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A word of advice to Casey Affleck and Joaquin Pheonix, continue to keep it ambiguous as to whether it’s a mock- or doc-umentary.

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For one thing, when someone makes a recommendation for or against a particular option, a decision maker may feel like they have lost a bit of their independence in making a choice. Recommendations about how to go about making the choice may also make a decision maker feel a loss of independence. When the advice comes in the form of information, though, the decision maker still feels like they have some autonomy.

Second, information helps people to make future decisions in the same domain. New pieces of information often make people aware of dimensions of a decision that they had never considered before. A recommendation for or against a particular option is useful for the specific decision that you are making at a given time, but that advice may not be as helpful in the future.

Finally, getting information makes people feel more confident in the decision they ultimately make. The information provides reasons for or against a particular option. There is a lot of evidence that people feel better about decisions when they are able to give a reason for making the choice. Information provides a good justification for a choice.

(via Lone Gunman)

Maybe the most important piece of advice I can give to those of you heading into the world of film is that as long as you are able-bodied, as long as you can make money yourself, do not go looking for office jobs to pay the rent. I would also be very wary of excruciatingly useless bottom-rung secretarial jobs in film-production companies. Go out to where the real world is, go work as a bouncer in a sex-club, a warden in a lunatic asylum or in a slaughterhouse. Walk on foot, learn languages, learn a craft or trade that has nothing to do with cinema. Filmmaking must have experience of life at its foundation.

Werner Herzog, Herzog on Herzog [see also: submitted for your perusal]

Japanese is no Navajo or even Basque, but it’s still pretty damn hard. There are plenty of “harder” languages, but this one has been particularly difficult for me. I feel like I’m still at intermediate, and have been for the last 3 years. I’ll be going to third year college level Japanese next semester at IU, and I have to say, I’m a bit worried. I’m out of practice. With that bad news (for my personal academic life), there comes good news. The internet has improved, and offers a lot of help for students like me now—a lot of which, I wish I had when I was first starting. Here is a collection of my findings in three sections:

  1. Personal experience and foresight. “I wish I knew what I knew Now…When I was younger.”
    • Alright. Flat out, and this is sort of paradoxical. Don’t have any goals or expectations, er…well. This is hard to explain, but basically, Japanese will take you ages, you’ll get sick of it, don’t give up because you expected something to happen that didn’t. If you ask me this is sort of a metaphor for a lot of things, but particularly for lifelong learning processes like secondary languages.
    • Here’s a testimonial. This is pretty good information just to brace yourself for the learning process. Don’t be too disillusioned. I particularly like number 17, in that regard, because it exemplifies that, though not everyday and every moment, the experience should be fun.
    • Getting into the culture is the understatement of the year. But, if you ask me, it’s not too hard to find a way to fall in love with Japan. Watch  movies, read books, check out blogs, photographers, artists, history, politics, whatever. There are plenty of tools that can help which brings me to:
  2. The Internet
    • I really don’t think you can learn Japanese through just one method. Just listening to a Podcast, or just watching anime, or just reading books, will not do it. Podcasts, however, can fill in the gap between semesters if you want to keep your ear tuned in (and like me, don’t have proper connections with native speakers). I find that podcasts aren’t that rewarding, I find reading and writing a lot more rewarding (while talking out loud). Regardless, here’s a compliation of web resources I use:
    • JapanesePod 101. You’ll notice that they really want you to sign up, and to charge you. It didn’t used to be this way with this resource. That said, you can still get them easily on iTunes without login information (I’m pretty sure). They are pretty funny, incredibly quirky, and at entertaining at the very least. I’ve tried a couple other ones, but this one’s pretty much the best.
    • I would highly suggest installing the English to Japanese keyboard input converter on your personal computer. It makes things a lot easier. Once you’ve installed this, and turned on the Japanese input methods, you can type romaji and it will automatically convert it the the proper hiragana. Then, when you’ve typed hiragana that make up a kanji character you can press space and a small list of kanji possibilities show up to choose from to replace the hiragana. It’s crucial. I use this off and on to ‘journal’, which basically means to try creative ways to use my resources and new knowledge.
    • Alright, so now what to read on the internet? Well, anything, blogs, whatever. There hasn’t been precident for this sort of thing before. There weren’t everyday blogs to read by random Japanese people 10 years ago like there are today. I think it’s valuable and quite rewarding. There’s newspapers, too, of course, which are fantastic resources.
    • But, whoa, that’s way overwhelming, right? Right. So, here’s what you do. First: Get Firefox. Trust me. It’s the best. Got it? Good.
      • Now get this extension: Rikaichan, once you’ve installed it, make sure you’ve got the dictionaries installed too (same page). If you are unsure of what any character means, just turn this on via right-clicking in the window, and then whenever you hover over a character, or set of characters, it will reveal the reading and possible definitions of the word.
      • If you need even less help than that, you can also install this: Furigana Injector. When installed it will place the reading above the kanji when displayed on any webpage. It’ll help a lot, and you’ll speed through articles a little quicker hopefully.
    • Then, there’s always helpful “learning” websites. I don’t usually trust these things. Ideally, I could just be in school, or have a proper book. But, right now I’m depending on these. All my books are at home, with my notes, and I don’t want to buy anything to take back when I have to come home from England, so the Internet is my only resource. This one is nice for grammar patterns, and simple sentences and lessons. I’ve never used this one, but it’s the first thing that showed up on Google when I typed in “Japanese Grammar.” You get the idea.
    • Other online dictionaries. Sometimes I use WWWJDIC, or I’ll cheat and look up english words to convert here.
  3. Classes, Books and Other Resources
    • It’s not uncommon that you don’t have the internet. But you still want to study Japanese. So, get books. I’m not really sure what the best. But I can tell you what I’ve used in class are the Genki textbooks. I found them really great for the classroom setting. Other than that, I don’t know.
    • Once, in class, my teacher recommended some software. I can’t remember exactly which one it was, but the idea still remains: you can get a dictionary for your computer to use offline for free. Try here.

Anyway, it’s fun to try and figure out ways to learn for yourself too. Finding a way to make it a fun habit is very rewarding. But, if you get a chance, take a class, it’ll probably be easier that way.