Archive for December, 2004


Tomorrow’s forecast calls for either rain or snow. So, the question is, which is it? Do you think it will rain or snow? Personally, I believe it will merely rain.

I say this for several reasons:

  1. Whenever I say it is going to snow, it rains.
  2. My wife, Hikaru, usually guesses right.
  3. It was not very warm today; thus, no snow.

Get those predictions in!

Tsunami Information

Here’s a copy of the US Embassy email concerning the tsunami. It has contact information and advice for anyone who is looking for information. To anyone with missing friends or loved ones I cannot begin to imagine your distress, but I hope and pray for their safe return.

Posted in Travel | Comments Off on Tsunami Information


Merry Christmas Everybody.

I’ve always wanted to do that…

It looks like somebody just couldn’t take it any more.

Another Look at Japan

Matthew has written an interesting piece on Japan, inspired by Lost in Translation. It is the 12-15-04 entry [link]. Matthew provides an accurate description of Japanese social life and loneliness:

Tokyo is a city where most of the population is lonely. Every Japanese has a tight social circle to which they belong and it is their life be it their company or high school friends. Different social circles do not mix.

I would like to add that there is some negative karma associated with being ostracized from your circle. Which is probably why people cling to their circles for dear life.

Nightlife in Tokyo

I’ve found that an issue which has not yet been discussed in our blog is Nightlife in Tokyo. Nobody disputes that Tokyo is full of exciting nightlife and the options endless. However, I’ve found that most of the best places are not advertised in the foreigner media and are only discovered by word of mouth. Everytime I look at Metropolis I see a million ads for small dirty bars which while posessing their own small campus bar charm are not up to par for a city like Tokyo. When I first arrived and asked the Japanese where to go they would often say that there are western bars and Japanese bars or Izakayas. I am a big fan of Watami but I often long for a traditional western bar where you can walk around and meet others. However, even places like the Hub or Dubliners become old after a while and I believe that Tokyo should have more outstanding places yet I have only found a few. So here is a list of places I’m familiar with and would appreciate some comments on where else is worth a visit and being recommended to foreigners visiting Tokyo. After all, the movie “Lost in Translation” gave the impression that there is not much to do for foreigners and when they do get out they only go to Karaoke or small pubs (even though these places can be quite fun).


My other half was looking at the G-mark Good Design Awards 2004 in today’s paper. Being nosey, I peered over her shoulder and saw the Asus Tube WL-HDD2.5. Immediately, I identified it as a wireless (無線lan) 2.5″ case, dashed back to the computer, and googled the device. The WL-HDD 2.5 is an in your pocket NAS. There is only one thing standing between me and this device, limited funds.

After reading about the above device, I wandered over to the G-mark homepage [English] [Japanese]. There are some nifty little devices there.

About the G-Mark system:

Documents published at the time the Good Design Awards (the G-Mark system) were initially established describe its purpose as “selecting and publicizing awards for good design…. in order to improve lives, foster industrial development, and promote export and trade by enhancing the quality of the products on the market.” Despite its nearly 50-year history, the mission of the Good Design Award remains the same today. As the scope of both industrial enterprise and design focus has expanded considerably over the course of the past half-century, our purpose has naturally broadened in response to encompass “improving the quality of lives and further advancing industrial activity.” The Good Design Award functions to “incorporate design into the innovative moves to advance society as a whole.”

If I am not mistaken, the Good Design Award was created by Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization (Jidpo):

Today, design is not considered merely as a means of ensuring economic success: it might better be described as an explicit methodology for proposing and realizing new visions. In other words, it is part of the very vitality that propels our society as a whole forward. Creating a society in which companies and individuals of various types are able to use design, to present their visions to society, and to realize their conceptions together with those who sympathize with them-in other words the creation of a creative and fulfilled society-is the main topic that needs to be tackled by design promotion today.

The iPod mini is also lurking in the Gold Design category.

Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch

Those stickers grace the main entrance to our apartment complex. It signals that another battle is to be fought against the firebugs and under, or over, sexed couples that make their way onto our stairwells at night. Both groups are a nuisance. The sex maniacs leave their used paraphernalia, used condoms, tissue, panties, and porn for the the kids to pick up. The firebugs burn various items for fun and excitement.

A few years back, we had a spat of small fires in front of the elevator on newspaper recycle days. The local arsonist was caught and that was the end of the fires. Around the same time, we experienced a boom in wayward teens depositing their broken beer bottles, porn, half eaten bentos, and used telephone cards on the sidewalk and small park where the local kids play/ed. The root cause was a newly installed public phone. This phone lasted about 4 months or so before the local residents forced NTT to remove it.

Anyway, we have neighborhood watch signs and I intend on using the stairs as often as possible to add my peering eyes to the sticker.

Clear off Those HDDs.

It has begun! The yearly/decades past recap of all things Japan is here again. Enta has already done their Best Of and some cable channel is showing every Godzilla movie. Last week we were treated to the Pop Idol review, which really was special. How some of these girls look younger today than 15 years ago, is quite amazing.

Modern technolgy++

Jean Prouve in Kamakura


Speaking of museums of modern art, I was so happy when I found out that the Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura has the touring Jean Prouve exhibit. If you care about design, you’ll love it… if you love Jean Prouve, you’ll shit your pants. It’s an incredible show, drawing on the archives of Germany’s Vitra Design Museum as well as from the archives of Patrick Seguin and other private collectors. You’ll see a Prouve-designed bicycle, prototypes for the Standard Chair, the Dismountable House, models, sketches, video, and oh so very much more. The show runs through January 16th.

Also, while waiting for the train up there, I photographed these ladies…


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