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International Robot Exhibition, part 2

A year and a half ago I went to the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo. I got some good pictures, and was linked to from boingboing, but online video hadn’t really taken off yet, so only I got to see the videos I took. I’ve finally gotten around to uploading some of those videos: Crab [...]

True Stories of Life in Japan, pt 7: The Elusive Asian Girlfriend

When I first arrived in-country, I had a weekend of training and a week of dual-teaching with the prior teacher before officially taking over the position. It’s a useful system; my predecessor didn’t have a lot to say about teaching, but he did get me familiar enough with the local area enough that I could [...]

True Stories of Life in Japan, pt 3: A Cross-Country Drive

Socialization posed an interesting problem while I lived in Japan. I was the only fluent speaker of English in quite a large radius. I interacted socially with some of my adult students, but there was no way to be completely unreserved with them: they were my students; they paid for my livelihood. Almost as important [...]

True Stories of Life in Japan, pt 2: Exploration as Recreation

One of the nicest things about living in Japan was that there was always something new and unique to see anytime I felt like going out to find it. Going to a new country, you expect to be surprised and delighted by the differences at first, but for the novelty to gradually fade. I suppose [...]

I wish I knew who composed that orchestration

I’ve mentioned in the past that I live, quite literally, on the edge of a fairly large expanse of rice paddies. The nearest building across those paddies, perhaps a kilometer away, is a junior high school. As it happens, the wind often blows more or less directly from the high school to me, so it’s [...]


I now know what my major movements will be during the month of August. Basic plan: 2 August: Tokyo -> Boston -> Rochester, NH 12 August: Boston -> Seattle 18 August: Seattle -> Newark (NJ stuff goes here–details to be figured out later) 20? August: NJ -> vertumnus1′s family’s place 27? August: Drive back to [...]

road trip

Last month, I made plans. The first weekend of this month, I was to go skiing. The last weekend of this month, I was to go to an onsen. Skiing was fun but mostly unremarkable; I took a train there, skiied for a day and a half, and took a train back. There was some [...]

Future thoughts

I was out walking today (mainly to remind myself that the sun does exist, and that unlike a vampire, I will not wither and die from contact with its rays), and I saw a bunch of kids playing soccer in the field. This would not be particularly remarkable in and of itself, because winter here [...]

it is new year’s eve and life is good

My family came to visit for Christmas. They got here a few days beforehand, and left this morning. Of course, my apartment being both tiny and messy, we didn’t actually spend any time there; instead, we visited Tokyo, Kyoto, and the surrounding areas. I have pictures, and I have stories to tell. Unfortunately, right now [...]


There were fireworks tonight! Last week, my students told me that there would be a big fireworks celebration that Saturday near here, and a bigger one in Tokyo that Sunday. By accident, I slept through Saturday’s; I could hear the end of it outside my house, but I didn’t have time to ride to where [...]