Monday, November 2

Slurp Redux: Eat Jc, Eat!

Courtesy of genfab!

As promised, my big Internet debut! I hear that Internet access speeds in Canada leave something to be desired (#22 in the world!?) so I hope you won't have to wait too long to download and watch this!

Monday, October 26

Slurp!


Dear readers, get ready for a first on my blog: a video review! Burger King in Japan is having a special promotional tie-in with Microsoft for the upcoming release of the new Windows 7 operating system, a 7-patty Whopper! That's a over 2 lbs. of meat!

I'm not a fan of Windows at all but I've always wanted to review myself eating something gluttonous and this seemed like the perfect place to start. My friend Scott (amazing video editor) will come along for the ride and shoot some video of me attempting to eat this meat-monster.

Scott can make some pretty cool videos so I am looking forward to seeing what his editing magic can do. Who knows, this might be my grand debut!

Tuesday, October 20

やった!


Finally, all done! I've finished learning how to write all 2042 kanji in Heisig's Remembering the kanji! All in all it took about me about 9 months but it feels like forever.

In the words of Hiro from the TV show Heroes: Yatta! (I did it!)

PS Now that I know how to write them I have to start the whole list again and learn how to read them!

Wednesday, October 14

2005!


Ok, so it's been a slow week and I've only managed to cram another 40 kanji into my puny little head. "Only 40"! What am I saying? That's pretty darn-tootin' good I think. If I keep this pace up I'm on track to finish my studies and hit the magical 2042 by my birthday!

Oh, and for those wondering what uncle Jimbo from South Park is doing here. Well, let's just say he appears in one of the stories to help remember the kanji for deer, 鹿.

Wednesday, October 7

1965!



Don't know if it was a good year for Bordeaux or any other wine, but it was the year that Canada got it own flag. It also happens to be the number of Kanji I have studied so far.

For those who are following that means I memorized an extra 50 kanji in the 20 days since my last post, or 2.5 kanji per day. Not an amazing pace I grant, and definitely not enough to get me to the holy grail of 2042 by my birthday so I will have to step it up a notch. I have have to memorize another 77 kanji in 22 days ... can it be done?

Keep watching this space to find out!

PS The picture has meaning on multiple levels. Can you find them all? Hint: there are at least 4.

Friday, September 18

1915!


Ok, so I haven't been posting since my return to Tokyo, mea maxima culpa. But now that things have settled down I will definitely be posting more often. Now, for some news!

Well, maybe not groundbreaking news for some but a little excitement for me. I've reached 1915 kanji in my studies! For those who don't know, a kanji is a Japanese/Chinese character. So I've now reached the point where I can say that I know how to write 1915 of the little buggers!

Why is 1915 a special number? Well, it isn't except that it means that I am almost finished learning the basic set. The book I am using (which I highly recommend), Remembering the Kanji, has 2042 kanji in it. So I only have another 137 to go before I'm done!! At my pace I should be done by the time my birthday comes around (10/29) :)

For those that are interested Japanese people learn a standard set of 1945 kanji by the time they finish high school. The kanji in that standard set are called the jōyō kanji kanji. This list is actually enshrined in law, and newspapers who use kanji outside this list must, by law, append them with furigana (a way to let people know who to read them, since some people may not know how). Sometime in the near future the list is to be revised to add another 119 kanji and remove 5. Which is bad news for me ... just when I though I had my kanji down pat they go and change the list!

Here's visual representation of what I've crammed into my head. Please feel sorry for me, inserting each one of these in my head wasn't easy ...

Friday, August 14

First Beer!


It's been six weeks since I have been back in Tokyo and I know I haven't posted much. I've been relatively busy settling down and setting myself up. The first month I was staying with my friend Vincent and going to Japanese school. All at the same time trying to find a place of my own.

It took a while I've got my own apartment. It also took a while but I've finally fully furnished it. I didn't buy one new thing which is why it took some time. But finally I was able to sit back tonight, crack open a beer can and enjoy!

Monday, June 1

Back in Tokyo July 1st

It's been a while since I first announced my return to Tokyo and there have been quite a few ups and downs (I actually had no place to live for a bit) but it's now official: I will be back in by the end of June. I gave my resignation today and I'll be finishing out the month after which I'll be on a plane to Tokyo.

I have something new lined up for myself, something pretty exciting and I am really looking forward to starting. It will be quite different from what I've been doing and from what I did previously in Japan. No long hours or weekend work, and definitely no stress.

I can't give away too many details just yet as I'm still hashing out the details of my resignation with my current company and there is still the outside chance they will bring me back to Tokyo. (Funny how once I resigned I am told that the transfer is in the mail and could I possibly change my mind?). But if you want the details just shoot me an email and I'll spill the beans, if you don't already know that is ;)

Friday, May 1

Ne te quaesiveris extra


A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines

Tuesday, March 10

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


This movie is definitely worth a watch. I was expecting the worse, a cheap superhero action movie, but got something with a lot of depth to it. The especially heavy questions of whether Ozymandias was correct in what he did or Rorschach in his unfaltering black and white view of things are food for thought.

I think I may have the original Watchmen series in my comic book collection back in Canada and will certainly read it when I go back. (Believe it or not I have some many comic books in my collection that I haven't read them all). I remember loving the original Dark Knight graphic novel and it looks like this series is just as good.

For those who didn't take Latin in school, the title refers to the saying 'Who watches the watchmen'. Oh, and the picture is a collection of the covers for the original twelve comic books that make up the series.

Saturday, March 7

Promotion!


Ok, probably not the kind of promotion you are expecting me to get. I found this cool torrent site that specialize in British TV shows called The Box a few months after coming to Australia and have been an avid fan of it. I especially loved the fact that the download speeds were amazing! Ok, maybe for those of us in a civilized country will real Internet like Japan the speed is actually quite normal, but for me in Australia getting anything over 50 kbps counts as exceptional.

Some of the TV shows I'm now a fan of dues to this site:

The site is by invitation-only so if you want in, let me know and I can send you an invite!

Tuesday, March 3

Things I'll Miss ...


Was going through some pictures I've taken during my stay in Australia and even though I haven't left just yet this will definitely be one of my memories of Australia. There's a story here and will have fun telling it to the boys back in Tokyo ... (oh, and thanks Sav for lending me the jacket!)

Monday, March 2

Sunset

I get some amazing sunsets every evening and I thought I would share one with you. Luckily my apartment faces west so I get to see these quite often. I wonder what kind of sunset I will get to see in my new place in Tokyo? Probably none :) I don't think I ever had an apartment with a view of sunsets in Tokyo.

I was lucky enough to see really nice sunsets from my last office in Tokyo though. And considering I almost never left work before sundown I got to see them almost every day :) One of my favourite shots is this one below which makes me think of a atmospheric nuclear blast.


Friday, February 27

Coming back!!!

You heard it here first! I've just been told there's a job for me in Tokyo; I'm getting transferred back!

I don't know the details, I just know that it's happening. Hopefully I'll get the specifics sometime next week. These will include departure date, relocation package (if any) and salary. You, my trusty readers, will be the first to get the full report and juicy details as soon as I do.

As many of you know I've been trying hard for a few months to get transferred back and it looks like it's finally happening. I'm so giddy!

So who's going to be first with a comment welcoming back??

Tuesday, February 17

How often should I post?


I don't post very often to my blog, and I guess that's mostly because I don't have much to say. Maybe I'm more reserved when it comes to publicly blogging about my life, maybe it's because nothing worth mentioning is happening, or maybe it's just because I work for The Man (tm) and so and quite limited in what I get to post.

In any case I was wondering how often people think I should post something? One a day? Once a week?

What got me to thinking about this was my cousin Tamara who also has a blog but posts at least a few times a day. I used to subscribe to her blog in my Google Reader but she was posting up to 10 items a day and I just couldn't keep up. Obviously this girl has a lot of time on her hands.

So voting booth is open, let me know how often you'd like to read something. That is of course assuming I have anyone reading my blog :)

Little Feet


I also did some geocaching with Scott while he was here. One of the caches was on the Sydney harbour bridge and to get on the bridge walkway we had to walk through this underpass. We noticed the cool artwork on the walls made to look like a bunch of footprints. Like armies of walk-walkers had gone up and down the walls. Imagine our surprise when we realized it was'nt art at all but real foor prints! Here I am adding my mark.

Sunday, February 15

Scott came for a visit


My good friend Scott came down from Tokyo last week on a business trip and was nice enough to stop over in Sydney to see me for a day. It's been over 6 months since Scott and Makiko left Sydney and it was great to see Scott again. I got to hear about Tokyo and how my friends there are doing and how much everyone misses me (not).

One thing Scott and I had wanted to do before he left but didn't have the chance was to hit a Japanese hostess club we saw one day walking downtown. On that occasion Glen was visiting from New Zealand and we had spotted this place. It was at the bottom of some stairs off the main street which terminate in a black solid steel door bolted shut with a doorbell.

At the time I worked up the courage to ring the bell and was answered by a Japanese guy. I asked him in Japanese what the system for the club was and he politely answered me that it was a straight $80 entrance fee and then pay as you go for drinks. We were four guys and at $80 each we decided to pass. Scott was keen to try but he instead lead us to a strip club. Scott loves the strip clubs.

Well this time Scott and I promised ourselves that we would go. Luckily for me Scott was generous enough to pay my entrance fee. (I'll possibly join the ranks of the unemployed soon so didn't feel right spending that much money).

I wish I had some great story to report about what happened next or that my writing skills were better because I really can't think of much to say, that's how little impressed I was with the place. The interior was not bad but not great either, a bunch of long sitting couches arranged in about four square areas and a bar at the back. But no one goes to a hostess bar for the furniture ... So what about the women?

Well, I was not impressed on that front. We got two and they weren't lookers that's for sure. For those who were there for Christmas titties in Tokyo (can't believe no one has blogged about that little escapade), the girls were on that level. Maybe it was because we had asked for hostesses that could speak a bit of English? Not that their English was great. One had passable English skills while the other one struggled to follow our conversation. And then we had to buy drinks, and at $10 a drink and having to buy for the girls too, the bill soon became quite large.

All in all this is something Scott and I had to do and I'm glad we did. We can now check this off our list and I do enjoy my time with Scott even if the women aren't great.

One things I did learn from this is what being a hostess is about. The two girls weren't great hostesses not because of their looks but because they had a hard time making conversation. But whereas they lacked skill when the mama came around and chatted with us for about 20 minutes it was a totally different experience. She had us talking and chatting and I was genuinely starting to enjoy myself but then she went away. It became clearer to my that good hostessing is really a communication skill and not everybody has it ...

Sunday, January 4

Remember this?


Ok, if you where there and read my blog, email me to say that you remember this eventful night. It's not been quite a year yet but getting close.


Ah ... If only I knew then what I know now ....

DON Cup

A month ago I flew down to Melbourne for the DON Cup diplomacy tournament. It was a great way for me to kill three birds with one stone. One, play in a diplomacy tournament. Two, meet my great friend Sav who I haven't seen since his days in Tokyo 5 years ago. And three, see another Australian city besides Sydney!

As far as diplomacy tournaments go the DON was not all that special. Not many players (at most two boards) and some logistical problems. But the venue was great and the organizer amazingly provided for free drinks (alcoholic!) and food at the pub (aka hotel in Australia english). I only came in 9th out of 14 but hey, it's only my second tournament.

Seeing my great friend Sav though was the high point of the trip for sure. I can't say how much I like Sav and how I always have a great time whenever I see him. The man not only promised me a wild Friday night he delivered in ways I am unfortunately unable to describe in detail on this public forum. Let's just say that going forward I shall refer to Sav as my personal pimp-daddy.

With the current climate and lack of job security I probably won't do any travelling in Australia so I was glad to be able to at least visit one city besides Sydney. All I can say is, I like Melbourne! I was only there for three days so can't really say I know the place but from my short sojurn - me likes! Melbourne is way better than Sydney.