All posts by Ceolwulf

photos on tumblr

Just on the off chance that anyone is still wandering around these dusty halls looking for photos, I’ve started anew at tumblr.  The older material will probably not make it onto the net again, although I might select a few of them.

It’s Lan’s Place on tumblr. よろしくね。

willowroot redirecting

I’m not sure if anyone was still going to my old photo site or not, but it redirects here now, in case you tried to go there and ended up here with a puzzled look on your face.I want to build a photos page, or maybe I’ll just post pics individually, or maybe something completely different.  Anyway that explains that.

it’ll do. next

I used to be a perfectionist.  Maybe I still am – not sure.  Maybe more realist?

Anyway I’ve been thinking about how, not only some of the time, but pretty much all the time, good enough is, well, good enough.  Perhaps it just comes down to having a good eye for the point on the curve of diminishing returns where the slope goes uncomfortably vertical.

Robert Lundberg talks about this in his book on lute construction.   Since my ambition is to become a luthier, I read this with great attention to every word.  Of course, my instruments must be perfect!  So when he said that his standard was simply “good enough”; you can imagine that that caught my attention and I’ve been ruminating on it ever since.  (Granted that Lundberg’s version of “good enough” would seem “utterly flawless” to most people.  But the simple fact that if one cut was close enough that making a second cut was more trouble than it was worth, then the first cut would do – well, that certainly played a large part in his amazing productivity.  This is the man that once made about eighty experimental lutes to test a theory, after all.)  Certainly for a beginner, at the end of a year who will be more skilled; the luthier who slaved over five instruments, attempting to work them to perfection, or the luthier who built thirty to a standard of “good enough”?

Then there was my Q45.  I’ve spent inordinate quantities of time in my life pondering upon what car to get next.  Now my Q45, well, it has its issues, no doubt.  Lots of miles, and right now it needs a fair bit of work again.  But the fact is that every time I think of what to replace it with, I conclude that the upgrade simply wouldn’t be worth it.  I like it; it’s good enough.  At any rate at this point it seems that it has become “my car”, like something that’s nearly a part of me.  The notion of getting rid of it seems odd and ridiculous, like upgrading a body part.  So I’ll just keep fixing and upgrading it and save myself the time and trouble of replacement (with something that would certainly not be “good enough” in some other way).

I started a blog yesterday for my Japanese studies, and WordPress gives you around 80 themes to pick from.  You can of course also upload your own theme or modify the CSS, although they charge a bit extra for that.   There were amongst those six or eight themes with a look that appealed to me.  (Note that I didn’t have a set style in mind and try to match what I was imagining.  That way lies frustration, because, again, it’ll never be good enough.  Instead I looked at all of them with an open mind.)  The first two I tried wrapped my longish blog title in an awkward way.  The third one fit everything correctly and looked pretty good so I didn’t bother trying the rest.

There’s a great deal to be said, I’ve concluded, for stating simply that “this is how it is” and not worrying about it.

‘ere’s a laff

See, this is why I dislike Winnipeg.

I posted the CBR600 on Kijiji yesterday.  I put an asking price of $3900, and stated that I was open to reasonable offers.  I even italicized reasonable because I know how Winnipeggers are.  I believed that this was very clear.

And just like clockwork, today, the first response I got – “$2500 right now”.  ARGH!

Attention Winnipeg lowballers (that’s the whole town, more or less): first, you will be mocked mercilessly; next,  you will be deleted.

In other news, I reviewed 508 kanji today.  85% success first time through.  Not bad, not good enough.  Regardless it’s high time to add more.  1500-odd to go, after all.

Also the Dakota (a.k.a. wretched steaming pile of money pit) is in the shop again.  Also it’s rusting fast (had no rust at all in fall).  Anyone want to buy a really nice truck?  I’ll give you a good deal!

Also I was kinda on a Card Captor Sakura bender today.  It’s a bit like eating a whole bag of truffles at once.  I feel vaguely ill now so I shall go to bed and have cute dreams.

what are your japanese goals this year?

This is a typical new year’s post, typically late.

I was thinking of this issue a few days ago in an attempt to provide a little guidance to my efforts.  Wandering is perfectly fine mind you; constant contact, as Khatzumoto says, is more important than regimented progress.  Too much of that though and I end up just watching anime and calling it study!

So with Japanese, unlike most languages where your two fields of study are essentially the grammar and vocabulary, you have an additional field in the kanji.  Truth be told, I find it almost a little puzzling how for some people the kanji are a dreaded obstacle more than anything else.  In fact I suspect if it weren’t for the kanji I’d probably have picked a different language.  I find them utterly fascinating.

At the same time, they are just as much of a challenge as you’d think.  In essence, it’s as if you were going to a school or a workplace with 2000 colleagues and had to remember each of their faces and first and last names.

1) So for this year, I intend to go through Heisig with my trusty Kanji LS Touch loaded up and memorize the writings and meanings of all the general use kanji.  I’d also like to get a start on the readings, but most of that will probably come from –

2) the vocabulary, in which I would like to master the 3700-odd words from what used to be the JLPT 2.  I can see already that that’s going to require a fair bit of SRS work with sentences/phrases in addition to the regular use of Japanese Flip which I’ve been doing up till now.  Then,

3) in terms of grammar I don’t really have a set goal as such, other than I do want to finish my Japanese For Everyone text, which ought to take me to the point that I can hold a reasonable conversation.

Looking at it laid out like that and comparing it to my achievements up till now, this does look awfully optimistic.  However I am definitely much more seriously into Japanese study now since late last year than I’ve ever been before.  So while this represents what I would like to accomplish, it is certainly more of a direction than a destination.  The important thing is simply to stick with it every single day.

I guess you could say that about pretty much anything you’d like to achieve.

So if you’re studying Japanese as well, where do you see yourself at the end of the year?

RTK list for Kanji LS

Balancing my interest in the kanji etymology with my desire to learn them as fast as possible, I finally broke down and ordered Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji, like everyone else already has.  I still want to study Henshall’s book but I’ll do that afterwards as it will make an excellent introduction to etymology study; it will do that a fair bit better than it will help learn them in the first place, I think.

Naturally the first thing I did was try to find a pre-compiled list that I could import in order to study the kanji in Kanji LS in the same order as the book.  Despite the long odds of this, someone has in fact already done this 🙂  So thanks to user “exxel” on the Reviewing the Kanji forum for his excellent work.  Download the list here.

Incidentally, exxel has intelligently put the whole list in one file, using the range selection capability of Kanji LS; I should’ve done the same thing but never thought of it.  If I am very bored one day I’ll redo my lists into one.

GRJC files for Kanji LS Touch

Bit of a specialized interest here.  This is for people who are learning kanji using Kanji LS Touch and who would like to follow the order in the excellent text, A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters by Kenneth G. Henshall.

With the new functionality in Kanji LS Touch that allows you to import your own sets of kanji, this becomes possible.  But it’s still a lot of work to get that many kanji in a row.  I’ve now done this for you, dividing the book into sets of 34 characters (yes, this is the same set size that KingKanji uses; this is not a coincidence 😉 ).  These files can be found at

I hope this is useful to at least one other person!

not never, but certainly late

It seems amidst the peculiar paths and whizzings and crunchings of my semi-functional mind is a characteristic that is as baffling as it is annoying; namely, that of simply not doing something.  Now you’d think that this is an ordinary sort of procrastination, but the fact is it’s more of a reluctance to take some, any sort, of action; that once a project, no matter now small, is on my agenda, if it does not get done instantly, there is afterwards a sort of magnetic field that keeps me from doing it for no reason whatsoever other than – well that’s just it, if I could put a name to it I might be able to get over it.  This results in simple tasks, sometimes a matter of minutes, and of considerable importance at that, occasionally being put off for years.

Sometimes an important date is sufficient to overcome this inertia; sometimes that date has to come and go for three years first.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that I have at last updated the virtual museum page for my mother’s life and art, with the biographical texts.  Shame on me; there’s no excuse for it taking this long.

Anyway, here it is.  Go read.