Sunday, July 24, 2005

I miss this weather now

The Tama River near Futakotamagawa last March after an unusually late snowstorm. Loved it then---have always loved snow, even when I lived in Montana. Would like some now although it would interfere with cycling to some degree.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rainy season is over

for the year. Now the real heat begins, but so far it has not been as hot as last year. But even with the A/C on the apartment temperature is about 83 degrees. Japanese housing is not know for good insulation. If fact, there is almost none. Think of the energy that could be saved if proper insulation were used. Wasn't the Kyoto Protocol signed in Japan? Think maybe Japan would be serious about it? Wonder why they waited until after Bush withdrew from it in 2001 before ratifying it themselves? Serious?

Monday, July 18, 2005


A three day weekend. My wife and I went to see the Mel Brooks play, The Producers. It was excellent. Much better than expected. Next month a Japanese cast takes over and it will be in Japanese, so we hope to watch it again before then. She had to get the tickets last year to get the good seats we had. Unlikely that we will get such good seating again.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tour de France

Since the Tour is not broadcast on any Japanese TV station---except possibly one of the satellite channels, I have one again been following it on the internet. This year I have been able to listen to it live on

The first time I lived in Japan---Toyama City in 1991-92--I had to get most information via shortwave radio. What a difference the internet has made. I can get almost the same information about anything nearly as fast as I could when in the US. Even in the last year things have continued to improve---more audio is available, and even video is increasing. Can't wait until I can watch the Tour live even if I have to pay to do so. Unfortunately, many sites block people outside the country of origin from listening to or watching broadcasts.

Anyway, it's stage 15 tonight and Armstrong is still in yellow. He has been surprisingly strong this year even when the Discovery team wasn't around to help him. He certainly whipped all the competition, esp Ullrich and Basso yesterday. A lot of people now hate Armstrong mainly because he has been so successful---even Americans. Many were claiming that it wasn't Armstrong, but his team that won the six Tours. Yea, his team is important, but it seems unlikely that any other rider would have had the wins he did even with the same team. Since this is his last year, I kinda expect the popularity of the Tour---an thus the coverage--- to decrease in the US from next year. Then we'll hear all the US whiners complain about the lack of coverage. The same people who whine and complain about Armstrong.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

In Ebisu

I love this area in Tokyo. Near Ebisu station there is a shopping area which looks very nice. Not a lot of shops especially, but some decent restaurants and a movie theater which shows smaller films. The only place to see Woody Allen films, for example. I used to go to this area to eat lunch outdoors when I was working in Tokyo. A lot of people walk their dogs here on weekends, so if you like dogs you can see a large variety of mostly purebreeds.

Monday, July 11, 2005

If you really want to learn

customer service and how to do business in Japan, the best thing to do is recruit you own students---especially corporate clients. If you are working for one of the assembly-line big eikaiwa chain schools, it is unlikely you will learn much of anything, including how to teach.

However, even one day working with an HR manager will teach you more than you can learn working for someone else---even a good school. Gotta advertise, sell, then follow through on your promises. You needn't do any of that at most places. (Some do expect you to sell their services though).

Monday, July 04, 2005

July 4

U.S. Independence Day. It brings back a lot of memories of the U.S.--especially in West Virginia. I remember being home about 23-24 years ago in firing a muzzleloading rifle into the air (no ball--powder only) in the evening as a celebration. I also remember in 1979 during the Carter oil crisis driving around on fumes because gas stations were closed by government order.

It also makes me aware that as much as I complain about Japan---mostly the government---that the U.S. is not perfect either. In fact, I probably had more criticism of the U.S. than I do Japan. Of course, that is what patriotism and citizenship is---not just blind acceptance of everything. Democracy exits in Japan to the extent that it does because of the U.S. what the U.S. did--often against the wishes of the Japanese government--after WW2. So I suppose I can freely make critical comments in Japan largely thanks to those postwar U.S policies. I am sure that thought will cause many to soil their panties.

Interesting homework

Unfortunately, I had to cancel my Japanese class today with Hiramura-san. However, she came up with a clever idea of recording a Japanese T.V. drama and splitting it into small segments so that a student can use it to practice listening comprehension. She pre-teaches difficult vocabulary, so it makes it possible to get most of what is being said in each segment. Listening skills are my weakest area, so this is a beneficial way to improve---even though the speed and language used is above my level.

Improving actual speaking and listening is such a slow process. I wonder how so many Japanese can stick to it in Japan where the opportunity to actually use English is so rare for most.

Rainy season

Another wet rainy day. Some places were suffering from drought, but I wonder if they still are. The rain seems to have been increasing and the number of rainy days more than last year. It is even nice and cool today. Didn't even have to turn on the A/C. Thank goodness as the expnse is tremendous.