writing editing

Japanese Industrial Interpreter

Interpreting and Translating for the Industry

JAT Interpreter’s Group, Feb. 23, 2013

Written By: Joji - Thursday February 7th, 2013

On February 23, the JAT Interpreters Group will be giving five short lectures that cover various aspects of interpreting.

I will talk about note-taking. Specifically, I'll present my take on what to take notes of and what to commit to memory.  Then, I'll give some tips on how to record information quickly, and in an easy-to-retrieve way. 

For more details, read the announcement on the JAT website.

Dry Hands and Magic

Written By: Joji - Saturday December 1st, 2012

It's getting colder by the day in Japan, and during the winter months, the dryness sets in. If you have dry hands and find your fingers just too dry to handle the cards, try this:

1 part glycerin, 4 parts purified water.

This provides a sticky feeling to the fingers and hands, but does not rub off onto the cards. You'll find you can handle cards with a very light touch, and yet not impart any stickiness to the cards themselves. Palming coins also becomes much easier to do.

The solution has no odor and helps condition the skin as well. Glycerin is sold at any drug store in Japan, and so I'm assuming it is readily available in drug stores outside of Japan as well. I fill a small spray bottle with this and squirt a few sprays on my hands about 15 minutes before performing.

A friend turned me on to Chamberlain's Golden Touch Lotion. I later read that many magicians use this, including Dai Vernon back in the day. One thing that almost everyone mentions is the fragrance. It's not a particularly subtle smell, especially for men who aren't accustomed to cosmetic fragrances.

But more to the point for me is that it is not available in Japan. You can buy it by mail order, but shipping outweighs the actual price of the product. $110 by UPS or  $49 by USPS for a three-pack of 8.75 fl. oz. bottles valued at only $23!

Destined to find a solution, I checked the ingredients and did some Googling to find out that you can make this for a very reasonable price.

Homemade hand lotion for magicians

Glycerin (left) and purified water (right)

My mixture can be made with just $5 or 6, and comes out to a little more than 16 fl. oz.

Doing the ACR with an odd-colored card

This is my first post on the subject of close-up magic—a longtime hobby of mine, ever since I was 9 or 10.

I have a notebook of different ideas for effects and routines. One plot that has yet to be solved is the idea of taking a blue backed card, sticking it in the middle of a red backed deck, and making it rise to the top, in a visual manner.

The elevator move could be used to do this, but I'm looking for something more spontaneous.

I've made and played with various gaffs—flaps are an obvious way to go—but I have yet to make something that can muster close-range performance.
I've discussed it with a few friends but so far, no solution.

I love this stage, where you have a problem that has yet to be solved. This will make reaching the final solution that much more rewarding. Until then, I shall continue to plug along.

What’s in a name?

Written By: Joji - Wednesday June 20th, 2012

When people meet me for the first time and hear me speak English, they often ask, "Why don't you call yourself George instead of Joji?"

Well, in fact, I did go by the name of George during my childhood, but only for a few years. And when I worked for a Japanese company, for many years, my business card said George Matsuo instead of my real name, Joji Matsuo.

So, why now, when it would make it a lot easier for potential clients to realize that I'm bilingual, would I choose not to tap into the name game—Japanese nationals often given themselves a common name used in English-speaking cultures that either resembles their Japanese name, or just sounds catchy. The reason is simple: impact.

No one would ever expect someone with a completely Japanese name like mine to speak perfectly fluent English. Even most Japanese can tell that I speak native American English. While the astonished looks I get does offer a mild adrenalin-rush, more importantly, it serves as the perfect cue for pitching my services.

That said, I've accepted and allowed, albeit with some degree of reluctance, certain people and organizations to address me as George. I also understand that those from non-English speaking countries who use an English name prefer to do so to make themselves easier to remember or more approachable. I have no problem with this. I simply prefer to go by the name my parents gave me and reap the benefits of the impact described above.

The joys of homebrewing

Written By: Joji - Saturday February 4th, 2012

Brewing beer at home in Japan is against the law if the beer contains 1% or more alcohol. For those that can read Japanese, here is the citing from the National Tax Agency website. Otherwise, let this be a warning.

But, it's not like I can't write my "memoirs" of the days when I used to brew beer...so, without further ado, here we go.

First, you need to ask yourself, why do you want to brew your own beer?  Because it sounds interesting? Do you think it might be cheaper? Do you want a specific character in your beer, such as a fruity bouquet, higher alcohol content, strong bitterness, sweetness, color, etc.? (more...)

Meet Koji Inokuchi

Koji Inokuchi, translator of the authorized biography, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, will be speaking at the JAT Tokyo meeting on February 18.

Steve Jobs photo linked from Wikipedia

My interest is in hearing how the speaker - known not as a translator of literary work but rather, as a translator of technical documentation -- landed the job.

This session promises to be well attended so I advise arriving about 15 to 20 minutes early to get a good seat.

Click here for details.

New website

Written By: Joji - Tuesday January 31st, 2012

Well, I finally did it. After weeks of planning and fiddling with various settings and code, my new website is up and running. This site runs as a WordPress site using a theme that looks like a magazine.

For now, this is just an introduction of what to look for.

I'll be posting some tidbits about translating and interpreting. Basically the types of tools that I use, how an engagement went, etc. Most of the blog will be dedicated to my homebrewing hobby and my life-long passion for performing close-up magic. Less, much less, will be about the more trivial events in my life, such as lunch or dinner photos. These things are already posted on my Facebook.

As you can see, however, this blog has just begun so keep checking back for new content.