• Checkin to Nanosh

    in Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan
    Green tea something or another.
  • The Week #103

    • Regular readers of this blog know that despite me owning a car,  I'm not a fan of them. As such, I try to use my car as little as possible. 

      Each time I drive it, I know I'm making climate change worse and I add another car to the streets, which make the streets, no matter how careful I drive, a more hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists. I sometimes wonder if I had an EV instead of a fossil fuel burning car that I'd be more willing to use my car (but this would result in a worse environment for not-cars (and arguably cars, too...)).

      But I digress. This week I filled up my car with gas. The last time I did this was February 12th of this year. 4.5 months ago. I'm getting awfully close territory of the gasoline in my car going bad. Makes me happy but also a bit sad (such a waste of money buying a car I don't use...which also makes it difficult to argue to replace it with something electric).
    • Leo's swimming class this week had some survival swimming training this week. Survival in the sense of "what happens when you fall in the water wearing your clothes", so they don't panic. They also practiced using improvised floating devices, in our case an empty 2L pet bottle.
    • Sunday was Father's Day. We went out to Minatomirai in Yokohama and just hung about. Leo played in the water features in front of the art museum and MarkIs. There's signs that say not to, but everyone does it. I think it's just a liability thing. I saw a number of kids slip and fall, a few hit their head and after a cry get back at it. Leo was wearing water so he didn't have any issues with slippage.

      We also rode a few rides at the Cosomo World across from Queen's east. I've never seen / ridden a merry-go-round with 2 stories on it. The ride was quite short (only 2 minutes?), but it takes around 5 minutes for the staff to get everybody on / temperature checked etc... All good fun.
    • Nacho, my jalapeño plant, is absolutely thriving. Really looking forward to having fresh jalapeños. Depending on the number and when they're ready, I may also make some jalapeño poppers (cream cheese stuffed jalapeños) on the grill (my mom sent me a stand used for grilling them shaped like an armadillo years ago in shipment of stuff, thinking it was mine (it wasn't). That stand is currently keeping my compost elevated off the ground).
      Jalapeõs!
  • Checkin to コスモワールド メリーゴーランド

    in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
    Merry-go-rounding in his Tube shirt.
  • Checkin to 美術の広場 噴水

    in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
    The signs say to not play here, but there’s no way you have fountains like this and _not_ have kids playing.
  • I posted this last year, too. But the ajisai season is my season. Better than cherry blossoms, imo.

    Post run Ajisai
  • Back in Japan from London

    I've been back in Japan for almost 3 weeks and am finally getting 'round to writing the final "wrapup" post for my trip to London. A common question people ask me is "What was the best thing/worst thing about the trip", which I'll answer here as well.

    Best thing: Hands down, the bicycle culture in London. There's heaps of bike lanes throughout the city. Some are just paint, but many are proper protected bike lanes. I saw cargo bikes, cargo bikes with children in them (wish I could do this!), and even paramedics on a bike (all of his gear was bike-packed in panniers). Perhaps my favorite though, and I saw him twice, was this morning commuter that had his pug riding with him between his hands sitting on a little platform. The only regrettable thing is my cards didn't seem to work with the Boris bikes, so I couldn't rent a bike and cycle about.

    Cycle lanes

    Cycle routes

    Cycle shortcuts

    Worst thing: I had to think about this and the worst thing I could come up with wasn't even that bad, but there was trash everywhere. Not bits of paper or candy wrappers, but like a random garbage sack, only one on the street, so it's not even trash pickup day/time, sitting there smelling things up. It could be hyper-sensitivity because Japan is really clean, generally speaking.

    The flight back to Japan was good. On the flight to London, I didn't realize that I could select my seat before checkin, so I ended up with a window seat. Sitting in a window seat on long haul flights isn't fun as it makes it harder to get up and move about when you please. This time about I managed to snag one of the last aisle seats.

    The seating in premium economy is quite nice. You can't lay flat like you can in business, but you the seats slide out (so no front passenger getting in your space / nearly breaking your laptop with a sudden recline (true story))  and you have leg support.

    Premium Economy on JAL

    Food was also quite nice, though the combination was a bit odd – lasagna and soba?

    Main meal

    With everything going on in Ukraine, just like the flight there, we couldn't fly over Russia. As such we took the southern route back, which added a couple of hours to our flight time.

    14 hours of fun!

    Upon arrival in Japan we all had to do covid tests. If I had arrived 2 days later, I wouldn't needed to do the arrival test. It was just a simple saliva test, but my mouth was quite dry by then, so I had to really work to get enough. They hung a photo of a lemon to help you salivate.

    No covid for me

    Getting through the covid test queue was straight forward enough. But with the number of steps in the flow, I can see why the government has done away with it. There's no way that it could handle more passengers than it was already. 

    Most of things post has been not about London, but the trip back from London, so I'll end with this. London is great. Despite being about 36% smaller than Tokyo, the amount of diversity you experience in London is night and day different. I can't wait to go back.
  • Bookmark of Cool desktops don’t change 😎 - Tyler Cipriani

    And while it’s tempting to switch to one of the endless new apps out there, there are good reasons to trust old tools.
    I think about this, probably more often than I should, not just with software, but also my trusty mid-2014 MacBook Pro. There's a place and time for new shiny, but it's just so comfortable using tools you're used to.

    Worth a read for the photo of his Thinkpad alone. Love the Mastodon (though I'm not a user) sticker that reads "Every tweet feeds the beast!"
  • The Week #102

    • While Leo was at swimming, I finished reading Digital Minimalism. There's too much (good) for me to say about it in this post. It certainly made me in the right frame of mind when reading technology is diminishing us (thanks Colin for the link), as  I was shaking my head in agreement the entire time.

      One of my main takeaways was to schedule on your calendar explicit time for  leisure. Too often we say we don't have time to do something, but we do, we just don't prepare for it. We often thing "great, I have an entire day to myself", then we don't plan what we're going to do, and end up just scrolling or binge watching one of the streaming services.

      The other  main idea was this leisure should be active. That doesn't mean it needs to be physical, reading literature is active as it requires you to think. While programming on Tanzawa technically fits the bill, I don't think it should count as active leisure as it's mostly the same as what I'm doing at work. Already this shift in mindset is helping me run more.
    • Speaking of Tanzawa, I gave a tech talk about Tanzawa and the IndieWeb at work. Unfortunately, I forgot to click the record button, so only members of the team that were there that day / in Japan could see it. Preparing the talk made me realize just how far it's come in the past year and a bit...The good news is it encouraged one teammate to resume her site some more and another co-worker is interested in using Tanzawa itself :)
    • There's this German beer chain that I'd been meaning to visit for the past 2.5 - 3 years, but you know, covid. I finally had a chance to go there for beers and sausage with a friend in Fujisawa. I also got to deliver some Marmite as a taste of home for my friend. He asked if I got a jar for myself to try it...but alas, I chickened out.
    • The Yen hit a 24-year low against the dollar at ¥135 per dollar. We keep thinking about a trip back to the US so Leo can meet his grandparents, but with flights being around $6,000 and the exchange rate what it is, it would easily cost $10k just for a week or so back... Hopefully the exchange rate sorts itself out to more regular ¥105 - ¥110 per dollar rates. If it decides to dip to ¥75 per dollar (the rate after 3/11 when my parents were visiting us) while we're in the US, I wouldn't mind, either. 
  • Checkin to Ōfuna Station (大船駅)

    in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
    New train smell on the Yokosuka line.
  • Checkin to Dolphin Show Stadium (イルカショースタジアム)

    in Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan
    Full house today
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