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Rants and Raves

Note that this collection of rants dates back years. For a somewhat more recent blog, my livejournal is at:

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June 6th

Well, it's now a few days late, but Happy Birthday to me (June 2nd).

Click here for a pic of the birthday cake

Now, on a very strange note, I have received mail-a-plenty regarding my decision to remove the salariman comments from this site (though it is still backed up for your viewing pleasure; read the previous rant for the link). Now, I am getting even more requests to put it back up! Either way, I just can't win... I'll admit, it was rather cool getting mail from people about to go on the JET programme saying things like "Dood! You have to keep laying the smack down on those salary men drones! That was kewl!" Heh, I have been careful up to now not to name names, but everyone knows the only people I was referring to were my co-workers and visitors from other affiliates. I should "lay off" as some people put it.

Next, we had a major computer network failure today. We couldn't email others outside the plant or access the internet at all this afternoon. We were reduced to typing our email, printing it out, and then faxing it to the company we needed to contact. Pretty ingenious, no? Sigh, but I don't think I will get a medal for this.

Lastly, I had to lay down the rules on a coworker last Monday. You see, I have a simple rule, and that is "I don't care how bad it is, or what has happened; *PLEASE* don't yell at me when I first walk in Monday morning". I have been assigned to work on some prepaid phone service project (fairly common in America, but relatively new in Japan), but I still have other projects I have to do daily. If you yell at me, I will yell at you (as long as you are not my boss or the company president). Hey, I have to draw the line somewhere.

And on a final note, I had the pleasure to witness the most amazing yet grotesque display on a train ever! You see, some younger guy in a ripped pair of jeans and a plaid long-sleeve shirt had a cold of sort. However, the Japanese way is to *NOT* blow your nose in public, because that is seen as rude. So, this guy was sniffing away for 10 minutes straight. I'm guessing he got quite a lump of phlegm in his throat, because he suddenly let out this *MONSTER* sneeze and blew a very visible wad half way across the train car and hit the window, where it slowly rolled down the glass. What a spectacle!

May 27th

I have *CHANGED* this section (particularly, this page).

You see, I have had some rather negative opinions about certain aspects of Japanese society as of late, and I think I focused on those far too much. Notably, the stereotype "Salary Man" image of Japan (particularly in Tokyo/Yokohama). While I am in fact employed as one of the same, I certainly have emphasised the vast difference in our lifestyles/priorities/habits in far too negative a way. Such to the extent I have been getting mail (both email and physical) from angry Salary men about the rants on that page ranging from discontent to outright death threats in both English and Japanese.

They (the salarymen; I am *NOT* talking about Japanese in general) can live their life their way, and while I personally don't agree with it and will never comprehend why they like it, it is still their way. Yes, a good number of them (hence, the stereotype) work long hours voluntarily and place work above family, friends, hobbies, etc., but that is their choice, and I must leave them at that, even though I personally can not live that way.

Anyway...from here on, I will not focus on Salaryman antics unless there is a funny incident or something. Picking on them seems to have upset more people than it was worth. What I should have been doing was actually sleeping (17 hours a week excluding weekends isn't exactly healthy, but that is based on my job). That "Dance Dance Revolution" game is the only thing keeping me sane recently, especially after the whole working in Shinjuku for a month incident.

That is, I love living here, and I love the Japanese lifestyle, culture, and people (I get along great with most people). The "Salarymen" are a class of society I don't mix/get along with, and that is all. So, is *that* okay?

Now, back to what else has been happening:

I have finished backing up all of my hard drive to CD (8 of them), so I feel *much* more relieved now. Lightning/a power surge from the shoddy wiring in my room can now fry my hard drive without worry.

Next, I have been all around. Well, not around the country, mind you (still waiting for a decent length holiday before I do that), but locally I have been around a lot, singing karaoke, eating udon and pasta, playing around the city. On one of my previous shopping trips I looked at jewelery, but most of it was well beyond anything I would buy (or ever wear/use). You name them, (Garnet, Emerald, Quartz, Amethyst, Onyx, Aquamarine, Jade, Diamond, Opal, Sapphire, Pearl, Moonstone, Ruby, Topaz, etc.), I saw an expensive price for them all.

May 21st

It's Shinnyuusha day!

For those who don't know what the heck that means, it is the day when the new "company employees" start work (the beginning of the pay period). There are four coming to my section, of which I have only heard their self-introductions in their speeches this morning. In one of the requested questions from the "audience", when asked to tell us their "charm point", some of them were:

"My Smile"
"My [vast] knowledge of computer hardware"
"...I'm tall"
"I devote myself to learning new technology"

They are very interesting additions to the company, as you can see.

On another note, I have bit the bullet and actually got a CD burner straight from Lucifer himself. The guy at the electronics store "Bik Camera" who sold it to me at a ridiculously low price of 5500 yen (and threw in 20 CDs to boot) had his hair twisted and greased so much that he looked like Satan. It was truly a sight to behold.

So, later that evening, I was burning backup CDs from my hard drive straight to the CD drive which I call "Hellforge", since it has been two years since I have backed up anything, and with that recent virus I had, and the fact Windows in general is screwing up left, right, and center... Oh, I am backing up my web page too, just to be safe.

Lastly, my office was moved...to the building next door. I am now in the 5th story of a 5 story building. The moving that we have all been doing means more physical labour over computer work. No problem, I guess. It was funny when my boss told one of the other guys today to organize the [English] computer books in "order". I assumed this guy knew what alphabetical order was, but rather surprisingly, he put it in Japanese kana order. For those who don't know, kana order goes "a,i,u,e,o, ka,ki,ku,ke,ko, sa,shi,su,se,so, ta,chi,tsu,te,to, na,ni,nu,ne,no, ha,hi,fu,he,ho, ma,mi,mu,me,mo, ya,yu,yo, ra,ri,ru,re,ro, wa,wo,n". You can imagine how the books were lined up; with lots of leftovers at the end, "What do I do with these?"

May 16th

Back to reality, the job is actually going well since moving back to Totsuka. Rest at last... Also, I learned a new phrase thanks to hanging around the DDR BBSs recently: "Jump the Shark". It basically means the point in time when a TV series takes a turn for the worst (quality wise). An excellent site for this can be found at http://www.jumptheshark.com.

May 8th

Well, of the things I wanted to accomplish, I did everything except implement a cool new thing on my web page, though I have some files lying around I was playing with, so you may see something "Real Soon Now" (tm). I found those peanuts in my closet, by the way. Still edible.

Okay, well, my leg is better (I guess). Enough so that I was able to compete in one of Akudaikan's DDR Tournaments in Matsumoto. Those 2 brothers that hang out around this area (Take and Yasu) are just too good to beat, though. I have trouble imagining anyone as good as those two.

To finish, things are going super with my new, sweet girlfriend. Well, actually, we have known each other a lot longer than I let on. We only started *really* dating relatively recently. How super is super? Well, we've been seeing each other almost on a daily basis now, and we really enjoy being together, which some might have already seen)...you can draw conclusions from that as you like :) More on this later.

April 23rd

Hopefully, this is more upbeat for you all after the last few rants (then again, that is what this section is for, isn't it?)

Well, the job situation is lightening up a lot, with Golden Week next week and all (YAY! A whole week of holidays!). So, you ask, what ever will I do? Well, let me try to arrange this is a to-do list in no particular order:

Well, as you can clearly read, I have no particular plan.

One thing that bugs me is that my left leg (notably, ankle) is killing me. I don't know how I did it. I just woke up, and it was hurting like...well, it hurt. As a result, I have had to do amazing things with only one leg. Anyways, it gives me an excuse to be late for work (for when the alarm doesn't work).

There, you see? I can appear perfectly content once in a while...

April 14th

This week was almost as insane as last week.

First off, I am at Shinjuku for the forseeable future... It's a concrete sea, and here's why (picture taken from the 29th floor of the KDDI building facing the west side of the station):

Click here for no escape

I have a 1.7 megabyte version of that picture, but noone wants to wait *that* long to get the basic idea of what I am saying. Know what I am saying?

But on to the good things this week. Well, I have learned that many of my Japanese friends and their friends, etc. seem to really enjoy my page. It looks like I will have to hurry on that Japanese translation...Anyways, I just like the mail I get from time to time.

Also, I got a new electronic dictionary...FREE!!! You see, some [co-worker] wasn't looking and when he threw his binders of misc. stuff on my table, it knocked my dictionary flying on the floor. This alone did not kill it. What killed it was when he took a step to look for it. You get the picture. Anyway, I was reembursed with the higher model of the dictionary I had before. Now I have the Canon IDF-4500, and it seriously kicks! The *only* thing I don't like about it is that the kanji dictionary is accessed by pressing a series of 2 buttons instead of one press like my old one. Other than that, it rocks! It even has some "Advance Learner's" English dictionary on there, just in case I forget the meaning of some random English words. It even came with a nice leather case, and is filled with slang words to boot!. I entered in "suck", and the example it uses for one meaning is:

K-Mart sucks!

Wow! who *wouldn't* use a dictionary like that?

One more update. As of 1 month ago, my site has had 712,000 file and page requests. Mindboggling.

April 7th

Eesh, what a week.

First off, I apologize to anyone who may have received mail from a "_admin@aaroninjapan.com". I had a virus on my system, and it sent mail to everyone in my address book, which contained no message and only a strange attachment. DO NOT OPEN IT! Anyway, after you delete it, we can get on with things, ne?

Next, bad news from work. Seems that this "project" requires most of the staff to relocate to Shinjuku. I have to travel 2 hours twice a day, every day, and for those who don't already know, travelling from Yokohama to Tokyo in the morning is the most crowded activity you can do to go to work, but anyways, off to work I go...

Back to the lighter side, I got to meet up with my friend, Evan again in Tokyo. He was in from the Kansai region for a few days between school terms, so it was nice to see him again. The funniest thing happened while I was waiting for him at Shibuya station. You see, it is actually quite common for male "scouts" to go around asking random women to "go back to their place" to "become a star", or if "they ever wanted to be on film". Great, porn recruiters... Wait! It gets better. You see, this time, one of these guys had a video camera and was recording the other man's "attemps", if you want to call them that. Now, one random nice-looking woman actually *Agreed* to go away with this guy after talking with him for a few minutes. So, while the cameraman was recording this "dialog", I just realized I was in plain-view in the camera's field-of-view. Thus, I could very well be on some obscure Japanese "video" in the near future.

March 22th

Welcome back to another exciting update on...me, I guess.

First, and this still baffles me, why can *I* receive 50,000 yen for writing an English test? You see, all employees are encouraged *strongly* to take the TOEIC test (a type of english test), and is graded out of 980. The higher your score, the more money Hitachi will give you as an "award" for doing so well. If you can get over 700 or so points (a native speaker should be around 950), Hitachi can give you *lots* of money, and I can write this every year!

Next, the domain is still sitting pretty where it is. Everything is going smooth, and I can afford to put tons *o* stuff up...when I get around to it. I still have tons of pictures from my days at Epson, as well as Kiso, etc. I even have some of Yokohama, but many seem to be "filler" photos. Nothing special, just another photo, type of thing.

Yesterday, I met up with people I met before in Tokyo. We had an all-you-can-eat lunch, played some games at the local game centres, walked around, etc. Pretty easy day, but I was still tired for some reason.

See the other rants:
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