How to make really good miso soup from scratch!

The article is available, at the new site:

http://www.alexelkholy.com (or for the article directly: http://alexelkholy.com/2009/05/08/miso-soup-from-scratch/)

Misc. info:

The 'killer url' I was going to use was "touchofalex.com", but I ultimately decided against it, for obvious reasons.

I ended up going with hostingrails for the hosting (that's an affiliate link, so use it if you're considering it yourself; they're the best hosting I could find and I recommend them).

It cost me a total of 50 dollars to put it all up.

Expect lots of good content, I have two packed pages of article ideas that I'm itching to write.

And give me feedback on the theme, what I can do to improve it.


Website almost online!

Hey everybody, thought I was dead? Well you're wrong. I've got Wordpress installed on my server and have everything up and running. I even have a killer URL, but I haven't registered it, so I can't tell you guys.

I've been messing with Wordpress, and it is so much better than Blogspot. I'll have the site name registered soon, get the URL to point to the site, tweak everything a little, and bam!

It'll be done by Tuesday at the latest, so if not you can bug me.


Suggestions for a domain name?

So 'rant.com' and 'ranting.com' are taken, and I don't want to use something stupid like .net. Anybody got any suggestions?


Coming soon to a computer near you

So I've been trying to put together something recently. I'm going to be turning Rant into its very own standalone website.

That's right, a fully fledged website. I'm going to try an move away from Japanese specifically and focus on being more broad, to appeal to a bigger audience. That means when I grace the masses with unveiling of it, you'll have to make it your new homepage. All of you, and you don't have a choice here. You'll all have to tell as many people as you can and refer your friends to articles I write. Can you dig it?

Right now I have the webserver lined up, and a basic outline of the site put together. It's just a matter of staying sober for long enough to finish the stupid thing. Updates to follow.


Why are you learning Japanese?

You have to know this question. A large part of the reason people get so lost and off point, is because they look at Japanese learning as a goal unto itself. If you want to get past your hump, to do more than the minimum everyday, to step up from mediocrity, you really need to get your goals in order.

Many of us follow AJATT method. A good amount of people who follow the AJATT method also like to be apart of online forums, twitter groups, etc. And it's in the community that they further their learning.

There are enough people who say 24/h listening to Japanese isn't that effective, and not a lot of evidence to say it is.
So in the interest of efficiency, we don't have to do that.
There are enough sentence lists and people talking about the efficiency of learning them. They're such great learning resources.
So in the interest of efficiency, it's a good idea to worth through them in order to enjoy fun things more.

I can understand, even empathize with the thinking here. It's just about creating the more efficient method, to make it better. It is here that the point of learning the language becomes itself.

This isn't to argue how people are doing the AJATT method wrong. But rather, I see people take a method originally created with the intense desire to learn Japanese based around enjoyment. A process where the author would refuse to accept defeat of any kind, constantly putting himself in situations where he was forced to get better. And we will take this beautiful method and turn it into a lifeless process. A lifeless process where we consider enjoyment a worthless investment. Where there isn't a point in trying for the difficult, if it's above your level. Where success is met with spite and mediocrity is condoned.

"I spent every waking minute when I wasn't at my day job reading, studying, and learning. I picked out 'enemies' and did everything I could to defeat them, which meant being bigger than them. I refused to accept defeat of any kind." And the money comes rolling in

This man had goals. This man wanted to create the most efficient website he could, among other things. And if you bother to read the article you'll find that once he achieved his goals, the most he amounts to is playing war games all day or pulling pranks. Content to wallow in sloth.

Tell me your goals.


Rant: I don't work well with others

Here's the very first "Rant" article. It's about time, too. Basically, I'm not trying to help anybody, give advice, or even be rational. I'm not even going for a central theme. Just a pure, maddox-style, good old fashioned rant.
Before I go any further, I'm just going to put some things out for the world to see:

I tend to think "learning styles" and "personal preferences" are just hippie things to say when you're a wimp.

I don't believe you can motivate or teach anyone anything. The most you can do is give somebody a light and say "walk". They have to get there themselves.

I am a heavy believer in minimalism. In extension I believe that a single consistent, clear pathway with a lot of patience will get you far.

So I don't like the "community". I think it's ridiculous how everybody and their mother has a twitter thing. Honestly? I don't give a _damn_ how you need to get you've been slacking off from your reviews.

Why? Why do we need community? It's a waste of time. "Let me update my twitter... Somebody put up a link to a list of top ten Japanese resources... Oh I didn't know about that guy's blog... Those are some pretty pictures of Japan... So Goddess Charie has a new textbook she's into... hehe, let's put up a new twitter about how I'm wasting time reading Japanese blogs..."

How many people go from textbook to textbook, website to website trying to find the perfect resource to jump start them back into their Japanese study? My god, this is an epidemic. When you spend a large amount of time trying to put the Kanji Odyssy book into digital format, complete and ignore it for a year, then decide that iKnow sentences are better and put together a group collaboration for the iKnow sentences, you've gotten a little off point. When you spend more time thinking about how to learn Japanese than you do actually being exposed to said language, you've gotten a little off point.

And you know what really irritates me the most? When people sit around and make excuses. It's just one excuse after another. "It's too hard", "It's above my level", "But iKnow is so convenient". If I hear one more "that's just the way I am..." I am going to vomit.

You want to know the real reason I hate that phrase? The real reason is because I've spent a majority of my life fighting the "way I am" and facing up to my faults rather than sit around making excuses for the "way I am". Without going into details, let me tell you that I would not be able to function as a person today (a very charismatic one, at that) had I not seriously changed "the way I was". Over the course of years I taught myself how to be better. Facing ridicule, humiliation, and discouragement, I trudged the most difficult path and came out better because of it. Whereas others in my position eventually ended up needing mental care for the rest of their life, I came out on top.

So do not sit there and rationalize your pathetic decisions to me. I refuse to talk with anybody who chooses to accept mediocrity because it's easy.


Adventure games anyone?

I "acquired" Final Fantasy 7 last week. It's so much fun, going on big adventures and fighting against the evil Sephiroth, among other things...

Do you know how many useful verbs are used in a game like FF7? It's one thing to read a sentence and look up all the verbs to get an idea, but it's an entirely different thing when the sentence is from a strategy guide: "岩が転がってくる通路では、岩の隙間に入れるように進む。" and then you actually make your character do what it says here.

You know that feeling where you know what the words mean, but you don't know what the words mean? Like, you haven't gotten that deep connection to it yet? You say rough and it sounds like it has a very rough and scratchy sound associated with it, obviously. But have you ever said a word over and over again to the point where it sounded completely unfamiliar with you? Like sponge, say sponge over and over again:


After a while, it gets really weird. "This is a word? What the hell?". Right, so what about with Japanese? Have you ever said a word over and over to memorize it?


It really doesn't make it sound more familiar. Actually, just the opposite. You know what does give us that familiar sound with a word? Experience. Or, more specifically to us, video games. Play more video games. What could be better than video games, man? They're fun, they have stories, characters, lots of words, all sorts of great stuff. They're a great substitute for the life in Japanese you haven't lived yet.

I'm close to finishing FF7 and I started playing ゼルダの伝説 - ムジュラの仮面 (Note: I do not own an N64). This is addicting, and is in Japanese. Mentat also recommends Persona 4 to me, which I might check out.

One last note: use a strategy guide. They're so great for further Japanese learning. Search 攻略.

One more last note: Give me an Ikebukuro Jingle Key-Chain please. (http://www.michaeljohngrist.com/)