So far so good

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

It has been nearly 3 weeks since I’ve moved into the new house, and for the most part everything has been good.  I have heard nightmares about houses falling apart at the seams shortly after people have taken ownership of them.  And since this house is already 10 years old, I was somewhat expecting some problems.  But aside from a few minor kinks (like no electricity to the ceiling fan, which should be resolved soon) everything has been smooth sailing (knock wood).

There’s still some considerable amount of cleaning that needs to be done.  The guest room is a lot emptier than before, but still needs some work.  The bedroom is much cleaner, and the work that’s left to be done there is minimal (mostly cosmetic).  The headboard for the bed arrives tomorrow, so the bed will actually look like a real bed as opposed to just a couple of matresses stacked together.

The garage is last on the list.  Since its an open air garage with no real  garage door, I can’t really put anything of value down there.  I also need to organize all of the car parts lying around to make room for the second car when I eventually scrounge the cash together to get one.   Also, I need to get a motion sensor light.  Right now, there is just an old desk lamp plugged into an outlet which is pretty silly.  The previous owners left that for me.  I want a proper motion sensing light so fend of potential theives as well as allowing me to back into the garage without having to get out of the car to turn on the light (as I do now).  I also eventually want to get a gate that opens automatically.  They are pretty expensive here so I am seeing if I can get something from the states that I can engineer into working with the type of garage that I have.

the garage

the garage

the inoperatable ceiling fan

the inoperatable ceiling fan

The Fun Bus invades the Russian Embassy…or at least they tried to

Author: mirai  //  Category: Life in general

Yesterday, as I was working diligently at the office, I suddenly heard a loud blaring of Japanese Enka music coming from the street level.  At first, I thought it was just someone playing music obnoxiously loud, but then I quickly realized that the Fun Bus was in the hood and the part has begun.  So you may be asking, what’s a Fun Bus?

A Fun Bus is a term coined by  a friend and former colleague of mine to describe a group of radical right wing  marauders who ride around in black painted full sized buses, vans, SUV, trucks, or cars ( to a less often degree) who enjoy staging semi-polical protests against anything perceived (by the group) to be anti-Japan or anti-Japanese.  Unfortunately, being radicals, they basically perceive EVERYTHING out of their very small relm of comprehension as being anti-Japanese including the presence of anything foriegn (people, businesses, culture, products, etc..) in Japan.  They usually cruise the larger cities (usually the business and office districs) blaring [[Japanese Enka]] music from the Meiji era (mid to late 1800’s), and shouting political catch phrases and sometimes obsenities through several loud speakers mounted on top of a bus, hence the term Fun Bus.  They are also often decorated in Japanese Kamikaze flags, which remindes me of rednecks in the southern United States who sport confederate flags on the back of their pickups.  The only thing that’s really missing was a gun rack. 

Sometimes they would have a gold chrysanthemum emblems on their cars to pay leneage to the emperor of Japan.  Often times they belong to some organized crime group or organization that may be backed by Yakuza groups (or the Japanese mafia’s).  They are always disruptive to local businesses by  scaring off potential patrons, causing gridlock traffic, or just by making a public spectical of themselves just to get attention.  Most of the times, they are harmless and more of a public nuisance more than anything.

The fun buses are quite busy during the late summer months (especially in mid-August) when most of the country is enjoying the Obon festivals -festivals to comemorate the dead.  Coincedently this was about the same time when the U.S. bombed Hiroshima (Aug 6, 1945)  and Nagasaki (Aug 9, 1945) AND when USSR declared war on Japan (Aug 8, 1945) and occupied Japan’s two northern-most islands know as the Hoppō Ryōdo.  So during these days, these people are running back and forth between the Russian and American Embassies demanding restitution and compensation for the wars by shouting political chants and slogans through loud speakers.

Back to Yesterday 

Usually fun buses don’t travel in packs, at least not as far as I’ve seen.  But yesterday, a whole armada of angry protesters in their fun vehicles tried to infiltrate the Russian Embassy in Tokyo by trying get past police barracades (which incidently is there all of the time).  It was funny to watch because the police were basically using a really long accordian gate,(which reminded of the kind used to baby proof stairways in houses) and a riot bus to block the passage to the Embassy.  If the protesters really wanted to get in, they could have easily drove through the gate with their fun bus, but at the same time also risk being arrested.  

At one point, there must have been 15 to 20 fun vehicles blocking traffic and trying to get through the blockade, while the protesters shouted obsenities at the police through their loud speakers.  They continued chanting give us back our islands! (in reference to the Hoppō Ryōdo occupation by Russia) for a good 15 to 20 minutes.  The police eventually got angry and blared back through their own set of loud speakers, go home, you are blocking traffic! This verbal exchange between the protesters and the police via loud speakers could literally be heard for miles which was creating its own public nuisance.  The exchange eventually became more heated as the protesters language use became more and more graphic.

Realizing that they probably won’t be able to get past the blockade, the fun buses began to pull out only to realize that they had created their own gridlock and could not drive back into traffic.  This started another flury of obsenity slanging, with the the protesters shouting, Now look what you did! Your stupid blockade created a traffic jam!  Move out of our way, so we can go home! to which one of the police officers simply motioned to the drivers to the vehicles to back up. 

After about ten minutes of trying to get untangled in the own self-created mess, they were able to work their way free.

Here are some photos and a video of the whole ordeal.  Quite comical!

funbus armada

Protesters in the conspicuously black vehicles arrive on the scene.

more backup forces arrive 

More cars arrive

accordian gates

Accordian gates separate the protesters from the road that leads to the Russian Embassy, while the police confronts one of the drivers.

full force

Fun buses in full force

Finally, here is a video of the event unfolding.

Net is up!

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

For the first couple of days after I moved into the new house,  I was trying to figure out a way to build a server room.  At first, I was thinking to use the attic above the bedroom to house the servers, but the heat and humidity was unbearable and would mean sure death for the PC’s.  The bedroom gets up to 35 degrees celcius in the summer with all of the windows closed, and the attic gets way above that.  As a matter of fact, it gets so hot that I actually start sweating furiously after only about 2 minutes up there.

The second place I considered was the guest room.   But unfortunately the guest room is being used as a storage room for all the unopened and unsorted junk left over from the move.  Secondly,  I didn’t want to make another dedicated machine room as I did in the last house I lived in because it just makes it hard to use it for anything else.

So after considering the many possibilities, I decided to use a dead space at the end of the second floor hallway.  This however, posed a new challenge: network connectivity.   My first working solution was to put in a wireless access point.  So I went down to Yamada Denki (an electronics shop near my old house) and bought a cheap access point for my servers. 

It took me an hour to configure it to see my wireless router and communicate with it over a secured WEP connection so that my neighbors or passer-bys don’t purposely or accidently access my network.  This worked really well for about 15 minutes until I had to reboot the router.  Unfortunately, rebooting the router wreaked havoc on the access point.  Apparently, it doesn’t have an auto-discovery function and a very short time-out, which means every time I reboot the router, I have to reboot the access point too.  Not a big deal considering that I don’t reboot the router too often.

Then I discovered another problem.  Apparently, the access point isn’t geared to handle heavy traffic from the router or the server group.  High traffic caused it to freeze which also caused the router to freeze as well.  So I was finding myself rebooting my router and access point ever 10 minutes or so.  This was not good, so I excercised my contingency plan.

My contingency plan was very simple in theory…go wired!  But in reality, its not as simple as it sounds.  It meant poking a small hole in the wall to route an ethernet cable from the upstairs hallway to the living room.  Fortunately, the hallway was right above the living room and conveniently right above the NTT fiber optic port.  So after a few minutes of drilling, poking and routing, I managed to have a wired connection from my servers to the broadband router.  Connectivity was stable and fast.  Problem: the long piece of wire hanging down from the ceiling looked hidious!  I considered using a plastic cable concealer to try to hide the wire but it would still look hidious and obviously wired.

Contingency plan B.  Okay, there was no contingency plan B, but since I had to return the access point to Yamada Denki, I figured I could look for a better solution there.  After returning the access point and getting my money back, I looked around for a more elegant solution to the problem.  Then I remember I had a similar issue when doing the network in my mom’s house.  The broadband connection was really far away from the point were I needed to install a Slingbox, so in her case I used a PLC (power line connection)  device to link the upstairs to the downstairs.  A PLC basically uses the existing electrical wiring in a house to pass data from the master to the slave device.  At first, I was really skeptical that these things would even work.  And even if they did work, I suspected that the speed and quality would be really poor.  But surprisingly it worked really well, at least in my mother’s house.

In my house, the electrical wiring is a bit suspect.  The reason why I say this is because I just had a ceiling fan installed in the living room over the weekend, and it doesn’t work!!  The electrician that installed it said that the wiring in the living room ceiling has ‘some’ elcetricity, but not enough to power anything let alone a ceiling fan.  He said that’s it probably a minor problem and that I should have the the house technician take a look at it.

None-the-less, this caused me to believe that a PLC may not work right in my house.  But I decided to try it out anyways.  It was only slightly more than a wireless access point and there isn’t anything to configure, so its pretty easy to get going.  Not to mention I can establish connectivity for any device that requires a wired connection, any place in the house (like a webcam in the garage).

PLC

It took a grand total of two minutes to set everything up, and it works flawlessly.  Speedwise, its only a slightly bit slower than a 100Mb/s wired connection, but totally unnoticeable.  Now I can access my blog server on the second floor of my house  from work ( or anywhere) through my broadband router on the first floor. 

setup

I’m Back!

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

I was gone for a while because I had to deal a move from hell.   Now that the move into the new house is done, just wanted to share the love.

I’m not quite done unpacking so I will only post the pictures of the rooms that look decent.

The garden
This is the Japanese style garden

The 37 incher 

The TV arrived the day before moving day

Boxes

The pile of boxes in the living room. 

My biggest fan

Just had this installed the other day.  The living room ceiling fan.

Almost like the Hilton

The bedroom is like a hotel room, complete with king sized bed

Bedroom tv

The bedroom TV

the bedroom

Another shot; the bed wasn’t made :p

loft or attic
The ladder leads up to the loft or attic, or whatever its suppose to be used for.

Princess
Princess giving me the “I’m bored” look

Jenna
Jenna giving the same bored look

That’s it for now….will post more later.