Welcome to Passive, New York

As Andy Henriquez, a 19 year old from Washington Heights lay in his cell dying from a tear in his aorta, an artery that supplies blood to the heart, he asked a guard if he could call his mother just to say goodbye. For days he suffered in pain barely able to breathe as the blood made its way down to his groin. He request was denied. His fellow inmates knew something was wrong. They screamed and kicked doors in a failed bid to get Andy some help.

A doctor who visited him earlier that day prescribed him hand cream and wrote the prescription in the wrong name.

Hours later he was found dead on the floor of his cell.

This happened in April of last year, New Yorkers are just hearing about it today because a suit has been filed by the lawyer of Mr. Henriquez’s family.

In this last year I have been thinking about some things….

I have thought about the death of Eric Garner and the muted outrage that followed.

I have thought about all the black men who were set up by Detective Louis Scarcella from Brooklyn, who have languished in jail for years and are just now having their cases reviewed after it was discovered Scarcella was crooked and the silence that followed.

I have thought about how everyone just accepts that Stop and Frisk is a thing of the past and that the rights of black and brown men here in New York City are not still being violated.

I have thought about how slick it was for our Mayor to parade his black family in front of the cameras to get elected and how New Yorkers have yet to check him for basically being Bloomberg 2.0.

I have thought about those who live in the projects whose stewards, NYCHA, last year said they had a surplus of money to fix them and are now saying this year they have no money.

I have thought about how “affordable housing” here means you must make damn near 100k, yet no one seems to believe that this city hates its poor.

I have thought about the fact that this city has the highest rates of workplace discrimination lawsuits in the country, yet no one wants to address racism in the workplace.

I have thought about how gentrification of this city has made many neighborhoods I once loved and enjoyed unrecognizable and in my view turned its residents into the quietest, softest, most passive lot of New Yorkers I have ever experienced in my lifetime here.

Who the fuck are you people?

There will be very little outrage over Mr. Henriquez’s death. This lot of New Yorkers would be more outraged if you kicked a cat than if you choked a young black man to death or allowed one to internally bleed to death on the floor of a jail cell.

Japanese grammar: passive verbs (feat. Kaneki Ken)

Just finished watching episode 12 of Tokyo Ghoul so…

Passive verbs!

The passive voice tells you that the subject of a sentence is having a verb happen TO them instead of doing the verb themselves:

Eat > be eaten (“be eaten” is passive)

To make a verb passive in Japanese, you change the -u at the end to -areru . This works for both main types of verbs (“ru” verbs and “u” verbs).

  • たべ(taberu) “eat” = たべられる(taberareru) “be eaten”
  • (miru) “see” = みられる (mirareru) “be seen”
  • (kiku) “hear”/“ask” = きかれる (kikareru) “be heard”/“be asked”
  • (iu) “say” = いわれる(iwareru) “be said” (plain う “u” changes to われる “wareru” instead of あれる “areru”. Easier to say.)
  • Irregular verb する (suru) “do” becomes される “be done”
  • Irregular verb くる (kuru) “come” becomes こられる (korareru) …aaand there is no passive form of “come” in English but there are some situations in Japanese where it can happen
  • 傷付け(きずつける/kizutsukeru) “hurt” = 傷付けられる(きずつけられる/kizutsukerareru) “be hurt”.

Kaneki Ken from Tokyo Ghoul has an example sentence for that last one, don’t you, Kaneki?

傷付ける人より 傷付けられる人に
きずつけるひとより きずつけられるひとに
I’d rather get hurt than hurt someone else. (literally, “rather than a person who hurts, [be] a person who gets hurt”)

  • 傷付ける(きずつける) hurt, wound
  • 人(ひと) person (傷付ける人 a person who hurts [other people]), 傷付けられる人 a person who is hurt [by other people])
  • より more than, rather than (goes after 傷付ける人 to show that it’s the lesser option)
  • に in, into, at (probably leading into a verb like なる “become; turn into” but the verb is implied)

When you put a passive verb in a sentence, you use the particle に to mark whatever’s doing the verb (if you include it), and は or が for the one who’s having the verb done to them (they’re like the subject of the sentence now, it’s their sentence because they’re getting verbed).

  • ねこ ねずみ たべ  The cat eats the mouse.
  • ねずみ ねこ たべられる The mouse is eaten by the cat.
  • 食う(ぼくをくう) to eat me (くう is like an informal/vulgar たべる)
  • 食われる(ぼくにくわれる) to be eaten by me

Kaneki also has an example sentence for this one, don’t you, Kaneki?

僕を食おうとしたんだ。 僕に食われても仕方ないよね?
ぼくをくおうとしたんだ。 ぼくにくわれてもしかたないよね?
You tried to eat me. So if you get eaten by me, that really can’t be helped, can it?

  • 僕(ぼく) I, me
  • 食う(くう) vulgar/informal version of たべる “eat”
  • verbおうとした tried to verb (literally “did ‘let’s verb!’” as in “you’re the one who was all 'let’s eat Kaneki’”)
  • んだ emphasizes the whole explanation here
  • 食われる “be eaten” > 食われても(くわれても) even if (you) are eaten
  • 仕方ない(しかたない) it can’t be helped, can’t complain, nothing can be done about it
  • よ emphasis
  • ね …right? …isn’t it?

So there you have it. Tokyo Ghoul episode 12, your one-stop shop for all your passive verb and cannibalism needs.


So I found this really cool channel. It’s mostly aimed at foreigners who are learning Russian, but the subtitles are in both languages, so I think it’ll be useful for both. In each video, the crew walks around the streets and interviews different people on a random topic, (which includes: ‘What makes you happy?’, ‘Who is your favourite writer?’). The idea is that it is possible (and necessary) to learn Russian ‘from the streets’. Their videos are always incredibly entertaining and positive, so I suggest you guys take a look - you won’t regret it, I promise :)

In this episode, Anya asks people about their favourite Russian sayings. Here are a few that were mentioned in this video:

век живи, век учись: live an learn / it’s never too late to learn
кончи дело - гуляй смело: business before pleasure 
язык мой - враг мой: my tongue is my enemy/ a man’s ruin lies with his tongue/ i am my worst enemy
чужая душа - потемки: a stranger’s heart is a deep well
без труда не вытащишь рыбку из пруда/ под лежачий камень вода не течет:  no pains, no gains/ no sweet/ without sweat
тише едешь - дальше будешь: slow and steady wins the race
в чужом глазу соринку разгляжу, в своем бревна не замечу:  Hunchback does not see his hump, but sees his companion’s
насильно мил не будешь:  love cannot be compelled.