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.