Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"As someone told me lately, everyone deserves a chance to fly."

I bought a laundry line and a bento - lunch - box, the kind that come with all the little compartments. Mine comes with a standard three - rice, meat, veggies - and is pastel plastic - practical - with the caption "The sparkling water grows the fresh vegetables in the green house." I sort of picked that one just for that saying, because it's sweet but random, and it will make me smile every day at lunch.

When someone asked at orientation if our apartments would have heaters, the trainer made a face and said, "They have AC units... that put out heat." I thought this was a disparaging comment on the quality of the AC units - that they couldn't even do what they were supposed to - and that I'd be heatless. Once I got here I was pleasantly surprised that though there is only one device, it actually has five settings: automatic, heat, dehumidification, AC, and vent. Really, I'm only using the second of those right now.

"But Emily," you ask, "If the remote control is all in kanji (as everything is in my apartment, which made doing laundry interesting, I can tell you), how on earth do you know what those settings are?" Funny you should ask... I was doing fine with just using the on button (which is universally bigger/different colored than the others) and the temperature up (usefully displayed as rising numbers, up to thirty.) The remote is cool because it also tells you the current temperature - much to my dismay that's usually around 15 degrees. But last night, I discovered that the remote flipped open to display another  panel of buttons, and in all my infinite intelligence I pressed some.

So for most of today I couldn't get anything to come out, now matter how many different button combinations I tried. Finally I turned to Jim Breen's Kanji by Radical dictionary which has saved my life several times. It shows the various lines that make up the really complex kanji, so with a little bit of trial and error you can figure out anything you have written in front of you. Once I found the kanji on my remote, I copy-pasted into a translator - and voila. Hot air. Unfortunately there's one string of four kanji that makes no sense even when translated - insists it means "driving shuffle" which... What?

To save myself from future mishaps I'm writing words down on post it notes and sticking them to their corresponding kanji. Eventually I'll associate the meaning with the appearance, and learn what those kanji stand for out of necessity.


Beeniac said...

Hi Em,
I'm glad you were able to get a little heat out of your heater, finally. "driving shuffle" reminds me of shifting or automatic transmission. I wonder if it means something like, you set your thermostat and it will automatically adjust to keep the air temperature at that setting.
Just a guess.
It's really cold here. Our snow is almost gone, but there's a white mistiness everywhere. I have a cold and lost my voice, which will make me sort of a non-contributor at tonight's book group.
Lots of love,

woody said...

Hey Em, Sounds like you're putting in the effort to learn the language. Keep it up. Study study study. I just started taking Organic Chemistry---so i've got some studyin to do myself. Take good care of yourself-----love wood