Wednesday, August 31, 2005

more on the "racist" pictures

Looks like those 2 pictures (source of the "looting vs "finding" comment in my previous post) are not an example of racism - check out Snopes which gives some background info as well as pointing out the pictures aren't even from the same news source.

I think there are still horrible things happening with respect to race. Hopefully this disaster will bring about action to change things for the better in the future.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina rant

The American news media is ticking me off. Someone pointed out that if a black person takes something it is looting, but if a white person takes something, they "found" it , or they are "shopping". What total crap.

The one that really burns me up is the "this is America's tsunami" mentality. Umm, this is *nothing* like the tsunami. Thousands of people died with no warning during the tsunami. Katrina flooded New Orleans and caused lots of damage, but people did have warning and things were done to save lives. I think it is offensive to compare this to the tsunami in December. Self-centered crap IMO.

Monday, August 29, 2005

OMG! A wrinkle!

Today, I am not happy. I woke up this morning and found that I have a wrinkle under my eye. It isn't crows feet, but a line coming from the inner corner of my eye, underneath my eye. This is not good! I don't want wrinkles. I mean, I pluck the random grey hairs out, so this is the first time I've actually felt old. *sigh*

And I bought special eye serum when I was in Canada to specifically prevent this. I want a refund!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Starry Night mosaic pic

Here is an interesting photomosaic of Van Gogh's Starry Night made up of thousands of tiny pictures. Zoom in until you can see the individual photos. At first it looks exactly like a print of the painting - hard to believe it is just tons of tiny photos.

** update 8/31 - th zoom feature has been removed due to high traffic but there are sample zooms for you to still see the effect. Just not as fun now

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Update on my Fossil watch

When I was in Canada, I bought a Fossil watch because apparently the band doesn't have nickel in it. I have a problem with metal watch bands turning green on me and was always frustrated because plastic watches look like crap. I can't wear leather bands either because they rot away - I guess I sweat a lot.

Anyway, the Fossil watch is awesome. I've been wearing it for about two months now in super hot weather, and there is no indication of pitting or other damage on the side touching my skin. Hurray! Finally I have a nice watch that I'll be able to wear for a while. If you have this same problem (metal pitting and turning green) go and check out Fossil watches.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

This is *awesome*

Check out this video of a katana (Japanese sword) vs a machine gun. The machine gun fires rounds at the katana and it cuts some of them in half! Make sure you keep watching past the initial footage because it shows everything in slow mo. Totally amazing, but unfortunately the sword was destroyed. Still the coolest thing I've seen in a long time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cool new auto door

Japan is developing a new type of automatic door - a revamp of the two glass panes that open via sensor that are the front door of most shops in Japan. The new door opens only as much as your shape - check out the video (on the linked page) to see the prototype in action.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

why women have body image problems

Take a look at these retouched photos - this explains why women have trouble with body image. Even models are made to look better. In fact a lot of the models look like total hags prior to being retouched. Interesting. Roll your mouse over the picture to see the "before" version.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Yippee! Sept 27 - AR8!

There is finally info up on the CBS website about the next AR. Go and check out the profiles - this season they are racing in teams of 4 so it should be interesting! I'm off to go and make my predictions on who will be eliminated first!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Lions in the middle of the USA?

This is just stupid. Some idiots want to introduce big game from other continents into the American plains area. Now, can anyone else see big problems here? This will apparently balance the eco-system again. Umm, ok. Introducing foreign species into other habitats never has negative consequences. Doh!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thin skin will help robots 'feel'

Is it me, or is this story about robot skin kind of creepy?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

IListen speech recognition

I'm typing this entry on my computer, using a speech recognition program. The accuracy is so so, it only has problems with punctuation. I'm hoping to use this to dictate rather than type things - because I'm lazy. Now all I have to do is go back and read the documentation, so I can figure out how to make corrections without using the keyboard. Seems pretty handy. I've only done a small part of the voice training and the accuracy is pretty good. I think my keyboard is confusing the program because it is a Japanese one. For example, the program is inserting random symbols instead of what I want because they are located in different places than on an English keyboard.

I had to go back thru and correct a lot of the punctuation. In terms of the words though, it caught about 95% of them. Considering I have only done 2 training session of about 15, that is pretty good!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

happy anniversary to us

Today is Hiroshi and my 4th anniversary. I can't believe it has been four years. His comment - "it seems like much longer". Is that a telling statement? LOL I got flowers which was a nice surprise - I didn't even have to drop subtle hints or reminders. We're going to go for a nice brunch on Sunday at a place called Meguro Gajoen. We had thought about staying overnight (I want to use the wooden tubs!) but at 30,000 yen a night figured it cost too much. Gotta save for the world trip!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

swaying around

There was a big earthquake in Sendai today (M7.2) which is several kilometers north of Tokyo. We felt it here though! The earthquake went on for a really long time too. I don't think I've felt one last that long before. A bit freaky.

Apparently there was a tsunami - but it was only a few inches high. This is normal for Japan. They are also small in height. (The ones that have occurred since I have lived here anyway).

Anyway, it has already hit the international news wires, so this post is just to let my family know that I'm ok. So far the only injuries were in Sendai where a pool roof collapsed.

Monday, August 15, 2005

it's pouring!

The weather report was calling for rain today, so I threw a foldup umbrella in my bag before I left for work tonight. It had just started to rain as I left the station coming home. By the time I had walked two blocks it was absolutely pouring and there was about an inch of water on the streets. By the time I was half way home, my lower body was completely drenched (weird physics in Japan - rain never falls straight down, it always rains sideways here) and my umbrella was starting to leak. By the time I got home I was drenched head to foot - not quite sure what purpose my umbrella served because even my hair was sopping.

I came in the front door and basically puddled. Hirohsi had a towel for me to dry off, so I stripped off all my wet clothes. When I took off my shoes, there was a centimeter of water in them! I kid you not! They're going to take days to dry out. I was so wet there really wasn't anything to do but laugh. The whole thing was just so ridiculously over the top. I haven't seen big storms like this in Japan in years... well, not since I first moved here 6 years ago anyway. Now we've had two like this in one week. Good for the water table I guess!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

darn cicadas

Ok, as I previously wrote, I like how cicadas sound, but the things are ugly. Well, I was walking down the sidewalk today when all of a sudden this giant, fat cicada came whipping at my head! Then it proceded to buzz and flick around my hair. It was all I could do not to scream. I'm still grossed out. These things are like 2" long and a good 1.5" fat. Imagine that hitting you in your temple. *shudder*

Saturday, August 13, 2005

mmm sushi

Hirsohi and I went to the all you can eat sushi place tonight for dinner. Yum! The sushi is so good! We had the sushi that tastes like beef again. That stuff is amazing. It must be something to do with the crisping of the fat in the otoro (fatty tuna belly) that makes it taste similar.

This time we tried negitoro - basically chopped tuna with leek on top of rice and wrapped with nori (seaweed). This stuff was so finely chopped it was like paste. I've never had it like this before, and it was awesome. The leek and the tuna compliment each other taste wise, and the seaweed is nice and crisp compared to the soft tuna. Wonderful mouth sensation.

We ate too much as always. It just tastes so good! It also has that buffet mentality - have to get your money's worth. You know how that works!

Friday, August 12, 2005

US to invade Iran now??!!

What the heck is up with George Bush saying force is an option if Iran doesn't tank their nuclear program? From what the media is saying, Iran is just producing nuclear power. While there is the possibility that they could produce enriched uranium, there is no evidence to suggest they are. So why is everyone getting so upset? Who is the US or Europe to prevent a country from using nuclear power to meet their power needs? This makes me mad - and they wonder why developing nations hate the West.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Koizumi one of best dressed

Japan's prime minister was one of USA Today's best dressed men - he's number 12. I found this interesting because the guy always wears a grey suit. Considering his age though, he looks pretty good in his suit. Most politicians of that age tend to look dowdy in my opinion.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

lucked out on the mystery fish

Today at the grocery store, they had fish on special. Well, they always have some kind of fish on special, today they just had a bit more than usual. I bought some saury - they had whole sauries but I can't deal with heads and guts, so I was very happy to find some that had been cleaned and decapitated. Makes it easy to grill!

I also saw another fish called hokke which translates into Arabesque Greenling. This translation of course does nothing to help me determine what this fish is. It was cheap though (only 100 yen a fish) and cleaned and decapitated like the saury (very important selling points for me). I'm always a bit leary of trying mystery fish because I have, on several occasions, bought fish in the past that tasted absolutely horrible. Well, today I was in luck. This fish is awesome! It is so sweet. Very, very nice. And all I did to cook it was sprinkle a bit of salt on top and grill it for a few minutes. So easy! I'll definitely buy this fish more often.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

you haven't been to they gym in ages when...

I went to the gym tonight. I actually was more than a month overdue in renewing my membership. Oops. Well, turns out they cancelled my membership. This actually works out well because there weren't any penalties. So I just renewed my membership from the beginning of August... essentially not having to pay for July despite not going like I thought I would have to. So that was cool - I saved 12,000 yen.

Now, I'm all renewed and ready to hit the pool much more regulary... ok, when you don't go at all, anything is "more regularly", but I do plan on going every day if possible.

Monday, August 08, 2005

summer is here

It is definitely summer now because the cicadas are singing. I actually love the sound. They kind of remind me of crickets in the country - except the sound is more like a buzzing than a chirp. I suppose if they were outside my window, I might feel differently, but I always enjoy them when they start to sing. I don't like seeing them - they are these horrid, huge, ugly things - but they are nice to listen to.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Today we went bowling with some of my coworkers. It was fun, but I suck LOL I bowled about 60 each game winning the low score for all three of them. Oh well. It is a fun day though. Afterwards we all go out for drinks and dinner, so it is a great way to socialize outside of the office. Now, here's hoping I can walk tomorrow - I always pull the muscle in my butt LOL

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Need more RAM :(

I downloaded a little tool to see what is happening with my RAM because Firefox keeps giving me the spinning beachball of death (ie the spinning hourglass for Windows users) and freezing up. Well, now I know why. I have no RAM left and my computer has to contantly write to the harddrive. Hmmm. I have 512MB. Guess I need to go and get an upgrade.
This is bad because it means I have to go to the Mac store... and there are many things there that I want to buy! Apparently there is a new store opening up in Shibuya so I'll have to go and check it out.

Friday, August 05, 2005


I basically slept the afternoon and evening away today. Not sure why I'm so tired. Maybe the heat? I swear, it feels like someone is throwing a heavy, wet blanket over your head and trying to strangle you the moment you step outside. Have I mentioned that I hate summer?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Holy cats! iTunes is here!

My jaw just dropped as I was reading the news feeds - iTunes is now available in Japan! (As in the music store downloads). This is amazing because previously Sony and other music companies wouldn't let them do business in Japan because it would take away from their market share. So instead of being able to recoup some money from consumers, they haven't been getting much of anything because everyone illegally downloads or goes to Tsutaya (CD and video rental) and illegally copies any CD they want.

Anyway, this is huge news. People have been complaining about the lack of downloadable (legal) music here for a long time. Going rate for a song is 150 yen and albums look like they are 1500 yen. The albums are quite reasonable actually. Individual songs are considerably more expensive (50%) than the US's 99 cents, but that's ok.

In other exciting Mac news, Apple just introduced a two-button mouse. This after years of saying they never would. I have a touch pad and use a lot of keyboard commands, so I won't get one, but it looks cool. Apparently the scroll wheel is not so much a wheel as a multi-directional, um, thing. You can move diagonally, across, etc with it (if I understood the info about it).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Toronto Plane Crash

The plane crash in Toronto is one of the top stories here in Japan as well. It is a miracle that everyone got out alive. Of course there are all kinds of conflicting stories - hit by lighting, hydroplaning on the runway, etc about why it happened. No matter what caused it, it is pretty scary. Glad I won't be flying anywhere soon!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

More fireworks pics

Modern and traditional collide

Squishing onto the train

Monday, August 01, 2005

Fireworks pics

Big smoke plume

Gate to Asakusa Shrine