Friday, July 20, 2007

balls of steel

Man grows marijuana on farm land he rents from government

NAGANO -- An unemployed man who grew marijuana on farm land he rents from the municipal government has been arrested, law enforcers said.

The prefectural government and Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry narcotic control officers arrested Hideki Kasuga, 34, for violating the Cannabis Control Law.

In the specific case for which he was arrested, Kasuga grew marijuana at his home in Nagano.

Kasuga also rented farm land from the municipal government and grew 80 marijuana plants this year, according to law enforcers.

He planted numerous sunflowers on the farm to conceal the illegal plants. However, the marijuana plants grew higher than the sunflowers, and a local resident who noticed the plants alerted law enforcement authorities.

The farm land is part of an area that the municipal government rents out to local residents for growing vegetables. (Mainichi)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Typhoon #4 (2007)

The first threat of this typhoon season.
Super typhoon Man-yi is forecasted to hit Kyushu on Saturday afternoon, the Meteorological Agency has announced, warning of heavy rain, floods, strong winds and high waves in Kyushu and surrounding areas.

As of 8 a.m. on Saturday the typhoon, this year's fourth, was located about 170 kilometers southwest of Makurazaki, Kagoshima Prefecture, and moving northeast at 25 kilometers per hour.

The atmospheric pressure was measured at 945 hectopascals at its center, where wind speeds of up to 45 meters per second were also recorded.

The maximum instantaneous wind speed hit 40.2 meters per second on Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture and 45 meters per second on Yaku Island also in Kagoshima Prefecture. mainichi

Friday, July 13, 2007

NYC sunset

Today, if it is clear, well placed New Yorkers can go outside at sunset and watch their city act like a modern version of Stonehenge. Manhattan will flood dramatically with sunlight just as the Sun sets precisely on the centerline of every street. Usually, the tall buildings that line the gridded streets of New York City's tallest borough will hide the setting Sun. This effect makes Manhattan a type of modern Stonehenge, although only aligned to about 30 degrees east of north. Were Manhattan's road grid perfectly aligned to east and west, today's effect would occur on the Vernal and Autumnal Equinox, March 21 and September 21, the only two days that the Sun rises and sets due east and west. Pictured above in this horizontally stretched image, the the Sun sets down 34th Street as viewed from Park Avenue. If today's sunset is hidden by clouds do not despair -- the same thing happens twice each year, in late May and mid July. On none of these occasions, however, should you ever look directly at the Sun.
Credit & Copyright:
Neil deGrasse Tyson (AMNH)

Monday, July 09, 2007

English teachers in Japan

The recent NOVA problems have led to new found interests in Foreign workers, especially English Instructors, among Japanese news media. NHK jumped on the bandwagon and aired this segment a little while ago.

It's in Japanese but the interviewees speak English.

The report sums up the few problems that one might have living and working in Japan, mainly how difficult it is to get on "social insurance", AKA medical insurance, how fragile the one-year employment contract actually is, and how the big corporations only care about their money, not the teachers nor the students.

It's a known issue among experienced teachers in Japan that NOVA is one of the worst places to work for. But new expats always fall prey to the easy job. On top of that most Japanese only know NOVA - the McDonald's of English language learning.

Friday, July 06, 2007

wake up and...


Do you remember a long time ago there were a series of car commercials with the catch phrase "Wake Up and Drive"? I can't recall what manufacturer it was from but that's exactly how I felt getting up today. I want to jump into my roadster in the driveway and go very very far away, with or without a destination at the end of the journey.

OK, I admit there are certainly more pressing issues elsewhere. I know I've been obsessed with the new ride. But hear me out, today I had my first tail slide, unintended. Although tame it'll be with more "wheel" time. I know it. Here is why. While it's prone to possible trouble on the open road with other traffic under similar situation, its every spin was surprisingly predictable. It almost wants to teach me, "There, hop in and let me take control for a bit. This is how it's done." I'm getting familiarized with it. The relationship is going to be a mutually appreciative one.

See the mud on the rear tires? Well maybe you can't, but if you squint you'll see the cause of today's tail-happiness. Vroom... vrooooom...

This is going to be the last post about this car for a while.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Why Mazda Roadster (MX-5 Miata)...

is the right car?

nimble handling:
"the Best Handling Car in Britain." - Tiff Needell, Fifth Gear presenter and former Le Mans racer, referring to the 2nd gen Mazda Roadster, the one I now own.

"Mazda Motor Corporation announced the production of the 800,000th MX-5 Miata. Total global production of the MX-5 Miata reached this milestone on January 30, 2007 — 17 years and nine months after production commenced in April 1989." - Daily Auto Insider

"The roadster formerly known as the Miata returns to the 10Best winners’ circle for the second straight year, its eighth trophy since Mazda modernized the concept of the affordable droptop sports car in 1990." - Car and Driver

"the number of 10-year-old MX-5s you see in pristine condition should answer any doubts over durability." - car review.

rear wheel drive, convertible, 150 horses, light-weight, short-shift gearbox, feel-the-road steering, need I say more?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

hello Mazda Roadster!

aka Miata MX5 in the US of A.

I've been looking for a car since April after my contract ended with former employer who provided a smallish underpowered farmer-oriented vehicle. Now, after three months, I finally found a cool ride with an easy price tag:

The Mazda MX-5, also known as Miata (IPA: /mi'αrə/ or /mi'αtə/) in North America and Roadster (IPA: /'lodostα/) in Japan, is a sports car built by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan, since 1989. Its introduction was a significant development in the motor car industry that revived the roadster segment of sports cars, with other companies promptly introducing roadsters to their model ranges, such as the MG F, and the third-generation Toyota MR2.

There have been three generations of the MX-5, consisting of major stylistic and mechanical upgrades. The first generation, designated NA, sold over 400,000 units. It was produced from 1989 to 1993 with a 1.6-liter straight-4 engine, and from 1994-1997 with a 1.8-liter engine. The NA can be recognized by its distinctive pop-up headlights. The second generation (NB) was introduced in 1998 with a slight increase in engine power; it can be recognized by the fixed headlights, and the glass rear window. The third generation (NC) was introduced in 2005 with a 2.0-liter engine; it can be recognized by the fender bulges over the wheel wells. wiki-link

I managed to find an affordable (used) one. It was delivered yesterday to my school. Loving the exhaust note right now!