A long flight

May 2006

Here I am writing from my cousin's apartment in the West Village, N.Y. Longest flight ever. Short version: cancelled flight, delays at every point of the trip, and lost luggage. Welcome to the America :D

Bluefire Grill vs Barbacoa

Jan 2006

On my trip to Oz over the festive season I tried out Bluefire Grill at the Docklands in Melbourne. It's a churrascaria style restaurant, offering seafood, calamari, chicken, lamb, beef & pork served on skewers and carved at the table for AU$50. It's fine in itself, but doesn't hold a candle to Barbacoa in Omotesando, Tokyo (Map).

A Time for Reflection and Growth

Jan 2006

When each year ends, it begins a time of reflection; on past accomplishments and positive life changing events, as well as failures and loss. Hopefully for most of us it was more of the former, and less of the latter.

Debugging JavaScript no longer a complete pain (now only a little)

Sep 2005

I used to hate coding JavaScript. Not because of the language (well maybe a bit) but the many countless hours littering code with alert() messages to see where things were going wrong. Sure, Mozilla has Venkman, but what happens when the error occurs in Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer? I really don't want to go through Message Box hell again now that I'm getting my feet wet with AJAX. Enter fvloggger by David F. Miller.

Mmmm....Beer?

Jun 2005

Usually I don't drink beer when I go out since I'm more partial to a drop of red wine; however, one of my favorite places to go out for a meal and drinks is Les Hydropathes in Shibuya (usually as a regular meet up joint with my good friend Mikihiro).

A long wait at the Immigration Office

May 2005

So a few weeks ago I had to go renew my visa. Luckily the HR guy at my company was kind enough to organise the supporting documentation to show I was still working. He was also kind enough to point out that the immigration office in Shibuya had closed down and replaced by the Shinagawa office. This added another 20 minutes travel time at an extra cost of over 500円.

Toys Toys Toys

Oct 2003

So in the past month I have been feeling a bit technologically outdated and went out to buy a new mobile phone and a digital SLR camera.

Nothing like a newly installed Operating System

Oct 2003

So Apple Computer released the latest version of their operating system: Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. It’s been getting wonderful reviews from the geeky and mainstream news sites. My Powerbook feels like a whole new computer. If you are wanting to unburden yourselves from Windows viruses, I highly suggest you take a trip down to a local Apple retailer and try it out. One of the coolest things is Exposé. It allows you to navigate all open windows by reducing their sizes so that you can view and pick form them all at once. For the security conscious, it also allows you to encrypt your home folder as well as send/receive encrypted e-mail. Also out for the Windows OS is Apple’s digital jukebux: iTunes. It’s free, and lets you see what you’re all missing :) Word of warning when you install, if you’re a bit finicky about how you store and categorise all your digital music files, make sure you don’t set it to reorganise them (it organises by artist then album).

Animal Cluedo Solution #1: Nemo, with some Sea Water in the Fish Tank

Sep 2003

So the investigators are either in cahoots with the Japanese fishing industry to make the public feel less guilty about eating sentient life-forms (okay so they really needn’t worry about that but I needed something to start the either bit) or blaming foreigners for unexplained crime has became soooo passé. Apparently a fire has been attributed to some overexcited tropical fish jumping in a fishtank and splashing some water onto an electrical socket. I can just imagine the impending debate in parliament over enacting laws to curb rising fish crime. Actually, since they were probably imported fish they are blaming the foreigners!

Note to self: oysters in moderation

Sep 2003

So what pearl of wisdom can I pass onto you guys? Hmm, how about do not mix a lot of alcohol with oysters. I was taken to a nice Oyster bar (no, not the Blue Oyster bar) named after a famous fish market here in Tokyo (Tsukiji). The restaurant itself was very trendy and was located in Roppongi. They had an all you can eat oyster buffet with a free glass of wine for ¥1800 ~ AU$25. Most of you probably know how much I love oysters so I didn’t pass up the opportunity to stuff my face especially at such a discount rate. However I kind of drank too much and overate (two dozen or so). The next morning I woke up with a bad hangover, upset stomach and smelling like day-old seafood. Not a Good Thing™.

It's spring and it's snowing!

Apr 2003

Well, close. Spring is here in Japan, and the sakura have come and gone. Sakura is Japanese for cherry blossom; during late march to early april they reach full bloom and over a period of a week or so, their blossoms drop and it looks like it is snowing. I went trampling around various places, gazing at the wondrous sights of women … errm … I mean flowers, in full bloom. And plentiful there were! Flowers I mean. Mind out of the gutter peoples! Some pictures can be found here. Of flowers.

What's up Doc?

Jan 2003

After many weeks of nagging I finallly caved in and we bought a pet rabbit. She’s four months old now and a nice caramel color with floppy ears. Pets are extremely expensive here, which is one of the reasons why I didn’t want to buy one (the other is our landlord doesn’t allow them! So shhhh). A lot of Pet stores only stock pure-bred cats and dogs; some of which go for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. I saw a french bulldog going close to AU$6,000! I even found a cockatoo and rosella at one of the other stores. Ferrets are also quite popular, although their tiny human-like hands give me the chills.

Hong Kong

Jan 2003

I spent a few days in Hong Kong last weekend. All I can say is Peking Duck heaven. The food was definitely superb. Spent about $100 eating peking duck, shark finn soup and abalone in one sitting alone. Its an extremely beautiful city at night, it has the metropolitan feel of Tokyo without the crowds, but with extra pollution thrown in :)

Hello Okinawa!

Jan 2003

Well, how long exactly has it been since the last update? So many things have happened here that I don’t know where to start! The project that I have been working on was release at the end of last year. Doing bug fixes, improving performance and the like now. Finally some rest after months of late nights and working on the weekends.

New Years Partying? ... Not!

Jan 2003

So, expecting a wonderful new year full of drunkenness and hangovers, I was a little bit startled at the lack of partying. Japanese usually head off to a major shrine or temple to pray, donate some coins to the temples and ring the temple bells. Since Tokyo is so overcrowded many of the major temples are chock full of the natives from new year’s eve until about 5 days later.

I even heard one temple usually expects a population the size of Victoria to go through its gates at this time. I had to wait about an hour before I could “pray” at one of the shrines. Then I had to repeat the process with my work colleagues. Well, one good thing is that most companies take a whole week off over the new year period. Not a bad compensation for no Christmas holiday! I did have one enjoyable moment. I managed to visit the Illuminations in Tokyo, basically the city puts up a series of illuminated arches of lights, hard to explain but a photo is attached. Its quite spectacular in person.

Fireworks festivals

Aug 2002

It’s been a while since my last update, but better late than never! I think its probably better once a month anyway, more things to write about. So as you guys probably know the summer has been really hot here. But the summer has its good points. Girls in mini-skirts, frozen alcoholic drinks, girls in bikinis, Starbucks Macha (green tea) cream fruppacino, girls in hot pants (yep Kylie has made it to Japan as well), fireworks (hanabi) festivals, and girls in … Yukata? (simple style kimonos).

ADSL Heaven

Jul 2002

So I finally got internet here at home. Which is why I am sending this on a Sunday night! 12MBps with uploads/downloads. Not bad, especially for about $50 a month! So give me an email if you want a game of Warcraft III or Diablo II.

Surviving my first typhoon

Jul 2002

Well I survived my first typhoon. Admittedly it wasn’t so bad in Tokyo but the winds were really strong and there was so much rain. The following days since have been quite windy as well. It was so bad when I returned home from some shopping this Saturday I had to scour around town to find some towels that had flown off my balcony. I found one in a tree; I got that one after a few scratches from tree branches. Another had dropped down to our neighbours balcony downstairs. The other flew onto a two-storey rooftop across the road; that one’s a goner though. Throw in another earth tremble and I basically have had a wonderful week.

About Sasazuka

Jul 2002

The weather was quite nice for a while. But its quickly become the rainy season. Although it’s better than the humid summer season which is coming up soon. Ack, I still need to wear suits to work as well!!!! The train ride will be terrible once this happens.

Finally, an Apartment Awaits

Jun 2002

Well I found out a few days ago that I had another week before I have to move out of the current place. So I went apartment hunting with Uzuki. The good news is that we did find a place and signed up for it, but the bad news is it will take a few days before we find out how we go against the other applicants. So the situation will be difficult if we don’t end up getting it; but hopefully everything will be okay.

The Hunt for an Apartment Continues

Jun 2002

Last week was really hot and humid. This week it looks more like a rainy season. I also felt my first real earthquake, well more of a tremble really. But still fairly noticeable 5 storeys up at work. Sorry to everyone who has not been on my email lists, as I have lost my contacts from my previous computer (actually I am still missing a few).

New Job and being a Foreigner

May 2002

Well as some of you may have guessed I quit my job at Novell a week ago, I haven’t had much of a chance to email everyone as I have been working for the new company in japan already! At the moment we are architecting and deciding what software products and technologies we will use. Its looking like Java Data Objects with Struts, servlets, JSP and JSP tag libraries. Not looking at using EJBs yet.

A new Life

Apr 2002

I arrived in japan on sunday and ended up sleeping the whole day away. Got stuck with a couple of crying babies on the flight over. Went to a job interview on Monday, they rung me up on the same day to meet with the Vice president later at 7:30pm. They said they would like to hire me but i have to meet with the CEO first! and i thought it would be hard to find a job! Anyway I have another interview tomorrow and organising one later this week and a couple more in the next couple of weeks.