Utter Nonsense Today

March 15th, 2006

You may have noticed that I’ve added a profile to this blog. I never really wanted to do that because I’m not particularly photogenic, and I thought that certain things would be obvious…

1) I am a woman. I thought that that was always fairly obvious, as my name – Erica – ends with a final “a”, which usually denotes a female version of a male name. I.e., Patricia, to Patrick, Edwina to Edwin…Erica to Eric. For some reason, my obviously female name does not indicate *enough* that I am not a man. Nor do my comments in this blog that mention that I am a lesbian. Therefore, to make it easy, let me be blunt. I am a woman and a lesbian. Not a guy. No matter HOW many action/porn/shounen things I review, I am still not a guy.

2) I have NOT, in any way shape or form, mastered Japanese. I am not fluent. I am not incorruptibly, unequivocally correct in my translations. I’m barely limping along, ekeing meaning out of this wonderful language with hours of effort a day. I am always glad to be told when I got something wrong by someone who is fluent.

3) I have taught myself Japanese. I have not taken any classes (unless you count the year I did my wife’s Japanese class homework along with her, because I thought it would be fun. And I sucked as badly as anyone else in the class. LOL But it was fun.) I am still teaching myself Japanese, which is probably a bad idea, but all I have time for. As a result my reading skills are fair, my listening skills are uneven and erratic, my writing skills are poor and my speaking skills are appalling.

So, frankly, when people write me and whine that they cannot read Japanese, I don’t really think that’s a valid complaint, because it takes no more than desire and time to learn. It’s not a particularly difficult language, especially as compared with English. It IS difficult to master, like any language. If you want to learn – shut up and learn. There is no Matrix chip. Just time and effort. I’ve given myself a timeline of about 20 years before I expect to be reasonably fluent, at least in reading. Get back to me in 15 years and I’ll let you know how it’s going. (Think about it – when you are born, you’re practicing you language skills EVERY WAKING MINUTE. And it still takes you 7 years to be able to speak with any skill – 14 to write with any and 20 for you to have anything interesting to say. So get a real timeline – not two classes. Not two years. 20 years.)

4) I do not take any of my opinions seriously. If I offend you, it’s you. (Read my rules of life in my profile for clarification.)

5) I buy my manga and anime in a variety of places. I am asked often where I get things. Here’s the list of places I use to get anime and manga:

Anime: Amazon (clicking through the Yuricon Shop, if it’s not listed)

Manga: Amazon; Amazon JP, Sanseido Bookstore; more rarely Kinokuniya or Asahiya for Japanese-language.

I am VERY lucky to have a Sanseido not 40 minutes from my house, and a Kinokuniya and Asahiya in NYC which is just over an hour away. But if I’m in a rush, or it’s not a generally popular title – or is a novel, like all the new Marimite novels, I get them from Amazon JP.

6) I am old and curmudgeonly. I get alot of puppies emailing me, using “u r” for “you are” and it irritates me. If you’d like to email me with a question, I would be much less rude if you used common, casual language. I just want you to be coherent, avoid stage directions like “tilts head” and “bounces up and down” or stuttering in text, “so, like, uh, yeah,”. I’m not asking you to be over formal, either. Just be normal, please. If you are not a native English-speaker, you absolved from having to write normally, but frankly, most of the non-native English speakers who write me have excellent grammar comparitively. I am not 20ish – it was a long time ago that I was. If you are asking me how old I am, I am old enough to be your mother – in many cases your grandmother. How do I know this? Because only people under 20 or so ever ask my age. So write to me as if you are addressing an elder. Which you are. ^_^

7) Last but not least – I am not Japanese.  Friedman is a German word that means “Free man” and was taken by many serfs and slaves when they were able to purchase their freedom. I am not German, but for some reason, my family has a German name. I imagine there was some German influence waaaaaaay back. My first name is Old Norse and means “leader” if you care. I am not Norwegian either. Neither am I Japanese. For the record.

Actually, this is the last thing – remember, you can be mean back to me, but you have to be FUNNY too. If you’re already a friend of mine, I know you are mean and funny. The rest of you can feel to practice in the comments section. Being mean and unfunny is just dull and stupid-sounding. Don’t try to be clever when you reply to this entry…you’ll sound like you’re trying too hard and we’ll all be embarrassed. ^_^


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12 Responses

  1. Reka says:

    It’s such a disappointment to discover that you aren’t Norwegian. In fact, I wish I was Norwegian too. I think you should pretend to be a twenty-year-old heterosexual son of a Japanese/Norwegian couple who was born in Puerto Rico and speaks Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, English, and Russian fluently on the internet. I know I would.

  2. I’ve always been a dissapointment to everyone around me – except my parents and my wife. They seem pretty happy with me. :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    In their defense, it’s awful hard to find you refered to as anything but “I” on the site (by which I mean no name or picture without long hunting). Oh, there’s also the fact that you have a ‘wife’ and not a ‘girlfriend’ (gay marriage isn’t nearly as common as it should be, so there is a tendency to equate ‘wife’ with ‘husband,’ even given strong evidence that speaker is gay). That circumstantial evidence combined with the knowledge that appreciation of lesbians is not limited to lesbians (it’s called loser-fan-BOY rating, after all) makes being certain of your gender a bit hard.

    That said, ASSUMING you’re a man would be pretty stupid. But if you think about it from the perspective of a newcomer who’s only read a week or two of posts, I hope you can see that being UNCERTAIN isn’t that dumb.

    Mind you, now that you have a name and picture up there, it would be a lot harder to justify that uncertainty.

  4. punistation says:

    (looks at photo)

    Oh! Oh! I see lillies! I see Sailor Scouts!

    “No matter HOW many action/porn/shounen things I review, I am still not a guy.”

    So there’s a precedent? Good to know.

    “I have not taken any classes”

    I remember my own classes. I was the only girl who adamantly refused to add “-wa” to anything in the name of femininity.

    “and he lets me make fun of the LFBs in his store. Out loud. To their faces.”

    Sounds like SO much more fun than my “keep quiet, look no-one in the eye and try not to breathe in when in line” technique. The guys who work there are always super friendly, though. Get what you give.

    “write to me as if you are addressing an elder. Which you are”

    You have just provoked so many anime elder sterotypes in my head, and each one is cool. More than one features reverent obediant ninja girls. Your ‘No Angst’ policy worked wonders.

  5. Anon – My name has always been on this blog. Exactly where it is now – in the first sentence of the description of what the blog is. It’s at the top of the page on the right. Not that hard to find at all.

    Jen – Let me know when you’ll be shipping the obedient ninja girls. I’ll stay home to sign for them. :-)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why bother with such a long explanation? They’re just user names.

  7. Okay, you got me. I chose “Erica Friedman” as a user name, not because it’s my name, but because I wanted to seem cool and hip and “anonymous” was already taken by you.

  8. Anonymous says:


  9. Brinstar says:

    I want to be cool and hip, too. I’m going to call myself “Erica Friedman” from now on.

  10. LOL It’s a funny idea, but you would fail, because everyone who knows me knows how anticool and unhip I am.

  11. Ariel says:

    After reading SnB, SnR (as far as it’s gone), and reading your posts on the mailing list, I honestly would have guessed your age to be a lot younger than you say. This doesn’t have anything to do with the way you write, but more, it’s just the “vibe.” It’s good to put a face to the name and “voice” (if you can call it a voice). It makes you seem more human, as opposed to just words on a screen. And, “anticool,” you say? Don’t you know that that is the #1 criterion for being cool? :P Personally, I embrace my geeky-nerdy-dorky-ness that lies within. We dorks shall soon take over the world – I am sure of it (lol).

    As far as your last name goes, my guess would have been, Jewish. I’d lived in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and Friedman is a pretty common Jewish surname. But, you are what you are, and unless you consider it a part of your identity, it’s not really relevant. :)

    Also, now that it has been made apparent, the “elder” point is noted, Erica. ^_^

  12. Neo_Hrtgdv says:

    Well from the first thing I read from you (the 2005 top Yuri anime list) I knew you were: a)girl, and b)married to a girl. So I can’t really see how someone can get confused with that; the rest of it, eh, I don’t overly care about someone I barely know info, specially personal info, but thank you anyway for for sharing it; I’ve heard of the Yuricon from a latin american page, so I am somewhat happy to know a bit more about it and its members (I /know/ this sounds contradictory, but read well and it shall not). Well then take care and see you later ^_^

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