mitcho Michael 芳貴 Erlewine

Postdoctoral fellow, McGill Linguistics.


Posts Tagged ‘Bailey’

Friday, April 10th, 2009

桜 (sakura) is Japanese for cherry blossom, an important symbol of spring time in Japan and, with it, a symbol of renewal. The cherry blossom is a beautiful fluffy and light flower which falls quickly off the tree with wind and rain, making it also an important representation of [[mono no aware|物の哀れ (mono no aware)]].

Last weekend my family (including my aunt Mikako and Bailey) took a short trip to Yugawara (湯河原) at the base of the [[Izu peninsula]]. Last weekend was possibly the peak of the cherry blossoms this year, making it a very picturesque trip. It’s quite rare for the four of us to all be in the same place at the same time, so these photos are definite keepers:

One of my personal highlights was going down a slide at Azumayama Park in [[Ninomiya]] right through a grove of cherry trees in full bloom—it was so beautiful that I had to go back down it again and take a video! Unfortunately the Flash video encoding (or my camera) doesn’t do it justice, but I hope you can fill in the gaps with your imagination.

Cherry blossom slide - 桜のすべりだい(二宮吾妻山公園) from mitcho on Vimeo.

Weekend in Osaka

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

A few weekends ago, I went out west to visit Bailey. While I normally visit her in Kyoto, it was a three-day weekend, and we decided to explore another city near her: Osaka (大阪). If Kyoto is the historical capitol, Tokyo is the modern and imperial capitol, Osaka has traditionally been the merchant capitol of Japan. It’s known for its food, comedy, and business.

My trip began with the three-hour bullet train (新幹線 shinkansen) ride out to Osaka. I hadn’t purchased a ticket in advance, so that meant standing in a non-reserved seating car for most of the way there, the sole consolation being the great view of Mt. Fuji. Lesson learned: buy reserved tickets for holiday weekends.


Our first stop was the [[Osaka castle]] (大阪城 ōsaka jyō). Located at the center of the city, the castle is surrounded by a moat and a pretty big park. Many of the paths are lined with cherry trees, making it a popular [[hanami|cherry blossom viewing]] venue in the spring.


回収 vs. 収集 and Better Word Meanings Through Usage

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Bailey just asked me what the difference between 回収 (kaishū) and 収集(shūshū) is—two words that would both map to the English verb “collect.” I intuitively came up with a hypothesis to explain the distinction:

  • 回収 may take things away from others when collecting while 収集 does not have that implication.
  • Things that you 回収 may have been previously distributed by the actor themself while 収集 does not have that implication.1

Not content with armchair theorizing, however, I decided to take advantage of one of the largest corpora in the world: [[Google]].2 To test my hypothesis, I chose two “objects of collection”, one you can take away (and often is distributed first) and one you can’t take away: アンケート (ankēto “survey,” from the French enquête) and 意見 (iken “opinion”). I then took the four resulting collocations3 on Google in quotes (“•”) and recorded how many hits there were.


  1. This second point could also be hypothesized based on the component meaning of 回, which in the verb 回る (mawa=ru) can mean “circle back.” 

  2. Google is of course a huge corpus but it has very limited search and can easily be misused and misunderstood, thus making Google an unreliable (unprofessional) source for statistical data. One Google alternative for some different statistics is the [[n-gram]] data they offer for research. 

  3. [[collocation|”Collocation” on Wikipedia]] says: “Within the area of corpus linguistics, collocation is defined as a sequence of words or terms which co-occur more often than would be expected by chance.” 

Bailey won the Japanese Language Speech Contest

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Bailey just won the Grand Prize at the 22nd Annual Japanese Language Speech Contest in Chicago. I think she’s still in shock and disbelief. The prize involves a round trip ticket to Japan.

She never let me see or listen to the speech, though—now I’m curious.

I’m very proud of her. ^^


Friday, February 1st, 2008

Bailey just pointed me to a hilarious series of videos apparently introducing Japanese culture to foreigners, produced by the Japanese comedians [[Rahmens]]. Rahmens are incidentally the ones who play Mac and PC in the Japanese versions of the Apple ads.

Here’s one to get you started:

Bailey’s in the Tribune!

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Kuviasungnerk/Kangeiko just put Bailey on the front page of! ^^ You kind of have to see a different page to know who it is, though.1 Heh.

I recently got Daring Fireball‘ed too,2 so that almost makes us a celebrity couple.

Bailey on the Tribune

I personally like the caption right above. That’s the same story, right?

  1. “Good thing I have nice eyebrows, ‘cause that’s all you can see.” 

  2. This article: Great News! You can opt-out from Omniture’s mitcho on DF 

The Nerd Handbook

Monday, November 12th, 2007

From Rands in Repose’s Nerd Handbook, probably a good guide for Bailey (though I don’t quite fit the target completely):

But in nerds’ bit-based work, progress is measured mentally and invisibly in code, algorithms, efficiency, and small mental victories that don’t exist in a world of atoms.

I feel this phenomenon exists in formal linguistics as well, where the elegance of an analysis may be measured in theory-internal terms. It’s hard to get other people excited when they don’t share that same background, precisely as there is no physical manifestation of an analysis. At least Bailey’s good about listening, trying to understand, and being happy for me. ^^

(via Daring Fireball)

Pinker wins, this time

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

An email from Bailey:

I heard Steven Pinker on NPR! Remind me to tell you about it (unless my excitement is not mutual). I wanted to call in and say “thanks so much for making linguistics accessible and interesting to us laypeople, I love the work that you do; my boyfriend recently received his Master’s in linguistics, but the stuff he works on is syntax in Mandarin Chinese, and it’s completely impenetrable.” But I didn’t. <3

Alas, this is the life I live.