I picked up a nonfiction book at the library called Gnosticism and Other Vanished Christianities by Richard Valantasis. I've been interested in the Gnostics since reading Elaine Pagels, plus this one promised to talk about other wacky early Christian cults. I'm about halfway through the book and I'm a little disappointed in the surface treatment of everything, but the this is a Belief.net publication, so I probably should have expected as much.
Otherwise, I've been doing my usual yaoi reading. I read After Morning Love by Fujii Mitori, which I actually liked better than most. I feel like the official translator missed the boat with the title though, I think you'd get a slightly better sense of the plot if it were called, "The Morning After Love," just a very slight change that tells you that this starts with the classic, "Wait, why am I hungover? Who is in my bed?" and leads to romance.
But, I speak almost no Japanese, so, weirdly, no one has hired me to be a translator.
Speaking of Japanese study, I've been terrible about keeping up with it, BUT I started watching "Pandora Hearts" on recommendation and I actually had to pause at one point because I distinctly heard the hero ask, "Kimi wa?" (Who are you?) Given my native-speaker Japanese teacher's reaction to someone offering 'kimi' as a word for 'you,' (he turned BEET RED and literally could not speak for several seconds. I had to be the one to tell the student, "Um, that's a little rude? You've shocked Tetsuya-sensei."), I thought--okay, either this person is extremely rude or... maybe we're supposed to presume previous intimacy, despite the fact he doesn't recognize this demon-woman?
"Anata wa?" is even fairly rude for an opening gamut, in my understanding. I feel like a polite person would ask, "Dare desu ka?" (lit: "Who is?') leaving off any rude pronouns.... which are most of them, so there you go.
To be fair, this guy is freaked out, and anime heroes tend to be rude as a rule (at least in shounen). Ichigo, for instance, is not someone you want to learn Japanese from because he starts out using the pronoun "tamee" which is akin to shouting out 'Yo, a$$hole' to people you meet. But 'tamee' ...you hear it a lot in anime speech. You hardly ever hear 'kimi' spoken (or rather I should say, *I* haven't noticed it as often since I started paying attention) except in love songs, where it seems to be used almost exclusively, because of the intimacy it implies. My gut sense of 'kimi' is that it's not the normal sort of word you'd use WITH A STRANGER.
I had a long talk about this with another friend of mine who is studying and eventually, with the help of Google, we learned that 'kimi' as a you-pronoun can be used by men of a high status when addressing an underling without being considered rude AF. Apparently, in the right context, 'kimi' implies a strong hierarchy, and, thus, tells us a LOT about this character, in that he can presume that the person he's addressing--a STRANGER--is automatically and significantly below him in the social pecking order. This fits with the character, in that he is presented as a lordling of some sort, though after this pronoun use, I'm going to have to assume PRINCLING of some sort, or possibly even THE prince of all the land.
Things you can glean listening to a program in a language you barely speak.... kind of fun.
Not to put too fine a point on it, because I am absolutely NOT one of those anime fans who will lecture a fellow fan that subs (subtitles) are superior in every way to dubs (dubbed)--BUT, I will suggest to anyone who is able to handle /comfortable reading while watching to give subs a try once, if you never have, because I do believe that it is possible to pick up extra content subconsciously. Obviously, the above is an example that only works for someone like me, who is trying to learn the language. BUT, previous to this, I FELT things about some characters in "Bleach" based only on my impression of their voices--their inflection, etc. Without knowing ANYTHING about Japanese, I picked up on the fact that one character had an unusual accent (Gin for those in the know) and that it was likely Significant. I do not know what they did with Gin's voice actor in English. Ideally, American/Western voice actor casting would have a native-speaker on staff consulting about regional and class accents. (Please don't pretend we don't have class accents in American English. You KNOW what an upperclass East Coast accent is compared to a dirt-poor Southern drawl...) I know likely don't have a person like that on staff, but in my ideal world they would, because this is the stuff I feel you get by listening to the foreign language often enough, even without ANY study.
That being said, if, right now, you're feeling like I just dissed you because you prefer dubs..... Honey, no! I am so happy you're watching anime!! I would never, ever tell you that you MUST do subs. If dubs is what works for you, yay! I watched all of Full Metal Alchemist and Black Butler dubbed and J. Michael Tatum (the voice of Sebastian in the English BB) is an amazing dude and I would FIGHT anyone who says he's not an awesome, seductive Sebastian!
Besides, if you've been watching anime long enough, there used to be things you could ONLY get dubbed. I have no idea what the original Starblazers sounds like, but my anime fan cred is strong because, kids, I was watching that LITERALLY before many of you were born: in 1978. Deslock was my first anime husbando.
Wow, this turns into a long screed. My apologies. Gomen, gomen....