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Of ups and downs

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/17/2005 8:28:16 AM
Wow, today was kinda all over the place! o_O;

It started out with a so-so Japanese vocab quiz (I know I missed two, and I may have flubbed another one or two), which was then followed by the start of our interview project. It wasn't nearly as awkward as I thought it would be, and actually the way I'm speaking is probably way more politely than I need to. *laughs* But hey, better to be too polite than not polite enough.

After that was the microeconomics midterm. Don't even really want to talk about that much. Whatever I get will be what I get, I guess. *shrugs* Heh, then I have another econ midterm this week (Thursday) plus I'll probably be getting the results from my flubbed phonetics midterm tomorrow. Bmeh.

So yeah, that really crushed my spirits, and when I got home I didn't really want to do much but curl up and sleep for the rest of the day. But then I looked at something Betsy (who was only here for a half year) had posted about the Playstation 3, and my spirits zoomed right back up to super-high levels. Dang, the PS3 looks HOT. I never really had any interest in the XBox 360 (I think that's a silly name) or the Revolution (you could probably break that thing if you looked at it funny), but the PS3 looks like a killer. Like, seriously. Square-Enix (though I'll forever remember them as Square...) had a PS3 graphics demo of the Final Fantasy VII introduction movie. Remember that from the PlayStation? This one is rendered in real-time, and the graphics are thousands of times better. Holy flaming hep, it's amazing. I almost feel sorry for the PS2 we have at home now that isn't getting much use since both Niche and I are off at college. *has to laugh* Just never had enough time to truly get everything we could out of it, I don't think, though we did spend a lot of time on it (for me, mostly with FFX and DDR; I haven't had time to finish FFX-2 yet). Gaming is just passing me by too quickly anymore. o_O;

All that PS3 awesomeness got me all pumped and I did some nice work on the website I'm working on. Managed to figure out some ideas for things that were bugging me and broke through one of those "stalling" barriers so now there's a ton I can do rather quickly that's actually kind of fun. I still have to program several modules yet, but they'll come as they come. Web programming is fun... and gosh, I'm totally going all-out on this one. *laughs*

Yesterday I got a letter from home that included something I had written back when I was ten. Whichever one of my parents had the bright idea of throwing that in was... well, bright. ;)

Computer Programming
Computer programming is very interesting and fun. When you program, or make, a computer program, you input information into the computer's "temporary" memory that tells it what to do, like print, goto, next, input, locate and many more. To write a program, you need to type the information you wish the computer to use and/or analyze in numbered lines; 10 PRINT "BLAH!" or 520 LET T=0:LET F=T+2 or any other commands you wish the computer to use. When you program, the lines in it must be in a sequence from lowest to highest, but you can number them any way you want, but they must be in a number sequence, for example: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 1, 9, 24, 33, 51, 109, 201 or any other sequence. You can program any game, work utilities, like calculators, or just something to look at, like a pattern. Usually the more lines and information and complexity in a program leads to a good, high tech one. If you make a neat program, you ought to save it on a blank, formatted disk so you can run it later. If you don't, you'll lose it when you turn off the computer. Computer programming is real fun, and I think it could help you learn something.

Wow... those were the days. Yay for BASIC. *laughs* Got an A on that paper, too. ^_^

Well, time to do some stuff. Yes, stuff. 2 replies

The Revolution will be E3-ed
Posted by: UNFDAardvark 5/17/2005 7:00:57 PM
1 reply

Posted by: Gerf 5/17/2005 11:51:08 PM
Backwards that spells "NO." ;)
0 replies

Of Wednesday

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/18/2005 7:17:55 AM
Today was today... nothing really fantastic or peculiar happened, I don't think. It was really windy in the evening, though. My hair doesn't like wind at all, it seems. Other people's hair almost seems impervious to even the strong winds of today, but even a slight breeze will take mine and totally muss it all up. Like, completely and totally. What's up with that? o_O;;

Remember the cat that I stopped to pet some time ago? Today I ran into it for the third time (the second time was sometime last week), and he actually came out to "greet" me and rub himself around and through my legs. *laughs* He was even meowing and purring as I pet him, too. What a good kitty. I wonder if he has a home or if he really is stray. He seemed kind of sad when I left... just kind of sat there on his haunches and watched me leave.

I guess I should review some economic development stuff tonight.
0 replies

Of buying a notebook..?!

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/19/2005 8:07:26 AM
Earthquake again! Pretty small one, though. At about 10:20 or so, we were in SILS 22 on the 6th floor and suddenly everyone said, "Whoa, feel that?" We were swaying for quite a while, actually. It's awesome how civil engineers design buildings to actually sway around like that. It's totally mind-boggling and awesome.

I totally almost fell asleep in Microeconomics class today. Ick. o_O; Had my Economic Development midterm, too. Whoo. LOTS of writing... my hand was super-sore after that. Oddly enough, though, I'd say the highlight of today was buying a small little notebook to use for the exam. Waseda doesn't provide blue books and our teacher insisted on using some sort of "book," so he had us get notebooks. I picked up one for 84 yen and holy cow I was intrigued. It was the PERFECT size and shape and had nice, thinly-ruled lines and make me want to buy a bunch of them to use for website design ideas and stuff. I think I'll just stick to my student planner for now (since I don't want to have more stuff to drag home with me), but when I return home I very well might consider getting some little notebooks like that. They should have them at home, right? I guess I'll just have to check. *laughs*

Hot day today. It's hot right now. I might need to turn on the AC soon. o_O;
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Of a visit from Case

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/20/2005 8:43:50 AM
Wow... moral of today's Japanese class: even if you think you know what you're doing, always double-check just in case. I only missed three points out of 20 on the quizzes today, but still, two of those were silly mistakes I would have caught had I looked over my answers even once after finishing. Normally I check things over once or twice before turning them in... I wonder why today was different. *has to laugh* Actually, that wasn't today's moral. Today's moral was more like, "Take funny pictures!" Got to go out with cameras and take shots of random signs with kanji on them. My little group found one that said something along the lines of, "This area is for small bikes only." It was hilarious in a Japanese kind of way. ;)

In the process of looking up the kanji we didn't know, I ran across a bunch of super-crazy kanji that are... well, super-crazy. If your browser supports Japanese, copy these into a word processor and increase the font size really large (or increase the text size in the browser if you're using Firefox or something, since it won't work in IE). They're... they're... insane. O_O;;;

讟 龗 欟 纞 龖 欞 鑼 麤 纜 厵 鬮 鸞 驫 鸛 鬱 鱻 籲 爨 戇 驪

And I'll bet they look like blobs on your screen right now, too. *laughs*

Afterwards, I went and spent some time with four Case students who were visiting Waseda for a month. We toured around the liberal arts campus for an hour and a half or so, hitting up places I had never been before such as the clock tower, an old auditorium, a room where Bill Clinton had sat once, and a huge library where every day 5000 students come and go (twice that number during exam time). It was pretty nice to see some guys from back home... and as a matter of fact, I kind of recognized two of them. A Japanese guide they had and I translated for them, since they only knew a little Japanese (if any). Afterwards, I showed two of them to the game center and we played DDR and stuff for a little while. Even after playing in the arcade all my time here, I still say I'm never going to be as good on the metal platforms as I am on the soft pads. It just ain't gonna happen.

Came back home as a sweatball and slept, then had dinner while saying random things to Saki-chan in English and drawing pictures of her (and having my picture drawn too). Fun stuff.

Now that all the exams are more or less done, I can kind of relax. Not too much, though, because I've still got website stuff spilling out the wazoo. I'll get it all done... eventually...
Photos: Touring with Case students 2 replies

Posted by: UNFDAardvark 5/20/2005 7:05:11 PM

That looks like Puckett-san in the first pic with four people, second from the right. He was in a couple of my Japanese classes.
1 reply

Case folks
Posted by: Gerf 5/21/2005 9:40:26 AM
Yeah, I recognized some of the guys. One of them (the one in the black coat and ponytail-like hairdo) was one of the guys who started the DDR club, if I heard correctly. I seem to remember him, too.
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Of losing Tetris and regexps

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/21/2005 9:41:02 AM
Hahaha... lost another game of Tetris. Dang. This one smashed my old record, too, which I had thought was pretty impressive. Dun dun dunnnn...

Score: 55837837 (23313607 more points than last time)
Lines: 11612 (4898 more points than last time)
Level: 15
Time: 12:11:30 (5:06:17 more than last time)
Tetris: 2112 (872 more than last time)
T-Spin: 100 (39 more than last time)
Rank: 1

Heh, I have no life. Actually, I do... it's just that every week, about five hours of it are spent standing around on trains and another five hours are spent walking around between home and stations and stuff. Whoo. o_O;

Today I woke up, ate breakfast, cleaned my room (since it was starting to get a little dusty), then mostly worked on website stuff for the rest of the day. In particular, I was having a heck of a time working with a silly-simple Perl-style regular expression, /\[\[(.+?)\s+(.+?)\]\]/, to do some super-basic URL substitution in a kind of pseudo-markup language parser, and while I knew what the problem was and how to reproduce it, I couldn't figure out how to solve it. At least, not until I spent way too long searching Google and realized, "Oh, it's supposed to be /\[\[([^\]]+?)\s+([^\]]+?)\]\]/, stupid." I'm thinking of maybe sticking in something like /^(http|https|ftp)\://[a-zA-Z0-9\-\.]+\.[a-zA-Z]{2,3}(:[a-zA-Z0-9]*)?/?([a-zA-Z0-9\-\._\?\,\'/\\\+&%\$#\=~])*[^\.\,\)\(\s]$/i at some point so I can actually make sure the URLs are VALID... but at this point, I'm going to make them explicitly defined.

Yeah... geekiness. I'd better go on to another topic.

Since I lost Tetris, I was finally able to try out this free fighting game I got for my cell phone. It's great. It's simple and I'm sure the storyline is as lame as can be, but it's fun. And it's on my cell phone. And it's Japanese. ^__^

Dinner was great fun today. We were all there, as well as Natsuko's boyfriend, and we ate for... how long was it, almost two hours? I wasn't in much of the conversation (for obvious reasons), so I spent a lot of time watching Saki-chan draw pictures of people and stuff. She had drawn some hilarious portraits yesterday, and today she showed those off and drew some more. She's always hyper-times-ten during dinnertime and demands so much attention, but it's funny.

My going-home party is June 18th. 決まりました。

Annnndddd... looks like I'll be off to a bath soon. Yups!
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Of a spark

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/22/2005 7:38:38 AM
Whoo, got some good programming done today! That makes me happy. Things were kind of stagnating a little, but I finished up some things that are quite important (like protecting against a careless or malicious user from deleting the entire file structure of a computer by clicking a website form button) and that seems to have given me the spark I need to push forward. Things always tend to work that way: after doing something for a while, my interest declines to the point where it's very difficult to drag myself to do it. However, there always will eventually come a little "spark," be it a sudden understanding or a lucky shot or something, that gets me interested all over again and I keep going. Apply this to just about any and everything I have an interest in and you have somewhat of an idea of how I operate.

This morning at 11:30 I went to Hayashiya-san's house to have lunch with him and Osaku. It was a paella-like rice dish and salad, followed by the usual cake and tea. Quite nice. I played some of my music CDs for them and also showed them some Kyoto pictures, which they seemed to enjoy. Yay. I took two pictures, but since it's so few I'm not going to make a whole folder for it... I'll stick 'em in with some other random pictures later on.

Oh, and I made a stupid mistake. I'm not going home on the 26th, I'm going home on the 27th. My bad. I've been telling everyone and their dog that the 26th is my return date, when actually it's one day after that. D'oh! Ah well... that gives me one more day to prepare for leaving. ;)

Sometimes I feel odd and alienated during dinners, while sometimes I feel content and welcomed. Tonight it was the latter. ^__^ It seems the more girls (as in, Saki-chan, Natsuko, and Mama) I have eating with me the better, and if the TV is on it's better still. Made me happy.

I really ought to get to bed earlier. Maybe I'll stop working on websites for now lest I get sucked even deeper into things. *laughs*
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Of a day of algorithm-making

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/23/2005 9:05:18 AM
Today was spent almost exclusively on one single algorithm for the website I'm working on. Good grief. It was worth it, though, because now I can create bulleted/numbered/lettered/anything lists that can even be nested inside themselves just by typing *, #, a, A, i, or I. The parser automatically recognizes and generates to lists for you... sweet. It's probably not the most efficient code there is out there, but it does the job darn well instantaenously!

If I were back at Case, I'd probably be asked to find what order this function is. Well, it goes through once and makes a bunch of checks and sometimes it backtracks one place, so in the worst-case scenario it would be 2n times and some constant computation time, so I suppose I've got O(n) here. Whoo.

Around 3:00 or so I went off to grab a lunch at McDonald's and get some more cereal at the grocery store. It was kind of funny, because right before I left, the sky was rather ominous and yellow. As soon as I stepped outside, though, everything cleared up and it got rather warm... I ended up not needing the jacket I brought (and boy am I glad I decided against bringing the umbrella!). However, as soon as I got home maybe an hour or so later, it got dark again and stormed for pretty much the rest of the day. *laughs* I LOVE listening to rain outside. I don't like having to walk through it (or drive through it if it's really heavy), but I love listening to it... especially in the spring or summer and when it's still bright outside. Sunny rain is awesome. Rain at night is awesome, too. ^__^

But, alas, my three-day weekend has come to an end, as it usually does on Monday nights. I say "usually" because either next week or the week after that I get Tuesday off (at least from Micro... I don't know if it's a school/national holiday or what). Yay.

One month, four days. Before I know it, I'll be able to count the days on my hands and feet.
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Of overnapping again

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/24/2005 7:36:48 AM
I'm not sure if anything particularly interesting happened today. *laughs* I managed to get an 82% on my Micro midterm, which made me kind of happy. The teacher said that most of the grades were "on the low end," so maybe that 82% will end up being curved to an A. I don't really know, but hey, 82% is a lot more than I was expecting, so that's good.

After getting home, I tended to some business that needed to be tended to and then slept for two hours. I only wanted to sleep for one, but for some reason my alarm totally wasn't able to get me up. I kind of wish I hadn't slept that long... I need a way to wake me up when I oversleep like that. Back home, I could count on Mom to knock on my door and wake me up when I failed to get myself up...

Lately I've been thinking quite a bit about going back home. It's really going to be weird. I mean, I'm going to be going from nearly an entire year in Japan to the life I used to know and used to be so familiar with. I'm going to have such different ideas, such different goals, such different ways of thinking and getting things done and interacting with others. I'm going to go back to a country where the customer is no longer the most honorable person in the store but rather just "always right." I'm going to be going back to a country where I can actually understand everything that goes on in a conversation and not just bits and pieces (unless the subject matter is something beyond my level of comprehension). I'm going to be going back to a way of life I've been away from for so long... and in a way, it's kind of scary. I don't recall giving much thought to how everything would change when I came to Japan compared to how much thought I'm giving to returning. I mean, seriously... my family and friends are going to have to be really patient with me, because I honestly don't know how long it's going to take me to get back into the American engine. It could be a day, it could be a week, it could possibly be never. I'm counting on being able to re-adapt quickly and get back into the normal swing of things, but... yeah. It's going to be odd.

Funny how I keep on writing like I'll be leaving tomorrow. Dude, Gerf, you've got a whole month left. *laughs*
1 reply

adapt improvise change
Posted by: badcheeso 5/25/2005 6:49:40 AM
Hey Dude,

remember you won't be doing it alone. when you need some space just say so. if we think you need to adapt, we'll suggest you look into it;
0 replies

Of a jam-packed day

Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room 5/25/2005 7:50:38 AM
You know what's awesome? On one of the kid shows that Saki-chan watches in the morning, there's a segment that has a little kid and an older guy saying different phrases in Japanese: the old guy says the "traiditional" phrase, and the kid says the "modern" phrase. My favorite: "さようなら" (sayonara)... followed by "bye bye." *laughs*

Today was a very busy day. I woke up and handled e-mails and other stuff for about two hours, went to class, then talked with Kristin to get travel arrangements set up for our summer visits, did some Japanese work, and then went to my economic development class, during which we got our midterms back. And boy, I was actually quite surprised. He said the average grade was in the 20s (out of 40 possible points), and I knew that I had totally botched one of the questions so I was expecting my grade to be around there. There were three people he said "Good job" to when he handed back the books... and surprisingly, I was one of them. O_O! So I opened up my book and saw, circled at the top, "35." Wow. I was certianly not expecting that. And you know what's even funnier? I got 10/10 points for the second question... the one I was sure I botched. How's that for random? ;)

Then after getting home, I got a call from Mrs. Onishi who said she reserved some tatami slippers at the supermarket for my apartment mates and myself for next year, which was awesome. It was interesting trying to figure things out, since she had to call the information desk and tell them to give some American floozy a reservation of tatami slippers. Seriously, I felt for the poor worker who walked up and asked if my name was "Gerf." *laughs* It was great. The slippers fit, though, and I'll be shipping them home. Guys, if you're reading this, know the slippers have arrived and will be on the way soon. They're all a nice blue-green color and have two different designs so we might have to put a mark on some to differentiate them, but they should be cool.

And then I got a completely unexpected package from Mrs. Smith and her family! Wow! It had my favorite cereal, some candies, and two letters from her children which are absolutely adorable. In response to your inquiries: yes I'll be coming back, I'd circle "yes" for "fun", and Japan is very different from America, but in a good way. Wow... what thoughtful stuff to send. Made me all warm and tingly inside. ^__^

And now I have other things I have to finish up before the day is done. Wow... such a crazy-busy day. Whoo. I'm going to sleep well tonight methinks.

Except here in the Land of the Rising Sun, the sun has already risen at 4:30. For the past few days (weeks?) I've been waking up promptly at 4:30 every morning to the sight of sunlight streaming into my face. Even closing the curtains doesn't help. Gah! I can get back to sleep, of course, but... heh, nutso.
5 replies

Everything is fine. Nothing is broken
Posted by: UNFDAardvark 5/25/2005 10:58:35 PM
I keep trying to post some stuff with kanji, but all I got was this lousy t-shirt--er, error message:

Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80040e21'

Multiple-step OLE DB operation generated errors. Check each OLE DB status value, if available. No work was done.

/, line 20
1 reply

Cuz it's cheesy
Posted by: Gerf 5/25/2005 11:04:32 PM
Yeah, those errors are because I was lazy and didn't program in many error-handing checks. Actually, it's because I was rushed and whipped up this whole journal thing in, like, less than a month or something. The revamped website should have that issue fixed, if there's a blog on it at all. ;)
0 replies

Maybe if I de-kanjify the title?
Posted by: UNFDAardvark 5/25/2005 11:00:00 PM
We'll be sure to send out our fleet of Omnibot Aerial Interceptors, designed & built by K. Vanv & Co. Inc., to capture & pillage the cargo plane/boat carrying our slippers before it gets more than a mile from the coast of Japan. You'll be able to tell they're coming because of their patented FINAL-FANTASY-VICTORY-MUSIC (tm) aural-bombardment devices, which Chief Research Engineer Matthew J. 山 dubbed, "speakers."
2 replies

Posted by: UNFDAardvark 5/25/2005 11:00:13 PM
...there we go.
0 replies

Anti-yama forces
Posted by: Gerf 5/25/2005 11:06:09 PM
I'll just have to send some Anti-山 forces along with them which will turn those speakers toward the OAIs and thus make them explode.
0 replies

Of disasters and preventing them

Location: Yohitaka residence - dining room 5/26/2005 8:20:52 AM
Today I went to the disaster prevention center and all I got was these 3D glasses. *laughs*

Instead of Japanese class today, a bunch of classes all got together with the sensei and hightailed it to Ikebukuro where we went to the Bosaikan, or disaster prevention center/museum place. It was pretty fun! We watched a (3D) movie about what a magnitude-7 earthquake in the middle of Japan might be like, and then went into a room where we got to use fire extinguishers (real in all aspects except that they had water in them) to "extinguish" a virtual fire. We all lined up five or six at a time in front of a big video screen, and when a fire started we all picked up the extinguishers and blasted the fire until it "went out." There was apparently some computer-controlled stuff to it so that it would go out after you blasted it for long enough, but not before, and it was pretty cool. It was sensitive to cameras, though, because when people took pictures sometimes the fire would go out before we even picked up the extinguishers. *laughs*

After that, we went to a place where we learned what to do when smoke from a fire started filling up a room, and then did something that I was seriously not expecting we'd ever do: got to go through a smoke-filled building and try to find our way out! Actually, it was a office-like set of rooms with 24 doors and it was only that stage smoke sort of stuff, but it was still a good lesson in how to protect your face and how to walk and stuff to get through something like that alive. Unfortunately, the group that went before mine had left all the doors open (so it was easy to find our way out, since the doors are supposed to be closed and you're supposed to remember which to go through since the right way is the only unlocked way), and my group decided to be silly throughout it, but other than that it was pretty interesting. Makes me want to actually go over that fire escape plan with my family some day.

Another interesting thing: they sell clear plastic bags here that you can stick in your pocket or purse that are meant to be put over your head. Remember how they all warn you not to put a plastic bag over your head? You'll suffocate in about three minutes, at least with a bag the size this guy had. Dangerous, huh? BUT (or as they'd say on Japanese TV shows here: しかし)... what about if a room you have to go through is full of black smoke that will kill you in one minute? Yeah... putting that bag over your head triples your life span. Remember that.

Afterwards, I just did classes and stuff as usual. Yay. Very fun field trip, though. It was all in Japanese, but I understood most of it... and our guide was very good-natured. :)

Got lots of homework I've gotta do... gotta run.
Photos: Hayashiya-san and the Bosaikan 0 replies

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