Personality awareness

So there's this thing called the "Johari window." Basically you describe yourself using a few words from a set, let aquaintances describe you using the same set, then compare the results for some earth-shocking revelation.

And here's my Johari window -- fill it out if you have time! My Nohari window might be more fun though (thanks Wen for pointing this out) ;). If you're interested in this kind of thing like I am you can make one too, and I'll be sure to fill it out.

Add: The "bad" traits are in the Nohari.
Add: I see two glaring flaws: first, the provided vocabulary is inadequate (Ray pointed this out), especially in describing "bad" qualities; and second, people tend to be laudatory or at least anodyne on these things (note: this is kinda forced by the first flaw). I believe these flaws render this "window" unreliable for personality assessment. You might get a kick out of it though.


The complexities of queries

I had this thought while buying strawberries at the local supermarket. Don't ask me why. Wait -- actually that's somewhat relevant. Inspired by computability theories, I was pondering if I could separate the five W's and an H into complexity classes. While carrying the groceries home, I gave it some analysis. Let me proffer my findings.

Let's start with the "easiest" queries. 'Where' and 'when' seem to be the simplest class of questions. In effect, the two are the same thanks to modern physics' space-time. Given that the answer is known, all that is required to relay the info is a vector v=(x, y, z, time), provided with a reference point in space-time. Let's call this class of queries Q1.

Next is 'who' and 'what'. It's obvious that 'who' is just an application of 'what' to human beings. To see why these are of higher complexity than 'where' and 'when', imagine relaying the answer to the querier when you've found it. You would need to describe it. The object o you are describing has characteristics; you could describe them by c = c1, c2, c3, ... etc. This may seem to be of the same complexity as Q1, the only difference that v is of variable length. Yet c may conceivably be infinite or undefined. For example, the answer to the question "what is the meaning of x?" The answer may furthermore depend on the entity which posed the question. This delves into the area of philosophy regarding the nature of truth: is it absolute, subjective, or something else? This I'm afraid is beyond the scope of this post. Let's call this class Q2.

Separating the last two types of queries is hard. Is 'how' simpler than 'why?' I believe so. 'How' (excepting cases like "how come", which is a colloquial way of asking 'why') requests a list or sequence of events that effect an outcome. One could then see this as an extension of Q2: each component in c, the descriptor, would be answers to Q2 or Q1 queries. For example, c1 would contain the first 'event' that triggers the outcome referred to by the 'how' query. This c1 itself is an descriptor to the Q2 query "what is the first event?" In this sense 'how' could be seen as an extension of Q2. Let's call it Q2x.

The remaining query is 'why.' Intuitively one can appreciate the difficulty of 'why' by comparing two oracles, one which can answer any of the above classes of queries, and one which answers 'why'. Which do you think is more intelligent? This shows that we humans in a sense respect the question 'why'. I believe that 'why' has supernatural connotations associated with it. An entity that could give 'why' answers in general would be viewed as a god. 'Why' also gives rise to questions for which even the existence of an answer is undeterminable. This contrasts with Q1 for example, since even if we don't know the answer to "where is x", we know that an answer exists.

What's ironic is that although past classes were each supersets of its prior class, the supernaturally difficult 'why' is not a superclass of Q2x but is simply unrelated. An oracle that answers 'why' cannot provide answers to even Q1 queries. "Why is the location of x?" No good, regardless of how it's phrased. 'Why' is in a superclass of its own; let's designate it W.

I posit a very coarse analogy of 'why' to the unsolvable problems in real complexity theory. The "hard but solvable" problems like the NP-complete ones could be Q2x or Q2.

So in essence, I find W ('why') to be in a realm of its own, and the class relationship Q2x ('how') > Q2 ('what', 'who') > Q1 ('where', 'when'). So... why did I chance upon this thought while buying strawberries? Too hard to answer, sorry. =P


Things to do before I leave

I'm compiling a list of things I should do before I leave. Suggestions are welcome. Here's what I've got so far.
  • visit Mt. Haruna (Akina) of Initial D fame
  • write a FAQ for a recently released Japanese game
  • buy a pack of Japanese Magic cards
  • buy a bottle of Aquarius
  • buy some peanut butter


Kyoto pics

Here are pics of beautiful wintertime Kyoto. It may be cumbersome but by following this adventure log and this map you can get a good idea of what my adventure was like. The pics have timestamps that correspond with the appropriate log entry for easy searching.

The most memorable places were Kyoto University, where I interviewed a prof, the pristine Ginkakuji garden, the grand Kyoto station, and the serene night scenery. Also very memorable were my aching legs that bore me over 40 km that day.

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10:20 - Kyoto station. I should have taken pics of the inside; it's really grand with a view like Terminal 3 of Pearson airport. There's also a large department store there with escalators arranged so that it looks like one really long escalator (ie. not overlaid on top of each other). Quite breathtaking.

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10:55 - Nishi-honganji temple.

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11:55 - Kiyomizu temple.

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12:10 - Maiko girls on the way to Gion.

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12:20 - Gion pool.

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12:20 - Wish board at Gion. There is one that says, "Please let Mr. Asakawa meet a good person."

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1:50 - Kyoto University. The construction sorta ruins the pic, but oh well. This building is the easily recognized clockwork tower, and the tree in front of it is the university's crest.

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3:25 - A peculiar work of art at Ginkakuji.

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3:25 - A beautiful spring/stream/waterfall in the Ginkakuji garden.

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3:25 - The Ginkakuji itself.

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5:00 - Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Hope this was enjoyable!


Japan pics from 2003

Here are nine select pics from my previous stay in Japan. Photos of Kyoto will come soon in a separate post :)

Let the pics form a 3x3 matrix:
(1,1) athletics festival at a primary school, Kanamachi, Tokyo
(1,2) precipice, Enoshima, Kamakura
(1,3) misty ravine, Okutama, Tokyo
(2,1) fishing lodge, Okutama
(2,2) view of harbor, Enoshima
(2,3) sunset, Enoshima
(3,1) precarious crossing in storm, Okutama (flooding claimed two lives that day)
(3,2) costume party, Harajuku, Tokyo
(3,3) preparing sushi rice, Mejiro, Tokyo


Happy hundredth post

Wahoo, 100th post! Now is there anything to blog about, hmm...

I began composing my work report today, cancelled my gym membership, and had a long conversation with my mother. What else... I watched Mai-Hime on TV today. It's okay but I see the production quality isn't on the same level as say Fullmetal Alchemist. Nothing sets it apart from other magic school-girl anime. I have numerous complaints: lack of memorable music, overly done fanservice, mediocre fight scenes, insubstantial character development (ok, I only watched one episode), narrow range of character expressions and finally predictable actions and outcomes.


There goes my aunt again

My aunt's notorious in our family for her spending habits. I went back to Tokyo on the weekend and found that she bought a $42,000 grand piano. What's more, it was an impulse purchase, made on the spot at some exhibition downtown. I suppose she has high hopes for my cousin, who is just 13 years old. Well, now he's one of the few kids in the world to get a brand new Bechstein grand piano for casual play.



I'm it I guess. =)

Four jobs I've had:
1. Software developer - Seiko Epson Group
2. Calculus II tutor/marker - Universty of Waterloo
3. Localization developer - Roxio (bought by Sonic Solutions while I was still there)
4. Systems engineer - Watanabe Seisakusho

Four movies I can watch (and have the potential to watch) over and over:
(I don't like to watch any over and over, but if I had to pick...)
1. The Lord of the Rings
2. Memento
3. Mulholland Drive
4. The Lion King

Four places I've lived (if vacations don't count):
1. Shanghai (also vacationed)
2. Tokyo (also vacationed)
3. Greater Toronto Area
4. Waterloo

Four TV Shows I love(d):
1. Star Trek: The Next Generation
2. Frasier
3. CSI (all locations)
4. Everybody Loves Raymond

Four places I've vacationed:
1. Chicago
2. Kyoto
3. Montreal
4. New York

Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Pan pizza
2. Fresh sushi and sashimi (must be fresh)
3. Crab cake baked inside the shell
4. Good curry with some meat

Four sites I visit daily:
1. Blogs
2. Utopia
3. the Inquirer
4. Wikipedia

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. England
2. Taiwan
3. Roppongi (or anywhere closer to central Tokyo)
4. Outer space (in a spaceship of course)

Four bloggers I'm tagging:
1. Kevin
2. Jia (maybe multiple tags will make him do it.. :P)
3. Paul
4. The other co-ops in Japan

Rainy day

It rained the whole day today. After work I went to the supermarket and bought some groceries. I wanted them to stay dry, so I uncomfortably held the grocery bags under my umbrella. Then it came to me that I could just hook the bags onto the umbrella's bottom "hook" thing. That way the groceries will be in the middle of the umbrella's shelter. Bystanders started staring at me though, as if I was cooking sashimi or something.