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"Messy Writing Corner" , posted Fri 14 Jul 06:09post reply

To keep it apart from the endless tangents of the Random Thread, this is a thread about writing. Leave notes here! Write about things you have read recently, and how their form or execution was interesting! Maybe even talk about their content, too, if you think that the content is inextricable from its execution! Leave down snippets of writing of your own that you thought were interesting, and then bemoan how it is far too much like your least favourite 19th century author while still being stereotypically post-modern! Harangue others for not having read clearly the great <<nationality> <writing format>>, or tell them about just how AWFUL Flavorless Tasteless Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is (PAGING MAOU!).

It doesn't matter how amateurish you are or think you are, dish it out here so that we can sniff at it elegantly over cups of coffee/tea/yogurt/???.






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"<elegant handwritten invitation for Maou>" , posted Fri 14 Jul 06:10post reply

-Spoon







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"Re(1):<elegant handwritten invitation for Mao" , posted Fri 14 Jul 09:07post reply

quote:
-Spoon



I am kind of uncomfortable sharing my story ideas...because I wanna finish them and it will set me free from the loop. So I dream...

But I had this idea for starting a story though I feel it doesn't go anywhere so here it is.

" After hundred years of succesfull operation of preserving each and every art pieces, books and statues by de-materializing them and recreating them in a digitized reality that we can freely visit, the unthinkable happens. Attack of a forgotten virus from 2020's wipes out all the art from the world."

What happens next?







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"Re(1):<elegant handwritten invitation for Mao" , posted Fri 14 Jul 12:35post reply

quote:
-Spoon

Jolly good, my fine fellow. The perfect invitation for a perfect chat over virtual MMC coffee. Per earlier e-mails with Spoon that occasioned this post, it's interesting reading a lot of one author to see how their style both defines and limits them. In the noir-ish context of the Cafe and Wish Room/Last Window, this points towards Murakami Haruki, whose early work is great, and whose recent works, the wretched Colorless Tazaki Tsukuru included, seem like pale, warmed-over versions of his own distinct voice and themes.

Tazaki Tsukuru also has the distinction of the worst dialogue I've seen in a Murakami work or anywhere in years. The written equivalent of how a shounen manga character will babble on for three panels in an action sequence about what techniques are being used in a fight he's watching. This is to say, expository dialogue is not how real people talk, and this book brought it home for me!

On the more positive end of things, and still speaking of noir, I recently read the original Dashiell Hammett novel version of The Maltese Falcon from 1929. Even without the joy of hearing Bogart on the screen, it's such a treat reading foundational noir. I was struck in reading it how closely focused Hammett was on describing the outfits and physical builds of various characters in great detail, and letting readers draw their images and conclusions on each character from these. Sometimes, this was harder to do because clothes from 90 years ago are not always the same and thus are difficult to visualize! This reminds me of how I've wanted to read my copy of Kawabata's Asakusa Kurenai-dan, the Crimson Gangs of Asakusa, for years, but the first few pages were full of the most technical descriptions of kimonos or something that I'd ever seen, and I dropped it instantly. Whether it's description or dialogue, it's amazing how these seemingly vital tools for immersion can also be such debilitating roadblocks for the reader if used poorly.
quote:
What happens next?
Ooo, finally I can engage in (safe-for-work) Oguz fanfiction by writing about your proposal! Maybe it's all the Nier I've played this spring, but I think what follows is a secret replacement of all the art so that mankind doesn't know it's gone and lose all hope, except some of the replacements are quite good and the master planner is surprised that his placeholder had meaning for people.





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"Re(2):<elegant handwritten invitation for Mao" , posted Fri 14 Jul 16:57:post reply

quote:
-Spoon


I am kind of uncomfortable sharing my story ideas...because I wanna finish them and it will set me free from the loop. So I dream...

But I had this idea for starting a story though I feel it doesn't go anywhere so here it is.

" After hundred years of succesfull operation of preserving each and every art pieces, books and statues by de-materializing them and recreating them in a digitized reality that we can freely visit, the unthinkable happens. Attack of a forgotten virus from 2020's wipes out all the art from the world."

What happens next?



This is a good one!

So I'd go with a slightly tragicomic tack that would have these underpinnings:
- people are already used to not memorizing things and offloading that cognitive burden to computers, how extreme can we take that?
- art history is highly undervalued even now, and by that point in the future, due to the false assumption that perfect preservation is equivalent to perfect understanding in the public mind, as an academic field it is all but extinct.
- as a result of living in human culture, there exist some cultural/artistic things that are so pervasive they simply don't get forgotten easily; everybody has a vague idea about "Asian art" or "Classical music" or "tribal dancing", no matter how incomplete and fallacy-riddled
- new art can ALWAYS be made
- people can always be misled, and are often happy to be misled

So what ensues is that in order to prevent the widespread panic that would ensue from the knowing that the entirety of the world's art had been lost, a whole bunch of technicians and internet historians quickly start cobbling together AIs and grabbing what artists they can to create the most ambitious swindle ever in the history of humanity: conning all of humanity about what art there was by generating it right now. They scribble out comics, have all the most memorable bars of music such as the opening bars of Beethoven's 3rd or the William Tell Overture that their crack team of mostly pop musicians still remember, and have the AIs generate countless pieces of work based on those stereotypes. Under the guise of "The Library of Alexandria is undergoing maintenance!" they repopulate the entire Library of Alexandria with at-best 3rd-hand knockoffs that manage to contain all the key ingredients that the cultural memory associates with that art.

The vast majority of people, who had never even seen or heard most of it in the first place, don't notice at all.

Some people notice, but it is written off as an internet conspiracy, like the "Berenstain/Berenstein Bears" alternate universe.

Meanwhile, the people that worked hard on the project look forward to listening and reading to an entire human history's worth of new art and music, even if they are all just insane caricatures of the originals.





[this message was edited by Spoon on Fri 14 Jul 16:59]



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"Re(2):<elegant handwritten invitation for Mao" , posted Fri 14 Jul 22:37post reply

quote:
" After hundred years of succesfull operation of preserving each and every art pieces, books and statues by de-materializing them and recreating them in a digitized reality that we can freely visit, the unthinkable happens. Attack of a forgotten virus from 2020's wipes out all the art from the world."



I love Spoon's take on this. I can't help but think that on the more narrative side of things, there's be a push on the power structure side of things to move focus away from trying to restore works that go counter to certain convenient concepts.

For example, while I'm not familiar with the finer points of polytheistic religions and how their actual practitioners past and present actually regard the corresponding divinities, I get the impression that that's a healthier mindset with which to approach the complexities of life and its many aspects where different people people can provide important perspectives and guidance on different domains - a monotheistic outlook feels unhealthy in comparison, since it primes people to look for a sole leader/father figure with all the perfect answers about everything, something that's proven dangerous across history time and time again.

Anyway, the concept of a "culturecide" could be an interesting way to explore a couple of notions dear to me

* the "cultural duty" to pass along things you remember that you don't see anyone else acknowledging; how do you choose what to pass along and how to preserve it out of a whole life of half-remembered things? Only the things you saw in your family and nowhere else (for example, an extension to the Portuguese version of the "happy birthday" song that I only ever hear my mother using); something that inspired you specifically enough to drive some important initiatives in your life? The stuff that make you cry? Something with a significant ratio of historical context to help make sure something important about the collective past isn't forgotten?

* creation/consumption ratio - consuming art is an important part of creating some of your own, only consuming risks being inconsequent outside of one's private sphere and culturally stagnant in the grand scheme of things, creating without learning a thing from what came before sounds like a recipe to botch potentially good ideas - so if all past art is gone and some restoration efforts from memory begin, it'd be important to partake in what's reconstructed out of what was thought lost, but at the same time it's be necessary to move beyond that... so I wonder at a wide enough scale, what'd be an ideal ratio for every individual, in time management if nothing else, of spending time catching up with the past and also trying to make something that hasn't existed yet in quite the way you wish it did...





...!!
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"Re(2):<elegant handwritten invitation for Mao" , posted Sat 15 Jul 06:53post reply

quote:
-Spoon


I am kind of uncomfortable sharing my story ideas...because I wanna finish them and it will set me free from the loop. So I dream...

But I had this idea for starting a story though I feel it doesn't go anywhere so here it is.

" After hundred years of succesfull operation of preserving each and every art pieces, books and statues by de-materializing them and recreating them in a digitized reality that we can freely visit, the unthinkable happens. Attack of a forgotten virus from 2020's wipes out all the art from the world."

What happens next?



So, I assume that videogames are okay, right?

I know the original post doesn't mention music, but some following posts do. I just wanted to mention that Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata will live on through Earthworm Jim.





/ / /


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"Re(3):<elegant handwritten invitation for Mao" , posted Sat 15 Jul 07:53post reply

quote:
So, I assume that videogames are okay, right?

I know the original post doesn't mention music, but some following posts do. I just wanted to mention that Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata will live on through Earthworm Jim.


Wow, honestly I wasn't expecting this many answers and quality discussion you guys put out based on this simple idea.

Mosquiton, I consider videogames as art so no, they're also gone. (Digital only, PT makes this actually not a far fetched future).

I was thinking in broader sense, the first wall drawings frome stone age to the any other artfully carved stands or drawers.

Now I start to wonder if we were to forget any kind of art and we only see things as functions rather than the potential of being an artpiece alongside of their functions.

Do we naturally start over to find the art in the everyday things and it expends to its own thing again?

Also i wonder how villains(politicians) would abuse this?

I really like the idea of insane caricatures of the originals. Just Mr. Bean version of everything. :D







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"Re(1):Messy Writing Corner" , posted Sat 15 Jul 10:44post reply

quote:
To keep it apart from the endless tangents of the Random Thread, this is a thread about writing. Leave notes here! Write about things you have read recently, and how their form or execution was interesting! Maybe even talk about their content, too, if you think that the content is inextricable from its execution! Leave down snippets of writing of your own that you thought were interesting, and then bemoan how it is far too much like your least favourite 19th century author while still being stereotypically post-modern! Harangue others for not having read clearly the great <<nationality> <writing format>>, or tell them about just how AWFUL Flavorless Tasteless Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is (PAGING MAOU!).

It doesn't matter how amateurish you are or think you are, dish it out here so that we can sniff at it elegantly over cups of coffee/tea/yogurt/???.



I've been typing an underground light novel for a few years. I have ideas. I just don't have time.

It answers the question of "What does being an anime/manga/game/light novel character feel like?" to a point. The original plan was to do it from the view of a random person, but Neo Ryu thought that it'd be better if I were the hero. I end up being part of an elite group that's along the lines of the Avengers fusing with a S.W.A.T. team (this is how I get paid in the story) called the Magical Items and Tactics squad or M.I.T. The obvious difference is that while the Avengers and S.W.A.T. teams are way better when it comes to physical combat and fire arms, we're better with magic.

I bought an electronic book on a guy that beated cancer. I should get going on reading that. I'll take it easy with the book.







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"Hotel Spoon" , posted Sat 15 Jul 11:48post reply

Sometimes simple is best.

It was around 6:30 when Spoon finally rolled into the Hotel Onsy. "Dusty old place," he thought. But then, they all were. What was Ishmael doing running Red Crown like this, sending him off to tired old flophouses when he was on duty, he wondered. "Checking in, mate? Nice weather today," chirped the strangely bulldog-faced hotel owner from behind the counter. His accent struck Spoon as more British than French. "Cool it, pops, I'm just here to hit the hay between cases, don't need any small talk," Spoon growled. If he could just figure out where that dame Ms. P had disappeared to, he was sure she'd spill the beans on where his missing partner Bradley had been seen last. Unfortunately, everyone on his hallway seemed to have some logic puzzle they wanted solved. "Buncha simps and glamor queens, but guess I was asking for it, coming to a joint like this." But why was the annoyingly cheerful owner so insistent that he avoid Room 102, which he kept calling the "yogurt room?"





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"Re(1):Hotel Spoon" , posted Sat 15 Jul 12:10post reply

quote:
Sometimes simple is best.

It was around 6:30 when Spoon finally rolled into the Hotel Onsy. "Dusty old place," he thought. But then, they all were. What was Ishmael doing running Red Crown like this, sending him off to tired old flophouses when he was on duty, he wondered. "Checking in, mate? Nice weather today," chirped the strangely bulldog-faced hotel owner from behind the counter. His accent struck Spoon as more British than French. "Cool it, pops, I'm just here to hit the hay between cases, don't need any small talk," Spoon growled. If he could just figure out where that dame Ms. P had disappeared to, he was sure she'd spill the beans on where his missing partner Bradley had been seen last. Unfortunately, everyone on his hallway seemed to have some logic puzzle they wanted solved. "Buncha simps and glamor queens, but guess I was asking for it, coming to a joint like this." But why was the annoyingly cheerful owner so insistent that he avoid Room 102, which he kept calling the "yogurt room?"



That was GREAT :O






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"Re(2):Messy Writing Corner" , posted Sun 16 Jul 11:21post reply

quote:
I've been typing an underground light novel for a few years. I have ideas. I just don't have time.

It answers the question of "What does being an anime/manga/game/light novel character feel like?" to a point. The original plan was to do it from the view of a random person, but Neo Ryu thought that it'd be better if I were the hero.


Have you watched Re:Creators? The show is still running (episode 15 of 22 played today), and goes a fair bit into both fictional existences (several of the characters are pulled from light novels, comics, shows and games into the real world) and the creative process, as many of their respective creators are also involved. And the characters pulled aren't just protagonists, but also supporting roles and antagonists, which helps shake things up a little when it comes to the existential questions derived from their predicaments. There's a decent overview of the qualities and themes of its early episodes here.





...!!


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"Re(1):Last Maou" , posted Mon 17 Jul 04:52post reply

quote:
Sometimes simple is best.

It was around 6:30 when Spoon finally rolled into the Hotel Onsy. "Dusty old place," he thought. But then, they all were. What was Ishmael doing running Red Crown like this, sending him off to tired old flophouses when he was on duty, he wondered. "Checking in, mate? Nice weather today," chirped the strangely bulldog-faced hotel owner from behind the counter. His accent struck Spoon as more British than French. "Cool it, pops, I'm just here to hit the hay between cases, don't need any small talk," Spoon growled. If he could just figure out where that dame Ms. P had disappeared to, he was sure she'd spill the beans on where his missing partner Bradley had been seen last. Unfortunately, everyone on his hallway seemed to have some logic puzzle they wanted solved. "Buncha simps and glamor queens, but guess I was asking for it, coming to a joint like this." But why was the annoyingly cheerful owner so insistent that he avoid Room 102, which he kept calling the "yogurt room?"



Maou wasn't going anywhere, but the elevator music kept playing anyway. That's just the kind of place Hotel Cafe M was, between the moping old men and the expats, a place where nothing seemed to move. But Maou liked that. A man needs rocks, and this grand mouldering lady was the hardest there was in the windy old port city of San Francisco.

The impish Thai man was sitting at the lounge bar, playing with his beer again. He had a named that would cramp your hand to write and would make your tongue whirl to say, so everybody called him the one thing he wasn't: "Rich". He didn't mind. A real product of the land of smiles, that guy.

"Maou! Nihao!"

For a Thai guy, he spoke a lot of Chinese. Weird Chinese, though: not the Chinese you hear in Chinatown.

Maou brushed the dust off his hat and sat down next to Rich. The dust of Tenderloin doesn't come off of anybody who lives there, but some manners must be observed.

"Professor, give me something cold", Maou said.

Nobody knows why the barkeep and owner of the Cafe M is called "Professor", he certainly wasn't a man of books, let alone a man of God. Still, the drinks that needed to be cold he kept cold, and that counted. The Professor nodded, and poured out something cheap. He'd always pour cheap ones for the people that he already knew couldn't afford the good ones, but he did it as far below the counter as he could so nobody would see. Nobody questioned your drinks here, though the Professor's service was something else, and that counted, too.

Maou's tab was as restless as he was, but a drink would help him settle down, at least for a while.

"You eating, Rich?", Maou asked.
"I'm eating rich!", the Thai man beamed.









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"Re(2):Last Nobi" , posted Tue 18 Jul 10:10post reply

quote:
"You eating, Rich?", Maou asked.
"I'm eating rich!", the Thai man beamed.
How I wish I was still posted in SF when you both were there, if only so we could have reenacted this perfect MMC fanfiction. I did drink whisky with Karasu in a hotel bar in Tokyo one time!

Connecting back to the subject of writing and this very Hotel Dusk-like image, I'm going to return to the subject of impactful writing and tie it to games, specifically Wish Room/Last Window. I don't mean good writing in games as in "good direction," of which there is a great deal, but of good text, of which there is very little. Kyle Hyde and his crowd have it in both Japanese and English, and very likely in Spanish too (ask Maese about this sometime for a story). It's a rare case when I both noticed the writing because it was so good, and didn't notice it because it was so natural.

Most text in games works for some simple dialogue and emotional attachment, but not much deeper than Hollywood stuff, and often overwrought fantasy junk or purely utilitarian. There's some high-end stuff now and again, like the conversion from the perfectly ordinary Japanese scripts of Matsuno's Ivalice Final Fantasy games into apparently Shakespearean stuff abroad, though that's a rare case.

FFVI's writing sticks with me based on the economy of its very high impact language. Few later games say so much about its characters with ten times the text; these are among the most efficiently and convincingly written characters I have ever seen. Oddly enough, the same is true in the original Woolsey translation, though he didn't have a choice given character limits.

Working Designs used to get some flack for giving some random townspeople goofy lines in their translations, but I happened to play their version of Lunar~Eternal Blue first, which not only taught me to swear in English, it also showed me some very powerful phrasing in the text and lyrics, many lines of which stick with me years later. The English lyrics to Rondo of Light and Shadow are astounding work.





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"Re(3):Last Nobi" , posted Tue 18 Jul 22:27post reply

quote:
FFVI's writing sticks with me based on the economy of its very high impact language. Few later games say so much about its characters with ten times the text; these are among the most efficiently and convincingly written characters I have ever seen. Oddly enough, the same is true in the original Woolsey translation, though he didn't have a choice given character limits.
I would hate to sound like if I was part of some insane monomaniac SaGa cult that sacrifices virgins and feed their blood to Enterbrain in order to re-publish the strategy guide of U:SaGa (which I am not, as I already told the police on countless occasions), but you should really have a go at RS2, 3, Minstrel Song or Scarlet Grace. The amount of interaction, personality, and dramatic intensity conveyed by characters who often only have 3 or 4 lines of dialogue in the entire game is staggering.
Kawazu really understand the power of tropes and uses them at their fullest: a lot of situations are knowingly cliché to get the stakes across in the minimum of time and text, while often abruptly cutting the conclusion short to surprise the player, or balancing the gendered undertones of the tropes.

Also, did you play Dai Gyakuten Saiban or Ghost Trick in Japanese? Economy is not the mode here, but good and subtle writing is Takushû's strongest quality.

Finally, I quite enjoy the last episode of this thread and look forward for the next twist. Amuse me, talented people!







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"Re(2):Last Maou" , posted Wed 19 Jul 13:29post reply

quote:
Sometimes simple is best.

It was around 6:30 when Spoon finally rolled into the Hotel Onsy. "Dusty old place," he thought. But then, they all were. What was Ishmael doing running Red Crown like this, sending him off to tired old flophouses when he was on duty, he wondered. "Checking in, mate? Nice weather today," chirped the strangely bulldog-faced hotel owner from behind the counter. His accent struck Spoon as more British than French. "Cool it, pops, I'm just here to hit the hay between cases, don't need any small talk," Spoon growled. If he could just figure out where that dame Ms. P had disappeared to, he was sure she'd spill the beans on where his missing partner Bradley had been seen last. Unfortunately, everyone on his hallway seemed to have some logic puzzle they wanted solved. "Buncha simps and glamor queens, but guess I was asking for it, coming to a joint like this." But why was the annoyingly cheerful owner so insistent that he avoid Room 102, which he kept calling the "yogurt room?"


Maou wasn't going anywhere, but the elevator music kept playing anyway. That's just the kind of place Hotel Cafe M was, between the moping old men and the expats, a place where nothing seemed to move. But Maou liked that. A man needs rocks, and this grand mouldering lady was the hardest there was in the windy old port city of San Francisco.

The impish Thai man was sitting at the lounge bar, playing with his beer again. He had a named tha

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --



The kitchen bell rang out sharply, and the Professor received and delivered a massive plate of food to Rich with a leisurely smoothness that entirely concealed how quickly he did it.

Laid before Rich was a thick steak, crispier than chips on the outside and smoky enough to be smelled through the pall of tobacco that hung in the lounge. He cut into it with relish, and his plate soon had the look of a Chinatown butcher's block as deep red juices flowed across it. A woody aroma of yeast emerged as he noisily broke the crust of a roll and sopped up the tinted stream. The moist, pink crumb of the roll was soon capped by a daffodil-yellow smear of butter, and Rich's face filled with satisfaction as he ate it. Men of power and wealth have known less happiness than him at that moment. Rich was, without a doubt, eating richly.

Breaking from his ecstasy, Rich turned his attention to Maou.

"You can see, I am eating", Rich said, paying special attention to the last word.
"I can see that", Maou replied, unable to garnish his own words with that same degree of attention.

"There is nothing more universal and more sacred than eating. Every man, woman, child, and animal on every place on Earth eats. Whether they believe in God or not, whether they have studied or not, whether they have sinned or not, every man has rituals and taboos about food and eating. These rituals and taboos are called table manners, and breaking them is deeply repugnant: you can see how people recoil, how their gazes change, how they whisper, when a guest breaks them. How carefully they must step around the taboo! How difficult it is to explain the offence to the offender! How steeped they are in the mystery, the religion of eating!" Rich relayed this wisdom to Maou with a mouth full of food, stopping only to clear his mouth with a great swallow of beer.

Maou opened a menu. His work, if it could be called that, had left him tired, and the spectacle of Rich's eating provoked his appetite even moreso than the food itself. Maou turned his head to beckon the Professor, but the gesture was hardly needed: the Professor arrived to hear his order exactly as Maou was ready to speak it.

"Just a burger", Maou said.
"Just a burger", the Professor politely confirmed.









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"Re(3):Last Maou" , posted Wed 19 Jul 18:44post reply

quote:



Night has fallen, and lack of moon in the sky left this recently alive dining room in a tranquilly silent state resembling of a ghost town cemetery. Only things that illuminate the night were some lost fireflies. Dark clouds acted as blinders, not even letting the joy of starlights bless the soil.
The staff left the hotel as soon as the clock hit the number 8. They thought all life surrounding here had preffered to leave here before than they did.

What a contrast it was in this hotel's atmosphere. The dinner was served at six, kitchen closed at six-thirty and all of them rushed to go home before eight. A lively day and dead silent night.
A young man who wanted spend the summer working in a restaurant rather than a football camp where some of his friends went and never to be heard of.
He look behind from the back seat and he could have sworn there were no windows for this little hotel that was beside a lake in the middle of the forest. Maybe it was the lights of the car blocking his sight but it was mystery for him how this old building didn't let any light to sneak out the garden eventhough it was well lit inside before they left. Then he wished eagerly to be lost on his everyday life thoughts and didn't wanna waste anymore time thinking about this old building. Let this weirdos discuss how that "a white painted god killer was in fact an emo guy with one-dimensional angsty, fan servicing every dudebros back in the day". He even remembered his dad was saying how the hotel get criticized by the tabloids for its elitist and niche discussions and it was suggested to strip away a star from hotel's ratio. His dad had a chuckle and continued; "Instead they gain one more star in the deep circles and attract more crazy and cult." He turned his head watching the path that will lead them home. None of these things about this god forsaken hotel will matter when he will be watching tv in an hour and sipping his coke.

When night welcome the new day in its darkest form, yawning already started to replace last words of the discussion. "Skeletons are so 2000s" one uttered, another room was echoing that the "wonderland exists in repetation and swapping heads". In one room endless brackets were designed. Everything from absurdly giants to possessed littl girls were discussed. Even Nightmarish Crime Lords who are ambitious to take away corporations from parallel universes that produces genes of unholy or polished Unholy figures trying fill God's fetus with superheroes not knowing he is a puppet/bait of the unholiest trying to fill gold coins to its vault by trying to absorb hearts off mortals worshipping the stalkers of darkness, with minimum effort. Nohing was spared from discussion.
But then all was tired and in strange unity sand man visited all of them at once. Owner recently checked everything before he call it a day. He was still tired from fixing the plumbing. You can call him magician almost. This rusty pipes were still functioning eveb though just recently there was a little pond of words coming from leaking pipes. The pond looked bigger than it should be, some suspected badly used links of the pipes causing that leakage. But it was somehow fixed.

Finally just after midnight the hotel made them all asleep. Even the lost fireflies decided to be gone. All surrender to the darkness except one.
Even if you would be very close, you couldn't hear this one soul's intentionally slow heartbeats. He carrefully tried to paint the sound of his breath with the non-existent light breeze. The basement door slightly opened, if there was any for of light you could've see it was a naked man who has dark mossy green hair with a wet look coming out. He was so pale that he would've reflect moonlight like a diamond if there was a moon in the sky.

He reached the keys of the front door in reception. His heartbeats became even more slower while he was trying to reach the keys over the bulldog faced receptionist sleeping on his chair; his favourite watchmen spot. He succesfully grab the key and then head to the front door. It felt like forever to unlock the door.
He didn't dare to close to the door fully. He couldn't dare running yet, either. He was finally close to the freedom. It was the sound of the step that wakes the bulldog. That treasonous noise; the grass and the soft soil caused by the leakage decided to snitch and shout "He is running!" top of their imaginative lungs when they meet his wet feet. The bulldog called out in the front yard "Who's there!"
He was hiding behind the tree and he didn't even turn his head slightest. He understood that it was time to run deep into the forest there was no room for hesitating as he sees the blood red reflections on the trees facing the hotel. The calling has started and bright red ancients letters of circles getting bigger. He couldn't afford to be close if he wanted his freedom. Then he forced his weak muscles to get out of the lost woods. His eyes were burning as he was whispering softly to himself "Sorry P!".









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"Re(4):Last Oguz" , posted Thu 20 Jul 09:36:post reply

quote:
Dark clouds acted as blinders, not even letting the joy of starlights bless the soil.

there was a little pond of words coming from leaking pipes.

In addition to the unfolding story itself, one of my favorite things so far about the accidental MMC Fanfic Thread is the opportunity to see beautiful and unexpected turns of phrase from various non-native but fluent speakers from around the world.

I recall reading an article a decade ago by/about (?) Levy Hideo, a rare non-native novelist writing in Japanese, about the special word choices and styles that are opened up to him in another language that might not occur to natives. (Bizarrely, one of his books was translated into English...by someone else.)

On a higher level, Nabokov's first novels were Russian before he switched to English and later gave the Cafe the important linguistic genesis of our Gothic Lolita Londonians.

Jhumpa Lahiri, who writes very well about the Indian-American experience, has written on the madness and joy of purposefully toiling to write in Italian, a language she only recently learned.
quote:

insane monomaniac SaGa cult that sacrifices virgins and feed their blood to Enterbrain

the religion of eating!

football camp

"Instead they gain one more star in the deep circles and attract more crazy and cult."

Also I am also pleased by how the story and non-story posts here are linking together.





人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

[this message was edited by Maou on Thu 20 Jul 12:16]



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"Re(5):Last Oguz" , posted Fri 21 Jul 02:54:post reply

quote:
there was a little pond of words coming from leaking pipes.


This was also my favourite turn of phrase in Kofoguz's passage! Such a vivid, tactile, and yet surreal phrase, while also cleverly invoking our familiar problems linking URLs! Good stuff!

Perhaps it was Nabokov, but I remember a Russian author who had fluency in English before Russian, and how that affected his sense of words and writing. Not only that, his fluency with both led to him translating his own work between the two languages! I can imagine that for a language that has a rich literary history steeped in a particular culture, the sense of "common sense" and "expected knowledge" or typical structure must be challenging to convey with brevity in the unusually cosmopolitan English.

Which brings me to another point: I have familiarity with a few languages like French and Japanese, but the only two that I can speak with real fluency are Cantonese and English. There are a number of grammatical tics in Cantonese that resemble the grammar of English, but the sensation of subject omission in sentences which feels very natural in Cantonese becomes clipped and terse in English. I don't think it's an abnormal thing that people have trouble "thinking" in a language that they are not fluent in (for instance, I cannot think in Japanese except for a few extremely simple thoughts; I think in Cantonese or English and then translate those thoughts to Japanese), but even then, there is "resonance" with words that simply isn't there in spite of my exposure and familiarity with them. The best example of this for me is that the "-kun" suffix in Japanese which can denote a small male thing and can be used as a term of endearment/affection/awww-its-so-cute has a 100% perfect analogue in Chinese. However, the sensation I get when hearing the Chinese one is visceral and delightful, while hearing the Japanese one is not; I've heard the Japanese one enough to be able to understand it instantly without thinking, and having seen it used in a zillion manga/anime/games/movies/whatevers I should have enormous amounts of exposure to it in emotional contexts, but still I do not feel anything from it. I intellectually understand it should map to the Chinese one exactly, but I cannot feel the way I do with the Chinese one without simply saying the Chinese one in my head. I suppose I could in a Pavlovian fashion build the association internally that way, but that feels like brainwashing myself.

It makes me wonder if it will ever possible to have a native language "feeling" with a language learned much later in life. Is the wiring of our brains and thinking so profoundly influenced by our initial languages that it becomes impossible for us to feel in other languages without building the association in terms of the languages we have already been wired in?

I have another theory about learning languages which is that learning proficiency with a language is easier for children due to social/environmental things as opposed to merely mental plasticity, but when it comes to developing emotional resonance with a language, I wonder if adults can learn it viscerally the way children can, or if it must come through the act of mapping.





[this message was edited by Spoon on Fri 21 Jul 02:58]



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"Re(6):Last Oguz" , posted Fri 21 Jul 13:46post reply

quote:
Spoon-kun

It makes me wonder if it will ever possible to have a native language "feeling" with a language learned much later in life.
I think the two parts of your post tie together to answer this: much of language learning is experiencial. In other words, "-kun" will probably mean a bit less to you because you presumably haven't often been addressed that way in real life by your teachers, friends, and bosses. It becomes hard to "feel" this word because there is no immediate personal association with the situation or the counterpart who you could imagine/remember addressing you this way.

Language as directed at you and thus experienced by you no doubt makes it part of you, including the ability to think in said language. It could well be that it's harder to learn a new language when older because it's rarer to have an immersive cultural/life experience from the ground up at that point: knowing how kids talk, or vocabulary specific to primary education, for instance, will always be something of an abstraction if you come in as an adult without having gone through that phase in the other language, to say nothing of cultural specificities and references that are tied to language.

All of the above could also be tied to writing in another language, hence the creative agonies described by Lahiri, but also some of the interesting and rewarding joys of perservering.





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"Re(4):Last Maou" , posted Sat 22 Jul 13:48post reply

quote:




The Hotel had a way of keeping people, though many of the reasons were not as savory as the vittles of the Cafe M. Maou was one of these people, and he in turn found himself keeping many things for reasons that were not all tasteful, either.

The faithful of the Cafe M each lived in their own time zones, even as they were all gathered under its smoke-soaked roof. Deep into the night, there were the strangely wakeful taking their afternoon tea in the Hotel. Who knew what had swept them onto the shores of the Bay, but for all of the city that now clung to them, they had not acquired its time.

Tonight, though, the guests had all cleared out by the evening. A wet front had rolled in, and the old men were lured to sleep by the mist.

Maou, too, retired to his room. He had long since stopped smoking, but the desire for smoke had never truly left him. In his room were a few small boxes containing bits of wood: hickory in one, maple in another, mesquite in a third, and so on. He took a pinch of hickory, put it into the room’s ashtray, and lit it. The scent was warm and dark, and brought him the comfort of the scotch he couldn’t afford. Men would always seek fire, even if the only place they can find it is in a cheap glass bottle.

Maou laid back on his bed, letting the faint smell of the smouldering hickory drift over him. His room was full of all manner of dead and transformed wood. Some were mementos, like the piece from time of the Rangers’ burning. Some he didn’t know why he still kept, like the overly-long piece from Norway, or the bone-white colorless one which seemed awful from every angle.

The fragment of hickory popped and crackled. Maou let his thinking slow. He was in no mood for reading tonight, and just stared at an old poster of a beautiful, long-haired Asian woman in a deep crimson turtleneck sweater. She had always written in her spare time, and even in that picture she held a pen and a black folder.

The orange glow of the hickory grew brighter. Maou could feel his eyelids grow heavy, and his mind submerging. Today’s job had gone smoothly, as smoothly as such jobs can go, but he felt as tired as if he had done an honest day’s work. He tried recalling the events of the day, but his mind sank ever further below where it could reach his memories of the day.

The hickory gave out its last light. Maou no longer had the strength to do anything but fall asleep on top of his bed. He thought about the white jacket she wasn’t wearing in that poster, and the long chain that bound the arms of her glasses that she’d loop over her collarbone like a necklace.

As Maou fell asleep, he tried to forget about her.









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"Re(5):Last Madman" , posted Tue 25 Jul 11:10post reply

quote:
She had always written in her spare time, and even in that picture she held a pen and a black folder.
The only thing more noir than pining for one's lost love is lamenting that one was born a decade too late to grow up concurrently with one's destined true love.

...I also forgot another comment on the rarity of good game scripts: the one reason that Lost Odyssey ever grabbed my attention is that a legit Japanese author wrote the text for the memory segments. The internet tells me that they sought out a special translator just for these segments (though ironically, it was the less impressive translator of Murakami that abovementioned English-speaking friend did not enjoy, rather than Birnbaum, ah well).

But who among the patrons of Cafe M will add their writing/observations next?





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"Re(7):Last Madman" , posted Mon 31 Jul 10:50post reply

quote:
But who among the patrons of Cafe M will add their writing/observations next?


*space reserved*





(exciting!)







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"And now for something much less exciting" , posted Tue 1 Aug 09:14post reply

quote:
As Maou fell asleep, he tried to forget about her.


But sleep is a facetious god, and rarely gives what one expects from it. Or maybe it is so that the dreamer really is a different person from the one that is awake, and these two alien souls only temporarily share a mind as if by accident.
So while Maou was trying to drift away from her memory, the steady stream of dreams brought her closer to his grasp, closer than she would ever be, before ravishing her again, like a cruel child.

There he was, climbing through metallic stairs that stretched around and through a gargantuan iron structure cast over the sky. Smells of freshly cut grass. Songs of birds. Fresh breath of the winds of late spring. Rancid smell of urine. Loud humming of countless cars. Occasional colourful swearword tearing through the noise, all the way up these unnatural heights. Far below, a narrow river, draining itself half-asleep between rows of old-fashion buildings.
Ah, Paris.
The stairs reached a large observation platform, surprisingly empty of a single tourist. “If I didn’t already know it was a dream, I would know now”, he thought to himself, and started to climb down the stairs, hoping they would lead him back to his bed. But then, of course, there she was, and of course he stopped.
She was leaning against the railing, a sublime shape of white, black and sharp angles, her back defiantly turned at him. He knew it was her, with that natural certainty that dreams give freely and lucid hours stubbornly refuse. And so he walked up to her, like a robot to his maker, like an inmate to the electric chair, like any man would have jumped down a cliff if she simply sighted, he walked, and his hand fell on that glowingly white jacket of hers.
She turned. And then it wasn’t her any more.

“You’re late”, said a joyful baritone voice coming out inexplicably from the grotesque head that stood above her shoulders. Two globulous eyes, humid and dumb, were staring down into his own. White and black short hair covered its skin. The apparition tried to lick Maou face-to-toe with the huge, obscenely pink tongue hanging down from its gaping maw, but a quick invincible backdash allowed him to narrowly escape a colossal dry cleaning bill. The smell of rotten meat and coffee filled the air. “Now, where was I. Ah, yes! We were discussing farce in Japanese and western narratives, weren’t we?”.

“Don’t do that face. You know, we were talking about burlesque moments in MGS, RGG or One Punch Man, and then I wondered why we so often separate “fun for the sake of fun” and “serious and drab fun”. Why is, more often than not, the later regarded more highly than the former? Why are Shakespeare’s tragedies considered better than his comedies (or at least have been until recently), or, on the other side of the spectrum, why are some people obsessed with grittily rebooting everything? Then you wondered whether that could be a cultural difference. For example there could be something in Japanese culture that doesn’t view silly fun as inferior to self-righteous fun.

Of course, Japan didn’t wait for Tezuka Osamu to have fun. Court entertainment during the Heian period was plentiful, though courtly intrigues could turn the most harmless joke into the most poisonous dagger. At a time when most European nobles didn’t know how to read and whose idea of a fun afternoon was limited to hunting, heavy drinking, and hitting each other to death, the Heian court had refined poetry and introspective diary to an unprecedented level, and it would be over a millennia until any European would write a novel that could equal the Tale of the Genji’s psychological depth. Poetry was at the same time a form of expression of self, celebration of complex emotions, and a way to advance your career. Countless festivals were the occasion to show your fashion taste, or risk shame and lose your career if you chose an undertone colour that would clash with the tone of the person immediately above you. If you were bored, you could listen to monks chanting sutras you likely didn’t understand with their mesmerizing voices. The best thing that could happen to you would be to suddenly lose all your wealth and friends, so you could create the most beautiful poetry about being awoken in the middle of the night by the moonlight coming through the whole in the roof. Of course, that had to be temporary and you would somewhat come back in power and sentence your enemies to eternal unfashionable-ness, lest someone else would make a poem about you being romantically poor, and that would really be the end of it all.
So, at first glance, Heian nobles seem as fun as the cold-blooded covers of Vogue magazine. Interestingly, some diaries of more minor nobles paint a much different picture, of people making jokes that are still good a thousand years later, people with flaws and likeable characteristics, but it doesn’t seem to be the values the court put forward in their entertainment nor in their public life.

It’s very difficult to know what the other 99% living in Japan used as entertainment during that period. We do know of troupes of prostitutes that were performing music, acrobatics, dances and crude theatre during public festivals and other celebrations. In many ways, it was probably very similar to our circus. Of course, nobles would sometimes come and spy on them incognito, and sometimes even invite them to perform to their friends (or “perform”). As more nobles became patrons of this exotic art, dances and music became more and more refined, and it is now impossible to know what the non-high-brow version of these performances looked like.
After the Heian court got burned to the ground a couple of times and several powerful and illiterate warlords invaded the place, the first thing they did was to imitate the elegant tastes of the fallen elite. Being of a more rustic background and having the necessity to live and die by the sword instead of to live and die by the colour of their inner kimono's embroidery, the entertainment evolved.
All these popular performances had been codified into something called Kyôgen (crazy speech), a form of short comedy with stock characters similar to commedia dell’arte, as well as what we know today as Nô theatre. If you’re not familiar, Nô is a combination of dance, music, and tragic one-man-show.
During the Ashikaga period, Nô became the finest art available to the highest elites. A typical representation of Nô lasted one full day, and contained 5 Nô plays, each of 5 rigidly defined categories. The first play would be about a god visiting the mortals, with barely any dramaturgy. It’d be mostly an auspicious way to start the day. The second would be a tragic tale of a heroic warrior fallen in battle, and whose spirit fails to leave his regrets behind. The third would be the female version of that, a tragic tale of a woman abandoned by her lover for example. The fourth play was less strictly defined than the others: they are roughly “tales of the real world”, without much supernatural, but still quite tragic (insanity because of the death of a child, or because of jealousy, or a noble losing his title and being cast away from the court). The final play would be more rhythmical than the others, about some evil monster being fought and slain by some hero, with energetic dance and music to signal the end of the day and wake up whoever would have fallen asleep after all the drama prior.
What is interesting is that a silly Kyôgen would always be played between each Nô. So a day of performance would have 5 plays of intense elegance and 4 short breaks of mundane, coarse silliness. However, as the Ashikaga family became more and more dazzled with their own cultural power, Nô evolved. Actors who were skilled in all parts focused on the most aesthetically pleasing elements, the “Flower of the art” (I believe mostly the dance at the end of the third type, the “woman’s ghost driven insane by grief” plays). The dramatic moments got longer, the dances got insufferably slower, and more aesthetically challenging. The shows got shortened to two plays and a Kyôgen. I believe ultimately the Kyôgen disappeared? Maybe after Nobunaga kicked the Ashikaga off the throne? Either way, after Wakamoto’s best role put some order into that madness, no one really cared about Nô anymore. The Tokugawa were still watching Nô because they hated fun, but the art had lost all cultural significance.

In the meantime, the merchants at Ôsaka had exploded into a real bourgeois middle-class, and had their own entertainment form, again coming from prostitutes dancing and singing as ways to attract customers. This art became Kabuki, which is much closer to our idea of theatre: multiple characters, a succession of scenes, an action that has a beginning, a middle and a crescendo to the end… It also had less conventional elements: a mixture of tearjerking scenes and coarse humour moments within the same play, or interactions with the audience that were between the ones in Shakespeare’s time and the rehearsed chorus and choreography of the idols for creepy paedophiles in modern day Japan.
Kabuki and Nô share a similar origin, as well as business models: both were used as advertisers for their actresses’ other activities, and, once the women were banned from performing, men took their roles both as actors and prostitutes, and were touted to be better than women at being women on stage and in the bed sheets.
Yet, as far as stage performances and narrative devices, Kabuki and Nô couldn’t be more different. And while Kabuki evolved during the almost 3 centuries when it was the prevalent performing art, and all the elites were coming to the performances incognito because that’s where the fun really was, it never got picked up officially by the ruling class or the aesthetes. It remained alive and vulgar; it adapted classic tales, made heroes out of bandits with a heart of gold, even had trite gossips "inspired by a true story" plays, for example when they wrote plays after plays about young lovers choosing suicide over accepting their role in the neo-Confucian Tokugawa society.

Where am I getting at, you ask. Is it where I finally go full circle and draw a line all the way up to Kiryû staring at a chicken in RGG or Snake asking Paramedic whether that vulture was edible? Unfortunately no. If Kabuki didn’t get drawn to the drab aestheticism dead-end that killed Nô, it is because the ruling class already had Nô fulfilling that role for them. Moreover, that distinction between the high-art where nobody laughs and popular art where the real life is is something that all modern societies know, at least the European and western ones. Moving forward to the contemporary landscape, it is difficult to guess which, between South Park and Terrence Malick, will be dissected by scholars in 200 years for example.
In other words, I do not believe the weird quirkiness of modern Japanese narrative has anything to do with long-held cultural difference with the West. If there were one thing that could be framed as a cultural narrative specifically Japanese, in literature, Nô, Kabuki, poetry and almost everything else, it’s their almost millennia-old love for sad endings. As far as history is concerned, Japan might be the only country where the winners don’t write history: only the losers are remembered, as long as they lost with panache.

Then where do we go from now? How do we solve the initial problem? I wonder whether class warfare and capitalism might not be a better device to answer the question. We’ve seen the elite were the main driving force with drawing out the life out of Nô and countless other forms of art. They were the ones pushing for the birth of tragedy in classic France, for example. In the XIXth century, the French masses fell in love with Verdi., Puccini or even Bizet while the elites preferred the insufferable Wagner. I would like to understand why the ruling classes seem to generally consider a smile the most hideous expression a face can take, or why museums are filled with paintings of pouting rich people while the only people smiling are fairies and fools.
Capitalism can be another explanation. Properly labelled stories and performances are easier to sell to the masses, and maybe market research did allow them to distil emotions to their very essence. Teenagers being the group most susceptible of paying for entertainment, catering to them means catering to their view of the world, a view that rejects anything joyful and colourful as “kiddie” and “not cool because I’m a grown up, I’m 14 now”.
I wouldn’t be surprised if, like with every other concept they take from abroad, Japanese people misunderstood the modern attire of capitalism, allowed it to mix with existing ideas instead of replacing them, and thus gave birth to the beautifully grotesque entertainment industry we can see now, an industry that, like Nô and Kabuki, still caters first and foremost to wealthy adults with a passion for very young prostitutes."


The whole lecture was delivered in one breath. The creature, panting, stopped for a second.
- What? You don’t like my conclusion? Don’t complain, at least I managed to cut the part about Aristotle and Roman theatre.
Suddenly, it took a long stare at Maou’s face. The massive eye-globules narrowed sharply, and the flow of time thickened like molasses.
- Wait a sec… You’re not Spoon, are you?
- I…
- Damn, wrong dream. I should have known! Sorry for that. Please go back to your moppy little remembrance about the sad state of your love life, or whatever that was.
The creature stared down its own body, as it noticed its female curves for the first time.
- Ah, of course! Nice fashion sense, I must admit. Very… Ah, how do you say? You know, that designer from… Eh, non important. Bye, pretty lady. And you…”, he said, turning back its face to Maou, “have a whatever day, I guess.

Abruptly, everything went black, as if someone had cut the sun’s power.
Maou opened his eyes. He was back on his bed, and the morning light was starting to drip through the curtains. 5AM, maybe 6. He pulled himself out to the bathroom and energetically rubbed his face in the shower, like he could scrub the dream away. But the monstrous dog head was stubbornly hanging on to his mind, refusing to fade away, taunting him mockingly, suddenly wearing Urien's underwears for no good reason. Suddenly, Maou remembered the day of the week.
“Saturday! It’s Saturday! But of course. It makes sense now. That was a typical Saturday dream. Quite good by Saturday standards, actually”.

The repetition of al things, even the gruesome and the grotesque, has always been reassuring. Almost happy, he got dressed, picked the least bad shirt from his luggage, and started thinking about breakfast. At the back of his mind, the dog face tried to express disappointment, but only managed to make itself even more wrinkly and small, until it looked like a dried prune and exploded in a puff of whatever the dreams are made of.
A new day had started. It was time to solve it all.







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"Re(1):And now for something much less excitin" , posted Wed 2 Aug 13:33post reply

quote:



That was as insightful as it was entertaining! Thank you enormously for that!

Actually Iggy, since you've spent a whole life around writing and words, do you actually ever do any reading for pleasure these days? Or are you so saturated with words just from work and from the remnants of academia that you'd rather not have any more?







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"tale of the four madmen" , posted Wed 2 Aug 14:06:post reply

quote:
-He knew it was her, with that natural certainty that dreams give freely and lucid hours stubbornly refuse.
-a quick invincible backdash allowed him to narrowly escape a colossal dry cleaning bill.

This ability to mix the flawlessly beautiful with the hilarious is underrated in the Western canon. (Is this also the defining feature of the Madman’s Cafe?!) Anyhow, this is a towering achievement on the lines of Toxico’s World Heroes thread. I know he would have approved.

Noh has always been the currency of stubborn old men, irritating right-wingers, and insecure people who are vaguely ashamed about their need to “know more about their own culture.” Naturally, none of these people understand a word of it without the accompanying booklet or audio tape. Noh’s self-proclaimed guardians kept it so thoroughly frozen in time, self-serious, and inflexible that it is destined to die out for lack of practitioners because no one actually understands or enjoys it (people will tell you they do (these people are lying (to themselves, if not to you))), whereas the amiable jackassery of Kyougen is still entertaining today. If that isn’t a lesson for the writing and style thread, I don’t know what is.
quote:
-come back in power and sentence your enemies to eternal unfashionable-ness
-after Wakamoto’s best role put some order into that madness, no one really cared about Nô anymore.
-only the losers are remembered, as long as they lost with panache.
-the beautifully grotesque entertainment industry we can see now, an industry that, like Nô and Kabuki, still caters first and foremost to wealthy adults with a passion for very young prostitutes.
I also had a vision of this profound wisdom being delivered atop the Eiffel Tower not by Iggy-Kyoko, but by the guy in Chrono Trigger who you find on a mountaintop with Spekkio’s sprite and who says, “Mountains sure are nice!”
quote:
Or are you so saturated with words just from work and from the remnants of academia that you'd rather not have any more?
In his youth, Yi-gi had always dreamed of passing the national civil service examination, bringing honor to his family and taking him from remote Yunnan province to the capital as a scholar-administrator. Truly, there was value in being in the central hub of the middle kingdom. It was only with age, however, that Yi-gi began to question the ways of the academy. Maybe it was one too many changes in the interpretations of the four elements. More likely it was that reading Li Yu's Carnal Prayer Mat made everything else seem asinine and boring. So began his life as a mountain hermit, away from both the academy and the capital. Passers-by assumed he was another lonely old eccentric, but the laugher that wafted down from his mountain den at night suggested a different story...





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[this message was edited by Maou on Thu 3 Aug 09:14]



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"Re(1):tale of the four madmen" , posted Tue 8 Aug 07:22:post reply

quote:
Li Yu's Carnal Prayer Mat



Hahahaha

It does leave me wondering, though, about the preservation of art and the evolution of art. I imagine that fashion tends to be driven by the dual forces of practical need and whatever-it-is-the-elite-have. Some things the elite would never have to contend with, and so never have had to devise clothing for, whereas other elements from the high-fashion of the elite driven by their resources and desire to fund designers to create novel things for them eventually become designs that the less elite crave, and that more consumer-oriented fabricators will borrow from.

In the case of performance art, there is art that is too crude for the elites, but has the prospect of continually evolving in the muck partly as a result of the ferocity of competition that occurs in this market that is so much more accessible to both creators and audiences. Some forms that would be considered high art gain that have gained prestige out of their association with the elite and through a long history wind up preferring to not change, because the establishment of tradition creates a sense of value that stands uniquely against the ever-mutating low art.

But as you have pointed out, sometimes this stoicism chokes the life out of the art form, eventually leaving it either derelict or some kind of institution with highly limited appeal (which might be highly desirable for elites!).

I don't know where I'm going with this.

quote:



The cool morning wind heralded the sunrise once again in San Francisco, and once again, countless thousands in the city were too much of too many things to appreciate its glory.

But for once, Maou awoke in his own bed, and that was miracle enough for him.

He dumped the spent hickory ashes from last night into a nearby spitoon, and then did his morning ritual: finding a mirror and making sure first that his face was still there, and then that all the rest of him was still there. Once satisfied that he was fully intact, he filled a kettle with water from the bathroom tap. The Cafe M had coffee sourced from places unknown, and every month a heavy bag of green coffee beans from the docks in Oakland would find its way to the Cafe's front door. The denizens of the Cafe M had as many opinions about coffee as they did countries of origin, but the one thing they could agree on was that the Cafe M had decent coffee.

This morning, though, Maou wanted tea. He opened a boxy, green-colored tin but found that no more than the aroma of the tea remained. The morning chill of the Bay wind would not be dispelled with just a whiff, so Maou got up and headed out the door, towards the cafe.

Immediately, Maou made sure that his door was firmly locked behind him. There were happier places further North where people smilingly left the doors to their houses unlocked, places you needed only a car to reach. Was there a purer American Dream than happiness and peace being just a tank of gas away? But here, Maou walked down the stairs of the Hotel, descending through tar-smelling clouds of tobacco fumes. Maou needed tea.

A Chinese man reading a book was seated at the only table that had a vacant chair, and with a tilt of his hand indicated to Maou that it was available. Maou nodded, and sat down at the table. The Cafe M, packed as it was, meant that the Professor was far too busy to be able to observe all the regular pleasantries of waiting orders. Instead, he merely brought everyone what he already knew that they wanted. They didn't complain. It wasn't long before a steaming pot of tea slid in front of Maou, and he didn't even have time to acknowledge its arrival before the Professor was back at the counter preparing coffee.

The man with the book was tall by any standard even without his hat, but that made him especially tall for a Chinese man. His dark suit wasn't unremarkable as so much as it was entirely indistinct. Maou rubbed his eyes to be sure, but there it was: he couldn't tell if it was messy and wrinkled, or merely a little large and draped; in one angle in the light it was herringbone, and in another, but at another angle pinstripes glinted; it had a roughness and heaviness that seemed like wool, but it mangled the shadows like velvet. The one clearly distinct feature of his suit was a round metal object in his breast pocket that poked out like an eye. The metal was finely polished and showed not the slightest scratch, allowing Maou to see a clear reflection of the entire cafe behind him as he looked into it. Maou didn't even notice when the man at the table received his drink until he was already sipping it.

"Have you had this before?”, the man said with a faint and hard-to-place accent while gesturing at his drink. “It's a Yinyeung!" He spoke the name of the drink enthusiastically in Chinatown Chinese.

Maou shook his head.

"It's a drink from Hong Kong, probably invented by poor people who have only bad coffee and cheap tea. But... "

Pausing his speech, the tall man took the metal "eye" from his breast pocket. Drawing it out and turning it over, it was actually a tiny metal bowl attached to a slender bone rod. He filled the little bowl with sugar, poured the sugar into his tea, then returned his tool to his breast pocket, where it resumed gazing out at the cafe. Taking another sip, he concluded:

"... it is delicious."

Maou sipped his tea. The Professor served good tea, fine tea, even. Maou suspected that the "Russian Caravan" tea the Professor had on hand was just whatever had sat in a high cupboard for too long, and had breathed in too much of the lounge's smoke. The only evidence he had for this was that that tea tasted more like a cigar than a campfire.

After a few more sips, the vague-suited man put his drink down, stared at it for a moment, then lifted his head and spoke again in his slightly tilted English:
"It's a strange name for a drink. This drink is supposed to be named for the ducks that symbolize conjugal love. A pairing of two unlike things, the gaudy male duck and the plain female duck. But this drink is a mixture of coffee and tea. One dark thing set against an even darker thing. The tea might already have been mixed with milk making it look paler, but black tea is black tea no matter how it disguises itself. Knowing how things were in Hong Kong, it was probably filled milk, at that."

“In all likelihood, the first person to name it that wanted it to sound exotic, yet familiar. The foreign coffee, the familiar milk tea. The pairing that is unusual, but harmonious. Perhaps.” the Chinese man mused after another swallow of his drink.

Maou disliked coffee, which always struck him as strange for how drawn he had forever been to the smells and tastes of smoke and ash.

“Perhaps,” Maou started after another swallow of his tea, “he mixed something he hated with something he liked. He did it by accident or because it was all he had. He named it as a joke or out of spite. But it sold, and the name stuck.”

“An oddly-matched couple, however they came together” the Chinese man said with amusement.

“But a successful couple, in the end” Maou replied.

After finishing their teas, Maou exited the Cafe M and headed towards towards the West, while his tablemate stayed behind and resumed reading.







[this message was edited by Spoon on Tue 8 Aug 07:38]

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"Re(1):And now for something much less excitin" , posted Thu 10 Aug 04:10post reply

quote:
As Maou fell asleep, he tried to forget about her.

But sleep is a facetious god, and rarely gives what one expects from it. Or maybe it is so that the dreamer really is a different person from the one that is awake, and these two alien souls only temporarily share a mind as if by accident.
So while Maou was trying to drift away from her memory, the steady stream of dreams brought her closer to his grasp, closer than she would ever be, before ravishing her again, like a cruel child.

There he was, climbing through metallic stairs that stretched around and through a gargantuan iron structure cast over the sky. Smells of freshly cut grass. Songs of birds. Fresh breath of the winds of late spring. Rancid smell of urine. Loud humming of countless cars. Occasional colourful swearword tearing through the noise, all the way up these unnatural heights. Far below, a narrow river, draining itself half-asleep between rows of old-fashion buildings.
Ah, Paris.
The stairs reached a large observation platform, surprisingly empty of a single tourist. “If I didn’t already know it was a dream, I would know now”, he thought to himself, and started to climb down the stairs, hoping they would lead him back to his bed. But then, of course, there she was, and of course he stopped.
She was leaning against the railing, a sublime shape of white, black and sharp angles, her back defiantly turned at him. He knew it was her, with that natural certainty that dreams give freely and lucid h

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That was beautiful! And hilarious! And educational! And insightful!

quote:

“An oddly-matched couple, however they came together” the Chinese man said with amusement.

“But a successful couple, in the end” Maou replied.


That was also beautiful! And educational! And insightful!

Thanks for the great read you mad men!






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"50/50 mixups" , posted Mon 14 Aug 14:39post reply

As much as I am enjoying dishing out this MMC fanfiction for nobi and Maou (and I do have more installments already!), I'm going to take a break from clogging up the thread with my own words and plug some short reads that I very much enjoyed from the previous year!

Alyssa Wong writes short stories that are horror-tinted, and they have a terrific visceral quality to them. They aren't always outright horror stories, but there's always a dark tone in them. As opposed to the dry tone that Murakami's work has in English (and which I've liberally stolen from for my MMC fanfic), her writing is full of passion and physicality.
"Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" is award-winning, and will strongly appeal to the cafe-goer who demands the choicest vittles.

Another award winner from last year with a much lighter tone and a much less intense style, Cat Pictures Please is one of the more delightful pieces of science-fiction which is set in RIGHT NOW and could possibly actually be happening right now!
Cat Pictures Please

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned both of these before, but I'm reiterating them simply because they are quite excellent, and quite dramatically different from each other (and from what's been posted here!) in style.







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"Re(1):hungry ghosts" , posted Thu 17 Aug 14:23post reply

quote:
Alyssa Wong
her writing is full of passion and physicality.
"Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" is award-winning, and will strongly appeal to the cafe-goer who demands the choicest vittles.
I can't tell if it's a series of dark city/emotional/romantic/drug metaphors or a terrifying hungry-ghost-meets-doppelganger moment, or both! Visceral and interesting. This is why I'm afraid of a lot of written fiction. I can tell when a film or a game is going to be unnerving, but there's never any telling where a written work is going to go...

Speaking of which, I await all future MMC fanfics and gaidens from all comers!





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"Re(2):hungry ghosts" , posted Sat 26 Aug 08:03post reply

quote:

I can't tell if it's a series of dark city/emotional/romantic/drug metaphors or a terrifying hungry-ghost-meets-doppelganger moment, or both! Visceral and interesting. This is why I'm afraid of a lot of written fiction. I can tell when a film or a game is going to be unnerving, but there's never any telling where a written work is going to go...



It's quite something, isn't it? Certainly check out the other stories of hers linked on that page!

To be honest, though, such a powerful style of writing would probably be unpleasant to read in a novel-length treatment: I think it'd be like drinking an entire bottle of fish sauce. I love the stuff, but that's just too much, and it'd be too strong. I think part of the appeal of a slightly drier style aside from its novelty is that it's easier to drink a larger quantity of, as well as being easier to consume in a variety of moods/settings.

Anyway, I've been sitting on the next installment for awhile now, so it's time to post it!

quote:



The streetcars grumbled along in a perpetual state of displeasure: displeasure at the tracks they were made to run at, displeasure at the loads of passengers they had to carry, displeasure at the stops and starts they had to make. They expressed their plight with the honesty that only machines possess, in utterances that could make them known even to children.

Maou appreciated that about the streetcars, their genuineness, even as he suffered their grievances, whether the screech that cried of rust and poor lubrication, or the too-sharp bounce that told of the suspension’s neglect. Nobody was a straighter shooter than the Market Street trolleys, even if they only spoke for themselves.

Even in the morning, Market Street was bustling: some five lanes of cars shuffled along shoulder-to-shoulder. All the gaudiness afforded by new technology, from the massive bulk needed for V-8 engines to the smooth unibody chassis that had become popular, strutted alongside more traditional looking vehicles that didn’t have seatbelts. Reaching the end of the line, Maou began the climb up Twin Peaks. The morning was cool, making the walk bearable. He’d walk along the roads laid down for the cars, but with how little traffic went through there, that was of no concern. Maou had great sympathy for this monument of chaparral that quietly watched the urban city.

Surveyors were scattered around Twin Peaks along with construction workers, a small army of khaki-wearing men measuring and grading the twin hills with all manner of instruments in hand and on poles. They were marking the hills in preparation for them to be cut like diamonds, each face worth a fortune in real estate. Somewhere among these workers, Maou would find his new assignment.

The staff were spread all over the vast slopes, but this wouldn’t be a problem for Maou. Indeed, this was exactly why Maou would be hired for these jobs. He was neither some kind of bloodhound nor a trained tracker, but with the trace of of his contact provided by his host, he knew he’d be drawn to the place or the person he needed. He could no more blind himself to the pull of that direction than he could deafen himself to the sound of his own pulse.

Maou let his feet take him to where he needed to be. His path wound around both hills, cresting each hill in turn. His feet had decided that the path would not be a direct one, and soon the cool morning air bowed to the midday sun, its heat bearing down upon Maou oppressively. Still, he persisted, tracing a path that crossed over itself again and again around the scrub of the hills. In time, the sun grew weary of its place in the sky, and Maou was relieved by its retiring. It was evening when Maou found himself before a surveyor who stood facing the West, in a spot that would surely become prime real estate.

Maou knew immediately that this was the man he was supposed to meet. The agents of his clients were universally bland-looking men and women: not ugly, not beautiful, not outstanding or interesting in the slightest. Maou could be staring them in the face and talking with them, and within moments of looking away, he’d be unable to recall what they looked like. They all spoke with a milk voice that seemed the same even when it sounded different, and they could no more be pointed out specifically than one could point out a drop of water in an ocean. Their blandness, their forgettableness, was not normal. A single ant in an entire colony had more presence than one of them.

To an onlooker, Maou seemed like an ordinary man having a casual conversation with a surveyor, perhaps getting directions, or hearing about what was to come for this land. The interaction would seem utterly mundane, and would be utterly forgettable. The onlooker would not think it strange that they couldn’t remember the face of the surveyor, and they would not manage to notice the manila envelope that the surveyor handed to Maou. They would remember the beautiful view of San Francisco, the light of the sun, the gust of the wind, and the sound of the workers. They would probably not even remember Maou; just another detail that didn’t matter of a moment that was not worth remembering.

Descending, Maou considered stopping at the grandiose Castro Theater that sat near the end of Market Street, to see a movie on his way back to the Cafe M. Meeting with the bland people always left a chalky-tasting spot in his mind, and the vivid reality of cinema usually helped clear that away. But the envelope today felt a little heavy, and that suggested a more involved job. He’d have to get started right away. The worlds that laid within that Castro basilica would have to wait.







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"Re(3):hungry ghosts" , posted Thu 7 Sep 13:37post reply

quote:

I can't tell if it's a series of dark city/emotional/romantic/drug metaphors or a terrifying hungry-ghost-meets-doppelganger moment, or both! Visceral and interesting. This is why I'm afraid of a lot of written fiction. I can tell when a film or a game is going to be unnerving, but there's never any telling where a written work is going to go...


It's quite something, isn't it? Certainly check out the other stories of hers linked on that page!

To be honest, though, such a powerful style of writing would probably be unpleasant to read in a novel-length treatment: I think it'd be like drinking an entire bottle of fish sauce. I love the stuff, but that's just too much, and it'd be too strong. I think part of the appeal of a slightly drier style aside from its novelty is that it's easier to drink a larger quantity of, as well as being easier to consume in a variety of moods/settings.

Anyway, I've been sitting on the next installment for awhile now, so it's time to post it!



The streetcars grumbled along in a perpetual state of displeasure: displeasure at the tracks they were made to run at, displeasure at the loads of passengers they had to carry, displeasure at the stops and starts they had to make. They expressed their plight with the honesty that only machines possess, in utterances that could make them known even to children.

Maou appreciated that about the streetcars, their genuineness, even as he suffered

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Thanks for another beautiful entry. I spent some of the best years of my life living in the misty hills of Silent Hi--I mean Twin Peaks. Your vivid writing, with it's painterly strokes of just the right details really brought me back to that place. Many days it was like living in a cloud. I wouldn't know what the weather was like in the rest of the city till I took a 20 minute walk down the hills. To this day, the most beautiful sunrise I've seen anywhere in the world has been in Twin Peaks San Francisco.

Come to think of it, one time I hiked up real early to catch the sunrise and be at peace with my thoughts and then I discovered a really interesting scene. Empty wine bottles, a planned parenthood brochure and a polaroid of a petite woman with glasses urinating. Feel free to fold this into your story!






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"Re(4):panty ghosts" , posted Tue 19 Sep 12:43:post reply

On the fine details of Murakami's diction





[this message was edited by Spoon on Thu 12 Oct 04:51]



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"Translations of Genji (attn IGGY/MAOU)" , posted Wed 25 Oct 04:55post reply

That is, the Tale of Genji,
not the PS3 game.


This article is from two years ago, but I found its contents quite interesting, including the changing of tastes and interpretation over the course of history, as Iggy previously discussed at length. I have never read the Tale of Genji, and there's no version of it that exists today that can be interpreted without translation from what I've heard because of its archaic language and literary references.

Iggy has previously mentioned that as a novel that is deeply cerebral of the minds of people, it was far ahead of what literature we have records of today from most other parts of the world. Iggy, in what form did you read this work, and could you say anything about reading it today? Maou, did you or the translator people you know ever read this, and what did they have to say about how it could be read by unscholarly people?







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"Re(1):Translations of Genji (attn IGGY/MAOU)" , posted Wed 25 Oct 11:23:post reply

Buruma (no, not that kind of buruma!) is always a great read. Iggy is away right now, so you're doomed with my impressions until he returns. Fortunately, we can see from Buruma's text that Iggy is not only the most gothic Londonian we know, he is also the most Heian:
quote:
The main thing required of a noble gentleman was a sense of style. Seducing another man’s wife could be forgiven; a bad poem, clumsy handwriting, or the wrong perfume could not.

"Heian society was on the whole governed by style rather than by any moral principles, and good looks tended to take the place of virtue."

anyone unlucky enough to live in the provinces was considered too uncouth to be taken seriously.

Meanwhile, because I am an art criminal or not masochistic enough, I have never wrestled with Genji in the original text, let alone in English translation of any era. It's true that Genji presents a great way of thinking about the purpose of writing and translation: should Genji be written in ancient English, but with understandable references? Should it be written in ancient English, but with unknowable references to all but the super-literate, producing a similar experience to reading the original in Japanese? If neither of these, would the author's time be better spent translating a modern Japanese translation (adaptation) of Genji? And if someone's interest were purely scholarly to the point of reading something abstruse, shouldn't they be reading in the original by that point anyway?

This question is not limited to truly ancient texts. Consider how in Japan, most people will know Shakespeare's prose, among the finest in the English language, in modern Japanese variants. Hearing that most famous line expressed as "Romeo, why are you Romeo?" in Japanese just sucks. Or consider Murakami's newer translation of Catcher in the Rye---would it be lacking if it did not reproduce 1950s Japanese slang to match the 1950s American slang in the original? Is there even any point to writing in this way given that 1950s America was nothing like 1950s Japan? You see where I'm going with this. In conclusion, no one can know Genji---Japanese, American or otherwise.

Also, as some of the new Genji translation's unfortunate anachronisms described suggest, this is a reminder that a good translator of prose also needs to be a good writer, period, which is a rare combination!
quote:
On the fine details of Murakami's diction

Don't think I didn't notice this! Word choice is very important! This has been driving me crazy for a while because I can't confirm since my books aren't with me now. I can certainly recreate in my mind which Japanese words he wouldn't use, and this translation (if the words match) seems right, but...





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"Re(2):Translations of Genji (attn IGGY/MAOU)" , posted Wed 25 Oct 13:08post reply

quote:
Buruma (no, not that kind of buruma!) is always a great read. Iggy is away right now, so you're doomed with my impressions until he returns. Fortunately, we can see from Buruma's text that Iggy is not only the most gothic Londonian we know, he is also the most Heian:
The main thing required of a noble gentleman was a sense of style. Seducing another man’s wife could be forgiven; a bad poem, clumsy handwriting, or the wrong perfume could not.

"Heian society was on the whole governed by style rather than by any moral principles, and good looks tended to take the place of virtue."

anyone unlucky enough to live in the provinces was considered too uncouth to be taken seriously.
Meanwhile, because I am an art criminal or not masochistic enough, I have never wrestled with Genji in the original text, let alone in English translation of any era. It's true that Genji presents a great way of thinking about the purpose of writing and translation: should Genji be written in ancient English, but with understandable references? Should it be written in ancient English, but with unknowable references to all but the super-literate, producing a similar experience to reading the original in Japanese? If neither of these, would the author's time be better spent translating a modern Japanese translation (adaptation) of Genji? And if someone's interest were purely scholarly to the point of reading something abstruse, shouldn't they be reading in the original b

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Here's something that I wonder about:

Given the near non-stop wars going on throughout the region we now call Europe in the Middle Ages, the constant changing of regents, and the European invention and adoption of the printing press only near the end of the Middle Ages, I'm kind of surprised that Latin from that era remains readable to modern scholars. It's not as though Latin didn't have significant changes in its spoken and written forms over the centuries. I mean, some of the most powerful and resonant phrases in circulation in English today come from the Bible, and that sure wasn't written in English to begin with! In a funny sort of way, because of the cultural power that it has that is omnipresent in the Western world, I wonder what it's like for scholars raised in the Western world to examine the Bible in its pre-English forms. There is a deep, pre-existing emotional context for the material, but who knows if that is reflective of the one its passages were intended to evoke (aside from maybe the Song of Solomon, which is difficult to imagine NOT being erotic). Still, that's very different from the position of approaching some other ancient work for which there is no emotional/social context that the reader has been steeped in that is derived from that work.

Elsewise:

It is true that Latin of any form is not a language in common use today, and that for me to understand anything written in Latin, much like anything written in Japanese, it'd have to be translated into another language. English from the 14th century, which is admittedly some 300 years younger than the era from which The Tale of Genji comes from, though, is surprisingly readable to a layman like me. In particular, many words which are to modern English curiously written are quickly guessed at once spoken aloud (even if spoken with a guess as to how to speak it!). It's not a subject I've ever personally studied beyond reading a few of them, either! Shakespeare is younger yet, and has further the benefit of many phrases that remain in common use today. There will still be words that I'm unfamiliar with when reading it, but the gist of Shakespeare is easy to grasp, written for a vulgar audience as it may be.







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"Re(2):Translations of Genji (attn IGGY/MAOU)" , posted Wed 25 Oct 22:16post reply

I was focused on my training to face the hordes of Sagat next year, but your call for help has reached me in the jungle, dear Spoon, and I shall save you from the dangers of taking to Maou without the supervision of an adult.
Apologies in advance if half of the message doesn't make sense, because typing is HARD.


So, coming out time: I could never finish the Genji MG. The French translation at the time was written in a puzzling language that had only distant echoes from the French I've been taught. I had to navigate it with a modern Japanese translation in the other hand, jumping from one to the other to the other's notes until since of this made sense. After a couple of chapters it became unbearably tedious, and before chapter 10 I threw my hands in the air and just read the abridged version at the end of the Japanese book.

Several years later, I was in a seminar with then fellow doctors trying to make a new translation that would be at the same time accurate and readable. I think I called it quit after we spent two hours on one word trying to understand what kind of vehicle that word could be in this particular context.

I think you have the wrong idea about the language of the book. Latin is not a good comparison. Latin was a dead language before the Genji was written, but it was the language of the elite: you would write laws and diplomatic treaties in it, regardless of each country's actual language, and it was the language of the church, who was trying to adjust its grip on the embryonic idea of monarchy. Latin was a very political language, maybe because it was a dead language.

You're closer with Shakespeare, though you need to remember that before Shakespeare was Chauncer, and before Chauncer was absolute chaos. Maybe a better comparison would be with Beowulf ? I'm not sure.

Also, the trick is that Heian Japanese IS understandable if you know modern Japanese. It has many obsolete words and different grammar rules, not to mention very different cultural landscape, but you can grasp a general idea of what the topic is about by reading it. The Pillow Book, the "other" ultra famous book written by a woman in Heian in Japanese, is paradoxically easier to read even though it's not narrative.

The big problem of the language of the Genji MG is that it is so allusive it is a language all by itself. The comparison is all sorts of inadequate, but imagine being a reader from the 30th century trying to understand 4chan, or the forums of Something Awful. You'd need to check in the Urban Dictionary at each meme or reference, then try to understand why would sometimee post an image of an actor making a funny face in reaction to a question about politics, and remember to use a cached version of the Urban Dictionary of the year of the message you're reading, as memes move fast.

The Genji MG is like that. It is written for such a small crowd, with such a complex common culture that is constantly reinforced as a way to separate "us" from "any savage that isn't us", that every word has received several layers of meaning and echoes that are as obvious for the author as they are for her audience. We are not that audience.

Reading the Genji MG in the 21st century is really asking yourself the question of "what is reading", even before you ask yourself what is translation.
Are you simply reading a story, and you want to know how it ends ? Do you want a glimpse of a time long gone ? Are you interested in "what the author meant" ? How can you every know what any author means ? What about the audience? Etc.

Context is also a different issue. Most of the time, we read a book once, and we will never touch it again in our life. Rarely, you have a book that you feel like reading again later. Even more rarely, you have a book that demands to be read again periodically (Proust should be read every other year throughout one's life, for example).
The Genji MG was written at a time when books where the most rare and expensive item you could own. You would pass it around, read it again, make each word your own, over and over. You would discuss it with everyone you knew, this small court of a few hundred people who would share the same humongous cultural knowledge. You would use it to create more common culture to set your group apart.
Also, remember it was written slowly. I'm not even sure if Murasaki Shikibu could write an entire chapter before having it stolen from her and widely read aloud, while she would lament "oh, no, they are reading my private writing that I had created for me, I am the most popular girl at school, woe is me". If you think people are desperate to know what happens in the next Game of Thrones, imagine if the author was one of the only 1000 survivors of mankind in a ship going through space (a concept lacking in science fiction if I may).
So each chapter was supposed to be read dozens of time before the next one would be released, each time in different context, with different people... Therefore, the text could be as obtuse as the author wanted (not many women had the Chinese culture she had) because you would then talk about each thing, start reminiscing poems about it, maybe notice patterns and allusions that the author didn't think of...

Finally, another thing to consider is Murasaki's social position. We know very little of her life, but she was not a high ranking noble and she was not rich. She could approach and gaze at the world she's writing about, but she lived at the fringe of it. If there were 1000 people in the court, she was part of the 900 writing about the other 100. There is a lot of romance and idealisation in the book, and for sure the 100 were delighted to see themselves described in such beautiful and elegant manner. She knew them as well as Proust knew the duchesses he was writing about, but she was as distant to then as he was. There's a big part of fantasy in the Genji MG, a Mary Sue who keeps giggling when the most handsome man on earth she just made even more beautiful falls in love with her even though she's such a mundane, normal girl, te-he-he.
The question you need to ask yourself is: is it relevant ? Do you read at the first degree, like a blunt fiction, do you try to see it through the rose tinted lenses of the author, do you want to try to imagine the author herself through the fiction, and then, aren't you the one making up your own novel in your mind ? All answers are valid.

Sorry, I hear a tiger, gotta go.







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"Re(3):Translations of Genji (attn IGGY/MAOU)" , posted Thu 26 Oct 02:40post reply

quote:
Sudden enlightment out of blue.
As a person who usually gets distracted reading long posts/texts and gets lost, it was delightful to read the answer to a question I forgot. But it's so easy to guess the question. Even better; you don't need it.

Thank you, Iggy!







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"Re(4):Translations of Genji (attn IGGY/MAOU)" , posted Thu 26 Oct 04:12post reply

Today I learned more about Tale of Genji than I have ever known. Thanks all!







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"Re(5):Translations of The Odyssey" , posted Tue 7 Nov 03:24post reply

Article link!

Though not nearly as entertaining as Iggy's luminary piece the translation of Genji, when it comes to things I actually have read and were inspiring to me, this piece about The Odyssey strikes home. Just as Iggy said that he and some academic peers argued about a single word for hours, so too does this article show how many different interpretations there are of a single word in the opening of The Odyssey, and how the interpretation of the translator of the tale is reflected in how that single word is cast into English.

In my case, the version I read was Fitzgerald's ("skilled in all ways of contending"), which embodied the sense of an epic hero.

Still, it reminds me deeply that the translator is much more a teller of the story than a transliterator of the story, and when beholden to the translation, I'm beholden to that telling.







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"Re(6):Translations of The Odyssey" , posted Tue 7 Nov 23:12post reply

quote:
Article link!

That was an interesting read!
In the version I have, the French says "Ulysses of the 1000 turns", which also reads as "Ulysses of the 1000 tricks". That's a rather good way to stay close to the original while sounding cool and engaging? It's obviously pure chance that French would have a word that would have these two meanings, so more power to us I guess.

The question I have about Homer is that, if I recall correctly, his poems were supposed to be sung during banquets. So what form should the translation take? Is making the translation easy to read, because the XXIth century audience will consume the text as a book, a betrayal of the text for the sake of convenience? Translating any poetry into prose is a weird choice in general, so why is it OK for Homer? Is considering the Iliad as a poem even OK, since it was sung, not read?
I mean, of course, there's so much action and adventure happening in Homer, and our way of consuming narrative fiction is via prose much more than poetry/song, so making a book out of it makes sense for us.
But as readers, we need to keep in mind that a choice that is being made, a choice that excludes all the musicality of Homer and gives us a truncated vision of what the Iliad and the Odyssey were.
I think several musical artists have used the Odyssey as a motif for an entire album. I'm not sure if any of them has gone all the way to translate and adapt the original's text into lyrics, or if they were just writing original songs around the events of the poem, but that might be a more faithful, if clunky and inconvenient, way of adapting the poems.

I wonder if one day prose will be as obsolete as poetry is today, and a visual medium such as our movies will have entirely replaced prose as a medium for narrative fiction.







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"Re(7):Jungle tales" , posted Sun 19 Nov 23:24:post reply

And this gets back to the Genji talk above, and the huge role of translation choices for the reader: is this version replicating the experience of the original readers in another culture? Of modern readers in another culture? Or is the story and not the "reading/listening experience" the important part? Will the original aim of this story be understood by other cultures, and does that even matter, in critical theory terms where the reader's reality is what’s important?

All I know is that it's time for a full account what happened in that jungle, this time while seeing if you can mix first-person and third-person dialogue:


I've never felt anything like this heat. The cities and villages of Siam have a certain tropical charm, but the jungles are another thing entirely. It made sense to trade my usual suit for the old British light-weight cotton and linens, but this fedora is staying with me.

"Mister Ishmael, why not see what you find near the reclining Buddha in Ayuthaya?"

All the townspeople I'd befriended seemed to think this was where the sage I was looking for would turn up. But it strikes me that the ruins of an ancient capital are just a little too perfect a setting for the philosopher---almost cliche. Better to meditate somewhere less picture-perfect, and also more obscure, away from the pilgrims and the crowds. Especially given all the kickboxers who seem to be milling around Ayuthaya these days, I hear.

Far to the north, towards Chiang Mai. I was sure of it when I set out, and even more now. The denseness of the woods is impressive, and almost pretty, if you don't mind fending off the occasional animal. This is why it's good to keep the .357 Magnum at the ready. Mostly, though, it's the people you find in the jungle who are the problem. Sometimes they come crashing through the trees like a tiger. Here's a monkey-faced character wearing a suit and tie that are far too hot for this bath-house climate.

"Hey, where have you been?! I've finally got a lead on where the lost treasure of the Lan Na Kingdom is hidden. Hold onto that stupid hat of yours, and let's go, Ji....oh."

He stops and looks at me squarely for a second.

"Ah, never mind. You know, you look an awful lot like...never mind. Gotta run, but watch out for thieves around here. You never know who you might run into in a place like this. Nee hee hee hee."

He gives me a pat on the shoulder and dashes off, bowlegged but swift. He's also managed to steal my coin purse. Damn it. Then again, no merchants are coming this far into the forest anyhow.

Deeper in the jungle still. Sometimes you run into doomed, feverish wanderers languishing against trees. They probably aren't getting back up. One looks up at me with bloodshot eyes.

"Mistah Kurtz, he dead."

Hmm. Better let this one be.

I've headed up this narrow, slowly inclining path. It's been miles, but the light coming through the thick jungle canopy tells me that there must be a break in the trees and brush. A clearing? Better still, a temple, probably the only one ever built this deep in the wilderness. It's a shockingly big complex given how remote it is. You could probably hold a tournament here. Or run a criminal syndicate out of it, for that matter. Who would ever trace you here?

Two figures are sitting cross-legged in front of a large bell. They look serene, like old friends, though their conversation seems to be heated and philosophical. I've heard of numerologists who find great power in certain numbers, whose attributes indicate deeper truths. Hindus, the Kabbalah mystics, and Buddhists, too. One of the two men is dressed in saffron robes, and clearly has been here longer, with a seeming connection to the place.

"You laugh, sir, but Four is also the true inheritor of Three-S, not just Two, despite its resemblance to the latter. In fact, I think Four has better aesthetics."

"The jungle has driven you mad! I trekked through here expressly to save you from yourself. Marlow was right. Your methods are...unsound. If you cannot see the inherent virtues of Five, yet are beguiled by the unworthy baseness of Four, then truly, you are lost. Z, zere is nothing I can add to zis."

The second man speaks fluently, but his agitation has caused him to slip briefly into an accent. But soon a look of calm passes over his face, and their philosophical duel resumes. Maybe the second man has come here in search of some sort of grand final challenge. Seems like the right place for it.

But the sage I'm seeking isn't in this square. Best to explore deeper into the compound, before heading further north.






人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

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"Re(8):Jungle tales" , posted Sun 26 Nov 11:20post reply

quote:
And this gets back to the Genji talk above, and the huge role of translation choices for the reader: is this version replicating the experience of the original readers in another culture? Of modern readers in another culture? Or is the story and not the "reading/listening experience" the important part? Will the original aim of this story be understood by other cultures, and does that even matter, in critical theory terms where the reader's reality is what’s important?



Here's an article I may have linked to elsewhere about the English lyrics of Mario Odyseey's instant classic vocal song.

The lyrics in literal meaning diverge quite radically from the original, but interpreting author intent and direction were central to its writing. The notion of the song being "fun to sing, regardless of content", and the lyrics still having a strong sense of meaning to somebody who is utterly unfamiliar with the Mario games makes it a sort of double-whammy when it comes to how it should be thought of from the audience direction.

But it is also very much so that this is a case where the localizer is able to converse directly with the original writer, and both are working in modern languages with modern vocabularies, a luxury not afforded to, say, a translator of Genji.

I think that the idea of "the death of the author" is a somewhat arrogant one, because it is one that comes from the perspective of a consumer who claims sole authority of a work's interpretation, possibly from a perspective of cultural isolation or at least linguistic isolation. Interpretation being defined as the translation of somebody's live speech as opposed to the translation of written work we can exclude from this discussion briefly for the sake of having a more common medium to consider, but translation absolutely sees the notion of "death of the author" seem fatuous, because word choice absolutely matters. And given that word choice matters, the translator must constantly make decisions about what the right word is, especially in works where structure or form are particular such as poetry or lyrics. Footnotes aren't a thing you get in a live vocal performance! So divining the intent behind particular words becomes important, and even choosing to try to be as "neutral" as possible can fail entirely as in the example of The Odyssey, because some words or idioms simply don't have a good equivalent in other languages.

As we've discussed before, the translation of highly stylized genre writing such as noir into other languages poses a similar challenge, because there is a clearly apparent atmosphere and style to the writing across the genre that may not tonally be expressible in writing in other languages. The simple object/subject omission that gives a profundity to Chinese proverbs is quite difficult to capture in English in a way that sounds natural: rendered literally in English, it's like the person is speaking in a clipped and weirdly vague way, but in Chinese, there is nothing unnatural about it, and it may even make it more approachable as an aphorism.


quote:
welcome to the jungle




I got some good laughs out of this, and I think there's plenty of a trip through the jungle that just comes out as a phantasmagoria no matter how hard we try to make it be normal.





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"Re(9):Jungle tales" , posted Sun 26 Nov 13:15:post reply

quote:

Interpretation being defined as the translation of somebody's live speech as opposed to the translation of written work we can exclude from this discussion briefly for the sake of having a more common medium to consider, but translation absolutely sees the notion of "death of the author" seem fatuous, because word choice absolutely matters


Or is the author dead and the translator is trying to channel his spirit?






/ / /

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"Re(10):Jungle tales" , posted Mon 27 Nov 11:55post reply

quote:

Interpretation being defined as the translation of somebody's live speech as opposed to the translation of written work we can exclude from this discussion briefly for the sake of having a more common medium to consider, but translation absolutely sees the notion of "death of the author" seem fatuous, because word choice absolutely matters

Or is the author dead and the translator is trying to channel his spirit?












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"Re(2):Re(10):Maou tales" , posted Sat 2 Dec 17:16post reply

Men are a people of hunger, always in search of something to fill them. But of all the things that they can pour into the pits that dwell in them, nothing is as filling as purpose. All hungers are satisfied with purpose, all thirsts slaked.

Maou’s jobs were just jobs though, and so he went straight to the Cafe. He needed a meal.

The Cafe was almost fully deserted. On such a quiet evening, the Professor sat behind the bar drawing with a pencil. On the counter stood a tiny sculpture of a dancer, delicately crafted in a pose expressing a boldness that belied its size, serving as his model.

The little dancer was carefully aligned to a toothpick the was held perfectly straight up by being stuck in an even smaller notch in the bartop. From time to time, the Professor would rotate the dancer, and dash some lines on the margins or in the corners of the sheet of paper on his pad as he tried to grasp the form of the dancer. Satisfied with his understanding, he’d rotate the dancer back to its position. Sometimes, he’d spend more time making sure that it was exactly lined up than he did with the exploratory sketch.

Maou dusted himself off, and politely walked towards an unimportant part of the Cafe as loudly as he could without being obnoxious. The Professor deserved the courtesy of deciding when to notice Maou, even though Maou knew it would come more promptly than any maitre’d in Downtown.

The Professor turned towards Maou in a quick fashion that indicated a complete absence of surprise.
“Slow day, Professor?”, Maou asked.
“It has gone by quicker than most.”

Maou seated himself at an unimportant table that his feet chose for him, and lifted a menu. The Professor came around the bar, and Maou had no idea where the Professor had vanished the dancer, the drawing pad, and the toothpick to in the time between looking down at the menu and looking up at the Professor. Likely the same mysterious place where the Professor keeps anything he’s asked to keep by a customer, which he could somehow always produce from a pocket of his spotless, smooth black apron.

“I acquired some good cuts from Lobster at an odd price; they would not be good for long. If you need something more substantial tonight, I recommend them while we have them,” the Professor smiled faintly as he informed Maou of this ‘good fortune’.

“Did you? That is fortunate, but tonight I would like to start with something from the shelf”, Maou smiled back.

“Excellent”, the Professor said.

“I hope I can always be so fortunate,” Maou said, to which the Professor merely gave his quiet smile as he headed back to the counter. Behind the counter, the Professor climbed up to reach one of the bottles of good English beer that he didn’t keep refrigerated. He poured it carefully into a tall pint glass on top of the bar, and served it to Maou.

“Professor, could you get me a diane.” the steak diane was one of the pricier things on the menu, but with his advance from the job, he needed to give the Cafe its due.

The cafe was not a charity, but there was nothing that said that long-time customers couldn’t be the recipients of the cafe’s good good fortune, even if that good fortune could often be unusually selective and timely. Cafe patrons know that they are lucky to be lucky, and good luck is always deserving of graciousness.

Maou stared at the foam-topped, solid gold column in front of him, a treasure that would be spent in moments. For all that good bottling could do, it was a treasure that nobody could take with them once opened.

“Professor, have time for a toast?”

“I am still on duty. I can only take water, but…”

“No matter. Wealth is not in gold, anyway.”

“Indeed. To who, then?”

“To those we never had the fortune of drinking with.”

Their glasses clinked, and they drank.







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"Re(3):Re(10):Maou tales" , posted Mon 4 Dec 04:35post reply

quote:
a tiny sculpture of a dancer, delicately crafted in a pose expressing a boldness

“To those we never had the fortune of drinking with.”

I just know that Toxico would have loved the messy writing thread, as a master teller of strange and interesting tales. Bravo and cheers!





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"Chesterton and dated notions of the dead/live" , posted Sun 21 Jan 04:27post reply

I took to reading some Father Brown short stories after Maou's mention of The Man Who Was Thursday, and one thing I quite liked was the stark contrast in style of his mystery stories versus the mysteries of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes or the style of noir. Chesterton's writing is more floral and effusive, and the conceit of a priest who is versed in criminals and crime as a result of a life in the confession booth is quite brilliant. The stories themselves are quite short individually, so they make for a good bite-size piece of entertainment.

All that said, and as much as I admire the quality of Chesterton's writing, he's got a number of strong notions about non-Christian religion which are expressed both by Father Brown (which would be ok, since he is a Christian priest, after all!), but also by the narrator. One chapter basically dishes out that the art and artifacts of the East are full of wickedness and menace, and given the entirely unironic tone he takes, makes me feel somewhere between "I'm sorry for your ignorance" and "well, I got this book from the Gutenberg Project so it's not like I'm paying you any money".

That Chesterton was born over a hundred years ago in the culture, norms, and knowledge of that era and with the limited contact with other cultures of that time make it more understandable, and that Father Brown isn't so much a bunch of moral stories as they are apologetics is interesting. The quality of his writing is incontrovertible, even if its content occasionally comes across as the rantings of grandparents whose statement you attempt to defuse before they cause too much chaos.

I do think I get value out of reading popular fiction from other eras, simply because the idea of Indians or other people of Eastern cultures being thought of as dubious and untrustworthy is alien to me due to the fortune of my upbringing in a metropolitan area. Books being books that I read for fun, I can also put it down at any time, so I don't suffer the great complication that students do of "why are we being made to study the work of people that today we would ourselves be attempting to educate".

What do you think, folks of the Cafe?







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"Books with obsolete cultural norms" , posted Sun 21 Jan 05:24post reply

I had a similar experience this very week with Balzac.

Balzac is a French writer from the mid-XIXth century that people have to study in school and generally hate for that. You learn at school that he was paid by the page because his novels were prepublished in magazines, so you have dozens of pages of descriptions that are as beautiful as they bore students to death, while not moving the action a bit.
He still has an amazing style and Proust had in-depth discussions about him with his mom, so I could never entirely discard the guy, but I kept that negative image I got from being forced to read his books without the proper tools and maturity to understand what he was talking about. He also has a very Bourgois relationship with money and how life should be led, which make giving a crap even more difficult.

I somehow ended with an interesting English study about the social forms of sexuality in Balzac, and I've been learning a lot. One of the interesting things in the book is how Balzac was studying society through the prism of the brand new civil code of Napoleon, and how law shaped and destroyed families and relationships, especially how it affected women (the XIXth century was probably the worst time to be a woman in Europe, and most of the misogynistic ideas we're still fighting against now originate from that bullshit century).
For this and many other reasons, he was particularly popular amongst women (to the point that he was not considered a serious writer at the time, since he was popular with women who famously didn't understand anything to arts). Most female characters of his novels end up unhappy (to be honest most of his males do as well), but the novels make a strong point to highlight society's structured strategies through its laws, especially inheritance laws, to keep women away from independence, happiness, and emancipation.

With that in mind, you would expect him to be a proto-feminist author, or at least appear sympathetic to his female characters. But he actually does the exact opposite, and sometimes go out of the blue into weird rants on how woman are melancholic before marriage because they're unfulfilled, how they remain useless and childish until maternity makes them adult, how irrational they are by nature, and so on. And then the next sentence he goes back to discussing inheritance laws and how they destroy women's lives, hopes and and potential by trapping them in loveless marriage and robbing them of their autonomy. It's so weird.







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"Re(1):Books with obsolete cultural norms" , posted Mon 22 Jan 13:54:post reply

From Chesteron's hyper-Catholic pedantry to Heidegger's Nazi disgrace, there are some great minds and writers whose works are clouded by cultural norms that are at best "obsolete" and at worst dangerous. But if any discussion seems well-suited to dealing with this ambiguity, it's among video game fans! It's a testament to the power of words that outdated or regressive philosphy and authors can still make us uncomfortable, even while we're surrounded and seemingly unfazed by films and video games teeming with sociopathic violence.

I find it much harder, frankly, to live in a society advertising some of the extreme horror films and games than to intellectually separate authors from their bad personal views, or even to separate interesting ideas from bad ones within a piece of work. The Man Who Was Thursday is the most remarkable, interesting book, even if Chesteron's piousness that seems to be heavily dominating the ending is incomprehensible to me. Mishima was a right-wing lunatic, but I should really be reading Kinkakuji right now. My eyes usually just glide right over the obsolete worldviews in older books if they're interesting enough overall, maybe with me stopping to think, "hmm, odd that they thought that way." When I see exoticized or ignorant depictions of a given race in some older work, or something, it usually doesn't cause me to stamp my foot in indignation so much as it immediately pulls me out of the story into a meta-level reading of the text, author, and time period...that's not the same experience as the reader at the time of writing, but it's still an interesting one.

The caveat being, of course, that the rest of the work has to have merit enough on its own. One of the most tragicomic aspects of things like Ayn Rand's work is that its writing is even more offensive than its asinine philosphy.





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"Re(2):Books with obsolete cultural norms" , posted Tue 23 Jan 00:06post reply

quote:
I should really be reading Kinkakuji right now.
This is categorically false.
Mishima is a terrible writer. His Japanese is bad, full of complicated words that do not add anything to the prose other than being difficult to read and allow the reader to show off they know complicated kanjis, the construction of most of his books is at best predictable, and his failure to reconcile his attraction for men with his political ideas makes for ridiculous scenes, especially if you think that male roles weren't as badly damaged by the XIXth century in Japan.
The Kinkakuji is his least bad work, but it's still a book that has the strange privilege to be much better in its English and French translations than in the original text(the French translator in particular was incredibly talented).

In term of pure style at least, Tanizaki is far superior, and Kawabata still reigns supreme. Souseki is quite difficult to read, but if you manage to put aside his choice of ornate words, he has an actual style and voice (which is annoying and nagging, but it exists).
I can't find a single quality to Mishima's writings.







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"Re(3):Books with obsolete cultural norms" , posted Tue 23 Jan 03:00post reply

quote:
I should really be reading Kinkakuji right now. This is categorically false.
Mishima is a terrible writer. His Japanese is bad, full of complicated words that do not add anything to the prose other than being difficult to read and allow the reader to show off they know complicated kanjis, the construction of most of his books is at best predictable, and his failure to reconcile his attraction for men with his political ideas makes for ridiculous scenes, especially if you think that male roles weren't as badly damaged by the XIXth century in Japan.
The Kinkakuji is his least bad work, but it's still a book that has the strange privilege to be much better in its English and French translations than in the original text(the French translator in particular was incredibly talented).

In term of pure style at least, Tanizaki is far superior, and Kawabata still reigns supreme. Souseki is quite difficult to read, but if you manage to put aside his choice of ornate words, he has an actual style and voice (which is annoying and nagging, but it exists).
I can't find a single quality to Mishima's writings.



Of those other authors you've listed, are there good quality English translations of them?







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"Re(4):Books with obsolete cultural norms" , posted Tue 23 Jan 04:35post reply

quote:
Of those other authors you've listed, are there good quality English translations of them?

I wouldn't be able to tell about the English translations, but at least for novel titles, my favourite Tanizaki book is called "Quicksand" in English according to Wikipedia. It's a strange title, so I'm not sure what the translator was thinking... The Japanese title is 卍, "Manji", the Buddhist symbol. What's great about the title is that it's not the meaning that's relevant to the book, it's the actual ideogram. It's difficult to explain without spoilers, but let's just say the power dynamics are split in 4, each corner pulling in their direction, and if you were to "draw" the plot of the novel you'd end up with something really similar to "卍". There's four chapters in the book, each one leading you in a certain, very clear direction, only for the following chapter to bring you back to the beginning, turn 90º, and lead you to an entirely different place.
Some people write thousands and thousands of pages to write their masterpiece. Tanizaki wrote one character on the front page of a book, and knew that nothing would ever surpass it.

For Souseki, I guess "I am a cat" is his most famous and easiest to read (especially in translation with all the hard kanjis laid out).

For Kawabata, it's a bit more difficult to pick one book, as he really feels like an author whose entire body of work is coherent within itself. On the top of my head, I liked The Dancing Girl of Izu, Snow Country, The House of the Sleeping Beauties, and The Master of Go (English titles courtesy of Wikipedia).
One of the things I find fascinating in Kawabata is the level of fetishism for minor things some of his characters reach. The same settings in a western novel would end up extremely filthy, with absolutely unacceptable things happening to underage girls, but in a Japanese setting, you know that when an old guy stares at a sleeping girl's feet, nothing "happens" in the western sense, while everything "happens" regardless. The fetishism reaches almost abstract levels sometimes. I think Kawabata is probably the most important writer to read in order to understand a very specific corner of the Japanese psyche, an angle that's the most difficult to comprehend for most western people.
It's also an absolutely incredible stylist (can you say that in English for writers?), so he's probably the one that requires a great translator the most. A flat translation of Kawabata would be the drabbest thing I could imagine.







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"Re(5):Books with obsolete cultural norms" , posted Tue 23 Jan 05:28post reply

quote:
Of those other authors you've listed, are there good quality English translations of them?
I wouldn't be able to tell about the English translations, but at least for novel titles, my favourite Tanizaki book is called "Quicksand" in English according to Wikipedia. It's a strange title, so I'm not sure what the translator was thinking... The Japanese title is 卍, "Manji", the Buddhist symbol. What's great about the title is that it's not the meaning that's relevant to the book, it's the actual ideogram. It's difficult to explain without spoilers, but let's just say the power dynamics are split in 4, each corner pulling in their direction, and if you were to "draw" the plot of the novel you'd end up with something really similar to "卍". There's four chapters in the book, each one leading you in a certain, very clear direction, only for the following chapter to bring you back to the beginning, turn 90º, and lead you to an entirely different place.
Some people write thousands and thousands of pages to write their masterpiece. Tanizaki wrote one character on the front page of a book, and knew that nothing would ever surpass it.

For Souseki, I guess "I am a cat" is his most famous and easiest to read (especially in translation with all the hard kanjis laid out).

For Kawabata, it's a bit more difficult to pick one book, as he really feels like an author whose entire body of work is coherent within itself. On the top of my head, I liked The Dancing G

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Having read an English translation of the Master of Go, it was certainly.... austere. There's a dryness to the prose that could certainly make it quite boring, and I read it while I myself was sick, which certainly impressed upon a profound feeling of mortality.

I think the word "fetishization" is too loaded nowadays to accurately describe what is instead a captivated fascination, which sometimes occurs with something that the person experiencing it never previously thought of as so captivating! I can certainly tell you that every element of a girl I've ever had a crush on is utterly compelling, while those same elements in equally or even more beautiful girls that I possess no such feelings for provoke no such compulsion.







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"Re(6):Books with obsolete cultural norms" , posted Tue 23 Jan 07:09post reply

quote:
I think the word "fetishization" is too loaded nowadays to accurately describe what is instead a captivated fascination, which sometimes occurs with something that the person experiencing it never previously thought of as so captivating! I can certainly tell you that every element of a girl I've ever had a crush on is utterly compelling, while those same elements in equally or even more beautiful girls that I possess no such feelings for provoke no such compulsion.

Now I'm not sure...
I was using "fetishization" as "the process of taking an element and infusing it with a disproportionate amount of meaning, at the expense of everything else".
In, like, the feet of sleeping 15 years old girls become so full of meaning for the observer that everything attached to them is meaningless, including the identity of the girls themselves (which is why it's important they're sleeping: not to make them powerless, but to make them properly invisible).

...
...
...
... I should try to read again the House of Sleeping Beauties and try to imagine the narrator as Kira Yoshikage. I never thought of it, but if you remove the killing part of his obsessions, something tells me he could be a very "kawabatian" character. I need to do more reading!







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"Re(3):Iggys with obsolete cultural Kawabatas" , posted Tue 23 Jan 10:54post reply

quote:
Mishima is a terrible writer.

Oh, I don't mean to give Mishima more than his due, but he was the most obvious choice beyond the usual German culprits to be both "an important writer" and "completely crazy/possessing vile ideas."

If we stray away from Spoon's original topic and onto good writers, then yes, yes, Kawabata is great! His politics were also closer to the right place, as I recall. Snow Country is marvelous, as is the short and bittersweet Dancing Girl of Izu. I also don't know anything about the English versions, but Iggy's certainly right about the extraordinary literary talent needed by a translator here. Frankly, very little goes on in these works, but the atmosphere and descriptions are marvelous. Snow Country's juxtaposition of the translucent reflection of a beautiful woman in the train seat in front of you with distant lights seen through the same window is a beautiful image I recall constantly when on trains.

Speaking of this scene, I once read an interesting Japanese essay on things lost in translation which made a good observation via the iconic first line from Snow Country to show how language structures can alter the way most readers imagine a scene. The line is 「国境の長いトンネルを抜けるとそこは雪國であった」, "after passing through the long border tunnel, it was snow country." This sounds a little odd in English without the subject, so apparently some translations say "after the train passed through the long border tunnel, it was snow country," or even, "the train passed through the long border tunnel into snow country." However, this pulls the attention to the train, and a good number of English readers might imagine the view from outside the train, perhaps even an aerial shot. In the original, the reader is likely to imagine the scene from inside the train. There is nothing mystical or unfathomably subtle about Japanese here other than the fact that the subject is unneccessary, but the result could be two different tendencies among readers in different languages! It's a simple illustration of how incredibly difficult translation can be for literature, especially when the work in question is more concerned with imagery and atmosphere than any particularly major events.





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"Re(7):Books with obsolete cultural norms" , posted Tue 23 Jan 18:02post reply

quote:
I think the word "fetishization" is too loaded nowadays to accurately describe what is instead a captivated fascination, which sometimes occurs with something that the person experiencing it never previously thought of as so captivating! I can certainly tell you that every element of a girl I've ever had a crush on is utterly compelling, while those same elements in equally or even more beautiful girls that I possess no such feelings for provoke no such compulsion.
Now I'm not sure...
I was using "fetishization" as "the process of taking an element and infusing it with a disproportionate amount of meaning, at the expense of everything else".
In, like, the feet of sleeping 15 years old girls become so full of meaning for the observer that everything attached to them is meaningless, including the identity of the girls themselves (which is why it's important they're sleeping: not to make them powerless, but to make them properly invisible).

...
...
...
... I should try to read again the House of Sleeping Beauties and try to imagine the narrator as Kira Yoshikage. I never thought of it, but if you remove the killing part of his obsessions, something tells me he could be a very "kawabatian" character. I need to do more reading!



This is interesting and I would have more to say about this particular word but i am too tired and it's too late

Unrelated but related:
Iggy, The episode of the 2003 Kino's Journey anime that I remember being the quintessential one was Episode 3, "予言の国".







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"Re(4):Iggys with obsolete cultural Kawabatas" , posted Wed 24 Jan 01:56:post reply

quote:
a good number of English readers might imagine the view from outside the train, perhaps even an aerial shot. In the original, the reader is likely to imagine the scene from inside the train. There is nothing mystical or unfathomably subtle about Japanese here other than the fact that the subject is unneccessary, but the result could be two different tendencies among readers in different languages! It's a simple illustration of how incredibly difficult translation can be for literature, especially when the work in question is more concerned with imagery and atmosphere than any particularly major events.


After reading your mention of how it contains no subject, I rendered the sentence in Cantonese in a similar way of grammatically correct (for Cantonese) subject omission from the literal meaning of the words in the Japanese sentence... and I got an interestingly vague sense from it!

Because no subject was introduced earlier, it's hard to say what the focus is. The sensation I get is both of a traveller passing through a tunnel (it doesn't mention whether the tunnel is for trains/cars/people/boats/etc., unless トンネル is a load word specifically for referring to "train tunnels"!), and simultaneously of the aerial shot you mentioned looking down upon the country and the mouth of the tunnel. The rendition I made of it was fairly plain, but that plainness gave it a sense of informality, and consequently a sense of personal-ness: that it was A person who passed through the tunnel, and THAT person was telling you what it was like. It was not necessarily ME that passed through it, though.





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"Re(5):Iggys with contemporary Yakuza Kiwamis" , posted Thu 8 Feb 02:56:post reply

Interview about translating the sprawlingly huge texts of the Yakuza games into English.

It takes over a year to translate and localize each game into English, and they're getting better at it.

One of the most interesting insights:
Q: Do you have any sense of how Japanese players perceive the Yakuza protagonists?

A: In Japanese, I feel like Kiryu is a little bit more of an avatar for the player. He uses a lot more ellipses than we do in the English version, because we actually want our audience to identify with Kiryu as a character. Whereas in Japanese, you might want to be like, I can put myself in Kiryu's shoes. I can be this Japanese badass. It's a bigger leap to expect a Western audience to be like "ah, I can be this Japanese badass." So we give Kiryu a little bit more of his own characterization, that is very much in line with the Japanese when they do characterize him. So there's no gap there; it's just a matter of trying to bridge that gap Western audiences might face in trying to fully identify with a Japanese character.





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"Re(6):Iggys with contemporary Yakuza Kiwamis" , posted Thu 8 Feb 10:49post reply

quote:
A: In Japanese, I feel like Kiryu is a little bit more of an avatar for the player. He uses a lot more ellipses than we do in the English version, because we actually want our audience to identify with Kiryu as a character.

It's an interesting approach if one doesn't mind venturing into localization over translation. In literature, people are a bit more picky about it, hence this recent New Yorker article on some liberties taken with Han Kang's work in translation in the name of conveying the "spirit" of the work if not the letter...liberties which are usually excused in game localization. On elipses in particular, it's an interesting idea to "fill in" protagonists who don't seem as easily matchable to the player. Maybe it doesn't matter if Chrono or a Dragon Quest character matches to anyone since they have no obvious nationality or cultural reference. I recall that, frequently to good effect, Working Designs made the heroes of both Lunars slightly more talkative where in the originals their dialogue was occasionally only implied. Because they are good writers (spare me the usual complaints about liberties taken with the NPC dialgoue), it does not seem like an instrusion.





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"Legend of Condor heroes English release" , posted Sun 4 Mar 07:52post reply

The ResetEra opening post is illuminating about the cultural relevance and influence of this work.

The Economist link gives a little background about the man, but is much less interesting about the importance of the work than the OP of the ResetEra thread, in spite of using a lot more words!

Has anybody here read these books? My mom and dad read some of them back in the day, and watched shows about it. One thing they remarked was that back in the day, it was published in newspapers (the man was the founder of the Ming Pao!) a few tracts at a time. I don't know if that was atypical, but they did say that it did a good job of dragging you along because you wanted to know what would happen next, and it sure got you to buy the newspaper (or convince somebody else to!). I wonder if like Dickens, the style of the writing was influenced by the publication format.







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"Re(1):Legend of Condor heroes English release" , posted Sun 4 Mar 10:28post reply

It looks tremendously interesting, though I'm worried after my experience with the Three Body Problem whose English translation felt clunky and made me forfeit after a few dozen pages (which is strange, because I liked the Paper Menagerie, which is written by the translator... So maybe the issue is with the author and not the translation?).
Anyhow, I discovered the Legend of Condor Heroes has been translated entirely in French ages ago, and I had no clue about it. It's only in hard cover, which is a bit annoying, and I have no idea about the quality of the translation. I wonder if the small Chinese-French community just kept it for them as a sort of cultural treasure not for outsiders...
More probably, it was treated as inferior trash novel like most of the fantasy novels and unworthy of a well-educated person.

I need to do some digging.







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"Re(2):Legend of Condor heroes English release" , posted Sun 4 Mar 11:19post reply

quote:
It looks tremendously interesting, though I'm worried after my experience with the Three Body Problem whose English translation felt clunky and made me forfeit after a few dozen pages (which is strange, because I liked the Paper Menagerie, which is written by the translator... So maybe the issue is with the author and not the translation?).
Anyhow, I discovered the Legend of Condor Heroes has been translated entirely in French ages ago, and I had no clue about it. It's only in hard cover, which is a bit annoying, and I have no idea about the quality of the translation. I wonder if the small Chinese-French community just kept it for them as a sort of cultural treasure not for outsiders...
More probably, it was treated as inferior trash novel like most of the fantasy novels and unworthy of a well-educated person.

I need to do some digging.



That sounds interesting! Do let us know the results of your doubtless wine-soaked and sexy investigations!







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"Re(3):Legend of Condor heroes English release" , posted Sun 4 Mar 23:51post reply

Last night I talked with someone who has read the books and they said that it is a good series but they were concerned that parts of it might be lost in translation. Once again we're back to the concerns about the difficulties of finding the same impact with different words.

The thing that concerns me is the serialized nature of the original story. That style has been used successfully many times but it can also make for a disjointed narrative. My favorite example is "Musashi" by Eiji Yoshikawa, where the so-called star disappears for large portions of the book. To this day when a main character vanishes and the supporting cast go one like he was never there a friend and I refer to it as "pulling a Musashi."







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"Re(4):Legend of Condor heroes English release" , posted Mon 5 Mar 00:48post reply

I am really interested in this! Like any good Cafe patron or Street Fighter, I've known of wuxia for years, but it's amazing to think that this foundational author hasn't been in English. A shame to read that some people's names have been translated, though. "Lotus Huang" is a little too self-exoticizing.

Anyway, this overdue publication points to an interesting idea for this thread, which is that there is a tendency for only "high literature" to get translated into English, no matter how culturally relevant the item may be, except in certain cases where pop culture items are so compelling (manga, anime) that there is a market outside the literary crowd. It's very noticeable when stacked up against the voracious appetite for translated books in Japan, and perhaps elsewhere. It's either a sad indictment of how little interest there is in the States for international things, or simply a product of a massive English literary canon that does just fine without foreign additions.

It's interesting how some countries are aware of this phenomenon and make an effort to fund solutions. I enjoyed reading the English version of Muriel Barbery's Elegance of the Hedgehog, whose translation was evidently supported by the French education ministry. But few places do this, and it's still bound to be very selective, so I'm glad that places like Vertical, Inc. exist. Long before Kondo Marie's books on decluttering became a hit (proof that so many "common" books can have an audience), they were translating not just manga but various modern writing of every kind from Japan, from the tabloid and the sexy and the pulp to the self-help.
quote:

To this day when a main character vanishes and the supporting cast go one like he was never there a friend and I refer to it as "pulling a Musashi."

Ahahah, I'm going to start using this.





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"Re(4):Legend of Condor heroes English release" , posted Mon 5 Mar 17:04post reply

quote:
Legend of Condor Heroes talk


It took a legendary wuxia hero to make me post again on the Cafe, but it is well worth it! I had heard about this official translation, but didn't know it was already available to the public.

It is not the first work from Louis Cha/Jin Yong translated to English (The Deer and the Claudron, Fox Volant on the Snowy Mountain, The Book and the Sword, come to mind), but it sure is great news to hear that there's at last an official English version of the so called Condor (or Eagle Shooting) Heroes Trilogy!

There already were pretty decent fan translations out there for the whole trilogy, an herculean task if there ever was one, specially if done without any monetary compensation. Years ago I had the immense pleasure to read the first two books thanks to these fan translations, back when e-readers where still not a thing and I had to print out more than 1200 pages (double sided!) to have the whole thing in a readable format. But it was well worth the effort! To this day, Eagle Shooting Heroes and its sequel, return of Eagle Shooting Heroes, remains one of my favorite books ever.

One of my favorite stories ever, I should say, because the thing is equally enjoyable on any of its multiple live action adaptations, or even in manga form,. Some of the most gorgeous Chinese comics I've ever seen were adaptations of Eagle Shooting Heroes. In fact, that's how I came to know the story for the first time, thanks to Tony Wong's Legendary Couple.

Ah, but I digress.

Arguably, Eagle Shooting Heroes is the best work from Louis Cha/Jin Ying. At least, it sure is the most famous and memorable, by far. And for good reason. If you like classic kung fu flicks, you'll just love this thing. If you also have a thing for Chinese culture and ancient traditions, then you're in for a treat like no other. I cannot recommend these novels enough. Some of the characters you'll find there will stick with you for years to come. Where else could you find people called Poison of the West and Evil of the East, and where else the place to be for the fashionable gentlemen South of the Yangtse river could be a tavern named The Drunken Goddess Pavilion?

But, then again, and even leaving aside the issue of the adequateness of this new translation, don't expect high literature here. This is not a bad story by any means, but it is what it is: a pulp fiction tale, and it is enjoyable and fun to read just like that. You should know what you are getting into. If you have read Romance of Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West or Outlaws of the Marsh (i.e. Suikoden), you are in for a similar treat, but with a more up to date narrative. You'll find the same endless fighting, the same larger-than-life characters, and the same kind of bombastic super-hero action here. Only that, in this case, the plot actually goes somewhere and the characters don't remain the same for thousands of chapters.

In many senses, it feels like reading a Chinese version of what Alexandre Dumas did with his Three Musketeers' saga. Legend of the Eagle Shooting Heroes (and all of Louis Cha works for what's worth) has pretty much the same pseudo-historical tidbits, the swashbuckling action and all the serialized story flavor that classic Dumas novels have.

Well, I could continue for hours on end, but you get the catch.




tl; dr: if campy kung-fu action is right up your alley, this is the stuff of dreams, my friend.

You have my word. And, as they use to say south of the Yangtse:

"The word of a gentleman... not even a hundred horses can move it!"






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"Re(5):Legend of Condor heroes English release" , posted Tue 6 Mar 06:17:post reply

quote:

tl; dr: if campy kung-fu action is right up your alley, this is the stuff of dreams, my friend.

You have my word. And, as they use to say south of the Yangtse:

"The word of a gentleman... not even a hundred horses can move it!"


The Condor Heroes/Eagle Shooting Heroes trilogy is seriously great stuff. Whereas some influential material is matched or overshadowed by the works it directly inspired, these works feel close to peerless. Things that are boiled down, glossed over, only implied, or simply taken for granted in other settings are just beautifully developed...this is the real stuff, right here.

In particular, the depiction of the genesis, distribution, inheritance, perception, metamorphosis, branching out, and perversion of knowledge (specifically the kind that will let you kick someone's ass in particularly profound and/or deadly ways... but also in terms of philosophy and dogma) is just absolutely fascinating to me. There's also great character depth and humanity for both heroes and villains, and while characters are often very strongly defined with motivations that are easy to understand, there are plenty of inner conflicts, transformative events, and believable changes of heart. The use of historical settings really helps ground it, too (well, just a bit). I have a whole lot of nice things to say about this series, actually.

But now I have to admit now that I've only ever seen live-action adaptations. I find the themes and characters of the second book resonate most with me. Return of the Condor Heroes (2006), in my estimation, is by far the best adaptation I've seen. Good-looking, well-cast actors and impressive action sequences that are not overly reliant on cheesy CGI effects. Romance of the Condor Heroes (2015) is essentially the opposite in every respect and should be avoided at all costs.





/ / /

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"Legend of Condor Heroes or what's in a name?" , posted Sun 29 Apr 11:52post reply

quote:
A shame to read that some people's names have been translated, though. "Lotus Huang" is a little too self-exoticizing.



I thought about this for a bit, because in English we're really used to not connecting any literal meaning to names. We've got no shortage of names for which the extent of common understanding of it is "it's a Bible name". This is quite radically different to given names in Chinese, where it would be rare or even odd to for someone to have a given name that does NOT have intended literal meaning that is easily discerned just by reading it (though may not be totally obvious when spoken, since it might have an entertaining homonym).

So if we take romanized versions of their names, we get something that sounds a little more authentic, but to an audience beholden to the translations, renders all the significance of their name entirely opaque. It leads to a little oddness in how their names sound, but I think it winds up being a necessary evil.







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"Re(5):Legend of Condor heroes English release" , posted Mon 30 Apr 06:37:post reply

quote:
Legend of Condor Heroes talk

It took a legendary wuxia hero to make me post again on the Cafe, but it is well worth it! I had heard about this official translation, but didn't know it was already available to the public.

It is not the first work from Louis Cha/Jin Yong translated to English (The Deer and the Claudron, Fox Volant on the Snowy Mountain, The Book and the Sword, come to mind), but it sure is great news to hear that there's at last an official English version of the so called Condor (or Eagle Shooting) Heroes Trilogy!

There already were pretty decent fan translations out there for the whole trilogy, an herculean task if there ever was one, specially if done without any monetary compensation. Years ago I had the immense pleasure to read the first two books thanks to these fan translations, back when e-readers where still not a thing and I had to print out more than 1200 pages (double sided!) to have the whole thing in a readable format. But it was well worth the effort! To this day, Eagle Shooting Heroes and its sequel, return of Eagle Shooting Heroes, remains one of my favorite books ever.

One of my favorite stories ever, I should say, because the thing is equally enjoyable on any of its [URL=http://

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Nothing to add to this masterful explanation Maese just gave us about the paramount importance of Jin Yong's literary opus. But, at the risk of being redundant, I wouldn't like to miss the chance of wholeheartedly recommending this series.

Of all the classic Chinese epics (Journey to the West, The Romance of Three Kingdoms and Suikoden), I found Outlaws of the Marsh/ Suikoden the most enjoyable of the bunch, thanks to its bold mixture of grisly, depraved antics and crude, black humor that ends up becoming an omnipresent trait throughout the novel, tainting every character present on it in one way or another. In case that, like me, you are into this kind of stories (those mainly based around personal drama, light comedy and a huge (and by huge, I mean HUGE) emphasis on interpersonal relationships (family feuds, personal vendettas, unrequited love turned into hate...) then prepare yourselves for the ride of your lives!!

But be aware though: those willing to know the wonderful world of LOCH/ ROCH will be forced to show a level of commitment tantamount to that of the legendary martial artists that populate it. The printed fan edition Maese and I managed to read about 10 years ago summed up a whooping total of 3000 pages (and that's using the smallest functional font size we managed to get)!! Nobody said mastering the Nine Yin Scroll was going to be an easy task... and, according to Jin Yong, reading about it shouldn't be either!

For those few who are still reading this pointless rant and still contemplating the purchase of the novel, I'll leave this here:

- The Legend of Condor-shooting Heroes
- The Return of Condor-shooting Heroes

Give them a try first, just in case, and let us fellow Cafers know of your impressions!!



PS:
quote:
"The word of a gentleman... not even a hundred horses can move it!"


:________)





[this message was edited by HAYATO on Mon 30 Apr 06:42]

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"Re(1):Legend of Condor Heroes or what's in a " , posted Thu 3 May 19:41post reply

quote:


I thought about this for a bit, because in English we're really used to not connecting any literal meaning to names.


And I think that absence of literal meaning can explain why one fairly common novelistic device in western literature is to conceal properties in the fictitious proper names coined by the authors (Dickens's novels are full of meaningful names, for example). Deciphering those is called onomastics, and it can get pretty subtle, tough very limited. The consecration is when it happens the other way around: a character so typical of a poperty that their name turns into a common noun (antonomasis). Every author's dream, I suppose!





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"Re(2):Legend of Condor Heroes or what's in a" , posted Thu 3 May 19:43post reply

Gasp! I meant 'antonomasia'







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"Re(3):Legend of Condor Heroes or what's in a" , posted Sat 5 May 03:37post reply

quote:
Gasp! I meant 'antonomasia'



I learned a new word!

Kikkoken has just returned and has already enlightened me! This is the best!







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"Re(4):Legend of Proust or what's in an Iggy" , posted Tue 8 May 13:19:post reply

quote:
Gasp! I meant 'antonomasia'

Th, this vocabulary! It's getting hot in the writing thread.

Meanwhile: in a surefire Iggy lure, I'm continuing on the adaptation aspect of translation from above to point you to a New Yorker article on how the foundational English translation of Proust was what in the Cafe's biz might be called a "localization," perhaps one that improved on the original? Or is that blasphemy? Stand-outs:

What made his Proust translation so superior—so much so that Joseph Conrad could actually say that he thought Moncrieff was a better translator than Proust was a writer?

Proust could be direct about things that Moncrieff had to fudge—that title “Sodome et Gomorrhe,” for instance, which Moncrieff makes into “Cities of the Plain.” The point and subject is perfectly clear, but disappears just a little into the moist air of euphemism. And what is true title by title is also true sentence by sentence: forced to make Proust a little more elusive and enigmatic and allusive than he is, Moncrieff turned instinctively to [Henry] James’s elusive and enigmatic allusiveness, the English equivalent nearest at hand.


I'll connect it with games just for good measure and note that despite having to work around Nintendo's censorship standards at the time, Ted Woolsey's 1994 translation of Final Fantasy VI is a superior, more accurate text compared to any subsequent attempt, and that anyone who says otherwise is a goddamn liar, doesn't know Japanese, or both!

Bonus fact: the first time I saw Iggy (that he is aware of), he was by a train station, reading a book about Proust, but in English. What can it mean?!





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"Re(5):Legend of Proust or what's in an Iggy" , posted Wed 9 May 01:24post reply

quote:
What made his Proust translation so superior—so much so that Joseph Conrad could actually say that he thought Moncrieff was a better translator than Proust was a writer?

quote:
Proust could be direct about things that Moncrieff had to fudge—that title “Sodome et Gomorrhe,” for instance, which Moncrieff makes into “Cities of the Plain.”

#triggered







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"Re(6):Legend of Proust or what's in an Iggy" , posted Wed 9 May 02:38post reply

quote:
What made his Proust translation so superior—so much so that Joseph Conrad could actually say that he thought Moncrieff was a better translator than Proust was a writer?
Proust could be direct about things that Moncrieff had to fudge—that title “Sodome et Gomorrhe,” for instance, which Moncrieff makes into “Cities of the Plain.”
#triggered



bahahaha

I find some of these choices not actually good: I think "In Search of Lost Time" is terrifically poetic and mysterious, and choosing to directly allude to another author (unless the original French phrasing was itself an allusion to another author's phrase!) injects an entirely different sense into that phrase.

quote:
Moncrieff, who was Uranian


It took me a little while to figure out that this meant a person from the Urals, not a person from Uranus.







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"Re(7):Legend of Proust or what's in an Iggy" , posted Wed 9 May 20:19:post reply

I'll take some time this week-end to set this entire article on fire and tie Maou in the middle of the blase. But just on this:
quote:
Moncrieff, who was Uranian

It took me a little while to figure out that this meant a person from the Urals, not a person from Uranus.

It actually means "from Uranus"!
Homose.... Urgh, not the correct word.
Men from upper classes sexually exclusively interested in men (let's just say MsM) in the late XIXth century in France were fighting to find the correct word to identify themselves. It was the time medecine was starting to pathologize them, and they were slowly being re-imagined from "criminals" to "dudes that have something wrong in their heads" (and would end up locked into an asylum instead of a prison), so the need was there.
The problem was that the practice itself was not solidified in the way we currently put all MsM in the same "gay" category (which is a problem all by itself, and the same for our current use of the artificial concept of "heterosexuality"). Also all categories despised each other, and refused to be associated with each other. Some were exclusively in a sort of "ancient greek" fantasy and only liked young men in a sort of intellectual formative way (Gide, and his fight to impose the word Pederast), others thought they were women trapped in men's body (but only in that they'd be sexually interested in men, not in the way we'd understand trans women now) like Proust and his favored word "invert", and then you'd have manly men who only liked manly men, like Jean Lorrain (who were interestingly the most looked down upon by the likes of Gide, and seen as brutal, unrefined beasts with no understanding of culture), and also probably many others I forget.

Anyhow, esoteric nonsense were all the rage at the end of XIXth century, and that created a renaissance in the art of astrology. Some of it passed into the literary circles, and "Saturnian" and "Uranian" were adopted by poetically-minded MsM as code words to describe themselves. In astrological terms, "Saturnian" personalities would be more moody, lonely and prone to daydream alone (an experience many MsM teenagers at the time probably experienced) while "Uranian" personalities were supposed to be forward thinking, on the forefront of everything, and shunned for being too avant-garde compared to the current state of society. Both words include "loner" aspects, which MsM people of the time thought expressed particularly well a certain area of their experience.





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"Re(8):Legend of Proust or what's in an Iggy" , posted Thu 10 May 07:44:post reply

quote:
I'll take some time this week-end to set this entire article on fire and tie Maou in the middle of the blase.
"Madman's Cafe posters take no responsibility for the accuracy of these links or any problems they might cause."

Regardless, I do think differing levels of writing skill between author and translator are interesting. I've written elsewhere (maybe even in this thread) about how some friends who read Murakami in English found (literature professor) Rubin's translation to add a bit too much flourish to the sprase, simple originals that was better recreated by Birnbaum. Since translation is often a job for literary types, what happens when they encounter sources of lesser complexity? Pop culture translators are better primed to deal with this in manga translations, etc., but perhaps literary translation faces more difficulties based on the sensibilities of the people involved.

I like this MsM historical detail. Can we all upgrade from Gothic Londonians to Gothic Uranians?





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[this message was edited by Maou on Thu 10 May 12:12]

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"Re(8):Legend of Proust or what's in an Iggy" , posted Tue 15 May 01:44post reply

quote:
like Proust and his favored word "invert", and

"Hey darling, how about we JeanLorrain'd it tonight?"
"Not tonight sweetie, but let's open this Chardonnay and Proust the night away"







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"Re(9):Legend of Proust or what's in an Iggy" , posted Tue 15 May 04:07post reply

quote:
like Proust and his favored word "invert", and
"Hey darling, how about we JeanLorrain'd it tonight?"
"Not tonight sweetie, but let's open this Chardonnay and Proust the night away"



Indeed, one can only imagine what "role play" would've been like in this era of attempting to define their own pigeonholes.

"I'm so sorry, I'm tired tonight. I'll have to be Ganymede."

"What if we "uninverted" ourselves tonight?"

Or perhaps a new category would get defined, become fashionable, get fetishized instantly, then soon become demode in the haute circles, only for it to be resurrected in the bedrooms a decade or more later as they decide to kick it oldschool





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"Re(10):Legend of Proust or what's in an Iggy" , posted Wed 23 May 03:00post reply

quote:
like Proust and his favored word "invert", and
"Hey darling, how about we JeanLorrain'd it tonight?"
"Not tonight sweetie, but let's open this Chardonnay and Proust the night away"


Indeed, one can only imagine what "role play" would've been like in this era of attempting to define their own pigeonholes.

"I'm so sorry, I'm tired tonight. I'll have to be Ganymede."

"What if we "uninverted" ourselves tonight?"

Or perhaps a new category would get defined, become fashionable, get fetishized instantly, then soon become demode in the haute circles, only for it to be resurrected in the bedrooms a decade or more later as they decide to kick it oldschool


... the gap is huge if you compare it to modern times, when it's widely acknowledged that they're as many sexualities as there are individuals, poststructuralism oblige; let alone that those are hardly ever nurtured by the medium of literature --- and if it were, well that would be a very specific fetish indeed.







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"Re(2):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Wed 23 May 04:16:post reply

quote:
structuralism


One of the additional challenges for me being only literate in English is that all of the literary theory I know of is from the Western world. While the advent of telecommunications and now the internet means that the dissemination of critique can spread rapidly and new works can arise influenced by exposure to things from all over the world, the analyses and schemas which I am exposed to are still relatively culturally confined.

There is a lot of worldliness among influential authors historically speaking, and in the past several decades I'm sure authors which wound up studying literature academically inevitably had to do some reading of works that would be considered part of the English canon even if English literature wasn't the thrust of their studies.

But I have no idea what are the major literary theories of the the past few decades in Japan or in India, for example. We can apply literary theories from one culture towards works originating and grounded in another, certainly (as we often do when citing the Death of the Author here in the cafe!), but surely the perspectives we are currently aware of are not the only ones. I have no idea what current literary theories in China are, though I imagine that the CPC's looming presence chills the publication and study of radical new ones.

Would you happen to be able to speak to this topic from your studies, Kikkoken?





[this message was edited by Spoon on Wed 23 May 04:17]

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"Re(3):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Wed 23 May 04:32:post reply

quote:

Would you happen to be able to speak to this topic from your studies, Kikkoken?



I heard Kikkoken is teaching a course on linguistics and literary theory this summer, right here in the cafe.

Edit: Did I miss the sign-up period?
Double edit: To be clear I would definitely sign up.





/ / /

[this message was edited by Mosquiton on Wed 23 May 09:12]



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"Re(4):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Wed 23 May 11:57post reply

quote:
I heard Kikkoken is teaching a course on linguistics and literary theory this summer, right here in the cafe.
You bet your @$$ I signed up for cram school to make it into Kikkokeniversity! I hear it's a lot better than that institution where Iggy-sensei teaches his deviant students like Geraldine (ON TOPIC: is this a case of BBS intertextuality?!!?)

(Also ON TOPIC: it's sad how little of academia outside the sciences is translated now, leading to obscure national trajectories that are not "in conversation" with each other. Comp lit probably struggles just to stay current on global works or translate them, let alone analyze theory or trends on a higher level.)





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"Re(5):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Fri 1 Jun 04:03post reply

Héhé, but this summer, I’ll be in a nude beach somewhere in Spain, with mostly anatomical concens in mind! Kikkokeniversity will be relocated on that beach. Before signing up, you must consent to be taught naked and to join me out there.
I’m afraid I’ve not got in touch with the latest in literary studies for a good 15 years. These days, I can simply say that stylistic studies & « narratology » are the big things in French academia. My peresonal field is becoming more & more strictly linguistic, focusing these days on presuppositions and implicatures.







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"Re(6):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Fri 1 Jun 14:10post reply

quote:

I’m afraid I’ve not got in touch with the latest in literary studies for a good 15 years.



You say that, but we're referencing literary theories that are maybe 50 years old at the YOUNGEST!
I'd love to hear about any literary theory from academic circles from the 21st century!





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"Re(7):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Sat 2 Jun 02:29post reply

quote:

I’m afraid I’ve not got in touch with the latest in literary studies for a good 15 years.


You say that, but we're referencing literary theories that are maybe 50 years old at the YOUNGEST!
I'd love to hear about any literary theory from academic circles from the 21st century!


Well, literary studies alternate between close attention to smaller extracts, and analyses of full works (a book, an author's complete works). I know for one thing that for short texts, literary scholars in France often use Greimas's concept of "isotopies", which originated as a semantic concept, and was then revamped to become a fruitful key to analyse the stylistic coherence of a text. (I like Rastier's take on it). For full books, it's become almost impossible for a literary scholar not to use a software that tallies the occurrences/tokens of a given text. Such statistic tools, like Hyperbase, make it possible to draw conclusions pertaining to the author's preference for sometimes very unconspicuous forms (how many times does a modal occur, what personal pronouns are used most, why does "small" occur so much more than "little" or "big", etc.). It's of course not a theory per se but a tool, the ever-growing use of which echoes the need for modern linguists to use corpus linguistics.
[This post was not written while in my birthday suit]







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"Re(8):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Sat 2 Jun 07:18post reply

quote:

Well, literary studies alternate between close attention to smaller extracts, and analyses of full works (a book, an author's complete works). I know for one thing that for short texts, literary scholars in France often use Greimas's concept of "isotopies", which originated as a semantic concept, and was then revamped to become a fruitful key to analyse the stylistic coherence of a text. (I like Rastier's take on it).



I have an uncomfortable mokkori reading this

quote:

For full books, it's become almost impossible for a literary scholar not to use a software that tallies the occurrences/tokens of a given text.



I did not know that this kind of lexical analysis was commonplace for non-sociological/linguist rooted studies of literature nowadays!

Do we see the coining of "movements" to describe particular linguistic or statistically significant trends that have been uncovered from this analysis? And to what extent do we see this kind of analysis extending towards the analysis of the structure (not structuralism structure, but I mean to say compositional style, narrative, etc.) and rhythmic style of works?

[This post was not written while in my birthday suit because I am at work at the moment]







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"Re(6):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Sat 2 Jun 07:53post reply

quote:
Héhé, but this summer, I’ll be in a nude beach somewhere in Spain, with mostly anatomical concens in mind! Kikkokeniversity will be relocated on that beach. Before signing up, you must consent to be taught naked and to join me out there.
Ki, Kikkoken-sensei, please sign me up!
quote:
Greimas's concept of "isotopies", which originated as a semantic concept, and was then revamped to become a fruitful key to analyse the stylistic coherence of a text.

Such statistic tools, like Hyperbase, make it possible to draw conclusions pertaining to the author's preference for sometimes very unconspicuous forms (how many times does a modal occur, what personal pronouns are used most, why does "small" occur so much more than "little" or "big", etc.).
This is hotter than Dragon's Crown.

If the phrases "diegesis" or "intentional fallacy" were to appear (again?) in this thread I might need to go outside to cool off.





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"Re(7):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Fri 15 Jun 03:50post reply

Dear me, if I were to have a hard-on everytime I hear such words, my life would be spent in a constant stiffness, with just a few refreshing flacid pauses from twilight till dawn.







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"Re(8):Re(10):Legend of Post-Structuralism" , posted Sat 16 Jun 03:32post reply

quote:
Dear me, if I were to have a hard-on everytime I hear such words, my life would be spent in a constant stiffness, with just a few refreshing flacid pauses from twilight till dawn.



So you'd be living the life of Brandon/Iggy?

But seriously, we'd love to have you lecture us about your field and your studies, even if only in a fashion that would be cursory by the standards of academic rigor.







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"Re(9):Re(10):Legend of Spelling" , posted Fri 20 Jul 09:27post reply

It's funny seeing something get a highly formal defined spelling for standard reference:

The AP spelling is "esports", sometimes "e-sports", but never "eSports".







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"Re(10):Re(10):FFVI: Localization Returns" , posted Thu 26 Jul 08:05post reply

The latest chapter in the examination of FFVI's original script and its localizations.







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"Re(2):Re(10):Re(10):FFVI: Localization Return" , posted Thu 26 Jul 08:28:post reply

quote:
The latest chapter in the examination of FFVI's original script and its localizations.

I am on the phone right now but I am here to tell you that Woolsey’s translation is brilliant and worth the occasional error or name change or censoring, the RPGOne translation patch was written by a well-meaning soul who literally did not know enough Japanese to translate the dialogue but did successfully fix the item names, and the GBA version is a miserable translation of a translation that ruins entire scenes. Not that any Cafe patron would be caught playing the plebian GBA/mobile port any sooner than they would be caught eating American cheese.

There was a fan translation (not a patch) of most of the dialogue by Lina Darkstar that was quite good, and featured side analyses of speech patterns that were impossible to translate but which reveal things about the characters, particularly Cefca. We could do that here, if you want!





人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

[this message was edited by Maou on Thu 26 Jul 08:43]



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"Re(3):Re(10):Re(10):FFVI: Localization Return" , posted Thu 26 Jul 14:12:post reply

quote:
the RPGOne translation patch was written by a well-meaning soul who literally did not know enough Japanese to translate the dialogue but did successfully fix the item names,


This is a point that this article actually touches on: the fan translation has a bunch of errors that are very amateurish (like, beginner-level Japanese amateurish) but weirdly has some errors that come across as "how have you not read enough manga/watched enough anime to not have encountered this?!" However, the passionate amateurism of the fan translation has a peculiar charm of its own. That said, the unfamiliarity that more than one translation has with is actually baffling. Maybe they came from an era where they didn't read nearly so much porn and everyone breathing heavily said zee-zee...

quote:
There was a fan translation (not a patch) of most of the dialogue by Lina Darkstar that was quite good, and featured side analyses of speech patterns that were impossible to translate but which reveal things about the characters, particularly Cefca. We could do that here, if you want!



"Cefca" is such an odd spelling to me because it makes my brain think it should be pronounced "Sefka". The "C" and "K" confusion between Japanese and non-Japanese terms is sometimes funny, even when the consonants exist in both languages to get the phonetics across: in a reverse case, I've got a plush triceratops whose katakana reads "torikeratoppsu".

Certainly post some of these speech pattern notes! And are there any games/works you've happened upon lately which have similar good usage of language affectations?

One of the most interesting localization choices I've seen lately has been transposing Japanese voices into UK accents: in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 you have Welsh-accented catgirls; in one manga I've read the translator adapted lady's heavy Hakata dialect to a Scottish accent; and in Dragon Quest 8, the coarse thug Yangus has a Cockney accent.





[this message was edited by Spoon on Thu 26 Jul 14:14]



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"Re(4):Re(10):Re(10):FFVI: Localization Return" , posted Thu 26 Jul 22:52post reply

quote:
One of the most interesting localization choices I've seen lately has been transposing Japanese voices into UK accents: in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 you have Welsh-accented catgirls; in one manga I've read the translator adapted lady's heavy Hakata dialect to a Scottish accent; and in Dragon Quest 8, the coarse thug Yangus has a Cockney accent.

I was wondering if you had any familiarity with the first Xenoblade Chronicles since it was the game that started the trend (considering it was localized for Europe/UK first).

I actually found the British accents to be a nice fit...most of the time. The High Entia, for example, are given a "posh" accent to highlight the air of nobility, while characters like Reyn see to be more cockney (please correct me if I'm wrong). The "cutie mascot" voices, though, is where I think some of the UK dubs falter at times, but in some cases, such as with Xenoblade Chronicles 2's "Gramps", sounds more "genuinely like an old man" instead of the typical "oyaji".

Same goes for Nia, where her Japanese voice sounds more fitting, but sound too stereotypically "pint-sized tsundere" typecasted. Her Welsh voice eventually grew on me...I don't know if it's because of the snarky tone or the "Oi! You ca-hn't do that!", but it certainly adds an extra dimension that I think would otherwise be lost if a non-native Japanese speaker just listened to the original seiyuu voices without recognizing the nuances of different dialects.

(I also find it interesting how the person who voices Melia in Xenoblade Chronicles ended up became a popular actress in her own right after having landed a roll as a companion in Doctor Who...)







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"Re(5):Re(10):Re(10):FFVI: Localization Return" , posted Fri 27 Jul 00:07post reply

quote:

I was wondering if you had any familiarity with the first Xenoblade Chronicles since it was the game that started the trend (considering it was localized for Europe/UK first).



I think Dragon Quest 8 was the first big one to do this, since it predates XBC by several years... and since the original Japanese version of DQ8 didn't have voice acting in the game, it was an even more deliberate addition!





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"Re(6):Re(10):Re(10):FFVI: Localization Return" , posted Fri 27 Jul 03:52post reply

quote:

I was wondering if you had any familiarity with the first Xenoblade Chronicles since it was the game that started the trend (considering it was localized for Europe/UK first).


I think Dragon Quest 8 was the first big one to do this, since it predates XBC by several years... and since the original Japanese version of DQ8 didn't have voice acting in the game, it was an even more deliberate addition!



Also the European versions of some of the DQ games for DS, the Italian translation used a lot of regional dialects for various characters.







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"Re(7):Re(10):Re(10):FFVI: Localization Return" , posted Fri 27 Jul 09:40post reply

quote:

I was wondering if you had any familiarity with the first Xenoblade Chronicles since it was the game that started the trend (considering it was localized for Europe/UK first).


I think Dragon Quest 8 was the first big one to do this, since it predates XBC by several years... and since the original Japanese version of DQ8 didn't have voice acting in the game, it was an even more deliberate addition!


Also the European versions of some of the DQ games for DS, the Italian translation used a lot of regional dialects for various characters.



That's really cool! Anything interesting about their choices in your mind? I can't say I know anything about cultural associations of the different Italian dialects...







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"Re(4):FFVI: British Accents Return" , posted Fri 27 Jul 23:45post reply

FFVI: I can't think of a game that better exemplifies the comments earlier in this thread about how a good translator must also be a good writer. Even with the occasional error or space/censorship limitation, Woolsey is an extremely good writer who accurately reproduced the extreme range of tragedy and comedy contained in FFVI's original script. The GBA retranslation is the most creatively bankrupt of the bunch. Here, Square did not have the courage to actually create a fresh translation, leaving the translator to wedge in wordy new additions to Woolsey's basic script, occasionally flubbing entire scenes. Take the classic combination of horror and comedy when Celes stabs Cefca on the floating continent, sparking him to destroy the world by awakening the Three Gods of War. Here, we have Cefca's characteristically unsettling speech patterns:

Japanese: "Ouuuch! Blood, blood! Da...damn you...damn damn damn... damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn youuuuuuuu! Now, you gods who were born only to wage war! The time has come to show me your power!"

Woolsey: "Ouch!! B..blood? You... vicious brat! I hate hate hate hate hate hate... hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE YOU! Goddesses... you were born only to fight. I implore you... show me your power!!"

GBA: "Ouch! B-blood... Blood! Blood!!! You vicious brat! Argh... Grrr...! You know, you really are a stupid... Vicious... Arrogant, whiny, pampered, backstabbing, worthless... LITTLE BRAT!!! Gods, you were born to fight! Now is the time! I implore you...show me your power!"

Which of the two translations best matches the original's mix of comedy and violence, and which adds fluff that detracts from it? I think the answer is clear. And this links nicely into...

Cefca's speech patterns: One of the more impressive things about Woolsey's rendition of Cefca is that he creates the same creepy-comic personality by necessarily different linguistic means. In Japanese, Cefca switches regularly between (aggressive) everyday casual speech, everyday polite speech (non-keigo/non-honorific), and occasionally childish speech (especially in his first-person pronoun). In Japanese, you can switch from everyday casual to everyday polite speech to create a comedic effect, but with Cefca, it's more extreme since he's talking politely about how he will kill you. I should note that this polite speech is not arch or formal, as you commonly see in villains who are being haughty or arrogant. Cefca is merely expressing violent thoughts and commands with the same speech pattern you would use if you bumped into someone you knew at the office. The result is a depiction that is comic while also extremely unstable and violent. In this sense, Woolsey's use of funny phrases or puns for Cefca is very apt: you still end up with a villain who vacillates between humorous and horrifying, and thus the same sense of instability and tension in the character.

Accents: I would be interested to hear how British speakers evaluate the use of British actors and dialogue. As with the Middle English-ification of FF Tactics, FFXII, etc., I'm simultaneously impressed with the added effort but dubious about the necessity, plus a little suspicious that it makes it harder for non-British people to tell if the translation or acting are actually any good, given how easily Americans assume that British accents=classy. Back on the subject of writing, maybe the use of regional UK accents is actually a good thing, on the other hand. Inferior translations used to use a Southern US accent to substitute for Kansai accents, but the in addition to being really difficult to read, they had far too many hickish connotations to be taken seriously and brought all kinds of baggage to the dialogue.





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"Re(5):FFVI: British Accents Return" , posted Sat 28 Jul 01:23post reply

quote:
FFVI: I can't think of a game that better exemplifies the comments earlier in this thread about how a good translator must also be a good writer. Even with the occasional error or space/censorship limitation, Woolsey is an extremely good writer who accurately reproduced the extreme range of tragedy and comedy contained in FFVI's original script. The GBA retranslation is the most creatively bankrupt of the bunch. Here, Square did not have the courage to actually create a fresh translation, leaving the translator to wedge in wordy new additions to Woolsey's basic script, occasionally flubbing entire scenes. Take the classic combination of horror and comedy when Celes stabs Cefca on the floating continent, sparking him to destroy the world by awakening the Three Gods of War. Here, we have Cefca's characteristically unsettling speech patterns:

Japanese: "Ouuuch! Blood, blood! Da...damn you...damn damn damn... damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn youuuuuuuu! Now, you gods who were born only to wage war! The time has come to show me your power!"

Woolsey: "Ouch!! B..blood? You... vicious brat! I hate hate hate hate hate hate... hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE YOU! Goddesses... you were born only to fight. I implore you... show me your power!!"

GBA: "Ouch! B-blood... Blood! Blood!!! You vicious brat! Argh... Grrr...! You know, you really are a stupid... Vicious... Arrog

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Thanks so much for that breakdown! I remember the original FFVI translation fondly. It was my alltime favorite game for a long time after all. I recall years ago hearing that the GBA translation was more accurate and therefore superior, but with translations literal accuracy is never the same as being faithful to the original intentions. Would you say that the original SNES game is still the best way to experience FFVI in the English language?

Re: British Accents for Voice Acting

I feel like they work out great if the actual actors are British. I think part of this has to do with the greater amount of history that informs each accent, giving it much more nuance, and I think a lot the appeal of this approach is that British actors are just better. Heck, they're better at playing Americans than actual Americans!

If it's North Americans doing the British accents though, ah man, no thanks!

I wonder if we could do more with American accents in games. I haven't played the new God of War, but I heard it does a good job using American English in a fantasy setting instead of just defaulting to British accents. I don't think modern American English works very well for Fantasy though.

Maybe if they did a game with the old Trans Atlantic Accent? In all seriousness, there's a charm to it that I think would work. I'd love to play an RPG with Carey Grant as the lead! And ya know, people used to make fun of old Kungfu movie dubs, but I honestly think they sound way better than most anime dubs!






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"Re(6):FFVI: British Accents Return" , posted Sat 28 Jul 02:30:post reply

quote:
FFVI: I can't think of a game that better exemplifies the comments earlier in this thread about how a good translator must also be a good writer. Even with the occasional error or space/censorship limitation, Woolsey is an extremely good writer who accurately reproduced the extreme range of tragedy and comedy contained in FFVI's original script. The GBA retranslation is the most creatively bankrupt of the bunch. Here, Square did not have the courage to actually create a fresh translation, leaving the translator to wedge in wordy new additions to Woolsey's basic script, occasionally flubbing entire scenes. Take the classic combination of horror and comedy when Celes stabs Cefca on the floating continent, sparking him to destroy the world by awakening the Three Gods of War. Here, we have Cefca's characteristically unsettling speech patterns:

Japanese: "Ouuuch! Blood, blood! Da...damn you...damn damn damn... damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn youuuuuuuu! Now, you gods who were born only to wage war! The time has come to show me your power!"

Woolsey: "Ouch!! B..blood? You... vicious brat! I hate hate hate hate hate hate... hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE YOU! Goddesses... you were born only to fight. I implore you... show me your power!!"

GBA: "Ouch! B-blood... Blood! Blood!!! You vicious brat! Argh... Grrr...! You know, you really are a stupid... Vicious.

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Wow, that's very interesting and insightful! Thanks for that breakdown, Maou!


So a very interesting localization choice which Xenoblade Chronicles 2 makes is that everybody EXCEPT one character uses a UK accent. These range from Welsh for the cat-people (and specifically, Southern Wales for one of the main party members!), Scottish for one of the military officers, something more stereotypically English for one of the ancient creatures, etc... The one exception is this ancient legendary human weapon who is one of the main characters, who has reawakened after some hundred years: she speaks with a modern, flat American accent! It sounds REALLY out of place, and at first it seems bad/weird because her delivery doesn't seem that "good" sometimes, but it does a tremendously good job of making her sound like somebody out of place. Since literally everybody else sounds like UKers, she is jarringly foreign to the setting, but since I'm North American, she's the one that sounds like me! It makes her more like me, and the land she's in vaguely foreign to me! I think it winds up being a fantastic and clever localization choice. Unfortunately (?), the sensation of what is foreign and what is familiar to the person playing the game is going to be reversed for UKers!





[this message was edited by Spoon on Sat 28 Jul 02:34]

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"Re(8):Re(10):Re(10):FFVI: Localization Return" , posted Sat 28 Jul 04:09post reply

quote:

That's really cool! Anything interesting about their choices in your mind? I can't say I know anything about cultural associations of the different Italian dialects...



Sorry, sadly I can't contribute much more on this, otherwise I would have loved to do it in my previous post, but I know this because a friend of mine played the game back then and told me this, but I never played any of these games myself.
I know they used "romanesco" (Rome's dialect / accent) for some characters in IV, but also in the same game they made some people "speak" in a fake russian accent, but not having played the game I don't have absolutely any idea why they adapted the script like that.







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"Re(9):Re(10):Re(10):FFVI: Localization Return" , posted Sat 28 Jul 04:20post reply

quote:

That's really cool! Anything interesting about their choices in your mind? I can't say I know anything about cultural associations of the different Italian dialects...


Sorry, sadly I can't contribute much more on this, otherwise I would have loved to do it in my previous post, but I know this because a friend of mine played the game back then and told me this, but I never played any of these games myself.
I know they used "romanesco" (Rome's dialect / accent) for some characters in IV, but also in the same game they made some people "speak" in a fake russian accent, but not having played the game I don't have absolutely any idea why they adapted the script like that.



It sounds like to me that you have a homework assignment!







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"Re(6):FFVI: British Accents Return" , posted Sat 28 Jul 11:50post reply

quote:
Thanks so much for that breakdown! I remember the original FFVI translation fondly. It was my alltime favorite game for a long time after all. I recall years ago hearing that the GBA translation was more accurate and therefore superior, but with translations literal accuracy is never the same as being faithful to the original intentions. Would you say that the original SNES game is still the best way to experience FFVI in the English language?

I would recommend English speakers play the Woolsey version without hesitation! A few things are lost due to text limits or censorship, but what is present is almost entirely excellent, and what's missing is primarily in the realm of the backstory with the Three Gods of War, who never speak and who are ultimately unimportant to the characterization of anyone in the game. Even the random changes point towards the literacy of the translator: Ether may be Tincture, and Ether Turbo may be Ether, but my god, "tincture!" The GBA version, by contrast, jams extraneous stuff in there, starting right from the prologue and as per Cefca's line above, that isn't even in the original, sacrificing its only claim to usefulness, "accuracy." Put another way: getting to read the GBA's "Blizzara" instead of "Ice 2" probably isn't worth your reading a text that sounds (and was constructed similarly to) an English translation of a French translation of the original Tao Te Ching (I have seen one of these things). In conclusion, I will write all day about how Cefca is the most linguistically interesting villain Square has ever made if you make me.
quote:

Maybe if they did a game with the old Trans Atlantic Accent?
So THAT'S what that thing is! I have been wondering for years why classic American film and television sounds like that.





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"Re(7):FFVI: British Accents Return" , posted Sun 29 Jul 02:02post reply

quote:
Thanks so much for that breakdown! I remember the original FFVI translation fondly. It was my alltime favorite game for a long time after all. I recall years ago hearing that the GBA translation was more accurate and therefore superior, but with translations literal accuracy is never the same as being faithful to the original intentions. Would you say that the original SNES game is still the best way to experience FFVI in the English language?
I would recommend English speakers play the Woolsey version without hesitation! A few things are lost due to text limits or censorship, but what is present is almost entirely excellent, and what's missing is primarily in the realm of the backstory with the Three Gods of War, who never speak and who are ultimately unimportant to the characterization of anyone in the game. Even the random changes point towards the literacy of the translator: Ether may be Tincture, and Ether Turbo may be Ether, but my god, "tincture!" The GBA version, by contrast, jams extraneous stuff in there, starting right from the prologue and as per Cefca's line above, that isn't even in the original, sacrificing its only claim to usefulness, "accuracy." Put another way: getting to read the GBA's "Blizzara" instead of "Ice 2" probably isn't worth your reading a text that sounds (and was constructed similarly to) an English translation of a French translation of the original Tao Te Ching (I have seen one of these things). In conclusion, I will wr

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


The Trans Atlantic Accent has really heavy associations with a particular era in the past (which to most people today is somewhere after old-timey but somewhere before the 80s, and that's not totally incorrect), and being a radio/tv announcer of a certain degree of formality.

Rocky and Bullwinkle have this to quite a degree, and the legendary localization (... total rewrite...) of Samurai Pizza Cats!
Who do you call when you want some pepperoni?







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"Re(8):FFVI: After Maou" , posted Mon 30 Jul 12:08post reply

Now that I think about it, since you have very clearly considered notions about how to translate things between Japanese and English, have you ever worked as a translator professionally? It wouldn't surprise me if you did!







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"Re(9):FFVI: After Maou" , posted Tue 31 Jul 02:16post reply

Well, everyone has at least an opinion, I guess! I'm interested to hear others' experiences. Most of the translation I do has been incidental to other jobs, and sadly outside of the arts, though every so often, excessive enthusiasm for a certain series has led me to longer volunteer projects against my better judgment, or to translate soundtracks for old friends at RPGFan back in the day. I did almost decide to work for Square once (bonus attempt to get back into Iggy's good graces after destroying the SaGa thread: when they asked me what untranslated game would be fun to translate, I told them RS2!).

My impressions of game translation are actually based only on the very small pool of games I've played in English or looking at scripts in gamefaqs out of curiousity. It was still enough to reach the general wisdom on translation that the text should usually not read as if it were translated (unless you are a member of the self-defeating and confused modern translation theory discipline) but should probably not throw in new stuff. Sometimes, I think about how the economy of games and their tenuous place as art leads to a greater acceptance of "localization" that would never be tolerated in many other mediums, which is all a bit different from the questions of converting ancient text to modern that we were talking about above.
quote:

Samurai Pizza Cats!
Who do you call when you want some pepperoni?
On the other hand, a certain set of dumbfounding circumstances, such as the literal absence of the original script, can lead to some heroic cases for "localization."





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"Re(10):FFVI: After Maou" , posted Tue 31 Jul 04:01post reply

quote:
I did almost decide to work for Square once (bonus attempt to get back into Iggy's good graces after destroying the SaGa thread: when they asked me what untranslated game would be fun to translate, I told them RS2!).



WHAT

Also I imagine that if we had a game translated as a joint Iggy/Maou/Professor/mmcafer effort, it would be a translation of unprecedented quality.







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"Re(2):Re(10):FFVI: After Maou" , posted Tue 31 Jul 08:06post reply

quote:
Also I imagine that if we had a game translated as a joint Iggy/Maou/Professor/mmcafer effort, it would be a translation of unprecedented quality.

Small note about hiring rabid fans of a work to translate said work a few years after the original work was released: you run the risk that the fans would translate FOR fans, highlighting elements of the characters that have gained traction into the fandom while slightly adapting or downplaying elements that didn't get popular.
At worse, this makes something that's really annoying for a total newcomer (which, if it's the first time a work is translated, should be most customers) because of the amount of private jokes ("this sentence has TOTALLY become a meme in Japanese, so I'm going to write it so it becomes a meme in the target language as well") and weird Flanderization of the characters even though it should be their first appearance.

Hiring fans to work on their choice property has always seemed like a mistake to me, at least for translation. Moreover, many such fans have a very limited cultural scope and have poor vocabulary in the target language, since they seldom read anything outside of their field of immediate interest.
Which is not to say you should hire people who dislike videogame to translate them, of course. Casual fans of the property would be the best, since they have the knowledge of the content without necessarily spending their time on Tumblr dedicated to it.
Actual translation talent is paramount, and a good translator should be able to translate properly many different things, while most fans wouldn't even be able to translate professionally the product they're fans of.







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"Re(3):Re(10):FFVI: After Maou" , posted Tue 31 Jul 09:20post reply

quote:
Also I imagine that if we had a game translated as a joint Iggy/Maou/Professor/mmcafer effort, it would be a translation of unprecedented quality.
Small note about hiring rabid fans of a work to translate said work a few years after the original work was released: you run the risk that the fans would translate FOR fans, highlighting elements of the characters that have gained traction into the fandom while slightly adapting or downplaying elements that didn't get popular.
At worse, this makes something that's really annoying for a total newcomer (which, if it's the first time a work is translated, should be most customers) because of the amount of private jokes ("this sentence has TOTALLY become a meme in Japanese, so I'm going to write it so it becomes a meme in the target language as well") and weird Flanderization of the characters even though it should be their first appearance.

Hiring fans to work on their choice property has always seemed like a mistake to me, at least for translation. Moreover, many such fans have a very limited cultural scope and have poor vocabulary in the target language, since they seldom read anything outside of their field of immediate interest.
Which is not to say you should hire people who dislike videogame to translate them, of course. Casual fans of the property would be the best, since they have the knowledge of the content without necessarily spending their time on Tumblr dedicated to it.
Actual translation talent is par

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Specifically the reason why I think of this is because the problem of lack of greater knowledge outside of the specific domain of the property shouldn't be a problem with that group! The breadth of subject expertise and knowledge would be pretty terrific, and the standards for what constitutes "good" writing would be extremely high.

Alternatively, if you just became an editor team that'd probably be great.







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"Re(4):Re(10):FFVI: After Juan" , posted Tue 31 Jul 11:36:post reply

For these reasons, the MMCafe translation triad will happily deploy once there is an RPG requiring a very specific knowledge of cheese. My hopes peaked in 1996 or so with Star Ocean and I've been waiting ever since for an RPG cooking system with more sophisticated ingredient descriptions than "cheese."
quote:
Which is not to say you should hire people who dislike videogame to translate them
Although Juan did make a compelling case!





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"Re(5):Re(10):FFVI: After Juan" , posted Tue 31 Jul 22:10post reply

quote:
Although Juan did make a compelling case!

That's not an opinion, though.
That's scientifically proven, objective fact.





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"Re(6):Re(10):FFVI: After Juan" , posted Tue 7 Aug 05:52post reply

quote:
Although Juan did make a compelling case!
That's not an opinion, though.
That's scientifically proven, objective fact.


But it remains to be investigated why the statement "la merde, c'est du jeu vidéo" does not seem to reciprocate.







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"Re(7):Re(10):FFVI: After Juan" , posted Tue 7 Aug 07:17post reply

quote:

But it remains to be investigated why the statement "la merde, c'est du jeu vidéo" does not seem to reciprocate.

I'm sure there's some dodgy (and smelly) place in Berlin or Malmö where this statement is also true.





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"Re(8):Re(10):FFVI: After Juan" , posted Wed 8 Aug 00:40post reply

quote:

But it remains to be investigated why the statement "la merde, c'est du jeu vidéo" does not seem to reciprocate.
I'm sure there's some dodgy (and smelly) place in Berlin or Malmö where this statement is also true.


hahahaha! Iggy, you crack me up!





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"Re(9):Re(10):FFVI: After Juan" , posted Fri 10 Aug 00:48post reply

quote:

But it remains to be investigated why the statement "la merde, c'est du jeu vidéo" does not seem to reciprocate.
I'm sure there's some dodgy (and smelly) place in Berlin or Malmö where this statement is also true.

hahahaha! Iggy, you crack me up!


Now I feel the need to watch some footage of SNK Heroines with its orgy of cupcakes and whatnot's erupting after every blow just to purge me from the vision!







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"Re(7):Re(10):FFVI: After Juan" , posted Fri 10 Aug 01:54post reply

quote:
Although Juan did make a compelling case!
That's not an opinion, though.
That's scientifically proven, objective fact.

But it remains to be investigated why the statement "la merde, c'est du jeu vidéo" does not seem to reciprocate.



I'm sure you could find an indie game that is about that somewhere!

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/05/24/pleasures-of-translation/

Maou, this link you had posted earlier but I need a subscription to read it. Would you say it is worth $5 USD to access this article, or is the NYBOOKS otherwise an insufferable artsy-fartsy literary joint that I'd be better served ignoring?







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"Re(8):Re(10):FFVI: After Juan" , posted Fri 10 Aug 02:02post reply

quote:
Maou, this link you had posted earlier but I need a subscription to read it. Would you say it is worth $5 USD to access this article, or is the NYBOOKS otherwise an insufferable artsy-fartsy literary joint that I'd be better served ignoring?

you must gain access to this article or risk being destroyed

I liked it. The tradition of using book reviews to wander off into intellectual topics is on full display, and the NY Review of Books does it better than most. I particularly liked this article.





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"Re(9):Re(10):FFVI: After Juan" , posted Fri 10 Aug 04:18post reply

quote:
Maou, this link you had posted earlier but I need a subscription to read it. Would you say it is worth $5 USD to access this article, or is the NYBOOKS otherwise an insufferable artsy-fartsy literary joint that I'd be better served ignoring?
you must gain access to this article or risk being destroyed

I liked it. The tradition of using book reviews to wander off into intellectual topics is on full display, and the NY Review of Books does it better than most. I particularly liked this article.


What I enjoy about articles such as this is that they always employ a caricaturist to draw Ezra Pound or some other literary big-wig as if they were formed out of a moldy loaf of bread.