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What a day it was; a surprisingly good one, at that. I made good progress at work, closing several cases and bringing the others under control. The case load has been such that I’ve had to cut back on “discretionary” activities at work in the past few weeks, including participation on the MPC Forums, mucking around with b3ta images, reading my favourite websites, such as the User Friendly comic strip and, even writing this blog.

I’ve also been trying to do some self-study at work, particularly on HP-UX, something I would never have seen myself having an interest in had you asked me a year ago. After playing with Linux for years, it’s quite an eye-opener to see an “old-school” UNIX in action. The only machine available for HP-UX play is a 10-year-old HP Apollo workstation that can only run a 10-year-old HP-UX version – and it’s not half bad. System Administration on all versions is handled by a boring but solid tool called SAM (System Administration Manager) – the kind of thing that Linux has only recently gained (e.g. Webmin).

The catch: if I get too good at it, I will be expected to take customer cases and work on them – but it’s a long way from a) making something work according to the instructions, and b) fixing the mess caused when people or programs don’t do what they’re supposed to or interfere with each other.

The Japanese language is starting to embed itself in my brain, finally, and today I started using the JFC Japanese Flash Card system. It’s from the same people behind JWPce, but it’s only viable now that I’m comfortable with Hiragana. I haven’t done much Katakana yet, but this will help too. Even better, I have versions for the iPaq and the PC, sharing common data files, so I can track my progress.

One thing that’s finally become clear today is the intimate connection between Chinese and Japanese; not only does Japanese use Chinese characters, for writing, but some of the Chinese speech has filtered into spoken Japanese and is mixed in freely. Whenever you look up a Kanji in e.g. JWPce, you get an English translation and two different Japanese versions: the “kun-yomi” or Japanese reading, in Hiragana, and the “on-yomi” or Chinese reading, in Katakana. When I look up the Kanji of some of the words I’ve been taught, I find I’ve been learning a mix of on-yomi and kun-yomi words. So, by the time I’ve learned Japanese, I may have a good grasp of written Chinese too…


Written by brian t

June 15, 2004 at 10:37 pm

Posted in japan, language, technology, work

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