Archive for September, 2007

Something in the Water

September 30th, 2007

Holy cow. This has got to be the best scare story in general (but also for global warming) to date. Seriously. Awesome. Thanks for sending me this, Emily. Full body shudder.

Actually…while I’m at it. If you, like me, thought that My Neighbor Totoro (poster) was ever-so-slightly creepy, you need to see this incredibly disturbing / frightening reworking of the poster by a self-styled macabre user called sachsen on DeviantArt. (Kudos for not selling work based on copyrighted characters, by the way.) Full body shudder number 2.

If that freaked you out too much, go check out Backstroke of the West, and all will be set right with laughter. That’s all for this incredibly useless / dated post. But hopefully it was entertaining. Back to my regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow…

Customary Drivel, Unsolicited Commentary

Mystery Fruit

September 28th, 2007

Picked up a bottle of Fanta’s latest gimmick; 謎のフルーツ (なぞのふるーつ / Nazo no Furuutsu / Mystery Fruit) soda. Scroll down on that press release page for a picture of it. It is weird. Apparently it has the blogs all over buzzing, too. In my own humble opinion, the whole pee colored drink thing needs to stop. Only beer and ginger ale have the right to be that color and retain their appeal. In the meantime the weird experiments in beverage-brewing have gotten out of control. Pepsi Gold freaked me out (and tasted like dirty bathwater) when I tried it. This mystery drink was actually pleasant – although unreasonably sweet. But it’s Fanta. That’s to be expected. Oh – and in my opinion, as far as Fanta goes, Melon Cream Soda cannot be beat. Anyhoo – I went to the Fanta site and found this annoying, crappily drawn purple dude calling himself the Riddler (謎かけくん / なぞかけくん / Nazokake-kun). Batman’s Riddler is way cooler. He wants you to play games on your cell phone in order to possibly win prizes. Whatever. I’m not gonna jump through hoops. I just wanted to find out if my guess was anywhere in the right ballpark. Supposedly, it’s a combination of 2 fruits. Having had only one bottle, my guess is a peach-kiwi combo. If you’ve tried it, let me know your guess (and tell me what’s wrong with mine). :-)

Culinary, Customary Drivel

You Can Count On Me

September 27th, 2007

I’ll be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams for three weeks. Ok, 22 days and 21 nights, technically. I think. Still, I’m coming home for Christmas, guys.

Ticket? Bought and paid for. Here comes 16,520 miles (26,586.4 km) round trip and approximately 34 hours and 43 minutes on planes.

Monday December 17th, 2007

United Airlines
total flight time of 9 hours 16 minutes | 5391 miles
Osaka Kansai International Airport to San Francisco International Airport

United Airlines
total flight time of 5 hours 11 minutes | 2426 miles
San Francisco International Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport

United Airlines (operated by United Express / Mesa Airlines)
total flight time of 1 hours 41 minutes | 443 miles
Washington Dulles International Airport to Charleston AFB Municipal Airport

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

United Airlines (operated by United Express / Mesa Airlines)
total flight time of 1 hour 34 minutes | 443 miles
Charleston AFB Municipal Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport

United Airlines
total flight time of 5 hours 50 minutes | 2426 miles
Washington Dulles International Airport to San Francisco International Airport

United Airlines
total flight time of 11 hours 50 minutes | 5391 miles
San Francisco International Airport to Osaka Kansai International Airport

Last year I remember coming off of an insane party week, and heading into Imabari where I had a great time at Aileen’s with the others who stayed behind. We had a Christmas Dinner Party that was loads of fun. A day or so later, Luke King and I took off for Kyoto – where we spent the New Year’s holiday and the rest of our Whirlwind Winter Break. This year I hope that our first years can do something fun while so many of the second years head home. I’ve heard rumblings of a sweet Philippines trip from Hong and Melanie that I wish I could join – but I’m far more excited about seeing Charleston at the moment. I bet money that there are groups going to Thailand, Cambodia, and India again too. If you’re a first year, don’t just sit around by yourself at Christmas (which is totally possible) – get out and have some fun. Otherwise you’ll find yourself depressed. Anyway – enough with the guidance counselor act – I’ll be in Chucktown. Can’t wait for it. :-) It’s been a year and a half.

Side note: guess this means I’ll be fingerprinted and photographed like the incredibly dangerous foreigner that the government fears I might be (but am not). Sigh.

Customary Drivel, Trips

Since Last Time

September 26th, 2007

Wow. It’s only been 4 days since my last post and lots has changed. Let’s do a brief recap.

    The temperature has dropped about 10 degrees in the mornings and evenings. Afternoon remains blazingly hot. Mother Nature is confused. Fashion is not. (I saw scarves as early as August. The Japanese want their weather to be punctual.)
    I’ve been to Osaka and Kyoto again (3rd or 4th time). Lovely as ever. Highlights included experiencing the cool Nightingale Floors at Nijo-jo (official 二条城 site; English pamphlet PDF) and eating a cheeseburger with grilled onions. Mmm.
    The second season of Heroes premiered in the U.S.A. My post about Japanese language in the show didn’t make it on time. Hope it’s still slightly interesting / relevant by the time it goes up.
    Apple sent my computer back. HA. Wishful thinking. That hasn’t changed.
    I have finished 28% of 正しい漢字かきとりくん, which I had been neglecting for around 2 and a half months. I’m officially a 3rd grader. Rock on. Just got another 766 to go till I’m almost half-way literate! (Why does that not sound as optimistic as it actually is?)

Ok, now we’re all caught up. And now it’s time for class. Gotta run. Check in tomorrow for a small announcement, too. TTFN, ta ta for now.

Customary Drivel


September 21st, 2007

Here’s a double-tap to close out the week. I’ll be back posting on Wednesday, since I’ll be out of town over the long weekend, which I’ve artificially extended using a bit of leave. Anyway, I learned an interesting thing. Apparently, the Japanese verb サボる comes from the katakana version of the word “sabotage.” That is cool. Here are my dictionary’s definitions for both.

(仕事を)loaf 《on the job》; go slow; (学校を) play truant 《from school》; skip 《school》; cut 《classes》

例文:仕事をサボっているところを見つかって首になった。 He was fired because he was caught loafing on the job.


noun, verb
- noun [U]
the act of doing deliberate damage to equipment, transport, machines, etc. to prevent an enemy from using them or to protest about something:
- verb [VN]
1) to damage, destroy or spoil something deliberately to prevent an enemy from using it or to protest about something:
2) to make something no longer possible or successful

That’s an intriguing way to link words. After all, if you skip school you make a full class no longer possible. If you skip work or goof off, you make success for your company or business a lot harder. It’s a fascinating way to imply responsibility to the group.

Speaking of sabotage (I feel like I’ve been sabotaged, afterall), I thought I’d pass on another anecdote to continue the craptastical Applecare in rural Japan experience. I called Apple’s support line this week and to my astonishment the ineptitude escalated another ten levels. Apple’s support line can’t do jack. They can’t tell me anything that I couldn’t find out on the website – which is really lousy, too. Not only could the man not tell me what was wrong with my computer or an estimated ship date, he asked me what “service request” meant and did not know what Apple’s website URL was. Hello. HELLO. Apple? When I have to walk your tech support people through getting onto your own website to see the screen that I see when I check my repair status, something is horribly wrong. Doesn’t matter anyway, since he couldn’t give me any information other than “the repair is in progress.” So, let me tell you – don’t bother calling them. Just don’t. It’ll only make you really sad inside.

Apple, Customary Drivel, Unsolicited Commentary

What’s Up, Sweden!

September 20th, 2007

I recently installed a plug-in called FireStats, and it is really interesting to see all of the information that it gathers. It’s much better than the service provided by my hosting company. I thought I’d mention a few things that have surprised me. First up, I’ve got to give a shout out to Sweden. What’s up, Sweden! You apparently count for 15-20% of my daily traffic. :-) You don’t say much, though. I’d love to get a comment from someone who reads this blog in Sweden. If not, that’s cool too – I appreciate your visits. The top 5 countries of origin for my visitors are the United States (33.07%), Japan (23.21%), Sweden (18.02% today), Canada (9.27%), and the United Kingdom (5.04%). I also get hits from South Korea, Croatia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Cuba, Italy, Germany, and Indonesia. But they fluctuate a lot. Anyway, I’m tickled pink about it. The good thing is that as far as I can tell, FireStats does a pretty good job of rooting out (or at least marking) bots. So some of those stats might be real live people!

I’m not surprised that people hit my site after searching for dubious things. I get the typical weirdo pervy search results that mostly take people to posts about hot springs or whatnot – you are intelligent enough to figure that out. It’s the individual instances of really random stuff that make me scratch my head. For instance, who searches for “mmmmmmk” with exactly 6 m’s? You’ll be shocked to discover that I’m the number one result when you use 6 m’s. Not 5, not 7, but 6. I got a hit from Google from that search. What the heck? Ha ha ha. My severe Mac troubles have also brought visitors to my site. It’s weird to me that I’m the number one hit for the 10.4.10 update .pkg file and on the first page of results for the .dmg file. I also show up in searches for Toto Washlet Instructions. Fun! Ha ha ha.

I also get lots of hits from image searches. Lately, that has primarily been people searching for vision tests, the letter e (I know…odd), Snellen or Landolt charts, and eye exams. All of those kinds of images pull up this post, for which I seriously need to issue a public apology. I broke a cardinal rule of mine when I posted that because I had no access to my FTP space at the time. Therefore I hot-linked (shame) to images hosted by other sites, and I am now accidentally stealing bandwidth and traffic from them via image searches. To my knowledge, it’s the only time I’ve done that (though please point out other instances if you recall any). I had intended to fix it, but lost it in the mix. Now that I see so many people finding my site that way, though, I’m rather embarrassed by it. I hereby promise to update that post when I get my computer back. I’ll stick the relevant images on my own space and use my own bandwidth. Sorry, it’s a really blatant internet foul. Anyway, other image searches include yellow watermelon (page 2 result), てんじぶろっく, and 4 hits from a search for purikura – but I can’t duplicate the results, so I’ve no idea when that was. In the meantime, it’s really amusing to see how people stumble across my site.

Customary Drivel