January 27, 2005

Lost In Tokyo

Have you ever wondered what Tokyo looks like from the window of a moving Bullet Train?

No?

Well too bad, I'm going to show you anyway. Check it out.
(Also, for the record, this was taken when the train was going half it's top speed, if even that fast. I would have taken one later, but it got too dark outside.)

I've also realized that Lost in Translation has moved way up on my list of favorite movies, just because so much of it is accurate in so many ways. I seem to recall having many of the same moments Bill Murray had- the confusion when people try telling you something, the experience of singing karaoke, being overwhlemed by the lights and sounds, and of course the jet lag.

We tried finding the hotel the movie was filmed in while we were in Tokyo, but weren't quite sure what it looked like. We walked into a few in the area, but none of them seemed familiar. I really wanted to go to the resturant that much of the movie took place in, but just like the movie, it was nearly impossible to accomplish something so simple. (We also didn't research much, so we essentially set oursleves up for failure.)

Anyway, when we got home, I looked it up and realized I did see the hotel off in the distance, and it felt pretty cool to find a connection in such a distant land. Not only that, but as I sit here watching Lost in Translation, I can point out many things that I recognize from our visit, making it even cooler. Furthermore, I can actually understand some of the Japanese in the movie, both spoken and written, and it's just really bizzarre.

In fact, on the soundtrack, in the beginning of one of the songs, there is a 30-second Japanese message recorded from the Bullet Train, which states the departure station (Tokyo) and the arrival station (Shin-Osaka). What makes it strange is that we were riding on that same Bullet Train when I heard it, and I really thought it was the actual message because I understood it, and it made sense. It was only after I replayed the song that I realized it was on the soundtrack.

There is a Starbucks in Tokyo which I recognized in the movie. Not only is it a huge Starbucks, and not only do I love Starbucks, but in the movie you may remember it as the the Starbucks beneath the huge video image (about 6 stories high) of a dinosaur projected onto the side of a building, which you can see as Scarlett Johansson walked through the streets.

There is a scene in Lost in Translation that really summed the movie up for me. It was when Bill Murray was in the hospital waiting room, speaking to a very recognizable Japanese man. (Actually, it may have been a woman, I really don't know.) Anyway, the person is talking to Murray in Japanse, and he has no idea what is being said. As I watched it today, I realized I did understand, and it made it even funnier because I know the same thing happens to me everyday. (He was asking how long Murray has been in Japan. Murray, of course, has no idea, and responds completely inaccurately.)

But anyway, it's just very interesting to me. Maybe because I never really learned another language (Latin doesn"t count) or maybe it's just nice to know that, no matter how strange and overwhelming things can be, eventually they all become very familiar, even comfortable.

I didn't take too many pictures in Tokyo, and I'm not really sure why. But, I figured I'd at least post the one picture I have which was taken in the daylight . Here you can see Tokyo tower on the left (much prettier at night) and part of the city reflected off the glass building on the right.

Till next time...

Cheers!

Posted by jed at 10:40 AM | Comments (4)

January 19, 2005

Yay Karaoke!

I think it's well known that the Japanese love karaoke. I have been here for over seven months now, and despite really wanting to, I had never been.

Fortunately, this has changed.

Seeing as Anni and Chris are in town, we figured there'd be not better time to try it than the present. I think I can speak for all of us when I say 'SEGOY!'

Private rooms, huge English selection, comfy couches, free soda and drinks... it was truly a great night. We arrived somewhere around 11:00 p.m. last Friday, and didn't leave until about 5 the next morning. I took nearly 70 pictures- some of them blurry, some of them boring- but all of them a reminder of a very fun evening. I sorted through them and pulled out the best ones, so check 'em out!

Karaoke: It was truly a wonderful time. Anni, Chef Monkeywerks, My Favorite World Traveler, and yours truly are feeling funky... see for yourself!

I also need to mention the wonderful acceptance speech which can be found in the comments of the 'Nerd Test' post. I would have written one, too, except that I scored a 28....

A 28!!! sigh....

We're all on our way to Tokyo for a short vacation, see you in a few days...

Godspeed!

Posted by jed at 10:23 AM | Comments (4)

January 13, 2005

Internet No-morer

I realize the title to this entry is a stretch, as well as a bit misleading, but my goal in using such an awful play on words is to mention the fact that, thanks to some good advice from Chef Monkeywerks, I have stopped using Internet Explorer (so you see, "internet no-morer" sounds like "internet explorer"... eh? eh?... is this thing on?)

Anyway, I've finally jumped off one bandwagon and right onto the next, and I'm very happy to be using Firefox now. It is a wonderful difference from IE, and there are many reasons why it's so good. However, one of the first differences I found is that Firefox requires much more tedious HTML. I noticed when I opened the Poop Deck in the new browser that half the page was missing. I went back into the index and, sure enough, I had forgotten one little tag on the side bar that IE added on it's own. This sounds like a good thing, but what about all the people who use other browsers? I had no idea they couldn't view the site.

It's a lot like spell check in Microsoft Word. Sure, it's great, it fixes all of my words and changes them so I don't have to. However, as an English teacher, I occasionally find myself spelling words for students, and stumbling a bit as I desperately try and figure out the proper spelling, cursing spell check because it's making me stupider.

Or is it more stupid...? See what I mean?!

I think it's in Microsoft's agenda to make the world stupid (or stupider), just so they can keep producing more software, and more products, to help us do things we can easily do (and should do) on our own.

My point is... thank you, Firefox. Now I'm forced to pay attention, and retain information. If I don't know how to do it, I can look it up, and learn. Furthermore, you actually show my java script, which crashed IE every other time I opened it, and that's just swell.

END RANT

But speaking of Chef Monkeywerks, not only is he in town...er, hemisphere... for a while, but I've been told he's starting up a new website soon. It has a very clever title, so keep a look out for it.

Godspeed!

Posted by jed at 12:45 AM | Comments (3)

January 07, 2005

Nerd Test

Via Chef Monkeywerks (who needs to update his website... if even just a picture... or a word?... or a letter?), I present to you the nerd test. I am very ashamed to admit that I only scored a 28, which says "not nerdy, but definitely not hip." I was honestly hoping for a much higher score.

Anyway, find out for yourself- how nerdy are you?


I am nerdier than 28% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

On a completely unrelated note, I've lowered the ceiling threat to "Orange." There have a been a few minor bumps (er, wangs) of the head, but no skin on the doorway for two full days. Hooray!

Posted by jed at 11:17 AM | Comments (10)

January 04, 2005

Threat Level Raised

Due to painful circumstances upon our arrival to Japan, the ceiling threat has been raised to its highest level, "Severe." There were a few minor bumps until about 10 minutes ago, when the doorway decided to keep a rather large chunk of skin from my head as a souvenir. Therefore, the threat will remain at its highest level until the onslaught of attacks begin to settle down. Stay tuned for more details on this late breaking story.

Posted by jed at 01:22 AM | Comments (2)

January 03, 2005

2005

Welp, we made it back to Japan sometime on January 1st after an excellent trip back home. We were able to see our families, our friends, our pets, and enjoyed some good ol' American food! It was a long journey back to this tiny country, and we missed New Years completely by jumping time zones, but we plan to indulge in full laziness until work resumes on Jan 6th.

Ah yes, how I've missed my Xbox...

Oh, how I've longed for my futon on the moldy floor...

Tis not the lack of food, but the quality of life that we have missed so desperately in our conquest for rejuvenation!

Ok, so only the part about the Xbox is true... but I guess it's nice to be back. ('Nice' until we have to go back to work.)

My point being, though, it was a great time, and it was wonderful seeing everyone while we were home. I only hope to do it all again real soon, but until that time, let me leave you with two pictures-

This first picture is the very first thing we saw in America, as well as the first place we ate, sometime around 12:00 p.m. on Dec 21st. Ah yes, how I loved to be back. (no seriously, that is not sarcasm)
Welcome To America


This second picture is the last thing we saw before we left America, at about 11:30 a.m. Dec 31st. It was the perfect way to say goodbye for the next few months, and quite possibily the smartest thing to do before a 13 hour flight. (that IS sarcasm)
Thank you, come again!


I feel there is only one thing that needs to be said... God Bless America!


God Bless America indeed....

GODSPEED!

Posted by jed at 04:10 AM | Comments (1)