New acquaintances

I met some new people in the last two days.

Yesterday I went to Tokyu Square in nearby Hachioji to check out its international exchange corner. After reading some brochures I approached the reception lady. Apparently she's a close friend of the last Epson intern from Canada, Candy! Her name is Tsuneko. According to her, she acted like a mother to Candy. We chatted a bit, exchanged contacts, and then she left.

I lingered a bit and visited a volunteer club with a long name: Club of Children and Students Working Together for [a] Multicultural Society (CCS). I told them I wanted to join CCS. I was rejected because I'm working here and not studying here. Not all was bad however, as I met some people around my age who were volunteering there. Again, some new contacts, and this time I was first to leave.

Today I met two fellow gaijins on the stairs to my apartment. It seems easy to befriend other foreigners in Japan. I think it's because we share a lot of experiences here and are in similar situations, and voila - that's the important common ground.


A lull and some useless things I did

I haven't done much aside from work since I arrived. Realizing this, I recently developed a strong urge to volunteer, work out, and study Japanese.

Megalos (the gym), Japanese lessons, volunteering - everything is set to begin in October.

I'm now waiting for October. This week I've somehow fallen into a state of torpor; waves of boredom and apathy have been breaking on motivation beach. Normally when this happens I go out and buy a game, however, this time I squandered my time on online tests.

I want to be more transparent. If my life is a house, I hope this blog will be like a window, revealing the innards rather than like a photo album with snapshots of the exterior.

Starting now I'll post some personal things, including dreams, fears, thoughts, et cetera.


I found out my overseas health plan covers psychological tests, so I treated myself to some. I took two intelligence tests. An emotional IQ assessment will have to wait till next year as the $400 allowance for this calendar year is all spent.


IQ tests are quite fun. The "ah-hah!" feeling experienced after solving a perplexing problem is certainly one of euphoria. Online tests usually don't have problems of this caliber; the few I've found were all hosted by highiqsociety.org.

Online tests:
  • iqtest.com = 148
  • intelligencetest.com = 138 // "Ph.D. certified" ?
  • queendom.com = 144
  • web.tickle.com
    • Super IQ Test = 143
    • Classic IQ Test = 144 // Another flawed and simple test
  • highiqsociety.org
    • Ultimate IQ Test = 150, 157 // well made (took it twice)
    • Verbal IQ Test = 144 // features obscure words that have no practical use
    • Timed IQ Test = 136 // this proves I'm slow :P
    • Culture Fair IQ Test = 155, 153 // I liked this one best (score went down T_T)
    • Test for Exceptional Intelligence = 155 // takes a long time to finish, took me over 3 hours I think
Paper tests:
  • Entrance-test-thingy-into-gifted-program = ? // forgot, enough to get in :P
  • WAIS-III = 155 // most comprehensive test I've taken
  • Tanaka-something, a Japanese IQ test = 8th percentile // >.<
Try out some of these!

Personality tests
  • EQ = 99 // EverQuest = level 34 cleric :P
  • What's your Destiny? = Manager // Oh come on, a destiny should have more grandeur
  • What's your Fantasy Island? = New Zealand
  • Ayurveda Body Type = Vata
  • The Confidence Test = High
  • Career Personality Test = ESTJ
  • What Breed of Dog are You? = Scottish Terrier
I like the IQ tests better. Good IQ tests are like good games: they stimulate the mind. Personality tests are like surveys.


Photos from my trip

I'm back! Let's see how the past week was...

Aichi Expo (ended on September 25th)
Very fun and very tiring. Honestly, more tiring than fun. The Expo attracted about 50% more people than it was designed for, so in short, long lines and crowded areas got in the way of enjoyment. Photos couldn't be taken inside the pavillions so I just have some photos of the grounds and exterior exhibits.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The north gate. Over 100,000 people passed through this gate every day.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Toyota's new toy, the I-unit (I think). Toyota had the best show, which featured a robot band playing "When the Saints Come Marching In" and a dozen of these I-units whizzing around, topped off by a dazzling laser show and some acrobatics, all led by a funky Japanese DJ rapper.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
This is about a quarter of the line-up to see the Toyota show. 4 hours wait!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
One damn hot car :P

Expensive Dining in Tokyo (ended September 25th as well :P)
My aunt went on a spending spree, treating us to all kinds of expensive Japanese cuisine every day. The most memorable restaurant we went to was a shabu-shabu restaurant nearby - it was about 7,000 yen per person. There were 4 qualities of beef available there, ranging from 1,200 yen to 5,000 yen for 3 slices. I think my aunt spent over 250,000 yen this week on food...

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The shabu-shabu restaurant. 7,000 yen per person, ouch. I went to an all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu place for 2,000 yen in Shinjuku.


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
A recently passed law encourages or enforces (don't know which) women-only cars. Something tells me there'll be a public outcry if the TTC tries this :P


Who let the geek out?

No work for nine sweet days! The geek writing this blog will be partying like it's 1699 - woohooo!!

As I'll be going on some trips, I won't be blogging for a week. I know, the pain of withdrawal is excruciating at first. Yet despair not - you will survive! Just tell yourself that it's only one week =P

では、またね! (^.^)/


More pictures!

I'm going to start putting up some pictures I took 2 years back, last time I was in Tokyo. Enjoy!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
It's a Harajuku thing... don't ask =P

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Athletics festival at Mejiro elementary school.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
This is has nothing to do with my stay in Japan 2 years ago, meh. It's a picture of Shanghai at night, taken by my relatives when they visited Shanghai a while ago.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
If you look closely, you'll realize that everyone is wearing either suits or uniforms. Not a sight you can see in Canada.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
A temple in Kyoto. I took many pictures of Kyoto so I'll dedicate a special post to it in the near future, and maybe incorporate them into the Kyoto post I wrote a year ago.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Okutama. This mountain valley stream is where I went fishing and also where the "About Me" picture was taken.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
And to finish today off, a picture that captures all the deliciousness of sashimi! おいしそう!

Next week I'll be going to the Aichi Banpaku. I'll be sure to take pictures wherever it's allowed, or maybe even where it's not :P



Well, it's been a long six weeks since I first started working at Epson. I think I could have done a lot more much better had I some goals. So, as a blindingly obvious solution, I made some goals.

I think that posting them here, by making them public, accountability will make me actually work towards them. Hopefully.

-Learn all the Joyo Kanji (1945 commonly used Kanji) before December. I can understand about 1300-1400 of them now. 600 Kanji/60 days = 10 Kanji a day, roughly. Ouch. I'll essay the JLPT in December.

-Bring back 1,000,000 yen to Canada. A millionaire will I be. 1000000円/8ヶ月 = 125,000円 a month. Not too difficult. However, this will mean not going drinking every few days and laundering 3000-4000 yen or so every time. Bye bye lavish - better yet, profligate - lifestyle.

-Gain 25 pounds. Now this is going to be much harder. To eliminate possible confusion, I mean twenty-five pounds of muscle, not fat =P. I'll be going to Megalos, the gym, about 3 times every week.

I had my first dream in Japanese yesterday. I think it's finally starting to sink in =P. Or maybe I'm just turning insane. (And adds the mathematician, "Or both!!")


Unexpected turns

I found out some things today that, if I had known earlier, would've saved me a lot of hassle.

First off, some background. The place I'm staying at is best described as half-motel, half-apartment. It's suited for people that want to stay longer than they would usually at a hotel, and short enough so that a rental apartment would cost too much (renting a place in Japan costs a lot, about 4-7 months rent is normal for the first payment). Hence the term "Weekly/Monthly マンション". That Japanese word is 'mansion', but it doesn't carry the same meaning as the English 'mansion' - not at all :P.

Anyways, it already comes loaded with the internet. Yup. I just have to buy an Ethernet cable and I'm set. Moreover, there's lots of free channels with good programs, including anime, recent movies, and CSI!! I guess the absurd cost of the rent here is justified. I mean 107,800 yen a month is a bit steep for a fairly rural place!

Secondly, and lastly (I have 2 minutes left in internet cafe time =P) I found a pair of new shoes in my luggage! For those that haven't read, I bought a new pair because my shoes got soaked and stunk. Wow, now wasn't that a wisely spent 10,000 yen? :P


Wet shoes and beefing up

It has been rainy and damp for the past week or more, and it's going to continue as more typhoons pass by Japan. I only brought one pair of shoes, so that quickly got drenched and started stinking. Yeah, for a couple days I brought the wonderful aroma of brevibacteria by-products to the company. Today I bought a pair of Nike shoes at ABC Mart, a famous shoe store apparently, in Hachioji (a nearby big town). It's a nice, dark pastel green pair, for about 120 Canadian. I also bought some shoe shampoo too clean my other pair; it's actually pretty new so I don't want to throw it away.

I've been thinking to myself, "I should really start working out soon!" for quite some time now, so today I mustered enough motivation to fight back the procrastination devil and went to register at a Hachioji gym. It's Megalos, a large chain of gyms. I must say the service here is impeccable. I couldn't complete the registration because I needed to bring a hanko (personal stamp) but yet I was treated to a personal tour that lasted over 45 minutes. They even gave me a body check-up which gave a thorough breakdown: protein weight, muscle weight, fat weight, bone weight, water weight - all individually measured for different body parts! The conclusion? I need to increase muscle weight. I think that's why I'm here... =P

Hmm, I still have 15 minutes left here in the Internet cafe. I guess I'll do some surfing.