readsalot: (Default)
I heard from [ profile] filkerdave that Greg McMullan died in a house fire last night. I didn't know Greg very well, but some of you may have, so I'm spreading the news. There are some details in this post, and Dave will post more when more is known.
readsalot: (ahiru ehhh? [Princess Tutu])
On Tuesday night, while reading LiveJournal, I discovered that there was a new Robin McKinley book. Clearly I had to have it as soon as possible. Alas, the fates did not agree )
readsalot: (roy mustang snaps his fingers [FMA])
All spoilers, all the time. You've been warned.

spoilers don't affect continuity )
readsalot: (Default)
Because it's been very difficult to find coin laundries anywhere nearby, I washed a bunch of clothes in the sink last night. O, the glamorous life. I'm hoping they'll be dry enough to pack tomorrow morning.

This morning, after getting up and transferring the wet clothes from hanging around the bathtub to the closet, I took my breakfast coupon and went in seek of food. The excellent buffet restaurant had a very long line, and the Japanese restaurant had a shorter but still noticeable one, so I went to the food court, which had both Japanese and Western food. I got miso soup, two different kinds of fish, shu-mai, noodles, rice, and a glass of what I think was guava juice. All good, but I may try to get up earlier and try for the buffet restaurant tomorrow.

and the tour begins )

Tomorrow we go to look at Mount Fuji. I don't know what the internet situation will be like for the next few days, but I'll update again when I can. I'm getting tired of this keyboard's betrayal, so I'll sign off now. (I just typed this whole thing for the second time when the first time through went into some kind of weird wide Unicode thing that I couldn't get it out of, and now the keyboard has gone into a mode where it keeps trying to turn my typing into hiragana.) They don't have the English language mode installed on this machine, which makes life difficult.
readsalot: (Yuuko [xxxHolic])
I'm in the internet cafe in the Shinagawa Prince hotel now. I get a computer for as long as I want, apparently, for buying one drink. It was 500 yen for the drink, which is a lot even for here, though, so I'm going to stick around for a while tonight.

So, from the beginning:

(This computer won't let me switch to using an English keyboard, so I'm going to just touch-type and try to remember to replace all the weird punctuation after I finish writing. Just a warning, in case the punctuation looks strange--it's things like hitting the apostrophe key and getting a colon.)

The flight was uneventful, but long )

It's really hot in Japan )

There was a Worldcon )

In which my hotel is really stupid )

Tokyo at last )

Ok, that's it for tonight.
readsalot: (Default)
This is going to be a quick update, because I don't have much time left on this computer.

I got here on Tuesday afternoon, and went to my hotel in Narita (small city near the airport, about an hour's train ride from Tokyo). There were supposed to be sights, but none were very nearby, and I didn't have the energy to walk far in the extreme heat and humidity anyway, so I had dinner at the hotel and went to bed. In the morning, I had breakfast at the hotel (I find that I like Japanese breakfasts), and walked some noticeable distance (uphill) to the train station.

I bought a ticket for Yokohama, and with a little help from various friendly people, got here, and found my hotel with very little difficulty. It's a nice hotel, and the A/C in my room works very well, which is a comfort. It takes me about a half-hour to walk to the convention center, so I don't go back and forth much.

I've had one really nice meal (in Chinatown), and a few ok ones--a lot of the restaurants near the convention center are overpriced tourist traps and it's difficult to find the good ones.

The Ghibli Museum was nice, except that all the signs were in Japanese, which I couldn't read very well, and I apparently managed to completely miss one of the gift shops. Oh well.

I'll try to post more later. Bye for now!
readsalot: (ahiru as girl looks curious [Princess Tu)
I'm going to have most of one day in Tokyo to myself after the tour ends. I'm trying to figure out what I should do. Possibilities:

Tokyo Tower. The Lonely Planet guide book says that it's a tourist trap these days. On the other hand, it's appeared in so many anime that I may have to go. Also, I just checked out their website, so I see that there are a bunch of little shops and restaurants (including the Tokyo Curry Lab, which babelfish insists on translating as Tokyo Calais Lab), and then there's Statistics Plaza: "This space is provided to acquaint more people with statistics by introducing the history of statistics and statistical data." I may not be able to resist.

Tokyo Tower is in the Roppongi district, so I could go there and then to the Mori Art Museum, which looks very cool, and which includes admission to Tokyo City View, from which I can look down on Tokyo Tower.

Or, I could go to the Ikebukuro area, and visit the Japan Traditional Craft Center (some nice displays, but more of a working resource than a museum), and Sunshine City (contains Sunshine 60, another really tall building which was featured prominently in the manga/anime X/1999, as well as the Ikebukuro Gyoza Stadium, which is apparently a food court devoted entirely to gyoza).

Vaguely near Sumida, there's the Edo-Tokyo Museum (history of Tokyo) and the Fukagawa Edo Museum (recreates a 17th century Edo neighborhood).

In the Odaiba area, there's the Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, which is apparently going to be closed on all the days when I'm in Tokyo, so never mind), a giant ferris wheel, the Japan Folk Crafts Museum, a hot springs theme park, and a couple of giant shopping malls.

Other suggestions are welcome.
readsalot: (Yuuko [xxxHolic])
To do:

Buy something local so I can give small gifts (found some very cute postcards at Porter Square Books)
Buy yen
Print out details about the Big Heart award* (I'm transporting the actual award plaque because the presenter is already in Japan)
Print out airline e-ticket information so that the TSA people have something to scribble on
Figure out how to get to my hotel in Narita
Figure out how to get from Narita to my hotel in Yokohama
Figure out how to get my digital camera out of movie mode
Post my itinerary here for safe-keeping
Find a hotel in Tokyo for the last day of my trip** (everything else is set.)
Get a color print cartridge (to enable printing)
Print out maps of the areas around various hotels
Find a bathroom scale so I can weigh my bag ***

Edited to add: itinerary has now been posted, and I booked a hotel room for the last day.

The Big Heart Award is given to someone who's being recognized as being generally helpful and nice. It's a fannish thing.

I'm not worried about this--there are lots of hotels in Tokyo, and even a reasonable number of inexpensive ones. I've got a query in to one hotel, and I expect to hear back from them by tomorrow; if that one's full, I have another prospect that allows internet booking, and if that falls through, I'll just call around when I get there.

The group tour I'm on ends up in Osaka, and we're being flown from there to Narita when the tour ends. The problem is that, while ANA's international flights allow you to check two 23kg bags, their domestic flights only allow one 20kg bag. I have a duffel bag that will fold up to fit inside my one big bag, but I want to know about how much things weigh before I leave so I'll know how close to the limit I am before I start buying things; if necessary, I can pack the smaller bag with what I need for the last couple of days and just send the big bag to the airport to wait for me. There are many package-delivery services in Japan, and it's quite common for suitcases to travel separately from their owners.
readsalot: (sakura mixing pancake batter [CCS])
Readercon next weekend! We're starting early this year--there will be a single track of programming on Thursday night, open to the public, but no convention services until Friday morning.

See you there!
readsalot: (uzura goes ooooo [Princess Tutu])
You are Lisp.  Very few people like you (Probably because you use too many parenthesis (You better stop it (Reallly)))
Which Programming Language are You?

Since I really do use far too many parentheses (hey, it's not my fault, I just have to keep explaining things), this must be the one true quiz that really works. Right?
readsalot: (tohru and yuki eating [Fruits Basket])
Tonight was thai-ish chicken (garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, and lots of basil, cilantro, and mint) which was easy once I finished chopping all of the herbs. Also, the herbs and the lime juice really make the dish special--without them, it's not that great. To go with it there was a nice francese from Iggy's, and zucchini mush with garlic, mint, and lemon juice. I think next time I need to measure the lemon juice instead of just using the juice of one lemon, but other than that, it was excellent.
readsalot: (sakura mixing pancake batter [CCS])
Japanese class is over! I have free time again!

The final was last Tuesday, and I think I did ok--there wasn't anything on there that really surprised me, but I'm just not sure I got everything right. I know that I got one of the listening questions wrong, because I successfully parsed it several hours later and realized that the answer I'd given was the exact opposite of the right one. Oh well.

I went out to dinner Friday night with a bunch of classmates and Sensei. We'd originally planned to eat at Bluefin, but they were unfortunately closed due to a leak. So, we went to Kaya, since Japanese food was also available there. We had gyoza (good), agedashi tofu (good), potato croquettes (unbelievably yummy--where have you been all my life?), sushi (which I don't eat), jap chae (tasty), some kind of spicy fish soup (good soup, and good fish, but the mussel that was in my serving was kind of rubbery), and vegetable tempura (ok--carrot slices were too thick to have gotten cooked properly, but the other vegetables were good).

Food diary: cut for length )

Edited to add: the turkey meatloaf was very tasty indeed, as were the tomatoes. Oh, and I forgot to mention the pluot-blackberry cobbler I made earlier today. I overdid it a little bit on adding ginger to the filling, but I like ginger, so it's all good.
readsalot: (Default)
I've been meaning to start making notes about cooking, so I can remember which recipes I've tried and what I thought about them. I do my major cooking on weekends, and make enough to have leftovers for at least one more meal, so that I can just reheat things during the week.

skip this if you're not interested in cooking )
readsalot: (tohru and yuki eating)
They have Tastykakes! Who knew?

That store really is insanely popular. I went there after today's Japanese class (actually the oral part of my midterm, so I got out early), and even after 7pm on a Tuesday night, it was quite crowded. Uncomfortably so, for me, so I'm not likely to go back there very often. Unless, of course, I really have to have some Tastykakes.
readsalot: (sakura mixing pancake batter)
So far I'm doing pretty well on quizzes (though I haven't yet seen the results of Tuesday's vocabulary test). The current chapter has, among other things, rules for and examples of transitive and intransitive verbs, which in Japanese are often separate words. That use the same kanji. Just to confuse you. For example, 起きる(okiru, to sleep, intransitive) and 起こす (okosu, to sleep, transitive). That was a relatively easy pair, because okiru was one of the first verbs I learned, more than a year ago. Then there's 集まる(atsumaru, to gather, intransitive) and 集める (atsumeru, to gather, transitive); both new in this chapter. Anyway, all of this meant that the new vocabulary for this chapter, instead of being mostly nouns, was mostly verbs. However, I think that I knew all of the ones on the quiz, so that was good.

Homework log: 1 hour last night, 3 hours tonight. Less than I thought it was going to be--that was three sections of homework (though I cheated and did part of the first section over the weekend) and 5 sheets of kanji practice (for the thirty new kanji in this chapter). Kanji quiz on Tuesday. But that shouldn't be too hard--for the first time, kanji quizzes involve reading but no writing. That makes it a lot easier, especially when the quiz puts the kanji in a sentence.


Feb. 19th, 2007 05:51 pm
readsalot: (utena)
Boskone was busy and fun. details for anyone who's interested )
readsalot: (ahiru as girl looks curious)
It took about 2 hours to finish the homework that's due this coming Tuesday. That's in contrast to the 6 hours I spent on the homework due last Tuesday, and the 5 hours for the homework due last Thursday. It's not that it's getting easier--it's that the first two sets of homework for this chapter were in the workbook, which emphasizes writing, and the second two sets are in the lab manual, which emphasizes listening. I'm going to try to get an early start (like, tomorrow) on some of the homework that's due Thursday, just because I was really wiped out this week by all of the homework. And I still have to study for Tuesday's kanji test, and practice answering questions out loud so I can do that in class.

However, the studying is paying off: I aced the vocabulary quiz last Tuesday. Oh, and they finally posted grades from last term, and I got an A-! I'm happy with that--I got a bit behind in the middle of the term, and was expecting a B.
readsalot: (sakura mixing pancake batter)
Look at me, studying hard )
readsalot: (raquel cassul)
The teapot that I use at work (pretty dark-green ceramic with a mesh infuser basket, holds enough for two mugs of tea, at least 8 years old) has just gotten chipped. I've been irritated by it for a while, because if I make a pot of tea and then leave the lid closed overnight, the lid tends to stick to the pot. This morning, when I tried to get the lid open, the little tab on the lid snapped off. I could glue it back together, but I think this is a sign that I need a new pot.

Any suggestions? [ profile] twe, I've been looking at the IngenuiTEA brewer, which looks very cute, but does it hold more than one mug's worth? Can you only pour one cup at a time into your mug? Does it keep the rest warm?


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