Monthly Archives: June 2010


Whilst I wait…

Still in the office, waiting for an install to complete, and thought I’d post this since it made me smile.  I want a kitty!!!



The usual, work overload and no time to post these days.  But came across this video today and wanted to post it.  I stay in the office all day, sometimes it’s easy to forget how vibrant Tokyo is.

Thoughts Tweaks & Tech

‘Tis not for i (at least not at this point)

A coworker recently bought an iPad and I had a chance to play around with it for a bit.

It’s a nifty device, and like any other geek I had fun messing around with it – c’mon, it’s a new toy!  That being said though, I do not see myself getting one any time soon.

I’ve never really jumped on the Apple bandwagon.  (I got my first ever iPod last month – because it was given to me)  Yet I have to admit, the interface, the convenience, the simple usability of Apple’s products tend to be spot-on.  In fact, I’m considering (just considering mind you) getting an iPhone when the 4.0 OS comes out.  (but I also plan on looking at available Android models as well)

The iPad really does feel like a gigantic iPhone though.  The screen space is certainly enticing, and browsing entire websites or using the various reading apps available is a treat.  I think that as a media/entertainment device, it will (and already has) appeal to a large number of people.  My coworker got it specifically because he’s able to read download and read entire newspapers while on the train.

For me though, the appeal isn’t quite strong enough for me to rush out and buy it.  It’s heavier than my Kindle, and I already read too much on that to feel the need to get another e-reading device.   I’ll be sticking with what I have for the time being. 🙂

no images were found

Sights & Sounds

With the wind on my face…

I recently bought a bicycle online from Rakuten. It’s an inexpensive mama-chari type, but should suit me well enough for the simple things like grocery shopping, taking clothes to cleaners, etc.  (image of bike below is taken from Rakuten, not my actual bike)

no images were found

Last Tuesday (being on early shift) I finally managed to get home while there was still a decent amount of daylight outside, and since it wasn’t raining (as it has been for the last few days) I decided to try my bicycle for the first time.

I decided that I’d try to make my way over to the still-under-contruction Tokyo Skytree. I’ve seen it off in the distance almost every day on my way to work, and it didn’t look that far off. A quick check on Google maps confirmed it, showing it to be only about 2.3 miles away from my apartment so I hopped on my bicycle and set out.

It was really quite close!  Though I did make a couple of wrong starts, once I figured out the right direction, it was pretty much a straight shot/20 min. bike ride.

The Tokyo Sky Tree is already impressively tall.  There is (obviously) still alot of construction before it’s completed, and from what I can see, it’s not open to the public yet.  It’s already taller than the Tokyo Tower though, and up close it becomes this impressively massive structure.  (sorry for the blurry pics – only had my blackberry with me)

no images were found

It’s really been a while (over a year!) since I’ve been on a bicycle and I’d forgotten how enjoyable it is.  I see it being as more for fun and convenience than serving any exercise function, but it should help me get to know my own area a little better.

I’ll hopefully be doing much more biking in the coming days!

Sights & Sounds

Psychic takoyaki!

Filing this under the “odd things in Japan”, but apparently this cook claims he can change the flavor of his takoyaki at the snap of his fingers.

Personally I think that either the TV show commentators are in on the joke, or else they’re extremely impressionable young guys.  The funny thing though… is that I passed them during the filming of this segment!  This takoyaki store is about a 5 minute walk from my apartment, and I pass there whenever I want to go to the larger supermarket nearby.  I remember one day passing by there after coming home from an early shift and seeing a small crowd of people outside the shop, together with a camera crew.  I didn’t stay and gawk, but went on to the store, and saw them again (including the 2 young men) as I was returning home.

I may not believe in his “psychic” powers, but he does make some pretty tasty takoyaki. 🙂


In the news… June 2nd

I don’t think I’ll make a regular habit of this, but I thought I’d repost a few news tidbits (which I’m sure most have already seen).

Giant Sinkhole in Guatemala

I know this has already been said, but this image is really unbelievable.   From this angle, it literally looks like a hole stretching down to the depths of the earth’s center.

no images were found

And, while I’m not trying to be insensitive to the tragedy that is taking place in Guatemala and the rest of Central America, I have to admit that one of the thoughts that first crossed my mind upon seeing this picture was, “Did Harry Dresden just visit that town?”.

Apologies again… not trying to make a joke of anything, and my prayers go out to the inhabitants of the city.

Japanese PM resigns – 4th in a row to quit in less than a year of taking office

For pete’s sake – Yukio Hatoyama has just announced his resignation as PM.  This marks the 4th PM in as many years to quit in less than a year at their job.

First was Shinzo Abe from 2006 to 2007, then Yasuo Fukuda from 2007 to 2008, Taro Aso from 2008 to 2009, and now Yukio Hatoyama from 2009 to 2010.

I know that I know nothing about being in politics, but really… I feel that if they’re going to spend the time campaigning and raising the hopes of the people, then they should at least try to stick things through.  At least try not to make promises one can’t keep, and don’t bow out when the going gets rough!

Out of office message ends up on road sign

This is just plain goofy, but officials in Swansea, Wales mistook an out of office message to be the translation they requested for a road sign – and actually put it up.  Check the right of the linked article for more stories about Welsh signs that were lost in translation.

Experiences News

Driving with a GPS

Just came across this story about a woman who is suing Google for giving her “bad directions” and directing her to walk out onto a highway.   Unsurprisingly, she was hit by a car and claims to be suffering “physical” and “mental” injuries – though I don’t know that she had much in the way of brains to injure in the first place!

It’s not the only GPS-related incident I’ve come across in the past – here are a couple about people who have nearly driven over cliffs, and another of a woman who literally drove off a bridge into a river.

Being a new driver myself, I can completely understand the reliance on GPS.  It is particularly invaluable in a city like Tokyo, with so many twisting roads and small streets.  However, I do agree with  the observation my parents made when they visited, that it would be better for me to learn the roads – that depending too much on the device doesn’t help me learn anything.  Yet, it’s hard.

The sheer convenience of being able to plug in a number or address and have a route laid out for you trumps having to open up a paper map and figure a) where you are in relation to your destination and b) what is the best way to get to where you want to be.  Again, this is especially true for me in Japan since I usually go driving way out of Tokyo, typically 150+ km outside of the city.

Nonetheless, I like to think that I do try to exercise a little common sense.  Yes, I do take wrong turns from time to time, but rather than follow the GPS recalculation (which tacks on another 5-10 km), I just look for a place to pull into and turn around.

My most recent goof was just this weekend on my way back into Tokyo from a day trip to Nikko with S and her sister (pictures and a post on that will  eventually be forthcoming).  Just before reaching a fork in the road, the GPS piped up and told me to “take a left”.  However, just as I was turning, S pointed out, “hey, the sign says Tokyo is on the right!”.  By then it was too late to change lanes, so I drove around until I was headed back to the fork again.  Once more the GPS prompted me to “take a left” but I just told it shut up and headed right, whereupon it then asked me to continue going straight ahead.  So much for GPS logic.

Even though the GPS goofed, there’s no way I’m blaming it for guiding me the wrong way, particularly when the road signs were so prominent.  I should have looked at the road signs more carefully.

So… chalk it up to a learning experience.  I’m sure I will still make more mistakes in the future, but I hope I never stop trying to use common sense.  As for that woman suing Google – I hope her case gets tossed out as soon as possible so that she stops wasting everyone’s time.