Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Eating eel on midsummer day of the ox

Tonight, I ate eel (unagi) at a sushi restaurant called Sushi Sams. In America, it is July 27, but in Japan it is already July 28, which to them is midsummer days of the Ox. On this day, it is supposed to be good to eat unagi. Foods that start with the "u" sound are supposed to help you deal with the heat of the summer.

今晩Sushi Samと言う寿司屋で鰻を食べた。アメリカの今晩は7月27日だ、でも同じ時は日本に7月28日(土用の丑の日)だ。 その日は鰻を食べることがいいだろうね。

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

New Blog for my consulting work

I started a new Blog for my consulting business. From time to time, I will post interesting questions that I answer. It will likely be in English only.
新しいブログを始めました。話題は私のマネージメントコンサルタントです。面白い質問と答えを書きましょう。 多分英語だけです-すみません。

Time for a housing change?!?


It is time for a change for me. Specifically, it looks like I will need to move to a new home in a few months.

I currently live in a large apartment by myself. I moved in here when I was starting a company (helpUhire Solutions,, as it was large enough that could I could for both living and for the business. It didn't work out as well as I had hoped, so I shut down the company a while back. But that means I ma living in a larger place that I need to be.

I haven't figured out yet what I will be doing next,so have stayed here until I did so. It was a bit more expensive than smaller places, but not enough to make me want to go through the hassle of moving and the inflexibility of probably having to sign a lease.

Today, I received notice from my landlord that they are raising the rent. And not a small amount - but by $250 a month. That is like a 20% increase. From what I have seen, the rents at other places have not gone up, so this was a bit of a surprise.

I think this will be enough for me to decide to move out. Now I need to start looking around at what is out there, and figure out what to do next about housing.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

J-List Blog

A Blog that I enjoy reading is Peter Payne is an American living in Japan. He has a Japanese wife and a couple of kids. He also runs a mail order business which exports Japanese items to America.

Twice a week, he publishes updates to his Blog. The Blog does have some advertising of his current products, but also provides insight into the Japanese culture from an American's point of view. Very interesting.

If you use Blogger or a similar Blog aggregator program, you would enter the address asのブログを読み方を好きだ。Peter Payneはに本に住んでいるアメリカ人だ。日本人の妻と子供たちがいる。そしてメールオーダーの会社の社長だ。その会社は日本の製品をアメリカまで輸出する。



Friday, July 22, 2005

SushiCafe Blog and Japanese English Salon

A friend of mine has a web site and Blog which is interesting. He is Japanese, but lives in America. He writes about many interesting things he sees. He keeps the site in both English and Japanese.

He also is one of the main organizers of the Japanese English Salon, a culture and language exchange group that I am part of. It is a good group.


そして彼(と他の人)はJapanese English Salonと言うグループを組織した。そのグループには日本人とアメリカ人に会ったり、に本語と英語を練習したり、する。 いいグループだよ。


Thursday, July 21, 2005

China revalues currency?!?

Very interesting - CNN is reporting that China is revaluing their currency slightly.
See original article here.

The actual currency change is small, but it could mean big things. Everyone focuses on the damage that China has been doing by keeping their currency artificially low, through allowing products made there to be very cheap as compared to products from other countries. There likely is some truth to this.

But, there is risk in a strengthening currency to the US also. One major one is the impact on interest rates in the US. The Chinese have been major supporters of the US budget deficit. If the Chinese have less money, they will have less money to "lend" money to the US Government to fund its overspending. This could cause interest rates to increase.

Another impact is that Chinese currency will be worth more, so Chinese can buy more. This is considered good if it helps America export to Japan. But it is bad if China starts buying American companies. There are some similarities to China now and Japan in the 80s, and there was much uproar when Japan started buying many famous American buildings. There was similar uproar when a Chinese company tried to buy Unocal (which it now looks like will be bought by Chevron, an American company).

Actually, I am surprised at the American politicians complaining about a Chinese company buying an American company. What did they expect - that China would support our Government's overspending just by buying treasury bills? The US needs the dollars that China earns to come back to the US to finance both the trade deficit and our government's budget deficit. We can't expect these to always come back in the form of treasury bills - it will also make sense for China and Chinese companies to buy other assets (including our companies). How can we expect them to support our overspending while providing major limits in what they can do with the money?

It is all rather confusing to see how everything is connected. Things are never simple. So it will be interesting to see what results come of this change in revaluation policy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

ICE for your mobile phone


A friend recently sent me a posting that sounds potentially useful. There is a recommendation going around to add a contact into your mobile phone under the name "I C E". This stands for "In Case of Emergency".

It has always been a challenge for emergency personal to determine who to contact if a person is injured and not able to respond. Recently, they have started looking through the address book of the victim's mobile phone to determine who to contact. But, even if you have a listing for "Mom" in your phone, they don't know if she is the best person to contact (maybe your husband or wife would be better).

So some people are recommending that you put an entry called "I C E" into your phone, perhaps followed by the name of the person.

There is a sight called that checks to see if things are valid or just urban legends, and they say this valid (though seem to refer to England a lot - so maybe this is just a British thing).

So I have now added this entry into my phone.

Google Moon

Google has added some images of the moon to its Google Maps program. See

They mark the landing location of the Apollo moon flights.

Make sure you zoom in as much as you can - they added a nice touch.

Google Mapsは桂月の写真がある。Google Moonだ。


大きくしてください。 面白いよ。

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Socially Moderate Independent

English only - すみません.

One thing I have not liked about the American political system is that there are just 2 major parties - Republicans and Democrats. I never considered myself to be in either of these parties. There are ideas from each party that I agree with, and parts that I don't. Because of this, I am registered to vote as 'non-partisan' (I have not chosen a political party).

I reads an article in Business Week recently (Independents Are Having Buyer's Remorse, July 18, 2005) that finally categorized me - I am a Socially Moderate Independent. They said:
"Now socially moderate independents -- who strongly favor expanded stem cell research and oppose overturning Roe v. Wade -- fear that the majority party is in thrall to the Religious Right. 'These people lean more Republican because of fiscal issues, but they're much more liberal on social issues,' says independent pollster Dick Bennett of American Research Group."

This describes me well. It was kind of exciting to read that someone understands me, and that I am part of a larger group of similar people. Now if only the government would enact some policies that match what I agree with...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sumo in Las Vegas?

There will be a sumo tournament in Las Vegas.

Interesting, many Japanese activities have been coming to America recently. A few weeks ago, there was a Kabuki performance in Berkeley. Last summer, 2 Kyoto Geisha came to San Francisco and performed. I probably won't go to the Sumo tournament, but I did see the Kabuki and Geisha performances.

Many Japanese have not even seen these events. When I went to Kabuki in Japan, it was the first time for the guy from our office that went with me. Same with when I went to see Sumo. It almost seems like it is easier for Americans to see these than Japanese?


最近アメリカでは沢山日本の活動がある。 2,3週間前にバークレーで歌舞伎があった。この前の夏にサンフランシスコで祇園の芸者二人を演じた。 相撲に行かないと思う、でも歌舞伎と芸者を見た。

沢山日本人は歌舞伎や芸者や相撲を見たことがない。 日本で会社員と歌舞伎を見た。その会社員は始めてみた。 他の会社員はいっしょに相撲を見た。 彼も始めてみた。アメリカで見る事は日本でよりやさしいだろうか?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Guest Book / 足跡著

You can use this posting as a guest book. Please leave a comment (by clicking on the "comments" word below) to say hi. I particularly love to hear from people who I don't know yet and just found there way to this site.

Of course, on all posts, feel free to leave comments.

そこで足跡著する。 ここの下に「comment」でクリックする。 特に知らない人が書いて下さい。


Friday, July 15, 2005

No passport

Right now, I don't have a passport. I have sent it in to be renewed. The government says that it takes about 6 weeks to get the new one back. It is a bit disconcerting to not have a passport, even though I don't have any trips planned.

今パスポートを持ていない。 パスポートオフィスに行進しに送る。 経国は6週間掛かると言った。旅行の予定がないのに、パスポートがない時は少しい辟易だ。


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Amount of time in other countries

When Japanese people find out I speak some Japanese, there are certain common questions that seem to be asked. One common question is "have I been to Japan before?" This has made me think about my trips and how much time I have actually spent in different countries.

I have been using a Palm Pilot to manage my calendar for about 8 years now. One side benefit is that I have a record of what I have done for all this time. I had some free time on my last flight back from Japan, so I went through and added up my travels.

I have taken 13 trips to Japan. I have spent a total of 149 days in Japan (about 5 months).

I have spent 190 days in Korea. I lived there, so I didn't bother trying to count the number of times I entered the country.

I took 5 trips to China, for a total of 29 days.

Back when I was still going to school, I spent 6 weeks in France and 6 weeks in Mexico.

I have also been to many other countries, but for less time duration.



8年間ごろパルムパローとで予定した。そこで全部の予定がある。 最後のフライトに暇だった。そこで旅行の日を数えた。




学校の時、7週間フランスにいた。 そして6週間にいた。



Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tour de France

English only - sorry.

The Tour de France is happening in France right now. This is the most famous bicycle race in the world. It is also probably the most grueling race - covering over 2000 miles in 3 weeks.

The race (and road bicycling in general) has gotten much more popular in the last few years, once Lance Armstrong started winning the race. Now Lance looks like he will win his 7th in a row - something never done before (the most before this was 5 in a row).

Interesting, I don't think there are any Japanese racers competing. Or even any Asian-country racers. There are a few Australians, but that is about as close as it comes.

What makes this more interesting is that one of the two major supplier of bike parts is Shimano, a Japanese company (the other is Italian). And most bicycles sold in the US are made in Taiwan (my new one is made there).

I know there are some Japanese racers in mountain biking, but not many. I am friends with one of the major race promoters in this area, and have worked for him on some of the major races, including the Mountain Bike World Cup races held in Napa. In one race, I was charged with ensuring the racers met the requirements regarding the equipment they used. This meant putting stickers on their bikes before the race, and then after the race checking to make sure the stickers were still there (showing they still had the correct equipment). The challenge, though, is that I have to check the stickers after they cross the finish line, but before they go to rest, clean up, whatever they need to do after the race. One Japanese woman racer was cramping badly as she finished. So as I was scrambling to read the stickers, her legs gave out and she basically fell on me and grabbed on to me to stand up.

So I know for a fact there are some Japanese racers on the mountain bike circuit. I wonder why there aren't any Japanese racers competing in road bicycle races?


I have only recently started following Blogs. One of the challenges I had was keeping track of what Blogs have new messages on them. One tool I found has made following these easy - it is called bloglines.  Bloglines is a web site that keeps track of what Blogs I want to read, and what messages I have already read on these Blogs. This way, when I go to the web site, it shows me just the new Blog postings. Very convenient.

If you do use bloglines (or a similar program), you would enter as the address to track.

最近ブログをしている。 新しいブログのメッセージがあるか? 分かる事は難しい。 Bloglinesと言うコンピューターユーティリティーは便利だ。Bloglinesは読みたいブログをマネージする。Bloglines.comを見て、新しいブログがある。



Monday, July 11, 2005

日本の両行 - 日本語

English is done as a separate post.


木曜日に東京に着いた。フライトは長い間だ、でもOkだ。"Million Dollar Baby"と言う映画を見た。


金曜日に一日中面接した。 今週社長は私に結果を話そう。まあまあだったと思う。その後Hobgobolinと言うバーで階差品と飲んだ。

テレビでロンドンのテロを見た。 テレビは日本語だけでから、少し分かった、でも詳細をあまり分からなかった。 悲しくて怖いだ。

時差ぼけから、土曜日に早く起きた。 散歩しようと決心した。六本木は遠くないから、歩いて行った。6時半なのに人はバーを出るばかりだ。面白かった。




友だちを去るの跡もっと散歩した。 初めて千代田に行った。 国会議事堂の近くに沢山警察官がいった。



日曜日の昼にMixiの友だちに会った。もえこさん(だった。愛知県の勉強した時に始めて会った。 もえこさんのイタリア人お友だちもその学校で勉強したから、訪ねた。 また会う事は大変うれしいだった。

今ただいま。 ロサンゼルスで乗り換えたから、東京駅から私の家まで17時間掛かった。いい映画じゃなかったから、読んだり、眠ったり、した。


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Japan trip report - English

Japanese language version is a separate post.


On Thursday I arrived in Tokyo. The flight was long, but Ok. I watched "Million Dollar Baby" on the flight. It was a good movie, but sad. I bought chocolate covered almonds at Narita Airport and ate them on the train to Tokyo - I fell in love with these when I was studying near Nagoya.

On Friday I interviewed all day. I won't hear the results until some time this week. It went Ok, but not great. I guess I was a little hesitant in how I responded to some questions they asked due to the big changes of moving to a new country, and that hesitancy may have shown to them. I went out for drinks with some of the guys from the office after the interview.

Saw the news about London on TV. I was able to understand the basics of what happened only, as I only get Japanese language channels on my TV. Very sad. And scary.

Saturday, I woke up at 5:30 due to jet-lag. Decided to go for a walk. My hotel is not far from Roppongi, so I walked to there. Interesting to see people still leaving bars and some people drinking on the street at 6:30 am.

Walked from there to Tokyo Tower. It was a bit cloudy, so hopefully I was able to capture some interesting photos.

I should have gone to Tsukiji fish market. I have never been there, as I usually don't wake up early enough to go there.

Had sushi for lunch in Roppongi with a sales guy from the Tokyo office of the company I used to work for. We also walked around Roppongi Hills area.

After my friend left, I walked some more. First I headed to the Imperial Palace. The Japanese Government offices are here, and there was a lot of security around. I am not sure if this is normal, or due to the London bombings, but it reminded me of all the security in Korea.

After that, I wandered my way over to Shinjuku. This is quite far and I got lost a few times. I passed the Geihin-kan State Guest House, a very large, western style building. From Shinjuku, I went back to my hotel. I timed it pretty well, as it just started to rain as I got back to the hotel.

Between my legs being tired, and the rain, I decided to have a quiet Evening. I went to a noodle shop across the street from the hotel for dinner, took a bath, watched some Japanese TV, and read.

On Sunday, I met with my Mixi friend, Moeko-san (, for lunch. I had originally been introduced to her when I was studying Japanese in Aichi-ken - she had come to the school to visit a friend of hers who was studying there. It was good to catch up with her again on this trip.

Now I am home. I flew through Los Angeles, so it took some 17 hours from when I got on Narita Express at Tokyo Station to when I got home. There weren't any good movies playing on the airplane, so I read and napped a bit.