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Of classes being over!

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 2/4/2005 9:57:19 AM
Whew... busy day. Took my kanji test (which I found quite easy), got my grammar test back (87%, whoo), and watched the rest of Totoro. What a great movie... I want, er, NEED to purchase that when I get back home. I'd get it here, but there probably wouldn't be English subtitles. Though... maybe I'll take a look. If I can get an authentic Japanese DVD of it that happens to have English subtitles, I may just do that. Totoro means a lot more to me now than it did before coming to Japan, I'll tell you that!

After coming home, I spent pretty much the rest of the day reformatting and restoring Apsu. I'm actually still in the process of doing so... I've got a lot of software to reinstall and settings to reset. I'm also going to be making some organizational and security changes to my system, which should help later on. I wasted a good hunk of time by restoring the computer but conveniently picking the restore option that did NOT nuke the recovery partition... *grumble grumble* So yeah, had to do it again. I'd go with a straight WinXP install and completely forsake using the VAIO restore CDs, but VAIO computers have a way of laughing at you if you don't do things their way. And that's a shame, because I realized Sony slathered a HECK of a lot of software onto poor Apsu when they shipped him and when I restored him... gosh, I spent almost as much time uninstalling everything I didn't need (which was a lot) as I did performing the reformat. Geez.

So yeah, still got lotsa stuff to install. Work work work.

Hey, school's out! ^__^

Tomorrow Papa and I are going to go to Shibuya at 10:00 AM to go check out some museums and places that might be interesting to show my parents. I'm going to have to get up early for that, but I guess it'll be worth it. Don't know when I'm going to get back, either, unfortunately. So, word of warning to anyone who might be talking to me tomorrow: I'm going to be leaving early and I don't know when I'll be back. o_O;

Gosh, I'm tired. But there are programs that need to be installed. I think I'll just get Firefox and Thunderbird roaring and then call it a night. Plenty of time to get Apsu purring again before I have to head out for the cultural practicum.
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badcheeso talks- everybody listens------------if they want to
Posted by: badcheeso 2/4/2005 1:36:04 PM

Haven't seen pictures in a while. Maybe take some when you visit Shibuya so you can navigate while we take pictures.

And take a picture of our hotel and the train station, too.

And get some rest.

Life doesn't get easier unless you find a sack of money laying around.

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Posted by: Gerf 2/4/2005 6:06:53 PM
Yeah, I actually have a bunch of pictures here waiting to be uploaded... the past weeks have been super-blah, though. I'd like to get them up ASAP. I'll try to take some pictures for you today, too.

EXCELLENT quote. That's going in my AIM profile. ;)
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Of being busy all day

Location: Onishi-san's cousin's house - dining room 2/5/2005 9:51:23 AM
Today's been non-stop going! I woke up and at 9:30 went with Papa out on the train so he could show me some places around Tokyo. Places of note we visited: the Tobu Hotel where my parents will be staying, a fantastic temple that is nearby, a sumo wrestling arena (the outside of it, anyway), and the Edo-Tokyo Museum. I didn't take any pictures of anywhere but the museum, since I want my parents to be surprised by everything when they come... there are some VERY spectacular sights there. I promise I'll have some pictures of 'em when my parents come over. ;)

Papa treated me to lunch at a pretty fancy restaurant (spent about 10 bucks apiece) and left me to explore the hotel on my own, and boy it was pretty cool. I was kind of in a rush to get home so I didn't have enough time to check everything out, but boy, it's been a while since I've been in a neat museum! Everything was written in both Japanese and English, too, so it was easy to understand everything. Sometimes I wish my brain were more wired for history and culture and stuff, because there sure is a lot of it here in Japan. Awesome. That museum had all sorts of very detailed model sculptures, including entire town with hundreds of miniature dolls in there. They even provided binoculars so you could see them better... sweet.

Pictures coming soon... maybe tomorrow.

On my way home I stopped by the Onishis' house because Mrs. Onishi had called on the phone earlier; she said her cousin had a son who wanted me to help with some English. So now I'm here with the Onishis and Mrs. Onishi's cousin and her family... all in total there are eight people and one dog. *laughs* We had a huge dinner and talked a lot about English, college, and, of course, Kristin. I swear... the Japanese are VERY interested in Kristin! *laughs again* Everyone thinks you're very beautiful, dear... and they always say we look like brother and sister! ;) All the Japanese also say Mom and Dad look very young and that Niche looks cool. If I heard them say that once or twice I'd think they were just being polite... but after hearing it for the umpteenth time, well, it's obvious there's some quality to everyone the Japanese see!

The adults are talking money, the kids are watching TV, Kazuki is trying to prevent the dog, Hime, from eating his slippers, and I'm sitting here typing this. It's like we're all one big family here. Too big for this small house, but hey, you take what you can get. ^__^
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Of photos once again!

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 2/6/2005 8:22:27 AM
The pictures have returned! MWAHAHAHAH!! *laughs* Yeah, lots of backlogged pictures. I haven't been able to type descriptions for them all... maybe that would be a nice spring break project. I dunno... somehow I have a feeling some of 'em are just never gonna get done. o_O;

Anyway, the English tutoring with Mr. Hayashiya and Osaku was cancelled today, so I spent a good while installing more things on Apsu and cleaning out my room. I'm pretty much back up in working order, so now I'll be able to continue with my website jobs and stuff. I want to make it a habit to go over some grammar and vocabulary and kanji every day... we'll see how well I do with that. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up for the most part.

Tonight for dinner I went with Munii to eat dinner at a restaurant that is really close to the Higashimurayama station. Actually, I think technically it's a pub... in which case it's a ridiculously large, three-story pib. *laughs* We got a bunch of different kinds of food and talked English for about two hours; it was quite fun. My brain is out of "REMEMBER EVERY LITTLE DETAIL" mode, so I can't recall every last thing we talked about. But, you know, that's okay. Y'all probably wouldn't care too much anyway! That's one of the interesting things that's happening now, as I've likely mentioned several times before: everything is more or less "normal" now, so my brain doesn't notice anything weird going on and as such isn't paying as much attention to remembering all the details. I'm beyond the point of a wide-eyed tourist and am now a learning citizen... I've been that way for a while now. Kind of strange... especially considering I'm going to have to re-learn everything when I get back to America!

Bath time.
Photos 0 replies

Of bleh

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 2/7/2005 7:30:07 AM
Blug. Today in the afternoon I started feeling weird, and during dinner I went totally downhill. Gah, I don't want to get sick again, but it looks like I might. It was all I could do to finish my rice and stumble up the steps into my bed... blah. Tonight is a REALLY early to bed night. I've spent the past hour or so kinda sleeping and kinda not sleeping, and just rolling over to type this is making me ick.

But yeah... today was work on website day. Got some good work done, too; would have done more, but I'm bleh. 'Bout it for today. Sorry for the shortness. I need sleep. -__-;
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Of another day of work

Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room 2/8/2005 7:11:55 AM
For those of you who were wondering, yes, I'm feeling better. ^__^ I didn't really feel like eating much during breakfast and totally didn't eat lunch (well, except for an apple), but come dinnertime I was feeling better. I ended up going to sleep at 9:30 or so last night, and I think that's what did the trick to fix me up. A little delayed, yes, but it seems to have worked.

Speaking of working, that's pretty much all I did today: website work. I want to get some Japanese studying/review done sometime or another, but I seem to be in a sort of rut at the moment. That is to say, it's hard to break out of my cycle of waking, eating, chatting, working, and sleeping. Though as long as I can get studying in there somewhere, I should be okay. But then, the more I think about it, I'm still studying anyway... studying for the kind of work I'm going to be doing a few years down the road. So I guess no matter how you look at it, I'm still studying in some way or another!

I feel like there's something profound I want to say right now, but nothing's coming. Ah well... if/when it comes, I'll try to slap it down here.
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Of lots of thoughts

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 2/9/2005 8:01:10 AM
Can you guess what I did today? That's right, more website work! *laughs* Again, that's about it. I've noticed that my break so far has been pretty "dry" in that it's the same thing each day with very little variation (or speaking for that matter) on my part. But, you know, sometimes that's what I need. Being a computer geek, sometimes I just need some time to become one with my computer for a while. ^__^

I'm planning on doing some Japanese studying either tonight or tomorrow, though. I want to go through my kanji, go through vocabulary, and review some grammar. I have to write six or seven "journal entries" in Japanese, but that shouldn't be that bad... I can just translate my entries here! Mwahahaha.

On a geekier side of things, I'm being drawn more and more toward open-source with each passing day. Me being the perfectionist that I am, I really like things that are compliant with standards, and me being the neat-freak that I am, I really like things that do what they're meant to do and don't clog you up with a bunch of extra, useless stuff. I'm being torn between ideals and loyalties, though... but I think that's a good thing. Sometimes you go through life believing something and saying you know the other side of the story, when you don't actually know the other side OR your own side as well as you think you do or did. Such is the whole learning experience, that weird concept that makes life interesting.

Okay, I was listening to Mama jabber on the phone while I typed that. I can make no guarantees as to its coherency whatsoever. *laughs* Today the phone was ringing nonstop; started to drive me insane. Partially because it's not really my place to do so and partially because I'm not confident with speaking Japanese on telephones whatsoever, I never answer the phone, so it just k e e p s rr ii nn gg ii nn gg. Apparently, the Japanese don't often hang up after four or five rings like we do back home... or maybe that's just because we all have answering machines back home. Or maybe Mama forgot to set our answering machine today. Or something. But... yeah. Ringing phones was my music of the day.

Listening to Mama talk on the phone, though, is... odd. For some reason, while I was eating dinner, I heard her talking on the phone and I just felt like I was really part of the family in an odd sort of way. I feel kind of bad because I don't say much (but then, nobody says much except Saki-chan), but I help putting away dishes every day and... well, yeah, I know putting away dishes doesn't constitute "pulling my load," but for some reason it sure feels like I've been accepted here. I don't know how to explain it, really. I mean... this is my home, psychologically and legally even. When I've been out for a long time, I want to return HERE. When I'm sweaty I want to take a bath HERE. And in the morning I want to eat breakfast HERE. Well, downstairs, but that's still here.

Suffice it to say, lots of very new and unclassifiable thought processes have been going through my head lately. I think when I'm on vacation and have all this time to think, my brain begins doing reeeeeeeeally weird things. o_O;

Oh, and by the way, if you've been browsing my site and were suddenly kicked off because of some weird-looking error, that's my fault. I've been messing with some new code that keeps track of visitors and stuff, and of course it didn't work the way I wanted it to at first. I think I got it now, though. ;)
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No title
Posted by: badcheeso 2/9/2005 10:46:49 AM
Not badcheeso--it's Mom.
What's "open-source"? A computer term??
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Open source
Posted by: Gerf 2/9/2005 6:21:43 PM
Yeah, it's a worldwide movement (actually, more of an informational paradigm) that advocates free software (as in, it's legally free to download, use, modify, and redistribute) and the sharing of source code. If you've ever heard of Linux, that's an open-source operating system (like Windows... except Windows is closed-source).

The two types of software paradigms seem to be:

1) Develop patent- and license-protected software privately and do not give others access to the code you used. This way, intellectual property is preserved and potentially sensitive secrets are not spread.

2) Develop free software publicly and give everyone source access. This way, the entire world can work together to develop the strongest, most stable, most secure, and most standards-compliant software. No secrets are kept, which means there's nothing to hide.

The debate wages on. ;)
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No title
Posted by: badcheeso 2/9/2005 8:45:29 PM
Hmm....interesting! Thanks!
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Of taking a walk

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 2/10/2005 7:14:19 AM
Gosh... it's already almost Friday. Dang, I'm going to be gone, like, soon. Yeesh.

I spent a good amount of time today looking for a good digital video camera, and I think I found one. Then I realized that by the time I get back to the States, the technology and prices are going to be all different... so why waste my time looking now? *laughs* Oh well. Good "review" if anything.

Today instead of sitting around working all day, I decided to go take a walk and get something for lunch. I went a different way than I normally go... actually, I went places I had never been before. It's funny how Higashimurayama can look so different when you go places you've never been before! It felt kind of strange wandering around in a Japanese city/town/place without knowing where I was, though at the same time I knew where I was HEADING so I didn't really get lost. I don't know which direction is north, but I do know what direction the main road is, so I made sure to make sure I always headed in that general direction. After hitting the main road, I went to eat a true Japanese delicacy: the Teriyaki McBurger. *laughs* Okay, it's probably not a delicacy, but you sure can't get those in America (at least not where I'm from you can't!). It was pretty good... way too much mayo, though. I stopped by Itoyokado on the way home to pick up one more liter of OJ (just in case) and some random snackies, including some lemon bubble gum. Sweet. I ended up eating the whole thing of mini-cookies when I got home, though. Yipes. o_O;;

Everyone's gone, so I'm home alone again. I don't really mind, especially since I've got work to do. I've just hit a pretty large programming hurdle... how to implement the content for the right-hand menus? I think I'll just use one method and if it turns out to be a royal pain then I'll use another. Yes.

Yeah... I just gotta keep on learning this web stuff. There's always so much more to learn and get better at.
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Of a week of not too much

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 2/11/2005 5:37:23 AM
Another day, another dollar. Or something like that. *laughs* Again, not much happenin' but work. Funny how vacation for me involves just as much work, if not more, as non-vacation does. I seriously work too hard. But oddly, I can't see myself doing anything else.

Tomorrow I've got a meeting with the practicum guys around noon to discuss what we're going to do for my month at the Tsumura factory, so I'm going to have to leave around 10:30 tomorrow morning... kind of like how Mondays used to be! I'm kind of looking forward to it, because I'll finally get to know what the heck is happening. *laughs* Right now I know nothing other than I'm going to a place in Ibaraki-ken on Monday and I'm going to stay there for a month. I promise, details will follow when they are realized.

I'm going to be home in four and a half months. I'm finally kind of starting to look forward to it. Home is where all my friends are... and while I know I've had many opportunities to make friends here (and I have), that's just not really who I am. I just don't really go out and make new friends. Hanging out in the city and traveling and stuff is fun sometimes, but I'm always so tired when I return and I feel like there's so much else I should have been doing. That's not always the case, of course... it's not that I don't like hanging out with friends. It's just... I can still get the things done that I want to accomplish with certain friends, because that's what we do when we hang out. I dunno. I'm weird. I've always been weird. :p
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Of Japanese TV being awesome... and other stuff

Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room 2/12/2005 5:41:56 AM
Wow, this is hilarious. There is this show on TV that is about Schwarzenegger and Stillone and how they both butted heads and nodded to each other through their entertainment careers. Awesome stuff. Reminds me how I loved the Terminator movies, yet never really saw Rocky. Ah well. Oooh, the Terminator just walked on stage! Wait, just a Japanese guy pretending to be him. Ooh, and here comes Rocky! Nope another Japanese guy. Wow, Japanese TV is great. VanV and AVanV would have loved this show. Too bad I didn't know ahead of time so I could have recorded it.

We had our meeting today about working at Tsumura. Apparently, people HAVE worked there in the past... just at a different location. This is the first time anyone will be working at this specific factory, so that should clear up any confusion. Well, some of it, anyway. Tsumura packages Chinese-made medicine, and it appears we're going to be spending our first week collecting data about how the process works and the second week putting it all together into a Power Point presentation. More specifically, we'll be using stopwatches (faking sweet things that look AWESOME and measure metric time: 100 "seconds" per minute) to time all the different aspects of workers and production facilities in the factory, and then we'll be compiling our results into a battle plan to improve efficiency in the workplace. Or something like that. We'll be working with a couple of engineering students who are all a few years older than we are, though they do seem to be able to speak some English so we should be able to exist. *laughs* We got some books (in English, oddly enough) about IE (Industrial Engineering, not Internet Explorer) and instructions how to get to where we need to be on Monday. And what is that exactly? Well, let's just say for now I've gotta be at Takadanobaba station at 8:00 AM. Carrying a suitcase. And... stuff. Oi. This is going to be interesting, but it's going to be painful. We'll just see how things go.

Amusing note: I almost got Andy and me lost trying to get to the meeting place. We walked through a place that seemed right, but then I said, "Wait," and had us turn around. As it turns out, we were actually on the right course, but I was just being stupid. *laughs* There was a building that I thought was the right one (the one that looks like a Death Star), but I kept on saying, "No, that can't be it." But it was. But hey, at least I know how to get there!

Bought my next semester Japanese books and ate at Wendy's afterwards... I guess I just didn't feel like anything but a spicy chicken sandwich, fries, and OJ. Had a lot of things on my mind.

And now there's Batman vs. Spiderman. Wow, Japanese TV is amazing.

One more day. Guess I'll need to get packing tomorrow...
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Of going off on another adventure

Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room 2/13/2005 7:45:30 AM
Well, might as well start this from the beginning...

This morning I went to Mr. Hayashiya's house again to do an English lesson with Osaku, but it kind of turned into a history and culture lesson. *laughs* Mr. Hayashiya talked for, like, an hour and a half about world issues, lifestyles from 1945 to now, and all sorts of stuff. I can understand most of what he says when he says it (as with most Japanese in general... unless it's on the TV, in which case all bets are off), but it's kind of hard to remember it for later. I haven't developed the mental pathways to keep Japanese dialogue in my brain that well, but it's developing. While we were talking, one of Mr. Hayashiya's many cats wanted to come in, so we all pet it and laughed as it jumped onto the table and stuff. I exchanged cat meows with it, and Osaku was like, "Oooh, they're talking!" So I translated on behalf of the cat and said, "Give me money!" I don't think he got the joke, but I know Niche would have laughed.

After I got home I started assessing the packing situation: it looks like I'll be able to get away with my bookbag, my computer bag, and my large suitcase. I could actually go with less, but with so much uncertainty attached to this while Japan thing I figure it's better to bring too much than not enough. As I type this, I'm almost completely packed... I just have to throw a few things in and then stick my clothes and toiletries in tomorrow morning after I'm all ready to go. I've budgeted myself what I think is a pretty good amount of time to get to Takadanobaby by 8:00... which in itself is actually earlier than I need to be there. But yeah... it's going to be interesting.

A little before dinner, I brought out a package of paper and heart doilies and stickers that Mom had sent for Valentine's Day and did some heart crafts with Saki-chan. She actually was getting into it... she wanted to make all these different hearts and write stuff on all of them, and when I showed her how to make multiple hearts from one folded sheet of paper she got all excited. Then I made a little crown-looking thing from the scraps and she was like, "Whoa, you're a king! Quick, make me a queen!" *laughs* She was seriously excited about making hearts out of paper. Yay for childhood. Sometimes seeing Saki-chan makes me glad I don't have kids now, yet other times (like today) it makes me look forward to the day in the future when I'll have some of my own.

We had a big sushi-and-sashimi dinner for Soichiro's 15th birthday (I guess he was 14 after all... now I seriously don't know how old anyone in the family is!), which was pretty good. Mama was like, "Wow, it's been a while since we've had sushi, hasn't it?" and I had to really think to remember when we had it last. Actually, I wasn't really able to remember exactly when it was... but it was last month sometime, apparently. There were four pieces of sashimi that were entire squids, which actually didn't surprise me that much because I'm used to that kind of stuff these days. *laughs* I didn't eat any (I stuck with the fish-looking sashimi instead), but my host parents and the grandmother next door said they were pretty good.

Afterwards I showed Mama and Papa how to use the e-mail on their computer, so now they can send and receive e-mail like pros! Well, at least like... um... people who can use e-mail. *laughs* I hope to send them some mail and stuff while I'm gone.

Which brings me to what I guess is the most important part of this post: my cultural practicum. As far as I know at the moment, I will not have Internet access in my dorm room and if I am able to use the Internet in the office I don't know how much I'll be able to use it. It's certainly not the scenario I wanted, but... you know, you just have to take things as they come. I can't change it, so fretting about it won't make anything better; rather, it'll just make things worse. So I'm going to do what my dad always says to do: adapt, improvise, and change. Adapt: I plan to consolidate my web efforts so that if/when I obtain Internet access, I'll be able to get everything I need to get done completed as quickly as possible. Improvise: I will likely be using my cell phone's e-mail as my "primary" e-mail until I know my Internet situation. Change: I fully intend to scout the area with Apsu for leaking wireless signals and hop on at any opportunity. I guess that last one could be an assimilation of the first two or something, but... yeah.

No, I'm not hopelessly addicted to the Internet. I certainly would be able to exist without looking at my favorite websites or reading the news. There are more important issues that require my presence, and being torn from them is unacceptable. I will do everything I possibly can on my end.

So until further notice, please forward any important e-mails to my cell phone address: Normally I wouldn't give it out for fear of spam, but drastic circumstances are cause for drastic measures. Besides... if things get yucky, I can change it as many times as needed. *laughs* This is a full-featured e-mail system, so you can send any kind of e-mail you want, even ones with pictures attached if the feeling moves you. Since I have to punch replies in through the phone's keypad my replies may be slow if you request one, but I will do my best to keep up with what people send me.

Men In Black is on now. I was just thinking of that movie today. It's quite fun seeing it in Japanese and laughing together with Soichiro. Good stuff. ^__^

Well, now I'll be signing off. I don't know when I'll be able to update y'all next... could be tomorrow, could be in a week, could be in a month. I just don't know. I hope y'all take care of yourselves, though. I'm going to miss everyone, but I'm going to have quite an experience. I'm thinking of you.

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