80’s Movies Rock!

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

I’ve been kind of down lately because of some events going on at work.  I’m not going to get into it, until I know for sure as to what’s going on.  Anyways, I feel a bit better today, so I decided its time to write again.

So I’ve been using this thing called Skype.  Its not much different from MSN or Yahoo Messenger. It allows you to talk to people over the net.  Although the quality is somewhat questionable, its free so can’t beat that.

I’ve spoken to a few people already (Robyn, Mario, and Sarah).  I’ve been told twice already that I sound “serious”.  I’m not sure what is projecting this image of seriousness, but in reality there are very few things I take really seriously.  But thanks everyine for putting up with me, I hope I didn’t bore  you too much. 

I had a conversation with Robyn (I think) about my “obsession” with 80’s movies and music. I just finished watching a movie called “Cut” with Molly Ringwald.  I’m not a HUGE Molly Ringwald fan, but her hometown (Roseville,  California) is less than an hour away from my hometown.  And we were in the area  about the same time so I feel like I know her.

Actually, its one of her recent movies; made about 4 years ago.  And it is by far the worse Molly Ringwald movie ever!  I should have known to stay away when I saw the name Kylie Minogue in the credits.  I don’t mind her annoying repetitious music, but her acting skills are horrible.  I was expecting to see a something a bit better, since M. Ringwald is in it, but she didn’t do the movie any justice either.  It was a really poorly done B-rate horror film about a bunch of college kids making a B-rated horror films (ironic?…yeah sort of)

I rented another DVD a few weeks ago with Ally Sheedy in it.  It was also made about 4 years ago, and it was much more better than “Cut”.  Ally Sheedy seemed to have aged a lot less gracefully than Molly Ringwald did, but her acting skills are still pretty good.

As for my so-called obsession with the 80’s…I can’t explain it, but since I was a kid, I never felt like I was in the right time.  Even back in the 80’s, I was totally into the 50’s.  I use to wear Levis blue jeans that were cuffed at the bottom, a button down shirt, and really short buzzed hair.  But a lot of other kids did this too, especially after the “Back to the Future” craze. Shortly after that move was released, we had a “50’s” dance at school where we had to wear 50’s clothes.  Some of us never went back to 80’s clothes.

I guess my  “obsession” (if you want to call it that) stems from just a feeling of nostalgia.  I didn’t consider my shool days to be the best time of my life when it was happening, yet I often find myself reflecting back to it.  Its kind of odd. Perhaps its a mild case of post-traumatic stress syndrome, kind of like what those Vietnam vets had after the returned from the war.  Even though its all over, it still lives on in the mind.

Ahhh…nice incoherent blog with no focus…the way it should be!

Is it Still Only Tuesday?

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

This has been a pretty lame week so far (its only Tuesday though) So many problems at work so it been difficult to keep my concetration on anything. Man I hate working with vendors so much! They are so dependant. I often wonder if ther are like that in their personal lives as well. Having to confirm and reconfirm every little mico-detail, and unable to form a single thought, decision, or opinion on their own. GRR! But I guess its my job.

Today I spoke to Mario via Skype. Very interesting experience! Sometimes you form voices in your head of what people should sound like based on their description or thei picture, and when you actually talk to them or meet them, they turn out to be completely different. I suppose I imagined Mario sounding more like Crocodile Dundee just because he’s in Australia, but he sounded more English than Australian to me. Sorry Mario

Hopefully this week goes by a bit more smoother than it has been. My boss seemed to be under a lot of stress lately. He talks to me very rarely now which kind of concerns me. Ihope he’s not upset with me with some reason, although I cannot image why he would be. Just to for some kind of diplomacy, I took him out to lunch today and we talked about our private lives rather than business. He seemed to be more relaxed, at least for an hour. Hopefully that relaxed mood lasts for a while, or he’ll start stressing me out.

Well, that’s all for now….no novels today (laughs)

My Year on Guam Part II

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

Today was cold and damp.  I believe it even snowed early this morning, but I didn’t wake up until around 11am.  By then the snow had melted and it was just wet outside. The house seemed so dark and gloomy so I had to keep the lights on throughout the day.

I spent the day just watching TV and surfing the net. It was a boring day, but sometime boring is good.

I re-read the blog that I wrote yesterday and it brought back a lot of memories of the year I had spent on Guam. Looking back now, I feel it was a pivotal point in my life. But at the time, it was a very hard time for me.  I felt that I had to constantly  deal with a lot of people and situations that I didn’t want to (need to) deal  with.  Living with Will was one of them.

I moved in with Will about a week and half after I had arrive on Guam. I would describe Will as being somewhat short-attentioned.  He never spent too much time doing one thing.  For example, he’d be watching TV one moment and then making a call to a friend the next, without even watching the show until the end. 

Living with him, was like living with an adolecent. He had these little dolls, toys, and games he’d leave lying around in the living room.  I’ve never seen him cook or use the kitchen at all.  He lived off of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Taco Bell, or some other kind of junk food. And, he’d blow his paycheck on frivolous things that he couldn’t possibly afford like Playstations and collectors cards.

He wasn’t always bad though.  There were times when he seemed to be a really cool guy.  I remember we use to have conversations about home, our futures, friends, family, etc. He even introduced me to some of his friends.  Unfortunately, that turned out to be a disaster, and the beginning of the end of our very brief  ‘friendship’.

Most of Will’s friends where in the military and worked at the Airforce base on the on island. All of them were real boneheads. Usually when they came over (which was rarely) , I would just go into my bedroom and study or surf the net, because I really didn’t like them too much.

One night, Will’s bonehead military friends came over.  It was two big white guys and their girlfriends.  One girl was  a small little Filipina girl in her mid 20’s  and the other was probably Chamorow.  Will also brought home a girl, who appeared to be a quite a few years older than he was.  Her name was Bonnie. She was part Filipina and part caucasion and pretty. 

We were all watching the news, when one of the two guys started ranting about work. He was complaining about having to load hundreds of pounds of food aid into a truck for the Kurdish refugees on the island.  He then said “I haven’t done that much work since we delivered food one of the starving countries a few years ago.  I think it was Japan…”  I sort of looked up at him and gave him a dirty look which he didn’t see.  Japan happens to be the second richest country in the world; they don’t have a famine problem you moron, I thought to myself.

All the while, I noticed that the little Filipina girl was pounding away a few wine coolers pretty quickly. I suspected that it was only going to be a matter of time until she’s hacking up somewhere, and I was right.

A few minuted later, she stood up from the sofa and nearly fell back down on her face.  All of the girls rushed to her aid, and Bonnie rushed her to the restroom.  I shook my head and just continued to watch TV. 

A few minutes later, Bonnie reappears without the fainting Filipina. She reassured everyone that she got it all out of her system and she’d be okay.  At that moment, the Filipina’s boyfriend jump up and said “Let me go see if she’s alright”, and disappears to the restroom.

We all continued to watch the news, which was not the local news, but news that was 3 or 4 days old from Los Angeles.  I was curious as to why anyone would want to watch old local news from a city over 5000 miles away, but the other bonehead seemed to find it intersting. “Los Angeles news is the best”…sigh.

About 40 minutes had passed and the fainting Filipina nor her boyfriend returned from the restroom. I was beginning to suspect that there was something going on in my bathroom.  I didn’t want to knock on the door, but at the same time, the thought of two complete strangers having sex in my bathroom disgusted me.

I went to my bedroom, which was next to the bathroom and closed the door.  Sure enough, there were sounds of sex coming through the walls that bodered the bathroom. I guess the guy thought it would be a good opportunity to take advantage of the girl while she was drunk.

I stayed in my room for a few minutes and went to the living room again.  Just at that moment, stud boy re-ermerges from the bathroom, a bit more sweatier than he was when he went in. “She had yak a couple of more times, but she’s feeling better now.” he said.  I couldn’t look at him directly because I was thoroughly disgusted. About a minute later, the fainting Filipina finally comes out. Her clothes were a bit more wrinkled, hair was a bit more messier, but her makeup was perfect.

“I’m so sorry for being such a rude guest,” she said.  Again, I could not look her in the face.

“There’s nothing rude about getting sick.  Don’t worry about it honey,” Will replied. Sure…but having sex in the bathroom of a home other than their’s is pretty damn rude and disrespectful, I thought. 

I went to my room again, this time to stay.  The party crew started playing music in the living room and drinking more.  I didn’t want any part of it so I stayed in my room and studied.  This went on for about 2 hours and then, things got abnormally silent all of a sudden.  I thought that they had finally gone home and that the place was mine once again. But I didn’t remember hearing the front door open.

I got up to go to the bathroom reluctactanly, knowing what had happend in their just a couple of hours earlier. As I opened the door, I noticed that the lights were really dim. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but as I took a few more steps, I saw two naked bodies on the floor near the sofa.  It was stud boy and the fainting Filipina going at it again in the living room.  I ducked back into my bedroom again quickly and closed the door quickly but silently.

I sat on the floor and nearly cried.  I felt as if I had lost any kind of control of anything.  I wanted to go in there and kick them both out, whch in retrospect, I should have done. But I decided just to stay in my room.

Several minutes later I heard the front door open and close.  Finally, they went home!  I went out into the living room and locked the front door.  As I walked back, I heard some more sex sounds.  This time it was coming from Will’s room, and it was pretty loud.  Bonnie was a screamer!  By this time I was pretty damn tired of being caught in the middle of some really bad porn flick. 

I went to my room and slammed the door.  The next day, I trew away everything I owned in that bathrroom. I confronted Will and told him what his friends did and told him that they were no longer welcomed. Will told his friends what I said and they had denied everything , which made me sick.  But regardless, they never came by again. I think they were too embarrassed to.

Over the course of the next couple of months, our relationship got progressively worse.  Will’s attitude about everything changed dramatically.  I blamed his change on his girlfriend Bonnie.  She was a nice girl, but she was not doing Will any good.

She came over quite often, and she usually brought her 2 kids.  She had a daughter who looked to be around 8 or 9 years old and a son about 4 or 5.  Everytime they came over, I would notice that there was some food missing; food that I had bought. It got more and more frequent, and so I decided to confront Will again.  I told him that at the very least I wished he’d ask. But out of respect, I would expect him to reimburse me or replace the food.  He never did.

His irresponsiblity and free loading got exponetially worse as his relationship with Bonnie got stronger.  I got a call one morning from KMart.  They were asking where Will was because he was over 4 hours late for work.  I left my room and knocked on his bedroom door.  There was no response.  As I walked back, I noticed that he was asleep on the living room sofa.  I woke him and told him that he was late for work.  He responded with an “Oh man..I forgot” and slept for another hour before he eventually left for work. 

He had done this several times in the course of the next several weeks.  KMart even hinted to me that he was in danger of losing his job.  Wil seemed to really be hitting rock bottom. He didn’t drink nor do drugs…at least not any of the hardcore stuff that I could notice. He was just real lazy.

A few days later, I get a letter from the manager in the mail stating that the rent has not been paid. I was extremely puzzled because I always paid my part ontime, if not early.  But for some reason it wasn’t getting to the land lady. 

I asked Will if he had paid the rent and he said that he had forgotten. Fine, I thought, but then I got a call a few days later from the land lady that she still had not received the rent.  I told Will the seriousness of the problem and eventually he did pay.  Afterwards, I made arrangements with the land lady that I would pay my portion directly to her.  She agreed to it.

A few weeks later, I went to dial in to my internet provider only to find that the phones no longer worked.  Now I was really pissed.  I decided to just let Will find out on his own because he was pretty dependant on the phone.  He came home that night and picked up the phone to call Bonnie.  No dial tone.  He then complained to me that my laptop was screwing up the phone line.  I told him that my laptop is turned off and that the phones  had been turned off and that I wanted an explanation.  He looked at me somewhat embarrassed, and said that he must have forgotten to pay the bill that month.

I retaliated and explained that the phone company does not shut off the phones for one missed payment.  It would take several missed payment for them to consider something like that. 

I went to the phone company the next day and found that Will had not paid the bill even once since I had moved in.  I made arrangements to start my own acconut and let Will dig himself out the hole with his account.

 Six months after I had moved in, I was pretty much pushed beyond my limit.  Will had missed many rent payments and the land lady had to constantly chase him down for the rent.  By this time I had saved up enough money ro be able to afford to pay the full months rent without a roommate until I leave to go back to Japan.  I decided that this was it…Will has got to leave. 

I had a long talk with the land lady and told her that I had enough money to  pay the full rent for six months and that I would agree to stay until the lease expired.  She agreed to transfer the name of the lease, which was still under the hairy guys name, to my name.  The hairy guy had returned from Thailand after only two months of being there (apparently him and his girlfriend had a falling out so he came back). So he was also quite anxious to release himself from the oblligation of leasing that apartment.  So I was now the sole leaser of that apartment and had the right to kick Will out.

I decided that the sooner I did it, the better.  But luckily things turned out for the better. I’m not too sure what had transpired, but Will came to me that night and told me that he was moving out and getting a place with Bonnie.  I was really happy to hear this, but Will didn’t look too happy.  As a matter of fact he look to be concerned or bothered, which was new for me.  His move was quite abrupt and he was out within a week of his announcement.  Bonnie came over on the last night to assist Will with his stuff.  She came up to me and said, “Please don’t think Will is moving out because of you.  Its not you, it got to do with me.  It’s my fault”

I could only speculate what happend to cause him to want to move.  Either she caused him to lose his job, or he got her pregnant were my two guesses. Either way, he was out of my hair.

I had a whole two bedroom apartment to myself now.  I still continued to live in the smaller room because I didn’t want to touch anything in the big bedroom for the fear of disease.  But I often camped out in the living room. It meant that I would have to go back to Japan with a smaller savings, but that was okay.

The rest of my stay at that apartment was really nice.  I was able to have friends and even girls over without people bugging me. I think after Will left my life was so much better and living on Giam was a bit easier.

My Year on Guam

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

And once again, its Friday! Horray!  I totally want to go to karaoke, but I doubt I can sing anything.  My tonsils are looking a bit better, but it still feels like I have a wet sock in the back of my throat.  I think I will get a hair cut today, but the shops out here kind of make me nervous. My hair is unusually coarse (from my mother no doubt) so its difficult to cut.  I even had a barber complain to me that his hand hurt after he cut my hair…poor baby…hair cutting must be a hazzardous business.

I was so surprised to see the number of hits my previous blog got.  I had no idea that story was that interesting…or maybe it just people being nice.  Anyways, Guam was quite an experience, and obviously  I left a lot of details out.  I could easily write a book about that one year I spent there. Whether it’d be interesting book or not, is the question.

But there is a person whom I left out and really deserves an honorable mentioning.  That was the guy I had to live with for the first six months I was there. His name was William, but everyone called him Will.  He was a really laid back (too laid back) Hispanic guy. He was a year older than me and not the sharpest pencil in the box.

I was allowed to stay in the company-rented apartment for one month.  During that time, I was either to find a new place or take over the lease of the place they gave me. The place was a concrete cell, no different from a prison cell (not that I had ever been to prison before). It was furnished but the funiture was old and falling apart.  But worst of all, the aircon (which was an absolute necessity on Guam) did not work.  I complained to the management the first day I arrived about the broken aircon, and they managed to get it running…but it blew warm air instead of cold air.  I definately needed to find a better place!

On Guam, you basically have two choices: live in the jungle with the insects, gekko’s and frogs, or you live by the beach.  Not too difficult of a choice, although I didn’t care too much for the beach either. I just don’t like insects!! The problem is, the apartments and houses by the beach area (called Tumon) were expensive!  There’s no way I could afford it on my pay.  It meant I would have to either rent just a room out of someone’s house, or I would have to get a roommate.

I got the local newpaper and started looking for a place. The two main areas  I focused on were Tumon and Tamuning. Geography lesson: Tumon is a beach resort area.  It’s where tourist’s hotels and other touristy attractions are. Tamuning is not too far from Tumon and it had malls and supermarkets in the area.  The rest of Guam is basically a military airfield or a jungle.

random photo of the beach in Tumon

I gave a call to lady who was renting out a room in a huge house overlooking the beach. She described her house as if it were a castle or a mansion. EVERYTHING was “modern and beautiful.”  Best of all, the rent was reasonable.  I asked if  I could come and take a look, and that’s when she got a bit weird on me.

She asked me how old I was.  I was 24 at the time. She then started ranting about how guys my age were irresponsible with rent etc…  I assured her that the rent was well within my budget and that I would have no problems paying it.  She then asks if I had a girlfriend. I asked why she wanted to know.  She then went on for another 15 minutes or so about how guys my age tend turn their rooms into some kind of brothal, and pretty soon I would stop going to work and do nothing but have sex all day with different women in my room.  She insisted that if I did take the room that I wouldn’t be allowed any female guests.  I politely said goodbye and hung up.  Not that I had planned on having many female guests, but I didn’t want some old prude breathing down my neck if I decided that’s I wanted to.

I then found an apartment right in the middle of Tumon bay, right in the middle of the resort hotels. It would be a roommate setup.  I gave it a ring only to have one of the most boring sounding, laziest, and slowest talking voices I have ever heard answer the phone. It reminded me of the voice of the tortoise in The Tortoise and the Hare cartoon that I watched as a kid.

 “Hi, I am calling about the room you have for rent,” I said.  There was a momentary pause, and could hear a slight chewing sound in the background. “Oh yeah, …well its taken…well sort of”, the tortoise replied.

“Oh okay,” I said, and I as I was about to hang up he says

“well, its not really taken, but I got a couple of guys coming over tonight to see it, and if they turn out to be okay then I’m just gonna decide on them …ummkay?”

“Uh…lovely, so you are not renting, so I will be hanging up now” I replied.

“Well, I wouldn’t say that,” the lazy tortoise continued to ramble and chew, “You see, if they don’t turn out okay then I’m back to scare one.  I’m leaving for Thailand in couple of days so I need to decide  soon.” he said.

Why am I wasting my time with this dude, I thought.  I should just hang up and move on, but I had to ask, “You’re going to Thailand? So who will be living in that apartment.”

“Oh, Will will be here and the person I choose to replace me.  I will be sub-leasing since my name still has another year on this lease. So I need someone who won’t stiff me.” he explained…slowly.

“Okay, thanks, well good luck and have fun in Thailand,” I responded anxiously wanting to hang up.

“Hey why don’t give your name and number just in case this other guy doesn’t work out.”  He said with more chewing noises. Couldn’t hurt, I thought.  I gave him my name and number expecting to never hear from him again.

“Wait a minute,” he said kind of uncharacterstically quickly, ” Are you Japanese?  Your name is Japanese isn’t it?” 

“Yeah, well sort of, I’m…”, I tried to explain that I was only half but he interrupted me.

“You know what, Japanese people are such trustworthy people. I’ll  tell you what, why don’t you come over tonight.  If you like the place, maybe we can make a deal…sound alright?”

What an idiot, I thought.  He was changing his mind and pretty much ready to lease me his place under his name without even meeting me all because of his stereotypical views of Japanese people. Well, I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I agreed to see the apartment that evening.

The area was really nice.  It had a lot convenieces nearby.  The whole area was a resort town catering to mostly Japanese tourists.  There were duty free stores, conveniece stores, bars, restaurants, the beach, and a night club all within walking distance. It would be the equivelant, but not as glamorous, to Waikiki of Hawaii or Surfers Paradise of Australia.

The apartment looked very average.  It was on top of a hill behind Planet Hollywood. It had a small swimming pool and a lot of frogs and gekkos. I knocked on the door, and a very hairy barefooted man in his mid-30’s, wearing shorts that looked like swimming trunks and a t-shirt (Not one of  those “I love Guam”  types of t-shirts, but one of those clingy white underwear t-shirts that showed off his hairy man boobs.) answered the door. He beared a very strong resemblence to Robin Williams. I introduced myself and explained that I had spoken to him earlier about the room for rent.

I was invited in somewhat reluctantly and he stared at me the whole time. He then finally asked,” Are you Japanese?”

“I’m HALF Japanese”, I answered abruptly and loudly, since he interrupted me the last time. He then looks down at the floor, looking somewhat disappointed and says “Oh!…um where are you from?”

I decided that I needed to feed this guy what he wanted to hear in order to get this apartment.  Not exactly lie, but not the entire truth either. “I just came from Japan last week” I replied, which wasn’t a lie.

“Oh” he said a bit more enthusiastically. “What do you do”

Uh-oh…I thought.  If I told him where I worked, he might actually know people there, and find out how much I get paid.  Or even worse, he might actually start hanging around there.  Hmmm…think fast!

 “I work as a freelance interpretter.” I said.  Okay, that was a lie.  But later, I did do some feelance interpretting jobs while on Guam, so it worked out to be the truth too.

“Oh, that must pay really well!” he responded. I just shrugged and smiled, and allowed him to make his own stupid assumptions.

We spoke for  about an hour.  I found out that he worked as an English teacher for the local high school and was about to take a 6 month “sabatical” to Thailand.  In actuality, I found out later that, he took a long term leave to meet some vacationing Thai girl he had met a few weeks ealier in a bar somewhere. 

 He had a side business selling  hand panted greeting cards to local businesses.  Most of these businesses were Japanese owned, hence his great foundness for dealing with Japanese people. He turned out to be a pretty descent guy…lazy, hairy, and presumptuous,… but descent.

A few minutes later another guy hastefully bursted through the front door. He was wearing a KMart uniform, sun glasses with perfectly round little lenses (even though it was 9pm), and carrying an armful of food from McDonald’s.  He glances at me, says hi, and rushes into the bedroom.  Ahhh…this must be the hare, I laughed to myself.

Another few minutes later, he re-emerges with empy McDonalds containers, different clothes on, and without his sun glasses. I tried to imagine him changing clothes and eating a Big Mac at the same time, but I just couldn’t do it.

The hairy guy introduced me to him. His name was Will.  He worked at the nearby Kmart for $5.50 an hour, and basically worked to party. He was out almost every night with his friends from the air base. He was your typical Guamanian, working from paycheck to paycheck and blowing it all on  personal fun with little regards for his future.  Will wasn’t a bad guy, but he was very irresponsible and had the attention span of a baby monkey.

“Hey Will,” the hairy guy said, ” I think I’m going to let Mr. Hayashi move in.  He’s Japanese, so I know he’s good for the rent.  Cool?”

“Whatever man, as long as I get the big bedroom”, he responded.  I really didn’t care about the bedroom size too much.  Besides, the bigger bedroom had no windows and smelled of man sweat and aftershave.  No doubt in my mind that that was the hairy guy’s bedroom.

I spoke to will for a total of 3 minutes that night, and then he left for a “hot date”.  I clinched the deal with the hairy guy by signing a handwitten contract basically stating that I would be responsible for paying the rent on time to the manager, and settling any outstanding debts when I move out….no double talk or fine prints so it was pretty straight forward.  I gave him a check for the first month’s rent and told him I would move in at the end of the week.  I offered to give him a photocopy of my driver’s license with the check but he declined.  He trusted me; after all I’m Japanese… remember?

-To Be Continued-

10th Year in Japan Part II

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

It rained again this morning but the weather has cleared up nicely.  Now I don’t have to hide out underground during my lunch hour again.

  I’m not too sure if I dreamt it or if it really happened, but I think there was another earthquake this morning.  It seemed to be a lot shorter and lighter than yesterday’s.

Anyways, I was surprised to see some people taking an interested in my pre-career career story. I usually put people to sleep with this one. My life has been a string of chance happenings.  It made me a strong believer of destiny, and  I do believe that everything does happen for a reason and that something that may seem to be bad at the time, eventually works out for the good. For me, living on Guam was one of them.

Within a week or so after I had signed my employment contract with this golf resort on a tiny island in the middle of the south pacific, I was already on my way.  Apprehensiveness was the only emotion I felt.  I had never been to Guam and up until a week earlier, I had it in my head that Guam was going to be a lot like Hawaii. My aunt Yuriko had been there and told me horror stories about Guam.  She said that it was basically a hot jungle in middle of nowhere, which wasn’t far from the truth.  my friend Saori told me similar stories.  This wasn’t sounding too positive.

I arrived at Guam International Airport (ahaha…the only civilian airport on the island), where I was suppose to meet someone from the Golf resort to take me to my apartment. IT WAS HOT!! Guam is just a few hundred miles north of the equator, so there are no seasons…just HOT!  It was like a Japanese summer and yet it was still only May.  Humidity hovered around 90-100% all year round and the average temperature was 32 to 40 degrees (celcius). I was told to always have the air conditioning running at all times in my apartment or otherwise, the place will start to smell like fungi.  I hate hot weather, so I was abslolutely miserable the moment I got off the plane.

I saw two people with Hawaiin shirts that said Mangilao Golf Club printed on them. One was a lady named Lina.  She was the HR person at the club.  I don’t quite remember who the other person was.

They took me to my hotel, where I satyed for the first few nights until my apartment was ready. That night, I wasn’t really feeling well.  The combination of the Guam heat, nervousness, and my illness had made me sick.  Two people from the club came to pick me up to take me out to dinner. I was tired and nausious, but I thought it’d be rude to turn them down since the dinner was in my honor.  They took me out for Mexican food (one of my favorites).

When we arrived, there were several other people from the club there.  An Indian guy ( the guy who I had been talking to over the phone for the past previous weeks) wearing a baseball cap and a polo shirt with the words “Mangilao Golf Club” printed on it, came in with a huge smile on his face. He introduced himself as “Jetan”.  Jetan was the financial controller for the club, and one of the most down to earth guys I met on Guam.  There was a half Japanese half American guy named Kevin.  He was quite an interesting character; and his tag team partner Richard, who was equally colorful.  I wound up hanging out with Kevin a lot.  He was 4 or 5 years older than me but he seemed more like a younger brother than an older one.  He invited me out drinking almost every single night I was on Guam.

They all gave me a very nice welcome.  I wasn’t too enthusiastic about being on Guam; maybe because I wasn’t feeling too well, or maybe it was more because I felt like I failed a very important life objective.  But at least I would be in good company for the next year.

All I had was my Toshiba laptop with Windows 3.11 installed. I nearly fell over laughing when I turned on my laptop for the first time.  It was my first time to ever see Microsoft’s version of the Macintosh.  I was so use to using a Macintosh SE at the computer lab at the university.  Everything was so straight forward and right in front of me with the Mac OS.  Compared to it, Windows 3.1x was a nightmare!  Looking and searching for programs was a real hassle. I tried to Mac’tize it by creating icons on the desktop, but I soon learned that that wasn’t the smart thing to do with Windows 3.1…It just made a mess of things.

I took the two AOL floppy’s and managed to install the AOL browser on my laptop.  I followed the guide page for page and managed to get online pretty quickly. It was the first time to ever be online, and I was completely lost!  I initially thought that the AOL browser and it’s contents was the internet, until it started taking me to places beyond the relms of the of the AOL pages. I soon became addicted and literally spent hours online every.  Nice to  know somethings never change.

Jetan was a computer wiz.  He basically helped setup the computers in the office.  He not only controlled the finances in the company, but he was also a network administrator.  The club used Netware 3.x and Windows 95.  When I first saw Windows 95, I was amazed.  I was amazed because it looked a lot like the Mac…at least a lot more than 3.1x did.  Jetan was nice enough to let borrow the Windows 95 setup floppys (all 30 of them – this pre-dated the days of CD-ROMS, or at least in the mainstream) to change my OS on the Toshiba. I had no clue as to how to do this. But Jetan assured me that it isn’t that difficult, just read.

That night, I attempted to install Win95 on the big loaf of bread.  I remember that the installation itself was easy, but when the OS came up, nothing worked.  The modem no longer worked, the display looked funny and only had 16 colors, etc… I nearly panicked, thinking that I had broken the machine.

I sat there staring at the screen for about 20 minutes trying to think of where  I could take it to get it fixed.  It would have  been too embarassing to take it to Jetan, considering he was nice to enough to break software piracy laws and lend me the Windows OS in the first place. I couldn’t possibly ask him for more.

But then I remembered my mother’s words “you’ll figure it out”.  I then thought..OK its broke and I probably can’t break it anymore than this.  Its pretty damn F**KED, so if I am going to take it to anyone to get it fixed, I may as well really break it first.  I dumped out all the software that came with the laptop, which was about 20 floppies total.  I looked at the floppies carefully, and noticed a lot of them had the word “drivers” printed on it. So I thought ok whatever…lets see what this stuff does.  “Display drivers”….into the the floppy drive it went and clicked on the install file. It started doing some crazy things to the machine the display would flicker and turn black and come back, etc.. Boy this thing is really screwing it up, I thought. After the pretty light show, it asked to to reboot…sure why not. Wait wait wait wait…and wait….then,  BINGO.  I got all my colors back!  All 256 of them in full glory.  I kissed the floppy and quickly figured out that “drivers” made harware work! Damn I am getting good at this,  I thought. I sifted through the floppies and found the modem drivers and installed them.

My AOL software came to life and I was online once again.  Luckily, the computers of those days, didn’t have too many devices. so I was able to get my laptop going within an hour.  I really enjoyed being able to figure out the problem on my own and fixing it.

The next day I bought some books on WIndows and Netware, and began reading them. After a few weeks, Jetan noticed my increasing interest in PC’s and gave me some PC related tasks to do in the office.  Soon, I became the local troubleshooter and helpdesk for people having PC issues in our small office.

I bought more books, even more difficult ones dealing with computer networking and servers.  I was reading at a pace of a book every two days, not because I was studious, it was because I was so damn bored.  Guam really was a nothing island.  There were power outages amost evey other day due to power rationing.  Since I couldn’t  go online during an outage (at least not for a great amount of time because of poor battery life), I usually just read by candle light.

Within the next few months, I was reading hard-core engineering books about TCP/IP and server hardware, etc…  Guam had been hit by two major typhoons which  rendered 90% of the island without power for nearly 2 weeks. The club operated under generator power, so I took my brick to work to recharge the battery and use it online for a couple of hours a night. Then I would study for several hours after that.

Then, a few months later, the island was then ravaged by two major earthquakes, a 6.1 and a 6.9. They were less than a week apart. We again were without power for a week, and we were also out of water as well.  I had to stock up on bottled water.

One morning on my day off, I remember waking up to a sound of a huge crash.  I first though it was just the garbage truck tipping the dumpster. I didn’t think too much of it until later that evening when I saw the local news reported that  a Korean airliner had crashed into the side of a mountain near the airport.  I was pretty close to the airport….(everyone was close to the airport.)..I walked outside and I could see plumes of smoke coming from the general direction of the airport.  After so many disasters, power outagers, water outages, roommates from hell (I will mention this some other time), I was really getting sick of Guam.

The year went by fairly quickly. Despite me being pretty anti-social due to studying so much, I managed to make a few good friends. The people of Guam are really very friendly for the most part.  I was invited to barbeques almost every single weekend I lived there, sometimes by complete strangers.  It was Chamorow custom to have barbeque parties with family and friends. They would approach you on the beach or anywhere and ask if you to come to their barbeques. I totally took their hospitality for granted because you’d never get that here in Japan.  I kind of regret turning so many people down, because I was somewhat distrustful, when in reality, all they wanted was to share their hospitality with you.

After a year passed, it was time for me to make a desicion.  I was no longer obligated by contract to stay.  During my one year stay there, I often thought  that I would quit on the EXACT day that my contract expired and go back to Japan the day after.  But it wasn’t that easy.  Guam is far from being my favorite place, but the people made it very difficult for me to leave.  I thought about staying maybe another month or two, but I was on a mission, and that was to go back to Japan and not let it defeat me this time.

Guam did me a lot of good. It taught me to relax and to trust people more.  But most of all it gave me time to aquire another skill. A skill that changed my hole life goal completely, and fulfill my dream of being successful in Japan. 

I returned to Japan a two weeks after my contract expired and continued studying computers.  I wasn’t an engineer yet, but I did know a lot more than the average person by then.  I was able to land my first IT gig a month later, and it paid a lot more than I ever imagine being paid at that age. 

A few months later, I was certified, and promoted to back office engineer. If it hadn’t been for that one move 8 years ago, and my mother giving me that Toshiba brick (which I still have, but badly damaged), and me breaking it by trying to install a new OS, I would definately not be in Japan doing what I’m doing now.

Destiny? Perhaps…or maybe its just dumb luck, but whatever it was, I will never take it for granted because I was pretty damn lucky.

10th Year in Japan Part I

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

Today, I and probably several million other people in the Kanto region had a rude awakening.  I think this was this was the biggest earthquake since the Nagano one.  I think it was some thing like a shindo 4 which is roughly a M5.4(?)…not a sizemologist. so only taking a guess.

 I think it was just before 5AM this morning.  And at a time when I value sleep the most, it was hardly welcomed. I didn’t manage to get back to sleep so I am working another 9 to 12 hour day with only 3 or 4 hours sleep. But that’s nothing new.  I will try to get out early, and since the boss is away, that makes me the boss, so I have the freedom to do so.

 But earthquakes don’t scare me. Granted, the biggest earthquake I had ever experienced was M6.9 and that was in Guam. This was back in 1997 when Guam was riddled with 4 major natural disasters within the same year, and also a major aviation disaster.  Sometimes I think I am jinxed, because wherever I go there seems to be some kind of disaster.

People often ask me what I was doing on Guam.  Well, at is a really long story, but I was mainly there for health purposes (one of many reasons).  Here is the whole long story:

When I moved to Japan in 1995, it wasn’t quite what I expected it to be.  It was right after the economy went to hell, and at the very beginning of the very long  depression. I was a freshly minted university graduate, and against the wishes of my mother I decided not to continue my education and go to graduate school. At this point I was thoroughly sick of being a poor student and I wanted start my career an interpretter or translator. My whole life goal was to someday live and be successful in Japan, and EVERYTHING about me and my whole existence on this planet centered around this one goal. I surrounded myself in a bilingual environment.  I tried my best to make bilingual friends (which was close to impossible in my hometown). 

 I begged my uncle and Aunt Yuriko to let me stay with them for a while, despite the wishes of my mother.  My uncle agreed and had a talk with my mother. He told her that he knows I will succeed and to give me a chance. .  

My mother had always been supportative of my goals, however she didn’t think I had it in me to survive in Japan, and it a way, she was right. Even she could not live in Japan, hence she moved to the States when she was 15, against her parents wishes. I had saved up $2000 which was my whole life savings at the time (cute eh?).

When I came here, I spent a month looking for an entry level translator position in any company willing to take me.  I immediately got an interview with Star TV, at the time a brand new cable TV company in Tokyo. It was for a position as an assistant or an apprentice to those who write subtitles for TV shows and movies. I really liked the sound of the job, but the pay kind of sucked.  I really didn’t care too much. I just wanted to get myself in and move up from there. But I didn’t get the job.  Not enough experience, so they said.  But since the economy was failing, I have the feeling it was more along the lines of just trying to keep the position available for the locals, and not hiring foreigners.  This was pretty much the same story for any translator/interpretter position I applied for.

After 3 weeksin Japan , I was down to my last 50,000 yen.  Even though I was living with my uncle and his family, the cost of transportation etc…was eating me alive.  My mother’s cousin offered me part time work at one of the restaurants he owned in Yokohama called “Ninikuya”, an ethnic Caujin type restaurant. Most of the staff where foriegn, so he thought I would fit in nicely.  Sounded like a cool job and it was just to get me out of a hole, but just when I was about to call him back and accept the job, an English language school in Sendai called me and asked if I was available to meet them in Sendai.  Having never been there before, I thought it’d be cool opportunity just to get away, and the company paid for my trip plus an overnight stay in a hotel.

They interviewed me for about 1 hour and hired me on the spot.  But they didn’t tell me EVERYTHING about the job. The job itself was easy.  It just involved doing 3 English sessions a day teaching English to Japanese people. They were mostly high school and college women. They even had something called an Eikawa salon, which was a full bar although they only had softdrinks and coffee.  For one hour a day we, the instructors would sling free soft drinks (like a bartender) to the students and have casual conversations with them in English. This was good for those who had no time to attend a real lesson or just wanted to hang out with foreigners and talk.  We even helped with homework or prepared them before a real lesson. I loved the salon.  It was so casual and I learned so much about Sendai and became really good friends with several of the students.  We even played games from time to time like Monopoly or Scrabble.

But the fun soon stopped.  The school was quickly becoming a victim of the slowing economy.  The head of the school however, was still trying to expand, dispite the poor economy.  Up until then, the school was based in Northern Japan only, but they wanted to build schools in the Kanto region.  The president of the school approached me and offered me a position as the head instructor of a school that was opening in Odawara, which is about 60km southwest of Yokohama. It was very close to shonan, a famous place for surfers and tanned girls .  Although I really liked Sendai and its people, I was starting to become a bit homesick.  I wanted to see my family again, so Odawara would put me back closer to them.  I immediately accepted and met with the owner of the Odawara school.

I met the owner a week later, and to be polite he wasn’t what I expected.  Oh, hell…lets be honest here, he was an outright moron!  The guy didn’t  speak a word of English and didn’t express any interest in learning it, and yet he wanted to run an English school. He is what we call an “obochan”, or a  person who comes from a priveleged family, yet does nothing significant on his own. Apparently his mother, the rich one, gave this guy (who was 30 years old at the time) a bundle of money to start his own business (even though he had never had any business management experience)…and of all things, he wanted to start an English school, because it was the biggest money making business during that time.

To make an already very long story shorter, bad business decisions, not listening to other people’s suggestions, having a peronality of a wet sponge, and not having a salon (which was the main selling point of this school) killed the business, and I was out of work again after only three short months of business.  I was offered an opportunity to return to Sendai, but by then, the school wasn’t the same school it was several months earlier. The economy was poor and they had laid off some instructors.  And since I was the only bilingual instructor, they wanted me to work in the sales department and teach at the same time.  That meant way longer hours for the same pay. I declined the offer, because I wasn’t much of a salesperson.

By this time, the stress of having to put up with stupid boss and a failing business was taking a toll on me physically.  I moved to Saitama, because  the rent was cheaper there, to a little town called Okegawa, which was about the best little town I had ever lived in, in Japan.  The problem was that it was over an hour away from Tokyo, an there were no jobs locally.  So I had to commute to Tokyo on an extremely packed beyond capacity Takasaki-line to job hunt every day.  This train becomes so crowed that the oxygen level literally drops and the carbon dioxide level climbs to a dangerously high level.  Even with the windows open, it still doesn’t help.  One day, I actually passed out on the train and had to be assisted off.   After about 15 minutes on the platform, I was able to recover, but this rapidly developed into a health problem for me.

One day, as I got up,and  I found that I could not keep my balance, or stand up anymore. It was like being extremely drunk.  I had to sit down every 10 minutes because the room would spin like mad around me. I eventually had to quit making daily trips to Tokyo.  

I eventually recovered well enough to make a trip to my uncle’s house in Yokohama.  I described my health issues, only to have my aunt Yuriko tell me she suffered from the same exact ailment when she was my age.  She said that it was due to severe stress and fatigue  and that there is no real cure for it other than to have a change in venue for a while. I gave this a lot of thought and thought about throwing in the towel and moving back to the States.  Maybe this is what my mother meant when she said I couldn’t tolerate life in Japan, so I began to think that maybe she was right.

Later that week, I was looking the Japan Times for basically 2 things: 1.) a job; preferrebly in the northern Tokyo area, so I could stay in Okegawa or 2.) A cheap air ticket back to the States. At the time, I found a lot of listings for computer engineers.  They were looking for bilingual computer engineers and most companies were willing to pay 5-6 million yen a year for entry level workers. Computers were my hobby, but I hardly had any kind of engineering skills.  I barely knew what the internet was.

I wished I did though.  I then found a listing for contract job for an interpretter position. The person needed to bilingual of course, but no other experience was necessary. This got my attention.  I read on to learn that the job was at an exclusive golf resort and that the interpretter will not only act as a liason between the staff and customer, but also take reservations from local travel agents. I was puzzled.  At first I thought it was a resort in Japan catering to foriegn clients.

As I read on, I quickly learned that the job was on Guam.  Big sigh.  I was disappointed and read the other ads to find  nothing noteable that day, and put the newspaper away.

I got to thinking. I was kind of accepting the fact that at age 23, my concern should be just to get some experience under my belt rather than worrying about what company to work for or where I was going to live. The Guam job was starting to sound more appealing.  Besides, Guam was only 3 hours away from Tokyo, and if I didn’t like the job, I could always come back.

The next morning, I faxed my resume to the Mangilao Golf Club in Mangilao Guam. I didn’t expect them to get back to me until the at least the following week. 10 minutes later, the phone rang.  It was an Indian guy on the other side calling from Guam telling me if it was okay to conduct a phone interview. I was like “what? now?”…We talked for like 30 minutes about Guam, my work experience, etc..  He then switched me over to a Japanese guy, who was the Deputy General Manager.  I guess he was testing my how well I spoke Japanese. Then the phone switched back to the Indian guy and he told me that they would need to have a meeting and they will call me back.

A brush off, I thought to myself. Its okay, I didn’t want to go to Guam anyways.  I’ve never been there so what I don’t know won’t hurt me.

Another ten minutes later my phone rings again.  This time it was a fax.  I let the fax come through to learn that it was an employment contract from Mangilao Golf Club. Then the phone rings again, it was the Indian guy.  “Did you get the contract?” he asked…”Um yeah” I replied. “Good, that the official offer.  If you decide to take the offer please sign and fax the contract back, we’ll call shortly afterwards.”

I looked the contract over.  The job pay was lousy; less than $10.00 / hr.  But it wasn’t the money I was after remember, it was the experience. They would pay for my flight from Tokyo to Guam, provide 2 weeks car rental until I can establish my own mode of travel, and one month free apartment rental.  Sounded like a pretty hot deal. I signed the contract, but was very apprehensive about returning it. But I went ahead and did it.

It was only AFTER I faxed the contract back, I notice that the fine print said that I had to stay a minimum of one year, or I would have to repay all transportation and rent expenses. Yay, looks like I will be in Guam for the next year.

Before I left, my mother came to Japan with a present.  She gave me my first laptop computer. It was a Toshiba laptop; heavier than two bricks, and thicker than Japanese toast, but it was it was a new model back then.  I had never used windows or owned any PC’s before. Up until then, I was a Macintosh guy. My mother was quicly getting into computers and internet back then and wanted me to keep in contact by “email”.  WTF is email?  I was so out of it.  She handed me two floppy disks that had the AOL setup software on it.  “Just set yourself up when you get there…k, I know you can figure it out.”  I didn’t know it at the time, but that one move and those words changed the rest of my life forever.

……….To be continued…..

Tonsils! What a Pain!

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

I did a Google search on tonsillectomy to see if there were others who had their tonsils removed as adults.  Surprisingly, there were quite a few.  But unfortunately, most people had negative reactions to adult tonsilectomies.  The overall consensus seems to be to have a tonsillectomy ONLY if it gets really badly infected to the point where it starts effecting your breathing.  Fortunately for me, its not that bad.  It’s more of a minor annoyance than a health risk so far.

One lady went as far as chronicling her tonsilectomy and giving very good detail as to what they did, and the process of  her recovery.  She made it sound pretty damn grusome!  She was noting how the tonsil tissue scars and scabs after the surgery and how much pain she had to endure. The simple act of swallowing saliva, which those with healthy tonsils take for granted, becomes something that you have to really brace for.  Food and carbonated drinks (or any drinks other than ice cold water) were totally out of the question…at least for a few weeks. This lady had to do a liquid diet, which must have been hell.

Remember as a kid when they made you believe that ice cream and sherbert is the cure for post tonsillectomy pain? Well according to this lady, that is a complete fallacy! It doesn’t make it feel any better or worse.

Well, I think I am going to heed this advice, at least until it becomes so unbearable that I really need to have these things yanked.  So far its not that bad. So I can’t keep a note at karaoke, who cares…right?

Right now, I am using this stuff made of propolis extract. Propolis is that sticky goo that bees use to build their hives.  It tastes HORRIBLE!! If you ever use this stuff, don’t get any of it on your tongue!! If you can imagine what battery acid tastes like, this would be the closest thing I could compare it to, plus the sting will drive you nuts.  I put a couple of drops on my tosils every morning and evening after gargling with an iodine solution.  It stings like a mother-f****r!!!!! Its about 20 times more painful and irritataing than the tonsillitus itself and the pain. You can’t talk, it’s hard to swallow anything, it feels like you just swallow 100 grid sand paper, and that pain lasts about an hour or so.  That’s why I can only do it twice a day.  Its all I can really stand, and I consider myself pretty tolerant to pain.

But apparently, this stuff is suppose to be good for killing off infectuous bateria like strep in the mouth and throat. I have been using it for 3 days now and I think its kind of working…not quite sure yet.  I used it once a long time ago on a cold sore in my mouth and it got rid of it in like a day.  That was pretty amazing.  The stuff turned my cold sore completely white and also stung pretty bad! I sat there for like 30 minutes with my eyes watering from the sheer agony.  But by that evening, the cold sore was pretty much gone; just a patch of left over skin which was gone by the next morning. 

I hope this stuff works, otherwise I will have to do the antibiotics thing again.  Taking 6 or 7 pills, 5 times daily can be pain and they tend to have all kinds of after effects.

Dream Car

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Cars and Racing

I think my tonsillitus is back.  I can feel the back of my throat swelling up again like it did last fall.
I went to karaoke yesterday and sandg horribly.  My voice just wasn’t there.  I am not a great singer, but I can sing some songs better than average.  However, yesterday I kept singing off key.  Even the songs that I am really good at, I sang really pooly.
I plan to go see a doctor sometime next week to discuss my options.  In the time being, I have been taking diluted iodine to disinfect my throat. Its seems to work a little bit.  I don’t want to go through the whole antibiotics regimine that I had to go through last fall. It involved taking loads of drugs 5 times a day.  I hate taking any kind of medication, so I think I will consult the doctor on having my tonsils removed.
I read that a tonsillectomy is relatively safe as long as you have it as a child.  But for adults, it could be a dangerous surgery because of risk of infection. I have never had any kind of sugery …ever. So just the thought of having to have a part of my body cut opened up or removed scares me.  My aunt told me that nowadays a tonsillectomy is not even a surgical procedere and can be done right in the doctor’s office.  Something about ‘burning’ them away.  I guess I have to be awake for that procedure.
On the way home from karaoke, I walked by Honda dealership that was newly built in my neighborhood. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me at first, but in the distance in one of the garages I could make out what looked to be my ultimate dream machine .  I walked towards the dealership, and yes it was my dream car…the Honda NSX Type R.

I want  this car so bad, but the 11 million yen (approx. $110,000 USD) price tag brought me back to reality quickly.  I have been wanting to buy this car for the last 10 years now, and although it wouldn’t be entirely?@impossible for me to get one, going into serious debt is not really feesible for me. Not for a car at least.  But someday, I will own one of these!

Fixed the Server :)

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

EDIT: My nerd score…how embarassing…but I guess all IT people are nerds. We get paid to be nerds

I got my home server back on the net last night…yay! And a sigh of relief! Its a piece of crap server but it has a very important job; it allows all of the PC’s in my house, including my beloved Thinkpad to access the internet. Without it, I literally do nothing but stare at inanimate objects for hours at a time. I am the type of person who unnecessarily thinks about things all of the time, especially when I am bored. In my early 20’s, this use to lead to depression. Since then, I have learned to keep my mind off of things by keeping it active. PC’s have literally saved me from going mad in a sense.

The problem turned out to be some broken files that control the connection to the internet. So I reinstalled the service pack which repaired it. Whew!

I also managed to get my PSP to work over the internet. I played Ridge Racers with people over the internet. It’s still not 100% perfect because I keep dropping connections. I need to find out how to fix that.

I managed coax someone into going to karaoke with me tomorrow. So I am going to practice this new song that I have listened to no less than 50 times yesterday. I have already got the melody down well, now I need get the rest of the lyrics down. Oh, I will take this background music down tonight. I have another song that I am so in love with right now. I am listening to now. And of course its by Misia. I have been listening to her and Kubota Toshinobu for the last 2 weeks now. He actually wrote some of the songs on her new album and its classic Kubota style.

Well, its Thursday. Tomorrow’s a national holiday. Cy is having an anti-valentine’s day party tomorrow in Shibuya, but I’m gonna pass. When parties grow to over 25 people (all strangers), then I get a bit reluctant to go. Sleepy sleepy sleepy ( I guess I should get back to work)..

My Server Crashed :(

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

Ok…this is a bit embarassing to admitt considering the field that I work in, but I have been without internet service at home for the past couple of days now due to a crashed server in my house.

I had been trying to get my PSP to work over the internet so that I can play games with people over the net. However, Sony has yet to release the official service to allow this to happen. So, Sean introduced me to a software made in the UK that allows you fool the PSP into thinking there is another PSP in the room. In actuality, the other PSP is my PC running this software, sending signals over a wireless connection to my PSP, while routing instructions over the internet to other PSP users with similar setups.

Well, things seemed to be looking good until my network card died. I guess the old aging Dell could not take it anymore. No big deal, I had extras from cannibalized PC’s at work, so I quickly went to replace it. Well, when I shutdown my home server to install this network card, the PC decided that it didn’t want to come back online anymore. Damn Dells!!

After hours of fiddling with it, I managed to get it back up and running ,but it no longer sees the internet; some strange error in which I’ve never seen before. I looked it up and pretty much it had two solutions, of which I have already tried one, and it didn’t do anything. The other solution, which I will try tonight but it takes a lot of time. If that doesn’t work, I will need to build another firewall server.

All this, because I wanted to play Ridge Racers online. Oh well, I’m not giving up though!