Friday, June 30, 2006

Murakami on stage

Rumor has it a stage-adapted Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is in the works. As I was browsing fuckedgaijin I came across this interesting piece of news originated from a Tokyo craigslist's job offer. Apparently a production team is hiring an assistant in Tokyo to work on the project.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle wouldn't be the easiest Murakami's work to be adapted into anything. It's long. It's complex. It's beyond expectations. It's meant to be disappointing. While it's not my top Haruki Murakami's novel, it's ranked pretty close up there with The End of the World and the Hard-Boiled Wonderland. Although my curiosity would probably get the better of me if it does make it into production.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle vol1, 2, 3

The End of the World and the Hard-Boiled Wonderland vol1, 2

Monday, June 26, 2006

committed to Linux

After ditching Windows completely and using Ubuntu Dapper Drake for a whole month now, I can form an opinion about this distro and Debian Gnome in general.

There are the more exciting things, namely:

fresh looking desktop;
its ability to detect most hardware;
and install everything pre-first-boot;
everything is free, or nearly free;
the learning curve is not that steep;
do anything you can do with MS Windows;
friendly users who help whatever the problem.

And there are some headaches, mostly:

poor 3D support for popular graphics cards (ATI, Nvidia, Intel);
a smaller range of software available;
buggy programs, due to non-dedicated support;
time consuming because of fine tuning required;
Linux-specific games a few years behind Windows.

BOTTOM LINE: Ubuntu is probably Linux-community's best shot at converting Windows users for a long while. There were numerous other distros that came very close but remained viable to only a small sum. True that if you want to run a version of Linux right out of the box it's as user-friendly as any Windows, if not more so, but after that you want to get it to perform the way you specify, it takes a lot of time and effort to fine-tune it.

another wet day

I woke up to the feeling that it's been misting indoors. If I hold my fist hard enough, water will seep out from between my fingers. (90% relative humidity) Birds chirping away as I admire my oasis-like neighborhood. Wild life is not a common sight in Japan. The only downside is that they find my car a haven to hang out, meaning all activities conducted on the roof and near the windows. More car wash in this raining season is not exactly fun but I do enjoy having them around. I hope they do the same for me. There are the occasional mean-looking Tokyo ravens or large crows charting the skies. They don't usually come close to where I live, which is a bit far from the city center, if you can call it that.

On the dehumidifier runs.

And on,

and on, at least for today.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

not a soccer fan

However far-stretched I'm no soccer fan but the WC has been a great source of entertainment. Competitions between enthusiastic participants with comparable skills are always exciting.

A couple of days ago, I got home ready (a little alcohol, some snacks) for a do-or-die US vs Ghana match only to find that they'd rather show the other game on at the same time, Italy vs Czech. Can you blame them? We all know the US collectively doesn't care about "football", not that each US players didn't want to win as bad as the next country's. Although knowing all your countrymen are behind you provides the mental support necessary to advance. To make up for the disappointment I stayed up late enough to catch Japan's last glimpse of survival against Brazil. Quite obviously they blew it bad (1:4), as did the US.

Talking about WC in class, I was really surprised to hear from the majority of my students say that they couldn't care less if their national team's won or lost. Asian countries have got a long way to go to match the rest of the world in soccerness.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

summer solstice

Today the Sun reaches its northernmost point in the planet Earth's sky. Called a solstice, the date traditionally marks a change of seasons -- from spring to summer in Earth's Northern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in Earth's Southern Hemisphere.

Pictured above is the 2005 Summer Solstice celebration at Stonehenge in England.

The event was rare because Stonehenge was not always open to the public, and because recent summer solstices there had been annoyingly cloudy.

In 2005, however, thousands of people gathered at sunrise to see the sun rise through the 4,000 year old solar monument.

Due to the precession of the Earth's orbital axis over the millennia, the Sun no longer rises over Stonehenge in an astronomically significant way, although the photographer was able to find a good spot where the rising Sun appeared over one of Stonehenge's massive standing stones.


more widescreen wallpapers

Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at

digging the black and white. all wallpapers 1680x1050. don't blame me, blame my display resolution.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

a different kind of WC fever

I applaud the overall playfulness of this translated article.

Love hotels letting Japanese use ball handling skills during World Cup
Japan's World Cup campaign may have got off to a disastrous start against Australia on June 12, but Shukan Shincho (6/22) reports the soccer extravaganza made the same night a bountiful one for love hotel operators as Japanese put their ball handling and dribbling skills to use off the pitch.

Part of the appeal of love hotels as choices for viewing the game came because they have now largely shed the rotating bed and wall and ceiling mirror image they once had in favor of becoming havens of cutting edge video technology.

"Just about everywhere is pretty gorgeous," the editor of a magazine devoted to adult entertainment services tells Shukan Shincho. "Of course, love hotel rooms now nearly all have large screen plasma TVs, karaoke functions and 5.1 surround stereo sound systems. There's now nothing special about TVs built into rooms with Jacuzzis in them as well."

No longer mere bonk bastions, love hotels have become hot spots for people to belt out a tune or watch a movie with a sound system every bit as good as a theater could produce. And the World Cup is helping spread the image of love hotels as places to enjoy some fine sounds. (read the rest)

Friday, June 16, 2006

25th Annual Japanese Dance Happyoukai

This past Sunday two of my students performed in a traditional Japanese dance happyoukai (発表会). They were both fabulous. It was one of the most Japanese things I've been exposed to, among them tea ceremony, hanabi, hanami, hatsumode, etc. Here are some pictures. I have the program I wish I could scan some profile pics had I a scanner. My two students (5th- and 8th-graders) are cute as a button.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sunday, June 11, 2006


From the string theories and the supergravity theory farrowed the idea of membranes and the need of parallel universes to satisfy mathematical equations, that physicists from all over started to embrace a few years ago, despite long trashing it, out of what'd possibly be fad- and fashion-prescribed directions to attempts of understanding the universe and everything in it.

I don't know if one can see the irony in the whole turnaround but haven't we learned if nothing at all that we are in a very primitive stage of being able to quantify everything. An open mind to less-than-main-stream ideas at least? Science isn't a religion and some guys can do without their almost evangelical following.

Horizon's documentary Parallel Universes originally aired in 2002 does an effective job connecting the basics and central ideas of how the nonsensical transformed into the likely. In a nutshell what perhaps is the most exciting yet frustrating lies within its explanation of the big bang.
Everything you're about to read here seems impossible and insane, beyond science fiction. Yet it's all true.

Scientists now believe there may really be a parallel universe - in fact, there may be an infinite number of parallel universes, and we just happen to live in one of them. These other universes contain space, time and strange forms of exotic matter. Some of them may even contain you, in a slightly different form. Astonishingly, scientists believe that these parallel universes exist less than one millimetre away from us. In fact, our gravity is just a weak signal leaking out of another universe into ours.

In another universe, the British could win the American Civil WarThe same but different

For years parallel universes were a staple of the Twilight Zone. Science fiction writers loved to speculate on the possible other universes which might exist. In one, they said, Elvis Presley might still be alive or in another the British Empire might still be going strong. Serious scientists dismissed all this speculation as absurd. But now it seems the speculation wasn't absurd enough. Parallel universes really do exist and they are much stranger than even the science fiction writers dared to imagine.

Greater dimensions

It all started when superstring theory, hyperspace and dark matter made physicists realise that the three dimensions we thought described the Universe weren't enough. There are actually 11 dimensions. By the time they had finished they'd come to the conclusion that our Universe is just one bubble among an infinite number of membranous bubbles which ripple as they wobble through the eleventh dimension.

Each universe may exist as a bubble with its own laws of physics

A creative touch

Now imagine what might happen if two such bubble universes touched. Neil Turok from Cambridge, Burt Ovrut from the University of Pennsylvania and Paul Steinhardt from Princeton believe that has happened. The result? A very big bang indeed and a new universe was born - our Universe. The idea has shocked the scientific community; it turns the conventional Big Bang theory on its head. It may well be that the Big Bang wasn't really the beginning of everything after all. Time and space all existed before it. In fact Big Bangs may happen all the time.

Of course this extraordinary story about the origin of our Universe has one alarming implication. If a collision started our Universe, could it happen again? Anything is possible in this extra-dimensional cosmos. Perhaps out there in space there is another universe heading directly towards us - it may only be a matter of time before we collide.
Parallel Universes torrent


What better place to watch the sun rise than the city named 旭 (sunrise, morning sun) in the country known as the land of the rising sun, other than the fact that it gets annoyingly repetitive once put into words?

Said city, where I've found temporary refuge in, is home largely to farmers, hospital employees, and 9-to-5 office-working, karaoke-going, izakaiya-dwelling run-of-the-mill workaholics.

Before this I recall having purposefully waited for the sun to climb that hill was last year during my lengthy drive to Hokkaido. The chilly damp in the air from these misty early summer dawns can bring serenity to whomever willing to spare a frail moment, along with the smell of the local farmer's market crossed with an occasional animal smell that mildly stings the nose though hardly noticeable after some getting-used-to, and a surprisingly broad horizon that can only be described as a rarity in the land-scarce Kanto just a mere 80 odd miles east of Tokyo. It then quietly flooded the skyline with its watercolor aurora, like a shipshape agreement unspoken, at four A.M. sharp.

What worldly possession would one give for this precious little notion of a lidlessly trivial morning?

In due time I should have some pictures to show how delightful it really was, once they make their way to this end of the cable. Arr... the inconvenience of having lost my camera cell phone.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

disturbing on every level

Teenage girl busted for pimping three friends
TOMAKOMAI, Hokkaido -- A 15-year-old girl was arrested on Wednesday for introducing three junior high school girls as prostitutes to three men, police said.

The 15-year-old girl, who stands accused of violating the anti-child prostitution law, received introduction fees from the three junior high school girls, Hokkaido police said.

She introduced three of her friends, all 15 years old, to three men in February, when she was also a junior high school student. The three men reportedly took the three girls to a hotel in Tomakomai and paid 25,000 yen each for their sexual services.

The three men have since been arrested. The arrested girl received 5,000 yen in introduction fees from each of the three girls.

The three men are aged 58, 49, and 40, respectively.

(Mainichi) June 7, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ubuntu Linux 6.06

In the porcess of upgrading to Dapper, currently the most popular Linux distro.

I found the person who made the wallpaper, here.

Friday, June 02, 2006

teamwork VS star power

I personally find the NBA Eastern conference finals a lot more interesting than the West. You have a team of basketball players that don't stand out as individual stars, no endorsement deals, no striking good looks, just plain textbook bball. And then you have a bunch of guys in which six of them at one time could carry their own teams before coming together under one roof.

Would it be the forever-underdog or the star-studded army?