Thursday, December 22, 2005

Japanese post: new vocab

段ボール箱(だんぼーるはこ): cardboard box

For people living in Japan who have always wondered where to buy cardboard boxes other than the handy post office, Askul sells boxes in sets of 10. They have a wide variety of sizes to choose from. I am unlikely to need 10 boxes at a time unless moving though.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

christmas frenzy

In Japan, Christmas is a couple's holiday. Christmas cakes and romantic dinners. Apparently Christmas Eve is including in the festivities, so all restaurants are expected to be packed on those two days. I'm guessing that it'll be the restaurants with nice ambience that will be packed, but there will probably be some overflow into the regular places. It's probably a good day to stay home.

Friday, December 16, 2005


I've been requiring a lot of liquid lately, probably because of all the heaters running in Tokyo, including in my apt. It's cold here!

Shinjuku is pretty these days. Specifically, the area around Takashimaya Times Square (not a square as far as I can tell) has pretty holiday lights out. Apparently it is titled "Snow Cosmic Fantasy" this year.

By the way, the other day I passed a club titled "Evil Yokohama" in Yokohama. I'm not sure what clientele they're going for...

Friday, December 09, 2005

corn and chocolate

Corn and chocolate is a surprisingly tasty combination. This Hokkaido company makes a type that I like (never tried any others though). It's crispy corn covered with chocolate. I've been eying a package sitting in my office. But I'm just a visitor here so it wouldn't be very polite of me to eat it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

electronic dictionaries

My electronic dictionary has been really useful in Japan, in particular for studying. I'm too slow with regular dictionary texts, because I don't recall the ordering of the hiragana characters too well. So the electronic dictionary is perfect. I carry it arround with me all the time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

current ramen favorites

I noticed that I have a dearth of ramen information here, so I thought I'd update everyone with my current favorite places. Keep in mind that I adore とんこつ (tonkotsu: pork bone) soup, so I have a distinct bias for certain types of ramen. Still, I am slowly learning to branch out, so it won't all be about tonkotsu. Just most of it.

Also, I like tender, tasty pork (who doesn't?), and soft but chewy noodles. Al dente pasta I can understand, but not ramen noodles.

肥後のれん(ひごのれん)のひごラーメン:Higo Noren apparently has several shops but I've only visited the main branch in Shinjuku. The パーコーめん is the specialty, but I tried the Higo ramen on my only visit. All-around perfect とんこつ ramen! The pork was flavorful and tender, the noodles were the perfect texture, and the soup was delicious. The only down side is that the shop is small and a bit dingy. Not a place to go for atmosphere, but great for a bowl of ramen. I can't wait to go back.

天下一品(てんかいっぴん)のこってりラーメン:Tenka Ippin is a Kyoto chain which has a couple locations in Shinjuku alone. It's been reliably good, and wow, the thick soup is very densely flavored (this is not a healthy soup!). I like that, but people new to ramen might want to try the あっさり(assari) version, which is supposed to be light. I've only been there twice and I've gotten こってり(kotteri) both times. The noodles are the perfect consistency; soft but chewy. The pork is average from what I remember, and there is only one slice if you order the regular.

I shouldn't write these reviews when I'm hungry.

nothing much

My current project is wrapping up so we're just waiting for feedback from the customer. During the lull, I'm writing up my monthly report and studying some Japanese.

Yesterday was nice. I got a little Uniqlo shopping in (like Old Navy, but better quality), studied for a couple hours, and went to sleep early. The Indian curry last night put me out like a sleeping pill. Maybe it was the lassi.

Hoping to get my haircut this week, but so far the hair salon has been closed by 8pm.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Japanese post: new vocab

書留(かきとめ): registered mail
眺める(ながめる): to view; to gaze (at a distance)
景色(けしき):scenery (the reading of the second character always throws me because it's most commonly read as いろ)

Friday, November 25, 2005

the web is my grammar checker

When I want to check the grammatical usage of a Japanese verb or phrase, I first check the dictionary on my computer (ddwin is great). If there aren't any appropriate examples, I enter my phrase into a search engine and see if there are any results. If I get a lot of examples, I assume that the usage is correct. If I don't get any results, I try other permutations to see what people actually write.

It's kind of amusing what you can use the WWW for.

My first paragraph reads like a really boring set of if-then statements. I was just trying to be clear...

Second attempt to say the same thing as the first paragraph:
To check that I am using a verb with the proper particles or articles, I search for my usage, to see if Japanese websites display the same pattern. I'm going on the assumption that the more pages there are that use the pattern, the more accurate the grammar is likely to be. Of course, there is a margin of error, since not everything on the web is accurate. But it assures me that my grammar is at least not wildly inaccurate. (Double negative!)

I give up. Maybe I can write clearly tomorrow.

Korean bbq on Sunday! 期待しています。

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

hot water

I just noticed that there is an electric hot water heater under the sink at work. That explains why I recently noticed that we had hot water in the bathroom. I hadn't noticed the water before so I wondered if it had changed recently. Apparently it did. I wonder why the office felt the need for hot water. It's nice to have though.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

fear of loose change

My father has an odd phobia of loose change. He hates carrying the heavy things, so he automatically gives it away. While staying in Japan, he inevitably needs coins at least twice a day in order to buy train tickets. The alternative is to use a bill to buy tickets, which would give him even more of these dreaded, weighty coins. In order to help him get over his phobia, which he stubbornly refuses to deal with, I've started a tough love approach. When he asks me for coins, I refuse to provide them. It's the classic illustration of consequences.

"If you give away all your coins, you won't have any left for the trains. Which will mean you will end up with more coins. So you might as well get over it and start carrying a coin purse."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

pie chou

A variation on the classic Japanese chou cream (シュウクリーム), a pie chou!

Normal chou cream (named for the French word for cabbage) are more like cream puffs and do not have such a crusty outside as this pie chou. They're also normally much smaller.

Monday, October 24, 2005


I've read exactly 10 of TIME magazine's top 100 novels
Animal Farm; George Orwell
The Bridge of San Luis Rey; Thornton Wilder
The Catcher in the Rye; J.D. Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath; John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby; F. Scott Fitzgerald

Invisible Man; Ralph Ellison
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; C.S. Lewis
Lord of the Flies; William Golding
The Lord of the Rings; J.R.R. Tolkien
1984; George Orwell
To Kill a Mockingbird; Harper Lee

I would be upset, except for the fact that a lot of books that I think are brilliant weren't on the list.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


The fact that a url like exists makes me gag.

吐く (* ̄□)ミ.・:。:・。

I spent a couple hours researching all the measures etc. up for election in California this November.

A lot of interesting propositions on the ballot. I'm glad I voted!

Saturday, October 22, 2005


A goal should be a compromise between what you think you can do and what you need to do.

It's a good way to push yourself.

Friday, October 21, 2005

loud voices

Loud voices in public are rather noticeable in Japan.

Today some kids were yelling at the ticket gate of a train station, and all the commuters nearby were staring around nervously. It was kind of odd. Of course, it's not such a big train station, but I just ignored it and went on my way to work.

People are pretty quiet inside the trains too. Only rarely are there loud conversations. Half of the time the people talking loudly are foreigners, haha.

Mystery of life: why can't I sit up straight? After a couple minutes I end up slouching in a position that takes as much effort as sitting up straight.

Friday, October 14, 2005

tis a small world

That is one overused title, but oh well.

I ran into a classmate from college yesterday. I still can't get over the shock. I saw him in Shinjuku, of all places! Only the biggest commuter-filled station in all of Japan. We apparently take the same line to work though, so I ran into him at the ticket gate for the line. Opposite directions though. How totally random! He's the one who saw me; I was in my usual morning daze where I have to focus all my attention on getting to work as fast as possible. I'm not really late, it's just amusing to rush. Especially when everyone is running around, it's best just to get in and out of Shinjuku as fast as possible.

On a side note, as an American, it sounds odd to say "I went to University" when my school is called an Institute. Semantics?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

vibrating phone

I learned today that having your cell phone start vibrating in your pocket in the middle of a packed train during rush hour is kind of embarrassing. The people around me were wondering if they had a call, or just wondering what the heck was vibrating.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Calvin and Hobbes

"The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" is now out. Every panel ever published! ほしい。。。

From The Washington Post:

Calvin sounded like a 6-year-old psychotic on Ritalin one day and a Yale lit grad the next.

It's sad that Bill Watterson stopped the comic, but what he left us with is so brilliant that I can't complain.

And his lack of commercialism is refreshing. Look at the Harry Potter author or the creator of Dilbert. Completely different.

Calvin and Hobbes are the best!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

two months left and counting...

Was very impressed by 日本語の道 and am going to try to emulate the Japanese study blog.



( ..)φメモメモ
( ..)φメモメモ

2 months left until the day of the Japanese Proficiency Language Test (level 1).

Ignoring the looming deadline, I'll work hard and study every day.

Ah, this is why I don't usually write in both Japanese and English. How do you say "looming deadline" in Japanese? 「考えずに」is just "I won't think about it" or "ignoring that" as far as I know.

And the ALC dictionary comes through! すばらしい!

# looming deadline
# face a looming deadline for

try 1) 締め切りに追われることを考えずに頑張って毎日勉強します。
try 2) 締め切りに追われることを無視して、頑張って毎日勉強します。

For some reason I like 「考えずに」.何故でしょうか?

Friday, September 30, 2005

recycling PET bottles

PET means polyethylene terephthalate, and it's just referred to as PET in Japan.

Apparently, you're supposed to remove the cap when you recycle a PET bottle. I only fully realized that today. Oops. Of course, that means that the lovely plastic cap does not get recycled, which is a bad thing.

Like we need more plastic which degrades very verrry slowly (slower than George Bush's brain, can you imagine that?) cluttering up the world. At least the aluminum bottles get completely recycled (I think). I will have to stop using PET bottles.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Turtles Can Fly

There's a really interesting review by the Japan Times about a Kurdish movie called Turtles can Fly.

Kaori Shoji:
war, by its nature, cannot be a cause for hope

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

north korea and bush

Kim Il Sung: "Give us a nuclear reactor, you heathens!"

Bush: "As if! Do we look stupid?"

Kim Il Sung: "Yes!"

I wonder if I'm getting a little too twisted.

Inspired by the news that North Korea is demanding a nuclear reactor from the U.S.


I am becoming far too polemic about American politics. Yet it is very hard to be dispassionate about people dying.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bush made FEMA ineffective

From an essay on Privatizing FEMA (the organization responsible for handling disasters like Hurricane Katrina)

FEMA did not set a self-directed course towards disaster. A career professional who made it a model agency was replaced with a political crony who rendered it a useless mess. Now conservatives are crying out that Katrina has proved the public sector inefficient, and we should give the same leader who weakened FEMA the opportunity to award private contracts for future disaster-relief. We should trade political patronage for crony capitalism.

Bush's decisions transformed a remarkably efficient government agency into a fatally incompetent one, so conservatives want to let him do it a second time. It's completely insane. This isn't a private vs. public debate -- contrast Clinton's FEMA with Bush's version to see that. But the right would much prefer that it was. Democrats should make sure voters understand that Bush took a superb organization and destroyed it by handing control to a politically-connected incompetent. Republicans who demand we let him do it a second time in a less reversible manner should be laughed out of the room.

The Naval Medical Center in San Diego's Balboa Park was shut down to accommodate a visit by President George W. Bush Aug. 30, RAW STORY has learned, forcing patients to cancel chemotherapy treatments and hundreds of scheduled patient visits.

"I'm sorry ma'am, the President is coming for a photo op so we can't give you chemotherapy today."

And then he cancelled his photo op. So all these people were inconvenienced for nothing!

In other news, Barbara Bush says Things Working Out 'Very Well' for Poor Evacuees from New Orleans.

In fact, Bush thinks he was extraordinary with Katrina, while his wife thinks it's Hurricane Corrina.

Delusional family.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Actual reporting appears in New Orleans?

In the face of an obvious national failure, perhaps actual investigative reporting has returned to existence?

Journalists question official response to the catastrophe.

On "Meet the Press," Tim Russert cited President Bush's comment that no one anticipated the breaching of the New Orleans levees, saying: "How could the president be so wrong, so misinformed?" Russert also loudly lectured Chertoff on the dispatching of evacuees to the city's convention center: "There was no water, no food, no beds, no authority there. There was no planning."

The first to blow the whistle on the initially color-blind coverage was Slate media columnist Jack Shafer, who wrote Wednesday: "Race remains largely untouchable for TV because broadcasters sense that they can't make an error without destroying careers. That's a true pity. If the subject were a little less taboo, one of [the] anchors could have asked a reporter, 'Can you explain to our viewers, who by now have surely noticed, why 99 percent of the New Orleans evacuees we're seeing are African-American?' "

Third World scenes in New Orleans

An interesting article on poverty: The Daily Crush Of Poverty, Strong As Any Storm

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Japanese post: new vocab

トロイの木馬(とろいのもくば): Trojan Horse. Can be used to refer to the viruses of the same name.

直訳(ちょくやく):literal translation.

Monday, August 29, 2005

delightful black and white photos

Wow! Alice has the most delicious black and white portrait on her website! You should go look at it. It may take a while for the site to load up, but what a delightful seaside picture!

My one complaint is the air between the couple. If there weren't space between their faces, the picture would be perfect. Maybe it's just me. But the bride's hair and dress are picturesquely windswept and the scene is absolutely magnificent. Yes, I'm gushing, but I love Alice's work. I also adore black and white pictures.

Alice is available for international bookings :)

bunny suicides and world conquerers

Courtesy of katiedid, I have found the coolest cartoons! May be off-color at times, but the placid-faced bunny contriving all sorts of suicides is rather funny. Ok, morbid, but it's quite an engineer of a little bunny or two (with infinite lives). The picture that katiedid features is my favorite.

At the hosting site there is the cutest picture of a puppy. My Spanish is pretty poor but I think the poster titled the picture, "Conquerer of the World."

Mystic is coming out with a second album

Yeah baby! The Bay area rapper/singer Mystic (no site yet but she's got a domain) is apparently working on her second album. I'm excited. I really liked her first album, Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom. Here is an interview with her from 2002.

HipHop is so international it's funny. Mystic was apparently at a hip hop festival in Denmark. I'm so glad to hear that she's active. She writes such intelligent lyrics that it would be waste to lose her as an artist.

Friday, August 26, 2005

another eating contest title

The Japanese eating machine Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi has won a contest in Hong Kong for eating 100 pork buns in 12 minutes. He ate more than twice as much as any other competitor. Fearsome!

Kobayashi ate 83 dumplings in 8 minutes the day before the contest in a preliminary round.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Brock Peters

I was very sad to read that Brock Peters passed away. To Kill a Mockingbird is a brilliant book and movie. I remember watching the movie in English class, after we read the book, of course.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

interview with Park Chan-wook in The Washington Post

It's quite an interesting article. Although you have to laugh when you read the title of the interview Revenge, an octopus and acclaim for S.Korea's Park. I mean, Park is a pretty common Korean name. Isn't calling someone "S.Korea's Park" like referring to someone as "America's Smith"? Anyway, director Park Chan-wook sounds like a pretty interesting guy. I probably don't have the stomach to watch his films, but he has some interesting things to say. He's also a Hitchcock fan.

Monday, August 22, 2005

i think i just spammed people

With - if I did, I'm really really sorry! I started to register
for the service but stopped half-way. However, already imported
my email list so they may send you spam. If that's the case, I deeply
apologize. If I'm lucky, any invitation emails from that site will go
straight into people's spam folders.

コピーされたと思います。本当にごめなさい。<(_ _)>

update: so far it doesn't look like I spammed anyone. Thank goodness!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

table tennis and dating shows

My soon-to-be-2-year-old cell phone is still way cooler than U.S. cell phones. Dude, how do Americans live with such inferior technology? Hahah.

Word of the day: 正反対(せいはんたい; seihantai): opposite, antithesis, clear contrary. The meaning is fairly clear from the characters that compose the word. Making progress on the Japanese study, but I don't know if I'll be aiming for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) Level 1 or not. There's more than twice as much kanji to learn! Not to speak of the grammar involved.

I caught a ping pong lesson on TV on Thursday evening. I love Japanese tv. Very convenient after playing table tennis for the first time in a couple years last Sunday. The pros make it looks so easy.

I caught this very odd looking tv dating show where 8 people (4 men and 4 women) live together in a house. They all have to wear masks the entire time that they are in the house.If they decide to leave the house, then they reveal their faces. The masks are like the masks in The Tick. It's rather off-putting at first. They look so weird! But the point of the masks is to base the relationship on personality as opposed to appearance, and get to know a person's heart first.

If a person falls in love with another person, he/she asks the love interest to move to the second stage where they live with each other separately from the other members of the house, but remain masked. If the love interest declines the request, the rejected person unmasks and leaves the house, and a new person moves in.

A lot of the mundane details are cut out so the tv show just shows any events and new developments. The people go to work normally during the day but the women all sleep in one room and the guys all sleep in another, so it's got the feel of a dorm.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

tokyo jihen

東京事変 is a Japanese pop/rock group that I just caught on TV today. A lot of the music is kind of jazz-styled so it's not really my thing, but their performance of the lead singer 椎名林檎(Shena Ringo)'s song 「ここでキスして」(Kiss me here) blew me away. I think I will have to go buy their live dvd. Their performance rocked! Apparently Shena debuted in 1998 but the band only formed recently. I love these random TV shows. There are entertainers like Hamasaki Ayumi and then there are entertainers like 東京事変。The difference in emotion and expressive power is severe.


Friday, August 19, 2005

yottekoya ramen

I went to Yottekoya Ramen to try their tonkotsu-based ramen. They have 3 flavors: the kiosk style tonkotsu soy sauce soup, the plain tonkotsu soup, and tonkotsu salt soup. Plus some other types. I tried the tonkotsu salt type. It wasn't bad at all. The pork could be more tender but the flavor wasn't bad. I liked the thinly sliced scallions and slender bean sprouts mixed in with the soft noodles. I will go back and try the kiosk style tonkotsu soy sauce soup and make a final decision. I probably would rank this place as ok. Not bad, not great. Just good.


maybe i should keep political rants on my ranting page

hrm... Probably.

In an unrelated note, I wonder why I've been so bad about replying to emails lately. I have a 4 or 5 month backlog.

Yesterday I had a pleasant meal at Mi Piace in Sasazuka. They have lovely fresh pasta (made from scratch). The asparagas tagliatelle was delicious. I'd be delighted if they'd start carrying desserts, but it's probably healthier that they don't. One of the chefs is rather unfriendly, but the lady (part-owner?) is very nice.
昨日Mi piaceに食べに行った。生パスタは美味しい!アスパラガスのピューレーは美味しかった。ティラミスほしいけど、店が売らなくて健康にかんしていいことです。

I can't find any place which carries soup. Unless I go to Soup Stock Tokyo, but the closest branch is in Shinjuku station and is really crowded. Ramen just doesn't cut it when I want soup.
スープの店を探しているけどなかなか見つけられません。Soup Stock Tokyoは新宿駅にあるけど、いつも込んでいるので余り行きたくない。

I had tan tan men on Wednesday. Quite tasty.

I should get my phone's camera fixed. Then I'd be able to post pictures of what I ate.

navajo photographer

The Washington Post has an interesting article on LeRoy DeJolie, a big format landscape photographer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

TSA violating privacy, and what is the Dept. of Homeland Security smoking?

It's fascinating how some companies just trample over federal laws and lie about it. These people at TSA (the company developing Secure Flight) should be arrested.

Secure Flight is a disaster in every way. The TSA has been operating with complete disregard for the law or Congress. It has lied to pretty much everyone. And it is turning Secure Flight from a simple program to match airline passengers against terrorist watch lists into a complex program that compiles dossiers on passengers in order to give them some kind of score indicating the likelihood that they are a terrorist.

To make it even scarier, the Department of Homeland Security (so-called) is pushing for less independent Congressional oversight, and to allow the TSA to use commercial databases to invade our privacy. So we don't need Congressional oversight because we can trust TSA?!?! These Homeland security people are obviously delusional. I really don't see why we let drug users try to keep us safe. You're not making any sense, Mr. President.

"It boggles the mind that after you start with a strong position against commercial data and then you have the agency caught red-handed doing things it said it would not do -- that the GAO has said were unlawful -- then for Congress to say, 'Oh, that doesn't matter, in fact, you can do it some more if you explain it,'" Tien said. "That doesn't make any sense if you care about privacy."

The Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, said in March that Secure Flight had yet to pass nine out of 10 tests required for certification.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I've been linked by a complete stranger!

How exciting! Maybe I can dream of international influence. Laf. Also exciting was that he commented on various entries in my blog. I feel validated. :D Anyway, found the note at the bottom of Beautiful Talker rather amusing too. He had a very nice comment on my Mayo post, but I still cringe when I reread my post. It's a little pedantic, no? Have to rewrite it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

peter jennings

I was sorry to hear that Peter Jennings passed away. Rather a surprise. He was a staple on the news channels. I used to like Dan Rather, but he seemed to go for more and more tabloid reporting. Tom Brokaw seems to do a lot of interesting investigations.

I was looking for postgreSQL introductions when I ran across
this post. I mostly agree with the assessments of the major news anchors. Who is this Wolf Blitz guy? Must be after I gave up on TV news in disgust in 2001.

U.S. TV Olympic coverage is worse than useless. It actively kills brain cells. If only they would actually cover the sports...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My mom has met Miss Manners

How funny! It would be nice to meet Miss Manners, but I imagine it would not be a terribly interesting experience for her. I like her writing, anyway.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

lauren bacall is pretty cool

Her comments on Tom Cruise were pretty fair.

I wonder who I'd call a legendary actor. Sidney Poitier? Morgan Freeman? It's hard to think of legends who are still alive today. I probably shouldn't say anything since I have seen so few movies. But I thought Al Pacino and Marlon Brando were very impressive in the Godfather. Judi Dench is pretty cool. Lauren Bacall seems like a pretty darn legendary character, but I can't say I've seen any of her films.

I think Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Tilly are very impressive actresses. I don't know if I've even seen any of Tilly's films, but her ability to play wildly different characters is fascinating.

Hayao Miyazaki is a legendary director. :D

Marilyn Monroe is a fascinating and rather tragic figure. Gloria Steinem has a very interesting essay regarding her experience interacting with Monroe in an acting seminar. It left me with the impression that Monroe just wanted to be happy, but she never managed to find happiness.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

the polite way to say vulgar

From Miss Manners:

the polite way to say "vulgar" is "Well, it's not very subtle, is it?"

Monday, July 25, 2005

english phrases taught on Japanese radio

At noon today, they were teaching people to say "a stain on my life" in English. I missed the Japanese translation. I don't know how useful this phrase though. How often do you need to say "a stain on my life"?

japanese mayonnaise

Japanese mayonnaise (マヨネーズ)is dangerous for the unwary in Japan. It is surprisingly tasty in comparison to American mayonnaise. You may instantly become a "マヨラ(mayola)" or mayonnaise lover. Entire Japanese families are "マヨラ" and hence in danger of becoming overweight from eating too much mayonnaise.

Like the ketchup fanatic, the "マヨラ" thinks mayonnaise goes with everything, but it is normally found in a large variety of Japanese dishes. Traditionally お好み焼き(おこのみやき okonomiyaki) is topped with decorative lines of mayonnaise. Seafood pizza such as Pizza-Hut Japan offers comes with a liberal helping of mayonnaise. Many of the japanese rice balls called おにぎり(onigiri) may have mayonnaise, including the "sea chicken" type which contains tuna mixed with mayonnaise. Today I had a つくねおにぎり(tsukune onigiri, grilled ground chicken) which had a dollop of mayonnaise between the rice and the chicken. It was really tasty, but Japanese mayonnaise is a bit rich so it was a little heavy for breakfast. I love Japanese mayonnaise in very small quantities.

By the way, the kewpie doll created by Rose O'Neill is the mascot of the most popular Japanese brand of mayonnaise, which is called Kewpie Mayonnaise. Introduced in 1925, the product is overwhelmingly popular, and often called simply Kewpie.

Friday, July 15, 2005

sounds like SCO has bad management

This article discusses an unsealed internal SCO email regarding a code comparison between Linux and proprietary UNIX code. It's pretty interesting, in that the code comparison by an outside consultant found no copyright violations, and the SCO employee didn't think there were any copyright violations either.

All of this implies that the SCO CEO Darl McBride is deliberately lying or is completely ignorant of UNIX and Linux. Does he have any idea what he's talking about? Corporations are absolutely fascinating.

Once a company gets that stupid, something drastic has to be done.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

six apart

Went with Nobu to see Nob Seki of Six Apart speak about blogs. Six Apart is probably best known for their tool Movable Type, and their recent purchase of the popular LiveJournal service.

It was an interesting talk. Seki presented statistics from several studies regarding the current status of the blogging industry and the anticipated market. I found the data gathering methods pretty interesting. In one study, they surveyed a sample size and extrapolated the results to the entire population. Another study looked at ping counts from existing blogs and used that to estimate the total number of blogs in Japan.

I think the current popularity of blogs is a reminder that good tools are always going to be useful, and they may drive interesting innovations in unexpected areas. Essentially web presence is really cheap and there are a lot of opportunities to use that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

the world wide web owner

I got a bit of spam from "World Wide Web Owner" today. I wonder if this person can stop all the spam polluting his/her www. Laf. I have quite a few claims to make. And all this credit card and identity theft. Obviously a lot of stuff this person has to account for.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

content management systems

I just read an interesting column on common reasons why content management systems fail.

Also, a column on why giving the customer power will make a site successful. Rather interesting. I was really irritated when started requiring periodic purchases in order to maintain my account there. I think Netflix is great. The killer feature is having no late fees, but I also like the huge selection.

Of course, I don't own a dvd player. heh.

web sites and the surfing experience

There is very little that is more frustrating than not being able to find what you want. There are many reasons why you may not be able to find what you're looking for, but one reason should not be that the web site search functionality is broken.

In that respect, Yodobashi fails miserably compared to Bic Camera. At Bic Camera's site, I typed into the search bar the name of the game I was looking for and hit enter. Done. All found. At Yodbashi, I typed in the name of the game and hit enter, and got a Yodobashi page with no message text; just the regular default menu bar and copyright footers. Very informative. I didn't even know if the search found anything; as far as I know the site hit a bug while trying to search. I tried browsing and after clicking through 10 pages actually found the game I was looking for, but searching for it gave me a blank page or no results, at various times. I went back to the site after 20 minutes and the search finally worked properly. I guess the site was broken.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Japanese post: new vocab

くじける 挫ける: be discouraged; be disheartened

Kind of a negative word, but seems useful.
くじけちゃいけないよ: don't be discouraged.


I calculated and I've studied Japanese for at least 5 years.
2 years in college, 1 1/2 years or so in CA, and 2 years in Japan.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Congratulations Venus!

Venus just won Wimbledon! Woohoo!

Friday, June 24, 2005

republicans are need to stop smoking

whatever it is they're smoking.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said a litany of comments by Democratic elected officials and their liberal allies underscored Rove's point. "It is outrageous," he said, "that the same Democratic leaders who refused to repudiate or criticize Dick Durbin's slandering of our military are now attacking Karl Rove for stating the facts. . . . Karl didn't say the Democratic Party. He said liberals."

I'm not sure how Mehlman defines facts, but I'd like to see how he proves that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's statement "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers" is a fact. Any way you look at Rove's claim, it's an inflammatory generalization. It's like saying "all Republicans are conservatives," which is blatantly untrue. Some are liberal, some are conservative, some are moderate, and lots are crazy.

Anyway, I'd still like to know what the Bush Administration plans to do about Osama Bin Laden. Hello? It's like they all got selective amnesia: "Bin Laden who? Who attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001? Huh? You mean it wasn't Iraq? You mean Hussein had nothing to do with it? Are you sure?"

I feel so safe.

anti-virus software

I have a suspicion that my anti-virus software hasn't been working since April.

Why? The date displayed for my virus definition file hasn't changed since April. Oh, sure, Symantec will periodically update new virus definitions, but the date displayed hasn't changed at all. I tried the troubleshooting instructions on the Symantec site but they didn't help at all. Thank goodness you can retrieve files from the trash.

where are our rights?

Sometimes I really wonder what the government is thinking. I think the
problem is that people do not think.

The FBI "witch-hunt" in Lodi

By Veena Dubal and Sunaina Maira

On June 7Th 2005, national and international media attention focused on the small, agricultural town of Lodi, located approximately forty miles south of Sacramento. The FBI arrested and detained two individuals, both Pakistani-Americans, who they suspected had AL-Qaeda affiliations.

The investigation was presented as a "terrorism case" by the government and news sources. The initial affidavit released to the media said that U.S.-born Hamid Hayat, had attended a terror-training camp in Pakistan along with "hundreds" of other terrorists, and returned to the US intending to "attack . . . hospitals and large food stores." This kind of detail resulted in a flood of sensationalized media coverage, portraying 23-year old Hamid as a prospective mass murder and his father, Umer Hayat, a 47-year old ice cream truck driver, as the financial supporter and mastermind of an alleged "Lodi terrorist cell".
Neither allegation, however, was in the affidavit filed with a federal court in Sacramento the same day.

The FBI retracted their affidavit alleging Hamid's plot to attack domestic targets and began downplaying the seriousness of the presumed threat the men posed. Both Hamid and Umer were ultimately charged only with lying to federal investigators about Hamid's visit to Pakistan in 2003.

Three other Muslim men from Lodi, among them two respected imams, were also detained on suspected visa violations. One of the imams had actually been the target of FBI surveillance beginning three years ago when a secret court used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to approve wiretapping of Mohammed Adil Khan.

While the Justice Department has maintained that it was not deliberately trying to precipitate an anti-Muslim witch hunt, the difference between the two affidavits - the one released to the media and the one filed in court - as well as recent FBI activity in Lodi, speak a different story. None of the five men have been charged with carrying out or planning to commit any act of violence.

The many inconsistencies in the case and the hysteria it stoked coincided very neatly with Bush's campaign to renew and expand the 2001 Patriot Act, which can only be justified if there was an ongoing "terrorist threat" and the public continues to fear that there are Muslim or Arab terrorists in their midst.

On June 14, we traveled up to Lodi to assess the impact of the arrests and surveillance of the local South Asian community, which is estimated to consist of over 2500 Pakistanis, some of whom have been living in the town for three generations. Basim Elkarra, Executive Director of the Sacramento office of CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) has been diligently organizing in response to the arrests and interrogations of local Pakistanis by FBI agents swarming into town and warned us prior to our arrival about the extent of surveillance and the fear the community felt. But no amount of warning could have prepared us for the state of near siege in the town.

As soon as we stepped out of our car in Lodi, we were made aware of the FBI's presence. Not only is the entire Muslim community being surveilled by the FBI, which had interviewed many of its members, sometimes without an attorney present, in the days following the arrest - so are the attorneys and activists who are making sure that constitutional rights are upheld. During our brief visit with Mr. Elkarra and civil rights attorneys from the ACLU, a man with a large afro-wig in a blue SUV circled us and took photos. When we tried to approach him, he fled, only to return later to take more photographs. His conspicuous appearance made us realize the extent to which the FBI harassment is not at all a secret investigation: it is an overt act of intimidation of the community at large.

One of the attorneys we spoke to noted that the community feels "terrorized." Residents believe that they are being interrogated by the FBI and placed under
automatic suspicion because they are Muslim..

Pakistanis who attended the "Know Your Rights" workshops held by CAIR in Stockton, Lodi, and Pleasanton were all subject to obvious FBI surveillance. One Muslim mother told an attorney that her young child was followed from her home to an ice cream store by an FBI car. Others complained that they were taken out of their places of employment by the FBI for questioning and then could not return because their co-workers became suspicious of them.

The most shocking of these reports was that of an incident where the FBI stormed the Hayat home, when only women and children were present, by ramming down the front door and putting a gun to a woman's head. When her eleven-year old daughter passed out, she was denied medical attention, a gross violation of human rights that outraged even the local emergency care personnel.

After handing out "Know Your Rights" fliers to community members who have been repeatedly questioned, we went to visit the Lodi mosque that is under FBI scrutiny. The mosque is a small, humble structure - a former Jehovah's Witness church - next to the cannery where Pakistani men have worked as fruit packers, in some cases for more than thirty years. South Asian and Latino children were
playing basketball together across from the mosque while older South Asian men sat on the grass, presumably relaxing after a long day's work.

Most of the Muslims who attend this mosque speak Pashtu and are from the Northwest Frontier area of Pakistan. Some have family that had been in the area since as early as 1908, working on the railroads. They told us that the FBI began coming to Lodi immediately after September 11Th, making "friends" with mosque members. The men all seemed undaunted by the FBI siege. However, it was clear within minutes that beneath the welcoming, calm exterior, was a harassed, interrogated, and scared community.

One man described to us, without looking around, exactly where each federal agent's car was parked; we saw the three large, black-tinted SUVs just yards from the mosque and the courts where the young boys were playing. Another middle-aged man said calmly, "Let them come ask us questions; we have nothing to hide." While this resilience was encouraging, we were reminded by another Pakistani man who had already been questioned several times that while he did not mind speaking to the FBI, it was frightening for his wife and children. In addition, this has led to a racist backlash by some Lodi residents agitated by the lurid media reports about Islamic terrorists and sleeper cells.

The government's investigation in Lodi has been conducted in a way that does not respect the legal rights and dignity of the Muslim community: individuals have been systematically discouraged from exercising their right to an attorney and have been disallowed access to attorneys; there has been at least one detention of an individual who was not read his Miranda warnings; and women and children have been intimidated and denied medical care. Perhaps equally disturbing, however, is that the general public has been given new reason to fear South Asians and Muslims as presumed terrorists. A community that has made this area home for over one hundred years has been investigated, intimidated, and cast under a shroud of suspicion, all within days.

Veena Dubal is a JD/PhD student at the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall, and Sunaina Maira is an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California at Davis. Both are volunteers with the SF Bay Area organization, ASATA - Alliance of South Asians Taking Action.

I should start volunteering.

First, donations to J4NA and the ACLU.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


When talking to people, especially when giving instructions, it is wise to remember that people are not mind-readers.

Anticipating any questions that people may have and answering them in advance would be useful. Of course, there is the possibility of being verbose, but I would rather say too much than say too little. Since communication is tricky, we should avoid misunderstandings whenever possible.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

yay for blocking bolton

And I don't mean Michael Bolton. Whatever happened to him?

Glad to see that the Democrats are building a spine and blocking
Bolton's appointment. Now, if they can only continue to block
all of Bush's bad nominations.

3 years left is it?

Friday, June 17, 2005

tech support review

Found on slashdot, there's a very interesting review of laptop tech support.

Toshiba was the only company to rate an A.

Also funny was an article on the comments inside the OpenSolaris code.

Friday, June 10, 2005

stevie wonder's new video

His new song is pretty good! It's really nice to hear new stuff from him. The video is interesting. In a subtle way it's a little disturbing though. It was great to see the background singers! It took me a couple minutes to recognize them.

I didn't even notice the guitarist. I have to watch the video again.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

wasabi rush

For those who really enjoy immediate but not lingering pain, try Kameda's
salt wasabi rice crackers. The proper name is 亀田のつ~んと効く塩わさび, with 塩わさび in big green letters.

Feel the burn. haha.

I gotta go buy some.

Japanese post: new vocab

不具合追跡システム   :Bug Tracking System

Laf. Work vocabulary.

専門用語   :technical term; specialized terminology.

Friday, June 03, 2005

technology and anime

I scanned Joi Ito's blog (following a link from slashdot) and surfed over to his sister Mizuko Ito's site later.

Intellectuals. She has a book coming out from MIT Press. A fitting publisher for the topic. Their blogs have inspired me to write something a bit more analytical than normal. Now, if I could only communicate the following properly in Japanese.

Joi Ito has an entry on the popular anime Naruto and how BitTorrent (peer-to-peer file sharing software) has helped expand the fandom. I think it's safe to say that BitTorrent and other file-sharing applications like mIRC are helping spread fandoms and generate customers. A friend of mine was remarking that there are all sorts of random manga which have rabid followings in the U.S. although the manga aren't that well known in Japan. I guess it's a matter of individuals picking the stuff that they run across, and propagating it to other fans who basically take what they can get. I'm pretty sure that niche manga genres are thriving in the U.S. and other countries because of this.

It's pretty cool in a way. Fans (and creators) are a bit less dependent on corporate distributors and have more freedom to pick what they want. It would be nice if I could order any movie online and watch it, as opposed to having to wait for some American distributor to decide it would be profitable to bring the movie to the U.S., and hope it shows up in my local theatre or video store. Frankly, it's no fun to be dependent on the perceived taste of the average American consumer. I still can't believe who won the election.

Ito mentions how niche fans are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a particular title or show. I am probably one of those niche otaku. Although I'm not sure you'd call SlamDunk niche, would you? It's mainstream, really.

It's funny that anime and manga are pervasive in Japanese society, yet being an anime fan is being not quite normal.


Surfing looks like fun. There are a couple new books on surfing targeted at girls.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

positive thinking

When on a project which is not ideally managed, it is useful to list your own solutions to the problems.

Even if you can't fix the problems, if you can fix them in the future, the experience is still useful.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

would you rather be the lackey or employ the lackey

From gossip files.

Ludacris employs a lackey whose only responsibility is to ensure the rapper's GameBoy always has charged batteries.


Friday, May 27, 2005

false history

I had an interesting discussion about the perception of history, so I started researching historical inaccuracies. I'm starting with American History.

I'm working through a very interesting paper on the separation of church and state as it is popularly called. The author of the paper states that the U.S. Constitution actually calls for "the separation of religion and state."

I remember holding a little copy of the Constitution, but certainly haven't read all of it. I should take another look.

creatures of habit

It amuses me to watch people use my browser. Apparently a lot of people are used to having Yahoo or Google as the default browser home page, so they get confused when they use my settings. I like a blank page for faster browser startup, especially for work.

One friend started up my browser, and waited a couple seconds for the expected home page to load. When it didn't, he hit the home button and was confused when nothing happened. Laf. He searched around the bookmarks but neither Google nor Yahoo are in my bookmarks. It would have been faster for him to just type in the url, but I guess that didn't occur to him.

Laf. Change is good.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

because geeks have more fun

While doing research on visas to freak myself out, I ran across this thread on
re-entry permits

If you read the very last 2 messages, it's funny. If you're a geek, that is. Haha.

Ah, the cultural reverberations of Star Trek. Or something.

history books

An interesting article on omissions in Chinese history teachings.

I have only the fuzziest idea of Vietnam's history.

I read that Chinese are told that Chinese resistance ended World War II.

An article from the Financial Times on Chinese history textbooks.

Apparently it can really be a bad thing to be a Chinese reporter in China. A 30 year old Chinese journalist was mutilated by a group of attackers who entered his home.

This is why news is depressing.

Oh, in funny news, hay fever sufferers in Japan may be able to thank China for the levels of pollen.

Friday, May 20, 2005

vaio parts

I replaced my ac adapter for my pc, and got a new battery. Apparently all the recent power issues were solely the ac adapter breaking down. My coworker told me that the Sony timer is 3 years long. So another year and a half before my pc's time may be up.

Laf, what a reputation Sony has.

The adapter was about $130, and the battery was about $270. Ouch! Company will cover it actually though, which is very cool. Anyhoo, anything for a reliable computer. I was stressing out about it before. I would have replaced the stuff earlier, but without replacement parts it's hard to narrow down the source of the problem. Yesterday I borrowed the parts from a guy on the same project, which is how I figured out that the problem was the adapter.

On a side note, I was in a huge rush to buy the parts this morning before work. And going to the PC parts section of Yodobashi camera, I told a salesguy that I was looking for an AC adapter. I was annoyed to be asked if it was for computers. Dude, why would I come to the PC parts section for anything else? But I guess they can't assume anything. They probably sell all sorts of adapters. Still, why aren't the PC parts kept in the PC parts floor? Weirdos. j/k.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

dell japan 3 day sale

Or so. Anyway, the computers look like pretty good deals.

I'm eyeing the 19" LCD monitor with TV tuner for about $680. I could get a whole setup for about $1280 ($680 + $600) but looking at U.S. Dell the computer portion is available for about $300 so I dunno. Laf.

Anyway, my primary need is for a TV. A regular TV is about $200 to $300. An LCD
14" TV is about $500. Hrm...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


It's cool that IRS tax forms are now editable so that you can save any information
that you type in the form.

It's stupid that the newest version of Acrobat Reader includes Yahoo's tool
bar. Since I don't want the tool bar, I haven't downloaded the newest

Monday, May 16, 2005

slamdunk stuff anyone?

Just wondering if anyone else is a fan and wants me to order stuff for them?

Lemme know... Laf.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

slam dunk goods!

no key chain, but planning to spend about $120 on SlamDunk stuff. Heh. Aw yeah!

It's good to have income so I can buy useless but highly desired stuff.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

thank goodness there's a term limit

Interesting discussion on slashdot:

Time Magazine is reporting that the Bush Administration is removing U.S. delegates from the Inter-American Telephone Commission because they gave money to John Kerry in last year's election.

Send in the Clones! (Score:5, Insightful)
by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday April 25, @06:01PM (#12341438)
( | Last Journal: Thursday February 24, @01:27PM)
call us nutty

I'd rather call them transparently corrupt. How about a rubberstamp government, like those we lately seem to be suggesting oughta respect democratic principles, etc. (so long as they represent the right democratic principles, unlike all those heathen socialists in South America.)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Japanese post: new vocab

失敗を恐れない: Unafraid of failure.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Japanese post: new vocab

該当する:correspond to
条件に該当する:fit the requirements; fulfill the conditions

Thursday, April 21, 2005


I don't deal with it all that much these days, as Japan is still a pretty homogenous country, but it struck me recently.

Fundamentally, racism is to treat someone differently because of their ethnicity (or perceived ethnicity). I think it's very interesting how people justify their racism.

In my opinion, it is acceptable to hate individuals for their actions (and corporations - although their actions tend to be the result of individuals in control), but to say that you hate a nameless population because they are a specific ethnicity seems to be clear racism.

Nationality versus ethnicity is an interesting issue. For certain countries, they are almost one and the same (to an extent), although I don't think any country can claim complete homogenity of ethnicity and nationality. So, is hatred of a nation racism? It seems pretty close, but really hard to tell.

I find this interesting because Japan is a pretty homogenous nation, but there are quite a few different ethnicities here. There are the native populations, of which the Ainu are probably the most well-known. There is Okinawa, which historically was an independent nation that frequently traded with China. There are the generations of Korean descendents who have been born and bred in Japan and have recently become full-fledged Japanese citizens (I believe). There are also at least one generation of Chinese descendents who live here. So we talk about the population of Japan, it is not as homogenous as people may think.

Racism is an issue where my parents truly do not seem to understand my thinking. I think the difference must be in education. Do they talk about racism in Taiwan? I don't think they talk about it much in Japan or China. But it's a huge issue in the U.S.; I surmise because of the civil rights movement. It's very interesting how education affects consciousness.

A local sushi restaurant has a sign advertising for employees which says "no foreigners." The whole concept of racism seems to be alien. I think the U.S. concept of equal opportunity is rather alien. Of course, it took the U.S. a while to develop this concept from U.S. and European theories of justice and rights. Women's suffrage took a while! And African American suffrage took even longer. Rather different from what I know of Confucianism. Confucious had some good ideas, but he had some really stupid ones too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Japanese post: pizza

昨夜、下北沢にある「PIZZAロクサン」というレストランに食べに行きました。結構美味しかったです。Chewy pizza crust too. How do you say "pizza crust" in Japanese?

Japanese post: possible


The people at slashdot are pretty funny.

Regarding a comment by some guy at CA about the Linux kernel:
Not what we want. (Score:5, Funny)
by ShaniaTwain (197446) on Tuesday April 19, @08:19PM (#12287753)
"We are not interested in the game drivers and music drivers that are being added to the kernel."

..we want text, orange, perhaps green on a black background. We want large buzzing metal boxes that only we are allowed access to. We want to store our data on large spinning reels of magnetic tape, or better yet punch cards.

also we want a sandwich.

That is all.

What is CA's motive in saying this ? They have no real experience in developing operating systems, nor are they producing data and a testing methodology to backup their opinion.

Monday, April 18, 2005

which external hard disk?

Debating between 2 external hard disks, both by IOData. Should I go with the 5400 rpm drive or the 7200 rpm drive? They're both 120 GB in size. They differ in price by about 1400 yen (about 14 dollars).

Friday, April 15, 2005

identity theft

A very interesting article on "identity theft" by Bruce Schneier. He states the problem very clearly.

Japanese post: manga, etc.

お久しぶりです。誰かが読んでいますか? (敬語を書けません。m(__)m 漢字も変換できません(゜.゜))






Saturday, April 09, 2005

job postings should be in html

I don't understand why people feel the need to pass around job postings as MS Word files.

Issue 1) The problem of viruses in Word documents.

Issue 2) They're big files

Why not use HTML? Sure, nothing is completely safe, but it's safer.

They can be easily converted to text too.

Friday, April 08, 2005

cookies and chocolate ice cream

This cookies and chocolate flavor from Haagen Dazs is kinda gross.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

external hard disk

So, as the simplest backup solution ever, I'd like to get an external hard disk.

One option is to get a case for an existing hard disk and use that. We have a bunch of hard disks lying around apparently.

Alternatively, I could just buy the whole thing. This sounds like the simpler option.

Next, I need to decide what kind of external hard disk to get.
space: >=40 GB
interface: USB
price: as low as possible

I don't have very many requirements. I can get an 40 GB IODATA HDA-iU40 for 7000 yen. That was the very cheapest thing on

currently reading

The way old Java Code Conventions. It's a good starting point at least.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Japanese post: new vocab

孤独(こどく): solitude

I'm betting it's an anime song that I'm listening to right now. It's a very pretty song. Ah, it is an anime song: 宝石(ほうせき)曲:井上麻里奈(いのうえまりな).

The website for the radio station I'm listening to is rather amusing. It has an unfriendly blue rabbit charging at the screen.

Lands' End Japan President

Keiko Hayashi, President of Lands' End Japan is a pretty interesting person.

a train fan

A true fan of trains and stations, Hirohiko Yokomi visited all 9,843 train stations in Japan.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


"To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice."

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

bullet trains breaking the speed limit

From the Yomiuri newspaper:

a number of Shinkansen bullet trains have broken speed limits between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations because of a computer programming error on an automatic train control system.

Can you imagine a cop trying to pull over a bullet train? Laf.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


I think I drank a little too much coffee this afternoon. I'm a little hyper.


My new pastime while commuting is walking through all the cars to the back of the train (closest to the station exit) while the train is moving. The doors in between the cars are fairly heavy so it takes a little effort to open them. Also it's a little challenging to keep my balance while the train is moving. It's pretty fun to move forward while the train is slowing down in the opposite direction. I found it very amusing this morning.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

morbid vocabulary this week

My current lesson has a bunch of morbid vocabulary. I bet it's about a funeral or something.

遺言(ゆいごん): will, testament
墜落(ついらく): fall, crash (as in plane crash, car crash)
遺体(いたい): corpse

commuters vs. pre-schoolers

This morning I was waiting for my usual train to arrive on track 4.

A large group of pre-schoolers and their handlers lined up on the other side of the platform, by track 3, where a Keio New Line train was waiting. They were grouped by hats - the first group wore blue, the second wore pink, etc., and were lined up two by two. Unbeknownst to them, the 9:35 Keio Regular train would arrive soon at track 4. When it arrives, masses of commuters rush across the platform over to track 3 and board the Keio New Line train which heads into the bowels of Tokyo (the center really).

So, the kids and their handlers were happily lined up by the track 3 train, blocking the entrances to the trains, when the invasion arrived at 9:35. All these harried commuters rush over to track 3 and all the kids and handlers flee in fear! It was really funny. They really ran away (as best they could, as there wasn't exactly space to move to)! And all the commuters aren't exactly going to run over the little kids, so they were pretty puzzled too. I wish I could have filmed it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

writing emails in Japanese

最近新しい本を買いました。日本語でEメールの書き方についてです。「The Japan


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

lunch today

Anago tempura on rice.

Dinner last night: tenpura (shrimp and vegetables) with chilled soba.
The soba was quite good.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

nestle boycott

Because of Nestle's bizarre insistence on reparations from Ethiopia, I've started boycotting all Nestle products. Too bad that there are so many things they sell. But Kirin drinks are better anyway, so it's no hardship! Haha.

guinea pig

Yesterday I saw a guy out for a walk with his guinea pig! It was on a little harness and was happily amusing itself with scraps of stuff on the floor while he chatted on the phone.

It went after some food and he dragged it away. When it was getting pulled away, it didn't have any traction on the floor so it was sliding backwards, all limbs pointed at the food. It was hilarious. Like a little baby being dragged away from colorful items. I really wanted to take a picture but the owner was busy on the phone so I didn't want to interrupt him to ask.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Postmen in the Mountains

Postmen in the Mountains is apparently making the rounds of theatres in the U.S.

It's a very nice film in my opinion. A lot more to my taste than stuff like that violent looking asian american film about stressed out yuppie kids.

It's funny how insular the American film market is. Another reason I like living in Tokyo. It's more international here.

Take Postmen in the Mountains as one example. The film was made in 1998. It was a "top box-office grosser" in Japan in 1991. Only in 1994 did it entering small independent theatres and film festivals in the U.S.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

medical care

It's pretty difficult to keep track of my medical history.

I will draw up a timeline of any events in my life. Like tetanus shots, etc. The records that doctors and dentists give aren't very helpful either.

more alert today

It's nice to be awake. I bet that's why people drink coffee. Too bad I don't like coffee. It must be an acquired taste.

Friday, March 11, 2005

time to do taxes again

Yuck. I should do them soon though.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

U.S. credit info stolen


Consumers Data Stolen from LexisNexis.

links to add

I have to add links to Evelyn and Erwin's pages but haven't gotten around to it. Nor have I gotten around to uploading my organized pictures :P.



ramen review: Kuro Fune

Location: Komae station on the Odakyu line.

order: Salt ramen

soup: B (ok)
スープ: B (まあまあ)
noodles: A (excellent)
麺:A (美味しい)
pork: B (ok)
チャーシュー: B (まあまあ)

The noodles were excellent. They seem handmade and fresh. Slightly wider and perhaps a little thinner than the average. Tasty, chewy, all around excellent.

The soup was ok. Not bad. I wouldn't mind having it again. It's not as good as Santohka(山頭火)but not bad.

The pork was not bad. Again, wouldn't mind going back.

Next time I'll try the soy sauce ramen.

While enjoying my ramen, I reflected on the 3 main elements to good ramen. Of course , there are other aspects, but the core remains the soup, the noodles, and the pork.
Depending on the shop, the boiled egg, the pickled bamboo, and other portions can be important too.

So, I thought up "An Introduction to Savoring Ramen."

Before I begin, I should define "ramen." Although the Japanese often advertise ramen as a Chinese dish, it is a uniquely Japanese food. I haven't had anything Chinese like it, although it may exist in some part of China. China is a very big country so I haven't tried all the food there. Anyway, when I say ramen, I mean Japanese ramen. And I am focusing on fresh ramen, not the instant stuff that you buy in the convenience stores, although that can be an interesting discussion.

So, the first basic is the soup. The second basic is the noodles. The third basic is the pork. It is difficult to get all three right.

I like this shop in Sasazuka for their noodles, which are excellent. Their soup is ok, and the pork is ok (although the pork can be really good at times), but the noodles are yummy!

I like Santohka in Shimokitazawa for their pork and their soup. The toroniku is tend er and flavorful and is really delicious with their unique salt soup base. The noodles are ok. Average, in my opinion.

I like Sakura-somethingorother in Shimokitazawa for their eggs, and the decent tonkotsu soup. The noodles aren't bad either. But the eggs are the highlight; they are half boiled and the egg yolk is actually sweet, while the egg white is nicely salty. Really, absolutely yummy eggs. They have quite tasty gyoza too.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

running for the train

Have been running to catch the train every day this week. For some reason I can't manage to wake up before 8:40pm, even though I've been going to sleep relatively early.

It's lovely and springlike today! I can start wearing my lighter suits. Yay! Soon it'll be cherry blossom season and time for hanami parties.

花見を楽しみにしています。( ^^) _旦~~

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


I pass by a McDonalds every day on my way to work, and sometimes I think of going in to get breakfast. Then I remember that it took them 10 minutes once to make it for me. So never again shall I enter! Hahah.

Friday, March 04, 2005

it's winter again!

A couple inches of snow and slush have accumulated, and it's still snowing pretty steadily.

Crazy weather this year!

And to think that last winter it didn't snow at all.

By the way, you know that you live far when:
The trains get delayed by snow, which means that instead of arriving at 10 am, you arrive after 12.

Laf. My project leader lives way too far away (more than 2 hours).

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

passport photos

I just got passport photos taken at a little camera shop/studio right by work.

I had to explain all the requirements for the U.S. passport picture, but am confident that they understand the requirements.

Then the photographer took 6 pictures. I'm sure I blinked in at least one of them. Apparently you're not supposed to smile in Japanese passport photos. And they use a blue background, although they put together a white background to meet the U.S. requirements.

It was exciting in that it was novel, and I was able to communicate adequately. Didn't have any problems really. They were very nice. I bet the pictures turn out a lot nicer than my last visa pictures. That place had an actual studio and nice fill lights. Hand focus manual camera too! Heh. My last passport photos were like mug shots.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

work communication

I still have trouble saying the proper things to the client. Offering enough information that they understand there's a good reason for things, but not offering too much information. Still learning what is appropriate. Ugh. Oh well, best to learn ASAP.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


It's spring! It feels like it today. Almost balmy. Yay!

John's in town this weekend, so looking forward to seeing him.

Having dinner with Yoko tonight. It's been a couple months since I last saw her.

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Installing solaris 9 for the first time on a vmware virtual machine on top of a windows xp box. The vmware installation went fine, but the solaris installation is really not going well at the moment.


At least it worked in the end.

One problem: to install all the software, you need something like more than 6 gigs of space on the hard disk. Why, I'm not sure, as the estimates say only 2 something gigs. But it kept saying not enough space, so in the end I just allocated 7 gigs on the main hard disk for it.

The nice thing about installing Solaris on a virtual machine was that I could delete a hard drive and create a new one, and reinstall Solaris on that if I messed up. Of course I might have all this unused space being locked up, but as far as I know, I don't. Can you tell I'm a newbie to VMWare?

2nd problem: after using the Solaris OS disk (disk 1) to install the os, it prompts to remove the cd and reboot. On reboot, it would ask which partition to boot from, and of course I chose the Solaris partition. Apparently, this is the wrong choice, as Solaris boots nicely from the Windows partition. . I am not a hardware or low-level os person.

Anyway, once I allocated enough hard drive space, everything went smoothly and I have a nice Solaris installation. I think. Laf. I didn't explore much. Once I was finished I went home and cleaned my apt and crashed.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Friday, January 28, 2005

Public officials in Japan must be Japanese

Interesting. A recent Japanese Supreme Court decision.
The top court said, "Only Japanese are allowed, in principle, to serve as 'local officials who exercise public authority on the principle under which the sovereignty resides with the people,'" and the country's "legislation has not taken into account the appointment of foreign nationals" to such posts.

The decision was 13-2.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


通信 means communication in Japanese, but is only used for communication between machines or objects. Not for people, as I learned yesterday. Laf. Robots communicating would be 通信。So what's communication between robots and people?

Also, the dictionary form of the verb is called 終止形。Full stop form, if you look at the meaning of each character.

Friday, January 21, 2005

french fries

AKA fried potatoes in Japan.

Which is better, MiniStop fried potatoes or Burger King french fries?

Both are delicious!!!! In my opinion.

RSS and related formats

I'm just doing a little research into RSS and Atom right now, and is it me or is it just one big happy mess?

RSS 0.90, 0.91, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, 1.0, 1.1 (out this month!), 2.0
Atom (now on 0.3 API spec)
RDF (old school)

java coding style

Still wondering which coding style is best.

I found links at JavaRanch and Sun, but I'm sure there are others. Which do you like?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

techie blog

I found an interesting blog while researching the GPL(GNU General Public License) for MySQL.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

gmail threads

It's a little annoying when two unrelated threads get linked together in gmail. It's happened twice now.

Also, it's really irritating when I send email and the other person sees it as gibberish, but the sent message shows up properly in my email account.

Sigh. I still need a good email solution.

Monday, January 17, 2005

fastest way to check a windows box ip address

Press the windows start key
Press R
(the "set file and run" box should appear) type "cmd" and hit OK
(the windows command prompt window should appear) type "ipconfig" and hit return
(the IP address and other settings should be displayed)

Any other fast methods?


Lately (since Bush started trying to react to Sept. 11th), all the columns by Bruce Schneier are pretty depressing. Schneier mostly focuses on computer security but also delves into other areas of security. I first started reading his newsletter in 1999 after taking Ron Rivest's introduction to Security class. It was fun to read him rip apart various security companies' attempts at providing secure solutions.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

website redesign

time to actually make my site nice and neat.

Simplicity is good.

Friday, January 14, 2005

fixing bugs is fun

While finding the source of a bug is not always fun, right now, fixing bugs is very satisfying. As long as they don't pile up faster than I can fix them.

I hate discovering a bug in a change that I made though.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

hitachi is cooler than sony

Check out this page where they have sound clips of sounds that make indicate a failing hard disk.

How cool is that?

On a completely unrelated note, I use my dictionary and my mp3 player more than my phone. Hrm. Laf. If I don't count checking the time on my phone as using it.

Random rant: Paypal's help section is poorly organized. Weak! Took forever to figure out how to downgrade my account to a personal account.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

cool little video

Hugh sent me this link to a nice little music video. Pleasant song and really nice video. I think the song would make a nice car commercial, actually. Like a trendy VW ad. But the video (cinematography and all) was quite cool.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

happy new year! And, on plagiarism

I owe some people holiday cards.

Much apology for the delay! I'll be writing them Saturday, after my informal presentation is over.

In other news, was The Matrix plagiarized? A current 6 year lawsuit also appears to involve the Terminator movies. Some documents are online but I haven't looked at them. The lawsuit is still in progress so there's no actual ruling yet (other than that a ruling that Stewart can proceed with her lawsuit in the California courts).

Saturday, January 01, 2005


Good grief. The death toll has reached 120,000 people. It's hard to fathom.