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.