death of a camera

18 10 2008

My camera and I are finally parting ways, so once I put up the album from last weekend in Osaka, you’ll have to deal with only my words.  Which I’m not writing much of anyway.  My bad.

It was probably due time that she fizzled out.  For 2 years in order to turn the camera on, I had to use some backdoor method involving holding some button for 3 seconds (I missed SO many pictures due to this, btw), and then to turn it off, I needed to take the battery out.  Good times.  Maybe someday I’ll have enough money for a new one, but until then, say hello to Mr. Wordy McWorderson.


11 09 2008

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to earthquakes. I suppose by living in a place like this your entire life, you’d get used to them, but even so I don’t understand how the entire world as you know it shaking around can feel normal. Everyone here is so jaded; I’m pretty sure I’m the only one running away from telephone poles and hiding under tables.  One of my coworkers slept through a 4.7.  I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night!

Today’s earthquake was a 4.something in my region, but it definitely felt like the worst one we’ve had (worse than the 5.something a couple months ago). Thankfully I’m fine, and nothing is broken in my house (well, a case with tacks in it shattered, which was a pain in the ass to clean up). You can’t help but wonder though: if the epicenter had been 100km north or west, or heck, even 50km, this would be an entirely different post. I could be sitting in a pile of rubble. Or under a tsunami.

The worst part, though, is the roller coaster/wave-pool effect. For the entire day, I kept thinking there was another earthquake, or the wind would cause my windows to make a noise like they do during the quake, and I would have to check things like pull cords for lights or keychains on a rack to see if they were moving to tell if it was really an earthquake. This happened maybe ten or fifteen times. And of course, once or twice there actually was an aftershock.

You learn in intro psych that the most addictive reinforcement strategy is a random positive one.  i.e. you receive something (confirmation of an earthquake) for an action (looking at a keychain) on a random schedule. That’s how people get addicted to gambling. Am I going to get addicted to checking my house to see if it’s moving?  Yikes.  Talk about neurosis.

at least there's plenty of information

pictures i owe you from graduations

30 08 2008

So all of my students graduated in April.  I’m not a complete failure.  Well–they can technically fail their classes and still graduate, but who cares?

Here’s the third in a series of many.

pictures i owe you from the marathon

30 08 2008
Pictures from my trip to Tokyo for the 2008 Tokyo Marathon.  Did I write about how I ran that?  Well, I did.

pictures i owe you from winter

30 08 2008

I’m trying to rectify my lack of posting by posting copious amounts of pictures.

Here’s the first in a series of many.


6 08 2008

Talk about ironic (at least I think it is…I know how much Alanis Morisette is criticized for her imprecise linguistic skills).  Now that I’ve finally got my Japanese drivers’ license, my car doesn’t work.

This is after using two days of paid vacation to take trips to the driving center four hours away; license translations and translation mistakes; freaking out about the practical test, which was actually explained step by step by the proctor (step by step like “you turn your blinker at this spot…be sure to check your blind spot…make sure there are no children under your car before you start”—talk about practical!), oh, and not being able to drive for three weeks.

If it’s not some sort of cruel irony, it still sucks.  I just wanted to use a bigger word.

total blackout

13 07 2008

I wasn’t scared of the dark until I felt like I was in the middle of an episode of the X-files. A blackout here means the entire city is without electricity.

I often go for drives in the mountains just to get away from the light of this town, but oddly now that the light is gone I find it a little terrifying.  And despite having power now, it’s somehow harder to hear the frogs in the rice paddies—the train station has some loud-ass generator (though what it’s powering is beyond me since everything is still dark) next to my window.  Besides the lightning the only light in town now is the eerie glow of the very-rare emergency light and the three drivers on the road.

In an admittedly melodramatic way, this feels totally post-apocalyptic.  I went driving around and it’s like one of those ghost towns from a movie.  There are absolutely no people (which is actually no different than usual) and you can only see what your headlights cast a beam on.  It’s a very weird shift of perception.  Even weirder is that tonight is what this town could be like for real in 15 or 20 years at the rate the population is decreasing.

I’m not really scared of the dark, but there’s this weird sense of human inferiority in this situation.  The fact that we have constant light is a sort of triumph of humanity, right?  Where’s there’s light, there’s life.  The irony is that when all of the lights are off, it’s scarier being the one holding the light because it reveals everything that can’t be seen.

Where are big, brave Mulder and Scully when you need them?