Friday, February 24, 2006

I passed

I took level 3 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) back in December. At this level: "the examinee has mastered grammar to a limited level, knows around 300 kanji and 1,500 words, has the ability to take part in everyday conversation and read and write simple sentences. This level is normally reached after studying Japanese for around 300 hours and after completion of an elementary course." (from the test association's web site).

I never did like this description - "mastered grammar to a limited level"?!? It seems like I am more proficient at the language than this description describes. Oh, well. At least I passed the test.

合格した! 旧臘に日本語能力試験の3級を受けた。3級の合格した人は「基本的な文法・漢字(300字程度)・語彙(1,500語程度)を習得し、日常生活に役立つ会話ができ、簡単な文章が読み書きできる能力(日本語を300時間程度学習し、初級日本語コースを修了したレベル)」だ。 その記述はこのHPから来た。

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Presentaton on Cyclocross

日本語は英語の後だ (Japanese version follows English)。

For my Japanese class, I had to do a presentation on a hobby of mine. Here is a web version of that presentation:

Cyclocross Bicycle Race:
I like to ride bicycles. Mountain bikes and road bikes. I have also raced. One type of racing I have been doing is Cyclocross.

CX is a mix of running and bicycling. But unlike a triathlon, you carry your bike when you run. You ride the bicycle as much as you can, and when you can’t, you get off, pick up the bicycle, and run. And when you are able to ride again, you ride.

Cyclocross originated in Europe more than 75 years ago as a way for road bike racers to practice in the off season. Because it is the off-season, that means it happens in late fall or winter, when the weather can be unpredictable. As such, the races often occur in rain or snow.

The Race:
The race course is relatively short – usually between 1 and 2 miles long. Beginners do as many laps as they can on the course for 30 minutes. Experts race as many laps as they can for 1 hour. The winner is the person who does the most laps the fastest in the time allotted. See this video (2.6MB, .WMV format) for an example of a race from a racer's perspective.

The race takes place on pavement, dirt paths, mud, snow, etc. Because the race course has barriers, racers are forced to get off their bike and run. Because it is such a short race course, the entire race is a sprint. The racers are going all out for the entire race.

An important skill to learn is the dismount and remount – being able to get off and on your bike quickly and safely is very important. See this video (3MB, .MPG format) for an example of fast dismounts and remounts.

Benefits to participants:
Because of the challenging terrain, you develop bike-handling skills. You also are able to train during the off season. And it is great power training – riders do lots of intervals.








速くて安全に自転車に乗り方と降り方はとても大切です。 このビデオ(3メガバイト.MPGフォーマット)は速い自転車に乗り方と降り方を見せます



Monday, February 20, 2006

Tour of California Bike Race


The Amgen Tour of California started yesterday. This is a bicycle race that is supposed to be the US Equivalent to the Tour du France. I was able to see some of the first stage in San Francisco yesterday. And we biked across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito to see the start of today's stage. It is very exciting to have such a large event taking place close to here.

Most people who follow bicycle racing are wondering about the sponsor - Amgen. It is always good to see a company step forward and sponsor a bicycle race, as I enjoy bicycling and like to see the sport become more popular. But it was an interesting choice for Amgen to do this.

The reason for this is that one of the ways that cyclists (and other endurance sport athletes) cheats is to blood dope. One way of doing this is by taking a drug that causes there body to create more red blood cells (drugs which were developed for people who are on chemotherapy). This is illegal, but not something that the authorities are able to easily detect, so it is quite possible that it is done by a lot of the top cyclists.

And who is the maker of this blood doping drug? Amgen!


Friday, February 17, 2006

Uproar over Google/Yahoo and China is hypocrisy

日本語は英語の後だ (Japanese version follows English)。

There has been a lot of uproar over how the large American Internet companies are self-censoring in China, and in at least one case, providing information to the Chinese Government on people the Chinese Government thinks are subversives. Here is a quote from an Asia Times (a Hong Kong based Internet newspaper) article on the subject - "In a nutshell, the companies have vowed to adhere to what Westerners generally regard as repressive Chinese laws on censorship as well as - at least in Yahoo's case - aiding Chinese authorities in what would clearly be considered unacceptable violations of the right to privacy in the United States."

Yet how is this really different that the Patriot Act, a US law set into place after September 11? The Patriot Act allows the Government to send National Security Letters - which are letters to banks, libraries, internet providers, and others requiring that they give information on their customers or clients.
See this Washington Post article for some information on National Security Letters.

Of course, I would prefer not to see Google and Yahoo self-censor their services in China, but I don't think the US Government has any right to say that they are doing wrong when the US Government itself is demanding private records from services like Google and Yahoo.

最近新聞やニュース(たとえばAsia Timesというインターネット・ニュースペーパー)によるとアメリカのインターネットの会社は中国に検閲するそうだ。 そして中国政府が破壊活動に従事する使用者全員と考える情報を政府にあげる。

でもアメリカの愛国者法とどう違った? 愛国者法は2001年9月11日からアメリカの規律だ。愛国者法は銀行や図書館やインターネット接続にNational Security Lettersを遅れる。その手紙を受け取った会社はお客さんの情報をあげなければならない。 

もちろん、検閲するのはしたくない。 でもアメリカにそうしながら、アメリカは会社に言われたくない。

Friday, February 10, 2006

Soccer Match - US versus Japan

日本語は英語の後だ (Japanese version follows English)。

picture from US-Japan soccer match - click to enlargeYesterday, I went with friends to see the soccer match between the US and Japanese national teams. They were playing at SBC Park (a baseball stadium) here in San Francisco, so it was very convenient to go.

The match was good. Japan had a slow start, and allowed 2 goals to be scored on them in the first half. America scored a third goal, and then Japan started to try to come back, but was only able to score 2 goals before the end of the match.

This was only the second match I have seen - the first being the one I saw in Japan last fall (see my write up for that match here).

The match here was much more crowded, with over 37,000 people there today (there was maybe 1/3 that in Japan). But everything also seemed much less efficient. There were huge lines and delays to get in to the stadium, to buy any food, and to use the restroom. The stadium is made to handle over 37,000 people, so I don't think the delays were due to the crowds. I am not sure the cause, but I am sure in Japan they would have found the cause and fixed it long before people showed up.


よかったよ。 日本は始めによくなかった。アメリカは前半に2ゴールを決めた。後半にアメリカは1ゴールも決めた。でも、その後日本は2ゴールを決めた。

この試合は2番目の試合を見た。一番目は去年日本で日本プロサッカーリーグだった - (ブログで日本語も日記を書いた)。


Monday, February 06, 2006

Competitor to the Super Bowl

There was a Pay per View show on at the same time as the Super Bowl for those that think that professional football is a bit tame. It was called the Lingerie Bowl. Clink on the link to see some photos.

I was in the mountains playing in the snow, so I didn't see either of these. The Super Bowl usually has very interesting advertisements - often better than the action on the playing field (you can see this year's ads by clicking here). But I suspect that the Lingerie Bowl's were not nearly as good (but then again, maybe it didn't need them).


私は山で散歩したのでどちらも見なかった。でもスーパーボウルの広告はいつもとても面白いだ (今年の広告はここにある)。 多分ランジェリーボウルの広告ほどようくなかったと思う。