My Dear Friend Saori

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

Today I had lunch with my friend Saori.  Saori is gorgeous!  She’s tall and slender and could have easily been a model during her peak days. Hell, she still probably could be a model if she wanted to. She’s the same age I am by the way. She’s half Okinawan-Japanese and half Taiwanese-American, one of the reasons why I think we get along so well (her unusual background). The one quality I love about Saori the most, is that she is such a guy. I totally don’t think of Sao as a female, more like a brother.  If you talk to her over the phone without knowing what she looked like or what she’s all about, you’d swear she was a dike……uh, excuse me, a lesbian with a butch cut, overalls, and a slight hint of a mustache..

Saori and I have been really good friends since our sophomore year in college in San Francisco. We met by chance when some guy with an acute case of Japanophilia  in one of our Japanese translation class was stalking her after class. I scared the stalker off by simply being really rude to him (laughs).  I’ll save this story for another time. Sao thanked me for saving her life, and we immediately hit it off and became good friends.

Sao and I use to hang out at my apartment a lot back in the days. You’d think that we were living together because she use to leave her stuff at my apartment sometimes. My mother would come over to my apartment sometimes and see her clothes or back pack, and ask “are you living with a girl here?”  She even found my video camera with Sao cursing like a sailor about her car getting broken into.  My mom then said, “I like this girl. You should make her your girlfriend” (laughs)

 We use to eat, drink, and party together along with other mutual friends of ours.I even got her a job at the same duty free shop where I worked part time during college.  I graduated a semester earlier than she did and moved to Japan a year later.  Surprisingly to me, Sao followed me to Japan, which made me so happy, because Iwas truly lonely at the time without her.

Lately, Saori had been a great source of my depression, because she had announced to me that she was moving away from Tokyo to pursue a happier life elsewhere.  Sao had broken up with her boyfriend and felt as if she had exhausted the dating scene in Tokyo and needs a change in venue.  She is truly sick of being in Tokyo and she feels that there is nothing else here for her.  Although I do understand her point of view and the way she feels, I can’t help to feel that I’m losing someone very dear to me.  But of course, this isn’t about me, this is about her life, so I couldn’t impose the way I felt about her decision, on her.

I basically told her that I will be profoundly sadden if she left, but I hope she finds happiness in her new venue. And of course, to keep in touch.

My New Toy

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Rants and Raves, Techie Stuff

I love the postman…or in this case the takkyubin man!!  He brought me my present today and now I am truly stoked to the max! (sorry… more NorCal slang)
Anyways, my friend and colleague, Sean had been bugging me for weeks about getting an IPOD. Me, being an M$ (Microsoft) engineer, I refuse to buy anything made by Apple Computers.  Not that they are bad, just on principal. Sean is also an engineer but he hates Microsoft and is neutral on Apple stuff.  He was convinced (nagged) by our mutual friend, Graham, who is an Apple maniac. He sleeps, drinks, and eats Apple.  Everytime we have a conversation, it always seems to wind up being about IPods or IMacs, or whatever the latest Steve Jobs toy is.
Last month, I was starting to think about actually giving into the peer pressure and buying one of these contraptions, because I really wanted something that could store all my mp3’s, for the commute to work. Then Sean rings me up and says “I got one!”  Puzzled, I asked “Got what?”.  He then proceeded to tell me about his latest and greatest expenditures.
“I got a Sony PSP!  OMG it is so awesome, you have got to get one of these things!”
“Uh, Sean…first of all, I haven’t even gotten my mp3 player yet, I am addcicted to Dragon Quest VIII right now, and I don’t have the 60,000 yen or whatever the rip off premium these scalpers are charging for them.” I said.
“What are you talking about?” he said ” And I never use my IPOD now, this thing plays mp3’s, and MPEG4 videos, and its suppose to have web surfing abilities with the next firmware update.”
Hold the phone…now he had my attention! Games, web, music, and vids in one little do-hickey. It doesn’t have DQ VIII, but I could still do that on my PS2 at home. Well, I went to every electronic shop in my neighborhood and near my office in Tokyo, but it was all sold out.  They weren’t even accepting reservations.  Its funny, because I saw these things all over for the first 2 or 3 days after they were released and now I don’t see them at all.
So I started scouring the web and finally located one selling for 25,800 yen (200 yen under MSRP) and I immediately ordered one.
And…it arrived today!  Here’s some pics:

The clarity is just amazing!  This is the opening for Ridge Racers, one of the games I bought.

Its so tiny and does so much…Its already hooked up to my wireless LAN, but it still doesn’t do anything over the net yet.

The built in mp3 player.  Doesn’t hold nearly as much music as an IPOD, but I don’t really care too much about that.  I’m pretty happy about the quality of this thing.  The graphics and sound quality is simply amazing.  I even bought mah-jong, so that I can improve my cognitive skills.

Out with the Old in with the New

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

Yesterday, I had more weekend work.  Actually, the vendors did all of the work again, I just waited for them to finish, so I could lock up and go home.  I’m also there to offer technical advice and answer any questions that they may have about the infrastructure.  For the most part the vendors were able to work with little intervention from me, so I was pretty free all day.

We have been working for the last month on replacing all of the PABX equipment. PABX is just a fancy acronym to describe a digital telephone switchboard and voice mail system.  Our previous one was going on its 8th year in production, which from an IT perspective is pretty damn ancient.

Here is a picture of our telephone we have been using up until now:

It was ugly, the buttons were big, clumbsy, and tended to stick if you press them too hard. It looked like something out of the mid-80’s. Furthermore, the functionality was limited compared to those offered by other manufacturers.  I asked our previous PABX vendor if they had newer models available. They didn’t.  And again, from an IT perspective, a company that doesn’t keep up with technology isn’t worth keeping around. So my boss fired them (Or will be firing them this week)

We decided to go with Nortel last month. Putting in an whole new PABX system within a month is an incredible feat in itself.  It takes an incredible amount of planning and endless meetings with vendors.  This is what we got in return:


My previous company used these, so I strongly recommended to my boss that we use this.  Its very expensive, but worth the price.  He agreed after some convincing and now we have finally switched.

Some people might think, why does it take a month to replace all of the phones? Its not just the phones that got replaced; its all of the back end equpment,cabling, and hours of reprogramming as well.

Here’s pics of some of the new equipment:

PABX box (the electronic switchboard)

another shot

Several meters of cabling.  Vendors were working to clean this up. 

An old archaic IBM Thinkpad was used to do the programming.  It was as heavy as a couple of bricks, and thicker than Japanese bread.

Here’s my 3 year old T22 in comparasion.

Anyways,  My weekend work is done for a while (I hope) I may have some more to do next month, but this will be actual work for me to do and not the vendors.

**Thanks Robyn for keeping me company yesterday.  Time seemed to fly by pretty quicky talking to you.**

Older Woman/ Younger guy

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Work Related

I was trying to think of something interesting that happened in that last couple of days worth sharing, but drew a complete blank. Kohda continues to annoy the hell out of me but nothing worth writing about.

So I thought it would interesting to tell you about another co-worker of mine.  I talk about her from time to time with friends on and offline.  Her name is Yukiko Kiyota a.k.a. the lady who sexually harasses me at work I know sexual harassment is a real issue and nothing to really joke about in most cases, but if I had to choose a lady to be victimized by, Kiyota would be it.

She is about 47 years old, about my height (with heels on), slender, very pretty, always wears a mini-skirt and high heels, and always dressed in all black.  She kind of reminds me of a Japanese version of Sue-Ellen Ewing (a character from the 80’s TV show ‘Dallas’)  She spent a great deal of her life in Paris and speaks perfect French (from what I can hear). She’s divorced. Rumor has it that her husband divorced her because of her drinking habit and “men issues”.  She drinks almost EVERY night, or so she likes to boast. I’ve been invited out on a few occasions but I always turn her down. She is a department manager (head of internal audit) and my boss (by rank only though.).  She doesn’t directly supervise me.

Kiyota often comes by my desk for no particular reason other than to chit chat and make small talk.  But somehow the conversation winds up being explicit in nature. What qualities she looks for in guys, etc etc…and her description always seem to describe me…oddly enough   I think she’s attracted to younger guys, and me being one of the youngest guys in the firm, I seem to be her prime target. 
My first impression of Kiyota (going by her office behavior) is that she probably slept her way to the top.  But she is widely respected among her peers and co-workers.  I would think that the other ladies in the office would be turned off by her flirtatious behavior in the office, but its quite the opposite. She extremely respected by all.  At the end of last year, we worked on a huge office reloaction project together.  I must admitt, the woman is amazing. It was just the two of us (from our company) who were actively running this monumental mamouth of a project, but we managed to pull it off without a hitch.  After we completed this project I knew how she got to where she is…shear hard work.
Kiyota and I are pretty good friends, especially after we completed the project. We gained a mutual respect for each other.  We don’t see each other outside of the office of course.  I have an extremely strict personal policy against dating co-workers.  I found that in the past, it caused too many headaches. But dispite her strange “men issues”, she is a first class lady.  

The Different Disneylands

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

Monday is over   Today just reaffirmed the fact that Monday’s suck!  But I won’t get into it.  I have to work again this Saturday.  I think I will do what I did the last time and just take some movies with me to work.  But I must admit, it really does get lonely being in an empty office by myself.

Okay here are  the answers to my trivia questions:

Q. What are the differences between the Space Mountains (Florida, Anaheim and Tokyo)

A. SIZE!!!  Orlando’s Space Mountain is nearly twice the size!

 DisneyWorld, Orlando, Florida

Tokyo Disneyland Tokyo, Japan

If you look carefully, you can see that the Floridian Space Mountain is much wider and more structural ribs on it. Not only that, the Floridian Space Mountain actually houses two Space Mountains in the same structure. In other word, there are actually two diffrent tracks inside.  So technically you can experiance two different routes at the same park.

Another difference is the size of the coaster itself:

Florida Space Mountain -notice that its a three seater in a single file.

Tokyo Disneyland is a six seater 3×2…and it has neat little glow in the dark panels.  And the whole launch bay has a blue glow to it.

The Anaheim Space Mountain is basically the same as  the Tokyo Space Mountain with minor differences such as better sound and lighting effects, and that another ride (I forgot what its called -it use to be called “People Mover”) runs through it. 

Now the casltes. 

Q. What are the differences between the castles?

First if all, let’s get the names straight.  In Florida and Tokyo, they are called “Cinderalla’s Castle”. In Anaheim and EuroDisney, they are called “Sleeping Beauty’s Castle”. Both Tokyo and anf Florida are look alike, with a slight difference in color.  Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Anaheim is substantially smaller than Cinderella’s Castle. France is a completely different animal all together.

Here’s the comparison:


Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, EuroDisney

Sleeping Beauty’s castle in California

Cinderella’s Castle In Tokyo

Cinderella’s castle in Florida.

That’s my Disneyland trivia for ya…hope you learned something new!  

Tokyo Disneyland!!!

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

It’s Sunday (**Sigh**) and I am suffering from a major case of Sazae-san syndrome (see previous entry).  But to get a head start, I have already started work.  I am actually working from home as I write this.  By doing this, it will cut down on my work load for tomorrow (hopefully)

We went to Disneyland yesterday!.  It was so crowded!!  The average wait time was about an hour and half.  I guess it wasn’t such a great idea to go on a weekend, but I still had a lot of fun anyways.  But as long as I am able to ride my top five rides, then I am happy.  By the way, my top 5 favorite rides are (in order)

1. Pirates of the Caribbean

2. Space Mountain

3. Haunted Mansion

4. It’s a Small World (yeah I’m still a kid)

5. Big Thunder Mountain

Unfortunately,  Two of theses attrations were closed yesterday (Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain).  I also like this ride called Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror, but they don’t have it in Japan yet.  Its still under construction and should be in operation at Tokyo Disney Sea next year. I went on this last year at DisneyWorld in Florida and it was great!

Here are some pics from yesterday.:

The front entrance

This is me and a Dwarf (I believe this is Bashful) I played a Dwarf in a school play way back in 5th grade, so I have a particular fondness for Snow White’s dwarfs. I could tell that the person in this costume was a woman because when she grabbed my hand, I could feel that her hand was very small and skinny and had long nails.

Here is a nice shot of Space Mountain.  A little trivia question for those who have been to the Disneylands in Florida, Anaheim, or maybe even Euro Disney: All of the Space Mountains in each region have slight differeneces amonst them.  Do you know the differences? I will answer this in my next entry.

Here is a shot of the inside of Space Mountain…and a huge clue.

Here is picture of me in front of Cinderella’s Castle.  I was freezing here and wound up buying a Mickey Mouse scarf later. By the way, there are slight differences among the castles as well…do you know what they are?

Here’s me with Pluto.  Pluto was pretty popular so, there was a huge line around him. The sun was kind of in the way in this shot.

We got on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride later.  There’s a restaurant called “The Blue Bayou” that is actually a part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  From the ride itself, it looks like part of the set and you can see the people eating dinner from the boats.  From the restaurant, you can see the boats pass by tour table.  I wanted to eat there for dinner, but of course, being Japan, there was a 2 hour waiting list so we gave up.

Here is a really lame picture of me wearing a Pirate’s bandana.  I think I look like a 1960’s housewife.  Oh well, 500 yen and it get kept my head warm.

I don’t where this shot came from, but it was in my camera.  A shot of me REALLY close up wearing the bandana.

Finally, here is a pic of Cinderella’s castle at night. I LOVE this shot and I love my camera for being able to capture it so perfectly.

Anyways, that’s my trip to Disneyland.  Maybe I will take another trip there this spring…probably on a weekday though.

Female Dog Issues

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

Thank god this rotten week is over and done with.  Time to relax and forget all my troubles;  at least until Monday.   Fridays rock!  No matter what happens on a Friday, it all seems forgiveable just because its a Friday.

I categorized my days as the following:

Mondays – worst day of the week.

Tuedays –  the week has already started, so I neither like or dislike this day.  I’m just glad its not Monday.

Wednesdays – the week is half over and already thinking about the weekend

Thursday mornings – bummed because I would keep thinking its Friday

Thursday afternoons – a bit happier because only one more day’s left

Fridays – rock the house!

Saturday – relaxation day

Sunday morning – glad that I had another day to sleep in

Sunday – totally bummed because I have to work the next moring

I used to think that I was the only person who thought this way, but I found a couple of other people who had the same exact thought.  On Sundays especially…they call it the “Sazae-san syndrome.”  A long running manga called “Sazae-san” runs from 6:30 to 7:00pm on Sundays.  Usually when that show ends, it indicates that a week has come to an end and the beginning of a new week is is near, hence you go through a minor depression.  A co-worker told me that about 80% of the Japanese working public hagets Sazae-san syndrome.

On a different note, my dog Jenna has been suffering from an ear infection and what appears to be hemoroids.  I took the poor girl to the vet on a few occasions and had the doctor prescribe some medication for her ear.  He also gave her some ear wash which I use to wash the infection with.  I did this for a few months now and have not seen any improvements.  The medication is expensive too.  Its like 6000 yen for the medicine and 3000 yen for the ear wash.  Nothing for the roids though; doc said it’ll go way in time.

Anyways, I didn’t want to blow another 9000 yen on medication that doesn’t seem to be doing much other than making Jenna feel more uncomfortable, so I looked up her symptoms on the web and found several people who had dogs with the same problem.  Seems that a lot people used a well known product to solve this issue, but I have been apprehensive about going to the store and buying this product.

Reason is, not many guys buy this stuff and frankly. its extremely embarassing, but since Jenna seems to be in great discomfort sometimes, so I finally swollowed my male pride and bought it at a nearby drug store.

Youe see, the reason why I have been dodging this for a long time is that the product in question is really for vaginal yeast infection. Apparently, the ear infection is very similar to that of a vaginal yeast infection in women.  Of course, I wouldn’t know because I am not a woman, nor have I ever dated or known anyone who cared to admit that they had yeast infection before.

So last night I bit my lip and went to the nearby drug store to buy this stuff.  And I figured that, since I am going to go this route anyways, that I may as well buy some roid ointment for her too.  Man! what I do for these dogs sometimes!!

I must admit, it was VERY difficult and embarrassing to do this. I have heard of some guys refusing to buy tampons or pads for their girlfriends.  But compared to this, that would be a breeze!  As least it indicates that I have a fertile female in my life. But by buying roid and vaginal yeast medicine, I must have gave the register lady ( who was a fairly attractive girl in her mid-20’s) a real neat impression!  She must have thought I was a freak or living with some chick with some serious hygene issues.  If it works, just remember, Vagisil for dog ear infections!

Anyways, Jenna seems to be doing a bit better on her backend,  I just started on her ear tonight, so I gotta see how that pans out.

My Coworker is an Idiot!

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Rants and Raves, Work Related

What a rotten day!  This has got to be the worst day of the year so far!  It’s almost 11:30 PM and I just got home from work! GRRR!  And just the thought that I have to be back at work in less than 8 hours makes me sick!
We had some problems with one of our machines at work today.  And seeing that I’m the only one who knows how the thing works, I had to stay late and fix it.  I’m starting to believe that that phrase “ignorance is bliss” rings true.  Had I been a complete idiot like a certain co-worker, I could have gone home at 5:30 too (like a certain co-worker).
I have lost so much confidence in Mr. Kohda.  Frankly, he sucks!  No word describes him better.  Since he couldn’t be of any help in our crisis today, he basically went home at 5:30 while I stayed until 10:30.  And I started work at 7:45 this morning while he rolled in at 8:30.
  He claimed that he had a dentist appointment. But this is his third or fourth dentist appointment in the last two weeks.  He might be fooling my boss but he’s not fooling me.  The guy is completely incompetant and unfit for duty.
Here are examples of his ignorance.  A few weeks ago, I took him to our back up site across town. Its basically secured rented space where we keep all of our backup servers.  Since the space is shared with several other companies, and sensitive data is kept on these machines, security is extremely tight.  You literally have to swipe your access pass at every door and elevator, and every ten meters down the hallways.  When you get to the actual room where the machines are kept, you have to swipe your card and provide your fingerprint. ITS THAT DAMN SECURE!!
I told Kohda all about this place before we went there, and I told him once we were there we would have to create an access pass for him which can take some time since the security was so tight and people where so anal about everything.
I called the security offce before we went there to tell them that I would be bringing a new employee and to be ready to make him a pass..  When we got there, sure enough they were all prepared for us.  I gave them my alien card in exchange for the security pass.  I told Kohda to give them his drivers license so that they can prepare a card for him.
Guess what…no license!…So I told him to give them some kind of ID.  He said that he was not carrying any ID at ALL!!!  I was like “you gotta be kidding me”…He took out his wallet and sure enough, not one bit of ID anywhere!  Not even a piece of paper with his name on it…Just a fold out wallet with cash in it.  I couldn’t believe it!  This guy is older than me, which is pretty damn old enough to know to carry some form of ID at all times.  Me, being a foriegner, if I’m caught without  any ID, I will get owned!
The security officer told me that without ID he couldn’t get passed the lobby. I was pretty pissed, but I begged the guard to give him a guest pass and that I would be responsible for all his actions. (as if he were my kid or something!) I really should have left him in the lobby until I was done or sent him back to the office.
Eventually  the guard gave in. I was so pissed that I basically said that in the future, he is not to walk out the door with me, without any ID…but I thought that was common sense!
Since then, he had proven his incompetance several folds over by doing really stupid things like complaining that the CDROM drive on his PC was broken.  He had placed the CD upside down on the tray!
He didn’t know how to burn CD’s, and he’s never installed Windows onto a PC…This guy is suppose to be an engineer folks, and yet my mother can do a better job than he can.  I finally had it with him this week, and I told my boss that I am no longer training this guy to do anything too techinical.  So from now on, he’s the paperwork and shit work dude.  I simply can’t trust him to do any more than that.

Nothing Much

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

Nothing much to write about today…I went to work and then I came home…same old same old…life is returning back to normal.

Oh I got invited to got to Disneyland this weekend. I think I will go…nothing better to do so why not.

Past Reunions

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

I must have been more tired than I thought.  I woke up at 1:30pm today.  I stayed awake for about 2 hours and fell asleep again.  I think I am more mentally exhausted more than anything else. I didn’t even have the urge to play DQ today.

I went through photos of past New Year reunions and I found a picture taken about 12 years (going by hairstyle).  My god! I was so young back then

This was about a year after Tsugu returned from the States (see ealier entry if you missed this). Front row (from right): Shizuka, Goh, Me, Kanan (in my lap), Backrow (from right): Ryo,Tsugu, Masaki, Hide.  Aside from Shizuka, everyone’s my cousin…Shizuka was Goh’s girlfriend and now they’re married.

Anyways, I’m still pretty tired so that’s it for now.