Tag Archives: Japanese

O genki desu ka?

7 Aug

Last night, I received a text message from an unknown number saying: Dally-san, o genki desu ka? Kotegaeshi. Shihonage. Sankyou.  (Dally, how are you? (the rest are Aikido techniques.  Apart from the greeting, it didn’t make sense, really).

The sender is obviously someone I knew from college when I took up aikido.  Thing is, I wasn’t sure who.  In that group, one or two students studied Japanese, while two of our instructors moved to Japan. I also wasn’t sure if it was indeed someone who knew Japanese since o genki desu ka is a very common greeting a lot of foreigners know.

Just to see if it was someone who really knew Japanese, I replied: Sumimasen. Dare desu ka? (I’m sorry, who’s this?)  I received a long reply  in Japanese.  Ok, so he definitely knows his stuff.   After more exchanges,  I find out who it was – our instructors who moved to Japan were currently in town!  I gave them a call and eventually made plans to meet up on Saturday for dinner, together with whoever else was available.

I sooo love it when I’m able to get in touch with long lost friends, especially from two people who really made my college life fun.  I’ve been pondering about doing a physical activity regularly and I’ve actually considered going back to aikido (or swimming, badminton and running) and this might be a chance to try it out again.  I was also glad to practice my rusting Japanese even for a little bit with our exchanges.  Looking forward to catching up soon.


Confessions of a Noda-Can fan

5 Apr

Once upon a time, I couldn’t understand how my siblings and friends would go gaga over some TV series or music group (English, Japanese, Korean or otherwise), with their excited chatters, squeals of eager anticipation, and going mad over merchandise.  I didn’t imagine being in the same boat, until I saw one I actually liked. Good ones are few and far in between which is why I was incredibly pleased to have discovered Nodame Cantabile. (Thank you Missy!!!)   



Called Noda-Can by some, this show should seriously come with a warning. It is funny, educational (Classical Music Appreciation 101), touching and incredibly ADDICTING!!! I watched the entire 11 episodes straight and saw the sky go from dark to sunny in the process (Ohayou gozaimasu!).   

Originally a manga, this Japanese series created by Tomoko Ninomiya is about Chiaki Shinichi, a talented but arrogant graduate student/conductor wanna be with the big dream of conducting an orchestra in Europe – if he can muster enough courage to actually get on a plane after a traumatic childhood incident; and Noda Megumi, a sweet but messy university student possessing an amazing but untapped skill in playing the piano. How their lives changed the moment they met is an engrossing tale of self-discovery, selflessness and success.   

I’ve always liked classical music which is probably why this series appealed so much to me.  But watching this series took my love for classical music to a higher level, making me search for songs unfamiliar, but were featured in the show. It didn’t make me want to go back to playing the piano though. Heck, I could never be as good.   

Hiroshi Tamaki as Chiaki

The series also increased my respect for orchestra conductors. I never really gave much thought to what they do and it was only after I saw the series that I realized that apart from making sure each note was played accurately, they were also responsible for creating the ”WOW” impact on the audience. Good-looking Hiroshi Tamaki as Chiaki is utterly captivating as a conductor and did exactly that. WOW! *grins*    

The casting was also very well done as the characters endeared themselves to the viewer. I could relate to Noda Megumi’s (a.k.a. Nodame played by Ueno Juri) playfulness and messiness though I wish i had her piano playing skills.  

Takenaka Naoto as the lecherous Franz Strezemann

And lecherous as his character is, Takenaka Naoto as the esteemed but wayward international conductor Franz Strezemann manages to steal the limelight especially with that funny, fake accent that cracks me up everytime.   

And if things couldn’t get any better, I found out there are TWO NODAME CANTABILE MOVIES!!! Saw the trailer and Nodame’s opening sentence (“Senpai, kekkon shite kudasai…” roughly translated as “Marry me”) made me squeal in eager anticipation.  The only bad thing is waiting till I actually get to see it.  Ugh, torture 😦   

I will definitely watch this over and over especially my favorite scenes (I sooo love it when Chiaki unexpectedly hugs Nodame from the back). Eventually, I might not need the subtitles anymore (ha! I wish!). I’m not sure I can watch the movie anytime soon. But one thing’s for sure: this one’s a Noda-Can fan 🙂