*n Musk is calling it “X” or whatever the fuck, and the tab in my browser looks like a porn site.

    Exhibit A

    Anyway, it gets increasingly unpleasant to spend time there. I’m working on building a tiny little place for myself here instead. I don’t know if I’ll keep blogging! tbh I don’t know that I have that much to say outside my books.

    Oh! By the way, I redesigned my website and made a little home for those, too. Now you can buy books directly from my website. I still want to design a Recommended Reading Order page and clean up a few more things, but for now, this is where we’re at.