Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

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Japan Disaster

As you no doubt already know, Japan has been devastated by a monstrous natural disaster. On Thursday March 11th, at 2:46pm, Japan experienced a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake originating just a few hundred kilometers north-east of Tokyo. The quake caused a giant tsunami which actually caused much more damage than the original earthquake. I’ve been constantly glued to the news.

An effort to summarize some key events follows…

At this time:

  • Over 3000 confirmed dead, many more expected (upwards of 10,000)
  • Thousands still missing
  • Complete cities destroyed, thousands made homeless.
  • A nuclear power plant in Fukushima was damaged from the quake. People near the plant were evacuated and fears of a meltdown are growing as the plant grows more unstable.
  • Aftershocks are expected to continue for months, most recent one was magnitude 6.1.
  • To provide power to the eastern part of the country, all Kanto regions have cycling blackout periods, which apparently also affects hospitals.
  • Food and gas are running out and being rationed. A friend of mine, in an area largely unaffected by the quake and tsunami, says it takes 2-3 hours to get to a gas station.
  • In the areas hit hardest, it has become colder and snow is expected, lowering chances for trapped survivors.

Vivid Images at 1 (source of image above), 2, 3, 4

News Coverage: BBC Live. BBC has been my primary source for the above information.

If you are able, you may want to consider donating to relief efforts. Donate to the Canadian Red Cross. Or, take a look at some other well known charities listed at the CBC.

Japan is special to me. Having lived there for a year, I fondly consider Japan to be a second home. I have many friends and acquaintances in Japan. Fortunately, everyone I’ve contacted, so far, is safe. I still can’t believe the destruction. My heart goes out to all of Japan….

I encourage you to leave links to images, videos, news updates, and corrections in the comments.

My Life in Japan

I know, it’s ironic that my first post for 2009 is about 2003-2004, but….

I was looking at some old website designs and was reminded that I had created a static HTML website for blogging while I was in Japan. This was called Steve’s Japan Journal and it is not available anywhere online, right now. I have now manually copied these 32 entries into this blog and tagged them with JapanJournal. I stopped using this method of blogging because it took too long to update and it was actually served by my family’s computer in North Vancouver – which didn’t exactly fill me with confidence while I was in Japan.

So what did I use next? Well, everyone else in the Gifu flock were using LiveJournal, so I joined them (reluctantly). I’ve imported the 37 LiveJournal blog entries, as well, and tagged them with LJImport. Most of these entries were also made in Japan. All entries made in Japan, from both sets, are tagged with Japan. After LJ, I moved to a self-hosted WordPress, which is what I’m currently using. I’ve left the Hello World! post in there so it’s obvious when this happened. 🙂

It took much longer than I thought to import all the entries, especially the Japan Journal ones, as I had to edit the timestamp for each and add a bit of formatting. And I found myself reading them again. Interesting how I’ve both changed and stayed the same. =) I found it great listening to music that I listened to at the time, while reading them.

I want to read!

Many of the links and images are broken, because they don’t exist any more, and the formatting may seem a little strange (especially from LJ). I’m not too keen on reformatting everything. That being said, if you’re feeling like a walk down memory lane, you can start (re)-reading about my 11 month Japan experience, from June 2003 to May 2004, right here:

On a Boeing 747 somewhere over the Pacific Ocean

A word of caution, however, it’s quite a bit of reading!! ^_^


holy crap, I have a blog!

Ah right. Forgot about this. Okay fine, I knowingly neglected it. Not completely, though… I had a partially written post from a few months ago, but it never made the transition from Tomboy to WP. Things to report:

First thing’s first. January has come and gone (along with a few other months…):

I got a pretty sweet blazer from my brother. It’s a little big, and almost too warm to wear now, but I like it. Saw Children of Men with Kurt and Jesse. Great movie. Longest, craziest takes ever! Have also since been to a restaurant called the Foundation (on 6th and Main, I think). I had an awesome dish of beans and rice with papaya and lime sauce… so good, I must go again and try making it myself. We also went to an Ethiopian restaurant on Commercial and stuffed ourselves silly with our bare hands. Like men are meant to do. Food and service were really good. Price, ironically, was a little steep. Oh yeah, and now Kurt is in Brazil….

Speaking of travelling. I will not be going to Japan. I did not get accepted into JET. I had a bad feeling after the interview in February, so I’m not terribly surprised, but I am disappointed. I was looking forward to going to Japan again… even if I got stuck in some remote place. But more importantly, I must now decide what I will do. Do I look for a job? In Vancouver? 😮

I don’t really have any plans, at the moment, aside from enjoying my summer and learning up some computer stuff (in preparation for job interviews, i guess). I just finished my History exam, last night, so school’s pretty much behind me. Have a couple meetings left and that’s it! Felt kind of elated on the bus home, last night – I guess I’m happy to finally be finishing school. 😉 I plan on lots of rollerblading. Too bad the seawall will be closed. Really… that sucks. 🙁 I’ll have to go back and forth in English Bay or something.

I also meant to apply for Google’s Summer of Code. And, on the very last day, I had an idea and figured, “sure. why not?” So I put together an application as fast as I could not expecting to be chosen, and I wasn’t. My idea was really “out there” too. 🙂 Still, like JET, disappointed. That woulda been awesome. I’ll see if I can put together my idea for another post… and I may work on it anyways, this summer.

For some cheap amusement in Wii Weather channel, zoom into the Turks and Caicos Islands, to the north-east of Cuba. 🙂

Japan Nostalgia

If I said I’ve been busy, would you believe me?
Well, I suppose that’s a flat-out lie, but I have
been occupied. Been shopping around for a domain
name and web hosting, recently. The whole process takes a while, so
we’ll see how that goes….
I’ve been organizing my photos, too. Yes, again. This takes SOOO LONG.
Anyways, to make a long story
short, I didn’t reset my camera’s time right away when I changed
timezones (Vancouver->Japan, and Japan->Vancouver). This is a big
problem (to me, at least) because my photos are named by the time the
file says they are taken.
I’ve also been combining photos taken by other people into one place.
From my Fuji-san gallery, I combined my photos with Alex‘s
photos. Most of Alex’s photos were better than mine. I noticed the same
thing with the CEATEC convention, which I’m going through now.
Everybody else’s (including Ben‘s,
and John‘s)
pictures are generally better than mine, I’d say. But mine are
improving. I’ve got a better camera and I’m finally learning how to use
it. It’s funny, I’m always discovering new things… or just better
techniques. I’ve also stopped taking pictures simply because I can…
Okay, maybe not “stopped.” 🙂
It’s been really nostalgic; looking over all these photos. However, I
find the video has a much better ability to bring you back to the
moment, it’s just not as presentable or convenient. The video…
another organizational headache. No EXIF data! 🙁 And John, those
videos your Sony took are quite good! That camera was much better than
the Canon at videos; it’s 2x the dimensions, it auto-focuses during
video, and it can take as much video as you can hold. …I hope you’re
not crying…. (It holds everything in memory
, though!)
John, I made a new lj-icon for you. 🙂 You should know what picture
it’s from; Alex probably will.

“So Flute” by St Germain is an awesome track.

Back in the saddle…

…or is it, out of the saddle and sleeping in the ditch?
Yesterday, I returned to Vancouver. I was welcomed by four members of
my way-too-big family and we had a huge dinner with even more family
and friends, that night. I could barely stay up near the end, as I did
not really get any sleep on the plane. At the time, I thought I might
as well watch the two movies they showed on the 8.5 hour flight from
Today, I woke up at 3pm. All of my clocks that are still set to Japan
time say 3pm, tomorrow. Ironic. Things have changed, but not so much
that I’m blown away or anything. My poor computer that I left in the
hands of my family needs some serious TLC. I will do that tomorrow,
I haven’t had the chance to get in touch with friends, yet…. they’re
busy; unlike me. Let me see, I have no job, school, or plans of any
sort until September – when I start school once again. Yikes. Could I
actually get bored? This is entirely likely. I need to establish some
independent goals. I have one in mind: make a simple computer game.
Once I have something made (anything!), I can use it as a reference.
Hopefully, for my next Co-Op position, I can get into a company that
makes games….
I think I should switch my clocks to Vancouver time, now….

slightly belated

I finally put the Okinawa pictures up online! This is the only
“gallery” I’ve ever uploaded since coming to Japan, but it should be a
browse. Check it out, here:

some cool underwater pictures! This is, of course, the
highlight.  I used a gallery-generator called “album,” and I
thought I had finally decided on it.  But just after
completing my
comments to the Okinawa gallery I generated with it, I discovered this! 
So I’ll probably use that.  I didn’t know Gallery could
generate offline pages…. that’s cool.

Oh, and here’s Vanessa,
at the request of Shirley (in a previous entry). Enjoy! 😉

weekend almost over….

Well, I got back at 8am, this morning. Last night, I went out
for a night in Nagoya. First we went to a really cool izakaya that I’ve
never been to before – Yagya; and it’s right near the station! Shame on
me! I ate some of the best karage I’ve ever had: Thai flavoured and
piled with green onions… holy crap that was good! After that, the
remaining group of us, maybe six people or so, went to do some karaoke
for the rest of the morning. Oh man, good stuff. And because this was
my “going-away” party, I didn’t even have to pay! (I tried many
times)…. Anyways, I had a great time. Thanks, everyone! Gonna miss
lots of new friends I’ve made.
I would have got back earlier, but every train I got in, I fell asleep
on. So I missed my transfer at Kasamatsu and went all the way to Gifu.
I really didn’t care, that just gave me more time to sleep on trains.
When I finally got to Shin Hashima, I was extremely disorientated after
being waken up by the conductor. ^_^ Since returning, I’ve slept about
two hours on my floor… right beside my bed.
Tonight, I have to meet a coworker and his family for dinner. I leave
the dormitory tomorrow evening. That means I have quite a bit of
packing to do. >.< I'm gonna miss Japan.

It is done

Today was the last day of my internship. …Holy shit! Today is
also my dad’s bday! Okay, I write him an email next.
I can’t believe I’m actually done. I’m so glad I don’t have to look at
that transcoder and guess at problems, anymore. *phew* But, I am kind
of sad to leave. Recently, I had been having much better (as in some,
rather than none) communication with my coworkers, so it’s been more
enjoyable. My coworker told me tonight, “At first, one year seems like
a long time. But when it is over, it seems so short.”
Maybe they should have talked to me the first 8 months…
Last night, I held my self-created/promoted going-away party. It was
pretty sweet! A way bigger turnout than I thought it would initially
be… Maybe 13 people in total, crammed into a back room of a local
yakitori restaurant. I drank so much, I think I was still drunk when I
stumbled to work 45 minutes late, this morning.
I also met the new interns today. They seem quite quiet, but I suppose
I am not so outspoken, myself…. nor am I currently suffering from
jet-lag. We all went out, with my coworker, for dinner. They were
falling asleep at the end.
I’m tired myself. I have a crazy-busy weekend ahead of me… but it
should be fun.

mp3 latex girlies

Haha! You wouldn’t expect me to have erotic pictures on my work
computer (or maybe you would, I don’t know)… but I do! “vanessa.jpg”
is a picture of a voluptuous woman in a latex suit and an intriguing
position. =)
It was on one of my MP3 CDs… I had this idea, at one point, that
instead of naming MP3 CDs like MP3 21, MP3 22, etc, I would name them
after latex vixens, and include the image file. Like “Vanessa MP3”.
As it turns out, this was a much better naming scheme. I can relate the
name to the picture and remember the groups on the cd much better than
a number. Unfortunately, I never continued – mostly because I started
too late. But if I ever re-organize my collection (yeah, right), it
will gain this personality.

plans and rain

I was suppose to go to Universal Studios Japan, today… but… the rain.
Then I was suppose to go to Nagoya today… but… I didn’t really want to.. not in the rain.

So, I did end up biking in the rain,
anyways: I went to get some groceries. Since I only have 2 weeks left,
I only got the bare necessities: coke, salad, tuna, corn chips, salsa,
sushi, and a weiner item from the bakery. On my way to the grocery
store, I saw a dead cat. I tried not to look at it too long, but it had
a patch of white on it. That’s all I have to say about that. I held my
breath for a good distance after that encounter.
mmm… sushi.