Friday, September 21, 2012

A rainbow bridge over Tokyo

The other day, the Asahi Shimbun published on their website a photo of a spectacular rainbow bridge seen over Tokyo. According to the blurb, the rainbow was visible just before sunset on September 19. There had been some rain in the afternoon, but when the sun broke through the clouds and shone on the eastern sky, Tokyoites were treated to an optical delight.



Note that the Asahi Shimbun website drops news stories after about one year, so links to their news stories will generally stop working one year after publication. Column articles seem to be retained, though. For how long, I don't know.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tweak tweak tweak

I've been infected with the urge to make another round of tweaks to the design of this blog. I think I'm satisfied with the design for now. I'm usually looking for ways to make text easier to read while keeping the design simple and the page load time to a minimum. I'm a big fan of narrow layout for text—I think a narrow width makes text easier to read, like a newspaper column. I think there's even some scientific research which supports this, something about how our eyes scan a page. In any case, narrow text works for me.

And then there's the font. I tried a few fonts. The old serifed font I was using wasn't working for me, so I switched to sans-serif. I think I like this better. It makes the text appear to "breathe" more and look less rigid, I think. I also made sure to give the text sufficient line height. After all that looking for a suitable font, I ended up with plain ol' Arial. I found that it's a good compromise for rendering both English and Japanese text in an acceptable way. The other fonts I tried were either good for Japanese or English text, but not both. Although, I think the rendering of Japanese characters is generic to the common fonts. The rendering is different for different browsers, of course, and I found that Chrome seems to render Japanese characters in the generic fonts better than Firefox.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blog posts for English language learners

One idea I'm considering for some posts on this blog is writing short English texts for the benefit of people who are learning English.

As someone who is trying to learn Japanese, one problem I encountered in the early days of my studies is deciding on what Japanese material to read to get my reading comprehension off the ground, and how and where to get a hold of those materials. I found that, for a beginner, it's not necessarily easy to find reading material which match one's reading ability, and which can still hold one's interest. It can in fact be a frustrating task. But not being able to easily access beginner-level material—however I defined it—forced me to read what was readily available—online Japanese articles. And I believe that turn has been to my benefit. Perhaps matching the reading material exactly to one's reading ability is not too important, and that some amount of mismatch can be tolerated and result in benefits, at least when it comes to reading short text.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This blog revisited

Yesterday I viewed my own blog for the first time in probably more than a year. And they say there's no privacy on the interwebs.

I read my old posts, all six of them. Took me about two minutes (I'm a slow reader). I found that the links were still working so I visited a couple of them. I was happy to see that The #jishin_e Daily is still going strong and being maintained. And so is, for that matter. The format is looking good. Maybe they're here to stay after all.

Regarding my Japanese adventure, I say with a big sigh of relief—the dearth of blog posts here notwithstanding—that I am hooked and that there is no turning back. If for some reason I were to stop studying Japanese, I predict that I would be in agony from serious withdrawal symptoms. It has been an amazing and fun ride thus far.

Anyway, I'm currently mulling over resurrecting this blog. I've tweaked the CSS some more. I find it rather annoying that the Blogger template doesn't use paragraphs for the blog posts by default and that I had to fix that. How primitive. The large default spacing between paragraphs as a result of using line breaks instead of paragraphs really bothered me, so I just had to fix that. Anyway again, the hardest part of keeping a blog is coming up with original content to write. That would explain everything. But I'll see what I can do.