Archive for October, 2004

Freaky Rain, SkyPerfecTV, and Terrestrial

Friday night my wife informed me that it was going to rain on Saturday. Rain was not the proper word for the torrential downpour I witnessed last night. It was heavy enough to blot out SkyPerfecTV. This forced me to watch, gulp, “Free TV”. You know, terrestrial TV. Yes, I am a satellite snob.

Allow me to cut to the chase. Terrestrial TV sucks as ones main source of viewing entertainment. I mean, there are only 7 or 8 channels of suck to select from. Two of those belong to NHK. NHK == warm water in a cup. At least with satellite, as overpriced as it is, you get about 50+ channels of suckiness to choose from.

Does anyone else see SkyPerfecTV’s repackaging of ESPN sports into different channels as criminal?

Anways, commercials. Strategically placed commercials that interrupt your selected viewing material. Commercials about cheap pampers, yoghurt that keeps you regular, hot water pots, and that annoying “Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Sensor” ad. (Whoever came up with that one needs to dropped into an active volcano. Maybe more of a dipping action would be suitable.) My conclusion is that commercials == Pop-up Windows. I tried to find the “Block Ads” function on my TV, but it doesn’t seem to have one.

Okay, where was I headed with this…..ummm… Ah, Star Wars was on last night. It was all right, but looked dated. R2-D2 is still my hero, Darth looked a bit thin, Leia needed a sports bra, and they all needed to stop waggling their blasters when firing at the enemy. I will not go into how ridiculous it was to have fellow pilots used as canon fodder on each Death Star attack. Those poor saps had no rear firing ranged weapons. It was like target practice for Darth and company.

Anyway, it rained and I watched Star Wars last night.

55. Stay alive. That’s no jive.

Staying Current

Well, I just made the cutoff date to renew my driver license. This time around I managed to sneak in a little smile/smirk on the picture. I figure every renewal will see my grin grow until it is a natural smile. The cops behind the desks were actually pleasant and didn’t bust my balls over the tiny smile.

The Video:

This years video was interactive. Sorta. There were three or four scenarios presented on the tape. After each scenario had been explained, we got to select the best course of action. The scenarios were basically like “You are driving along and the following vehicles and/or pedestrians are in your line of sight. Do you focus on 1) the cyclist, 2 the truck, 3) the vehicle in front of you, or 4) the vehicle behind you?” I aced it, though no one will ever know it. Since we just sat there staring at the tv as the DVD player spun the VCD.

NOTE: Never once — and I do mean ‘Never’ in its most absolute form — was it “…focus on the vehicle behind you.” NEVER.

Oh, and we also had to count how many times the VOICE said an odd number. As the VOICE blurted out random numbers, we, the Future/Current Drivers of Japan, were to count the number of stop signs the driver encountered during the number blurting. This was an attempt to show us the dangers of talking on your cell phone and fiddling with your stereo while driving. I, once again, aced this section. Well, sorta. I just blew off the VOICE and counted the stop signs.

Anyway, the video was entertaining. The accidents from the traffic cameras were disturbing. I was the only one squirming around and wincing as truck A plowed into the side of family car B. I also learned why U-Turns are evil. Oh, and never cycle across moving traffic. Bad, bad, bad.

License Updates:

  • Cellphone: It looks like driving and chatting on your cellphone is going to cost you 50,000

Dig Out Your Own Universe (DO YOU?)

DO YOU? is Softbank’s latest adult digital mag offering. The test issue was back in August or so and had quotes from Joi Ito on Social Networking. The official issue was released yesterday, 23 October.

DOYOU? is like Popular Mechanics on steroids. It is full of shiny trinkets to salivate over. For those with spending power, purchase your fill of new shiny goodness.

Typhoon again and bears

Somehow, so many typhoons hit this island this year. I live in Japan more than 10 years but never met this much in one year. Because of typhoons, almost 5days a week are rain, almost every weekend has been rainy. It is not bad listening rain drops sometime but obviously it is too much. Many people are depressed. (of course I am one of them)


And somehow, many bears are coming down to town this year. Especially lately, I hear about bear showing up news every other day. Bears are depressed too? or simply running out foods?


This bear was captured while napping at someone’s house….

Keeping Sane on Trains

What’s your secret to keeping cool on packed trains?
For me it’s two gadgets: my keitai, and iPod. And sometimes, if I get a descent spot, a book. The keyword here is ‘spot’.

The iPod is the goto thingy to shut out any outside noise. I don’t want to hear the drunk guy next to me complaining about his job for thirty minutes.
The next thing I need is something to read so I don’t have to look at the ads or try to avoid eye contact (or make eye contact and nod, hi, hi, how ya doin and then avoid eye contact). If I’ve got email on my cell that’ll be my priority. No mail, I’ll goto a recent personal discovery, reading RSS feeds on my iPod. A side note here for bloggers: please have a feed that includes your full post. It’s irritating to load up your feed to find out after the first x-number of words it ends with ‘…’.
If I’ve read through that or can’t find anything that interests me, I’ll use my keitai to load up Mogi to grab items at each station, browse through saved photos, or use an online RSS reader.

For me, the journey to/from work one-way is around 45 min door-to-door. So the above routine is fine. What do the folks w/ longer routes do?

Somebody is watching you…

And, they are going to tell!
Seen in and around Gotanda the last couple weeks.

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