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Thursday, December 28th, 2006
5:56 pm - Mt. Takao at night
Temperatures were unseasonably high, and the sky was completely clear, so I went out at 11pm and took the opportunity to go nighthiking. I took the train 25 stations to the end of the line and walked the 3.8km up Mt. Takao. And it was *sweet*, clear stars above, the Tokyo suburbs shining below, occasional shooting stars, and I really think I was the only person on the mountain.

Everybody should do that once...the first part of the walk up is through dense forest, so it's pitch black except for the flashlight and a glowing black-blue sky canopy directly above. Then, 2km up, you reach the endpoint of a chairlift that operates during the day and everything turns into a creepy deserted amusement park: Buddhist statues, shuttered udon stands, dormant lanterns.

Back by 7am^^

current mood: calm

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Saturday, March 11th, 2006
11:02 am - XFest - Super Special Public Entry
Microsoft held XFest '06, a one-day XBox360 developers conference held at a super high-class hotel in the waterfront area of Odaiba, Takita and I took the automated monorail train there for 2 hour-long PowerPoint sessions.

Microsoft has an internal Advanced Technology Group (ATG) that writes software libraries for XBox, they make the tools that we use, and everyone who attended Xfest received free complementary...Advanced Technology Group toilet paper.





Now I was browsing through the giant mountain of Japanese gaming magazines near my desk, and looking at the recruitment ads for Japanese game creation schools I did a double take...in the upper left is our new intern. I asked him how posed the photo was, he said it took them two hours =)





Finally, girlswalker.com's great new slogan, which is what I'm sure Little Mermaid's "Kiss The Girl" was supposed to be like before those bastard Hollywood conservatives got their hands on it. I won't spoil what the Japanese itself says, it's not important and I know there are some of you that enjoy puzzling out that kind of thing^^




current mood: busy

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Thursday, December 15th, 2005
8:43 am
Ok the work dehumidifier I was taking water out of every day was actually a humidifier I was supposed to be filling.

Also, it may be symbolic of programming stress that I just dreamed I had an enema.

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Thursday, October 27th, 2005
8:25 am

Buyyyyyy Meeeeeeee.

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Wednesday, June 9th, 2004
9:59 pm - My Job
The results of meeting with (MID-LEVEL JAPANESE GAME COMPANY) management:

I officially become a Japanese Game Programmer on June 23 =) I intern every Wednesday to the end of the semester, for the grand sum of $70/day. During summer this expands to 3-5 days/week, and it contracts back for fall semester, eventually leading into my true From employment starting March 2005.

Until October 1st I can't work on stuff with NDAs, so no Nintendo DS work for me...

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Tuesday, March 30th, 2004
1:54 pm - Dorm memo
"When connecting a TV, VTR etc, a receiving system differs from antenna reception to each part room. The connection and channel adjustment that were united with the cable TV electric wave by the special worker of our company are required on maintenance management of future TV electric wave."

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Wednesday, February 18th, 2004
11:38 pm
::reads yogurt label in front of me::
"MEIJI YOGURT VI-YOU contains collagen and
ceramide with a flavor of grapefruit. It's so delicious."

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Wednesday, November 12th, 2003
9:42 pm - (1) Learn Japanese (2) Something Magical Happens (3) Profit!
This weekend marks 8 months in Japan, the coming month will give me a bunch of new records =)
- The longest I've been in Japan (2001 was two semesters).
- The first Christmas season I won't physically see my family.
- A complete year without fighting with anyone. ::knock on wood::

If I had money, I know what I'd do: drop me off in Thailand, give me a backpack a hiking stick and a pocket translator, I'd be happy. Buut I don't have money, so I anticipate December and January to be spent in Tokyo camping out in front of Namco's employment office =)

-> I spent a day in Charles's apartment, besides programming I also got to witness his scary tradition of buying 2 spaghetti dinners at AM/PM and mixing them into one 800yen SuperClump...

-> English Club had speeches during lunchtime for executive elections, it's so Japanese I had a hard time not laughing. Each of the 6 positions has one and exactly one candidate, I'm not sure what they would DO actually if there was a challenger...

current mood: determined

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Thursday, October 16th, 2003
10:54 pm - I (heart) Manhattan Love Story
"I have to keep this secret...like a rock!
...Like Columbo!
...Like a Columbo rock!!"

I just hear the phrase "Gu ga OOOOOOOOIIIII!" once and I laugh so hard I can't speak...

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Wednesday, October 15th, 2003
6:23 pm - Happy 7 Month Japan Anniversary
Today was pennance day. I did laundry, got rid of garbage, stocked food, brought homework up to date, checked job recruitment, and authored an archive DVD. It's a cute DVD too, it plays the hampster dance upon loading.

Last up is a nite of programming, I hope, FFXI is severely jeopardizing my ability to meet Oct 31 Milestone #2 =)

current mood: accomplished

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Thursday, September 25th, 2003
9:32 pm - Natsu no owariiiiiii
I took my last 2kyu test prep in Shimbashi, it was almost lonely saying goodbye to my trusty 7-story Kanda Gaigo Career College building. Almost. I do feel bad for not returning my comment card, I should've supported my teachers =(

Other than that, today was routine. Another day, another 2-hour discussion section...

current mood: relaxed

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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2003
9:17 pm - The new icon
“Tome ran an eatery during WW2 in Chiran, a hidden valley close to Okinawa. Kamikaze pilots, many still teenagers, spent their last days hanging around the restaurant. There was a twenty-year-old pilot, Saburo, who on the eve of his mission told Tome he would see her at the eatery the next night. At her bafflement, he smiled and explained: "I'll come back as a firefly". When a firefly bobbed into the eatery the next night, Tome cried and said: "Look, everyone, it's Sabu-chan!"”

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Thursday, September 11th, 2003
9:40 pm - Sun!


It's been really hot here in the last day or two. It's strange, I mean the Japanese newspapers had just been *full* of beer and alcohol manufacturers complaining about the rainy summer weather, apparently sake sales were down like 10%...

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2003
4:14 pm
A secretary from Tecmo called to say I passed into the test/interview phase =D

"Sumo is a sport that involves tremendous strength, agility, cunning, and strategy, and it is fascinating to watch. In all fairness, I should note that I am lying."

current mood: happy

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Saturday, July 26th, 2003
8:21 am - Because I was asked...
I feel silly writing this, but there was another faint earthquake rattle and nobody of course is in the slightest way injured =)

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Thursday, July 17th, 2003
10:40 am - Er...
"I kept thinking about people I know who embody the traits the Pure Land followers think will allow one to be reborn into the Pure Land and eventually become a Heavenly Body, as well as in evaluating myself and my thoughts (I'd never be a Buddah at this point, because I simply don't care enough about the common (wo)man), I came to a startling conclusion: John seems to embody all of them."

- Cloud's Retropolis

current mood: thankful

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Friday, July 4th, 2003
10:07 am - Wasurenai sa! Natsu no mangooooooooooooooooooooooo
If you understand why the title is funny, please seek help immediately.

Happy 4th of July!!!!!

current mood: celebratory

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Wednesday, June 25th, 2003
3:07 pm - Written from Tokyo Big Shot
Again, job hunting would be cool if it weren't so stressful. Just the Tokyo Big Shot convention center alone is cool, it's a futuristic wonderland of glass and geometric shapes. Also noteworthy was the 10 minute promo video demonstration of Yushin CD-making buzzsaw robots...

So I think this Job Fair has felled many a gaijin. The cover of the guidebook is a mural of 300 quotes taken from exit surveys, of which 4 are in English:

->"Got some idea what it's like"
->"At least I talk to some companies"
->"Understood what qualities companies in Japan look for in a candidate"
->"Found out what I should have done"

It wasn't so bad for me, but it was still 10 hours over 2 days of being perpetually on the knife-edge of a rejection. What especially cut me down was that all my worst experiences happened 1-2-3 from the start: a Nissay rejection at 12, a Computer Associates rejection at 12:30, a NEC System Technology presentation I couldn't even *understand* at 1. Really at 1:15pm I was ready to get it over with and find some corner to watch a movie...

Gradually I relaxed and became smoother with questions and interviews, which really is what the experience was about anyway. I was never turned away again. I think the concrete implementation of my future plan actually snapped into place by about 5pm yesterday, it may become my first Cut Post ever actually...

This is a tortured metaphor, but I feel like I'm swimming through an underwater cave. It's a damn pretty cave, mind you, and the destination is a paradise of monkeys and Cookie Crisp. But every so often, like my first night in Japan, like lying in bed after the job fair, I get a glimpse of just how easy and irreversable it would be to fail.

If one were so inclined.

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Monday, June 23rd, 2003
7:23 pm - HAL Company Seminar
I never thought I'd say this but...

I think there's a possibility that HAL Labs might accept me.

Job hunting would be really cool if it weren't so mind-numbingly stressful. I got to listen to a 1 hour speech from HAL's president explaining HAL history, like how it started as some workers at a Commodore game store named "P.E.T. Shop" and they kept getting people trying to buy hampsters.

So anyway it was me and 40 Japanese people. Technically CS recruiting ended last month, so I was the only programmer and consequently got my own discussion circle after the speeches. And it rocked, every single gutwrenching painful moment I've ever had in a Japanese oral exam paid off with 40 minutes of fluid, fast, correction-less conversation. "Your Japanese is fine" - Hayashi-san

Why it'd be great:

- HAL is a wonderful company, makers of the top-selling Nintendo Gamecube game *ever*. I love the idea of working for a company I've grown up with, and one held in such high regard.

- I truely believe I'd be useful. There's a real need for English-native programmers here, provided that they can speak Japanese, because of the programming tools that are written and documented in America. It's my golden ticket because even if you hire a Japanese engineer, one who's studied English for years, due to sheer dumb luck of birthplace it's virtually impossible to match my speed.

Problems:

- HAL Labs is 1 1/2 hours west of Tokyo, it seems to be like a Japanese version of Ithaca.

- HAL of course uses the Japanese pay scale, which rises at a faster rate than America but starts out as something like Room Rent + 5 Packs of Doritos. Really I would actually make more money the first year teaching English...

- Acceptance is not going to be easy...

So anyway tomorrow I come crashing down into reality, and I have a bunch of job fair meetings starting at 11am, but for tonight I'm euphoric...

current mood: happy

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Wednesday, June 11th, 2003
2:43 pm - Jobs
- Yesterday was another day sifting through 'now hiring' notices in Japanese, I have interviews with NEC, Toyota, & my favorite HAL Labs (the fine folk behind Super Smash Brothers Melee), I think I'm ready for two job fairs June 24-28...

- Wow 'Animatrix' is worth it just for the ending film, Matriculated...

current mood: exhausted

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