Beer and sausages with a friend.
On a ramen kick.
Grabbing a cuppa before heading in to the office.
- I spent most of this week recovering from jet lag, trying to get back into groove of regular life. After managing to go two weeks without catching the 'rona, it's all finally caught up with me and I caught a small cold.
- I finally got around to doing my US taxes this year. Thankfully Americans abroad have a 2-month delayed due-date. Doing my taxes is always hugely stressful. Not because they're complicated, but because the software I was using (TurboTax) isn't designed for Americans abroad, you've got to do all of the conversions from JPY to USD yourself. Which also means finding/picking an exchange rate etc..
This year I found and used ExpatFile.tax, and wow is it a breath of fresh air. I'm able to put in what I earned in JPY and it handles all of the conversions for me. It seems pretty intelligent about FEIE (Foreign Earned Income Exclusion – where the first $100k or so of income is tax free, but means you can't use tax advantaged things like Roth IRAs etc...) and the FTC (Foreign Tax Credit).
I've always used FEIE because it's "easier". This year after reading their blog post Why the FTC is better than the FEIE, I was prepared to use FTC..and as a bonus there was a Covid child tax credit I'd be able to use if I did, so I'd actually get a $1000 return this go around. But alas, after inputting my wife's income (as she's still a tax resident), they suggested I use FEIE, as per usual. Maybe next year...I'm almost looking forward to doing them next year. Almost.
- This post on installing a payphone in your house brought back a lot of youthful memories and how often we used payphones back then. He installs a Pacific Bell phone, the same as I used, so it's hits all of the nostalgia points. Most of the time when I used payphones though, it was just me calling my dad collect and in the space for the name saying "DadI'mAtTheMallPickMeUp" as 2 second gap to say your name. Not Phreaking, but still workin' the system.
- Digital Minimalism is proving to be a quick read and enjoyable read. I want to finish the book before I do the 30-day "detox", but the idea of being intentional about when and why we use technology is really resonating with me.
Particularly about this idea that we let tools and services into our life because they promise some benefit: news, and so forth. And while they do provide that benefit some of the time, most of the time we use it, it's just mindless usage and time sinks. The actual cost in time/attention for that little benefit is not in our favor.
This really sounds like me and Twitter. Wake up, scroll to see what the other gaijin are up to in Japan, repeat. It's not focused and it's a huge time sink preventing me from doing things I'd actually like to be doing. Perhaps I can find a way to collect these people into a list and use my RSS reader to catch up on the gossip once a week?
- If it's not possible, that might even be a nice micro-service. Create a RSS feed that's updated weekly with the tweets (no replies?) of a handful of accounts. This way it acts as a firewall between you and social media.
Haven’t had ramen in ages.
- I made it to 100 consecutive weeks "The Week"! The last ~5 weeks or so, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it 100 weeks in a row, but I have. I've done a bit more thinking since last week, and I think I'll continue doing these roundups for a while longer / foreseeable future.
- I'm back in Japan and it's good to be home. London is great, I wouldn't mind living there for a year or two someday. But your own bed in your own home? Nothing beats it. I will, however, miss the easy access to shawarma and falafel.
I'll also miss working with the rest of the team in London. We'll still be working together, remotely of course, but it's a good group of people. Getting work done is the main reason for the trip, but building these team relationships in person are another, just as important reason, for having trips like these.
Expect a London roundup post later this week as a cap-off to the London trip.
- I meant to include this last week, but forgot. Last week saw the launch of a new tube line, the Elizabeth line, in London. As that doesn't happen everyday, I started searching around and I found this great YouTuber, Geoff Marshall, who makes great videos about all things trains in the U.K. Very good channel and if you like public transport, I highly recommend it.
I was planning to take the Elizabeth line to Heathrow, but I found out that it's not running on Sundays yet.
- After taking Tanzawa trips through the paces these past 2-weeks, I think I'm quite happy with how it worked out. The main pain-point is that when I checkin with Swarm, I use swarm to also post to Twitter. However, that tweet url isn't associated with the post automatically, so I have to manually lookup the tweet url, add it to syndication urls, and then tell brid.gy to "discover" posts.
For a single checkin every now and again, it's a fine workflow. But for an actual trip, it's a hassle. First, I need to build in some native syndication into Tanzawa (not just to Twitter, but wherever). Once that's finished, then I can set my checkins to automatically syndicate to Twitter and post my backfed Swarm checkins to Twitter via my blog.
Third, I think I want to add push notifications to LINE or Telegram when I get webmentions on my blog, so I can tell when the checkin has been backfed or if I get comments via micro.blog etc..
Back in Japan. Waiting for test results, again.
Taking the Southern route back to Japan, which means I’ll have literally circumnavigated the globe on this trip.
Starting on a new book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport and while I’m reading it the woman’s phone next to me is emitting (presumably) candy crush sound effects and iMessage message noises non-stop. Makes it difficult to concentrate 😀.
So nice and quiet in the lounges. A real reprieve from the bright lights of the duty free mall. Also beer.