Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Aren't they cold??

I don't understand it. Every day when I'm walking to the station on the way to work, I see hordes of schoolgirls, all wearing thick coats, mittens, scarves, and MINISKIRTS.

The weird thing is they aren't allowed to wear their skirts that short when they're actually in school (otherwise I'd feel bad for the poor male teachers... talk about jailbait! ^_^;;) ... they roll them up for the walk.

That is why I would like to make this general announcement:

Earth to schoolgirls:

It's December now. Do you really want to ROLL UP YOUR SKIRT?? You're really not very sexy when you're shivering and blue. Please report back to your home planet (apparently Pluto) and change into normal clothing.

Why the bitter tone in my voice? Maybe I'm just jealous because I'd like to wear a short skirt, but I'm very sensitive to the cold. ^_~ I'm really not looking forward to January...

Oh! It's my first payday today! Actually I wasn't supposed to get paid until next month, because the Japanese salary system is only one payday per month (instead of every two weeks like I was used to), and like American companies, they don't pay you until the following payperiod. That would mean 2 months without pay! Ouch!!! So I got them to split my first paycheck between this month and next month. Anyways, now I can buy people christmas presents. ^_^

Speaking of Christmas, for a non-christian country, Japan is very very infatuated with the christmas season. There are slogans everywhere: "Its only once a year!"
... but if you think about it, it's christmas season here starting November 1st and continuing until the end of december. So.. that's 2 months out of the year, and since there are only 12 months, that's 1/6 of the whole year that it's "christmas time". Hm, not that special if you think about it!

Um, sorry, didn't mean to take the romance out of the holiday season like that... ^_^;; I still love the holidays and I'm very sad I can't go home for christmas. waaaah!! I miss you guys!!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Good Excuse

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey guys, sorry it's been so long. I have been working and entertaining guests, so my schedule has been satisfyingly full. (I haven't even had time for videogames lately!! Amazing!! 0_0;) Unfortunately that means there haven't been very many comics either. And the house is a mess. True to my word, I have given up on being a housewife, and the laundry and cleaning have just gone out the window.... wait, I mean, the laundry can't go out the window because there's construction happening out there so we have to dry it in the house. *sigh*

Anyways, it was a lot of fun having Julia over, because she reminded me that I'm living in a foreign country. Everything was new and shiny, and a bit of her enthusiasm rubbed back on my thouroughly non-tourist self. ^_~ As one, sole gaijin who lives and works here, I've been quite integrated into society and have been doing mostly boring, normal things. But suddenly with another foreign friend, we became bold and exciting ! I did a lot of things I would normally only sort of wishfully think of doing. These included:

1)Looking in harajuku 'lolita-gothic' costume stores and trying them on! (Julia actually bought one, it's very cute!!)
2) Going into about 10 different love-hotels (lobbies only now, I'm a married woman! ^^ (god that sounds weird to say that)) to try to find really weird kinky ones to get pictures. This was with Takeshi and his friend, who turned quite red and adamatly demanded to stay outside. ^^ hee hee. Sadly, no kinky ones were found, they all looked like Best Westerns. But *boy* did people give us weird looks.
3) Riding little kid rides at the videogame arcade (they had big ridable animals that walked around, how fun!)
4) Exploring all seven floors of Animate in Akihabara... ok, I didn't need an excuse to do that, but it was fun anyways ^^

Also people treat you differently when you seem like a tourist. They are kinder and more patronizing, and a bit more intrusive. That can be a good thing when you need help, but can be frustrating, especially when you know what you're doing and want to be left alone. I haven't been treated like a tourist in a long time, I don't even get stared at on the train anymore. I guess I've just lost the 'vibe'. So when I was walking around wit Julia and suddenly treated like a tourist again, it hit me: the "gaijin" word stops applying to you when you're not an outsider. The word 'gaijin' is a shortening of the word 'gaikokujin': (outside country person = foreigner) ...but the shortening (gaijin) takes the country out of it(outside person). Some people think that 'gaikokujin' is more politically correct, but I like 'gaijin' better, because it's something you can overcome. I will *always* be a foreigner, but as I keep working and living here long enough, I will no longer be an 'outsider'.

(pause for touching "awww" sound from the audience ) ^_^

Julia took about a million pictures while she was over here, and maybe 1/4 of them have me in them. Nice!! ^^ So if you wanna see our adventures, take yourselves on over here:

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Java in Japanese

I've been working at my new job for about a week now, it's very exciting to have a reason to get out of the house every day. The company is located in Shinjuku, which is possibly the most bustling part of Tokyo. And of course, its nice to have an excuse to wear nice clothes and makeup and feel important. (Actually, I'm still not a fan of makeup.. oh well).

Anyways, I'm a Java programmer. Actually, I'm being trained at the moment on the finer points of programming. In Japanese.
My advisor is (luckily) a very smart guy who has lived in the US for 12 years and speaks english fluently. (Yay!) but the book he told me to study from is... in Japanese. *sigh*. At least my vocabulary is improving...^^ I'm creating a list of programming words I ran across in my textbook that have been translated as a kind of cheat-sheet. If anyone's interested, I'll post a link to it in my next entry.

I naturally had a couple of questions for my advisor.
"So, words like 'for, if, else, new', etc. are obviously written in English because they're reserved words. But variables and method names are written in Japanese, right?"

"Actually, we try to write everything in english. Even with methods... (think of methods as the verbs of the program, like "calculateCost") we try to write the english verb... it doens't always come out the way it should, though."

Hehe, I don't know whether that's good or bad. It just reinforces the fact that you really don't need know Japanese to program, even in Japan. If you have to do some assignments at the end of a chapter in a textbook, however, that's a different story... *cry*

This week my boss has sending me to the JavaOne conference that's being held here in Tokyo. There are a lot of lectures in English (Sun sent over some of their top Engineers to give talks), "yay English!" I thought. "I can finally understand what the heck they're talking about!" Turns out two of the four lectures I attended yesterday discussed new technology I've never heard of before, so my comprehension level would have been the same even if it were in Japanese.
but anyways! today the exhibit hall opens, so it's time to get some really geeky souveniers!! hee hee. Come one, you know you want a pen that says 'Java' in Japanese on it ^^ Time to send some things to LMU professors.

When at the bookstore, searching for the text my instructor told me to buy, I saw this book. Yeah, that's a random anime character on the cover. Throughout the book, there are little pictures of her marking advice, warnings, etc. I can't decide whether its to be cute and friendly, or to market to really geeky lonely boys. Only in Japan!! *^_^* JavaOne registration. If you look really closely, there's a sign that says "The power of Java rotates the planet".
and here I always thought it was gravity ^^

Sorry, I know this was a really boring entry. Blame my dad. Here's the gist of what he emailed me last night:
'write a blog now! now now now!...if you have time.'
~_~ See ya next time.

PS my friend Julia is coming this week! How exciting!