09 September 2009

Commute from Hell

Commute from Hell
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei
An after-hours collison forced the closure of the train I take to work (the Tozai line). This is one station along the detour. I got to work over an hour late.

Ah, well.

02 September 2009

"Welcome Back"

Back at work after vacation. First thing, fire up Thunderbird and take
a look at my email.

This might take a while.

17 August 2009

A Disc Golf Shop in Tokyo!

Went to have dinner with friend and his girlfriend this weekend. We got off the train and were on our way to meet him at a grocery store, when right around the corner from the grocery I saw a small (about 2/3 size) portable golf basket on the sidewalk outside a small shop. Stepped over, looked inside, and saw more than twice as many discs as you'd find at Real Cheap on a good day, packed into a shop no larger than a medium size walk-in closet.

I talked with the owner for only a little bit (we were on our way to meet people, after all), but got his card and a few "introduction to disc golf" booklets (in Japanese, naturally). I'm pretty sure all his discs meet the Japanese regulations (maximum 152g). He had a few nice-looking golf bags, too. For Japan, the discs were reasonably priced ($14-$20). I didn't look too closely, but the bags seemed reasonable, too.

The owner said there are two courses in Tokyo; one near Tatsumi (which I already knew about, and is rather close to the house), and a course in Saitama. He said the course in Saitama is pretty good; I guess I'll have to steal a weekend before it gets too cold and get in a round or two of golf.

The shop: DD Jam

Will pick up a few discs after vacation.

17 September 2015: Updated the URL for the shop.

02 August 2009

Bobby McFerrin, Pentatonic Scale, and Neuroscience

Found this over on Boing Boing. To borrow from and agree with someone in the comments, the genius of Bobby McFerrin continues to amaze. "Don't Worry, Be Happy", as fun as it was at the time, is probably one of the least impressive points in his career.

Here he is at the World Science Festival 2009, using the pentatonic scale to illustrate expectations and neural programming. Something like that. This video? Me likey.

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

29 July 2009

Trivial? Yes.

Looked into Wikipedia for something, and came across this interesting tidbit:

"Kasai Station (葛西駅, Kasai-eki?) is a train station in Edogawa, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan. Its station number is T-17. The station opened on 29 March 1969, and consists of two elevated side platforms.

"The station has World's largest fully automated parking lot for bicycles where about 9,400 cycles are automatically parked in its 15 metre deep basement. Each of the automatic lift at the parking lot can handle upto 180-190 cycles and it takes just 23 seconds to retrieve back the cycle."

Also learned that "[the] Tōzai Line is the second most-ridden subway line in Japan, and according to a 2007 study, is the country's most crowded during rush hours." That's one of the lines I ride to work, which explains a whole lot about that part of the commute.

(Edit: Okay, after a little more poking, I found an informative, bilingual post on someone else's site. Looks like I have a French Canadian neighbor with a nice blog. Très cool!)

27 June 2009

Thought for the Night

Somewhat inebriated thought for the night, that is.

Is there any music that compares to Leonard Cohen? Anything as deep, meaningful, soulful, or moving? The dude's been at it for well over 40 years, and he still carries a certain gravity that is just... impressive.

Okay, me sleep now.

P.S.: The touchpad on my laptop is starting to go. Might just be time for a replacement machine.

25 June 2009

Kit Kat: Muscat

Kit Kat: Muscat
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei
For this week, Muscat Kit Kat. To be honest, I don't really remember what this one tasted like. I think that means it was somewhat unimpressive. I think it was a chocolate (not white) base.

20 June 2009



They had three or four people read the line, and the director would make the decision in post-production. Maybe next time, eh?

15 June 2009

Unscheduled Vacations and Karmic Retribution

Apologies for the two week absence. I managed to get busy and distracted all at once.

For a long time, I've resisted the pull of the iPod. I've had, used, and enjoyed my iRiver H10 MP3 player. It has served me well over the last 4 years or so, carrying tunes and podcasts and audiobooks for me with little fuss. I appreciated the fact that it supports more file formats than the iPod, and that when you connect it to a computer, it shows up as a simple external hard drive. If you want to share something with friends, it's as easy as drag-and-drop.

Even today, I know there are much better portable players out there than any iPod. There are much better programs to manage your media collection than iTunes.

But I received an iPod Nano as a present a little while back, and decided to finally give it a go. Now, I've been on the PC side of the Mac vs. PC ideological divide for many years. I understand that they each have their strong points, and in the end it really is just a personal preference. I resisted the iPod for it's perceived limitations, and avoided iTunes for other reasons. But in order to use the iPod, I needed to install iTunes (apparently you don't have to use iTunes -- but you do have to have it installed). Since I was installing it, I decided to try it out.

How is iTunes? It's not bad. It is far from a superior product. I don't think it's as good as Microsoft's Media Player, which is sad. The iTunes Store is ever-present, and ever-annoying. iTunes informed me that, in order to fully utilize the features in iTunes, I needed to create an iTunes Store account. No problem. I went through the required steps, giving it my name and contact information, selecting a username and password. It then brought me to a credit card information screen.

For every item or button you can click on for information in iTunes, there are two other buttons to purchase the track/album/book/item you are looking at or looking for. With all these purchase options everywhere, I did not want to give them my credit card information. I looked all over the screen, but there was no option to skip the credit card information. Grumbling, I decided I would go ahead and enter a credit card, and just be careful of what I (or anyone else) clicked on in iTunes. I pulled out a card -- one that I have used for over a year in Japan. I've rented cars, paid for hotel rooms, bought groceries, even paid my phone bill with this card.

But the iTunes Store declared that my credit card is "not valid in Japan", and I need to use a different card. Well, Mr. iTunes Store, screw you. If they didn't want my card, I decided to just quit the process, and clicked on the only other button available to me -- Cancel. Cancel... which simply closed the credit card window. I think it allowed me to finish the account creation process, but I didn't check.

Anyway, I threw a bunch of music on the iPod and subscribed to about 30 public radio podcasts. Got everything ready for Monday morning, and went to bed. I woke up this morning, got ready for work, and headed out. On my way to the station, I put in my ear buds and hit play... and discovered my headphones had broke. There's a short in the cord, killing one side and making the other play at a real low volume.

Then I got to work and discovered the Windows registry on my computer corrupted. Windows wouldn't boot.

I should mention what happened last week -- the oven broke. The new oven. A repair person came to the house on Saturday to take a look at it, and declared he would have to take it in to the shop. I'm hoping to get it back tonight or tomorrow. I made enchiladas last week that I'd really like to reheat (in the oven) and have for dinner.

I'm surrounded by electronic failures. What's going on?
( . .)>

(Additional apologies for the rambling post. This is so sub-standard it hurts to hit "publish".)

03 June 2009

Kit Kat: 塩&キャラメル (Salted Caramel)

Kit Kat: Salted Caramel
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei
Your Kit Kat for today? Salted caramel (well, the bag says "salt & caramel"). These were really good. Chocolate base, with some caramel sweetness and just a touch of salt.

Not much else to add. Going to catch a quick workout and get to bed. It's been a long day and shaping up to be a long week.