Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Camel's Back

Yesterday morning I was just about on schedule when I left my apartment. Until my car wouldn't start. Lovely grating sound it made, instead. But the radio and fan still worked, so it couldn't be the battery, right? I checked the lights, and yep, I'd remembered to turn them off the night before. So I scratched my head, then ran back inside for my Japanese phrase book, called Kawasumi (my supervisor at the Nita BoE), and briefly explained what was up. ("The engine won't start," in Japanese—love that phrase book.) I figured he was the logical person to call, since I live in Nita. But he told me to call Tokue, all the way in Yokota. Okay, so I called Tokue; he'd helped me out before when my Check Engine light came on. He told me to take the train to school (I'm teaching in Yokota this week), and he'd help me out in the afternoon. One last call to Ikeda-sensei to tell her that I'd be an hour and a half late, and I was on my way. (I'm glad this all happened after I got my cell phone.)

So yesterday afternoon, Tokue stops by the school as promised, and picks up my keys. I asked if I should come with him (desperate as I was to escape paper correcting), but he said it was okay, and I should stay. He returned with another fellow from the BoE about forty-five minutes later and led me down to the car, which was waiting outside the school.

I'd been hoping that it wasn't some stupid problem, like I really had left the lights on all night, or something I could have solved in two minutes on my own if I'd known what to do... but I also wanted it to be a problem with a relatively simple solution. And that's exactly what it was. It was the battery, but it was really shot, and needed to be replaced. So, not something I could have done on my own, but something that took maybe an hour or two to fix. Nice.

<a great sigh> And a teacher just informed me that I'd left my small headlights on all morning. I had to run out in the rain to turn them off, but fortunately the car started.

Anyway, after another jump start after school (with the help of that Other Guy from the BoE, whose name I should make a point of learning, since he was such a big help), I got the car to Juntendo, where Other Guy selected the correct battery. I was glad it was one of the ones under 3,000 yen, not one of the ones over 12,000 yen. I had to leave the car idling in the parking lot. Then we drove to the BoE where he changed the battery, which was pretty quick. All better!

Sorry if this post is boring. My life is kind of boring. I mean, I'm in Japan, which is pretty cool, but after a couple of months it wears off, especially when you know you'll be here at least another ten months, and probably longer. When I was driving home from school Monday, I was listening to a radio station that sometimes plays classical music, and sometimes American music, and sometimes other foreign (read: not American or Japanese) music, and sometimes what sounds like NPR. Just before I got home, they put on James Taylor's "September Grass," which I'd never heard before, but it was just so... home, that I sat in the parking lot in front of my apartment and listened to the whole thing.

It couldn't have been more than three or four minutes that I sat there with the engine off and the radio playing, but maybe that's what finally killed the battery.
Oh well. It was worth it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A view of Minari

A view of Minari

My car wouldn't start this morning, so I walked to the train station (where I am now), about 1km from my apartment. This is a shot of central Minari from a bridge I crossed. I took some more photos, which I'll post (on Flickr) soon.

Edit: To view the other photos, just click on the one above, which will take you to the Flickr website. On that page, click on "Emily's photostream."

Monday, September 27, 2004

Yokota Elementary

Yokota Elementary

"Cotton Eyed Joe" is a good Musical Chairs song.

Friday, September 24, 2004



Of course you know... I had to buy it.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Access Denied

Apparently, using my own laptop on the BoE LAN is a security problem? Someone showed up at the office, speaking emphatically, and pointing at the cable hanging out of my computer.

If this is a problem in Yokota, it's probably also a problem at the Nita BoE.

This blows.

Sating McAfee

I've added a couple more pre-dated posts; scroll down to see them. If you don't know which ones they are, don't worry; just start from the bottom of the page and read up.

I am typing to you from my laptop computer! Not because I have internet at my apartment, but because I brought my laptop to the Yokota BoE today (I used it at Yokota Elementary to show the kids some photos), and there was this little LAN plug sticking its head up, just begging to be plugged in. After asking permission, which was readily granted, I hooked ol' Bessy up to the internet.

Drink deep, Bessy. You'll not be tasting these waters again for some time.

But at least my virus scanner will stop pestering me for a few days.

Off to post some photos, while I have the chance.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Proud New Owner

... of a pomegranate tree.
Her name is Abigail, and she's about three feet tall.
I was wandering the streets of Minari on the second day of the Atago Festival (the night I didn't have to dance), when I found someone selling plants. I know she (Abigail) is a pomegranate tree, cos she had a plastic pomegranate tied to her when I bought her. Unless someone just has a sick sense of humor.

But I have no idea how to raise a fruitful pomegranate tree. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A moment of your time

You know, there are some things that the Japanese do very well. Electronics, fish, and unbearable cuteness all fall into that category.

Cheese does not.

Granted, the closest I've ever come to high-quality camembert is the Old World Cheese section at Wegmans, but I know not tasty when I, er, taste it. And Hokkaido camembert is not tasty.

That is all.

Survival of the fittest

Here's a sure-fire way to test whether or not your new "stainless steel" knives really are stainless:
  1. Place knives at bottom of kitchen sink.

  2. Fill sink with various other dishware.

  3. Periodically deposit water and food into the sink.

  4. Repeat for two weeks.
Lesser knives are sure to succumb to such treatment.

Yeah, that's right Mom.
It was an experiment....

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Still Here

... with very little time online.
But hope springs eternal. I hear there's a cable internet company that serves my area: 100Mbps for 3,000 yen/mo. Finally, something cheaper than in the States.

I've found that it's easier to drive properly if I don't think, This is the exact opposite of American driving, but simply take it as it is.

Actually, in that respect, driving in Japan is a lot like living in Japan.

Funny, that.