Category Archives: Thoughts

Photography Thoughts

A brief update, and more pictures from Yasukuni

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Things are slowly regaining  a sense of normalcy (in Tokyo at least).  While train stations and stores are still darkened in efforts to conserve power, the general mood and atmosphere is much more upbeat.  The fact that the weather is warming up with flowers blooming all around contributes greatly.

There are still concerns about radiation, both in the air and the water, but there haven’t been any alarms (aside from the ocean water) and stories like this seem to indicate that even the media is starting to tone down their frenzied stories of doom and gloom.  I honestly believe that things are ok.  I am still drinking bottled water, y’know, just in case, but aside from that I’m just grateful that things are as good as they are.

I’m uploading a few more pictures I took at Yasukuni last week, which can be seen at the usual place.

News Thoughts

Things are ok in Tokyo (so far)

It seems that all the foreign TV channels are throwing a fit on how disastrous things are in Japan.  “ZOMG it’s the end of the world and Japan is gonna sink/explode/mutate/get eaten by a relative of Godzilla”.  That is not the case.

Yes, things are bad in Fukushima, with the threat of the radiation from the damaged nuclear plants.  Things are even worse for the many of the prefectures in the Tohoku region, as they continue the search for survivors of the tsunami/earthquake in 0 degree weather, struggling to get food, running water, and basic necessities for the thousands of families that have been displaced in the wake of the disaster.  They are the ones who are feeling the worst of the disaster and all our thoughts, prayers, and support should go towards them.

But the rest of Japan is for the most  part doing just fine.  At worst, all we’ve had to suffer are power blackouts and a shortage of some foods in supermarkets.  Many companies ARE advising people to work from home, but otherwise it’s business as usual.  I’ve been especially fortunate – my family has been visiting (though so far it hasn’t been much of a vacation…) and I’ve been able to stay at their apartment right in the center of Tokyo, which (so far) has escaped the power outages.

I’ve been going in to the office every day (it’s a 10 minute walk away from my parent’s apartment), and though traffic is maybe a little lighter than usual, there are still plenty of people, cars, taxis, and buses out and about.   Train schedules have been disrupted in an effort to decrease power usage, but they are still running – it just means you may be waiting a little longer at the station than normal.

I’m not trying to downplay the gravity of the situation.  Things are not good, and definitely could get worse, but frankly, much of the international news we’ve seen is downright alarmist.  Sensationalist news sells, but does little to reassure friends and families both in Tokyo and overseas.  Fact is, right now, most of us are doing ok.

If you want to help, please donate to the relief efforts that are working closer to the radiation danger zones.  Pray for the families that have lost loved ones.  Pray that the engineers working night and day at the damaged nuclear plants are successful in cooling down the damaged reactors.  Thank you.

Link to Japan Red Cross

Link to Google Crisis Response

If you read Japanese, here is a list of items people need
(you can buy items online and choose to ship to the following address:

2-8-1, Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 163-8001,
Tokyo Metropolitan Government , Second Government Office bldg.,
1st floor center, North Eastern Pacific Earthquake Emergency Provisions Desk

News Thoughts

And salvation for humanity shall be delivered in a bomber’s cargo bay

Iranian president Mr. Ahmadinejad was quoted in today’s news as saying: “The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship.”

This wonderfully oblique statement is in reference to the unveiling of Iran’s first “domestically built, unmanned bomber aircraft”.  I get the “ambassador of death” bit, but where does the “peace and friendship”, (or as the NY Times translates it, “Salvation for humanity”) come into a play?  It is a bomber after all, whose sole purpose is to rain death and destruction on a population somewhere.

The statement is absurd.

Unless Mr. Ahmadinejad sincerely equates his new bomber with both peace and death (in which case I’d really like to catch a glimpse of the thought process at work here), he is most likely attempting (and failing) to gloss over the fact that Iran is simply building up their capabilities for warfare.

This is a shame, because Iran sounds like a culturally fascinating nation (if the information on Wikipedia is anything to go on).  I say it’s a shame, but again I kinda-sorta understand the need for a nation to be considered one of the “big boys”.  I just hope that someday we’ll be able to get over associating a nation’s military capabilities with their perceived “worth” in terms of world affairs.


Perseids shower – August 2010

It’s already August – I remember last year reading the news and wondering if I should try to stay up late and see if I could catch a meteor or two – I ended up choosing sleep.   I’m going to give a shot this year instead, particularly since there should still be some meteors early Saturday morning (the peak was apparently last night).  Judging from this handy site, the best time for me this Saturday (in the Tokyo suburbs) will be just before 5AM.

Let’s see if I can actually manage to wake up at 5AM and spot some!

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If it ain’t broke…

I’ve just spent nearly 3 hours fiddling with my site… with nothing to show for it.

After the fun I had playing with Photoshop yesterday, I wanted to see if there was another plugin that would display image galleries a little more nicely.  I rather like the Simpleviewer plugin and thought I’d give it a shot.  However…

I found that my current WP theme doesn’t really allow for much manipulation.  I then thought, “heck, why not go for a new theme – I’ve had this one for a long time and something new might look nice”.  Fast forward 20 minutes, and I still haven’t found a theme I was particularly fond of.  So…

I thought I’d play around with the CSS files of my existing theme.  Now, I know what CSS *is*, but I haven’t really used it aside from editing some existing themes on other websites in the past.  After mucking around with the styles sheet, and various php pages (which, frankly, I know nothing about), I gave it up as a bad idea.  I think at some point I’ll have to take the time to sit down and design a theme of my own, but that’s going to have to be at some later point down the road.  Anyway…

I went back to see if other plugins would offer more flexibility, and I found several, installed them, tested them, but all didn’t play too well with the site (again, I think my current theme limits quite a bit).

I’ve decided to call it quits for now.  3 hours gone, and nothing to show for it… but hey, at least I didn’t break the site right?  ..Right?  *grumble*


The kid and his striped tiger

I know it’s been over a month since my last post, but things have (as usual) just been so busy. Today’s the first day in a while that I’ve been able to stay home on a Saturday! I’m resizing some images of a recent trip I took to visit family, but I also stumbled across this site via Unshelved and thought I’d share.

I’ve been a Calvin and Hobbes fan since I first got my hands on one of the collections back in Africa.  Even today, long after I’ve read, re-read, and re-re-read all the collections, I still get a smile on my face when I come across a strip.  Bill Watterson managed to create a story of a boy and his best friend/stuffed tiger that someone always managed to be funny and innocent without ever being mean.  I think anyone can find a little something they can resonate with, whether they’re a parent, a student, a son/daughter, or just someone’s friend.  Though I was sad when I finished the series of collections, at the same time I’ve always been glad that they went out on a high note, rather than regurgitating old gags like some strips do today.   That’s not to say though, that I wouldn’t mind some more stuff by Watterson!  And so it made my day to come across this site, especially the section on C&H Rare Art.

The site collects an amazing amount of information on Bill Watterson, and in fact the author of the site says that “I think it’s safe to say that this site would make Bill Watterson rather uncomfortable. This level of scrutiny and study is exactly what he didn’t like about the celebrity with which he found himself burdened.”  While that may be true, it’s awesome that someone has taken the time to collect and maintain this collection for Watterson/C&H fans!

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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. 🙂

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Just because I’m proud of it :p

Here’s a better image of my “finisher’s” medal for completing the Tokyo Marathon. 😀

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I actually recovered very quickly – within 2 days I stopped feeling muscle pain aside from in my right knee.  At the moment, I’m planning on just doing small, short runs to try and get my knee back to full strength.  I think it’s working because I couldn’t even jog to the station (a 3 minute jog) a week ago without my knee starting to hurt.  However I recently jogged to a nearby supermarket and realized that my knee seemed fine.

I’ll take it slow, but I really do want to get back to running again – my waistline has DEFINITELY been increasing in size and that’s not something I’m happy about. 🙁