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I’ve been a bit slow in responding to the new math drama Suugaku♥Joshi Gakuen starring a whole bunch of H!P members, but now that the first episode is out, here’s a post.

H!P math drama??!!! I’ve been waiting for this my whole life! (Never mind that my life predates H!P.) And of course I’m happy to see Sayu starring as a math geek, given the interest she’s expressed in the subject.

I don’t have time right now to do a full review of the first episode, but I’ve found it quite awesome so far, with respect to the geekiness, though the number of typos I’ve spotted have been quite a distraction. The series has apparently been developed in cooperation with the Mathematical Olympiad Foundation of Japan, so the math is essentially correct, as far as I can tell so far (I haven’t dissected most of it yet), though the editing work seems to have been rather sloppy.

Also, I’m not sure who’s planning to fansub this drama, but I would like to volunteer as a math consultant. So if you are working on this, please sign me up. I think the kinds of mistakes that have slipped through the editing can also pop up in translation, and I can help look over the translations and correct any possible math errors.

Here are some typos (and non-typos) I’ve found:

The first equation is given as \lim_{x\to a} f(x)=a. This says that the limit of f(x) as x approaches a is equal to a. As written, this is only correct for all values of a if f is the identity function. This should probably be \lim_{x\to a} f(x)=f(a), which is true for all continuous functions.

The second equation says \frac{d}{dx} = a^x = a^x \log(a). There is an extra equal sign here. It should be \frac{d}{dx} a^x = a^x \log(a). This is the derivative of ax respect to x.

The third equation is fine as is, and expresses linearity of integration.

This clock is just awesome. It has expressions evaluating to or otherwise indicating each of the integers from 1 to 12, which we would see on a normal clock.

  1. \tan(45^{\circ}) — the tangent of 45°, equal to 1.
  2. \sum_{i=0}^{\infty} 1/2 — this is a typo; should be \sum_{i=0}^{\infty} 1/2^i, an infinite series converging to 2.
  3. &#x33i — this is another typo; should be 3, an HTML code for the character 3.
  4. 2^{-1}\mbox{ }(\mbox{mod }7) — the modular multiplicative inverse of 2 (mod 7); 4 and 2 multiply to 8, which is congruent to 1 (mod 7), so 4 is an inverse of 2 (though not the only inverse; 11 is the other integer on the clock that satisfies this property, which makes this a flawed clock).
  5. X^2=3^2+4^2 — solve for X, which can be either 5 or -5.
  6. 3! — the factorial of 3, which is 6.
  7. 6.\overline{9} — this repeating decimal is equal to 7.
  8. \sqrt{64} — the square root of 64 is 8.
  9. 3(\pi -.14) — since π is irrational, this is actually 9.004777960769…, but it’s approximately 9.
  10. -8 = 2-X — solve for X, which is 10.
  11. 0x0Bhexadecimal for 11, with the standard hexadecimal prefix of “0x” used in Unix-like shells and C.
  12. \sqrt[3]{1728} — the cube root of 1728 is 12.

This is given as v = \sqrt{2}gh, but the radical should extend over the entire right-hand side: v = \sqrt{2gh}.

In context, Nina (Reina’s character) swings on a rope into the classroom. This expresses her velocity at the lowest point of her trajectory.

Nina starts out with a gravitational potential energy of mgh (m is mass, g is gravitational acceleration, and h is height, measured relative to the lowest point of her trajectory) and no kinetic energy prior to swinging on the rope. At the lowest point, she has a kinetic energy of \frac{1}{2} mv^2 (m is mass and v is velocity) and no potential energy. Due to conservation of energy, these two are equal:

\frac{1}{2}mv^2 = mgh
\frac{1}{2}v^2 = gh
v^2 = 2gh
v = \sqrt{2gh}

It seems Tsunku♂ has joined the eminent ranks of Napier, Fermat, Gauss, Cauchy, Lagrange, et al…. :o

It seems I’m updating about once a year now. :( I haven’t left the fandom, but I guess I lost interest in blogging at some point. Maybe I’ll resume soon. I’ve done a lot of things in the meantime though, including visiting Japan twice, so I definitely have stuff to share.

Anyway, with the sudden announcement that Saki is graduating from S/mileage, I’ve now experienced for the second time the sudden graduation of my favorite member from H!P. Saki wasn’t originally my favorite in H!P, much less S/mileage, nor was S/mileage my favorite group, but she gradually became more interesting and I even decided to get a haircut like hers when “Short Cut” came out. I’m glad I got the chance to meet her briefly at the mini-live and handshake event at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro last December.

But what inspired me to post now was a couple of lines in a comment by Tsunku♂ posted on the official Hello! Project site:

また、本人はまだまだ未熟な学生で未成年です。
社会人なら仕事を途中で投げ出すようなことは許されないのかもしれませんが、
彼女のまっすぐな気持ちをご考慮いただき、どうか温かく温かく見守ってあげてほしいと願っております。

This was originally translated by takamaruyo as

Also, she is still an immature student.

A working adult would understand that abandoning work half way is an inexcusable act, but please consider her straight and strong feelings, and watch over her with your warm and love.

When I read this, my immediate reaction was Who would write such a rude thing?! The remarks came off as an overly harsh criticism of Saki’s decision in the middle of a comment apologizing for the sudden announcement and change in lineup. It seemed really out of place.

So I read the original in Japanese, and though I’m not completely fluent, I thought it wasn’t nearly so harsh. It didn’t directly criticize her for her maturity nor expect her to understand such a decision to be irresponsible. Rather, it seemed that Tsunku♂ was defending Saki from people who might criticize her for being immature and irresponsible and that he was explaining that since she was still in school and a minor, what one would expect of her would not be the same as what one would expect of a working adult. Sure, he’s upset about it and it most likely ruined plans he had for S/mileage, but this wasn’t the place to say that. I pointed this out, and offered my own translation, which has since been incorporated into takamaruyo’s. But since I wrote that in a hurry, it’s not terribly great, so I point you instead to Pure Idol Heart’s version:

Again, Ogawa is still an inexperienced student and a minor.
For a working adult, it would be unacceptable to give up their job halfway.
However, please consider her straightforward feelings, and watch over her warmly.

There’s still some implied criticism but it isn’t directly calling her out for being immature and irresponsible.

Unfortunately it seems the original translation had been reposted all over the place, and a number of people in the community have been outraged at Tsunku♂ for something he didn’t quite say, and others have taken the rude comments to be revealing something about Saki’s relationship with Tsunku♂ and H!P, though it really isn’t. And of course, if you read Tsunku♂’s defense of Saki against accusations of irresponsibility as exactly such an accusation itself, it puts Saki herself in a bad light too.

Something so small as the choice of a few words here and there to translate a statement can really skew an audience’s reaction in extreme ways. I’m not criticizing the original translator though, as no translation is perfect, especially on such a short notice.

I’m struggling with how to render things properly myself as I undertake my current project of translating Koharu’s autobiography/self-help book 17sai no Tenshoku. I decided to work on this just a few days ago, and though it’s certainly going to be quite a time-consuming project, especially since I have to look up unfamiliar words and expressions all the time, I think it’s worth the effort. It’s certainly helping me improve my Japanese, even more than just reading it as I had been before I decided to translate it. And since it’s my first translation project, it’s giving me some experience in choosing the right words and structures in English to express a text written in a completely different language. Certainly a lot of nuance will be lost in translation, and some will be gained that wasn’t in the original, but at least by the end of it, I’ll have a text that others in the English-speaking fan community can enjoy. I don’t believe anyone else is working on a fan translation, and there’s no way Up-Front Books is publishing an official one (though that would be awesome).

I’m currently up to page 35 of the book, though this looks like more than it actually is, since the page numbering starts with the eight pages of color photographs Koha included at the front (adorable baby Koha! awwwww <3) and includes the lengthy table of contents that lists every chapter, section, and subsection, each with its own title. Koha's writing is very Kohaesque, if you're familiar at all with her personality. It jumps around a lot and frequently gives brief impressions of one scene before jumping to the next. The text within each subsection is divided into parts separated by a blank line, and these parts are divided into paragraphs. Sometimes just a few words make up such a part by itself. A single page can have up to five distinct parts. On top of that, about half the book is dialogue in script form.

This style of chunking text into short sections may be characteristic of contemporary literature in general, when most people read stuff on cell phones and have trouble with text that isn't conveniently arranged for reading on a tiny phone screen. This article by Yoko Tawada is an interesting read on the subject. It seems a newer translation of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov in Japanese has been selling way better than anyone would expect, and likely for the main reason that the translator has intentionally broken up Dostoevsky’s gigantic walls of text into bite-size pieces.

Koha, though, goes a bit beyond such expectations. It might be suggested that this book is ghostwritten, which may be standard for celebrity autobiographies, but Koha says in the preface that she wrote it all herself and was involved in the editing process. As I read it, I’m having trouble imagining anyone besides Koharu writing this. More than just the short sections, the writing is very much in her style.

So hopefully this will be finished in a couple months or so. I’m certainly having fun reading it and trying to find the right balance between readability and faithfulness to Koha’s style as I take her words and express them in a form more accessible to many of us.

I. Tsunku: The Enigma

If one follows the development and output of Hello! Project, one is likely well acquainted with Tsunku, the Producer:

Of course, Tsunku does not produce everything in Hello! Project, nor is his work limited only to production. A prolific lyricist and composer, he is also responsible for writing most of Hello! Project’s songs. One need only scan any recent (Tsunku-produced) Hello! Project release to see Tsunku’s name emblazoned across the front cover, acknowledging his role in producing the record. In addition, on the interior of the liner notes, one may often see both the lyrics and composition of the tracks attributed to Tsunku, his name rising elegantly above the very words he has penned.

Indeed, let us journey together, dear reader, through the experience of gazing upon Tsunku’s name as it appears on the Berryz Koubou single “VERY BEAUTY”, selected arbitrarily as a typical example of a Tsunku production.

Observe in particular how the three simple hiragana strokes (つんく) are embellished with a Mars symbol (♂), prominently displayed yet not intended to be pronounced. An interesting touch, otherwise attributable to Tsunku’s idiosyncratic whims but for the fact that this name appears differently on the interior:

Here the Mars symbol is noticeably absent. One might dismiss this as a mere typographical error, but closer examination of other recent Tsunku productions reveals that the Mars symbol is consistently missing from the lyrics and composition credits while present on the cover production credits.

One might fancy the notion that behind the “Tsunku” nom de plume lies a team of two individuals, one a producer and the other a lyricist and composer, differentiated only by the presence or absence of the Mars symbol. While there is some merit to this possibility, one must consider the history of this peculiar symbol as it is displayed on the covers of Tsunku-produced releases over the ages. In particular, one must note that early Hello! Project releases credit Tsunku as producer without the Mars symbol.

Immediately some pertinent questions arise: At which point did Tsunku the producer begin adopting the Mars symbol as an essential feature of his pseudonym? Did he consistently omit the symbol prior to this point, and has he consistently included it since then? And perhaps most importantly, why are there two Tsunkus now when once there was but one?

Speculation about Tsunku’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation aside (to be addressed in due time), let us examine in detail, dear reader, the evolution of this name, in hopes that such an endeavour may uncover heretofore unacknowledged clues to illuminate this enigmatic figure and to guide us in dissecting this mystery.

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C-ute’s new single, “LA LA LA Shiawase no Uta”, has a lot of la‘s, including an amazingly long ending sequence of 124 la‘s, as maiZe noted not too long ago. While this song no doubt contains more la‘s than any other Hello! Project release to date, it turns out that it does not have the longest sequence of consecutive la‘s. Any preliminary guesses as to what song holds that title? :-o

So, stricken as I was with curiosity, I wondered what other long sequences of la‘s there are, and Googling through ProjectHello, I put together a list of the fifteen longest la sequences, not counting those that appear within songs containing even longer la sequences. Not that all those other nonsense syllables out there are insignificant, of course, but la seems to be the most common, by a landslide.

I now present the 15 longest la sequences in the Hello! Project library, or at least those I could find, as I have no intention of checking to see if I’ve missed anything. In video format even! Now you can listen along for an entire whopping six and a half minutes of nonstop la-ness (to improve the flow, I cut out some of the fadeout sections, so not all the la‘s are there, but there are still close to a thousand left). Here they are from shortest (19 la‘s) to longest (136 la‘s). Some of them contain other utterances besides la, but they’re not part of the main melody, so I don’t consider them to be interrupting the flow of la‘s. If you’re still breathing when it’s over, you’re better off than I am.

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In compiling my top 100 PV countdown, I’ve now run into a roadblock, as I’m about to introduce the first Morning Musume video on the countdown. Unfortunately, I can’t discuss it properly without putting it into perspective first. The reason is because there are only two acts in all of H!P history for which my enjoyment hasn’t been relatively uniform but rather concentrated on distinct periods. They are Morning Musume and Maki Goto, and Gocchin isn’t as significant since her later era ended after only three singles and my enjoyment of her earlier work is pretty uniform. So I’m posting this entry as a framework in which to evaluate the MoMusu videos.

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Countdown! The Top 100 Hello! Project PVs

 

It has begun! :-) (see previous post for details)

But before it actually begins, I’m going to hand out some honorable mentions. In fact I’m going to hand out 20 honorable mentions. This is actually a shameless, thinly veiled excuse to produce a Top 120 countdown without bothering to rank or discuss the bottom 20. But still … these were the noteworthy videos that almost made the cut. And there were some pretty difficult decisions to make, so I feel they all deserve a mention.

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DJ Kirarin☆Snow ☃'s remixes are now appearing at K!☆Mixed.
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