28 September 2008

Ghibli Layout Exhibition

Today I went to the Studio Ghibli Layout Exhibition at the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art, curated by my friend Tomoe Moriyama. It was awesome! They had 1300 pieces of layout art from Studio Ghibli, representing all the movies.

Most of the exhibit was, not surprisingly, forbidden to photograph, but at the end they had several *huge* reproductions of Layouts:

From Tokyo

From Tokyo

(look at the floorboards to get an idea how big these were)

From Tokyo

This was the line to get into the the gift shop at the end. Talk about lost sales!

From Tokyo

They had a really cool activity at the end of the tour. They handed out little round paper stickers, and there was a table of black markers, so you could make your own "kurosuke" (from the dust bunny spirits in the movie My Neighbor Totoro).

From Tokyo

And then they had a lot of wallspace to put your korosuke up on:

From Tokyo

I mean, really a lot of wall space:

From Tokyo

This was a fantastic exhibition and a real opportunity for any Ghibli fans. Unfortunately, today was the last day, so you won't be able to go again! If you do get a chance to get one of the catalogs, though, go for it: it is fantastic. I'm not sure yet, but I think it actually has all 1300 layouts from the show.

20 September 2008

Hyperrealistic painting site


This site has painting of various qualities, and it looks like they were mostly done by copying photographs. But the cool thing is that you can watch the painting get made -- the software they use can do an auto-time-lapse of making the image. Click on the little button above each image that says ★動画 and, if you have Java installed, you can watch the painting get painted.

My favorite was DIR EN GREY, #2507.

Language Geeking - Equivalent of Japanese Counters in English

One of the hardest things for a native English speaker studying Japanese (or Chinese) is the idea of counters, or as linguists call them, classifiers.

In Japanese when counting things, you can't just use the number: you have to append a counter to the number to refer to that thing. You can't see, "As for pencils, I had three"; you have to say, "As for pencils, I had three-long-thin-things". This is a generic rule, with lots of different counters for different kinds of things, which need to be memorized.

In fact, as Japanese teachers like to point out, we do have counters in English, but they're quite rare. The famous example is "sheets" for paper. You can't have "one paper", you have "one sheet of paper" (you can have one scientific paper, but that's a different use of the word paper). I recently realized that 'pair' is a counter for both pants and scissors; it functions exactly like 'sheet of paper' (and all of them are excellent analogies to how counters function in Japanese).

I just finished reading Steven Pinker's new book, "Words and Rules," and as you might expect from the most prominent linguist of this era, at one point he rattles off a whole list of English classifiers! I didn't want to lose track of it, so here it is.
blade of grass
piece of fruit (you can't have "two fruits")
strand of hair *
slice of bread
stick of wood
sheet of paper
head of cattle

* I think this is a weak example -- in the classic joke the customer says, "Waiter! There's a hair in my soup!" not "Waiter! There's a strand of hair in my soup!" I think people do routinely say "one hair", "two hairs" etc.

08 September 2008

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