Japan stories

A quote from my friend:

    <m0nki> guess some yakuza got pulled over in roppongi today >BD
    <m0nki> As is my usual custom, at about 3:45 I headed up to Starbucks or
            Tully's to grab a does of caffeine to keep the synapses firing for
            the remainder of the workday. On my way back, as I make a left
            turn onto Roppongi Dori in front of Almond (on foot), the light
            turns red and people start walking across Roppongi Dori.... and
            out this black Mercedes with tinted windows decides that red
            lights mean "speed up" and he zips through, slowing down a little
            for the pede
    <m0nki> They scatter, he zips through, and two police officers who just
            happened to be there jump out in front of him. He pulls to a stop,
            then revs his engine and lurches a little at them to try to scare
            them out of his way. One of the two jumps out of the way, but the
            other cop (the older one) grabs his baton from his holster, and
            slams the butt end down on the hood.... left a NASTY dent.
    <m0nki> At this, the punch permed gent jumped out of the car and started
            screaming at the officer. Those of you who know the neighbourhood
            may be chuckling at this point, realising exactly where all this
            was taking place - about 20 metres from the Aoyama police station.
    <m0nki> Sure enough, Mr. Yak gets that creepy feeling that someone is
            standing behind him, turns around and there's like 15 cops there.
            As I strolled back to the office, they were going over the car
            with a fine toothed comb - they'd removed the passenger seat, had
            the contents of the trunk on the sidewalk...

Part 2

Well, my GF did great on her first day of testing on Friday (though she won’t have the essay score for a few weeks, when it’s graded by the folks in the US.) Today is Part 2 for her, and because of a stupid company-wide meeting, I can’t meet her beforehand to walk her to the building! :(

Good luck, luv! I know you’ll do just fine :)

Fingers Crossed!

Well, I just dropped off my GF at her exam. I can’t believe I’m having nervous willies like she is — butterflies in my stomach and intestinal pain. I remember my first standardized test that counted (I think it was the PSAT), so now I can imagine how she feels.

I am so proud of her having come so far, and even if she doesn’t pass, I am positive she’ll be a better person for having gotten this far. It’s incredible to see someone go from being completely frightened of an exam (nay, terrified) to being confident enough to stride into the testing center and take the damn thing!

One thing’s for sure, we’re gonna party like it’s the end of the world when this whole thing is over. :P

Screw linux.

You know, I go out and buy the hardware you guys recommend. I even saw a big “Intersil Prism2” sticker on the side of the NIC’s box.

I install linux. about 400 times. no dice. not with wvlan_cs, not with orinoco_cs, not even with prism2_cs. It’s just foobar.

So I completely destroyed my last desktop PC (PPro 200, 64MB) because I am just sick of this nonsense. If you guys can figure out how the hell linux PCMCIA supports a card that identifies itself as “HyperLink Wireless PC Card 11Mbps” then go for it. My websearches turned up a guy from a while ago who got it working with a now outdated kernel. Now support (and a string for it in /etc/pcmcia.conf or hermes.conf) don’t exist.

So there. Screw linux. As a matter of fact, screw any OS that takes two days out of your life to eventually STILL not work.

I’m off to Yodobashi to buy myself another standalone unit with a bridge mode built in. SIGH.

oh no

I overslept by an hour this morning, which means . . . my GF was an hour late to work. To taking care of screaming kiddies.


(Even though she’s quitting in two weeks, and they know it. It’s not fair to the parents or the other teacher.)

I’m now taking suggestions on how to make it up to her.

Much ado about nothing…

And, overnight, an email arrives from S. letting me know that things are OK, and, as far as I can tell, there are no hard feelings.

Looks like there’s some spirited discussion over on the comments to the last thing I posted! I’ll chime in a bit here:

I contacted my other friends who I had been ignoring for a while because my GF got on my case while I was in Arizona a couple of weeks ago . . . based on your letter lily! so yes, you absolutely had something to do with it. :) Was my life that overwhelming? To a degree, yes. As I mentioned, I had at least a partial breakdown while at my last job, and while I was in-between that one and my current job, I was pretty depressed. You’d think I would lean on my old friends for help, but rather, I have this habit of simply trying to deal with it myself, and often not too successfully. I’m not quite “too proud to ask for help,” but more likely “too frightened of burdening others” and “too used to dealing on my own.” My GF will attest to the fact that I certainly leaned on her a bit, perhaps too much . So yeah, I’ve learned my lesson there.

But I also wasn’t careful about the separation I made when I left the US; I fully intended to keep up with my friends, and weed out the people I didn’t feel like communicating with (common enough, I’ve moved almost every year since 1991). Instead, I got immediately overwhelmed by the amount of email I had to deal with, and kept putting it off because it was way too intimidating (and my email interface sucked ass.) With a day of serious determination, I managed to clean it all up, so in the end it wasn’t all that hard to do. I guess, in the end, it was more of a realization that I was afraid my former friends would be just that — former. I was afraid that the decisions I had made in life would let people down, and rather than diminish myself in their views, I’d let them go on remembering me the way I was. That’s the fatal mistake, because good friends wouldn’t act that way.

I’ve managed over the years to stay in touch with a few people for much longer than a year or two, my oldest friend being from 1982. That shows that, in the end, I stay in touch with people I care about – it’s just that I’ve taken a hiatus here for a while. Looking back over my own personal history, I have a habit of doing this, not because I don’t need friends, but because I get caught up in a particular situation: graduate school, a job, a particular mate, etc. Achieving balance has been one of my key issues for years, and the older I get, the easier it seems to achieve. My GF had a great idea on my birthday a couple weeks ago; rather than having new year’s resolutions, have birthday resolutions. One was to keep in touch with the people (and institutions) that I care about. I’d say I’m doing a far better job now than I was at the start of this year.

Onto U.S. politics: I’m glad to hear that not everyone in the US is a right militant bastard. The general reaction to the US here in Japan, as far as I can tell from my immediate friends, is that the US is reacting out of proportion to the threat it received, and that the expansion of the effort into other regions (the famous “axis of evil” quote) is going way too far. Countries like Japan feel a bit bullied into helping out, and while no one here actually supports terrorism, they certainly don’t go out of their way to support the military action. I also don’t think that the locals here expect the US to help them survive or defend their borders; that sort of protectorate concept went out the door with the British leaving Hong Kong in 1999. There’s a growing movement in Japan to kick the US out of Okinawa (fueled by the absolute atrocities committed by horny US service men, search the Japan Times or Yahoo for references) and establish a military again, and these actions might actually increase those sentiments.

I’m a bit closer to canongrrl’s ideas here, mostly because it rings true. For all the social and political tolerance the US professes, things are certainly different when it comes to foreign policy, protecting industry interests (Enron anyone? No one here trusts the Bush government now because of Enron). It’s that duplicity that bothers me in any culture, even here, what with the environmental disaster, Nanking, the yakuza influence, control of the press by private interests, etc. It’s all clear to me, and no location is a panacea. Nor am I about to suggest some Utopian, Objectivist anarchic society that only exists in the mind of some twisted, sexually deprived author. My GF is right; I’m not going to give up my citizenship so soon over this. Now, the Defense Of Marriage Act, or the Marriage Amendment – those are an entirely different matter, and in fact the reason I started thinking about other countries. The whole Afghani nonsense just contributed to my sentiments.

Phew, time for a drink…bbiab.

cough cough

I think my allergies are getting worse. After every meal for a few months now, I’ve been having coughing fits. And now, for the last week or so, after every meal I feel this lump in my throat, as if I can’t breathe . . . and it’s not getting better. I’m worried, but I also don’t trust the Japanese medical system’s doctors to correctly diagnose my allergy problems. Does anyone have any ideas?