Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reading Day

Spent almost all day reading "Revolution In The Valley" by Andy Hertzfeld. It consists of a series of anecdotes about the making of the Apple Mac. The reader is given the clear impression that Steve Jobs is a fucking psycho.

I've recently realized that I'm surprisingly poorly read where computer history and culture. In the near future I intend to read "Insanely Great: Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything " and "Crypto: Secrecy and Privacy in the New Cold War" by Steven Levy, and "Accidental Empires": How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can't Get a Date" by Robert X. Cringely. Are there any other books on the history and culture of computing that I should read?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Jonathan Meades Collection

I received the Jonathan Meades Collection today. It consists of three dvds, containing a total of eleven programmes, every second of which is genius.

Severn Heaven

In Search Of Bohemia

Get High


Remember The Future

The Absentee Landlord

Double Dutch

Fast Food

Father To The Man

Magnetic North

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hacking At Random: Call For Papers

A call for papers has been give for "Hacking At Random".

While trawling YouTube I came across a moving impromptu performance by RATM:

History And Culture

A relative sent me three books on computer history/culture for Christmas. "The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage" by Cliff Stoll, "Revolution In The Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made" by Andy Hertzfeld, and "Hackers: Heroes Of The Computer Revolution" by Steven Levy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Karamoon's Kristmas Address, 2008

I, Karamoon, condemn the world in the strongest terms possible. I guess that's enough...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Earthships For Breakfast

Breakfast with Ben and Chi-chan. We talked a lot about Earthships and the possibilities of building them in Japan.

A brief guide to Earthships:
(1) Earthships use passive-solar heating.
(2) Earthships use thermal mass, in the form of very thick walls which hold heat.
(3) Thermal mass is significantly different from insulation.
(4) Earthships do not require any connection to infrastructure.
(5) Earthships are the future and the past.
(6) www.EarthShip.net

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Vincent Van Gough, Vincent Can Cough

Watched a documentary series about the life of Vincent Van Gough. The documentary claimed to be based on letters Vincent wrote to his brother Theo. It made Van Gough out to be a drunk pervert, which he may well have been.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Pinkest Of Cows

Watched "The Corporation" with Alex. In the evening we went to "The Pink Cow", a popular gaijin hangout in Shibuya. It was my first time to The Pink Cow, and I was semi-impressed. It was expensive and a bit smoky, but it was slightly better than I expected.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

All The President's Pen

Watched "All The President's Men" for the first time. Overall it's very good, but it's let down by poor acting. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman can only be described as lame.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level Three

Took level three of the Japanese Language Proficiency Exam. I hadn't studied much so I didn't have any chance of passing but I was happy to find that the listening section wasn't so tough. The test was held at several sites across Japan. I took it at a campus of Tokyo University. The campus was swarming with French. They were simply everywhere. Being French they were instantly recognizable. They were all wearing blue jeans, brown shoes and leather jackets...

After the text I ate "soup curry" in Shimokitazawa. It was rubbish but as I had walked for two hours in order to find a restaurant that looked inviting, I told myself that it wasn't so bad.

In the evening I borrowed "All The President's Men", "The Conversation", "Take The Money And Run" and "The Front" from the DVD rental shop. I also borrowed the first DVD for Miami Vice.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Keep It Miyashita

Bumped into a friend and her daughter in the local Indian restaurant. This kind of thing never happens in Japan. They joined me and Chichan for lunch. We talked about hard-to-diagnose blood-borne diseases and we ate curry.

Hung out in Shibuya. There was a very small protest against Nike consisting of about 20 protesters and 50 police. Nike have bought a small park in Shibuya and plan to destroy it. Currently there are a bunch of homeless people living there, and poor people like me hang out there drinking cans of tea from vending machines because we can't afford to go to cafes.
More info here, but only in Japanese: minnanokouenn.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Security Resources

Here are some security resources that I have found to be of the highest quality.


Non-technical Books
"Secrets And Lies" by Bruce Schneiner
If you buy one book on security, get this one.

"Beyond Fear" by Bruce Schneiner
If you buy two books on security, get this along with the above...

"The Art Of Deception" by Kevin Mitnik

"Hackers' Handbook 3.0" By Dr. K

Semi-technical Books
"Security Engineering" by Ross Anderson

"Hacking Exposed Series" by various authors

"The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey" edited by Emmanuel Goldstein

Technical Books
"Applied Cryptography" by Bruce Schneiner

"Hacking: The Art Of Exploitation" by Jon Erickson

I also recommend attending the CCC in Berln and HOPE in New York. See www.ccc.de and www.hope.net for details.

If you are in Tokyo come along to a Tokyo 2600 meeting. www.tokyo2600.net

Monday, December 01, 2008

Learn Japanese Pod

Anyone wanting to learn Japanese should listen to the Learn Japanese Podcast by Alex Brooke.

The main site is here: learnjapanesepod.com
Episodes can be downloaded here: japanese.libsyn.com
The forums are here: learnjapanesepod.com/forums

Friday, November 07, 2008

DVD Bonanza

It was poor-peoples' day at the DVD rental place(200 yen per dvd) so I borrowed a bunch of films.

"Mister Lonely" directed by Harmony Korine, "Modern Times" directed by Charlie Chaplin, "Coffee And Cigarettes" directed by Jim Jarmusch, "Naqoyqatsi: Life As War" directed by Godfrey Reggio and "The Sting" directed by George Roy Hill.

I watched Mister Lonely in the evening. The story is irresistible; a Michael Jackson lookalike living in Paris meets a Marilyn Monroe lookalike who invites him to live in a commune for lookalikes in the Highlands of Scotland. It's the type of film I could watch for the rest of my life. In fact, I think I will.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Terrie Lloyd Talk

A businessman called Terrie Llyod gave a talk at the Tokyo PC Users Group. I love attending the meetings, it's like being in a Glengarry, Glen Ross. Everyone is so desperate. There was even a mineral water salesman. When he introduced himself he tried to sell mineral water. There were two clowns who claimed to be getting energy from hydrogen. It's all so funny yet so tragically sad, like Japan.

Llyod's talk was about starting software companies in Japan, then selling them to foreigners. Someone should tell him that there's already too much software.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

The first of the month is cheap cinema day in Japan so I watched some cheap cinema in Ebisu.

Ebisu is a lovely place, close to Shibuya but very different in character. Before watching the film I went to Good Day Books. Although I have many books, I felt it necessary to buy some more. Buying books at Good Day Books is very unpleasant for several reasons. The books are expensive, their condition is poor and most of them are trashy novels which the dumb Americans here read. The main reason that shopping at Good Day Books is so unpleasant is that the owner is a total, utter, fucking cunt.

Despite the above, I bought "Secrets And Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World" by Bruce Schneier and "Call For The Dead" by John Le Carre.

The cheap cinema I watched was "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead", directed by Sidney Lumet. Good, but grim.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Ain't Gonna Work On Maggie's Farm No More

My last English lesson at the community centre. It was also my last early morning lesson. From this point on I don't need to teach before 10 am.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Goodbye, Cruel Beard

Today I shaved my beard off in preparation for going to Thailand on Friday. It feels strange. When I return from Thailand I shall re-beard and I vow that I shall never be beardless again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bother That Cat

Read "Mog The Forgetful Cat" with one of my students. Life is very, very good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Surprisingly Busy

Spent the day studying Japanese, watching Ted Nelson lectures and reading early James Bond novels. In between all this I somehow managed to teach English and go running.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Picnic In The Park

Met up with some people from the Learn Japanese Podcast for a picnic in Yoyogi park. There were about 10 of us at the picnic and I think everyone had a great time.

After the picnic some of us went for a meal in a Japanese pub. We will be having monthly meetings from now on so I should be able to find some people to help out with my film and other projects that I want to do.

The Learn Japanese Podcast is really rather good so if you want to learn some conversational Japanese check it out:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Climbing Tou-no-dake

Walked up a mountain in Tanzawa, an area of Kanagawa prefecture. Tou-no-dake is 1,491 m (4,891 ft) and walking up it was a perfect way of reminding myself that I am very unfit.

Walking up mountains is best done alone, regardless of any safety concerns you may have. I was walking in the afternoon so the mountain was deserted, allowing me to feel I was deep in the wilderness, even though I wasn't far from houses, roads and vending machines.

As I started making my way down the mountain the sun set. I had a couple of torches with me but chose not to use them. Walking down in the dark was quite difficult but very exciting. I could hear snakes slithering away from me and also Japanese mountain leeches dropping from the trees.

I think I'm pretty much hooked on mountain walking now, so expect more of the same in the future.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Climbing Oyama

Walked up Oyama in Kanagawa prefecture. It's only 1,252 metres, but I still found it quite challenging. Fuji is 3,776 metres, so I have a lot of training to do if I want to make it up Fuji any time soon.

Wikipedia entry

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Dark Night For The Dark Knight

Went to the 9pm showing of the new Batman film at my local cinema. There were only about 10 people at the screening. The film was good but too long. Like life?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Canadian Dry

This morning I met up with cheerful Canadian Aaron in Shibuya. His site is here: www.bluesandbrownbooks.com

After grabbing free magazines in Tower Records we walked to Harajuku where we ate curry and talked of the issues of the day. We then took the metro to Akihabara. Aaron bought another two R4 cards because he wants to promote software piracy.

We took the train home and then we ate curry at the Indian restaurant near my house. We then watched "The Power Of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil".

A wonderful Canadian friend once said to me "You seem to be very interested in Canada". My reply to her was simply "Somebody has to be".

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Third Karamoon

I watched The Third Man again for the first time in many years. I have a feeling that I shall be watching it on quite a regular basis for the next year or so.

"You know what the fellow said—in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The fucking cuckoo clock."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All I Need Is Iannucci

I found the following on the website of The Guardian, a UK newspaper:

Don't call me, I'll be wrapped up
by Armando Iannucci

So there I was, walking along the road one grey summer morning, when I espied a man, somewhat cheerless of disposition, his wife and children stringing along, all carrying boxes and an enormous amount of bubble wrap. 'We've sold the car,' said the man to my curious look. 'Bloody stupid idea. We should have sold it after we carried everything to the storage place, not before. But then we needed the money to pay for the storage place.' His four children looked at the ground, defeated by the unavoidable economics.

'I take it you're going to the storage place?' I said, trying to be friendly. 'D'you need any help?'

'We'd love some,' said his wife, and I could tell from her husband's look that he had been too embarrassed to ask but was now relieved his face's sullen begs were being answered.

'OK, I'll bring the car round and we can load up.'

I came back with my seven-seater, folded the back seats down and helped them load their boxes.

'Storing your stuff while you find somewhere smaller?' I asked, at the point where I realised we hadn't said anything for 10 or so minutes together and something needed to be said.

'Sort of,' said the man. He glanced at his wife, who nodded back. He turned to me and, staring at my nose, said: 'We were going to put all our things into storage, then we looked at the great rates they were offering and decided it would be cheaper if we went into storage as well.'

'What d'you mean?' I asked, slightly trembling.

'It's fine,' said his wife. 'We're putting all our furniture into boxes and storing them in one unit, then we'll box me, Tom and the kids up and get someone,' (she looked at me) 'to put them in a unit next to it.' She handed me some of the bubble wrap.

I've never had my gob smacked before, so don't know what it feels like, but I'm pretty sure it feels like how I felt just then. 'But, you are people,' I squawked, 'You've got heads and legs and everything. You can't just wrap yourself up.'

'Think you're clever do you?' said Tom the man. 'Not so clever you haven't missed the most brilliant money-saving scheme to stare you in the face? Sod mortgages and car insurance. Sod food bills and cavity wall insulation and buying too many lemons every week. Tell electricity and petrol and lettuce to take a flying frig. Pizzas and milk and batteries and potatoes can all go have a running crap. Plasma screens with sport, and biscuits with raisins. Dreck. All of it. Toilet duck and Vimto, all we spend on plates and flannels and marzipan and hammers and shoes.

'Why should all this cruddy dust suck at my purse? For the price of 20 rolls of bubble wrap and a hundred quid a month for two storage units, me, Judy and the kids are packaged and contented until everything outside sorts itself out.'

I drove Judy, Ken and the children to a storage warehouse in the suburbs. I guessed they were having a collective nervous breakdown and thought the kindest thing to do was follow their whims to the point where they could see they had become unsustainable. If I took them to the storage place, there'd come a point where they would realise they couldn't just wrap each other up and forget about themselves.

As I drove up, I could see other families arriving, their children all carrying unfeasible amounts of bubble wrap. Some had painted their own cardboard. The place had a carnival feel to it, but a carnival at which people hurl themselves down a log-flume without sitting on a log first. Everyone was smiling, but I could see the little tremors behind their eyes. I had to stop this.

I went over to the main office. A sign said '££££s OFF FAMILIES!!!' A man was taking money. 'This is appalling,' I said. He smiled and asked me to look at how happy everyone was. 'You want to take this one positive away from them?' he said. 'They've come up with a solution and it's brought them relief. You feel qualified to tell them they're wrong?'

I looked round. A father was Sellotaping his son into an enormous Tupperware crate. Another mother had wrapped herself in newspaper and masking tape, leaving a hand free to seal up a cardboard box from the inside. I saw an older brother push a younger brother into a poster tube. A girl was wrapping her hamster up in red paper. A boy was individually wrapping his socks and Top Trumps cards. A family of 26 were rolling a dice to see who would get to go in the crate that hadn't originally been used to carry vegetables. And all of them were smiling.

That was what I remembered most; each one of them was perfectly happy to undergo total packaging. I tried pulling them out, but the nearer I got, the more their smiles made sense. I took my decision and, tearing off a corner of wrapping paper and wrote down everything you're reading now. I've found a box I like, and Tom has agreed to seal the top. If you read this, don't open me up unless you're absolutely sure things have got considerably better. Thanks.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Captain PUGwash

This evening I attended the Tokyo PC Users Group. There was a talk on search engine optimization. The term itself is utterly ridiculous because it concerns techniques that can be used to make a website get indexed well by search engines, and, hopefully, cause a site to get a good ranking for relevant key words. It has nothing to do with optimizing search engines.

The speaker was very friendly and tried very hard, but he knew almost nothing about his topic. As a result his talk consisted almost entirely of inaccuracies and contained major holes. It was a real shame but it is sadly indicative of Tokyo. The foreign community here doesn't really give a fuck about quality. I left the meeting very depressed. I would love to organize something truly world-class here along the lines of Google Tech Talks or the Chaos Communication Congress. To do so would involve a daily struggle against mediocrity. I guess I should get started though.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back To The R00ts

Went through some of my old issues of 2600 Magazine When I get some money together I'll buy the Best Of 2600 book. I might add that I suggested such a book to the editor of 2600 at the 21st Chaos Communication Congress.

Taught a kids' class for two lovely five-year-old girls. Afterwards I spent a long time thinking about what children should really be taught. I came up with the following list: cooking, knot-tying, hacking, throwing shuriken, phreaking, barehand killing, planning picnics, swimming, back flips and sword fighting.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Dear Karamoon...

Dear Karamoon,

This is just a quick note to remind you of the following: Industrial education is morally indefensible. Anyone who allows their children to enter the industrial education system is failing in their duty as a parent. There are no exceptions. Fuck school.


Needless to say, my children will not be attending school.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Can You Sing A Rainbow Bridge?

Somehow I managed to get up early enough to meet up with Christopher in Odaiba. I found Christopher with a Canadian called Aaron. Aaron, like all Canadians (with the exception of the RCMP) was lovely. We had brunch at a chain restaurant. We then walked across the famous Rainbow Bridge all the way to Tokyo Tower. Rainbow Bridge isn't very rainbow-like in the daytime, but it was still quite impressive.

Tokyo Tower was crowded and silly, like many things in Tokyo. It is going to be pulled down soon, and a new Tokyo Tower will be built in Ueno, another part of Tokyo. Scientists have predicted that the new Tokyo Tower will be slightly less crowded than the old one, but just as silly.

The three of us took a train to Akihabara. Christopher introduced us to a good Indian restaurant where I ate some Kashmiri curry. We then wondered around for a while. It was my first time to go to Akihabara since the Akihabara Massacre. At the spot where the massacre took place people had left food and drink. Aaron bought an R4 card which allows the Nintendo DS to play copied games. Playing games is probably not a good use of Aaron's time, nor is writing the second "o" every time he writes his name. Don't people know there is a war on?

After saying goodbye to Christopher and Aaron, I went to Shibuya, where I spent an unreasonable period of time trying to find somewhere quiet to have a cup of tea. In the end I gave up and went to a chain restaurant.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Robot Man

Today I met up with a Japanese man who used to work for Apple as a hardware engineer. He is retired now but works on projects of his own including building a sophisticated robot. He has also been a radio Ham. Run DMC once said "Next time somebody's teaching make sure you get taught". Wise words, which I intend to follow.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


One of the perks of teaching English in Japan is that you are able to spread propaganda. There is something quite refreshing about spending 90 minutes indoctrinating a group of Japanese adults during an English lesson on the evils of the G8.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Debating Fuji

Stayed up late discussing the merits and demerits of attending the Fuji Rock festival. Merits include:
(1) The fact that the Fuji Rock Festival is the best music festival in the world.
(2) Being able to see Grandmaster Flash and Lee "Scratch" Perry.

Demerits include:
(1) The ticket price of 40,000 yen. (200 quid)
(2) It's held in the sky resort of Naeba, an expensive train journey away.

It's likely that I won't go and that, as a result, I'll be mildly upset for 12 months.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The China Syndrome

Twenty-eight years old and still packing a punch. The China Syndrome has certainly stood the test of time and has earned a place in my top ten films. Watch it, and watch it soon.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Iggy Pop's Ocelot Shop

Went to a local zoo. The zoo's main attraction is an Okapi which is related to the giraffe but looks more like a zebra. I was rather underwhelmed by the Okapi, but did see an ocelot, which I liked very much. The last time I saw an ocelot was at Iggy Pop's Ocelot Shop:

The zoo is owned by Yokohama city government, so it's quite cheap. Chichan and I had lunch at a restaurant in the zoo, which was reasonably priced and served great food. In the UK the restaurant would have been a complete rip-off. In the UK almost everything is a scam or a rip-off. I'm sure many Japanese business owners are just as greedy as those in the UK, but typically their pride outweighs their greed, so they tend to offer good quality products at low prices.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Parallax View

Watched "The Parallax View". Not since THX-1138 has a film affected me so much.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sketching With Sketchup

Played around with Google Sketchup. I designed a table. It's quite good. So is Japan. Unlike this blog.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Starfire Revisited

I watched the Starfire video again today with one of my students. I told her it was a good example of business English in use, which it is, to some extent.
My student was really enthusiastic about the content. I think it was the first time for her to question the status quo as far as human-computer interaction is concerned...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Three Days Of The Karamoon

For the first time in my life I watched "Three Days Of The Condor", a 1975 film directed by Sydney Pollack, staring Robert Redford. It's based on the book "Six Days Of The Condor". The film is well-known throughout the hacker community because of its realistic depiction of phone phreaking. At one point in the film Robert Redford steals a lineman's handset which he uses to beige box with. He records some DTMF tones and uses a remote computer to decode them. He also makes a call from within a telephone exchange, directly connecting to the switch. This enables him to route his call through several phone lines, thus defeating the CIA's attempt to trace his call.

Watching Three Days Of The Condor made me want to watch "The Falcon And The Snowman" and "The Conversation" again.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Akihabara Massacre

There was a massacre this afternoon in Akihabara, the tech and anime area of Tokyo. Some guy drove a truck through a crowd of people, he then got out of the truck and started stabbing people. Seven people have died so far.

Akihabara is not a place I often go to because it's the opposite side of Tokyo to me, and nowadays it's far more sleazy than it used to be. When I fist came to Japan in 2001, Akihabara was a tech paradise. During the years I was away from Japan, it's changed to a scummy place full of maid-cafes, porn shops and other unpleasant places.

Like many parts of the modern world, Japan is sick. We should therefore not be in the least surprised when sick things like this happen. It is, of course, tragic when people are killed in this way, but it also highlights the many social problems here. Japan has the highest child-suicide rate in the world, something that nobody here seems to give a fuck about. Prostitution is endemic here. The yakuza control many aspects of life here, and nobody tries to stop them. There is an HIV timebomb here, but nobody talks about it. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

The Japanese here are hoping that the guy who committed the massacre was on drugs, or was mentally ill, or was a gangster. If he is, then every one will sleep soundly, knowing that Japan really is perfect, and that their are just a few rotten apples here.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Piracy Is Good

Downloaded over 100 MP3s including stuff by Peaches, Negativland, Kraftwerk, Red Martian, Le Tigre, The Talking Heads, Sleeper, The Flaming Lips, Grandmaster Flash and Gonzales.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Meeting Wamono

I spent most of the day doing nothing. I had planned to have a haircut, do some exercise, write some of my film script and save the world, but instead I just sat around, watching anime and surfing the Net.

In the evening I met two people from Wamono, a new England-language magazine published in Tokyo. I was very nervous at first but I soon managed to relax. We went to a very pleasant restaurant in Shibuya and discussed many things. I hope to get involved with Wamono is some small capacity, for example as a proof-reader. Check out the Wamono website: www.wamono-web.com

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thai Festival

An early start. I went to Tower Records in Shibuya to get the free weekly English magazines. In an unprecedented departure from the norm, I actually bought some stuff at Tower. I got a copy of Tokyo Journal and JSelect.

I met up with my friend Tomoko and we wondered around the Thai Festival in the rain. It had grown considerably since the last one I had been to, which was seven years ago. We ate various Thai foods and tried to avoid the rain. We had some coffee at a doughnut shop then Tomoko headed off to a Linux meeting.

I went round the Thai festival again with Chi-chan and Pasinee, a Thai friend. It was raining more heavily, so when I finally went home I was cold and wet.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Stuff I Read And Why

UK-based hacker BigM000 always delivers entertaining tales of his daily life, seeking work and adventure in and around Sunny Norwich.

Tomoko's Blog
Tomo-chan candidly explores the role of women in Japan, while struggling to understand the OSI 7-layer model of networking.

Wamono Magazine aims to take Japanese culture "from Japan to all the places in the world". This is the Wamono staff blog.

Damon Coulter is a professional photographer who happens to live very close to me. His photos and insights are well worth checking out.

Citizen Reporter
Bicycle Mark reads news from around the world so I don't have to bother.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Whining About Wine

I'm starting to enjoy teaching a lot more recently. I had a discussion lesson this morning which went pretty well. In Japan it's always hard to get good class interaction. When I asked the class to suggest a topic for the next lesson they remained silent so I just said "Plan a bank robbery". I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

My next lesson was with a new student who works as a wine waiter in a famous Italian restaurant in Tokyo. I couldn't bring myself to tell my student that I don't drink. Instead, I pretended to be interested in issues such as plastic-cork technology, emerging markets for Australian wines and the amount of alcohol Japanese people are able to consume in a typical evening.

My last lesson of the day was to coach a university student for the TOEIC English exam. TOEIC is a stupid exam, but the lesson was still fun. Cynical readers may wonder how two hours with an 18-year old Japanese cheerleader can be anything other than fun...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Best. Book. Title. Ever.

"If You Liked School, You'll Love Work" by Ivine Welsh. It says it all. I haven't read the book, and I'm not going. Fuck work.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Video Killed The DVD Star

VHS is so cool and retro, like my beard. I bought 4 ex-rental videos from a stall outside a supermarket today:
(1) Heathers (Michael Lehmann, 1989)
(2) Roger And Me (Michael Moore, 1989)
(3) The Way Of The Gun (Christopher McQuarrie, 2000)
(4) Gummo (Harmony Korine, 1997)

Please watch all four films if you haven't already done so and post your comments here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Open The Pod Bay Doors, HAL

Watched "2001 Seconds", which is the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" with the boring bits removed and a new soundtrack added. It's very, very good. You too can watch it, just download it from 2001 seconds - the Swith Edit

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sexy Beijing

Found a professional video podcast from China called "Sexy Beijing" while aimlessly wondering around Youtube. It's rather light, but still worth watching. Just search Youtube or check out the website: www.sexybeijing.tv

I'm still crazy about China and Chinese culture. Once my Japanese is better I'll start learning Mandarin properly. If I can get the cash together I will spend a month in Beijing studying Mandarin at a language school.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ups And Downs

Walked up and down Takao-san twice today as part of my training for climbing Fuji-san later this year. Takao-san is a very small mountain, just 600 metres tall. Fuji-san is about 3700 metres tall, so I must do a lot of training. Going up the second time I spotted this tiny shrine.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Keepin' It Real In Da Tokyo Hood

Went for a walk in my 'hood. Found my local telephone exchange. W00t. Spotted some other cool things including this roadside shrine. I also found a very tempting storm drain...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just Walk Away

During one of my classes today a student was very disrespectful. Although she was actually expressing the opinion of another student, it still pissed me off. I will probably quit the class or at least make them feel bad. I feel very lucky to know that I can essentially just walk away from any class I don't like and still be able to just find some more students and get enough money to live on.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Full On Sunday

Got up at 7am to help old people clear up the cherry blossom in the streets around my town. Networking is very important here as most things are based on personal relationships. That is what I was telling myself as I sleepily wondered around my neighborhood with a witch's broom and a rubbish bag full of blossom.

At 10am I queued up to get free trees. Every year since 1975 free trees are given out by the Tokyu train company to people living on Tokyu train lines. The idea is that this will make the areas along the train lines nicer, so more people will live along the lines and use the trains. I got a peach tree and a grape vine! Sometime Japan is just too damn cool.

In the afternoon I went to a "Tea Salon" event. It was organized by an international association in a nearby city. It was embarrassing, silly, childish and fun, just like many events in Japan. I met a couple of cool people, and the event was free, so I guess it was worthwhile.

On the way home I bought a couple of dumbbells to use for Crossfit training. I plan to do dumbbell thrusters, which are very evil, but also very effective for improving your fitness. I will blog my results...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wink Or Swim

Swimming in Japan is very strange. In most public Japanese public swimming pools, half of the people walk up and down the pool instead of swimming. At the end of each hour, everyone has to get out for a rest.

I went swimming at a school swimming pool near my house. The staff seemed really pleased to have a non-Japanese customer. One of the lifeguards rushed up to me as I entered the pool, and asked where I was from. When I told him I was English, he got very excited and started talking about Mr David Beckham, a British footballer. I tried to explain that football was the opium of the people etc, but I'm not sure I was able to fully get my point across.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fallen Cherry Blossom, Strange Party And Film Editing

At 8 am I met up with some old people to sweep up the fallen cherry blossom. After an hour, we had some tea and I was formally introduced to the others. In Japan it is common for old people to be fit and active until they die. I don't think it has anything to do with genetics, it's just that Japanese people have a very healthy diet and lifestyle.

At 11 am some of my students came over for a party. It was rather strange. We ate cold squid and spoke in a mixture of Japanese and English.

At 2 pm my good friend Ando-san arrived. Ando-san is going to edit my film. She has had 10 years experience working in TV. Although TV sucks, needless to say, Ando-san rocks. In the evening we went for ramen.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Murder On The Orient Express

It rained all day today. I stayed inside reading "Mastery Of Hand Strength" and watching "Murder On The Orient Express". Both are very good, like life.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2001: A Lunch Odyssey

Arthur C. Clarke has died.

In the afternoon I had lunch with Scott Lockman. We intended to go to are usual restaurant, an Egyptian place that does an excellent buffet lunch. Sadly they restaurant in no longer doing lunch, so we ended up in an Indian restaurant. The food was good, and it was reasonably priced. After lunch we went to a expensive coffee shop here we ate expensive cakes and talked about Second Life.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Expedient Distribution Of Soup

Scott of Tokyo Calling, and Christopher of Finding Japan came to the Tokyo 2600 meeting. Christopher brought his girlfriend along. Her name escapes me, but I do remember her being American. The four of us discussed many topics, including, but not limited to, assassination, steam tunnel exploration, nanotechnology, risk management, voting machine insecurity, side channel attacks, clock skew and TCP timestamps,
quantum cryptography and soup distribution.

Although it was the most successful meeting by far of Tokyo 2600, there was something lacking.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Pad Thai

Ate at a nearby Thai restaurant called Pad Thai. I ordered Pad Thai. It was ok.