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True Stories of Life in Japan, pt 9: So You Want to be an Expatriate

One of the more common reactions I get from people newly learning that I’ve lived in Japan is “I wish I could do something like that.” It’s actually not all that hard; all you need is a bachelor’s degree, some patience during the application process, a few thousand dollars to get you over there and [...]

True Stories of Life in Japan, pt 4: Combini and Vending Machines

Japan has been crowded for as long as anyone can remember. Even in prehistoric times, when the very first boatload of proto-japanese people landed and set up a settlement, they built their town in an area the size of a basketball court and reserved the rest of the land for a mixture of golf courses [...]

dunker-heeds and off-base life

Flight training proper, in which they teach us the theory and practice of keeping a helicopter in the air and the proper procedures for causing it to interact with the ground both with and without violence, has not yet started. However, we do occasionally get bits of training now; those parts tend to be awesome. [...]

The sound of money flushing down the toilet is “Thunk.”

So. Last Friday, three days before the scheduled spring maintenance, I was on my motorcycle during a long, hot, traffic jam on the interstate. Shortly after the jam broke up, the engine seized. I just got the call from the mechanic: they want a minimum of $500 to investigate the problem in depth, but that [...]


Every once in a while, I’m presented with a set of events which threaten my rejection of the supernatural. I know that this is to be be expected; there are six billion people on Earth, so 6000 people should experience one-in-a-million chances every time such dice are rolled. To be specific, let me speak of [...]

the sketchiest night of my life

One consequence of the long delay before I leave for Basic Training is that I have to come up with two more months’ rent. As such, I set out yesterday to acquire a basic, simple job that would pay over $10/hour and for which I could start immediately and end abruptly when it was time [...]


I love it when a prop or concept from science fiction arrives in real life. Need the automatic sentry machinegun from Aliens? Samsung has them at five per million dollars.


When leaving Japan, I sold off my monitor. This was a bit of a gamble, but I knew that it would be expensive to ship, and hoped to be able to get something new and better. It turns out to have paid off; I sold the old one for a good price, and bought a [...]


My trip home from Japan was completed almost exactly 48 hours ago now. Aside from the colossal ineptitude of Liberty Airport (Newark, NJ), my trip was fairly smooth and easy. I’ve spent much of the last two days burning through the backlog of novels which were waiting for me here, visiting various relatives, and generally [...]

a summary of my interactions with the army, to date

[15 April] From: coriolinus To: generic internet recruiter Msg: I want to fly helicopters. Here are some details about me. Am I eligible? [18 April] From: generic internet recruiter To: coriolinus Msg: Tentatively, yes. Here is the contact information of the local recruiter who will sign you up for testing. From: local recruiter To: coriolinus [...]