Thursday, October 26, 2006

On the Kotatsu

Recently I've been muddling my way around the IT department. My wife's good old Windows 98 computer has only been able to boot in safe mode for quite some time, and now that school is over I am able to attack the problem with gusto. I quite enjoy tackling these kinds of problems, back in the day I used to do it for PROMAT Engineering. Aaahh, nostalgic reminiscing always makes a situation more palatable.
I tried to find the reason why windoze would not boot and next decided to do a reinstall of windows. After that adventure came to naught, I resorted to restoring the machine to its original state from the original manufacturer's CDs. Things were going quite well... until the harddrive started to make noises that I am quite sure hard drives are not supposed to make. I hastily powered down, and on the next bootup my good buddy, (we had by now spent enough quality time together to become good buddies) the computer, informed me that there were no hard drives anymore and could I please do something about it. Well I couldn't let him down. I disconnected all vitals and laid him down on the operating kotatsu. I opened him up and removed the offending old dead internal organ and inserted an older working harddrive I had lying around. You are probably thinking at this juncture "that is no way to treat a good buddy!" and well that was exactly his reaction. As I tried to restore him to health he cacked and and informed me that this new harddrive was much too small and could I please do something about it. I tried a few things but in the end decided to head to the organ bank and shell out for a new harddrive. I returned home and inserted said new harddrive (roughly eighty times the size of the original) (something you do for a good buddy) but he was still mad at me over the first insertion. It's still too small he wined. We got into a bit of a kerfuffel at this point and words were exchanged. I lost my patience and he remained insolent and uncooperative. After a good nights sleep, we started afresh. I was able to cajole him into accepting the new organ, and restore him to health. Sounds like a happy ending, but meanwhile back at my own desk my old buddy the laptop was becoming jealous of my new buddy, not enough quality time and all I suppose. He too began wining. I hastened to his attention and quickly turned off the data drive, disconnected and laid it on the operating kotatsu. After going in and proceeding with the initial exploratory surgery, I found loose diodes that had fallen off the circuit board floating around in the drive enclosure. When it rains it pours and relationships always need a genuine effort.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


This is our kotatsu. Kotatsu in Japan are plentiful, traditionally used as a gathering place for families to enjoy dinner and each other's company. In recent years, from what I understand, kotatsu usage is in decline as homes come under the influence of western design. In our humble abode we have one though, a handmedown from MUP Luke10ers Micah and Melanie. One would sit at it on a pillow and be able to use it for most anything. Under the table is a built in heater, and it comes with a blanket and an underpad. In the wintertime, the pad goes under the table legs, and the blanket is draped over the legs but under the table top. Apply the heater and voila, you have an extremely cozy place to gather round and fall asleep.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Continuing Education II

Now that I am done with full-time Japanese language school, I must look for other options to continue to pick up the local lingo. And, one never knows where one will find peachy opportunities. This sign beside me as I was sitting on the potty made for some meaty study material. I found myself enthralled!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Today's Quote du Jour

I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2000 of something. - Mitch Hedberg

I don't know Mitch. Rumour has it he is an American Comedian, but the quote is particularly apt to the culture I am living. It is funny, until someone like me who has been born and bred with a fork and spoon in his mouth, tries to handle two thousand of something with hashi (chopsticks). Then you just have to laugh.

Monday, October 09, 2006


To celebrate the end of my classes at YMCA Japanese Language School, we had dinner at a charming little restaurant in our neighbourhood called Ottori. According to the dictionary the name means affable, agreeable, suave, smooth, one person said it is a place where you can kick back and relax. Ottori's specialty is chicken, and they serve other kinds of food as well. The shop's owners studied and met in California before getting married and returning to Japan. Our communication tends toward half Japanese and half English, but it gives me chance to practice my Japanese anyway.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

On My Last Day of School

I left a piece of my heart at school today, but then I try to leave a piece of my heart wherever I go, and what ever I do.
It is a bit of a catch 22. It is painful to do so. It is the right thing to do in my mind, to do something well enough, to wrap yourself in it. My view of success too I suppose.
I did not pass the course, although I ended with better marks than expected. Passing is not neccesarily part of success. If passing is neccesary than you ought not to try anything difficult, you will always pass.
It was a bit embarrasing sometimes, not wanting to reveal my poor marks to fellow students. We all received report cards (not final ones) and I didn't want to look, I quickly put it in my bag. I was too anxious to look and I did not want to be embarrassed. Everyone else was comparing.
Just prior to that we received the marks back from our interview test. I usually did quite well on the interview test, and this time I got 22 out of 25. Everyone one else was comparing.
I had checked and quickly put mine away. But I was asked and had to say what I got. Turned out I was seconnd in the class. I went down in a blaze of glory.