20 July 2018

Some Thoughts on Diplomacy and War (An Exercise in Literary Chinese - Part 5)

At the end of part 4, we finally managed to cover the Zhanguo Ce chapter in which Yan Lu's diplomatic finesse managed to save Zhou from a Qin invasion and protect the nine-ding. I assume for many people, their first reaction to this story might be a minor nod of interest and then to move on. However, I think there's a bit more to mine from this story on the relationship of diplomacy and war. Or at least, I'm going to over-analyze it so I can fill out this post. So for the conclusion of my 5-part series on literary Chinese, I'll make an argument that to conceive of diplomacy and war as mutually exclusive alternatives to each other is to limit the effectiveness of both.

18 June 2018

An Exercise in Literary Chinese - Part 4

Alright, I was initially planning to end this series with the 4th part, but it looks like it'll be a 5-parter. For this part, I'll quickly wrap up translating the remainder of the story. By now, I've covered most of the main grammatical rules we need to know so I'll be covering the sentences much more quickly.

The concluding part 5 coming later this week should be much more interesting as I turn away from the grammar-lessons and comment on the intersection of diplomacy and war in history in order to appreciate this story.

*For any nerds interested in learning more about literary Chinese, or are planning to major in that area, there are a lot of readily available resources to be found on the internet. You can very easily find pdfs or ppts put up by university professors as part of their classes on google. I will upload a zip file containing 5 helpful textbooks that I'm slowly working through myself.

Literary Chinese text/workbooks:   Mega

13 June 2018

Futago no Teikoku v3 (last updated June 22)

Let's move right onto volume 3! Hopefully, Breading Bad and I can finish this volume before August. Also, don't attach that much importance to how I romanize a lot of the character names. Most of the characters are clearly not meant to have Japanese names, and the limited number of vowels/consonants in Japanese is making it difficult to know what English spelling I should give from the Japanese spelling. Even Fa is technically written as "Fua" in Japanese, but I decided to spell it as Fa to make it consistent to the vol. 1 translations and to make it easier on the eyes of English-speakers.

Futago no Teikoku c13:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c14:   Mega

12 June 2018

An Exercise in Literary Chinese - Part 3

Open this in a new tab to look at it while reading this post.
Now that we've covered most of the background, in part 3, we'll focus mostly on translating the next 9 sentences.

Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 before this.

8 June 2018

An Exercise in Literary Chinese - Part 2

In part 2 of my series on a reading exercise in literary Chinese, I'll give a basic outline of the Zhou dynasty, the historical context of Zhanguo Ce, and decode the first sentence in our selected passage from this text.

Be sure to read part 1 before this.

7 June 2018

An Exercise in Literary Chinese - Part 1

Zhanguo Ce (Strategies of the Warring States), chapter 1.
It looks intimidating, but trust me, it's not so bad.
Instead of talking about manga, current events, or books I've read, I'm going to do something very different in these posts. You see, I once listened to a particularly inspiring presentation in which the lecturer did a combined history lecture/primary source analysis/language lesson on a passage from Shiji to an audience that largely knew neither Mandarin nor literary Chinese. So today, I'll attempt my own version of this. I'm going to assume you know little to nothing about Mandarin, literary Chinese, nor ancient China in general. And I'm going to decode that wall-of-text you see in the image above, line by line, while giving necessary background info and interesting historical tidbits. I've only actually started self-studying literary Chinese myself with no Mandarin background so I know I'm not the best teacher. Still, I hope this will be a fun post for anyone curious about ancient China or who ever wondered what kind of language literary Chinese is.

This will be a multi-parter, since it's too damn long to fit in one post.

29 May 2018

Kamui-Den volume 1 (last updated June 2)

At last, Happyscans and I will be starting Kamui-Den (Legend/Life of Kamui), the legendary manga that was the poster child for Garo magazine and its associated gekiga movement (I'll do a proper introduction/commentary much later). If it were up to Happyscans, we'd have started this like two years ago, but I was busy and kept putting it off (gmail tells me we first talked about doing it all the way back in 2012!). Plus, I didn't really want to embark on another long manga series so soon after finishing 60 volumes of Sangokushi. But I think now's a good time, and this will be my "main project" for some time. Although the original was published as 21 volumes, the version we're working from is the 15-volume definitive edition (kettei-ban) of part 1 that was published in 2005 to commemorate Shirato Sanpei's 50th year as an artist. Each volume in this edition is about 400 pages, so I'm planning on doing 4 volumes/year (a volume for each season of the year!). When factoring inevitable delays, it'll maybe take 4-5 years to finish. That's just for part 1, of course, and there's another 12-volumes for part 2. So this'll take a good decade to finish completely.

In any case, Kamui-Den starts off a little slow, but I hope you'll eventually pick it up and stick with it as Happyscans and I continually work on it. And while Habanero Scans who gave me the HQ kettei-ban scans advised me to just do volume releases, I'm gonna release in smaller chunks at a time, if only to better motivate me. It's probably better to read it as each new volume comes out.

*Some other notes regarding my other projects. Scripts for v2 of Futago no Teikoku are complete, so that should be done soon. Breading Bad is almost done with cleaning v3 as well, so we should be able to jump right into that with little delay (*crosses fingers*). Planet of Sutakola had been delayed due to difficulties in finding a cleaner, but I think I'll just tackle it even with my own limited skills once I finish Kamui-Den vol. 1 so it doesn't just lie forgotten and collect internet-dust forever. If you have any other questions about my projects, feel free to ask here.

Kamui-Den v1 c01-03:   Mega
Kamui-Den v1 c04-07:   Mega