Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ben Pridmore's birthday is today

That's what Facebook tells me, anyway. But after a moment of confusion, I realised it was talking about that other Ben Pridmore I'm friends with, the one who's ten times cooler than me and is a fireman who used to have dreadlocks (we've never met, I only know him from occasional snippets of information in his Facebook status). I always forget his birthday is practically the same day as mine until I get this annual reminder.

My birthday is tomorrow. You can give me a present if you want.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ra ra ra

It's not something that's really featured in my life recently, but I felt the need to vent my annoyance with books that tell you how to pronounce Japanese. Specifically, the Japanese r-sound, which I'm reliably told is sort of half-way between a 'r' and a 'l'.

That's just silly, isn't it? There isn't some kind of sliding scale with 'r' at one end and 'l' at the other. It's either one or the other. After some experimentation, involving saying "ra la la ra" to myself repeatedly, I can say with some confidence that you touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue to say 'la', and don't to say 'ra'.

In my experience, Japanese people either say 'r' or 'l', depending what they feel like at any given moment, and then insist that they make the same sound every time. Or that's how it seems to my English-speaking ears, anyway. I just say 'l', seeing as I always have a problem with that other sound. And saying 'w' instead of 'r' in Japanese is at least 50% more likely to lead to saying an actual different word, probably. I haven't checked, but it's best to avoid it anyway.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Birthday work

It's my birthday on Sunday, yay. As I think I mentioned last year, I've always thought 36 is sort of a cool age to be, for some reason. It sounds rugged. Much better than 35! So I'm looking forward to this next year of my life!

Of course, my foolish 35-year-old planning has left me not really able to do anything for my birthday, because the Friendly Memory Championship (formerly known as the Cambridge Memory Championship) is happening on Saturday 20th, meaning that this coming weekend has to be the highlight of any memory-competition-organiser's year: Printing Things Out Weekend. All those memorisation papers. If I'd thought about it, I would've done it last weekend, but I never think about things. It's bad for you.