Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Camera Phone

This is the picture of the camera phone while having lunch with Randy during one of those days...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Nov 3, 2007, Tokai University Festival (東海大学建学祭)

Yesterday I went to Tokai University festival with Boy, Kinya-san, Pedro, Ryan, and Hunglun. I haven't been in Japanese University before and I was curious of the college festival as well, so I gave it a shot yesterday to visit Tokai University annual festival.

Just like any other festival, it started with an abundant amount of food and people. One thing that made this college festival different from normal Japanese festivals is, however, that since there are a variety of nationalities among students, I was able to see more food from other nations than Japanese. the nationalities varied from Japan, Korea, China, Thai, Germany, etc. And students were selling the food of their nations.

...not sure what nationalities they were, but there were a group of power rangers crossing the middle of the market.
Anyways, after filling our stomach, we started looking around more.

Inside the buildings were many open-houses from various college clubs. We tried many open-houses, but we spent the most of time on English-speaking society club. The rules were that every conversation must be in English. And people there were very open to foreigners, eager to talk with us. So it was not so hard to spend an hour there with them.
When we left the building, it was already dark. But the festival was not over; in fact, people were prepared to serve dinner food and beer, which I had been wondering why I could not see any beer during the day in college festival. We bought something to eat and a cup of beer, and watched the concert from a band invited from outside the college for this festival.

We did not spend there too long. After a couple of songs, we left the school and returned home. It was good to see how Japanese students enjoy the University festival.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Language Translation

I now have been for a little more than 2 months in Japan. So far I have been amused, fascinated, shocked, and surprised by various aspects of Japanese culture for the last two months, and one of them is Japanese language. I was especially surprised at how similar Korean and Japanese languages are to each other in terms of grammar and words. The grammar structures in both languages are very similar; if I read kanji in Korean pronunciation, that is exactly the Korean word; even some idioms and the expression forms are also very similar. I think Korean and Japanese languages resembles each other in many ways.
So, I have been wondering, if grammars, words, and even idioms are similar, then this would be the area where the machine learning could sneak into and work really well. As everyone knows by their experiences, the machine translation so far has basically sucked. Even if it works well, the expression might sound awkward that you would rather not use in daily conversation. This is currently the status of the machine translation. But if we tweak and apply machine learning into translation between two similar languages, then it could hopefully solve awkwardness of expressions because the computer might be able to "learn" new idioms and slangs and express the same feeling through another language if they are really close to each other.
Of course the translation between Korean to English or Japanese to English would not work well because the language structures are completely different. But I think we can somehow make a 100% perfect translation technology at least between Korean and Japanese; or any other similar languages such as German and English, French and English, Portuguese and Spanish, etc. Right now I am envisioning Korean and Japanese people having non-awkward online conversation using their own languages, or Korean people reading Japanese websites that would have been perfectly translated into Korean without awkwardness, and vice-versa, if this technology becomes true.