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Life in America (or at least San Francisco)

Some of my friends have been complaining I haven’t been updating my blog. There’s a bunch of reasons not the least of which is I now live back in the USA so I don’t really have much of interest to share. When I lived in Japan I felt like I was sharing things friends might want to know or at least not have easy access to but now anything I share is just random thoughts. I guess the blog part of my site though has always been random thoughts but then again I think the motivation to update it is not there like it was living abroad.

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Chinesepod.com

I have a 50 minute commute to and from work each day. Originally I thought that wouldn’t be an issue, my commute in Tokyo was about 35 minutes so +15 minutes didn’t seem that big a deal. Unfortunately I didn’t think about where I was commuting. Working in downtown Tokyo meant I could walk 10 minutes in any direction for instant entertainment. Food, Friends and Fun were only minutes away.

Now though I work in San Jose and live in San Francisco so it’s arguably 50 minutes of commuting before I can do anything. That’s quite a difference in my lifestyle that I’m not yet comfortable with.

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Wii Geography Lessons

Those of you that have a Nintendo Wii probably know that it has a News feature. It’s kind of neat in that it shows the articles and shows a marker on a 3d globe map of the world where the story takes place.

Unfortunately it leaves a little to be desired in terms of matching the names of places to their actual places on the globe.

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Broken Tape Measure

I’ve been setting up my new apartment, buying lots of stuff. I have a tape measure I bought in at Tokyu Hands in Tokyo. It turns out it’s wrong. After buying a bunch of blinds and having them not come close to being the correct size I was thinking WTF, false advertising. I was about to take them back when I tried putting on a table cloth I bought and having it also not be the correct size.

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Don’t get mugged at GDC

2 years ago 4 of my friends at Sega got mugged the day they arrived in San Francisco for the Game Devlepers Conference. One of them got a broken tooth and a concussion.

I don’t know San Francisco that well yet but in the interest of trying to prevent something like that happening again here’s a map.

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Western Culture Sucks

Coming back to the USA there are some serious cultural differences between the USA and Japan. Some are arguably good. People in the USA are generally more individual. I think that’s good.

On the other hand, something I really hate about the USA (and many other western countries) is there is this attitude that I can only some up as “It’s fun to laugh at other’s expense” or maybe “It feels good to piss on other people”.

Simple examples are vandalism. Why do people key cars? Keying someones car, taking your keys and scratching the paint on their car has no point whatsoever. Most people don’t key the car of someone they know, they just pick some random car and scratch it. Why? What is it about our culture that compels people to do that?

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F.O.B.

I’m in San Francisco now and there’s been quite a lot of reverse culture shock. I guess not just culture shock from Japan to the USA but also I’ve never lived in downtown San Francisco and it’s very different from my experience anywhere else.

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The Secret Life of Machines

I don’t know how long they’ll be up but if you’ve never seen them check out The Secret Life of Machines on Google Video.

The Secret Life of Machines is a program that aired on the BBC in the late 80s, early 90s that explains how lots of machines work in super simple ways. It also used to run on the Discovery channel. It’s crazy how simple some machines really are. One example, they make a tape recorder by showing that if you put rust on a piece of tape and manually run it across a recording head it will record on to the rust.

Some of the cooler ones:

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Leaving Japan

I’m Leaving Japan.

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Gmail sucks! Yahoo rules!

I know I’m going to get flamed but damit, I don’t get the love for gmail.

I’ve been using the new Yahoo for a year or so now and I didn’t see the point to gmail but……..gmail has one thing which it does that Yahoo currently doesn’t AKAIK. Gmail has the option to correctly send Japanese mail in a Japanese encoding (ISO-2022-JP) instead of Unicode (UTF-8).

This means to many Japanese friends, if I send Japanese email from Yahoo they get garbage were as if I do it from gmail it works.

So,……..yesterday I tried switching to Gmail and so far…..YUCK!!!!

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