I called up and turned down a job offer today. That was a really hard decision. The agency that employed me before offered me a one year contract, with visa sponsorship. My current visa expires in August, and they would have got me a three year visa. I could have stayed for a long time.
My brother’s gone back to London; he left this morning. It’s nice to have my own space back, because my flat is really small—only one room, really—and living in the same space for two weeks was quite a shock! On the other hand, I do miss him. It’s nice to have some company around, even if it’s only to share a joke, read out a funny line or whatever. It seems really lonely here on my own tonight.
The apartment block two doors down from me is on fire.
Nara’s a really good place to see some old Japanese buildings. Although Kyoto seems to be far more popular with tourists, I much prefer Nara myself. There are several temples and shrines within walking distance of the station, and some of them are really good. It’s also less crowded than Kyoto.
Do I know any more about Iraq than most people? Probably not; I mean, I’ve never been there. However, for about a year, my lab partner at university was Iraqi, and we chatted about the place from time to time whilst programming, wiring up circuits, etc. I found out about some of the inconveniences of life in Iraq. For example, going home for the holidays entailed a flight to Jordan and a very long overland trip from there to Iraq. We never discussed politics, though, which seems a missed opportunity in retrospect.
I thought that it was about time that I exposed my brother to some traditional Osaka cuisine, so I brought some takeout back home for dinner: takoyaki and okonomiyaki.
I went looking for notebook memory in Denden Town today. A specific type of memory—I wanted two 32MB EDO 144 pin DIMMs for the old Thinkpad I bought a while ago to bring it up to the maximum amount. I tracked some down, and bought a couple.
Most of the stuff in the Bible, at least the Old Testament part, doesn’t appeal to me much. Rampant misogyny, stoning, homophobic homicide, genocide, slavery, warmongering, weapons of mass destruction; the list goes on.
I hope that I don’t give the impression of having a huge axe to grind as far as Americans are concerned. I don’t. However, I do have an issue with the people they choose (or, of course, sometimes don’t choose) to lead them.
I found a fantastic souvenir: a sanshin kit. The sanshin is a traditional (around 500 years old) Okinawan instrument. Its salient features are a squarish body covered with snakeskin, and a long thin neck with three strings. It is similar to the Japanese shamisen, which it predates; the shamisen, a slightly larger instrument, was apparently based on the sanshin.
I go away for a few days, and all hell breaks loose. Bush & co. are fighting to bring “democracy” to Iraq. I’d take that more seriously if it didn’t come from the mouth of an allegedly corrupt, second generation President who didn’t even win the election.
We went wandering aimlessly around Kyoto today. Unfortunately, it was wet. When we arrived, it was raining only slightly; just enough to discourage the usual crowds, but not enough to cause even a nuisance. By British standards, it was practically a fine day!
Thanks, Lufthansa. My brother’s coming to Japan to visit, and I thought I was going to have to get up really early to go to the airport to collect him.
In a fit of narcissism, I googled for my name. I found a recently created page.
I forgot to mention the funniest part about the “Garbage Houses” TV programme the other night.
I don’t watch a lot of TV in Japan, because, quite frankly, it’s not very good. The more I understand it, the worse it gets! More than the programmes, however, it’s the credulous commercials that have me accelerating towards the off switch, thanks to the obligatory cheesy jingles. Maybe there just isn’t enough sarcasm for my British tastes.
A few years ago, the idea of running high speed data networks over electrical supply lines was floated, tested, and scrapped. It didn’t work, as I recall.
This is the one hundredth entry on this page, so it’s something of an anniversary.
I stumbled upon this series of pages for testing colour blindness. It’s just an online version of those cards they use during eye tests. However, I don’t imagine that it’s as reliable as the optician’s cards, in the absence of any colour calibration of the monitor. I thought it was at least interesting and possibly useful, nonetheless.
...and no, I’m not talking about Iraq this time! I have two days left in my present job.
Given the size of Osaka and its population, and the fact that the trains on the Midosuji Line (the busiest line on the subway) are about 300m long and arrive every minute or two, the following is quite a coincidence.
The forces are almost ready for action, and the chances of them being told to pack up and go home without a fight must be approximately zero.
I reckon that I might have found an anthropological explanation for an unpleasant aspect of Japanese “culture": the predilection of middle aged and old men for urinating in public. Not only in secluded places and/or after dark, either; I once passed a man in broad daylight in a busy part of downtown Osaka, who was urinating against a tree. This tree was located between the pavement and the carriageway, so his (presumably shrivelled, given that it was January) member was in full view of both passing cars and the numerous pedestrians.
I thought it might be interesting to show a picture of my Amity tablet computer, so here’s a photo of it in use. It shows how small it is, if nothing else.
Well, I’m trying out my new tablet PC in the field. Actually, it’s not new at all. It’s a four year old Mitsubishi Amity VP that I found in a computer junk shop for the unbelievably low price of JPY 1980. I went through the tray of parts until I found one that was in good condition and, using some battery packs that still held charge, checked that it would boot. It did, so I bought it.
I know how a heavy smoker must feel, wracked by spectacular coughing fits. Mind you, to get the kind of cough I’m afflicted by, you’d have to be smoking something stronger than tobacco—maybe crack rocks cut with a generous dose of drain cleaner. I sound like a tuberculous dobermann, and I don’t feel a whole lot better.